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US: Buhari, Obasanjo, Jonathan join world leaders to congratulate Joe Biden

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  • Kamala Harris makes history  as first female vice president-elect in US
  • Trump vows to contest results in court Monday

President Muhammadu Buhari, former presidents Olusegun Obasanjo and Goodluck Jonathan and many world leaders have rushed to congratulate Joe Biden on winning a nail-biting US presidential election, even as President Donald Trump who has refused to concede has vowed to challenge the results of the election in court from Monday November 09, 2020.

President Buhari in his message said Biden was elected as new President of the United States “at a time of uncertainty and challenges in world affairs.”

He, however, noted, “Your election is a significant reminder that democracy is the best form of government because it offers the people the opportunity to change their government by peaceful means.”

According to him, the most powerful people are not the politicians, but voters who can decide the fate of candidates for elective office at the polling booth, adding, “The main benefit of democracy is the freedom of choice and the supremacy of the will of the people.”

Obasanjo, in a congratulatory letter made available to The PUNCH by his Special Assistant on Media, Kehinde Akinyemi, hailed Biden and his running mate, Kamala Harris, over their ‘victory’ in the US election and described the ‘feat’ achieved by the two Democrats as “victory of good over evil”.

The former Nigerian leader wrote, “It is the victory of good over evil and it is not a victory for you and the people of America alone, but a victory for most people of the world, majority of whom watch helplessly as the world that had been steadily and painstakingly built since the end of the Second World War was being pulled down.

“Not that the world was perfect and equitable, but it was reasonably predictable with some measure of the rule of law and respect for international agreements and treaties.

“President-elect Joe Biden must restore confidence in the role of America as the largest economy in the world which has very significant responsibility for the peace, security, stability and progress of the world.

“I felicitate with Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris as the first female Vice-President of the U.S. We in Africa are proud of her success.”

Jonathan, in his message titled: ‘Goodwill message to United States President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris’, appealed to the incoming government to partner with African nations to help the continent overcome the vicissitudes of the pandemic, by building on existing trade and expanding on new frontiers for cooperation.

He said, “I congratulate President-elect, Joe Biden, and Vice President-elect, Kamala Harris, on their victory at the November 3, 2020 US Presidential election.

“Their election is not just historic, it is also futuristic in the sense that it gives us a glimpse of what the future will be-a world where race, gender and religion do not matter as much as competence and capacity.

“The best predictor of future behaviour is past behaviour, and based on his tenure as Vice President of the United States of America, between 2008 and 2016, I am fully persuaded that as President, Mr Biden will provide national and global leadership that will set the post COVID19 world on a path of peace and prosperity.”

 

What other world leaders say

Amid a flurry of congratulatory messages there were some noticeable silences from among both Mr Trump’s closest global allies and Washington’s staunchest enemies. After the news was called by the US’s biggest television networks on Saturday afternoon, there were no initial official statements issued by Russia, Turkey, Israel, Iran, Hungary Saudi Arabia and China.

The first world leader to break the silence, however, was Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau, who made no mention of Mr Trump, with whom he had an often-troubled relationship.

Instead the Canadian leader said he would work with the United States to “advance peace and inclusion, economic prosperity, and climate action around the world” and congratulated both Mr Biden and  Kamala Harris, his running mate, who will become the first woman, the first Black American and the first American of Asian descent to serve as vice president, the country’s No. 2 office.

Several major television networks finally declared Mr Biden’s win on Saturday after a gruelling five-day ballot count saw him push ahead in key swing states.

“I am honoured and humbled by the trust the American people have placed in me and in Vice President-elect (Kamala) Harris,” Mr Biden said on Twitter.

Mr Trump, who has made repeated claims of electoral fraud and insists he has in fact won, accused Mr Biden of “rushing to falsely pose as the winner”.

“This election is far from over,” he said in a statement issued while he was playing golf in Virginia.

But this did not stop many leaders of western nations including those considered long-time allies of the U.S. celebrating Mr Biden’s win. Many had clashed with Mr Trump on security, trade, and numerous multilateral matters, including Washington’s withdrawal from the Paris climate accords. During Nato and G7 summits, Mr Trump has repeatedly insulted fellow leaders, hectored officials behind closed doors, and occasionally stormed out of meetings.

In quick succession, statements were released by France, Germany, Spain, Ireland and New Zealand.

“The Americans have chosen their President. Congratulations @JoeBiden and @KamalaHarris! We have a lot to do to overcome today’s challenges. Let’s work together!”  French President Emmanuel Macron wrote on Twitter. While Anne Hidalgo, the mayor of Paris, tweeted “Welcome back America!”

“Good that there’s finally a clear result,” wrote German foreign minister Heiko Maas, “We look forward to working with the next US administration.”

The Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis also congratulated Mr Biden calling him a “true friend of Greece”.

Most of the world’s authoritarian or populist leaders who were considered Mr Trump’s ideological fellow travellers were, however, quiet about the impending fall of a man who had empowered and legitimised their brand of right-wing populism.

Turkey, which enjoyed exceptionally warm ties to the White House under Mr Trump, was among those who stayed mum.

Iranian officials — including the outspoken foreign minister Mohammed Javad Zarif – also issued no statement about Mr Biden’s victory which could mean a return to the nuclear deal negotiated by President Barack Obama while he served as vice president.

Instead Iran’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei called the vote “a spectacle” and “the definitive political, civil & moral decline of the US regime” on Twitter.

Abbas Mousavi, Iran’s ambassador to Azerbaijan and former spokesman of the Foreign Ministry, on Twitter said “Joe Biden would possibly be just the same as his predecessors.”

In Russia, the Kremlin was also quiet.  In a sign of what might be to come, however Konstantin Kosachyov, Chair of the Federation Council Committee on Foreign Affairs released a dismissive post on Facebook declaring Mr Biden’s victory premature as there was “clearly no official result yet”.

“There is no clear, unconditional and convincing winner. What has instead emerged victorious is schism, and mutually exclusive social views on the future of America,” he said.

Saudi Arabia which is close to the Trump administration have also yet to release a statement.

Ali Shihabi, a Saudi analyst who is on the advisory board of one of the mega-projects of the Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, said the Gulf generally favoured a Trump win but added “we can live with it”.

“He was unreliable and that scared thoughtful people in the Gulf,” Shihabi added.

In Israel, there was noticeable silence from one of Mr Trump’s closest allies Benjamin Netanyahu, who has been criticised back home for getting too close to Mr Trump and the Republican Party at the detriment of the bipartisan relationship between the two countries. The banner photo of Mr Netanyahu’s official Twitter account remained a picture of himself with Mr Trump.

However Israeli opposition figures and the Palestinian leadership were quick to chime in. Yair Lapid, who had run against Mr Netanyahu across three extraordinary elections in Israel, described Mr Biden as a “friend” in a statement where he made a point of referencing both the Democratic and Republican parties.

Harris makes history as first female, Black, South Asian American VP-elect

Sen. Kamala Harris has solidified her place in history Saturday by becoming the first woman, the first Black American and the first South Asian American elected vice president in U.S. history.

Harris’ political career has included many barrier-breaking moments, such as serving as California’s first Black female attorney general and being the second Black woman in history to be elected to the U.S. Senate.

Harris, 56, the only Black woman currently in the Senate, was elected in 2016 after serving as California’s attorney general and, before that, as the San Francisco district attorney.

Trump says election ‘far from over’ as he vows to fight results

President Donald Trump vowed Saturday to press forward with a legal fight, pushing unfounded claims of voter fraud in response to the news that President-elect Joe Biden had won the election.

Trump was at his Virginia golf club when NBC News and other networks projected Biden as the winner.

“Beginning Monday, our campaign will start prosecuting our case in court to ensure election laws are fully upheld and the rightful winner is seated,” Trump said. “The American People are entitled to an honest election: that means counting all legal ballots, and not counting any illegal ballots.”

Politics

Obasanjo in Addis Ababa to monitor Ethiopia’s election

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Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has arrived in Addis Ababa to monitor Ethiopia’s general election scheduled for Monday June 21.
Obasanjo is heading the African Union Elections Observation Mission to the country.
The election was initially slated for August last year but the COVID-19 pandemic forced a postponement by 10 months. And technical hitches forced another weeks’ delay in May.
It was agreed that the poll in the vast country of 110 million should hold at the best of times.
And things are worsened by unrest, conflict and COVID-19.
Campaign for the elections ended on Thursday.
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed campaigned in the southern city of Jimma on Wednesday, where he outlined his vision of a peaceful, united and prosperous Ethiopia. It was his final campaign rally.
His upbeat speech came at a time of widespread ethnic unrest and economic difficulties, as well as a conflict in the northern Tigray region where the UN warns 350,000 people face famine.

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Sunday Igboho issues fresh quit notice to killer Fulani in South-West

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A Yoruba Freedom fighter, Chief Sunday Adeyemo, a.k.a Igboho, has given a fresh quit notice to killer herdsmen in the South-West zone, saying he will ensure they are all smoked out of the forests very soon.

Igboho, in an interview, anchored by his Spokesperson, Mr Oluyomi Koiki in a viral video said he would never give any order without monitoring compliance.

He said the issue of agitation for Yoruba nation is non-negotiable and no Jupiter can stop it.

The popular Yoruba man also insisted that no governor can say Yoruba nation rally must not hold in his state noting if any governor says that, it will not be obeyed because Yoruba land belongs to all Yoruba indigenes.

He further warned criminal elements hibernating in the forests to leave because henceforth, there must not be any issue of kidnapping again in the zone.

Chief Adeyemo who spoke in Yoruba said, “how can six million people be commanding about 250 million of other Nigerians. Marriage is not by force. We can’t live with you again. Yoruba nation is a vehicle of salvation and I want all Yoruba to board the vehicle and have their seats.”

On the agitation struggle, he stressed that there is no going back.
“How can we go back when we are almost in our destination. Those who have not joined us should do so now because there’s no election come 2023. Yoruba will go.”

He appealed to all youths not to insult elders in Yoruba land including the traditional rulers.

“Please, don’t insult our elders again. I don’t want anyone to cast aspersions to our traditional rulers that they have collected money. No, don’t do that. Even, if they were given money, it’s part of common wealth that was stolen.”

“Don’t fight the police or any security agents. Let’s do our rally peacefully.Tell President Buhari, if he doesn’t understand Yoruba, tell him in English Language that we don’t want bandits in our zone again. Work has begun already and as from Monday, I will begin combing all forests in Yoruba land.”

“I want all Fulani on Yoruba land to leave. I, myself will monitor compliance to the eviction notice. I don’t issue an order without ensuring compliance. As from Monday, we don’t want to hear of any kidnapping in Yorubaland again. I will show them the stuff Yoruba people are made of.”

“We will tell them there is clear distinction between Yoruba and Fulani. All these weapons they are brandishing, we will collect them with ease. We will blow ‘wind’ into all the forests in Yoruba land. If we don’t prove to these people who we are now, they will be encroaching on our lands when we achieve our Yoruba nation.”

He dared anyone who claimed to have given him money on the agitation to come forward and say it out now.

“If you know you have given me money that I should shelve Yoruba nation struggle, come out and say it now. No amount of money can stop me from going ahead with this struggle. You can’t kill me. Kill who? Throw bomb at me? If you throw bomb, I, too, will send thunder”.

On his rumoured kidnap, he dismissed it saying “no one can kidnap me. I know you Yoruba people love me. I’m not missing. We are almost there. All those who go out with me to rallies, you are safe. No policeman can arrest you. We are asking for our rights. No one can intimidate us on our father land. No governor can say we must not have rally in his state.”

“We are in Yoruba land. It will be okay if Britain or United Nations come to our aid to help us actualize it, if not we will never back down. It’s possible some political hangers-on will align with politicians because of benefits they get from them, don’t mind them; they are too minute to stop us”, he said.

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INEC creates additional 56,872 polling units — total now 176,846

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The Independent National Electoral Commission has announced the creation of additional polling units.
INEC Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, said in Abuja on Wednesday that the commission converted a total of 56,872 voting points and voting point settlements into polling units.
With this, Nigeria now has a total of 176,846 polling units.
This is said to be part of the preparations for the 2023 general elections, which is less than two years away.
Yakubu said the location and number of polling units in the country has been a source of concern for the commission as it hopes to improve voter participation.
“Before 2010, the commission operated on a round figure of approximately 120,000 polling units. However, a census undertaken by the Commission before the 2011 general election arrived at the precise figure of 119,973 polling units,” he said.
“Following several unsuccessful attempts to create additional polling units despite the obvious pressure from the increased number of registered voters, the commission established voting points and voting point settlements across the states and the federal capital territory as a pragmatic response to necessity.
“The voting points were tied to the existing polling units and voting point settlements. The number of registered voters in a polling unit and the voting point settlement in the FCT, was used to determine their voting points, based on the upper and lower thresholds of 500 and 750 voters respectively.
“These were also the limits used for the 2019 general election. The number of new polling units in a state is the number of voting points aggregated from those polling units having voting points.”
He said with that and other necessary adjustments, the actual number of approved polling units came to 119,974, with the 56,872 voting points across the country also converted to polling units.

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