Walter Onnoghen (centre) is not allowed to hold public office for 10 years

Nigeria’s top judge Walter Onnoghen found guilty

Nigeria’s Chief Justice Walter Onnoghen has been convicted of falsely declaring his assets.

His suspension over the charges by President Muhammadu Buhari in January, weeks before the presidential election, caused a political storm.

Mr Buhari was accused of meddling with the judiciary in case the outcome of the election was challenged in court.

Justice Onnoghen was found guilty of hiding the extent of his wealth and has been banned from office for 10 years.

The case was heard by the Code of Conduct Tribunal, which was set up to tackle corruption allegedly committed by public officials.

The law requires senior civil servants and government officials to declare their assets before taking office as a way to monitor corruption.

Unprecedented ruling

Mr Onnoghen has not commented on the tribunal’s ruling.

His conviction is unprecedented as he was the first serving chief justice to be put on trial and found guilty, the BBC’s Best, reports from Nigeria..

In January, Atiku Abubakar – the president’s main challenger in the election – called Justice Onnoghen’s suspension “an act of dictatorship”.

At the time of his suspension, Mr Buhari’s spokesman said that trying to link it the elections was “illogical”.

The president has pledged to fight corruption and was re-elected in February.

Mr Abubakar has gone to court to challenge the result of the election.

Atiku hires US lobbyist to unseat Buhari

Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has employed the services of a United States lobbyist firm to advance his challenge of the outcome of the February 23 presidential poll.

President Muhammadu Buhari defeated Atiku with over three million votes in the election but Atiku rejected the results and had challenged same at the presidential election petition tribunal, alleging that the poll was heavily militarised” and results manipulated.

According to a report by Centre for Responsive Politics, CRP, Bruce Fein, former justice department official and his firm Fein & DelValle PLLC registered on March 24 as foreign agents on behalf of PDP and Atiku.

The firm is expected to “encourage Congress and the Executive to forbear from a final declaration and recognition of Nigeria’s February 23, 2019 presidential election until outstanding legal challenges to the initial government of Nigeria assertion that incumbent Buhari was the victor are impartially and independently resolved by the Supreme Court of Nigeria without political or military influence, intimidation or manipulation”.

According to the firm, parts of its services on behalf of Atiku includes to “Meet and consult with members of Congress and staff in an effort to pass House and Senate resolution(s) to forebear from a final declaration and recognition of a winner of the 2019 Nigeria presidential election pending legal challenges to the initial assertion that incumbent Buhari was the victor are impartially and independently resolved by the Nigerian judiciary in accordance with the rule of law and due process, free from military or political influence.

“Draft articles and op-ed pieces to spotlight the issues in Nigeria post-2019 presidential election and to promote the rule of law and due process in resolving electoral disputes in Nigeria.

“Make television and other media appearances to engage in public advocacy discussions of these issues.”

In a letter replying Atiku’s request for their services, the firm said a “Nigerian barrister and trusted confidant of Your-Excellency Dr. Lloyd Ukwu, will assist in the operations of the U.S. Situation Room.”

The firm said its lobbying effort will demonstrate that an Atiku presidency is “the will of the people.”

It added that its services will convince the United States that an “Abubakar presidency” will open a fresh and new chapter in Nigerian politics, while “highlighting the declining rule of law, democracy and clue process in Nigeria under the APC and the current administration.”

Buhari Owes Nigerians Explanation For N24trillion Debt, Says PDP

The leading opposition party called on the National Assembly to limit the Buhari administration’s ability to take loans for the country if explanations are not given for how previously borrowed funds were handled.

he Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) says President Muhammadu Buhari has exhibited a culture of unexplained borrowings since he assumed power in 2015.

In a statement issued on Monday by Kola Ologbondiyan, National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, the party called on the National Assembly to probe the rise in debt of the current administration.

The PDP said the country’s debt profile which used to be at N12.12trillion in 2015 has grown to N24.38 trillion due to the President’s culture of heavy borrowings and the lack of initiative to think up ideas that would make the economy productive. 

The leading opposition party called on the National Assembly to limit the Buhari administration’s ability to take loans for the country if explanations are not given for how previously borrowed funds were handled. 

The party said: “Since President Buhari assumed office in 2015, there has been a culture of unexplained borrowings leading to a steep rise in the debt stock from N17.5trillion in 2016 to N21.72trillion in 2017 and a huge N24.387trillion in 2018.

“It is shocking and completely insupportable that our nation’s debt had risen from N21.72trillion in December 2017, to N24.387trillion in December 2018, showing an accumulation of a whopping N2.66trillion in the space of one year.

“The President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration, therefore, has a huge explanation to make to Nigerians for its borrowing spree, especially as it cannot point to any meaningful development project into which the borrowed funds were invested.

“This is particularly against the backdrop of allegations in the public space that the borrowed funds, which were taken as development funds, were diverted to 2019 general election campaign activities of the APC, a huge part of which ended in private pockets of corrupt APC leaders.

“This is, in addition, to direct frittering of public funds through the alleged N1.4trillion sleazy oil subsidy regime, the looted N9trillion detailed in the leaked NNPC memo, the alleged N33billion fraud in the handling of funds meant for the welfare of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the North East, among other sleazes.

“Nigerians cannot afford to continue to bear the burden of an incompetent and insensitive administration and that is why they eagerly await the retrieval of our stolen mandate at the Presidential election petition tribunal.”

Breaking: Again, Buhari jets out of Nigeria

Barely two days he visited Senegal, President Muhammadu Buhari, Thursday jetted off for an economic forum in Jordan.

Buhari who promised to leave Nigeria better than he met it, stormed Amman to participate in the world economic forum in Jordan and investment summit in Dubai.

He was invited by King Abdullah II bin Al-Hussein of Jordan.

President Buhari will deliver an address at the opening of the plenary alongside King Abdullah II bin Al-Hussein and United Nations Secretary General, António Guterres, and join world economic leaders in an informal gathering at the King Hussein Bin Talal Convention Centre.

The Nigerian leader will also hold bilateral meetings with some world leaders on the sidelines of the Forum.

President Buhari will depart Amman Sunday for Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE) to participate in the ninth edition of the Annual Investment Meeting, April 8-10, 2019.

Invited by His Highness, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rachid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice-President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, the Nigerian President as Guest of Honour, will deliver the keynote address under the theme, “Mapping the Future of Foreign Direct Investment: Enriching World Economies through Digital Globalization.”

According to the organisers, the meeting is “the largest gathering of corporate leaders, policymakers, businessmen, regional and international investors, entrepreneurs, leading academics and experts showcasing up-to-date information, strategies and knowledge on attracting FDI.”

Buhari travels to Jordan
Buhari travels to Jordan

The meeting also seeks to explore investment opportunities in more than 140 countries, connect businesses and countries willing to engage in sustainable partnerships with investors.

President Buhari will be accompanied on both trips by Governors Abubakar Badaru, Abiola Ajimobi and Yahaya Bello of Jigawa, Oyo and Kogi States respectively.

Others on the entourage include the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama; the National Security Adviser, Maj. Gen. Mohammed Babagana Monguno (rtd), and other top government officials.

General elections: President Buhari speaks on Nigeria’s democracy

President Muhammadu Buhari, on Thursday said that Nigeria now ranked amongst the leading democracies in Africa and in the Commonwealth, 20 years after it began to experience uninterrupted democratic culture.

President Buhari was the visitor at the final day of the 50th Convocation Ceremonies of the University of Lagos.

The president was represented by the Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission (NUC), Prof. Rasheed Yakubu.

“With the 2019 general elections that had come and gone, we as a nation have once again reiterated our choice of democracy as the system of government by which we hope to imbibe an all-round development.

“Our administration is committed to ensuring that the sacredness of that choice is preserved. With this policy enunciated and every programme instituted, we shall ensure that our democratic culture takes firmer roots and legacies further consolidated.

“Let me reiterate that my administration will not waver in its commitment to following due process, preserving the sanctity of the rule of law, battling grand corruption, securing the lives and property of our people and rehabilitating or upgrading our critical infrastructure.

We will continue to be unrelenting in enthroning hard work, honesty and place the welfare of our citizens above everything else.

“We must all join hands to take Nigeria to the next level of progress,’’ President Buhari said.

According to him, his administration will continue to encourage Nigerian universities to build closer and better relationships with the industrial sector.

He said this would help to bridge the gap between theories and practicality with a view to addressing some of the most required needs of the nation.

He added that his administration believed in the imperative of sound educational system for national development.

“We recognise the place of our intellectuals to undertake cutting edge researches that will address the challenges of development and contribute to making lives better.

We acknowledge that our advancement as a nation will be driven by a robust human resource base.

“It should, therefore, be our collective determination to do our best to guarantee a peaceful and stable future for Nigerians through education.

“We shall continue to interface with the unions of universities in our bid to ensuring that we have a stable higher education sector that contributes to the nation’s global competiveness,’’ he said.

While congratulating the graduating students, President Buhari charged them to make their impacts felt in matters of national development.

“As you make your ways into the world beyond this ivory tower, let me assure you of our administration’s commitment to ensuring that the skills and knowledge you have acquired are put to use and be productively engaged.

“While many of you will be gainfully employed in the public and private sectors, some of you may choose to explore the entrepreneurial route by founding and co-founding small and medium scale businesses.

In a special way, the knowledge and competences you have developed in the course of acquiring Nigeria’s degrees, diplomas and certificates are to be applied to the noble course of national development,’’ he said.

Steve Hanke’s report shows Nigeria is sinking under Buhari – PDP

ABUJA- The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has described Steve Hanke’s report which rated Nigeria as the 6th miserable country in the world,  as a vindication of its position “all this while,” saying the nation has sunk into a new low since President Muhammadu Buhari assumed power in 2015.

Hanke, an economist at John Hopkins University, United States of America had in the publication rated Nigeria 6th on the ignoble list of world’s most miserable countries,  behind Venezuela (Ist), Argentina (2nd), Iran (3rd), Brazil (4th) and Turkey (5th), citing the high rate of unemployment in Africa’s biggest nation as the major contributor to her “misery. ”

Buhari

Reacting to the development,  the main opposition party,  through its spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan tasked the ruling All Progressives Congress,  APC,  to perish the thought of the planned increment in Value Added Tax,  VAT,  saying such would only make life more difficult for the “already traumatized Nigerians.”

In a chat with our correspondent, the publicity scribe said: “That report is a vindication of the position of the Peoples Democratic Party, all this while. The economy has virtually collapsed under President Buhari and the man is even mooting the idea of piling more pressure on Nigerians.

“Nigerians have never suffered like they are suffering today because those charged with the responsibility of managing the economy have failed completely. They have no idea of what it takes to manage an economy like ours.

“As an opposition party,  we call on the Presidency to take urgent steps to fine-tune the economy, create jobs for our teeming youths if only to justify that a government is in place.

“In the interim,  we advise them to stop their plan to increase VAT as that will only fetch millions of Nigerians additional pain and discomfort.”

While noting that democracy is essentially about the people,  Ologbindiyan expressed worry that rather improving on the living conditions of Nigerians,  “the  APC-led administration of President Buhari appears to be deriving pleasure from inflicting pains and misery.”

He added: “Nigerians can now see that indeed, the PDP don’t just do criticisms for the fun of it. We are talking of a report that searchlighted economies of countries in different continents of the world. Our beloved country is in shambles but there is no doubt we will reclaim it for the people at the appointed time.

Nigeria Ports Mess Traps 50,000 Tons of Cashew, Threatens Sector

  • Load from 2018 harvest is worth $300 million: cashew exporters
  • Congestion and inefficiency at Lagos’ ports affecting exports

Gridlock and inefficiency at the ports of Nigeria’s commercial hub, Lagos, delayed shipment of 50,000 tons of cashew nuts valued at $300 million and is threatening this year’s output as traders are cash-strapped.

The kidney-shaped fruits from last year’s harvest should have been exported by January, according to Tola Fasheru, president of Nigeria Cashew Exporters Association. Instead, they are still in containers on trucks waiting to enter the ports or on wharves, he said.

Roads to Lagos ports are badly congested, with hundreds of lorries queuing to enter the premises and either deliver or pick goods. In addition, inadequate capacity and infrastructure, stifling red tape and corruption are hampering export processes, according to Fasheru.

Bribes, Beatings and Gridlock at Ports Choke Nigeria's Economy
Container trucks sit stationary in heavy traffic on the approach to Lagos Port on Oct. 12, 2018. Photographer:

“There is a palpable lack of synergy among the port operators and this is affecting the business of our members,” he said Thursday by phone from Lagos.

Some members of the cashew association have defaulted on contracts to the extent that foreign buyers are now walking away from them. “They are no longer willing to give us fresh contracts,” said the group’s president.

No Money

The delay is likely to affect the output target of 260,000 tons for the current season, which started in February and will end in July.

“Not one single cashew exporter is in the field now as he is owing on contracts and as a result has no money to operate with,” said Fasheru.

Africa’s sixth largest cashew producer plans to raise its annual production to 500,000 tons by 2023, according to a five-year strategic plan released in 2018 by the National Cashew Association of Nigeria.

The country is the continent’s biggest oil producer and President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration is seeking to reduce dependency on crude and diversify the economy, which contracted in 2016 after oil prices and output crashed. Agriculture is one of the key sectors the government has been trying to boost.

INEC Declares Lalong, Ortom, Tambuwal, Ganduje Reelected

Mohammed wins extra election in Bauchi• PDP kicks over KanoIle in Abuja

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) yesterday finally drew the curtain on governorship elections in four of the seven outstanding states, returning Governors Aminu Tambuwal (Sokoto), Samuel Ortom (Benue), Simon Lalong (Plateau) and Abdullahi Ganduje (Kano) as elected for second term.
Three states, Bauchi, Adamawa and Rivers, however, remain contentious.In Bauchi, the Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) candidate, Senator Bala Mohammed, won the supplementary election held on Saturday, increasing his votes haul at the March 9 poll that puts him ahead of Governor Mohammed Abubakar, who seems to have lost out in the keen contest.
The only thing standing between Abubakar and eventual defeat is the restraining order he secured last week from an Abuja court, which restrained INEC from resuming the collation and announcement of the results of Tafawa Balewa Local Government Area, a stronghold of the PDP.
That litigation is expected to be resolved today as the court listens to the PDP’s position on the matter.
Supplementary elections had held on Saturday in some units in Bauchi, Benue, Plateau, Sokoto and Kano States.
The two leading parties, PDP and All Progressives Congress (APC), won two apiece. The ruling APC retained its hold on Kano and Plateau States, while the main opposition PDP retained Benue and Sokoto States.
Although the PDP sustained its lead in Bauchi, the announcement of the winner of the governorship polls by INEC is pending today’s court judgment on the result of the Tafawa Balewa Local Government Area.The presidential candidate of the PDP, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, has described the victory of the candidates of the party in both Sokoto and Benue States as an acknowledgement from the Nigerian people that it is the only truly national party in Nigeria.
But his party rejected the outcome of Kano’s poll, saying it was a rape of democracy.
Announcing the result of the Sokoto State contest at Maccido Quranic Institute in Sokoto, the Returning Officer, Prof. Fatima Mukhtar of Federal University, Dutse in Jigawa State, said Tambuwal of the PDP polled 512,002 votes against his closest rival, Alhaji Ahmad Aliyu Sokoto of APC who polled 511,660.
Mukhtar said Tambuwal having scored the highest lawful votes has been returned elected.
She added that the votes registered were 1,887,767; accredited votes were 1,083,413, valid votes, 1,036332; rejected votes, 31,662, and number total votes cast were 1,067,994
According to her, during the re-run election, PDP’s Tambuwal polled 22,444 votes while APC’s Aliyu scored 25,515 in the 135 polling units where supplementary elections were conducted.
She further explained that 49 candidates from other participating parties shared the remaining votes cast.
However, the APC agent at the collation centre, Alhaji Maigari Dingyadi, raised the complaints the party made to INEC earlier about the malfunctioning card reader at a polling unit in Tambuwal.Dingyadi added that election was repeated at the polling unit, after lawful election was conducted on March 9 election.
The PDP agent, Alhaji Umar Bature, dismissed the objections on the grounds that the collation centre was not the right place to lodge the complaint.
Mukhtar noted the complaint and said that it would be reflected in the final report.
Reacting to his victory, Tambuwal said he dedicated the victory to Almighty Allah and the people of the state who found him worthy of their mandate.
He stated that he would run an inclusive government to improve the lives of his people.
“This is the beginning of good things that will happen to the state. I will not take the mandate for granted,” he said.
He pleaded with his opponents to join hands with him in building the state, saying he is not better than them but in any contest there must be winner and loser.
The governor advised his supporters to be magnanimous in victory, stressing that they should not jeopardise the existing peace in the state.
In Benue State, Ortom of the PDP was declared the winner by the state’s Returning Officer, Prof. Sabastine Maimako, having polled 434,473 votes to beat his closest contender, Hon. Emmanuel Jime of APC, who polled 345,155 votes.
According to Maimako, the margin of lead between Ortom and Jime was 89,813.
In his acceptance speech, Ortom said he has dedicated his victory to God by visiting the Redeemed Church of God, Gboko Road, where he offered prayers immediately the result was announced.Wild jubilation greeted the announcement as major areas of Makurdi town were blocked by his supporters, who were singing his campaign songs.
Meanwhile, the APC has announced that it will be heading to the tribunal.
The party in a statement by its campaign secretary, Professor Eugene Aliegba, indicated that it would seek all constitutional and legal means to claim victory.
According to him, “Because the results announced in favour of Governor Ortom and the PDP is a direct product of brutal violence, vote buying, ballot-stuffing, results-falsification, non-use of the card reader and a range of other irregularities that have no place in our electoral laws; we are making it unequivocally clear that the Benue APC will explore all constitutional and legal options available to ensure the votes of the people count.
“In simple terms, we will make a case before the Elections Petitions Tribunal to subject the Benue governorship elections result to an integrity test. If we opt otherwise, we will be as guilty as those who undertake acts that undermine democracy. We have chosen instead to take action that insulates democracy from practices that threaten it.”
In Bauchi State, the candidate of the PDP, Senator Mohammed was declared the winner of the governorship supplementary election held on Saturday in the state.
The result from the supplementary election collated in the 36 Polling Units in 29 Wards across 15 Local Government Areas of the state saw the candidate of the PDP won with 6,376 votes with his closest rival, the candidate of the APC and incumbent governor, Abubakar polling 5,117 votes.According to the results announced by the State Returning officer, Prof. Kyari Mohammed, Senator Mohammed led Abubakar with 1,259 votes to emerge the winner of the supplementary elections.
THISDAY checks revealed that  no fewer than 22,641 registered voters were supposed to vote in the supplementary election in 36 Polling Units in 29 Registration Areas (wards) scattered across 15 of the 20 LGAs of the  state.
It would be recalled that the returning officer of the elections in the state, Prof. Kyari Mohammed, had in the early hours of Monday, March 11, 2019, declared the governorship election in the state as inconclusive.
According to him, the candidate of the PDP got 469,512 votes to lead his closest rival, the incumbent governor, who got 465, 453 votes, adding that the margin of lead between the two candidates was 4, 059 votes.
THISDAY had also reported that Prof. Mohammed had earlier cancelled the entire votes of Tafawa Balewa LGA, which has 139,240 registered voters, citing the failure of the Collation Officer, Mrs. Dominion Anosike, to use the prescribed form to enter the result of the elections collated across the local government.
This was despite the explanation given by her to the commission that the result sheets for the governorship election were carted away by thugs who invaded the collation centre in Zwall, Tafawa Balewa LGA, in the early hours of Sunday.She had also notified the commission via an explanatory memorandum signed by all stakeholders in the election at the collation centre, who unanimously agreed to collate and record the result on another form, and addressed same to the Resident Electoral Commissioner and the State Returning Officer, which was submitted in Bauchi on Sunday.
However, Kyari, rejected the explanation and unilaterally declared that there was no result for Tafawa Balewa LGA and cancelled the election of the entire LGA even though there was no any incident of cancellation, violence or electoral malpractices at both the polling units and wards levels as reported by the Returning Officer.
The PDP candidate was in the lead after results of 19 LGAs were collated, with the incumbent governor trailing behind with a margin of over 4,000 votes.
In the contentious Tafawa Balewa LGA, the PDP had scored 40,000 votes against the APC’s 29,000, putting the PDP ahead with about 15,000 votes.
Announcing the results of the supplementary elections yesterday, the Returning Officer, Prof. Mohammed said: “As you well know, I cannot make a return because I understand that the case of Tafawa Balewa LGA is in court.”
The Federal High Court, Abuja will deliver a final judgment on the results of Tafawa Balewa LGA today.

APC Retains Kano, Plateau Governorship Seats

Governor Lalong of Plateau State was declared winner of the rerun gubernatorial election in the state after gathering 595,582 votes to his closest rival, Jeremiah Useni, a retired Army General and candidate of PDP’s, 546,813 votes.
The Returning Officer, Prof. Richard Kimbir, presented the result yesterday in Jos on behalf of the INEC.
“The valid votes totalled 1,159,954, with the rejected votes standing at 16,188, while the total votes cast was 1,176,142,” he said.
The margin of victory between Lalong and Useni is 48,769 votes.
The gubernatorial election held on March 9 in Plateau was declared inconclusive.
This had led to a rerun election in 40 polling units in nine local government areas of the state.
In Kano, Ganduje was declared winner, scoring 1,033,695 votes to his closest rival of the PDP, Abba Yusuf’s 1,024,713.

But the PDP yesterday rejected the Kano result, insisting that its candidate, Yusuf, was the rightful winner of the election and said any declaration that did not reflect such cannot stand.
The National Publicity Secretary of the party, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, in a statement yesterday said the so-called governorship supplementary election in Kano was a national disgrace and a mere figure allocating exercise by compromised INEC officials, who collaborated with power drunk politicians in the APC to award results to the APC candidate.
The party, therefore, cautioned INEC against any attempt to import contrived figures from the March 23 rerun as such would be a clear recipe for anarchy and serious crisis in the state.
Ologbondiyan stated: “The whole world knows that the PDP and its candidate, Abba Yusuf, won the Kano State governorship election since March 9, 2019, having fulfilled the constitutional requirement of securing the highest number of votes and the statutory 25 per cent in two-third of the state.
“The people of Kano State have a long history of firm resistance against corrupt and oppressive forces. Their will must, therefore, not be stretched in this election.
“The Kano people have abundantly expressed their rejection of the corrupt and incompetent government of Abdullahi Ganduje and his party, the APC, and no amount of machination can cow or force them to abandon their resolve for a new “governor in Abba Yusuf.”

Atiku Congratulates Tambuwal, Ortom

In a related development, the presidential candidate of the PDP, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, has described the victories of the candidates of the party in both Sokoto and Benue States as an acknowledgement from the Nigerian people that it is the only truly national party in Nigeria.
Atiku congratulated Tambuwal on his re-election and assured the good people of Sokoto State that they have made the right decision that would see them continue on the path of peace, progress and prosperity.
The former vice president also congratulated Ortom over his re-election, stressing that Ortom is not just a credit to the party, but also an epitome of servant leadership.
According to him, “With him again at the helm of affairs in Benue, the people of the “Breadbasket of the Nation” can look forward to times of refreshing and deliverance.”
Atiku also congratulated his party and all its members on these gains, adding that PDP is the true bastion of democracy and should be encouraged by these victories.
He said: “With unity within its midst, it will together continue to extend the boundaries of democracy and shrink the space occupied by tyranny.”
Atiku, however, shares solidarity with Alhaji Bala Mohammed and Abba Kabir Yusuf, who have made a great showing in Bauchi and Kano States, respectively, saying victory is within reach.
He said they have shown that they are men of the people, while expressing confidence that much good would come out of these men of enviable talents and leadership ability.

INEC, Situation Room Condemn Violence that Characterised Supplementary Elections

Meanwhile, INEC has condemned the electoral violence that characterised the supplementary elections held in some states of the federation.
The supplementary election held on Saturday was described by election observers as a show of shame especially in Kano and Benue States as thugs allegedly supported by some security agents and the ruling APC in the state took over some polling units and chased away voters perceived to be sympathetic to opposition party.
In Kano State, where supplementary governorship was held in 21 local government areas of the state, political thugs chased away voters perceived to be from opposition party.
It was also reported that there was brazen display of weapons by supporters of both parties.
Journalists covering the election too were not spared as some of them were attacked by political thugs.
The situation was the same in Benue State as political thugs destroyed and burnt ballot papers and boxes in some parts of the state where the supplementary election took place.
Also, the local government collation officer for Gboko Local Government Area, Comfort Doshima, was shot by unknown gunmen in Makurdi.
Doshima, a professor and lecturer at the University of Agriculture was on her way to the INEC headquarters, Makurdi, to present results from the local government.
She was rushed to the Benue State University Teaching Hospital, but was later pronounced dead.
However, in an interview with THISDAY yesterday, the Director of Voter Education and Publicity, Mr. Oluwole Osaze-Uzzi, insisted that violence negates the tenets if democracy.
According to him, “Violence in any election negates the very tenets of democracy, so is condemnable.”

Despite the electoral body condemning the spate of violence that marred the election, it did not cancel any polling unit distrusted by political thugs.
Also against the violence was the Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room, Which expressed concern over the inability of security forces to stem the incidents of political thuggery and intimidation recorded during the supplementary election in Kano state at the weekend.
The election observer group advised that INEC to ensure that measures are taken to discourage the conduct supplementary elections in future due to the violence and malpractices that is associated with the exercise.
It accused politicians and some officials of the electoral umpire of using the opportunity of such supplementary elections to perpetrate rigging and violence.
While presenting the preliminary report of the group on the supplementary election, the Concerned of the Situation Room, Mr. Clement Nwankwo said the exercise were marred by violence, thuggery and outright intimidation of the electorate by criminal elements.
He added that what was more worrisome is the fact that in some cases such criminality went on despite the presence of security agents.
Nwankwo made particular reference to incidents in Kano state where he said unaccredited party agents and political thugs flooded the polling units and beat up innocent voters.
He said: “Situation Room is further puzzled by the situation in Kano State wherein the deployment of senior Police Officers could not stem the incidents of political thuggery and intimidation. Reports received from our observers showed instances where security personnel, most especially the Police and Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, where challenging security situations were met with inaction.”
He said members of the observer coalition reported incidents in Beli Ward in Rogo Local Government and in Gama Ward in Nasarawa Local Government of Kano state.
According to Nwankwo who was flanked during the press conference in Abuja by alternate chairman of Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room, Esther Uzoma, said it is a cause for concern that “abuses of electoral process and violence have occurred despite the deployment of top-level Police officials, including a Deputy Inspector General (DIG), 3 Assistant Inspectors General and Commissioners of Police”.
“In the previous elections, the state Commissioner of Police took charge without senior level officers. It is therefore ironic and curious that this level of violence and political thuggery would occur with this quantum of senior Police Officers deployed. Situation Room has always advocated against redeployment of Commissioners of Police ahead of elections.”The Situation Room also said that there were reports of widespread vote buying in Kano and Bauchi States.
It said the incident was more prevalent in Gama Ward, Nasarawa Local Government of Kano State, as seen in PU 035 and was also observed in PU 013, Madangala Ward, Katagum Local Government of Bauchi State.
According to the group, there were reported cases of attempted inducement of observers with cash by agents of leading political parties.
The Situation Room however said that voting took place in relative peace throughout other areas that the supplementary election took place last Saturday.
It also said that this time, the deployment of the military were done in accordance with section 29(3) of the Electoral Act 2010.

President Muhammadu Buhari and Atiku Abubakar

Petition: My case against Buhari, by Atiku

Adds: Evidence coming from statisticians, fingerprint experts, forensic examiners
•Credible allegations of rigging marred Nigeria’s polls, says Campbell, ex-US envoy
•President’s spokesman, Adesina, declines comment

By Clifford Ndujihe & Ikechukwu Nnochiri

ABUJA — Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Atiku Abubakar, has told the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal, that the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, had at various stages of the February 23 presidential election, unlawfully allocated votes to President Muhammadu Buhari.

Atiku in the petition he lodged before the petition tribunal sitting in Abuja, said he would adduce oral and documentary evidence to show that results of the election as announced by INEC, especially the votes credited to President Buhari, did not represent the lawful valid votes cast.

He alleged that in some states, INEC, deducted lawful votes that accrued to him, in its bid to ensure that Buhari was returned back to office.

Both Atiku and the PDP said they would call evidence of statisticians, forensic examiners and finger-print experts at the hearing of the petition to establish that the scores credited to Buhari were not the product of actual votes validly cast at the polling units.

Atiku and PDP are the petitioners, while INEC, Buhari and All Progressives Congress, APC, are respondents in the petition.

Nigeria’s elections, bad news for democracy — ex-US envoy

Meanwile, a former United States Ambassador to Nigeria, John Campbell, has thumbed down the 2019 presidential election in the country, describing the election as bad news for democracy and feared that its outcome could affect other countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, given Nigeria’s influence in the region.

In a 701-word election post-mortem for the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, DC, Campbell also said that the PDP candidate, Atiku Abubakar may not win at the tribunal because “Buhari’s margin of victory, some four million votes is so large that it is unlikely courts will overturn the result.”

Presidency declines comment

Contacted over Mr Campbell’s remarks, President Buhari’s spokesman, Mr Femi Adesina declined comments.

“I can’t comment now  because I have not seen the article,” he said.

Atiku, PDP’s petition

“The petitioners plead and shall rely on electronic video recordings, newspaper reports, photographs and photographic images of several infractions of the electoral process by the respondents,” they added.

Specifically, the petitioners serialised results recorded from each state of the federation in order to prove that the alleged fraudulent allocation of votes to Buhari and the All Progressives Congress, APC, took place at the polling units, the ward collating centres, local government collating centres and the state collating centres.

Atiku contended that proper collation and summation of the presidential election results would show that contrary to what INEC declared, he garnered a total of 18,356,732 votes, ahead of Buhari who he said got a total of 16,741,430 votes.

“The petitioners shall rely on the evidence of statisticians, forensic examiners and other experts, detailing the data analysis on the votes at all levels of collation, from the polling units to the final return.

“The petitioners state that Smart Card Readers deployed by the 1st respondent, in addition to accreditation, equally transmitted electronically the results of voting from polling units directly to the server of the 1st respondent. The Presiding Officers of the 1st respondent directly inputted the results from the polling units at the end of voting and transmitted directly to the server, in addition to manually taking the Form EC8As to the Wards for collation. The 1st respondent is hereby given notice to produce the records of results from each polling unit uploaded and transmitted electronically by officials of the 1st respondent through smart card readers to the 1st respondent’s servers.

“The petitioners plead and rely on the 1st respondent’s Manual Technologies 2019, and notice is hereby given to the 1st Respondent to produce same at the trial. The 1st Respondent’s agents at the polling units used the Smart Card Reader for electronic collation and transmission of results. The Petitioners plead and shall rely on and play at the trial, the video demonstration by the 1st Respondent of the deployment of Smart Card Reader for authentication of accreditation and for transmission of data.

“The petitioners hereby plead and rely upon the extract of data as contained on the 1st Respondent’s servers as at 25th February 2019, notice to produce whereof is hereby given to the 1st Respondent.  The Petitioners also will rely on the data on the 1st Respondent’s central server between 25th February 2019 and 8th March 2019 and hereby also give notice to produce same before this Honourable Court.

“The petitioners hereby plead the electronic data on the servers of the 1st respondent and shall at the trial give evidence of the source of the data analysis and data material, including the website: http://www.factsdontlieng.com.

“The 1st respondent had on the day of election published the total number of registered voters in the entire country as 84,004,084. Subsequently, the same 1st respondent published a different figure of 82,344,107 as registered voters, leading to an unexplained difference of 1,659,977 registered voters. The 1st Respondent equally published the number of permanent voter’s cards (PVC) collected for the purpose of the presidential election as 72,775,502.

“The petitioners state that whereas the actual number of voters accredited at the election was 35,098,162, the 1st respondent wrongly suppressed and/or reduced the number of accredited voters to 29,394,209 to the detriment of the petitioners.

“The 1st respondent had by its Regulations and Guidelines for the Conduct of Elections, 2019 made pursuant to the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended) provided for the mandatory use of card readers for the said election. The 1st respondent by its press release on smart card readers issued in February 2019 and signed by its National Commissioner,  Festus Okoye, emphasised and reiterated that “The use of the Smart Card Reader is not only mandatory but its deliberate non-use attracts the sanction of possible prosecution of erring officials in accordance with the INEC Regulations and Guidelines for the conduct of elections.

“This is in addition to the voiding of any result emanating from such units or areas as was done in the Presidential and National Assembly elections of February 23, 2019.” By this stated position of the 1st respondent, all accreditation not done by smart card reader in the presidential election was and remain void.

“The petitioners state and contend that the 2nd respondent was not duly elected by majority of lawful votes cast at the election; and that from the data on each State of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, in the 1str respondent’s server, the 1st petitioner, as opposed to the 2nd respondent, scored majority of lawful votes cast at the election.

“Wherefore, the petitioners pray jointly and severally against the respondents as follows:-

“That it may be determined that the 2nd Respondent (Buhari) was not duly elected by a majority of lawful votes cast in the said election and therefore the declaration and return of the 2nd Respondent by the 1st Respondent as the President of Nigeria is unlawful, undue, null, void and of no effect.

“That it may be determined that the 1st petitioner (Atiku) was duly and validly elected and ought to be returned as President of Nigeria, having polled the highest number of lawful votes cast at the election to the office of the President of Nigeria held on 23rd February 2019 and having satisfied the constitutional requirements for the said election.

“An order directing the 1st respondent to issue Certificate of Return to the 1st petitioner as the duly elected President of Nigeria.

“That it may be determined that the 2nd respondent was at the time of the election not qualified to contest the said election.

“That it may be determined that the 2nd Respondent submitted to the commission affidavit containing false information of a fundamental nature in aid of his qualification for the said election.”

In the alternative, he prayed: “That the election to the office of the President of Nigeria held on February 23, 2019 be nullified and a fresh election ordered.”

Credible allegations of rigging marred Nigeria’s polls — Campbell

Campbell, who also served as US Department of State foreign service officer from 1975 to 2007, said the election was “marred by historically low turnout and credible allegations of rigging,” adding that from Situation Room’s report, the election fell below the 2015 presidential election standards.

The article read in part: “Nigeria’s latest presidential election cycle has been bad news for democracy in Africa’s most populous country and across the continent. Though President Buhari won the election, it was marred by historically low turnout and credible allegations of rigging.

“Buhari and his main challenger, former Vice President Abubakar, both Muslims from the Fulani ethnic group in the country’s North, are part of the political class that has dominated Nigeria since independence in 1960. Their contest meant there would be no generational leadership change in a country where the average age is 18 and half of registered voters are under 35.

“Buhari and Abubakar are the standard-bearers for two political parties descended from the military regime of General Ibrahim Babangida: the APC and PDP, respectively. Both parties are undemocratic in spirit and function primarily to contest elections rather than to promote legislation or policy. During their campaigns, the candidates and their parties offered little that was new to address security breakdowns caused by Boko Haram in the country’s Northeast; conflict over land use, ethnicity, and religion in the Middle Belt; and the division of oil revenue in the Delta. Moreover, they were mute on climate change, urbanization, and a population boom that is expected to push Nigeria past 450 million people by the middle of the century.

“The Situation Room, an umbrella organisation of Nigerian civil society groups, wrote that the vote marked “a step back from the 2015 general election and actions should be taken to identify what has gone wrong and what can be corrected.

“Nigeria’s influence across sub-Saharan Africa is out-sized. Its population and economy are Africa’s largest; its cultural influence, symbolized by the Nollywood film industry, is far-reaching; and its traditional diplomatic activism, through participation in peace-keeping missions and the regional economic bloc ECOWAS, is consequential.

“When Nigeria transitioned from military to civilian rule in 1999, the effects on West Africa were palpable: coups lost their legitimacy, and the region has pursued a positive democratic trajectory ever since. But the latest presidential election is far from an example for those African countries consolidating their democracies or emerging from quasi-authoritarian regimes to emulate.”

President Mohammadu Buhari

‘No Mr. President, the problem is not corruption, and It’s absurd to think it is’

President Muhammadu Buhari’s penchant for elevating corruption as the sole, or at least, the main source of Nigeria’s problems is already trite. But more importantly, it is a false narrative, apparently so. And the fact that otherwise educated people seem to buy into that narrative is an indictment on scholarship in the country.

Buhari had made slamming past PDP governments for failing to develop the country, because they were corrupt, his pastime since coming to power. And upon his reelection few days ago, he took another shot at the opposition party. Indicating perhaps that we are in for another round of blame games in his second term.

The president had said in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and publicity, Femi Adesina that: “PDP has not successfully explained to the country what they did with the money. There were no roads, no rail, no power. They said they spent $16 billion on power, but where is the power?”

Nigeria is a theatre of the absurd. It is perhaps the only country where people happily live a lie, convinced in themselves that perhaps, someday, such lie will turn out to be truth. But a lie is a lie. And no matter how long one believes a lie, it cannot change to become truth.

Certainly, one of the greatest lies of Nigeria is the assertion that corruption – as often defined here – is the country’s main problem.

Widely held is this falsehood that President Buhari’s government has since elevated “fighting” corruption to the status of official government policy. So, they say, we must end corruption for Nigeria to make progress. But the irony stares everyone in the face.

Four years of fighting corruption – let’s assume the farce going on is corruption fight – Nigeria has become worse off. All developmental indices have headed south. Standard of living has fallen. Nigeria has become the poverty capital of the world with about 90 million of its 180 million people living in extreme poverty. Job losses under Buhari have been massive. So, really, what could possibly be the basis for anyone to keep holding unto such logic?

But of course, since “fighting corruption” which was supposed to solve the problems have only created more poverty, we are increasingly being made to accept that poverty is a virtue and being wealthy is some sort of vice. To be clear, the job of government, at the very basic, is to create prosperity, not to spread poverty.

However, before the champions of anti corruption cry blue murder. Let me make a few this clear. Yes, I agree that corruption constitutes a hindrance to Nigeria’s progress. Corruption is bad, that’s not debatable. And as much as possible, we must, as a country, make conscious efforts to put it in check.

Nonetheless, my problem with corruption in Nigeria has had to do with what people see as corruption. Of course, if you mention corruption, the mind of the average person quickly runs to political office holders stealing money. That’s corruption, no doubt. But stealing is just an aspect of corruption and I dare say, it is about the least worrisome. The worst form of corruption is not stealing, it is nepotism.

It is using sentiment – be that ethnic or religious – to put square pegs in round holes. That’s one corruption that destroys the fabrics of the society because it doesn’t reward excellence. It is one that has helped to destroy Nigeria. And interestingly, it seems to be prevalent in the Buhari government.

I have always said that if I had a mechanic shop, I would be more inclined to hire a skilled mechanic who has a penchant for stealing money than a saint who cannot tighten or loosen a screw. The reason is simple: the thief will guarantee steady inflow of customers. And there are easy ways to put his stealing in check. The saint on the other hand, will ensure that the shop is out of business altogether within the shortest possible time. Nobody will take his automobile to a man who cannot fix it just because he is a good man.

This brings me to another farce that has dominated the Buhari presidency: integrity. These days, I’m inclined to think that there is a certain physical possession of Buhari that is called integrity. Such that when people say that Buhari has integrity, it could be the same as saying he has a shoe or a car. Because ownership of such physical objects is definite and not dependent on character. If for instance, you have a car, you can rig elections and it doesn’t change the fact that you have a car.

But that’s not the point here. The point is, the idea that Buhari has integrity, and that such integrity – let’s not dwell on whether or not there is such integrity – is what makes him the ideal president is hilarious. No, what one needs to lead or to get anything done is skill and competence. I’m yet to see a football club or team going for a competition and instead of gathering the best football players available, brings together people of integrity. A team of players with integrity but cannot play football will lose massively to a team of skilled footballers who are all notorious armed robbers.

Really, life is quite simple and straightforward. Do the right things and you achieve the right results. But somehow, the Nigerian state seems to think it can circumvent this basic rule of nature by inventing and imposing its own rules on nature.

Running a country is pretty much like running a business. You put the best hands and they will deliver results for the benefit of all. No country can progress when the first consideration for appointment into position of responsibility is not competence, but religion and ethnicity. Nigeria’s failure doesn’t therefore, come as a surprise. And the ugly truth is that the country will keep failing spectacularly and the rest of Africa will leave us behind. It is already happening.

The subject of my article is corruption and I shall return to it presently. I don’t think that there is any country on the planet where corruption does not exist, even in Europe and America. But the existence of corruption has not stopped countries in those continents from making progress. Even though we might say it has slowed some down – with examples in Eastern Europe – but even in their slow progress, they are still paradise compared to Nigeria with its massive human and mineral resources.

It is instructive, too, that people talk about fighting corruption in Nigeria when, in truth, the country itself is built on falsehood and corruption. The fact that we have constitutionally sanctioned certain practices that are inherently corrupt, cannot make them become norms.

I have joked elsewhere that Nigeria basically functions as a criminal enterprise. It is a country sustained largely by oil revenues from the Niger Delta. The discovery of oil had prompted the enactment of the obnoxious law that cedes all resources beneath the soil to the federal government. Such that whoever constitutes government at any point in time reserves the right to control such oil resources. Take away all the nuances and grammar, Nigeria is a country built around looting oil resources of the Niger Delta and sharing the proceeds. I call it looting because there is no kind of democracy that allows you to take what is in someone’s land and share amongst yourselves. None that I know of. The business of government is regulation and taxation.

Many people have made the point that the discovery of oil has turned out to be a curse to Nigeria. It is so because it has killed creativity and real governance. Ideally, governments at all levels ought to create wealth by exploring opportunities that exist within their areas of control. But in Nigeria, many people see government as an end in itself. This is so because, really, being president or governor in Nigeria is mostly about sitting on free money from oil and sharing same according to the magnanimity of your heart.

Stories have been told about how some state governments demanded bribes from potential investors before they would be allowed to invest in their states. This is the kind of story you will hear only in Nigeria where leaders are only used to free money and see little or no need for developing capacity within.

In an ideal environment; where a government has to rely strictly on taxation or profit from businesses it runs to generate revenue, such case of demanding bribe from investors cannot arise. The governor will know that he needs to help create prosperity within the environment as it would be the only way to receive reward in form of taxation. Thus, as opposed to demanding bribes, such government would create incentives to attract investment.

This brings me to the question of what really is Nigeria’s problem if not corruption? The answer is simple. It is structure. The first assignment of any leader who genuinely believes in Nigeria, and who wishes the country well, is to quickly devolve power to federating units. Whatever will constitute those federating units; whether states or zones, is a matter of details.

The key thing is that for the survival of the country, the feeding bottle system must be tinkered with. It is no longer a matter of choice, it is a matter of necessity. Governments at the lower levels have to be given more powers and therefore more responsibilities. They must be compelled to create capacity from within. It is the only way to engage the teeming population of the country. People must be engaged in value adding ventures, otherwise we are doomed.

I’m not saying that structural change is the magic wand that would create prosperity and propel Nigeria from third world to first world country in an instant. To be sure, there would be initial challenges. But doing so would mean that we are on the right path; the path to sustainable development.

If for instance, the Borno State government had to, as a matter of necessity, look inwards because it receives no freebies from Abuja, I’m convinced that the vast amounts of arable lands in the state could have been put to profitable use. And there could have been thriving leather and milk industries in the state on account of cattle breeding. This way, a vast majority of the state’s populace would have been engaged. There couldn’t have been Boko Haram.

Indeed, the growing security challenges in the country can easily be attributed to poverty and lack of opportunities. It is no coincidence that states which have higher poverty rates also have more security problems. If 2million barrels of crude oil could feed 70million Nigerians in 1970, it can scarcely feed 180million in 2019. And certainly, it cannot feed 300million in 2050.

The idea of creating alternative sources of revenue – or diversifying the economy –  will remain elusive as long as the feeding bottle federalism remains. It’s been the same talk since the 80s, as much as fighting corruption has been the justification for changes in government since the days of military dictatorships.

Nothing has changed ever since, and nothing significant is likely going to change unless something different is done. Anyone who keeps doing same things, but expects different results probably has a mental disorder.

Nigerians vote in governor elections in 29 states

The governor race in the largest city of Lagos is among those highly contested

Nigerians are heading to the polls to elect state and local representatives, two weeks after the presidential poll.

Ballots are being cast in 29 of the country’s 36 states.

In oil-rich Nigeria, some state governors control budgets larger than those of neighbouring countries and so these are often keenly contested.

President Muhammadu Buhari beat his main rival Atiku Abubakar in the 23 February election, securing a second term.

Across the country, Mr Buhari’s All Progressives Congress (APC) got 15.2 million votes while Mr Abubakar’s People’s Democratic Party (PDP) received 11.3 million. There are 73 million registered voters.

The APC won 19 states, while the PDP secured 16 plus the capital Abuja.

Mr Abubakar said the election was a “sham” and was not free and fair. He has since filed a petition challenging President Buhari’s win.

Although turnout for the presidential election was low across the country, it was higher in the northern states – one factor behind Mr Buhari’s victory.

Fears of possible election-related violence has led to the massive deployment of security personnel across the country.

Seven states – Kogi, Bayelsa, Ekiti, Osun, Ondo, Edo and Anambra – will not hold elections because their governors have not finished their four-year terms.


Analysis: Governors impact lives directly

By Aliyu Tanko, BBC Africa, Abuja

The turnout for the state elections is expected to be higher than the 35.5% in last month’s presidential election, down from 44% in 2015.

Most Nigerians take state elections seriously because their lives are directly impacted by the governor and representatives in the state legislature.

For instance, in 2000 – Governor Ahmed Sani Yerima introduced sharia law in Zamfara state and some other state governors in the north followed suit, even though the federal government wasn’t fully in support of that idea.

The governors also enjoy political influence and control huge budgets.

Lagos, one of the most contested states, has an estimated population of 17.5 million people – this is more than the combined population of Gabon, The Gambia, Liberia, Cape Verde and Sierra Leone.

The state’s GDP is more than that of Kenya. In fact, Lagos would be the fifth largest economy in Africa if it were a country.

Other key battle grounds that will be hotly contested between the APC and PDP are Kaduna, Akwa Ibom, Imo, Kano and Kwara.

FEATURE: Special Economic Zones as new frontiers for Nigeria’s industrialization

Even as major development finance institutions were committing to funding the development of Nigeria’s special economic zones in Abuja, work had commenced on Enyimba Economic City in Abia State.

“We agreed to be part of the project because it has been long overdue. We have no doubt that it will succeed,” said Mr Kayode Pitan, managing director of the Bank of Industry.

For Abia State Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu, and the communities that donated land, it was hope kept alive as the management of Nigeria SEZ Investment Company Limited (NZESCO) and the chief executive officers of Afreximbank, Bank of Industry and Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) signed the dotted lines at an event presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari in the Council Chambers of Aso Rock.

According to Okechukwu Enelamah, whose ministry -Industry, Trade and Investment – is implementing the development of the special economic zones under the direct supervision of President Buhari, “the initial projects such as the Enyimba Economic City, are underway and feasibility studies are going on in eight states.”

The three development finance institutions are among the five to partner with NSEZCO and the Ministry of Finance Incorporated. NSEZCO intends to raise at least US$500million in equity over the first five years to develop special economic zones in the country. The other investment partners are the African Development Bank (AfDB) and Africa Finance Corporation (AFC).

The President described the ceremony as another landmark in the journey to industrialize Nigeria and create jobs for people; and thanked the DFIs for “their strong demonstration of support for this important.”

At that same venue a few months back, the President had presided over the signing of an agreement for the development of Enyimba Economic City and the governor had returned home a happy man enthusing in an interview with a newspaper that,” Most of our people don’t bequeath legacies that are futuristic. I am from the South-east and I am pushing for the Enyimba Economic City.

“This project will blossom and create 200,000 jobs because of the sheer enormity of the positive effects on my people. I see the concomitant impact on the life of my people and area.

PRESIDENT BUHARI PRESIDES OVER SIGN OF NSEZCOM AND ITS INVESTMENT PARTNERS 3B. R-L; Managing Director and Chief Executive officer Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA). Mr. Uche Orji, Director of NSEZOM, Mr Femi Edun,Representatives of MOFI, Dr Bakari Wadinga, Managing Director Bank of Industry, Mr Olukayode Pitan and President of Afreximbank, Dr Benedict Oramah during the signing of agreements between Afreximbank, BOI and NSIA with the Nigeria Special Economic Zones Investment Company (NSEZCOM) and it’s Strategic Investment Partners held at the Council Chambers, State House in Abuja. PHOTO; SUNDAY AGHAEZE. FEB 8, 2019
PRESIDENT BUHARI PRESIDES OVER SIGN OF NSECOM AND ITS INESTMENT PARTNERS A

“I know my people are people who want to create things, so all you need to do is to make them neighbours to people who are actively manufacturing.”

The Enyimba Economic City project, believed to be capable of sparking an industrial revolution in the South-East is a 9, 803 hectares of land, spanning three local government areas of Ukwa East, Ukwa West and Ugwunagbo.

It is located at the centre of the five South-east and four South-south states and it is to be designed to drive massive economic expansion of the region and by extension Nigeria.

The agreement for the Economic City is a public-private partnership of NSEZCO, which holds 20 per cent stake, with the Abia State Government and Crown Realities Plc.

Abia State Commissioner for Lands, Survey and Urban Planning, Uche Ihediwa, signed the agreement on behalf of the state government; Femi Edun, a director of NSEZCO signed for the Federal Government, while Darl Uzu signed for Crown Realities Limited, the private sector developer.

PRESIDENT BUHARI PRESIDES OVER SIGN OF NSEZCOM AND ITS INVESTMENT PARTNERS 1B. L-R; President Muhammadu Buhari, Chairman of Bank of Industry, Alhaji Aliyu Abdulrahman, Executive Director of Nigerian Export Promotion Council, Mr. Segun Awolowo, MD/CEO Eyimba Industry, Dr Darl Uzu during the signing of agreements between Afreximbank, BOI and NSIA with Nigeria Special Economic Zones Investment Company (NSEZCOM) held at the Council Chambers, State House in Abuja. PHOTO; SUNDAY AGHAEZE. FEB 8, 2019
PRESIDENT BUHARI PRESIDES OVER SIGN OF NSECOM AND ITS INESTMENT PARTNERS 2
PRESIDENT BUHARI PRESIDES OVER SIGN OF NSEZCOM AND ITS INVESTMENT PARTNERS 3A. EXCHANGES OF SIGNED DOCUMENT; R-L; Managing Director and Chief Executive officer Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA). Mr. Uche Orji, Director of NSEZOM, Mr Femi Edun, Representatives of MOFI, Dr Bakari Wadinga, Managing Director Bank of Industry, Mr Olukayode Pitan and President of Afreximbank, Dr Benedict Oramah during the signing of agreements between Afreximbank, BOI and NSIA with the Nigeria Special Economic Zones Investment Company (NSEZCOM) and it’s Strategic Investment Partners held at the Council Chambers, State House in Abuja. PHOTO; SUNDAY AGHAEZE. FEB 8, 2019

Mr Uzu, who is also the Managing Director of Enyimba Economic City Development Company Limited, noted that “the investment will facilitate the development of the economic city in line with government’s policy objectives and have a transformational impact in the entire South-Eastern and South-Southern area of the country.”

But the special economic zones hold much more promise for the entire country and the rest of the continent.

Indeed, the accelerated pre-development work had been carried out by a multi-disciplinary team of consultants including Surbana Jurong of Singapore; CBRE, India; Allott Nigeria Limited; Roughton International, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, and a number of others.

And further to the Memorandum of Understanding signed with the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment in June 2018, Shandong Ruyi Group of China who met with Mr. President during in China announced an investment commitment of $2bn to the Cotton, Textile and Garment industry in Nigeria by way of anchor investments in manufacturing facilities in Enyimba Economic City, Abia State, Funtua Cotton Cluster and Lekki Free Trade Zone.

In Lekki, the Lagos State Government has allocated a parcel of 1,000 hectares of land in the North East Quadrant of the Lekki Free Zone to the project company to be owned jointly by its holding company, Lekki Worldwide Investments Limited and NSEZCO.

Project MINE (Made in Nigeria for Export) which is to develop the world-class special economic zones (SEZ) is designed to position Nigeria as the pre-eminent manufacturing hub in sub-Saharan Africa, and a major exporter of made in Nigeria goods and services regionally and globally.

The project was indeed envisioned by the Federal Ministry of Industry Trade and Investment and the Nigeria Export Processing Zone Authority.

According to NSEZCO, it had been noted from recent economic history that when SEZs are developed within a coherent, well designed, executed and funded framework, they help developing countries to utilise their factor endowments and comparative advantage to industrialise, diversify their economies and achieve prosperity for their people within one generation.

Such countries, an official of the company explained, have used SEZs to overcome infrastructural disadvantages and constraints; mobilized substantial domestic and foreign direct investment; increased technology penetration; attracted new skills and technologies; integrated into global value chains; created large number of quality jobs; increased export earnings; and achieved structural transformation of their economies.

PROJECT MINE SEEKS TO ACHIEVE THE FOLLOWING SPECIFIC OBJECTIVES:

Aid structural transformation of the Nigerian economy by increasing the manufacturing sector’s contribution to GDP to 20% by 2025;

Contribute to sustainable inclusive growth by creating 1.5 million new direct manufacturing jobs in the initial phase of Project MINE;

Increase and diversify foreign exchange earnings to at least US$30bn annually by 2025, by increasing manufacturing sector exports;

Create local models of global best practice in the provision of world class infrastructure at competitive costs connecting SEZs to international and regional markets with transport links, uninterrupted power, ICT, water, sewage and other services to ensure smooth and efficient operation of SEZ businesses;

Promote the “cluster” effect to be gained by locating similar export-oriented manufacturing businesses within the same locality;

Attract world-class investors with strong positions in global supply chains and investors with the potential to increase the scale of operations rapidly to set up operations in SEZs; and

PRESIDENT BUHARI PRESIDES OVER SIGN OF NSECOM AND ITS INVESTMENT PARTNERS B. L-R; President Muhammadu Buhari, Managing Director and Chief Executive officer Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA). Mr. Uche Orji and Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr. Okechukwu Enelamah during the signing of agreements between the Nigeria Special Economic Zones Investment Company (NSEZCOM) and it’s Strategic Investment Partners held at the Council Chambers, State House in Abuja. PHOTO; SUNDAY AGHAEZE. FEN 8, 2019

Create an enabling environment for SEZ businesses by instituting best in class legal and regulatory frameworks, using technology and streamlined processes to facilitate movement of people, goods and capital and easy access to government services, approvals and permits.

At the signing ceremony, President Buhari said the Federal Government set up NSEZCO as a vehicle for participating in Public-Private Partnerships involving Federal and State governments and local and foreign private investors to develop new special economic zones all over the country, offering world-class infrastructure and facilities at competitive costs.

The first set of projects in the pilot phase are Enyimba Economic City, Funtua Cotton Cluster and Lekki Model Industrial Park.

Providing the background of the initiative, the President said, “When we decided to continue with the implementation of the Nigeria Industrial Revolution Plan of the previous Administration and launched our Economic Recovery and Growth Plan to fast track implementation, we had a vision of Nigeria as the pre-eminent manufacturing hub in Sub-Saharan Africa and a major exporter to our immediate West African sub-region, the rest of Africa and indeed the World.

“Special Economic Zones have an important role to play in achieving this vision. They offer investor friendly incentives, world class infrastructure and ease of doing business in order to attract local and foreign investment and have been used as a catalyst for rapid and inclusive development, job creation, industrialisation and diversified export earnings in several countries.

“Under my direct supervision, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment is implementing Project MINE as a Presidential special priority intervention using Special Economic Zones to achieve the objectives of: boosting manufacturing’s share of GDP to 20%, generating $30bn in annual export earnings; and creating 1.5 million new jobs all by 2025.”

PRESIDENT BUHARI PRESIDES OVER SIGN OF NSEZCOM AND ITS INVESTMENT PARTNERS 5. L-R; President Muhammadu Buhari in a handshake with the Director of NSEZOM, Mr Femi Edun. Others are President of Afreximbank, Dr Benedict Oramah and Managing Director Bank of Industry, Mr Olukayode Pitan after the signing of agreements between Afreximbank, BOI and NSIA with Nigeria Special Economic Zones Investment Company (NSEZCOM) held at the Council Chambers, State House in Abuja. PHOTO; SUNDAY AGHAEZE. FEN 8, 2019
PRESIDENT BUHARI PRESIDES OVER SIGN OF NSEZCOM AND ITS INVESTMENT PARTNERS 6. L-R; President Muhammadu Buhari in a handshake with the President of Afreximbank, Dr Benedict Oramah. Others are, Managing Director Bank of Industry, Mr Olukayode Pitan Representatives of MOFI, Dr Bakari Wadinga, NSEZOM, Mr Femi Edun after the signing of agreements between Afreximbank, BOI and NSIA with Nigeria Special Economic Zones Investment Company (NSEZCOM) and it’s Strategic Investment Partners held at the Council Chambers, State House in Abuja. PHOTO; SUNDAY AGHAEZE. FEN 8, 2019

In his introduction, Mr Enelamah had said that the initiative was the choice of President Buhari for the industrialization drive of the government under its three-point agenda on security, economy and the fight against corruption.

“We are happy to be here today to progress the project,” he added.

On his part, Benedict Oramah, President and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Afreximbank expressed the appreciation of the bank to the Federal Government for the opportunity to be part of the project.

PRESIDENT BUHARI PRESIDES OVER SIGN OF NSEZCOM AND ITS INVESTMENT PARTNERS 3B. R-L; Managing Director and Chief Executive officer Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA). Mr. Uche Orji, Director of NSEZOM, Mr Femi Edun,Representatives of MOFI, Dr Bakari Wadinga, Managing Director Bank of Industry, Mr Olukayode Pitan and President of Afreximbank, Dr Benedict Oramah during the signing of agreements between Afreximbank, BOI and NSIA with the Nigeria Special Economic Zones Investment Company (NSEZCOM) and it’s Strategic Investment Partners held at the Council Chambers, State House in Abuja. PHOTO; SUNDAY AGHAEZE. FEB 8, 2019
PRESIDENT BUHARI PRESIDES OVER SIGN OF NSEZCOM AND ITS INVESTMENT PARTNERS 1B. L-R; President Muhammadu Buhari, Chairman of Bank of Industry, Alhaji Aliyu Abdulrahman, Executive Director of Nigerian Export Promotion Council, Mr. Segun Awolowo, MD/CEO Eyimba Industry, Dr Darl Uzu during the signing of agreements between Afreximbank, BOI and NSIA with Nigeria Special Economic Zones Investment Company (NSEZCOM) held at the Council Chambers, State House in Abuja. PHOTO; SUNDAY AGHAEZE. FEB 8, 2019

He said the objectives of the bank align with that of the project and they are pleased with the ability of the project to grow industrialization.

Uche Orji, Managing Director of Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority also thanked Mr President for the opportunity of the NSIA to participate in the project. “The board saw it as an opportunity to help SEZCOs lift the country through industrialization. It is a good platform for attracting investors and we look forward to its implementation,” he said.

Femi Edun, a director of NSEZCO and Dr Bakari Wadinga, Director, Ministry of Finance Incorporated, signed on behalf of the company.

Muhammadu Buhari has been re-elected for a second four-year term as president of Nigeria

Nigeria election 2019: The challenges waiting for Buhari

Muhammadu Buhari has been re-elected for a second four-year term as president of Nigeria Africa’s most populous nation, which faces a range of problems including corruption, an economic slowdown and security threats. BBC Africa Editor Fergal Keane examines the challenges.

This was never an election that promised the possibility of a new era. The 76-year-old president and his defeated rival, Atiku Abubakar, 72, have been around the Nigerian political scene for decades and represent two parties often associated with cronyism and corruption.

Indeed Mr Buhari’s victory may in part have to do with public mistrust of his opponent who had to reject allegations of corruption during the campaign.

The president did make some efforts in his first term to counter the graft which has seen tens of billions drain out of the exchequer.

His personal financial integrity has never been questioned. But he has been widely criticised for not going fast or far enough. Will he be more vigorous in his second term?

‘Baba Go Slow’

A dose of realism is needed: the breadth and depth of corruption is so great, it affects so many aspects of public life that making serious inroads into the problem would require a focus, energy and application that was lacking in President Buhari’s first term.

Map of Nigeria

His absence from the country for long periods due to ill-health – he sought treatment in London for a still undisclosed illness – gave the impression of an administration that often crawled rather than strode.

President Buhari has been lucky in his choice of deputy.

Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo showed himself to be dynamic and brave when he stood in as acting president, notably reining in the security services and acting to stabilise the naira, the local currency, at a time of deep economic uncertainty.

By contrast Mr Buhari has been nicknamed “Baba Go Slow”. It took him six months to appoint his cabinet first time around.

Can he end looting?

The second problem he faces in fighting corruption is having the necessary political support.

There is undoubted public backing but Mr Buhari’s party is compromised by senior members suspected of enriching themselves through graft. The fear is that across the board the looters will carry on pretty much as normal, undermining economic development.

Presentational grey line

Determined disciplinarian

Supporters of Mr Buhari at an election rally, 2019
  • Born in 1942 to a Muslim family in northern Katsina state
  • Former soldier, led military regime in 1980s, remembered for strictness – tardy civil servants had to perform frog jumps in public
  • Won 2015 presidential election, the first opposition candidate to defeat an incumbent, with promise to beat corruption and Boko Haram insurgents
  • Told wife she belonged in kitchen after she complained in a BBC interview about his government
  • After long absence from illness, had to deny rumours that he had been replaced in public by a lookalike
Presentational grey line

Economically, the country remains dependant on oil prices for 70% of government revenues – a long-term vulnerability that helped pull Nigeria into recession between 2016-17.

The World Bank has predicted sluggish economic growth: 2.2% for the coming year in a country with unemployment of more than 20% and nearly half the population living in extreme poverty.

A girl selling water waits for costumers at a market
Nearly half of Nigeria’s population live in extreme poverty, the World Bank says

Ending the dependency on oil revenues needs to happen at a much faster pace.

President Buhari also faces an array of security threats from clashes between farmers and herdsmen in the Middle Belt, continuing instability in the oil-producing Niger Delta and – most worrying of all – a revived threat from Islamist extremists in the north of the country.

There, the Boko Haram offshoot – Islamic State West Africa Provice (ISWAP) – used the elections period to stage a series of high-profile attacks including an attempt to fire rockets into the city of Maiduguri on polling day.

Presentational grey line

Militant muscle

Low turnout concern

For a president at the height of his powers these would be a formidable array of challenges. But Mr Buhari is in his seventies with a history of health problems.

It may be that he is rejuvenated by victory and his second term is more dynamic than the first.

A young man wearing a cap bearing the name of Muhammadu Buhari
Voter turnout was the lowest in 20 years

If not the danger is that Nigeria succumbs to the politics of drift with growing frustration among the young who make up more than half the population.

For faith in democracy to endure those elected need to be seen to bringing tangible gains.

This might – at least partially – explain why voter turnout was a record low of just under 35%, down from 44% in 2015.

This is the statistic that should worry all political parties in Nigeria.

Map of turnout

Nigeria election: Muhammadu Buhari re-elected as president

Supporters celebrate at Mr Buhari’s campaign headquarters in Abuja

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has been re-elected for a second four-year term, the election commission says.

The 76-year-old defeated his main rival, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, with a margin of nearly four million votes.

Mr Abubakar’s People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has rejected the result. Turnout was 35.6%.

Delays and violence marred the run-up to Saturday’s poll but no independent observer has cited electoral fraud.

Mr Buhari’s All Progressives Congress (APC) won in 19 of the 36 states while the PDP was victorious in 17 states and in the capital, Abuja, according to the electoral commission (Inec).

“The new administration will intensify its efforts in security, restructuring the economy and fighting corruption,” Mr Buhari said after his victory was officially announced.

The APC had 15.2 million votes while the PDP had 11.3 million.

Supporters of Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari celebrate in Kano, Nigeria, after he won a second term February 26, 2019
There were celebrations in Kano

Some supporters of Mr Buhari took to the streets late on Tuesday in celebration.

Who is Buhari?

A former soldier, Mr Buhari led a military regime for 20 months in the 1980s and was first elected president in 2015, becoming the first opposition candidate to defeat an incumbent and win the presidency.

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari
Muhammadu Buhari was first elected president in 2015 (file photo)

His record in office is mixed. Mr Buhari’s critics say that the very attributes that won over voters four years ago – his strictness and inflexibility – have emerged as liabilities. They accuse him of autocratic leanings as well as a disastrous tendency towards inaction.

Mr Buhari’s supporters can argue that he has largely delivered on campaign pledges such as tackling corruption and cracking down on Boko Haram. But they may struggle to point to concrete achievements in other fields, such as fixing the economy.

Tough challenges ahead

By Fergal Keane, BBC Africa editor

The breadth and depth of corruption is so great, it affects so many aspects of public life that making serious inroads into the problem would require a focus, energy and application that was lacking in President Buhari’s first term.

The second problem he faces in fighting corruption is having the necessary political support. There is undoubted public backing but Mr Buhari’s party is compromised by senior members suspected of enriching themselves through graft. The fear is that across the board the looters will carry on pretty much as normal.

Economically, ending the dependency on oil revenues needs to happen at a much faster pace. The World Bank has predicted sluggish economic growth: 2.2% for the coming year in a country with unemployment of more than 20% and nearly half the population living in extreme poverty

President Buhari also faces an array of security threats from clashes between farmers and herdsmen in the Middle Belt, continuing instability in the Niger Delta and – most worrying of all – a revived threat from Islamic extremists in the north of the country.

What are the main issues?

Africa’s most populous nation and largest economy faces a range of problems including power shortages, corruption, security threats, and an economic slowdown.

Nigeria is Africa’s leading oil producer but corruption and a failure to invest the proceeds from the industry have hampered development.

A slow recovery from a recession in 2016 means there are not enough jobs for the large number of young people joining the employment market. About a quarter of the working age population is unemployed.

Election in numbers

  • 73 million have voters’ cards
  • 51% of the electorate under the age of 35
  • 73 registered presidential candidates
  • 120,000 polling stations
Presentational grey line

What is the opposition saying?

Earlier on Tuesday, PDP chair Uche Secondus called the count “incorrect and unacceptable”. The party said counting should be stopped, alleging data from voter card readers had been manipulated.

The federal government accused the PDP of trying to “scuttle the polls” and prompt a constitutional crisis.

former Vice President Atiku Abubakar
Atiku Abubakar’s People’s Democratic Party has rejected the result

Some 130 people have been taken into custody suspected of electoral offences, reports say.

The initial vote was postponed early on 16 February, five hours before polls were due to open. Voters were also choosing members of the House of Representatives and Senate.

President Muhammadu Buhari and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar

2019 presidential election: How Buhari, Atiku stand in 36 states, FCT according to INEC’s official results (with infographics)

President Muhammadu Buhari is set to be re-elected to lead Africa’s most populous country for an additional four years.

At the end of collation on Tuesday night, February 26, President Buhari crossed the 15 million mark in votes scored in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory.

He polled 15,191,847 votes, winning in 19 out of the 36 states.

His main challenger Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party scored 11, 255,978 votes and won 17 states and Abuja.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Buhari also satisfied the constitutional requirement of making 25% in 34 states and the FCT.

He missed the cut in Enugu and Anambra.

According to the electoral commission, 29,364,209 votes were cast out of which 27,324,583 were valid while 1,289,607 votes were rejected.

In Summary, this is how Nigerians voted:

Meanwhile, Observer group, YIAGA Africa, had earlier projected that there would be no run-off when the final results of the presidential election is announced.

President Muhammadu Buhari is set to be re-elected to lead Africa’s most populous country for an additional four years.

At the end of collation on Tuesday night, February 26, President Buhari crossed the 15 million mark in votes scored in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory.

He polled 15,191,847 votes, winning in 19 out of the 36 states.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Buhari also satisfied the constitutional requirement of making 25% in 34 states and the FCT.

He missed the cut in Enugu and Anambra.

According to the electoral commission, 29,364,209 votes were cast out of which 27,324,583 were valid while 1,289,607 votes were rejected.

In Summary, this is how Nigerians voted:

The group made the projection during a press briefing on Monday, February 25 addressed by the chairman of its Watching The Vote Working Group, Dr. Hussaini Abdu.

Dr Abdu said its projection is based on what the group received and processed its data from the sampled polling units.

His words: “YIAGA Africa’s preliminary estimates indicate that turnout for the February 23 presidential elections will be between 36% and 40% based on official turnout figures collected from the PVT’s representative statistical sample of polling units across the 774 LGAs in the country.

“If INEC’s official turnout falls within WTV’s estimated range then it accurately reflects the ballots cast at polling units.

“Although YIAGA Africa currently has a stable estimated range for the election outcome, it is the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) that has the mandate to announce results.

“However, based on currently received observer reports, there will be no run-off for the presidential elections because a clear winner will emerge. YIAGA AFRICA’s PVT shows that no candidate will receive more than 55% of the vote share.”

Breaking: INEC officially declares President Buhari winner of 2019 election.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has officially declared President Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress as the winner of the 2019 presidential election, defeating Atiku Abubakarof the PDP with over three million votes

Mahmood Yakubu said the duty of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is to conclude and collate the presidential result for final declaration.

He said on the problem of accredited voters not adding up to number of voters, Yajubu said the problem affects less than 2 per cent of voters and thus does not affect the general conclusion.

He said in Yobe and Akwa Ibom, the numbers add up.

He said on the request of the opening of the commission’s backlend for verification and cross checking of voters, he says it is not a matter of law. He said the discussion can be continued after the end of this process.

Osita Chidoka representing the Peoples Democratic Party said there was a discrepancy of more than 1,600, 000 voters in terms of registered voters.

He said the cancelled votes affected more than 2 million voters. He claimed there were 5.1 million votes that cannot be accounted for and thus called for a rerun.

In his response, Yakubu said the asserting that 5.1 million voters could not vote because of card readers is not true. He also said when card readers are deliberately circumvented, votes will be cancelled.

He said constitutionally, he has two roles. Firstly, as a the chief commissioner of the election, he will announce the national collation of results.

Secondly, as the returning officer for the presidential election, he will make an official declaration of the winner of the election.

The INEC chairman announced that Muhammadu Buhari of the APC scored 15, 191, 847 votes. while Atiku Abubakar of the PDP scored 11, 262, 978.

Total valid votes – 2, 732, 4583

Rejected votes 1, 289, 607

Total votes cast – 2, 861, 4190

Yakubu said following the collation, he said he now performs his role as returning officer and listed all the names of the presidential candidates and their total votes.

He said Muhammadu Buhari is declared winner of the election and returned elected.

#NextLevelConfirmed: We’re popping champagne – Buhari’s supporters.

Muhammadu Buhari was re-elected Nigeria’s president, results showed Tuesday, after a delayed poll that angered voters and led to claims of rigging and collusion.

Buhari, 76, took an unassailable lead of more than four million votes as the last states were yet to be declared, making it impossible for his nearest rival, Atiku Abubakar, to win.

Buhari

The win was confirmed as Abubakar won in the very last state to declare — Rivers in the south — but could not claw back the deficit.

Supporters of Buhari’s All Progressives Congress (APC) gathered at his campaign headquarters in the capital, Abuja, to celebrate even before the final results were announced.

Some sang “We’re popping champagne!” while Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo was seen in a video clip singing “Up we go!” in a reference to Buhari and his “Next Level” campaign slogan.

Buhari’s spokesman, Garba Shehu, posted a photograph of the president on Twitter, watching the results on television. “#BuhariHasWon,” he wrote.

But there were none of the spontaneous street parties that marked his victory four years ago, when he became Nigeria’s first opposition candidate to beat an incumbent president.

To win the presidency in Nigeria, a candidate needs a majority of votes nationwide and at least 25 percent of support in two-thirds of Nigeria’s 36 states and the FCT (Federal Capital Territory).

Initial results showed Buhari won 15,191,847 votes or 56 percent of the vote while Abubakar, of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) won 11,262,978 votes or 41 percent.

Buhari won in 19 states — including the two most populous, Lagos and Kano — while Abubakar was victorious in 17 states and the FCT.

In 2015, president Goodluck Jonathan won plaudits for conceding to Buhari in a phone call, as the results indicated he could not win.

“Nobody’s ambition is worth the blood of any Nigerian. The unity, stability and progress of our dear country is more important than anything else,” he said at the time.

Previous elections have been marked by political violence, including in 2011, when more than 800 people were killed.

There was no immediate official concession from Abubakar, whose party earlier Tuesday called on the electoral commission to halt the count, citing irregularities.

The election, which was delayed just before polls were due to open on February 16. The electoral commission cited logistical difficulties in delivering ballot materials.

Nigeria’s re-elected president Muhammadu Buhari: in his own words.

With none of these fulfilled — and the economy recovering from recession — he portrayed himself as a continuity candidate, hammering home a similar message.

He framed the issues as unfinished business, saying in a campaign speech in November his government had “laid the foundation for a strong, stable and prosperous country”.

“Foundational work is not often visible, neither is it glamourous,” Buhari added.

Here is what he has said and promised on the campaign trail:

– On insecurity –

“We delivered on our commitment to secure the territorial integrity of our nation in the face of a raging insurgency that devastated many parts of the northeast.

“We believe we can implement the painstaking and comprehensive policy to bring an end to the conflict between farmers and herders”.

Televised address, February 2019.

– On corruption –

“Concrete progress has been made but there is still much to do. We have repatriated hundreds of millions of dollars stowed away in foreign banks.

“These funds have been transparently deployed on infrastructural projects and used to directly empower the poorest in society”.

Facebook, January 2019.

“Grand-scale corruption perpetrated at the highest level of government is now a thing of the past.”

Campaign speech, November 2018.

“A Yoruba proverb states that only the patient one can milk a lion. Likewise, victory over corruption is difficult, but not impossible.”

– On the economy –

“The economic recovery that we promised is well under way… In 2018 the economy grew by 1.93 percent…

“Remarkably the strong economic performance was driven by the non-oil sector which grew 82 percent as of a full year.

“These results further underscore our commitment to diversifying the economy away from dependence on oil.

“Our next task is to redouble our efforts, accelerate growth and use it to create even more jobs for our people.”

Televised address, February 2019.

– On jobs –

“Train 200,000 youths for outsourcing market in technology, service and entertainment.”

Campaign manifesto

“The next level of effort focuses on job creation across various sectors.

“An enlargement of the N-Power programme. There is scope for more than 15 million new jobs.”

Campaign speech, November 2018.

“The Central Bank has cumulatively lent over 120 billion naira to 720,000 smallholder farmers cultivating 12 commodities across the 36 states and the FCT (Federal Capital Territory).

“Targeted crops and livestock have included cattle, poultry, fish, cassava, soybeans, groundnut, ginger, rice, cotton and maize and as a result we have seen a remarkable rise in the production of key agricultural commodities.

“Our interventions have led to improved wealth and job creation.”

Televised address, February 2019.

– On infrastructure –

“Our administration has a deliberate policy to close Nigeria’s significant infrastructural deficit.”

Campaign speech, November 2018.

“Our commitment to critical infrastructure, that is roads, rail, bridges, airports and seaports, will create more jobs, improving the efficiency and competitiveness of our industries.”

Campaign speech, November 2018.

– On education –

“Increase of children fed under the School Feeding Programme from 9.2 million to 15 million.”

Campaign manifesto.

“We will remodel 10,000 schools everywhere and retrain our teachers to impart science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics.”

Campaign address, November 2018.

– On social investment –

“We are providing direct support to over 13 million Nigerians who need it by giving relief and assistance to unemployed youth, our children, the weak and vulnerable as well as small and medium businesses.”

Campaign website, November 2018.

– On claims he had died –

“It’s the real me, I assure you.”

Denying rumours he had died and been replaced by a lookalike, December 2, 2018

Muhammadu Buhari was first elected president in 2015 (file photo)

Nigeria election: Muhammadu Buhari re-elected as president

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has been re-elected for a second four-year term, final results from Saturday’s general election show.

The 76-year-old defeated his main rival, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, with a margin of just under four million votes.

Mr Abubakar’s People’s Democratic Party has rejected the result.

Delays and violence marred the run-up to the poll but no independent observer has cited electoral fraud.

Turnout was just below 35% of registered voters, according to the Nigerian electoral commission (Inec).

The commission will make a formal declaration on Wednesday.

Presentational grey line

Lowest turnout in 20 years

By Tomi Oladipo, BBC News, Abuja

The announcing of Nigeria’s election result dragged on through its second day as the paperwork came in from around the country. But as Tuesday night wore on, the outcome became more apparent, with President Buhari securing 15 million votes.

Initial results indicated high voter turnouts in the north, from where Mr Buhari has received the bulk of his votes. But the national turnout figures look to have been the lowest since the country’s return to democracy 20 years ago.

The opposition People’s Democratic Party alleges some figures were incorrect but the ruling All Progressives Congress dismissed these claims.

Nigeria’s electoral commission will review any alleged discrepancies before announcing the final results and declaring the winner.

Presentational grey line

A former soldier, Mr Buhari led a military regime in the 1980s, and was first elected president in 2015. He will face a range of problems including power shortages, corruption, security threats, and an economic slowdown.

The president has quelled a militant Islamist rebellion in Nigeria’s north-east, but Boko Haram remains active. There has also been an upsurge in violence in the Middle Belt as traditional herders and more settled farmers have clashed.

Photos: Buhari meets Fashola, Amaechi, Oshiomole at Campaign Headquarters

President Buhari on Monday was at his Campaign Headquarters in Abuja where he received updates on the performance of APC in the Presidential Elections.Campaign-Office-2-1.jpg

Buhari met with Director of Election Planning and Monitoring Babatunde Fashola, Director Contacts and Mobilization Hadiza Bala Usman, DG Campaign Council Rotimi Amaechi and APC National Chairman Adams Oshiomole at the Campaign Headquarters.Campaign-buhari.jpg


President Buhari with Director of Election Planning and Monitoring Babatunde Fashola, Director Contacts and Mobilization Hadiza Bala Usman, DG Campaign Council Rotimi Amaechi and APC National Chairman Adams Oshiomole as he visits Campaign Headquarters in Abuja where he received updates on the performance of APC in the Presidential Elections on 25th Feb 2019.Campaign-Office.jpg


President Buhari with Director of Election Planning and Monitoring Babatunde Fashola, Director Contacts and Mobilization Hadiza Bala Usman,Campaign-Office-1.jpg

President Buhari with Director of Election Planning and Monitoring Babatunde Fashola, Director Contacts and Mobilization Hadiza Bala Usman, DG Campaign Council Rotimi Amaechi and APC National Chairman Adams Oshiomole as he visits Campaign Headquarters in Abuja where he received updates on the performance of APC in the Presidential Elections on 25th Feb 2019.Campaign-Office-2.jpg


President Buhari with Director of Election Planning and Monitoring Babatunde Fashola.Campaign-Office-3