Tag Archives: politics

I have no interest in Tinubu’s presidential race – Fayose.

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Former Governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose, on Wednesday, said he has no interest in the rumoured presidential ambition of All Progressives Congress chieftain, Bola Tinubu, in 2023.

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Fayose, who stated this on a Live interview, expressed confidence that his party, the Peoples Democratic Party, would produce Nigeria’s president in the 2023 general elections.

He said “Bola Tinubu is a leader in the West. It is a statement of fact” but noted that he has not met or spoken with the former Lagos State governor in years.

Fayose said, “I have never met former governor Ahmed Bola Tinubu in the last three years and I have never spoken with him on the phone once. So, I don’t how they are tying the relationship politically.

“To the best of my knowledge, I am not a member of APC. I have no influence on how he will become if he wants to become. I have no interest; the only interest I have is that a PDP president must be put in place.”

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“If this country exists for the peace and enjoyment of all us, we will not be talking about it is APC, it is PDP…A PDP man cannot attend a function with an APC man. An APC man cannot greet a PDP man, we can’t continue like that, it shows level of hypocrisy,” he added.

The ex-governor of Ekiti also said he has not abandoned his ambition to be Nigeria’s president. “The office of the president is a noble one and I will love to be the president of Nigeria if the opportunity permits,” Fayose stated.

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#Newsworthy

Ondo’s Akeredolu ‘sworn in’ for second term.

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The governor, who reiterated that the economic fortunes of the state was largely in the South Senatorial District, said his administration had tried in the last four years to harness and reorganise the potential of the region.

Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State says he plans to focus on agriculture and youth empowerment during his second term in office.

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Akeredolu said this at his inauguration for second term in office alongside his deputy, Mr Lucky Ayedatiwa on Wednesday in Akure.

He promised to revolutionise agriculture by taking practical steps towards harnessing the full potential of the state.

The governor, who reiterated that the economic fortunes of the state was largely in the South Senatorial District, said his administration had tried in the last four years to harness and reorganise the potential of the region.

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Akeredolu also said his administration would continue to justify, with more vigour, the trust given by the people.

“The second term for us is not a time for relaxation. We are not under any illusion that it will be easy.

“We are, however, ready to proceed on the journey with renewed enthusiasm and vigour,” he said.

Dignitaries at the event included Gov. Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti; Gov. Babajide Sanwoolu of Lagos State; Gov. Gboyega Oyetola of Osun; Gov. Dapo Abiodun of Ogun; Gov. Godwin Obaseki of Edo; and Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu, national leader, All Progressives Congress (APC).

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Others were Sen. Tayo Alasoadura, Minister of State for Niger Delta; Sen. Ken Nnamani, former Senate President ; Sen. Iyiola Omisore, former deputy governor of Osun; and Chief Bisi Akande, APC leader.

Noble Reporters Media reports that Akeredolu emerged victorious at the Oct.10, 2020 governorship election, having beaten Mr Eyitayo Jegede of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) with wide margin.

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#Newsworthy

2023: Okorocha’s arrest, plan to deny southeast presidency.

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Pro-democracy groups yesterday held a peaceful protest in Abuja against the arrest of the immediate past Governor of Imo state, Senator Rochas Okorocha.

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Some of the inscriptions on the placards read “United we stand, divided we fall”, “Gov Uzodima stop the witch hunt, APC means peace, restore peace in Imo APC”, “Rochas we believe, leaders must be respected”, “Rochas is a leader, stop the use of thugs”, “Nigerian Students condemn the attacks on the person of Rochas.”.

The protesters, who brandished various placards to register their anger over the development, claimed that Okorocha’s arrest allegedly at the instance of his successor, Hope Uzodinma was part of the grand design to deny the southeast geo-political zone the exalted seat of the presidency in the 2023 poll.

Malam Hamza Rahama, who spoke on behalf of Youth speakers of Nigeria, argued that Okorocha’s arrest by armed policemen constitutes a threat to democratic rule in the country.

“Okorocha is one good material if not the best we have for 2023 after President Muhammadu Buhari and all this harassment and intimidation is because of the next election of which they believe should he vie for the Presidency then he remains a threat to them,” Rahama said.

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“Nigerians especially the common man will resist all sort of intimidation aimed at truncating Sen. Rochas Okorocha Presidential ambition because of their strong believe in his capacity to change their fortunes beyond the lines of tribes and religion.”

Mohammed Ibrahim, who spoke on behalf of the Arewa Youth Consultative Council (AYCC), condemned the role player by security agents in the harassment and arrest of Okorocha representing Imo west senatorial district.

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“We must publicly condemn the worrisome reports of how Men of the Nigeria Police Force attached to the state government House watched as thugs attacked his Excellency, prior to his arrest,” Ibrahim said.

“This is an indication that the Imo State Government is having a hidden skeleton on this issue, which must be condemned with the most strictest sense. We cannot fold our arms and watch our Security operatives are being used to achieve political aims.”

Comrade Ilefa Peter, who spoke on behalf of the All progressive congress (APC) good governance forum, called on President Muhammadu Bihari and the Chairman of the APC caretaker committee, Malam Mala Buni to wade into the face off between Okorocha and Uzodinma in the interest of the party in Imo state.

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The group maintained that the party cannot be coerced to deviate from the zoning of the 2023 presidency to the South East.

The group said, “Okorocha, has paid his dues in our great party. He stood as a lone voice in South East and gave the zone a formidable face, he was the voice of the APC in the southeast while the present Governor was in PDP fighting him for bringing APC to South East, he Rose and became Chairman of the Progressives Governor’s forum and served the forum diligently as a true party man, his love for the APC cannot be quantified, as the past Governor of Imo State, who undertook great and lofty projects in the state, and that gave APC a name in that region.

“It is saddening then to leam that, a man who has fought tooth and nail for the party in South Eastern Nigeria is been ridiculed by his fellow party man all in the name of recovering government assets when in the true sense, it is a journey of personal vendetta.

“The national organ of our great party cannot continue to fold her hands and watch the Governor of Imo State messed the whole effort of his Predecessor, the party as a matter of urgency must call the Governor to order and instill peace in the State for the good people of Imo.

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“Okorocha has sacrificed a lot for this party to be left in the hands of his successor to continually play the script of the enemies of South East. It is high time, the party came in to end this crisis once and for all.

“Governor Hope Uzodima should learn to consolidate on the past gains of his Predecessor and work harmoniously for the overwhelming good of Imolites. Government is a continuum, and if truly the party is supreme, our Leaders must learn to consolidate on the party’s ideology of fostering peace and unity at all fronts.”

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#Newsworthy

Fayose, liability to PDP – Hosea Agboola.

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A former Senate Deputy Chief Whip, Senator Hosea Agboola, who is a political ally of Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde, has said former Ekiti State governor, Ayo Fayose, is more of a liability to the Peoples Democratic Party than an asset.

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He said this on Thursday while welcoming some loyalists of a former governor of Oyo State and leader of the Zenith Labour Party, Rashidi Ladoja, at the Government House, Ibadan.

Agboola, who is popularly called Alleluyah, said this in reaction to a video where Fayose called Makinde a ‘baby governor’.

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He said it was uncharitable for Fayose to call Makinde a ‘baby governor’ and described the ex-governor as an opportunist.

Agboola said, “Such a statement from Fayose to a serving governor and leader of the PDP in the South-West is most uncharitable and in bad taste.

“Governor Makinde before venturing into the public service had made tremendous success as a businessman. He rose from there to win a landslide victory as the gubernatorial candidate of the PDP in the 2019 election.

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“And the 2019 electoral victory came at a time both the state and Federal Government were being controlled by the ‘almighty’ All Progressives Congress, yet Makinde triumphed and won to prove the bookmakers wrong.

“Today, Oyo State is witnessing all round development in education, health, infrastructure, economy and lots more. Makinde was able to resolve the crisis in the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomoso, and also ensured it is now the sole property of Oyo State.

“The man with such a Midas touch, whose future promises greater value to humanity, is to Fayose a baby governor? He must have woken up from the wrong side of the bed to utter such a statement.

“But for posterity sake, Fayose deserves no reply, especially if one recalls how he has failed as a politician in his home state

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“Here is Fayose, who had only won elections when the PDP ruled at the centre. His ambition to become a senator in 2011 under the Labour Party was futile, which shows he wins only when the PDP holds sway. Makinde won when opposition was and still at the centre.”

Agboola, who was recently Chairman, Caretaker Committee of Ekiti PDP, spoke further, “So, of what political value and relevance is Fayose, who failed woefully to install a successor when he was leaving as an incumbent governor of Ekiti. Ekiti PDP under him became a shadow of itself as he could not produce a single house of assembly member in that state.”

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#Newsworthy

PDP end Elumelu, Ikpeazu, others’ suspension.

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The party charged the lawmakers to be loyal to the party and obey its directives in line with its constitution and vision of its founding fathers.

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has lifted the suspension placed on seven of its members in the House of Representatives.

The members are Hon. Ndudi Elumelu, Hon. Wole Oke, Hon. Lynda Ikpeazu, Hon. Anayo Edwin, Hon. Gideon Gwani, Hon. Toby Okechukwu and Hon. Adekoya Addul-majid.

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They were suspended shortly after the inauguration of the 9th House of Representatives for allegedly frustrating the party’s bid to install its preferred candidate, Kingsley Chinda, as Minority leader of the House.

A statement by the PDP national publicity secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, said the lifting of the suspension was based on the recommendations of various committee set on issues relating to the suspension.

The party charged the lawmakers to be loyal to the party and obey its directives in line with its constitution and vision of its founding fathers.

In the same vein, the party maintained that it would continue to recognize the PDP Caucus of the House of Representatives as led by Hon. Kingsley Chinda and charged all members elected on the platform of the party to continue to participate in the activities of the Caucus.

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It urged the lawmakers to ensure a stronger and more viable opposition that speaks with one voice in the legislative house.

The party directed the Harmonization Committee led by Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal to further meet with its members in the House of Representatives with a view to ensuring harmonious relationship among them.

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#Newsworthy

Murtala Nyako revalidates APC membership

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Nyako revalidated his membership at his electoral ward in Mayo Belwa Local Government Area (LGA) of the state on Monday.

Former Governor Murtala Nyako of Adamawa has revalidated his All Progressives Congress (APC ) membership.

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Nyako revalidated his membership at his electoral ward in Mayo Belwa Local Government Area (LGA) of the state on Monday.

Speaking shortly after the event, the former governor expressed optimism that the party would reclaim the state in the 2023 governorship poll.

“I am very optimistic that APC has the chance of winning election in Adamawa and Nigeria at large come 2023.

“The situation we are facing in the country concerning COVID-19, poverty and security challenge is very bad.

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“We are praying for divine intervention to bring lasting peace and a solution for the unity and progress of our dear country Nigeria,’’ Nyako said.

He urged party faithful and those wishing to join the party to register and validate their membership.

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#Newsworthy

Femi Fani Kayode finally joins APC.

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The governor made the comment after he revalidated his APC membership in his country home in Kogi state.

Governor Yahaya Bello has officially confirmed that a former minister of aviation, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode has defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC).

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Governor Bello confirmed the rumours ion a trending video seen by NoRM‘s known Media on Twitter.

The governor made the comment after he revalidated his APC membership in his country home in Kogi state.

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#Newsworthy

APGA aspirant scores highest to win Niger by-election – INEC

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Sale scored 22,965 votes to defeat Alamu Emmanuel of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who came second with 22,507 votes.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has declared Shehu Sale, candidate of All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), winner of Magama/Rijau Federal Constituency of Niger in Saturday’s by-election.

The INEC Returning Officer, Prof. Tanko Baba of the Usman Danfodio University Sokoto, said Sale scored 22,965 votes to defeat Alamu Emmanuel of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who came second with 22,507 votes.

Baba said Yusuf Nasir, the candidate of the ADC, polled 336 votes.

He explained that the total number of registered voters was 159,347, while the number of accredited voters was 46,734, with 45,808 valid votes, total votes cast 46,499 and rejected votes 691.

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Meanwhile, Prof. Samuel Egwu, the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Niger on Sunday, commended the electorate in the constituency for their peaceful conduct during and after the election.

Egwu also lauded efforts of the police for providing a peaceful political atmosphere before and during the electoral process in the area.

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#Newsworthy

Borno Almajarai are portent danger to military – Oyinlola says as he rate Buhari Gov’t.

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We have seen the negative. In fact, it is as if we don’t have a president in the Villa, maybe, a resident.

With diminishing fortunes of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to retain power, at the centre, beyond 2023 and the ghost of 16-year ‘misrule’ still haunting the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), proposing a new mega party before the next general election, according to a former Governor of Osun State, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, does not sound feasible, even as he retorted, “it’s not impossible.” Oyinlola spoke on national issues during an interaction with journalists as he celebrates his entry into the septuagenarian club after clocking 70 last Wednesday. TUNJI OMOFOYE was there.

What do you make of plans by some politicians to float a mega party to fight APC and PDP?
It is not too feasible, but I will say nothing is impossible. We were saying merger was not possible until it happened in 2015. So, anything in politics can happen, but it depends on those making the move. The merger of 2015 was successful, because at the point of merging, there were about 16 governors on the side of forces against the party, so, the balance of force was almost the same.

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The only difference was one was still sitting in government. But, who and who will form the government so that the experience of APC will not be the result? If you want to make a meaningful result have a good number of incumbent governors, you just of necessity have to poach some to achieve the same end. So, if you are able to got up to ten or twelve governors, with all other stakeholders, that’s enough to make waves.

If you are to meet President Buhari today, what would you tell him about the style of his government?
I will tell him, sir, you have not done well sir! Yes, he badly fell short of everyone’s expectation. Because with the benefit that he has served the country before as a military man, he ought to know where to start and how to drive things, but that has not happened. We have seen the negative. In fact, it is as if we don’t have a president in the Villa, maybe, a resident.

Why did you dump PDP after almost two terms as governor?
I didn’t dump PDP. PDP dumped me. I was the party’s National Secretary and I felt the leadership, as at that time was not running the party in line with the tenets of our constitution, so I was also there to tell him. I am not just a politician, but also a lawyer. So, I tried to put him on the path of the law, because many times, he would go contrary to the law and dictates of the Constitution. And they felt there is need to remove me as the National Secretary.

The plot succeeded through a suit against me stating that I was not properly nominated from Southwest before I became the National Secretary. There is nothing like that in our constitution. The process of getting elected to the National Working Committee is that a position will be zoned to a place; any interested applicant would go and take their form and go for election. That’s exactly what I did. I bought my form, campaigned for my position and I was elected at the Eagles Square. What brought about the idea that I was not nominated was just an excuse to get rid of me as the National Secretary, because Justice Abdul Kafarati, was perfectly in the pocket of late Senator Kashamu Buruji.

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When I was removed, some of the governors felt that President Jonathan breached their agreement, which was not known to me initially. It was that the President should give us the chairman; the Governors’ Forum will provide the secretary. I still had two months to go in Law School, when they came and met me. They said the secretaryship was zoned to Southwest, we have x-rayed all those showing interest to become the National Secretary, but not pleased with their character and what have you. I said okay; let’s look for other people. It was in my house in Abuja that Osun endorsed Ebenezer Babatope. They said they have thought of everybody and that they have come up with possible suggestions and it was I. That was 16 days to the national convention. So, I said no that you people are trying to stir up trouble in this party. 16 days to convention, we have people jostling for this position, the likes of Prof. (Tunde) Adeniran, Sarumi in Lagos, Prof. (Taoheed) Adedoja, they have been there on the field. They said no, that it’s not their business.

They have decided I should be and I said okay, if that will work, we need to take certain steps, first of all, tell Jonathan that I am your candidate, if he agrees to that, that’s your first hurdle, the second hurdle, let Jonathan call Obasanjo and tell him that he wants to use Oyinlola as the Secretary of the party, if Obasanjo says yes, then let us go ahead. Why I was requesting that the President must call Obasanjo was because of those who have been out there before me in the Southwest, so that he can let them know that it was not my decision and that I was not stabbing anybody at the back. That was the decision and it went like that. But, after some time, he called Baba (Obasanjo) when he was in, I think, China.

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So, he called me and said President Jonathan has called him. Though, after the governors left me, I called him to let him know and he agreed to the procedures I put through to them to get through the exercise, so he called me that Mr. President has contacted him so, I can go and see him.

I went to see him and he said yes, he would have called me even earlier, because you cannot poach in the Southwest without Baba’s endorsement and that’s why I have been holding to see Baba, he has seen me and he has given me his blessings that I should be the National Secretary. We went for the election and we got elected. So, now, the issue of second term came and they were feeling that Oyinlola would not go along with the plan to make Jonathan run. Whatever is wrong anywhere, and convinced in my mind that it is wrong; you will never see me there. I will never interfere no matter what it was going to cost. So, I felt that in the first instance, they have not asked me, but I was able to deduce that they thought without asking that I will not go along with that plan.

That reminds me of a bully in my school, if he wants to beat you and cannot find any excuse at all, he will just stare at your face like that and say “this your twitching lips want to abuse me,” then he gives you a slap. I mean, allow the mouth to abuse you first before reacting now. That’s exactly what they did. They went to court on a cooked up, unrelated charges and the judge pronounced that I am no longer the Secretary of the party. I went on appeal and a panel of three judges lambasted the judge, that at the first instance, he grossly misapplied the law. Okay, let me go back, they will not allow me to go back to my office; the next thing I heard was that I am being suspended.

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That negates the letters of the Constitution, which says if any member commits offence, you must tell him of his charges, let him reply and if his reply is not clear enough, you refer him before a disciplinary committee. One, you have not alleged anything against me, you just said I am suspended, I’m fact, that action came the next day after I got the judgment of the Court of Appeal. The judgment was delivered on Thursday and on Friday they said I was suspended. How will you suspended me, when you have not gone through the procedure. So, it became a matter of Presidency and the Governors’ Forum. That was when seven governors said, you abridged the agreement, if the secretary has gone, then, the chairman must go, Bamangar Tukur must go! That was how we started the movement.

For of all, we went and formed the New PDP, with (Kawu) Baraje as chairman. As a matter of fact, it was a kind of peer group effect he wanted, so that we will call, we would agree and disagree. Some people emboldened the National Chairman that the seven governors have no electoral consequence and he bought into that.

How can you say seven incumbent governors have no electoral value? How Mr. President bought into that, I still don’t know till tomorrow, but that was what cost PDP the election. I say so, because if you tally the votes, though, two bought into the retreat, Jigawa and Niger, but their people had already subscribed to our movement. The seven states voted massively for Buhari. So, if you deduct the votes from those seven states, from Buhari’s total scores, it is clear.

So, when it came to the decision of moving into APC, my followers in Osun came to me, asking how are we going to join hands with the APC with regards to what they have done to us here, I say, well, this battle is not mine; it’s a collective decision. The seven governors cannot be fighting my course and I will be going the other way round. Yes, if I am to consider what happened, yea, there shouldn’t be any relationship but looking at the national picture, where we have all decided; the new PDP decided to move, on account of my illegal removal, because that is the beginning of PDP crisis, that was what forced those governor’s to form new PDP and moved. So, that was the genesis, I cannot extricate myself from the common decision as a result of what has happened to us or what APC has done to us in Osun State. And, I told my followership that this fight is because of me; you may decide to stay wherever you want to.

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But the thinking was that you followed Obasanjo, because he influences you and was already working for General Buhari…
No, that is the mistake people make. The last human being to accept Buhari’s candidature was Obasanjo and I say that with every emphasis, because I was involved. Yes, Baba had fallen out with Jonathan, but in his projection, it was AOBJ (Any option, but Jonathan). That was his style, any option, but Jonathan. Now, taking a cursory look at the candidates that were coming from other parties, there is no other person we felt could handle the delicate governance of Nigeria better than Buhari among the contenders and that was why the choice of Buhari became the order, coupled with the fact that he has been at the helm of affairs in this country under the military. So, he had that wide edge over all others. I can tell you, it took the team of Saraki, Amosun, Bola Tinubu, Kashim Imam and myself that went and bombarded Baba at around 7am, that was when he succumbed to our pressure. He said that Buhari that he knows would try in the area of military matters, after that one, he said he knows next to nothing; not economy, not foreign affairs and he has been proved just right.

With hindsight, do you regret supporting Buhari?
When he appointed me as the chairman of National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), on a part time level, I didn’t feel that that’s what should be my take, given the efforts put in. If really you want to serve, you serve in any position, not looking for money to build house or send anybody to school. And that’s why I accepted, but why I had to resign was when, what we have discussed, what we made the manifestoes of our party was being denied. That’s restructuring. When the President said he doesn’t know the meaning of restructuring. I know I was in all the meetings with the Afenifere, with the Southwest, the principal reason those ones bought into the project was because of restructuring, only for my President to say he doesn’t know the meaning of restructuring. I felt deceived and to show it, that’s why I told him he should keep his appointment.

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That aside, some PDP stalwarts also feel you quit APC again, because Obasanjo also abandoned the party…
No, no, that’s not because of it. I have told you why. If I should say President, I don’t want your job, that’s the main reason, there is no other reason. You have used me in my own little way to deceive other people and when the history of my race is being told, I don’t want anybody to tell it negatively. That’s why and I have that at the back of my mind. Even, when I was the Military Administrator of Lagos State, no bullet will leave my barrel in pursuit of anything and I thank God I left Lagos without firing any barrel despite the fact that that happened to be the turbulent part in the history of Lagos State.

The entire Northeast, where you served in different military formations as brigade commander, battalion Commander, and acting GOC is in turmoil. Does that make you feel like your generation has failed to secure the country?
Well, I wouldn’t say my generation alone. The entire country has failed, because each and everyone have a part to play in shaping the country’s future. When I was the Battalion Commander in Bama, I served at Lake Chad area and we dominated the place, such that no bandits, no kidnappers, no herders came to oppress our people. On that part of our lake, Nigeria had 25 per cent of the lake and Doro, which is the first place to board a flight boat to Kinasara, the farthest village. On the 25 per cent of the Lake that belongs to Nigeria, it will take you eleven hours by flying boat.

So, we dominated. If you listened to the Sultan’s interview, he explained how his battalion dominated the Lake Chad area; he was a lieutenant under my command in the battalion. Yes, we dominated so that no intruder from Chad ever came to that place. Now, after service as Military Administrator of Lagos State, I was posted to Maiduguri as Brigade Commander.

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And, there are three battalions rotating duty for six months in the Lake. So, we all know every link of that lake that belongs to Nigeria. One peculiarity of the Lake Chad area was that anytime that there is change of government in Lake Chad, it’s usually violent change, they would move from Njamena and settled at Lake Chad area to regroup, and take it up in their own part of the Lake. And so, one has been able to put a finger on the trouble spot, and we were able to curtail it by putting troops on ground through rotation. Now, after Lagos, Col Ozodinobi was in charge of Borno, though my junior, he invited me to a security meeting and at the meeting, we were trying to see how to forestall any security breach in the state. But, one potent danger to the security situation in Borno then was the prevalence of thousands of Almajiri in the town. The Dogoyaro (Nim) tree is about the only tree that thrives in Maiduguri. And minimally, under each tree, you will find around 15 to 30 Almajiri taking Quranic studies. We said look, this is potent danger for the future, if these ones will grow up to become men and they have no means of livelihood, they have to fend for themselves in whichever way. So, we were suggesting that more classrooms should be constructed so as to accommodate them in schools, where Quranic studies will be taken. And surprisingly, one of the Commissioners at the meeting said if we do that, the Mallams (the Quranic teachers) would be thrown out of job.

I was so furious and told him that if you are one of those unfortunate Almajiri under the tree and you have no basic education, would you be in this meeting? You would be under the Dogoyaro trees too and let me tell you, if nothing is done now and we leave them to grow up to be men, many of you will not sleep again. I told him at the meeting you all that think you are big men will not sleep again.

They will break your house by day time, they are grown-ups and they must feed and if there is no social means of livelihood, it would be every time robbery. They have grown and that’s why we have trouble there and the orientation, educationally is, obey Mallam.

Some people consider your movement from new PDP to APC and back to PDP as political prostitution…
No, it is not. If you look at the circumstances that made me move, it cannot be considered inconsistency. I didn’t do anything wrong, they moved against me in PDP, they removed me. I went and joined APC, what we agreed to do, you reneged and I said, I can’t be party to that kind of party. Restructuring was the major thing we sold to Southwest and it makes Adebanjo to key in into Buhari’s project. So, when he (Buhari) said he doesn’t know the meaning of restructuring, I left. It’s a matter of defending one’s principle.

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Did anybody tell you that I had a bargain with any party before joining? Never! I came to APC, they said Senator, I said no, they asked my child to go to the House of Assembly, I said no. Why will the first benefit of coming to a party be found in my pocket and that’s why there were three persons from Okuku among those vying for the House of Assembly. I invited them into a room there and said give me one honourable for me to submit his name. They came and said they can’t pick themselves and that they have agreed that anybody I picked they will support and it was simple, there are factions in Odo-Otin, one is being supported and the other one called his name integrity, the one that has no supporter was the one that I submitted his name. Hon Laolu Oyediran.

Then again, they asked my son to come and be Commissioner, I said no. I foresaw a situation in future, where people will say it’s because of position that I moved and when I was moving with late Isiaka Adeleke, oh, he told them what he wanted and they gave him, we moved together, they asked me and I said I don’t want anything, because of the future and that’s why I can talk to anybody anyhow and at anytime, because there was no agreement. It was voluntary, because of the integrity I am protecting, to come and join.

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There is speculation that you are angling for the position of PDP national chairman, how true is it?
How will any progressive mind not aim for higher plain? One thing is certain, if it’s zoned to the Southwest and I am able to mobilise enough support, I will throw in my cap. But, the first thing is that let it be zoned to the Southwest, because they do zoning. Some people have been spreading the rumour that I am being brought back to become national chairman. And I said, you people have been running around, begging everybody for Oyinlola to come back, now you have succeeded, in fact, when I was trying to resolve the differences in the party, I had cause to meet with the national chairman, (Prince Uche) Secondus. I told him that have been told of the suggestion that Col. Austin Akobundu should resign, and I asked him that I was also told they have carried a story to him that I am being brought to upstage you as the National Chairman, is there no zoning again? Because as the National Secretary of the party before I left, I know there was zoning. If the national chairmanship is zoned to the South/South, will I come and contest with you there? He said no.

So, if it is zoned to the Southwest and I am able to muster the support of the leaders and party men, I have every qualification to be. For ten years of my life I have been governor, two and half in Lagos, seven and half in Osun. I have been the PDP National Secretary, which means I have worked hand in hand with the national chairman and the Secretariat, what other experience do you want in a man to lead a party? So, if it’s zoned to Southwest and I am able to muster the support, because it needs support, you can’t just jump out and contest. Like the time I became the National Secretary, it was the support I got from the governors that made me to say I am going in and that’s why it was yours truly. So, if I see that kind of support, why wouldn’t I? It’s a call to service.

But, we heard that some bigwigs, including Governor Seyi Makinde, are working hard to ensure that you become the national chairman?
If Governor Seyi Makinde wants me to emerge as national chairman to boost the influence of PDP in Southwest, what is wrong in that? I don’t see anything wrong. He has not told me that he is pushing for me, but if one of the reasons he wants me to be is to boost PDP in the Southwest, why not. One of the reasons he wanted me back in PDP was for leadership role of settling dispute within and we have worked enough to know the problems in the two states we have worked so far, Oyo and Ogun.

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They say President Buhari is not listening to his superiors or those that serve with him in the Army, does that include you?
Who is he listening to? Does he listen to his wife? So, you can’t talk of any other person. If his wife shouts that he doesn’t listen to her, then who are we? That’s his better half.

Do you see Amotekun as enough response to insecurity in Southwest?
If well organised and equipped, it is well enough. And I don’t see any difficulty in nipping insecurity. When I was governor here (Osun), I could from my car monitor what is going on in all the thirty Local Government Areas, because I deployed communication network directly with all the security agencies, with all the DPOs in Osun and from my car, I can monitor what is going on. If there is a robbery going on somewhere, I can call and alert the security close by. That was why we had few cases of insecurity in the state.

Nigeria’s unity seems to be under serious threat, what are your candid views and the way out?
At no time has this country been so divided along every front, including ethnicity and religion. In all the frontlines, it has been made more pronounced under this administration and if care is not taken, we may be heading for the precipice. My candid opinion, which I believe is the opinion of so many Nigerians, is for us to discuss or renegotiate our basis or the basis of our togetherness. In a nutshell, either we go to a conference, which I think will not be necessary, because we have a report of the confab that was well conducted. We can dust the document and implement what is inside or let us restructure. We had a federal administration from 1960 to 1966 during which every region ran its own area according to the needs and desires of their people. There were healthy rivalries between the regions. Pa Awolowo was running his own free education; others were copying it all over. That’s healthy rivalry, so the best bet, if it’s not going to be a blow out, is for us to look at restructuring of the country.

Would you advocate a situation where former Heads of State come join hands to look at the issue and find a lasting solution?
We are called a Federal Republic; there are ways and manners in which the federal state is run. Why can’t we keep to the letters of a federation? Where we took it from, we saw how institutions have made democracy to prevail, just of recent in (United States of) America. So, he would have subscribed to the style of administration in governance; why can’t we sustain the tenets and keep to the dictates of a federation. I run my educational scheme the way it suites my people and not a straitjacket educational system running from Borno to Osun states. No, that will not work. The police issue, we had local police in the Western Region and those were police drawn from localities.

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There is no how a rogue will steal within a community and they will not get him. They know all the bad boys within the vicinity. Where we drew the federal system from, they have state police; the laws of one piece cannot override the other. I remember my last visit to America and a security was detailed to go along with me wherever I went. Now, I was to buy a golf equipment, but I have to cross to another state to the ship, where I want to get the golf equipment, the security man said, well, he has no authority to cross from here to there.

He didn’t go with me, because his jurisdiction did not cross to the other state. So, I went on my own since I know I won’t be unlucky to come across any hazard; I bought the golf equipment and he was waiting for me and I joined him until he accompanied me throughout my journey until I returned. That’s where we took the federal system. It has been bastardised by the military rule, but why can’t we go back? Because it suites some people to keep the unitary system alive, where things are skewed in their favour. Appointments, development; so, they won’t want to let go

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#Newsworthy

Togo Opposition Newspaper ‘suspended’

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L’Alternative was also suspended in March last year after a complaint by France’s former ambassador about an article.

Togo’s media watchdog has suspended a pro-opposition newspaper for four months for allegedly defaming a government minister.

It is not the first time the biweekly L’Alternative has fallen foul of the authorities in the tiny West African state.

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The country’s communications authority HAAC, which regulates the media, suspended the paper on Friday after a complaint from Housing Minister Koffi Tsolenyanu, who is also a notary.

A report in L’Alternative had questioned Tsolenyanu’s administration of the estate of wealthy trader Georges Kudawoo, who died in 1940.

The HAAC said the paper’s director had provided no proof of its allegations during a hearing on Friday and had declined to rectify the story.

It said the paper had “defamed and harmed the honour and dignity” of the minister and had failed to respect a professional code of conduct.

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L’Alternative was also suspended in March last year after a complaint by France’s former ambassador about an article.

Togo is often accused by rights groups of cracking down on opposition politicians and media.

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#Newsworthy

2023: Tinubu is getting nowhere in presidential run – Wike.

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Wike, who accused media of constitutional betrayal, alleged that under the peaceful government of former President Goodluck Jonathan, media made the world to believe that Nigeria would collapse in the next 24 hours.

‘Nigeria under Buhari is a moving corpse’
Rivers State Governor Neysom Wike has urged National leader of ruling All Progressive Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, to channel his energy to other profitable ventures, stating that presidency would be out of reach of his party and himself come 2023 general elections.

Wike, who gave Tinubu the advice, yesterday, in Yola, Adamawa State, while on an inspection tour of projects being executed by Governor Ahmadu Fintiri, said with the high performance of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governors and alleged failure APC government under President Muhammadu Buhari is recording on daily basis, it is clear that Nigerians would not repeat the mistake of voting a party without direction.

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“With what I saw today in Adamawa, I wonder how a normal person will not vote PDP again in this state. What is happening in Adamawa State is a replica of what is happening in other PDP states.

“With the massive development going on in PDP states and the massive corruption going on under APC regime, it is no longer news that PDP is on its way back to chase out invaders and lawfully take over its house and pilot Nigerians to the promised land,” he stated.

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The Rivers governor, who applauded Transparency International (TI) rating of Nigeria on corruption, said the present APC leadership accept and protect corrupt persons.

File Photo: Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu | Noble Reporters Media | Adigun Michael Olamide | NoRM News

“Today, Wike can be the most corrupt governor, but immediately I decamp from PDP to APC, I am no longer corrupt. This means APC is a den for highly corrupt people. These are not my words, I am only quoting APC former national chairman, Adams Oshiomhole. Nigerians are intellectuals, they cannot enter again the boat that capsized with them,” he said.

Wike noted that Nigeria has never been divided like it is being experienced now under APC regime and that insecurity has become a huge industry under the administration of President Buhari.

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The governor, who accused media of constitutional betrayal, alleged that under the peaceful government of former President Goodluck Jonathan, media made the world to believe that Nigeria would collapse in the next 24 hours.

According to him, the unholy silence of media at a time that the country is under threat of insecurity, economic collapse midwife by unfocused leadership, poses more danger to the country.

He advised APC leadership to move to Adamawa State and study how to develop people through projects, saying President Buhari could attest to development strides of Governor Fintiri.

Wike urged Fintiri not to be distracted by people he called envious political vultures, but to maintain his tempo of infrastructural development in Adamawa.

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“Even I, as governor of an oil-producing state, I cannot construct underground flyover. I wonder where Fintiri is getting his money, but this is what we call, in PDP, determination to achieve. It is a strange word to the APC government. If you ask any of them to define development, that is the end of the discussion,” Wike said.

Fintiri, who commended Wike for the visit, assured the Rivers State governor that he would continue to offer PDP and Adamawa electorate services that would improve their livelihoods.

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#Newsworthy

2023: Nigerians would only vote PDP, if APC fails – Wike.

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Wike said the APC-led federal government has failed in the fight against corruption, even as the country has become less secure, and more divided along ethnic and religious lines.

Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State says Nigerians have now realised that voting the All Progressives Congress (APC) into power is a mistake that must be corrected in 2023.

The governor stated this in Yola, the Adamawa State capital where he inspected an overhead bridge and an underground subway being constructed by the governor of Adamawa State, Ahmadu Fintiri.

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Wike said the APC-led federal government has failed in the fight against corruption, even as the country has become less secure, and more divided along ethnic and religious lines.

According to him, the achievements of PDP governors amid an economy that is buffeted by the COVID-19 pandemic demonstrate their commitments to the development of the country and the wellbeing of the citizens.

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#Newsworthy

Court dismisses Saraki’s suit; Kwara Gov’t reclaims ‘Ile Arugbo’ land.

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The Saraki family in turn challenged the government’s decision by filing a court case to keep ownership of the land, claiming they have documents to prove ownership of the property.

Kwara State Government on Tuesday reclaimed court order to proceed construction on Ile Arugbo land in Ilorin after a court in Ilorin struck out the Bukola Saraki’s case challenging government’s take over inthe land.

Justice Abiodun Adewara of the Ilorin High Court struck out the Saraki’s case for “lack of diligent prosecution.”

The judge struck out the case after the appellants — Saraki’s Asa Investment Ltd — again failed to call any witness to support their claim that the choice land belonged to the firm said to be owned by the late Olusola Saraki.

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The Kwara State government had initially reclaimed the land from the Saraki family in December 2019 and went ahead to clear the land ahead of its use for construction of another government secretariat.

The government claimed the land originally belonged to the public but was controversially transferred to a firm owned by Saraki without any payment made to the government or document issued for that purpose.

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The Saraki family in turn challenged the government’s decision by filing a court case to keep ownership of the land, claiming they have documents to prove ownership of the property.

Justice Adewara struck out the case after the defendants again failed to call their witness or tender documents to prove ownership of the land.

Former Senate President, Bukola Saraki’s suit over Ile Arugbo dismissed.

Earlier on Monday when the case came up for hearing, Counsel to the claimants Abdulazeez Ibrahim had told the court that a joinder to the case Alhaji Sanusi Babaeleku has suddenly died, leading to the court striking out the name of the deceased.

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When the case resumed on Tuesday, Ibrahim said they were replacing Alhaji Babaeleku with one Alhaji Abubakar Oluwatoyin, a request that the court granted and then asked them to proceed with their case by calling their other witnesses.

The counsel however said they were not prepared to proceed because their lead counsel Dr Akin Onigbinde (SAN), who he claimed has the relevant documents to proceed with the case, had just lost his mother and was preparing for the burial.

Counsel to the Kwara State Government Barrister Salman Jawondo however drew the attention of the court to what he called a deliberate attempt to delay the hearing and dispensation of the case after more than one year of judicial filibustering, urging the court to dismiss the case for lack of diligent prosecution.

He cited the previous failings of the claimants to prosecute their case, an observation that the judge said was valid and therefore struck out the case “for lack of diligent prosecution by the claimants.”

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Jawondo meanwhile has said the government is willing to press counter claims of ownership of the land against the Asa Investment Limited.

The court has adjourned to 17 March, 2021 to hear the counter claims.

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#Newsworthy

Segun Oni’s interest in 2022 Ekiti poll; .. trump’s fall

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President Donald Trump wanted to conquer America. He introduced Mafian styles, thinking that he could not be defeated. Where is he today?

Former Gov. Segun Oni and a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chieftain in Ekiti, on Monday, said that he would re-contest the governorship post in the state in the Year 2022.

Oni, a former Deputy National Chairman (South) of APC before decamping to the PDP, said this in Ado Ekiti while opening his campaign office christened: `PDP family edifice’, in preparation for the forthcoming poll in the state.

Oni, while expressing his interest in the number one seat in the state, said that the PDP would work with the masses.

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He promised to work with former Gov. Ayodele Fayose, Sen. Biodun Olujimi and others, to reposition the party and make it formidable ahead of the poll to achieve the task of winning the election then.

“I have been in politics for long and I understand the importance of unity. Let all leaders play their roles. Politics is a team game. “As for me, I am not going to engage in names calling,” Oni said.

The former governor said that he decided to name his campaign office, `PDP family edifice’ to convey the sign that politics should not be perceived as an acrimony, an enmity and something meant for character assassination.

Former Governor, Segun Oni shows interest in Ekiti guber

“We want to tell Nigerians that there is a new formula in town, which is the formula of friendship, unity and oneness. I don’t believe in character assassination and exclusion; it is good for all of us to be together.

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“Except the parameters change, I am interested in the governorship. Though, only God knows tomorrow; but as of now yes, I am contesting and we are projecting that God will sanction it”.

He said that Ekiti PDP was not afraid of the power of incumbency.

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“At a time in history, Nigeria was being controlled by the PDP. But Nigerians changed their minds and voted for APC in 2015.

“If you look at the mood in town now, the people have changed their minds going by what they are saying in town.

“People are not inclined to have APC after the next expiry date in 2022 in Ekiti, that is, after Gov. Fayemi.

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“No government is undefeatable. President Donald Trump wanted to conquer America. He introduced Mafian styles, thinking that he could not be defeated. Where is he today? He is in Florida in retirement. That is the power of the people.

“Politicians should be able to subject themselves to the will of the people, so that we won’t destroy the system.’’

He said that if democracy had not been disrupted with the military coup of 1966, Nigeria would have been be better for it now.

” All of us must subject to the will of the masses. No one should think he can perpetuate himself in power.

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“In the Ekiti governorship poll, I won’t advise anybody to do anything funny, that won’t be in the best interest of anyone,” he said.

NoRM reports that Oni was the governor in Ekiti between May 29, 2007 and October 14, 2010 under the PDP.

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#Newsworthy

Update: Prosecutors ‘yes’ Navalny be jailed.

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Russia in Global Affairs, which is seen as often reflecting Kremlin thinking

The jailing of Russian opposition figureRussia was likely to shrug off new sanctions. Alexei Navalny is corroding already damaged Europe-Russia ties but EU leaders are unwilling to cut all contact with President Vladimir Putin and risk sacrificing climate and security cooperation, analysts say.

The arrest of Navalny at a Moscow airport last month, following months of medical treatment in Germany, prompted an outcry from the European Union and key member states who believe he was poisoned in the summer by the Soviet-era nerve agent Novichok.

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The tensions come at a period of turbulence in Russia unusual in Putin’s two-decade grip on power, with police arresting thousands in two successive weekends of mass nationwide protests in support of the Kremlin critic.

But analysts expect the EU to still keep talking to Putin, even if Navalny’s situation will further darken a climate already bedevilled by Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea, claims of election meddling and alleged assassination plots on European territory.

“The arrest of Navalny may indeed lead to a further deterioration of EU-Russia ties and particularly those between Germany and Russia,” said Andras Racz and Milan Nic in a report on Russian foreign policy for the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP).

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They said that Moscow was “losing interest” in dealing with Europe while China under President Xi Jinping has emerged as “Russia’s sole great power partner in international affairs.”

Europe needs to “intelligently manage” a situation without any prospect of strategic improvement in the short or medium term but where there could be chances to cooperate on issues including global warming, the Arctic and the Covid-19 pandemic, they said.

‘Macron’s error’
In a key test for the temperature of relations, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell will travel to Russia on Thursday for talks in the first such visit since 2017.

The poisoning and subsequent imprisonment of Navalny have also largely derailed a bid by French President Emmanuel Macron for a rapprochement with Russia under Putin.

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The French leader’s main achievements have been limited to chairing a 2019 summit that helped a July 2020 ceasefire that has sharply reduced fighting in the east of Ukraine.

Further EU sanctions against senior Russian officials will now be on the agenda but the big question is if Germany is willing to put the Nordstream II gas pipeline project at stake.

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Putting the ball firmly in Berlin’s court and hinting of splits within the EU, France’s Europe Minister Clement Beaune told France Inter radio on Monday that Paris had the “greatest doubts” over the project and had already asked Berlin to scrap it.

This grab taken from a video made available on January 18, 2021 on Navalny team Youtube page shows Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny speaking while waiting for a court hearing at a police station in Khimki outside Moscow. – Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny on Monday urged Russians to stage mass anti-government protests during a court hearing after his arrest on arrival in Moscow from Germany. (Photo by Handout / Navalny team Youtube page / AFP) /

Francois Heisbourg, special advisor at the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) in London and the Foundation for Strategic Research (FRS) in Paris, said the West was prepared to inflict more “reputational damage” on Russia with sanctions but would not go to the brink on the issue.

He said Macron and other European leaders were uneasy over Russia’s partnership with China and would like to see it disappear, “but the error of Macron is to believe the Europeans have the means to hasten this.”

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‘No choice’
Cyrille Bret, a lecturer at Sciences-Po university in Paris, said that while the West would defend freedom of expression in Russia as well as Navalny’s cause, security cooperation with Russia was still needed.

“We have no choice, Russia has a permanent seat on the UN security council and is invested in several essential formats, the Iranian nuclear agreements, the hypothetical political resolution of the conflict in Syria,” he said.

A similar approach is likely to be adopted by new US President Joe Biden, whose administration has been sharply critical of Russia over Navalny but also is keen to extend a landmark nuclear arms reduction agreement due to expire next month.

Upcoming votes add an additional factor of uncertainty, with German Chancellor Angela Merkel due to bow out after September polls and Russia facing potentially tense parliamentary elections the same month.

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In Moscow, Fyodor Lukyanov, editor in chief of the journal Russia in Global Affairs, which is seen as often reflecting Kremlin thinking, said Russia was likely to shrug off new sanctions.

But he added: “If this pressure continues, it will not work. It will only harden the conviction that the West wants to hinder Russia and that everything must be done to retaliate.”

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#Newsworthy

Clampdown on People’s Gazette over ‘misinformation?’

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Ogundipe on the other hand said they are in touch with MTN, Glo and Airtel executives to resolve the disruption.

When Peoples Gazette, an online Nigerian news outlet, published a story last October detailing how the son of President Muhammadu Buhari’s chief of staff Ibrahim Gambari, now allegedly leads the strongest power bloc in Nigeria’s presidency, its publishers never thought it would warrant an intense witch-hunt.

Samuel Ogundipe, who founded the news outlet after leaving Premium Times, is not an alien to the Nigerian Government trying to stifle voices of scrutiny.

On the 27th of January, Ogundipe said access to its website has been restricted by mobile telecommunications companies including MTN, Glo, and 9mobile.

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Accessing the website using Airtel data service was intermittent as at presstime. Readers using the telecommunications listed could only access the website with the use Virtual Private Networks (VPNs).

“This disruption, we are increasingly learning from top federal sources, was based on a directive, from the Nigerian government to MTN, Glo Mobile and other telecom firms, that sought an immediate blacklist of our web address as well as all other alternative domain names,” People’s Gazette publisher Samuel Ogundipe said in a statement.

“Our internal assessments and notes from our readers indicate a total restriction on our website for people connecting via MTN, Glo Mobile and Airtel, i.e.: a vast majority of Nigerian Internet users.”

The newspaper resolved to using alternative URLs in the wake of the restriction. But a source said those URLs were immediately blocked by the telecom firms.

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However, it is currently publishing from Gazettengr.com.

“I think they have realised that if they clamp this down, we just switch to another one,” a source at the newspaper said.

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Titled “Gambari’s son leads new cabal as Farouk Gumel disappears from Aso Rock,” the story that landed People’s Gazette in the bad book of a power bloc in the Nigerian Government, detailed how the son of the recently appointed Chief of Staff Ibrahim Gamabari, Bolaji Gambari, took over the portfolio of his father due to his health.

The online news outfit claimed Gambari is the one running the affairs of the State House without being officially appointed by the Nigerian government.

PG said they got the information from a top source in the state house. “Mr. Gambari has found himself authorising administrative regulations and fixing top secret executive briefings barely five months after President Muhammadu Buhari appointed his father, Ibrahim Gambari, as the chief of staff,”a part of the story read.

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“It would be considered an excellent list of responsibilities for Mr. Gambari, but for the fact that he has been deemed as patently unqualified for such.”

PG claimed it came under severe security pressure shortly after the story was published. It said the clampdown on its website began after it refused to accept bribe to pull down the story.

“But the harassment were rebuffed since the Gazette does not entertain discussion about deleting an already published story,” the news outlet said.

PG said after the story was published the officials who called in to express displeasure about the report did not indicate any interest in rebutting any elements of the story.

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The action against PG dampens the fundamental objectives contained in Section 22 of the Constitution that gives the press, and other agencies of the mass media the duty to uphold the responsibility and accountability of the government, Paradigm Initiative Nigeria said in a statement on Friday.

Samuel Ogundipe: Founder of Peoples Gazette after leaving Premium Times.

“This administration has in many ways proven to be against press freedom and internet freedom carrying out moves interpreted as a clampdown on democracy, in a democratic system,” PIN’s communication officer Valery Njiaba said in the statement.

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“Paradigm initiative in its consistent commitment to protect and defend digital rights condemns in the strongest terms these acts by the Nigerian government through the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).”

Njiaba said Freedom of the press is one of the cornerstones of democracy, one that must fiercely protect.

“Any attempt at shutting down the press is outrightly illegal and a violation of the freedom of expression, including the freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart ideas and information without inference, protected by section 39 (1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria(As amended).”

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Njiaba said the organisation has engaged the NCC in the past on the same subject and will continue to do so.

“All hands need to be on deck to push back on what has now become the government’s playbook in shutting down opposing voices,” Njiaba said.

“Paradigm Initiative and many other concerned organizations are willing to support platforms that are victims of government censorship to get judicial redress. We call on all meaningful Nigerians to support these efforts at curtailing the excesses of the government and its attack on the freedom of the press and the Internet.”

He also urged the Nigerian authorities to respect and enforce their citizens’ right to access to information, the rights of freedom of expression and opinion as assured and protected by the 1999 Nigerian Constitution(as amended).

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“While we continue efforts to restore regular access to Peoples Gazette’s website, we would like to encourage readers to consider the use of Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) to bypass prevailing censorship in the meantime,” Ogundipe said.

“All our stories will also be replicated on our Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/GazetteNGR. We also encourage our readers to create or replicate their own digital solidarity platforms for sharing stories by Peoples Gazette.”

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#Newsworthy

Storyline: Ugandan opposition leader files election challenge in court.

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Access to the headquarters of his political party, the National Unity Platform (NUP), has been blocked for about two weeks.

Lawyers for Ugandan opposition leader Bobi Wine filed a challenge in the Supreme Court on Monday against President Yoweri Museveni’s victory in last month’s election, claiming the poll was rigged.

The 38-year-old singer-turned-lawmaker came a distant second behind veteran leader Museveni in the January 14 vote that followed some of Uganda’s worst pre-election bloodshed in years.

Medard Sseggona, one of Wine’s lawyers, said “any election Museveni participates in can never be a peaceful election, can never be a free and fair election”.

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“We want nullification of the election. We do not want (Museveni) participating in any future election,” Sseggona said outside the Kampala courthouse where he filed the petition.

Museveni, a 76-year-old former rebel leader who has ruled since 1986, won a sixth term with about 59 percent of the vote.

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Wine, whose real name is Robert Kyagulanyi, secured about 35 percent and slammed the vote as a sham.

Under the constitution, Wine had 15 days from the declaration of results by the electoral commission to challenge the outcome.

The Supreme Court must now rule on the petition within 45 days.

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Losing candidates have sought unsuccessfully in the past to overturn Museveni’s wins in court.

One of Africa’s longest-serving rulers, Museveni has won every election since 1996, almost all marred by allegations of irregularities.

‘Invaded polling stations’
Sseggona said “soldiers invaded polling stations” and stuffed ballot boxes with pre-ticket votes. Electoral registers were tampered with at other locations, he added.

“Museveni cannot be left to cheat and steal scot-free,” Sseggona said.

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Museveni, however, declared the election the cleanest in Uganda’s post-independence history.

The run-up to the vote was marred by violence and a sustained crackdown on government critics and Museveni’s rivals.

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In November, at least 54 people were shot dead by security forces loyal to Museveni during protests against one of Wine’s numerous arrests.

The opposition leader was held under effective house arrest from polling day until a court-ordered security forces end his detention last week.

(FILES) In this file photo taken on January 14, 2021 Musician-turned-politician Robert Kyagulanyi also known as Bobi Wine reacts after casting his ballot at a polling station in Magere, Uganda. – Lawyers for Ugandan opposition leader Bobi Wine launched a legal challenge on February 1, 2021 in the Supreme Court against Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni’s victory in last month’s election, claiming the poll was rigged. (Photo by Yasuyoshi Chiba / AFP)

Security toughened
Security was beefed up across Kampala on Monday, with soldiers atop armoured personnel carriers and police marching in the streets.

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Uganda’s deputy inspector-general of police, Major General Paul Lokech, said the additional security was due to protests threatened by elements aligned to the NUP.

The party denied the allegations, with Secretary-General Lewis David Rubongoya saying it advocates for a “peaceful change of Museveni’s government, and not through violence”.

Civil society activists have criticised the parameters for challenging Ugandan elections, with judges only examining events on voting day and the declaration of results, without also taking into consideration the overall campaign period.

“The electoral jurisprudence narrows an election process to votes, numbers and statistics on declaration day making election petitions very difficult,” independent election analyst Crispin Kaheru told AFP.

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By law, Wine must prove to the court that any alleged irregularities affected the outcome of the election “to a substantial manner” — a much higher burden of proof than in civil cases.

Ugandan courts do not “look at elections as a process but only at events on polling day and declaration day, which makes it very difficult to prove the substantial effect of fraud wrongdoing,” Kaheru said.

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#Newsworthy

Vietnam reelect Phu Trong as Party Leader

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The 66-year-old has also steered the country’s robust response to the coronavirus pandemic which helped case numbers low, with just 35 deaths recorded.

Vietnam’s ruling Communist Party chief Nguyen Phu Trong was re-elected Sunday — a victory that makes him the most powerful leader in decades — but his win was overshadowed by a serious coronavirus outbreak in the country.

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Trong, a 76-year-old pro-China conservative who is rumoured to be in poor health, was given the nod after a week of closed-door talks at the twice-a-decade Communist Party congress. It will be his third term in office — a feat unprecedented in Vietnam’s modern era.

“On Sunday morning, comrade Nguyen Phu Trong was elected the General Secretary of the 13th Communist Party Central Committee,” the Vietnam News Agency reported.

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Another stint in the top job for Trong is seen as a boost for his high-profile anti-corruption campaign, officially dubbed a “blazing furnace”, that has swept through the party, police and armed forces.

“We can expect Trong to continue to push” his campaign, which has claimed high-level party officials, including three Politburo members, said Carl Thayer, an emeritus professor at the University of New South Wales and an expert on Vietnam.

With graft widespread across all state sectors, Trong’s anti-corruption drive has largely proved popular with the Vietnamese public and many party members.

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“We admired him for his determination and efforts to cleanse and purify the party,” said Nguyen Tran Trung, a long-time Communist Party member.

“Though not in good health, his presence in the leading position still scares bad cadres in the apparatus. He plays a major role in preserving the Communist Party,” the 78-year-old state official told AFP.

But for opponents of the regime, the last five years have been marked by escalating repression, according to rights groups and analysts, who warned Trong is likely to push forward with the crackdown during his third stint in power.

“We can expect a continuing crackdown on dissenting voices in the online social media,” Thayer told AFP.

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Prisoners of conscience have doubled from 84 to 170 since the previous congress in 2016, according to Amnesty International, which says a large and growing proportion are jailed based on their expression online.

Trong, the first party general secretary to serve a third term since the “doi moi” era of economic reform began in 1986, has also served as president since 2018.

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For the moment he remains so, but will step down later this year when the National Assembly appoints a replacement.

This is expected to be Nguyen Xuan Phuc, currently prime minister, who has focused on the country’s economic growth and integration, securing a number of international trade deals.

The congress in Hanoi had wanted to showcase that achievement, but a new cluster close to the capital last week spoilt the celebrations — forcing the meeting to close a day earlier than planned.

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Authorities warned the outbreak was the most serious yet.

By Sunday, Vietnam had recorded nearly 1,800 cases of the coronavirus, nearly 200 of which were recorded in the past four days.

Authorities also confirmed the first case in Vietnam of the South African variant in an expert who arrived from the country in late December.

On Saturday the health ministry approved a vaccine made by AstraZeneca and continued to test thousands of people and lock down high-risk communities.

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The final members of the country’s “four pillar” leadership are expected to be Pham Minh Chinh — who is in line to be prime minister -— and Vuong Dinh Hue to head the rubber stamp national assembly.

Chinh, 62, is head of the party’s important Central Organisation Commission, and has strong ties with the police.

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#Newsworthy

Tight Gov’t establishments, panacea to volatile politics – Lukman.

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This, the PGF DG noted was usually because of bad management of ethnic relationship.

Dr Salihu Lukman, Director-General, Progressive Governors Forum (PGF), has said that strong government institutions would help in managing the country’s volatile politics.

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He said this in a statement titled:” Nigeria’s volatile politics and the All Progressives Congress (APC) report on True Federalism” on Saturday in Abuja.

Lukman added that the recommended governance reform initiatives contained in the report presents a big window of opportunity for the country and the party’s leaders in particular.

This, he said, was especially so because it presents an opportunity to develop the capacity to manage the country’s volatile politics which was laden with ethnic and religious influences.

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According to him, the inability to proceed to initiate processes of strengthening governance institutions in the country will continue to subject APC leaders to unfair accusations of ethnicity.

“If care is not taken, no matter the achievement of our leaders, public recognition of the tenure of our leaders may be dictated by perceptive judgements of poor performance,” he said.

He added that it was the responsibility of all APC members to protect the achievements of its leaders and governments, especially the Federal Government and President Muhammadu Buhari.

He noted that although, no matter what any political leader conceded, there would always be the strong presence of more political demands by ethnic groups.

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He appealed to political leaders to consider the bigger picture, which was about responding to national challenges and strengthening the capacity of governance institutions in the country to serve the people.

Lukman said that the APC True Federalism Committee recommendations would strengthen the capacity of government institutions at all levels.

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#Newsworthy

Just in: Service Chiefs just nominated, not yet appointed – Falana.

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Consequently, he said the Service Chiefs have only been nominated but not appointed.

The news about President Buhari writing to the National Assembly comes a few hours after human rights lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN) faulted the president’ appointment of the new Service Chiefs following the resignation of the former officers.

In a statement personally signed by him on Wednesday, Mr Falana quoted a 2013 judgment which described the appointments of Service Chiefs without the concurrence of the National Assembly as illegal and unconstitutional.

“Yesterday, President Buhari was reported to have appointed new service chiefs for the armed forces.

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“Upon a critical review of the law on the subject matter the members of the Alliance on Surviving COVID-19 and Beyond (ASCAP) have found that the appointments remain inchoate as President Muhammadu Buhari has not forwarded the names of the proposed service chiefs to the National Assembly for approval in strict compliance with the relevant provisions of the Constitution and the Armed Forces Act.

“The appointments of service chiefs without the concurrence of the National Assembly which had been the practice since 1999 was challenged in the Federal High Court sometime in 2008 by Mr. Festus Keyamo SAN (the current Minister of State in the Federal Ministry of Labour and Productivity) in the case of Keyamo v President Goodluck Jonathan (unreported Suit No FHC/ABJ/ CS/611/2008).

“In his landmark judgment delivered on July 2, 2013, Adamu Bello J. (as he then was) held that it was illegal and unconstitutional, null and void for the President to single-handedly appoint Service Chiefs without the approval of the National Assembly having regards to the combined effect of Section 218 of the Constitution and section 18 (1) & (3) of the Armed Forces Act..,” the statement read.

“Because it was acknowledged that the judgment was sound and unimpeachable the Federal Government did not challenge any aspect of it at the Court of Appeal.

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“To that extent, the judgment is binding on all authorities and persons in Nigeria in accordance with the provisions of section 287of the Constitution”.

Falana and ASCAB, therefore, called on President Buhari to forward the names of the proposed Service Chiefs to both houses of the National Assembly for confirmation, stating that a failure to do so, means that the said appointments are liable to be set aside on the basis of the valid and subsisting judgment of the Federal High Court.

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#Newsworthy

Trump’s impeachment trial set to begin, second week of February

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The US Senate trial of former president Donald Trump will begin the second week of February, after the article of impeachment is transmitted to the chamber early next week, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Friday.

“Once the briefs are drafted, presentation by the parties will commence the week of February 8,” Schumer told colleagues on the Senate floor.

The schedule essentially amounts to a two-week delay, which will allow the chamber to conduct normal business in the interim, including confirmation votes on President Joe Biden’s cabinet nominations and potential action on a massive coronavirus relief package.

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#Newsworthy

Uganda eases internet shutdown after Election.

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The headquarters of Wine’s National Unity Platform (NUP) in Kampala was under police guard Monday in what the opposition leader called a “raid” by security forces.

Internet was partially restored in Uganda on Monday almost five days after a near-total blackout was imposed across the country on the eve of elections the opposition says were rigged.

The gradual easing of internet restrictions came as police announced dozens of arrests for alleged election-related violence, and surrounded the headquarters of the main opposition party whose leader is under effective house arrest.

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Long-term leader Yoweri Musveni was declared the winner of a January 14 presidential election, securing 58.6 percent of the vote and a sixth term after 35 years in power.

His main rival, musician turned lawmaker Bobi Wine, came a distant second with 34.8 percent. He has rejected the results, and decried the election as a sham.

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A government spokesman said an unprecedented internet shutdown imposed on January 13 for alleged national security reasons had been lifted.

“The internet has been restored. Other platforms are still under review,” Ofwono Opondo, the spokesman, told AFP.

“We shall go full throttle depending on what happens in the initial phase of opening connectivity… We advise internet users, especially those from the opposition, not to use it to promote hate messages, threats” and intimidation.

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Social media access remained patchy in the capital Kampala, where millions of internet users have been unable to send emails, search the web, or use Facebook, WhatsApp and other communication platforms for the better part of a week.

NetBlocks, a non-government organisation that tracks internet shutdowns, said network data showed a rise in connectivity in Uganda to 37 percent after all but core infrastructure, regulatory and government networks were switched off.

“This suggests that Uganda’s election shutdown, or at least the procedure under which it was implemented, was planned some time in advance. This has been one of the more orderly nation-scale network blackouts we’ve tracked,” NetBlocks told AFP.

“Museveni after committing the most vile election fraud in history, has resorted to the most despicable forms of intimidation,” Wine tweeted.

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Uganda police spokesman Fred Enanga said 55 people had been arrested over the election period for “violent acts” including blocking highways and damaging property.

“Though the polls were peaceful and a success, there were criminal elements that wanted to cause violence,” he said, adding the accused would face court.

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#Newsworthy

Uganda Election: Vote count under way

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There was silence when the president’s name was read out.

Ugandans have voted under heavy security and an internet blackout in an election pitting veteran leader Yoweri Museveni against a former popstar Bobi Wine after one of the bloodiest campaigns in years.

Voting in Kampala took place under heavy military and police presence on Thursday, with no reports of violent incidents making their way through the communications shutdown.

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Vote-count is under way after polling stations closed as people turned out in droves to make their mark in an historic, hotly contested election in which Museveni’s reign is said to be strongly tested.

Long lines of voters snaked out of polling stations in the capital, a stronghold for an opposition galvanised by Bobi Wine despite a campaign scarred by deadly crackdowns.

There are 17.7 million registered voters and results are expected within 48 hours. Turnout looked robust, based on footage from polling stations broadcast by private TV channels.

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After polls closed at 4pm local time, hundreds of Bobi Wine supporters in Kampala returned to their polling stations to heed his call to “protect the vote” by watching the count.

Ugandan electoral commission officials count ballot papers after elections at a polling station in Kampala [Sumy Sadurni/AFP]

At the station where Bobi Wine voted, security forces chased his supporters away.

He took to Twitter shortly after voting was finished to announce his and his wife’s phone was blocked.

“I know this is to stop me from communicating to our agents and coordinators,” he added, asking his supporters to be vigilant.

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Reporting from Kampala and quoting the chairman of the electoral commission, NoRM said the election process had largely been smooth.

“He said there were a few hiccups here and there delaying the delivery of the voting materials in some polling stations, identification kits in some stations failed, but all that was sorted,” she added.

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“Voting at a few polling stations did not take place and will do so tomorrow.”

‘Staying to watch’
At three polling stations the Reuters news agency visited during counting, cheers rose up from throngs of young people every time an election agent raised a ballot cast for Bobi Wine.

“I know Museveni always rigs to stay in power. This time we are staying to watch each step of the process,” said Sam Ndaula, 26, a roadside vendor.

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On Thursday, police arrested about 30 people at the Hotel Africana in Kampala on allegations they were creating an illegal parallel tallying centre, a police official at the scene, who declined to be named, told Reuters.

Museveni is still held in high regard by older Ugandans who remember the relative stability and security that he returned to the country.

“These young people, they want change, but they don’t know what Museveni did for us,” said 58-year-old Faith Florence Nakalembe.

But her children, also standing in line in Kamwokya to vote, desperately want change.

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“For 23 years, I have never seen a different president. I want someone else,” said her son, 23-year-old student Saad Mukoone, who was throwing his vote behind Bobi Wine.

Museveni, who has been in power since 1986, says his administration guarantees stability and progress, including much-needed hydropower dams and roads.

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#Newsworthy