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Impose Sanctions on Buhari, Others for Undermining Democracy, Shehu Sani Tells UN, EU

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Human rights activist and pro-democracy crusader, Senator Shehu Sani, has urged the United Nations and the European Union (EU) to immediately impose visa sanction and other restrictions against President Muhammadu Buhari and elements under his government for undermining democracy in the country. According to him, if the current trend is allowed to continue it would mar the conduct of 2023 general elections.

Sani explained that unless the international community rises up to its responsibility to save democracy in Nigeria, the subsequent conduct of elections in the country after the outcome of the recent governorship polls in Kogi and Bayelsa States might lead to chaos and erode democracy. He was reacting to the violence, the use of firearms against voters, the killings and general malpractices that were recorded during the elections in Kogi and Bayesa States. He said unless the international community responds appropriately to sanction the anti-democratic elements in Nigeria the country’s future stands endangered.

According to him, “The only way to address the problems of elections in Nigeria, apart from implementing electoral reforms, is through sanctions on individuals that are fully involved in electoral malpractices. The European Union should not sit down and simply fold its arms and allow only the United States to carry out the responsibility of sanctioning individuals that are involved in election fraud or violence.

“The EU must join other democratic nations of the world. A no-fly sanction must be declared against elements in the army, police, INEC and the political sphere that are involved in violence, killings and other malpractices internationally.

“They cannot fly to any country. The African Union (AU) must also be serious about this political problem. Visa restrictions should not only be limited to people going to the United States. The EU and other democratic nations of the world who are not part of the EU must impose sanctions. The airline companies of these countries must apply sanctions against anti-democratic elements”.

Also, Sani blamed President Buhari for allowing the country’s democracy to nose-dive, saying that if former President Goodluck Jonathan had followed Buhari’s antecedent, he would not have been in office as incumbent president.

According to him, “The former INEC Chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega, has been consistently drawing the attention of the country to the new reality as far as elections in Nigeria are concerned. There is general consensus that the 2015 elections were free, fair and credible. Most of those who lost elections did not go to court to challenge the results. The president at that time, Jonathan, warmly and heartedly congratulated Buhari.

“Buhari promised the country that he would leave behind a legacy of fair, transparent and credible elections in the country. But the 2019 elections and subsequent elections have clearly demonstrated that the president rather has drown us back to pre-2015, particularly the military era. Our elections are now characterized by violence, thuggery, ballot stuffing and ballot snatching; the use of arms, killings and outright manipulations. This is not what Nigerians bargained for. The two elections in Bayelsa and Kogi are an eye-opener.

“The government of Buhari has lost the moral ground to organize elections that the world can see as free and credible. We have never had it so bad in this country where the international, domestic observers, the media and Nigerians will unanimously condemn elections such as the ones in Kogi and Bayelsa. I have said it many times that President Buhari should be concerned about his role in Nigeria’s history.

“What kind of legacy does he want to leave behind when the elections that brought him to power is more credible than the ones he is organizing? So, as far as I am concerned, this present INEC, as it is today, and the conduct of elections show that we have gone backward to the dark and stone ages where election results are simply written and announced”.

Sani excoriated the electoral umpire for taking the country’s democracy backwards just as he insisted that most of those in elective positions today would not have been elected if the electoral umpire did its good job properly.

“When you see a political leader using violence, thugs, manipulations, fire arms to secure votes, he knows very well that he has lost the moral high ground and he does not have the support of the people. So, we cannot call this a democracy if the method and processes of getting elected into office is through violence, bloodshed and manipulation of votes, ballot snatching and ballot stuffing.

“You can’t build honesty in a foundation of fraud. The assessment of the UN, the EU, and international and domestic observers said they have never seen anything like this.“With subsequent elections in the country, especially the 2023 general elections, I think the message has been sent clearly to everybody that the means of assuming power is not through a peaceful, credible and transparent elections. It is the ability to gather and garner an equivalent force that may likely play out to counter the other side. And I am very sorry to say that the judiciary and the National Assembly, as they are today, are not in a good position to address the problems of elections in the country”.

The Guardian

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Edo 2020: Obaseki, Seven APC Govs Seek Audience with Buhari after Meeting Tinubu

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Eight governors elected on the platform of the All Progressives Congress, on Sunday, held a meeting with the National Leader of the APC, Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu, at the state House Marina, Lagos to make a case for the Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki.

Although details of the meeting were still sketchy as of the time of filing this report, it was gathered that the governors were at the closed-door meeting to seek Tinubu’s intervention in the search for truce in the political conflict between Obaseki and his godfather, the National Chairman of the APC, Adams Oshiomhole.

Governors who attended the meeting included the chairman of the Progressives Governors Forum, Abubakar Bagudu (Kebbi), Abdullahi Ganduje (Kano), Babajide Sanwu-Olu (Lagos), Rotimi Akeredolu (Ondo), Adeboyega Oyetola (Osun) and Dapo Abiodun (Ogun).

Others are Mohammed Abubakar (Jigawa) and Obaseki.

Five of the governors, including Obaseki, then proceeded to Abuja, preparatory to a meeting with the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.).

A source privy to the meeting who pleaded anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media, said, “The governors met with our national leader, they laid their cards on the table and plainly asked for his intervention.

“They admitted that mistakes had been made especially with the governor’s refusal to pave the way for the swearing in of 14 elected APC members as members of the state Assembly.

“They also noted that the meeting ought to have held earlier and that the governor who was present at the meeting should have reached out to seek help much earlier before the situation degenerated to the level of a public spat between the governor and the national chairman.

“And being the kind of person, he is, our leader listened patiently and he is not one to rush into judgment before hearing from the other party. He will look at what is in the party’s best interest after consulting widely with other stakeholders before taking a final stand.”

The National Working Committee of the party had approved the direct primary as the mode of selecting the party’s standard bearer for the forthcoming governorship election in the state.

Loyalists of the governor are opposed to the mode arguing that it was meant to frustrate his chances of standing as the party’s standard bearer.

Obaseki and his estranged political godfather have been at odds over the former’s bid for a second term in office following a long-drawn battle for the political control of the state.

Pundits accuse the governor of working with his fellow governors opposed to Oshiomhole leadership style in an earlier attempt to force Oshiomhole out of office.

A member of the party’s National Working Committee who also pleaded anonymity for fear of retribution said, “Besides the feud between Obaseki and our National Chairman, we have to consider the overall interest of our party. The best thing to do for our party in Edo is to have direct primaries. This is why; it is the best for us even without the conflict between the two leaders. The last time we did primaries even for the election of Obaseki as governor, it was direct, we have done that there before, we can only improve on it than to go and try something new. Two, if we are learning from our past mishaps like what happened in Rivers State, there were litigations over the congresses we did before and we went into indirect and we used officials whose positions were being challenged in court as delegates and when the court nullified the congresses that brought the executives, everything done was nullified, we lost the opportunity to contest the elections in Rivers State.

“There are two chairmen in Edo, we have recognized the removal of the Anselem-led exco and the matter is still in court, whichever way the court rules, we may have a problem if we use the indirect using the executives as delegates.

“Then there is the issue of COVID-19 with the protocol of social distancing. It will be easier to manage a crowd in each ward instead of bringing four to five thousand people in one place as the indirect mode will require.”

When contacted, the APC National Vice-Chairman, South South, Hilliard Eta said, “As the governing political party, the APC will continue to lead by example when it comes to giving party members the right to choose candidates.

Also, the National Publicity Secretary of the party, Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu, said, “The APC will, as always, provide a level playing field for all aspirants to pursue their legitimate aspirations in line with the constitution on our party guidelines.”

The Punch

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Nigeria Coronavirus Cases Exceed 10,000 with 307 New Infections

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Nigeria’s tally of confirmed COVID-19 cases on Sunday rose to 10,162 as 307 new infections were announced by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).

Fourteen deaths were recorded from the virus on Sunday bringing the total number of confirmed deaths from the virus to 287.

Lagos recorded the highest figure of cases reported with 188 infections. The state also remains the epicentre for the disease.

There was a decline in the number of infections reported on Sunday (307) compared to the number reported on Saturday (553).

The country on Saturday had reported the highest daily figure of infections so far yet, since the beginning of the outbreak in Nigeria.

The agency in a tweet late Sunday night said the 307 new cases were reported in 15 states. These are Lagos, Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Ogun, Kaduna, Oyo, Bayelsa, Gombe, Kano, Delta, Imo, Rivers, Niger, Bauchi, Plateau and Kwara.

“Till date, 10162 cases have been confirmed, 3007 cases have been discharged and 287 deaths have been recorded in 35 states and the Federal Capital Territory,” it said.

The 307 new cases are reported from 15 states – Lagos – 188, FCT – 44, Ogun – 19, Kaduna – 14, Oyo – 12, Bayelsa – 9, Gombe – 5, Kano – 3, Delta – 3, Imo – 2, Rivers – 2, Niger – 2, Bauchi – 2, Plateau – 1 and Kwara – 1.

There are 6, 868 active COVID-19 cases in the country as 3,007 people have recovered and have been discharged, with 287 deaths recorded.

A breakdown of the 10,162 confirmed cases shows that Lagos State has so far reported 4,943 cases, followed by Kano – 954, FCT – 660, Katsina – 364, Edo – 284, Oyo – 292, Borno – 271,Jigawa – 270, Ogun – 278, Kaduna – 258, Bauchi – 238, Rivers – 206, Gombe – 161, Sokoto – 116, Plateau – 105, Kwara – 88, Delta – 83, Zamfara – 76, Nasarawa – 62, Yobe – 52, Akwa Ibom – 45, Osun – 45, Ebonyi – 40, Adamawa – 38, Imo – 36, Kebbi – 33, Niger – 32, Ondo – 25, Ekiti – 20, Enugu – 18, Taraba – 18, Bayelsa – 12, Anambra – 11, Abia – 10, Benue – 7 and Kogi – 2.

Despite the increasing figures, many Nigerians are alleging that Nigeria is not testing enough and the figures might not reflect the true situation in the country.

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Chris Okotie Slams CAN, Condemns Social Distancing Guilelines in Churches

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The Senior Pastor of the Household of God International Ministries, Chris Okotie, on Sunday kicked against the Christian Association of Nigeria’s (CAN) proposed social distancing guidelines for churches.

Mr Okotie, who was the presidential candidate of Fresh Democratic Party, frowned at CAN’s decision to allow what he described as the ‘Idol of Coronavirus’ determine the scope of congregational worship in churches in Nigeria.

This was contained in a statement he posted on his official Facebook page.

The cleric referenced a report published in the Sun Newspaper on Sunday wherein CAN unveiled guidelines for the reopening of churches in the first week of June.

He said, “Social distancing in the Church of Jesus Christ is tantamount to blasphemous infidelity and an impeachment of the integrity of the Word of God. Healing is fundamental to the redemptive work of Jesus.

“To allow the idol of Corona Virus to determine the scope of congregational worship in the house of God is an abomination of gargantuan proportions. No true minister of the gospel will succumb to such travesty of the faith. This is a summary of my objections.

“I have sent this message hoping that you would respond as one who bears the burden of the Cross of Jesus. I have restrained myself from making a public outcry of this desecration and profanation out of respect for you and the CAN hierarchy. But be assured that this position is transient.”

Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 in Nigeria, a ban has been placed on social and religious gatherings in the country to curb the spread of the virus.

But some Nigerian pastors have challenged the directive.

A popular pastor, Chris Oyakhilome, recently berated his colleagues, (Nigerian pastors) that complied with the government’s ban on large gatherings because of coronavirus.

Mr Oyakhilome, who is the general overseer of Believers’ Love World, popularly known as Christ Embassy, said such leaders were not true Christians as they did not ask the government for time to pray and consult with their congregation.

CAN GUIDELINES

The Christian Association of Nigeria recently expressed hope that the ban on religious gatherings in the country may be lifted by the first Sunday of June.

CAN President, Samson Ayokunle, a reverend, gave the indication in a statement.

Mr. Ayokunle said churches will disinfect their premises, as well as make provisions for alcohol sanitisers, among others.

He also suggested the use of face masks and adherence to other social distancing measures.

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