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The Independent National Electoral Commission says it's under siege by  the Nigerian Army and the Nigerian Air Force. According to reports, Men in uniform are being deployed to INEC office in Rivers state.

Reports says that the operatives of the two Services were preventing those legitimately authorized to be in its office from gaining access.


The position of the Commission was made known on Sunday by its Head of Department of Voter Education and Publicity in Rivers State, Edwin Enabo.


Enabo said: “The INEC office is under siege by men in army uniforms, uniforms of the Air Force and police who have taken over.

“They are stopping and screening people.

“They are clearing results before they enter the office to the extent that up till now no collation has been done.

"We don’t understand where the people are deployed from.

“We are not accusing the Nigerian Army or the Nigerian Air Force, but we say the people right now in the office are wearing uniforms of Army and Air Force.

“If they are not from them, we are calling on them to come and rectify the situation and allow our officers to enter with their results without molestation and harassment.

“Throughout the elections, we had so many reports of insecurity, molestation, harassment and assault on our staff and ad-hoc staff, disruption of the electoral process throughout the state in all the Local Government Areas with the consequence that by yesterday evening we were unable to get any results and by 1 pm today, the office is under siege by men in Army, Air Force, and Police Uniforms.”  

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Former Manchester United midfielder Marouane Fellaini retired from international duty with Belgium on Thursday, just over a month after swapping Old Trafford for China.


“After twelve years of representing Belgium at the highest level, I have decided to retire from senior international football,” Fellaini said on his Twitter account.


“It has not been an easy decision for me and not one I take lightly.


“However, I feel that the time is right for me to step down and allow the next generation of Belgian players to continue this very successful period in Belgian football history.”


Fellaini, 31, made 87 appearances for Belgium and was part of the squad that finished third at last year’s World Cup.


Belgium is currently top of the FIFA world rankings ahead of France, the team that defeated them in the semi-finals in Russia.


Fellaini left United in February after five-and-a-half years at the club to join Chinese Super League team Shandong Luneng.


He spent six seasons with Everton before following David Moyes to Manchester following Scot’s appointment as the successor to Alex Ferguson.


AFP

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Aisha Buhari, wife of the president has advised that the All Progressives Congress (APC) to consider only card-carrying members for political appointments.

She said this at a dinner which was set to celebrate the victory of President Buhari in Daura, his home town on Thursday 7th March, 2019.

The event took place at the Daura Stadium and attracted women and youth supporters of the political party from across Katsina state.

Aisha noted that the constitution of the party specifies that appointments to offices in an APC led government should go to card-carrying members.

She thus advised that the party constitution should be respected.

She also expressed appreciation over the support that the party enjoyed in the last Presidential election, especially from women and youth and assured them that government will do more to improve their lives.

“I wish to thank the women and youth of this country for the number of votes they gave President Buhari in the 2019 election and to assure that he will continue to do his best to make Nigeria a better country.”

One of the speakers at the event, Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika praised the electorate for choosing President Buhari, whose integrity, he said, is time-tested.

He assured them that the second tenure will result in development in all spheres of endeavour.

He commended Aisha for her initiative in engaging women and youth during the presidential campaign, which resulted in the massive votes recorded.

Goodwill messages were delivered by many politicians including Woman Leader of the APC Women and Youth Presidential Campaign Team, Mrs. Binta Muazu, and Senator Fatuhu Mohammed, representing Daura Zone.

The event was attended by wife of the Governor of Katsina state, Zakiyya Masari, wife of the Deputy Governor, Mannir Yakubu and wife of Minister of Interior, Hadiza Dambazau.

Various artistes performed at the occasion.

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Mother-in-law to the Katsina State government has been abducted a few hours before the gubernatorial elections.

Yusuf, aged 80 years, was reportedly abducted from her residence at Dandume crescent in Katsina layout of the metropolis.

She is the mother to Binta Masari, one of the three wives of the governor.

The newspaper said the armed abductors who wore masks stormed the residence around 3 am on Friday, took her away after beating some persons “thoroughly” and carting away with telephones.

Already, sympathizers have besieged the residence lamenting and discussing the incident just as security personnel was spotted gathering information.

The police are yet to make comments on the incident.

Masari is contesting Saturday’s election under the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

The high rate of crime in the north-west state has been a source of concern to the government and residents.

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The Osun State Governorship Election Tribunal has reserved judgment in the petition filed by the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate, Senator Ademola Adeleke, in the September 2018 governorship election held in the state.


PDP and Senator Adeleke are, by their petition, challenging the declaration of Adegboyega Oyetola of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as the winner of the election by the Independent National Electoral Commission.


The tribunal, after entertaining final arguments and adoption of written addresses by lawyers to the parties, announced that judgment has been reserved.

Tribunal Chairman, Justice Ibrahim Sirajo said parties will be informed, at least, 48 hours before the date of delivery of the judgment.


Wole Olanipekun appeared for the governor; Akin Olujinmi represented the APC, while Lasco Pwahomdi appeared for INEC.


In adopting their separate final addresses, Olanipekun, Olujinmi, and Pwahomdi urged the tribunal to dismiss the petition on the grounds that the petitioners have failed to prove their case.


But lawyer to the petitioners, Onyechi Ikpeazu, urged the tribunal to uphold the petition and grant all the reliefs prayed by the petitioners.

NAN

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Members of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) in Adamawa State holds a rally ahead of the governorship and state house of assembly elections scheduled for Saturday.

The march on Thursday in Yola and tagged “Media Peace Day Campaign” was organised by the union and a group, Search for Common Ground.

The media practitioners called for the support of electorates, candidates, and security operatives to sustain peace during and after the polls.

They also urged political parties and candidates in the state to accept the results of the elections and seek justice but not violence in cases of contentions.

Addressing reporters at the NUJ Secretariat in the state capital, the acting chairman of the union in Adamawa, Umar Dankano, said journalists jointly condemn proliferation of small arms, thuggery, hate speeches, and fake news.

He also appealed to winners in the elections to be magnanimous in victory and urged the losers to seek justice in court rather than cause violence.

The NUJ chairman also called on political actors in the state to continuously engage their followers in a bid to achieve a peaceful exercise.

# NAN

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A Federal High Court sitting in Minna has dismissed a certificate forgery case filed by the Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) against Governor Abubakar Bello and his deputy, Ahmed Ketso.


This comes barely 72 hours after the court had dismissed the suit filed by the opposition PDP challenging the eligibility of the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC),


The court presided by Justice Aminu Aliyu upheld the objections of the defendants that the suit having been filed outside 14 days is contrary to the intendment of section 285 (9) of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) is statute barred and therefore dismissed.


The PDP secretary Mohammed Zhigun in a suit number FHC/cs/mn/04/19 filed 11th of February 2019, had alleged that both Governor Abubakar Bello and his deputy had presented forged certificates to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).


He filed the suit as an individual even though his party, the PDP had filed its own separate suit alleging the same offense.


Expressing their views, counsel to the governor and the deputy governor, Mr. Jibrin Okutepa (SAN) stated that the case against his client is nothing but meant for political amusement and states further that from on-set, the plaintiff set out on a mission that he knew was fruitless.


On his part, counsel APC Yunus Usman (SAN) stated that he is satisfied with the judgment and noted that the case was bound to fail on all sides. While counsel to INEC  JohnsonUsmann said that he is satisfied with the judgment.

NAN

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has started the distribution of sensitive election materials to the 18 local government areas of Edo state ahead of Saturday’s elections.

INEC’s distribution exercise is in line with the new timetable put out by the Commission following the rescheduling of the elections.

The electoral umpire commenced distribution of sensitive materials in the early hours of the day with various agents monitoring.


Below are some photos from the ongoing distribution exercise.


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The court of Appeal has affirmed Senator Ayogu Eze as the governorship candidate of the All Progressive Congress for the Saturday governorship election.


The Appellate Court in a unanimous judgment delivered by Justice Abdul Aboki upheld the appeal filed by Senator Ayogu Eze to affirm his candidacy as the rightfully nominated candidate to represent the party.


In the judgment, the Court of Appeal set aside the judgment of Justice Iyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court Abuja who had earlier ordered inec to replace him with one Barrister George ogara as the APC governorship in Enugu state.

Justice Aboki voided the Federal High Court decision on the grounds that the suit brought before it had become statu barred and not competent in law having been filed outside the mandatory fourteen days stipulated by section 285 subsection 9 of the 1999 constitution.


The Appeal Court specifically held that the suit filed by ogara at the trial court caught by the fourth alteration act to the 1999 constitution which as a new law makes it mandatory for all pre-election matters to be filed within fourteen days of the cause of action.


In the instant case, Justice Aboki held that the case was filed more than thirty – two clear days after the primaries which took place on the 4th of October, thereby rendering the suit to a mere academic exercise.


Justice Aboki said that the failure of Ogara to file his suit within fourteen days has offered section 285, removed jurisdiction from the Federal High Court and made the case to be statu barred.


The Appeal Court also said that “whatever right the respondent may have in his suit has been extinguished by law” and therefore has no right to benefit any longer from the case.


The appeal court, therefore, set aside the judgment of the federal high court which ordered inec to remove and esponge Senator Anyogu Eze’s name from inec list of candidates for the governorship election in Enugu state.

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President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday called on Nigerians to come out in mass to vote in the Governorship and States National Assembly polls, urging them to make Saturday’s elections better than that of February 23, 2019. 


In his address, the President said, “Let us make the gubernatorial polls much better than the presidential which local and international observers have adjudged to be free and fair”.

“The forthcoming elections are as important for good governance as that of the presidency and the National Assembly. Indeed, governance at the state level is closer to us and should touch our lives more directly,” President Buhari stressed.

He added, “I, therefore, urge you to troop out massively on Saturday to elect your governors and state lawmakers”.

President Buhari also encouraged the voters to avoid all form of malpractice in the coming polls, promising that the safety of all the electorates is guaranteed.


Below is the full statement as issued by President Buhari.


“PRESIDENT MUHAMMADU BUHARI’S MESSAGE TO NIGERIANS ON THE FORTHCOMING GUBERNATORIAL ELECTIONS


6th March 2019


The second and final phase of the 2019 general elections comes up on Saturday, March 9, with Nigerians voting for governors and members of Houses of Assembly in the states.


Let me once again extend my condolences to the families of those who lost their lives or sustained injuries as a result of accidents or criminal violence during the elections.


The onus is once again on qualified people to turn out in large numbers to exercise their civic rights.


With the presidential poll behind us, let us not become complacent, and fail to vote in the gubernatorial poll.


The forthcoming elections are as important for good governance as that of the presidency and the National Assembly.


Indeed, governance at the state level is closer to us and should touch our lives more directly. That is why it is vital for us to participate in the choice of who governs us at the state levels.


I, therefore, urge you to troop out massively on Saturday to elect your governors and state lawmakers.


As a member of the All Progressives Congress, I recommend those standing on the platform of the party to you, as we are guided by progressive ideals, and we will not disappoint you.


Equally, I urge you to comport yourself properly, as you turn out for the election.


Avoid all deviant behaviors like ballot stuffing, ballot snatching, and any other action that does not conform with best electoral practices.


I assure you that the security agencies will be on hand to protect voters, and ensure that the process is not undermined in any way.


Let’s make the gubernatorial polls much better than the presidential, which Local and International observers have adjudged to be free and fair.


May I repeat my appeal to our young people: do not allow yourselves to be used to cause violence or to break the law or otherwise disturb the peace.


I have pledged a decent and credible electoral system for our country. I stand by that promise.


Let us together do the right thing on Saturday, so that the best hands can emerge at the states, and take us faster to the Next Level.


Thank you, and God bless our country. Amen.


Muhammadu Buhari

March 6, 2019”


The governorship election will hold in 29 states of 36 states in the country

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