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Tinubu, Atiku, Obi, Others Face Nigerians In Debate

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The United Nations Development Programme, human rights organisation, Yiaga Africa and Channels Television have launched a televised programme series designed to provide a public platform for citizens to conduct political debates and focused dialogues to promote electoral awareness for the 2023 general election.

Among those to feature in the series included the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu; Alhaji Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party; Peter Obi of the Labour Party; Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso of the New Nigeria Peoples Party and Omoyele Sowore of the African Action Congress.

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The television series would comprise citizen dialogues with youth, election experts, development experts, and other influential voices.

A statement issued on Thursday by the Executive Director of Yiaga Africa, Samson Itodo, said the series were aimed at increasing electoral awareness and kindling engagement on social, economic, and development-related topics for Nigeria to consider in the 2023 polls and beyond.

According to him, there would be debates and town halls with aspiring presidential candidates and political party leaders to highlight and discuss their strategies and party manifestos.

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According to data from the Independent National Electoral Commission, 71 per cent of the 11 million new voters registered in the last registration exercise were youths between the ages of 18 and 35

Itodo said that would make the youth a critical target demographic to engage with ahead of the election to reduce political apathy, improve voter turnout and rebuild trust in the electoral process.

He said key focus would be youth empowerment and women’s empowerment as they relate to other critical development issues in Nigeria, such as inclusive economic growth, peace and security, and climate change.

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Yiaga Africa said the debates would be informed by current challenges and opportunities while being guided by questions and topics raised by the Nigerian youth.

READ ALSO: 2023: Goodluck Jonathan Makes Demand From Atiku, Obi, Tinubu, Others

“Providing citizens with the information required to make informed choices and giving them a platform to market their ideas, will alternatively have inspire them to turn out and vote”, Itodo said.

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The television series would create opportunities for engaging in a two-way dialogue between citizens and relevant stakeholders to increase citizens’ participation in the electoral process, rather than the traditional one-way communication of information delivery on election processes. This will be critical in reversing the decline in voter turnout which is mainly attributed to voter apathy and a dearth of information on the political and electoral processes in the country.

The UNDP Resident Representative in Nigeria, Mohamed Yahya, said, “This series is about highlighting the key issues confronting Nigerians with the upcoming general elections. The electorate needs to be fully informed on the process and be able to voice their concerns. By being active participants in the electoral process, they can hold their intended representatives accountable to deliver on their promises.”

The chairman/CEO of the Channels Media Group, John Momoh, said, “We are pleased as always to be the medium through which citizens of the country would engage with political office seekers and by so doing play a role in deepening the electoral process in Nigeria.”

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Tribunal: INEC Presents Blurry Adeleke’s Testimonial, Oyetola Kicks

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The Election Petition Tribunal hearing case emanating from the July 16 governorship election in Osun State was forced into adjournment on Thursday following presentation of blurry documents used by the Governor Ademola Adeleke for 2018 elections.

The eight-page documents presented by a Deputy Director of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Joan Arabs, included Certified True Copies of the testimonial obtained by Adeleke from Ede Muslim Grammar School, and West Africa Examination Council General Certificate of Education.

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The panel had last week Friday ruled that INEC chairman should bring Adeleke’s filings for 2018 poll on its next sitting.

READ ALSO: Adeleke Directs LG Heads To Replace Sacked Chairmen

At the day’s proceedings, after checking the documents presented by INEC, counsel to the petitioners, Lateef Fagbemi, SAN, who appeared with Akin Olujinmi, SAN, told the panel that two out of the pages were not clear enough.

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Fagbemi said section for scores obtained by the candidate on the GCE result was blank, adding that the address of the school that awarded the testimonial was not also clear enough.

But counsel to INEC, Prof. Paul Ananaba, SAN, said the copies were clear and readable, urging the plaintiffs to allow the documents to be admitted, since they had earlier claimed that they had CTC copies of the documents which could be presented.

He assured not to object to the documents if presented by the plantiffs.

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Counsel to Adeleke and Peoples Democratic Party, Onyeachi Ikpeazu, SAN and Dr. Alex Izinyon, SAN, respectively said the documents were clear enough, but admitted some sections were blurry.

They, however, said the documents were still rectifiable and urged the petitioners to call their next witness, while INEC should be made to present a clearer copies, if they have.

Ananaba later called for stand down of the matter to enable him obtain screenshots of the documents from the INEC headquarters in Abuja.

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After the panel had reconvened, Ananaba presented both colour and back and white copies made from the screenshots obtained from INEC head office, which he also admitted were not better than the copies earlier presented.

He sought adjournment to enable INEC brought before the panel, the file from which the copies earlier presented were made from.

READ ALSO: JUST IN: Supreme Court Affirms Osun Gov-elect, Adeleke As PDP Candidate

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Fagbemi, however, insisted that the order of the court was that clear documents should be presented, saying the respondents must comply with the directive.

Reading the ruling of the panel, the Tribunal Chairman, Justice Tertse Kume, adjourned the matter till Saturday for the INEC to bring the original file containing the documents.
PUNCH

 

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JUST IN: Labour Party Expels Peter Obi’s DG, Okupe, 10 Others

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The Labour Party in Ogun State has expelled the Director-General of the Peter Obi Presidential Campaign Council, Doyin Okupe.

Okupe was sacked alongside 10 others for alleged non-financial membership status, high-handedness and financial recklessness.

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The Chairman of the party in Ogun State, Michael Ashade, announced the party’s decision in Abeokuta Thursday, saying the offences were a breach of the Labour Party’s constitution.

Ashade said Okupe has ceased to be a LP member for his “failure to meet the mandatory constitutional requirements to fulfill membership status.”

According to him, Okupe had failed to pay his membership dues since the last six months he joined the Party, saying he has therefore forfeited his membership of the Labour Party and he is no longer fit to act as the Director General of Obi’s campaign council.

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He stated that the offenses of Okupe amd and the other 10 are against Article 9(3) sub(iii) and Article 9(3)xi of the LP constitution.

READ ALSO: Akwa Ibom YPP Guber Candidate Bags 42 Years In Prison Over Corruption

He accused Okupe of mismanaging the funds approved for the LP in Ogun to mobilize members for the rally held last week at Ibadan, the Oyo State capital.

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While notifying the LP National Chairman, Barr Julius Abure of their decision, they called on Obi to immediately appoint another DG for the PCC from the North.

Okupe could not be reached for his reactions as calls to his mobile phone were unanswered.

He also did not respond to a text message sent to him as of the time of this report.

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Okupe is from Ikenne Local Government Area of Ogun State.

 

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Court Strikes Out Fresh Suit Seeking To Sack Rivers APC Guber Candidate

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A Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt, on Wednesday, stuck out a suit by a governorship aspirant in the All Progressives Congress, APC, Benard Mikko, over the party’s primary elections in Rivers State.

The Governorship candidate of the APC, Tonye Cole, the Independent National Electoral Commission and another governorship aspirant of the APC Ojukaye Flagg-Amachree were also joined in the suit.

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But the court ruled that the suit was lacking in merit.

Mikko had approached the court to direct INEC to disqualify Tonye Cole from next year’s Governorship election, claiming that the primary election held on 26th of May, 2022, that brought him in as the governorship candidate was marred with irregularities.

He also claimed that the candidate has a questionable character following his indictment in a white paper report by a commission of inquiry set up by the Rivers State government.

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READ ALSO: BREAKING: Court Sacks Tonye Cole As APC Governorship Candidate In Rivers

Presiding judge, Justice Ayua Phoebe in her judgment said the court lacked the jurisdiction to hear the suit because the plaintiff failed to exhaust all the internal mechanisms of the party before instituting the legal action, adding that the party is supreme.

The judge, while describing the suit as frivolous and abuse of court process, ruled that Mikko also failed to abide by his earlier oath of allegiance sworn to the APC never to institute any legal action against the party and that he will support whoever emerged from the primaries.

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While the counsel to the APC, Chinda Chizim commended the judgement, that of the plaintiff, Eli Ojigba said he will consult his client for his next line of action.

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