APC okays Oyegun, others to contest without resigning



WILL the All Progressives Congress (APC) National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, recontest for the top job at the party’s convention?

This was the poser yesterday, following the party’s rejection of tenure elongation for Oyegun and other members of the National Working Committee (NWC).

They and other party leaders at the ward, local government and state levels were, however, granted waiver to recontest, if they wished.

Plateau State Governor and APC Technical Committee on Tenure Elongation Chairman Simon Lalong made these known yesterday after the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting in Abuja.

Observers last night described the waiver as “a soft-landing” for Oyegun and others willing to recontest at the party’s congresses and convention.

No date has been fixed for the elections.

Lalong said President Muhammadu Buhari informed the party leaders of his second term bid at the meeting, which was described as “the shortest NEC session ever”. It started at 11.02am and ended at 11:55 am.

The Lalong committee report, which rejected tenure extension, was adopted at the meeting.

Lalong, who addressed reporters with APC National Publicity Secretary Bolaji Abdullahi,  said his committee’s report was unanimously adopted by the meeting.

He said: “We were given a task to work within a short time. Within that time, we considered those who were for and against. We looked at the issue extensively and did wider consultations and arrived at a point where we considered not only the legal point, but also the political options available.

“That is why we came to the point that, if we are going to conduct that election within the time available, then the concern shown by other members on the issue of disenfranchisement and allowing others to contest was very genuine. We also considered the opinion of the President and we arrived at the point that it is constitutionally valid to conduct congresses.

“We also decided that if, in conducting the elections, certain conditions are not going to be fulfilled, it means that some people will be disenfranchised. We spoke about the 21 days notice (to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) before a congress) and the fulfilment of Article 31.

“If we are going to comply with this, the constitution requires that certain waivers should be granted to those who are crying that they will be disenfranchised. We came to the conclusion that if these provisions are taken care of, then there was no need for anybody to say there should be no congress.

“Our conclusion is that we must conduct congresses. We looked at the second aspect of the legality of the action and we said that in every constitution and the election of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, we are not saints, we are not angels.

“It is assumed that in the course of doing things, there may be unforeseen circumstances that will stop you or you reach a brickwall and therefore fail to conclude the exercise. That was the option that was made by the party, in creating an opportunity for there to be an option for you when you get to that brickwall. So, we married the two positions.

“So, conducting the congresses will also create an opportunity for even those who are not yet members of the party or who have come to the party, but not yet registered because the constitution provides that you must be a registered member of the party and that for you to vote and be voted for, you must be a card-carrying member. There was also the issue of reconciliation.

“With this, the constitutional notices are being provided and we will work within this short period. That is why we concluded that everybody be carried along and everybody’s interest be protected in this report. It was a unanimous decision to adopt the recommendations that was made to a point that the President felt so happy and excited and said that because of this reunion and unity in the party, he will now consider and also accept the appeal by several members of the society and the party that he recontests and he accepted to recontest. So, he is going to recontest for the position of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

Article 31 1 (iii) of the APC constitution states: “Any party office holder interested in contesting for an elective office (whether party office or office in a general election) shall resign and leave office 30 days prior to the date of nomination or party primary for the Office he or she is seeking to contest”.

Article 31(2) states: “Subject to the approval of the National Executive Committee, the National Working Committee may in special circumstances grant a waiver to a person not otherwise qualified under Article 31(1) of this Constitution if, in its opinion, such a waiver is in the best interest of the party.”

Abdullahi said members left the meeting, smiling because it was a win-win for everybody. Those, who thought that the party would start breaking up after the meeting, were disappointed, he added.

Read more..Democracy better off without PDP –  Lai Mohammed 

Abdullahi said: “This is the shortest NEC meeting that we have had. This is because the challenge before us has been clear all along and that what we want is a win-win situation for all and that is the work that the committee had done, to find a mid-course that will take care of the interest of everyone.

“Those who have been clamouring that we must have congresses and those who were afraid that if we have congresses, they will be swept away. The committee’s recommendation has taken care of both; that you must do congresses and that the requirement of the law that you must resign 30 days before you can contest will have to be waived.

“In essence, you don’t have to resign before you can contest. That way, the matter has been resolved and as far as APC is concerned, the storm that everyone was expecting to happen did not happen and the collapse that people were expecting to start from this NEC meeting today did not happen.

“So we are leaving the NEC meeting reunited and  a strong family of progressive politics in Nigeria. We are also happy and you can see that our countenance has changed and we are happy that Mr. President has accepted and has announced his wish to recontest in 2019.”

At the meeting were Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, Senate President Bukola Saraki, Speaker Yakubu Dogara, Governors Akinwunmi Ambode (Lagos), Ibikunle Amosun (Ogun), Rotimi Akeredolu (Ondo), Jubrilla Bindo (Adamawa), Lalong, Abdullahi Ganduje (Kano), Mohammed Abubakar (Bauchi), Abubakar Badaru (Jigawa), Kashim Shettima (Borno), Yahaya Bello (Kogi), Nasir El-Rufai (Kaduna), Aminu Tambuwal (Sokoto),  Rochas Okorocha (Imo), Abdulaziz Yari (Zamfara), Tanko Al-makura (Nasarawa), Rauf Aregbesola (Osun), Atiku Bagudu (Kebbi) and Abiola Ajimobi (Oyo). Deputy Governor Phillip Shuaibu represented Edo State Governor Godwin Obaseki.

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Atiku’s Lawyer Not Licensed To Practise in Nigeria – INEC Tells Tribunal



The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says the petition filed by Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), were not signed by a legal practitioner licensed to practise in Nigeria.

Atiku had filed a petition before the presidential election tribunal to challenge the reelection of President Muhammadu Buhari.

Atiku’s legal team is led by Livy Uzoukwu with 31 other lawyers.

In its response as the first respondent in the case, INEC said the petition was not signed by a legal practitioner enrolled in the Supreme Court of Nigeria.

The electoral body said the results Atiku claimed to have polled were “invented” solely for the petition, adding that it never transmitted results electronically.

“That the Petitioner’s Petition, List of Witnesses and List of Documents as filed are incompetent and ought to be struck out as same were not signed by a legal practitioner enrolled in the Supreme Court of Nigeria and licensed to practise in Nigeria,” read INEC’s response to Atiku’s petition.

The electoral umpire, however, prayed that the petition be struck out for lack of competence.

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If my helicopter crash was fatal, Kogi State government would have been in trouble – VP Osinbajo says



Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has said if the February 2 helicopter crash that occurred in Kogi State was fatal, there would have been trouble, even for the Kogi State government.  

He spoke on Sunday during a special thanksgiving service to celebrate the victory of the All Progressives Congress (APC), held at the old Banquet Hall of the State House. He said if those on board had died, there would have been too many assumptions on the circumstances surrounding the incident.  

He thanked God for his life and that of others who were also on board. In his words;

“On February 2nd, God gave me reason to know that but for His grace we would have been consumed, when our helicopter crashed. When the crash occurred, for a moment there was complete silence. For a second, it occurred to me that if we had died, that is what it would have been complete silence. But we all got out without a scratch. God delivered us.  

“God also delivered those in charge of our security; even the government of Kogi State would also have been in trouble. We give God all the glory. I pray God will also be kind to you all also, that you will never be lacking in support, care and genuine prayers. God is surely worthy to be praised. I have no special qualifications to be here but exaltation comes from God.”

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Five best friends who were bridesmaids in each other’s weddings are all now state senators



Five longtime female friends who were bridesmaids in each other’s weddings have each won their state Senate races in this year’s midterm elections in the United States.

The women who are all Democratic candidates — Tammy Story, Faith Winter, Jessie Danielson, Brittany Pettersen and Kerry Donovan — all swept their state Senate in Colorado, People reported Wednesday.

The women, who call themselves “The Fab Five,” helped flip the state Senate to a Democratic majority for the first time in five years, the publication noted.

Danielson, who currently serves as member of the Colorado House of Representatives, told the magazine:

We were all in it together.

Each of the women said they helped the others face negative criticism and slander during their campaigns.

Winter said:

Through the campaign, the five of us were very supportive of each other. We had several text chains where we would check in with one another and see how we were doing.

If a particularly bad ad or piece of mail came out, we would reassure each other on the text chain, ‘Have you seen the mail? It’s so awful, how are you doing?’

The friends are among the more than 2,000 women who are gearing up to take office in state legislatures nationwide next year.

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