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All eyes on Prof Jega … Many questions still unanswered

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Is he leaving INEC or staying? Over and above all guesses, the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Prof. Attahiru Jega is now obviously the man to watch as far as the up-coming general elections are concerned.

Since last week when Prof Jega announced the postponement of the elections, all eyes have been on him. How does he plan to fix things in six weeks to be able to hold a free, fair and credible election?

President Jonathan has assured the nation in a media interview that there was no plan to move Prof Jega from INEC. But there are several damaging reports that the professor needs to address to clear his name and reassure the nation of his credibility.

While announcing the postponement, Prof. Jega made it pellucidly clear that he changed the dates for security reasons, as other things according to him were reasonably under control.  But  his critics say something different .

For example, the nation would like to know if he met secretly in Dubai with APC stalwarts to discuss ways to rig the election, as alleged by the PDP Director of Media and Publicity, Chief Femi-Fani Kayode. Secondy, the INEC’s boss also needs to shed light on the whereabouts of the long-awaited PVCs and when he thinks prospective voters would be able to get them.

“Pieces of information at our disposal have shown that Jega has had meetings with APC stalwarts in Dubai and other cities in the world to perfect this wanton conspiracy against 23 million eligible voters. Besides, we have information that the PVCs that Nigerians are scrambling for are not in Nigeria and will not arrive before the elections. These PVCs are still in China and Jega has strategically delayed their arrival to suit his electioneering permutations…” Femi Kayode, PDP media spokesman said.

“Can Jega show Nigerians proof that the Chinese company printing the PVCs has been paid in full by disclosing the total contract sum and the amount paid to date? Can Prof Jega show proof of arrival or expected date of arrival of all PVCs for the elections? Can Jega tell Nigerians how he could have distributed 23 million PVCs within five days to the election if there hadn’t been a postponement?”

The PDP campaign spokesman further challenged Prof Jega:  “Could this be why Jega has refused to allow citizens use their temporary voter cards despite pleas from the National Assembly?”

Former National Chairman of the PDP and Director of Presidential Campaign organisation, Dr Ahmadu Ali, said INEC postponed the election as a face-saving measure. He said ballot boxes were inadequate, same as staff training.

Then, the bombshell –“ we are querying the INEC for some aberration in the distribution of PVC. How can Borno State which is under siege register more PVC collections than Lagos State?”

On the other hand, Governor of Sokoto State Aliyu Wamakko of the APC had no such question for Jega. Rather, he claimed that the election was postponed for fear that President Goodluck Jonathan would lose.

Malam Garba Shehu, APC Media Director, spoke of an “unholy” alliance between Jonathan’s government, the PDP and the military in a bid to subvert the franchise of the people in the rescheduled presidential and other elections.

Finally, Bisi Akande, former APC interim national chairman, suggested that Prof Jega was being bullied because he had refused to play by President Jonathan’s rules and asked the president to clear the air on Jega’s tenure, alleging that the president planned to remove Jega before the election to throw the country into constitutional crisis.

“While INEC under Prof Jega has delivered mixed bag of hits and misses in its conduct of credible elections, it is clear that Prof Jega has exercised credible independence and has refused to be cowed or induced by administration of President Jonathan,” Akande said.

In as much as we do not want anything to distract Prof Jega from going ahead with the election plans, these allegations deserve answers

 

CATHOLIC WORLD

Killing of Christians: Buhari lied to Trump – CAN fumes

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Killing of Christians: Buhari lied to Trump - CAN fumes

The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has reacted to President Muhammadu Buhari’s revelation of his conversation with United States President, Donald Trump, on the massacre of Christians in Nigeria, saying President Buhari was economical with the truth.

President Buhari had on Tuesday, revealed that at the heat of the bloody clashes between herdsmen and farmers in Nigeria, the United States President, Donald Trump, unequivocally accused him of killing Christians.

Buhari said these in his closing remarks at the two-day ministerial performance review retreat held at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Tuesday.

At a point, the President digressed from his prepared speech and narrated his encounter with Trump on the bloody clashes.

He said he managed to explain to the American leader that the clashes were not about ethnicity or religion.

He said, “I believe I was about the only African among the less developed countries the President of United States invited.

“When I was in his office, only myself and himself, only God is my witness, he looked at me in the face, and asked, ‘Why are you killing Christians?’

“I wonder, if you were the person, how you will react. I hope what I was feeling inside did not betray my emotion, so I told him that the problem between the cattle rearers and farmers, I know is older than me not to talk of him. I think I am a couple of years older than him.

“With climate change and population growth and the culture of the cattle rearers, if you have 50 cows and they eat grass, any root, to your water point, then they will follow it. It doesn’t matter whose farm it is.

“The First Republic set of leadership was the most responsible leadership we ever had. I asked the Minister of Agriculture to get a gazette of the early 60s which delineated the cattle route where they used meager resources then to put earth dams, wind mills even sanitary department.

“So, any cattle rearers that allowed his cattle to go to somebody’s farm would be arrested, taken before the court. The farmer would be called to submit his bill and if he couldn’t pay, the cattle would be sold, but subsequent leaders, the VVIPs (very important persons) encroached on the cattle routes. They took over the cattle rearing areas.

“So, I tried and explained to him (Trump) that this has got nothing to do with ethnicity or religion. It is a cultural thing.”

However, CAN’s Vice President and Chairman of the association in Kaduna State, John Hayab, was not impressed with Buhari’s submission, saying “Buhari and his government will never stop from amusing us with their tales by moonlight because what is happening in Zamfara, Sokoto, Katsina, Birnin Gwari, Southern Kaduna, Taraba, Plateau and others cannot be described as a cultural thing.

He told Punch correspondent in an interview: “President Buhari’s weak story about his conversation with President Donald Trump further confirms why his government does not care about the killings in our country by calling them cultural things.

“Just this (Tuesday) evening, I received a report from the Kaduna Baptist Conference President about the number of their members that have been killed by bandits in Kaduna State from January 2020 to date to be 105 and our President will call it a cultural thing? All we can say is may God save our Nigeria.”

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NATIONAL NEWS

CAMA: Bishop blasts Christian lawmakers

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CAMA: Bishop blasts Christian lawmakers

The Catholic Bishop of Nsukka, Most Rev. Godfrey Onah, has blamed Christians in the National Assembly (NASS), for the passage of the 2020 Companies and Allied Matters Bill (CAMA), signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari recently.

Bishop Onah, said in a remark during the Sunday Mass that if Christians in NASS had opposed the bill, it would not have been passed into law.

President Muhammadu Buhari had on Aug. 7, signed the CAMA bill into law, giving provision for religious bodies and charity organizations to be regulated by the registrar of the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), and a supervising minister.

“The question many Christians have been asking is, where were Christian legislators during the debate of this bill and its passage in the National Assembly?

“Because, if they had opposed this bill on the floor of the house, it would not have been passed and sent to the president for assent.

“I blame Christian legislators for doing nothing and allowing the passage of the 2020 CAMA Act,” he said.

“When I say that Christians are too divided and too selfish, don’t forget that the second in command in this country is a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, a professor of Law and a pastor.”

Onah, however, wondered what the Federal Government wanted to achieve in monitoring how the finances of churches in the country are managed when it contributed no dime to the church, NAN reports.

“Government should focus and monitor its ministries, agencies and other government institutions where it budgets billions of Naira annually and not church offerings.

“Had it been that the government gave allocations to churches and decided to monitor its usage, nobody will question the government,” he said.

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NATIONAL NEWS

Nigerians spit fire over fuel, electricity prices hike

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Increasing Fuel and Electricity Prices

Anger and condemnations, across the country, have continued to trail last week’s take off, of new increases in pump price of petroleum products and electricity tariffs, as directed by Federal Government.

Recall that the Petroleum Products Marketing Company (PPMC) official, D.O. Abalaka announced on Wednesday September 3, on behalf of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) that the new price of petroleum is now N151.56k per litre instead of N149 – N150 per litre which it was previously.

The new electricity tariff which the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) tagged “Service Reflective Tariff” has also come into effect. It requires consumers to pay N53.87 – N66.422 per kwh of electricity.

Outraged consumers of fuel and electricity have therefore warned government to get ready for collision with the masses if it fails to rescind these new prices.

Those who have expressed outrage over the new prices regimes include, the Organized Labour, Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Nigerian main opposition political party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA) and the Major Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN).

Others are: Petroleum Products Retail Outlets Owners Association of Nigeria, the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) and the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce (NACCIMA).

The NLC said, “The frequent fuel price increase will no longer be accepted. We will not allow Nigerians fall victim of government ineptitude and negligence to make the country self-sufficient in terms of refining petroleum products at home.”

On its part, the PDP has described the price hike as “callous, cruel and punishing” and demanded an immediate reversal to avert a national crisis.

The All Industrial Global sees the incessant increase as a confirmation that deregulation means just price increase.

“This is unacceptable! Under a pandemic, we should put money in the pockets of citizens to revive collapsed livelihoods and preserve lives.” In its reaction, NECA said it has always urged Federal Government to adopt deregulation policy in the oil and gas downstream sector.

The MOMAN in its statement insists that monthly price variation of fuel was no longer sustainable. It urged PPRA to adopt quarterly price mechanism which would save the market the hassles of price volatility. The statements by IPMAN and NACCIMA also followed along the same line that the hike “…serves only to increase the severity and duration of the looming economic recession.”

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