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The All Progressives Congress (APC) has told the Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, that the Presidency is not for sale.

The APC Acting National Publicity Secretary, Yekini Nabena, said this in a statement on Monday, in reaction to allegations of vote buying in the just concluded presidential primary of the PDP.

“Atiku is known as a super-rich Nigerian who entrenched the undemocratic practice of buying votes of delegates".

“During the APC National Convention in 2014, he spent several millions of dollars to buy delegates’ votes and emerged third, after Buhari and Rabiu Kwankwaso".

He continued by stating, “On Sunday, he reportedly bought over virtually all the PDP delegates and was declared the winner of the PDP presidential primaries".

“With these huge expenses incurred to secure the PDP ticket, how will Atiku recoup his “investment” if not from the public treasury should he win the Presidency?" the APC questioned.

The APC further scored the PDP presidential candidate ‘abysmally low’ in terms of character, citing his relationship with his former boss, Olusegun Obasanjo.

According to the party, he has proven to be ‘untrustworthy and unreliable’.

The APC accused Atiku of defecting from one party to another, adding that if he loses the presidential election in 2019, he will again defect from the PDP to another political platform.

At the end of the political banter, the ruling party, however, congratulated Atiku on his victory.

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Senate president and presidential aspirant of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Bukola Saraki has assured Atiku Abubakar of his support in the 2019 presidential election.

Saraki made this known in a series of tweets on Sunday, after Atiku was announced as winner of the PDP presidential primaries.

Today is a great day for our party, , because it has shown what men and women of our party can do. Today has shown that the interest of our party and the Nigerian people is more important than our individual interests. 

I want to thank Governor Okowa for planning and organizing this transparent, free and fair Presidential Primary and Convention.

I congratulate our Presidential Candidate, Your Excellency, Alhaji Abubakar, for your victory. You have stayed on course over the years and truly, you deserve this victory.

We always knew from Day 1 that only one candidate would emerge. On behalf of all the aspirants, I want to assure Alhaji  Abubakar that we will work with you to ensure that come 2019, you emerge as Nigeria’s next President. 

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Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, has said that President Muhammadu Buhari would have arrested him if he had found him wanting and that he is the most investigated politician in Nigeria.

Atiku made this known in a statement on Monday by his campaign organization in Abuja saying ‘ vindictiveness of President Buhari would have arrested Abubakar if he had been found wanting. He said: “We are not surprised that there is confusion in the President’s camp. We expected that they would be thrown into a catatonic state knowing that Atiku Abubabakr’s emergence automatically means the coming end of their ignominious reign". That much was admitted by the President’s former running mate, Pastor Tunde Bakare when he praised the emergence of Atiku as an ‘Eagle’ and ‘a cosmopolitan wazobia’ politician. Obviously, Pastor Tunde Bakare has foreseen that the era of 97% versus 5% has come to an end with the emergence of the pan Nigerian Atiku Abubakar.

“We ask how can the Buhari Campaign Organisation disparage the PDP Primary that produced His Excellency, Atiku Abubakar,even when the President’s own wife, Aisha Buhari, has condemned the APC’s primary? Not only did Mrs Buhari condemn APC’s primaries, but she also described them as ‘unfair’ and lacking in integrity. Who can know President Buhari better than his wife? “Eleven aspirants contested against His Excellency, Atiku Abubakar, during the Presidential primary of the PDP. Every single one of them accepted his victory. President Buhari was the only candidate cleared by the APC to contest its primary, yet, a coalition of 5 aspirants are challenging his victory, that alone tells Nigerians his emergence is fraudulent".

“Nigerians know that Atiku Abubakar is the most investigated politician in Nigeria and any smear by the Buhari administration remains just that. With the vindictiveness of President Buhari, he would have arrested Abubakar if he had been found wanting. However, to set the record straight, we want to remind Nigerians that PDP’s primaries were genuine, free and fair. Atiku Abubakar got 1,532 votes in a contest televised live to millions of Nigerians. The All Progressives Congress’ primary, on the other hand, was a study in dictatorship and corruption. The sole candidate, Muhammadu Buhari, scored almost 15 million votes. How could that occur without rigging or manufacturing of faceless voters?” “No wonder Transparency International rated Nigeria as more corrupt today under Buhari than just three years ago when the PDP was in power. The scandals are too numerous, including the $25 billion NNPC contracts awarded without due process, the several padded budgets, the $41 million Ikoyi Apartment scandal, the recall, reinstatement and double promotion of pension thief and Buhari financier, Abdulrasheed Maina, the N200 million grass cutter scandal, and many others too numerous to mention.” “The choice before Nigerians in 2019 is a simple one. Nigerians have a choice of electing a lively candidate with a record of providing 50,000 jobs to Nigerians in his private capacity versus the lifelessness (apologies to President Donald Trump) of a candidate under whom Nigeria lost 11 million jobs and became the world headquarters for extreme poverty". “Nigerians have a choice of a man who will provide an efficient and business-friendly solution to the herdsmen crisis and a man whose government said ‘giving land for cattle ranching is better than death.” “It is very obvious that faced with such a choice that Nigerians would definitely vote for the man who will Get Nigeria Working Again, hence we are not surprised by this desperate statement from the Buhari administration that is so shameless that they made a man implicated in framing a man of God on spurious charges as their spokesman. If he can lie against a man of God, should Nigerians believe anything he says about the PDP and its candidate?” 

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Former Plateau governor, Sen. Jonah Jang, has congratulated Alhaji Atiku Abubakar for picking the presidential ticket of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the 2019 general elections.

Jang, who also contested alongside Atiku and 10 others, said in a statement issued on Monday in Jos that the victory was well-deserved and he would support the party’s candidate to win in 2019. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Atiku polled 1,532 votes to defeat his closest opponent, Aminu Tambuwal, who had 693 votes at the party’s elective convention held in Port- Harcourt. “On behalf of my campaign team and teeming supporters, I hereby congratulate Atiku Abubakar for a deserved victory and accept in totality the outcome of the Primary Elections.

“As a loyal member and responsible stakeholder of our party, I hereby pledge to support and work for the actualisation of the anticipated Atiku Abubakar presidency; a presidency which I strongly believe will have answers to the multifaceted problems confounding the current occupant of Aso Rock, ” Jang said.

The former governor urged Atiku to pay special attention to the challenges confronting the people of Middle Belt, particularly the countless killing of innocent citizens by ” faceless” gunmen, when he becomes president. He advised the candidate to make the security and welfare of the middle belters his top priority. Jang commended the Uche Secondus-led National Working Committee and the Dr Ifeanyi Okowa-led Convention committee for organising a hitch-free and transparent convention.


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 A source from the area, who identified himself as Benson, explained that some members of the party had allegedly come with some thugs to the venue.

The source disclosed that some of the thugs tied objects suspected to be  charms during the shooting, which was ostensibly targeted at scaring people away.

It was gathered that the shooting, which lasted for about 15 minutes, caused confusion during the primary, where the incumbent member of the House of Representatives, Jerome Eke, was to slug it out with another PDP chieftain, Ephraim Uzi.

“The incident happened at the council secretariat in Okehi, the venue of Etche PDP House of Representatives’ primary. The incident started at about 6 pm; some members of the party were said to have come in with thugs.”

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The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has condemned what it called a fresh plot by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) “to secretly create 30,000 illegal polling units in compromised areas” to boost the chances of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in the 2019 general elections.


The party said part of the plot is to create the additional polling units in remote areas to facilitate the exercise.

In a statement issued yesterday by the National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, the party said Nigerians know what to do at the appropriate time.


“We are aware of series of clandestine meetings between compromised officials of the commission and certain agents of the Presidency and APC, where the plot to sneak in the 30, 000 illegal polling units in some remote areas and through which they plan to allocate votes to President Buhari and the APC were perfected.


“Our investigation shows that this is part of the grand design by the commission under Professor Mahmood Yakubu to rig the 2019 general elections in favour of President Muhammadu Buhari.


“Having realized that Nigerians have completely rejected them because of their manifold failures in governance, the Presidency and the APC are now employing all manners of dirty antics to create ways to rig the polls and foist President Buhari back on Nigerians.


“The PDP cautions INEC not to set the nation on fire by its overt conspiratory tendencies. Professor Yakubu should heed wise counsel and immediately perish the thoughts of using such polling units or dividing the nation along ethnic lines in the 2019 general elections, as such would be stiffly resisted.


“We invite INEC to note that every Nigerian has seen the handwriting on the wall regarding the general rejection of President Buhari and the APC well ahead of the elections. We all know where the tide is flowing and Nigerians are not ready to, and will never accept any results that do not reflect that reality.


“We urge Nigerians to remain vigilant and monitor all processes to ensure that INEC and the APC do not, at any point in the process, manipulate the 2019 general election and subvert the will of the people,” the statement read in part.

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Former President Jacob Zuma is seen in the dock at the High Court in Durban on today


Durban, South Africa (CNN)South Africa's ex-President Jacob Zuma appeared in a Durban court today to face multiple corruption charges relating to a billion-dollar arms deal in the late 1990s.

It's a dramatic U-turn for Zuma, who just weeks ago held the highest office in the land. He resigned on February 14, forced out by the leadership of the ruling African National Congress, his own party.

Thousands of people turned out to support Zuma as he arrived at the high court for his first hearing. They had been asked not to wear ANC colors, but many wore wraps and T-shirts with the former president's image.


After a brief preliminary hearing, the judge adjourned court proceedings to June 8.

Despite its brevity, the hearing was notable in a continent where leaders -- former or current -- don't generally face the law.

Andrew Feinstein, a former ANC member of parliament, has long accused Zuma of corruption. "But the question is, can Zuma keep himself out of court using legal machinations?" he asked.

Up until his Durban court appearance, Zuma's legal team had been successful in doing just that with a series of mostly procedural maneuvers.

In court Friday, his defense team said it would challenge the decision to prosecute. 

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There was excitement in Enugu yesterday as Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi formally handed over N5 million cheque each to 118 autonomous communities that have so far fulfilled the requirements for the release of the fund, as the first tranche of the N10 million earmarked for every community in the state to execute development projects of their choice.


The 118 autonomous communities that received their cheques, according to the Commissioner for Rural Development, Hon. Gab Onuzulike, were among the 450 communities approved by the Enugu State Executive Council that have opened accounts with designated banks.


He added that the remaining communities would receive theirs as soon as they open bank accounts and send the details to the Ministry of Chieftaincy Matters/Rural Development.


Ugwuanyi while presenting the cheques to the traditional rulers and the President Generals of Town Unions in the communities, stated that the decision was in line with his administration’s resolve to empower each autonomous community in the state with the sum of N10 million to carry out projects that would address their “peculiar and immediate development needs.”


The governor added that the government decided that the choice of the projects and their execution were left “entirely” to the discretion and at the disposal of the stakeholders of each individual community.

He said: “This was in fulfillment of our promise to promote participatory democracy and extensive rural development in the state as well as the involvement of all local communities in the implementation of government policies and programmes.”


Ugwuanyi, who disclosed that the exercise was the first time in the history of the state, explained that the projects to be executed by the communities are different from those being done in various communities by his administration through the Community Development Project (CDP), the World Bank-assisted Community and Social Development Project (CSDP) as well as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).


According to him, “to march words with action, the State Executive Council on the 22nd of November 2017, approved the release of the sum of N2.25 billion to cover the first tranche of N5 million to be given to every community in the state so as to enable them commence work on their self-chosen projects. The communities were also asked to open bank accounts for the lodgment of the said funds.”


While thanking the communities that received the cheques for their support and eagerness to participate in “this historic scheme,” Ugwuanyi expressed explicit confidence that they will utilize the funds for the identified purposes for the improvement of the socio-economic conditions of their people, reassuring that his administration will not relent in its development efforts until the fruits of good governance are felt in every community in Enugu State.


Responding on behalf of the Igwes and the town unions’ Presidents-General, the Chairman of Enugu State Council of Traditional Rulers, Ambassador Lawrence Agubuzu thanked the governor for the “innovative, unique, socio-economic and new developmental strategy for Enugu State,” saying that they are happy to have him as a governor.


The Caretaker Committee Chairman of the town unions, Hon. Paully Eze, had described the release of the fund as a pleasant surprise, saying that the governor has wiped away the tears of the people in so many communities, who he said had never experienced any development project in their areas.


He maintained that the grassroots development programme would ensure that government presence is registered in all the over 450 autonomous communities in the state, commending the governor for his passion for the wellbeing of the people.

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Ethiopia has declared a state of emergency, a day after the country's prime minister abruptly resigned.


The measure was announced on Friday by the Council of Ministers, the Ethiopian government's cabinet, according to state broadcaster EBC.


Local media said the measure is effective as of Friday, but it was not immediately clear how long it would last.


Quoting an unnamed source "close to the government", the Addis Standard newspaper reported that the Council was debating whether to make the measure span three or six months.


In August 2017, Ethiopia lifted a 10-month state of emergency imposed after hundreds of people were killed in anti-government protests demanding wider political freedoms.


Ethiopia's Oromo and Amhara people - who make up about 61 percent of the country's population - have staged mass demonstrations since 2015 demanding greater political inclusion and an end to human rights abuses.


Jawar Mohammed, an Oromo rights activist and head of the Oromia Media Network, said the state of emergency declaration was "unnecessary, unhelpful and unwise".


"The best way to ensure stability at this time is not to declare state of emergency that was tested and failed," Mohammed wrote on Facebook earlier on Friday.


Felix Horne, a Human Rights Watch researcher on Ethiopia, said during the last state of emergency - the first in 25 years - more than 20,000 people were arrested.


"Those released speak about how it has only angered them further. It didn't work then, what does [the government] hope to achieve now?" Horne wrote on Twitter.


Political uncertainty

Hailemariam, who has sat at the helm of the Ethiopian government since 2012, announced on Thursday he would be stepping down as prime minister and head of the ruling Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) coalition.


He cited ongoing "unrest and a political crisis" in the country as major factors in his resignation, which he described as "vital in the bid to carry out reforms that would lead to sustainable peace and democracy".


Hailemariam said he will stay on as prime minister in a caretaker capacity, until the EPRDF and the country's parliament accept his resignation and name a replacement.


The executive committees of both the EPRDF and his own party within the coalition, the Southern Ethiopian People's Democratic Movement, have so far accepted his decision to step down.


Tsedale Lemma, editor-in-chief of Addis Standard, said there has been a political struggle within the ruling party since the death of former prime minister, Meles Zenawi, in 2012.


Appointing a new prime minister from within the Oromo community would be "a conciliatory gesture", Lemma said.


But whomever replaces Hailemariam, she said Ethiopia "needs a very serious political surgery to heal it from its structural [disfunction]", which would include dismantling repressive laws and strengthening the independence of the judiciary.


Mulatu Gemechu, deputy secretary of the opposition Oromo Federalist Congress, said earlier on Friday that Ethiopia needs a new political system after years of unrest.


"Ethiopians now need a government that respects their rights, not one that keeps beating and killing them," he told Reuters news agency.

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South East leaders of the All Progressives Congress on Monday met with President Muhamamdu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Led by the Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu,  he disclosed to  State House correspondents that the purpose of the meeting was to intimate the President of the decision reached at a meeting of the party chiefs on December 31.

He said, “The APC leadership in the South East met on December 31 last year and endorsed the President for a second term.

“We have come today to reaffirm that and to assure Mr. President that the party is working very hard to win future elections.”

The minister said Buhari was happy especially considering the calibre of members of the delegation.

He added, “He was very happy because you can see the calibre of people in this delegation, a very high-powered delegation.

“We have former leaders of the National Assembly at the highest level, Senate President, Speaker, House of Representatives, former heads of government at the state level, one governor or represented by the deputy governor because the governor is out of the country, all the ministers from the South East, serving members in the National Assembly both in the Senate and House of Representatives, former members of the National Assembly and very important members in the party.

“We have our National Vice Chairman in the South East, members of the National Working Committee and National Executive Committee all present.

“So the President was very happy that such a delegation thought it fit to come and visit him.”

 

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