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INEC chairman, Yakubu, steps aside, hands over to Mu’azu

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Prof. Mahmood Yakubu on Monday handed over the leadership of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to AVM Ahmed Mu’azu (retd.) as acting chairman of the commission, pending his (Yakubu’s) clearance by the Senate.

Yakubu’s five-year tenure ended Monday but has been nominated by President Muhammadu Buhari for a second term.

Speaking at the ceremony, Yakubu noted it would be inappropriate for him to remain in office beyond November 9 without confirmation by the Senate.

He said, “You may recall that the current commission was inaugurated in three batches. The chairman and five commissioners were sworn in on 9th November, 2015, followed by another six commissioners on 7th December, 2016 and one more commissioner on 21st July, 2018.

“The commission is a constitutional body whose members are appointed for five years which may be renewed for a second and final term. This means that my tenure and that of the first set of five commissioners ends today.”

Yakubu also said, “As you are already aware, our work as election managers requires us to enforce the law, regulations and guidelines. In doing so, we must demonstrate strict respect for, and compliance with, the Constitution of Nigeria and subsidiary laws.

“Consequently, it will be inappropriate for me to remain in office beyond today, 9th November, 2020, without confirmation by the Senate and swearing to another oath of office as provided by law.”

According to him, pending the conclusion of the statutory process, the other national commissioners have resolved that Mu’azu should oversee the affairs of the commission.

“It is therefore my pleasure to hand over to him in the interim. We have worked as a team for the last four years. Therefore, there is nothing new to anyone of them,” he said.

He thanked members of the commission for their support, especially the Resident Electoral Commissioners, the Secretary to the Commission, the Director-General of the Electoral Institute, Directors.

He said he had enjoyed the tremendous support and cooperation of members of the technical team, heads of the various security agencies deployed to INEC and other personnel of the commission nationwide, adding that he looked forward to working with them again.

Mu’azu commended the outgoing chairman of INEC and his colleagues for the privilege and confidence reposed in him to oversee the commission.

He promised to handle the affairs of the commission with all due diligence.

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Ondo gov poll: Tribunal dismisses Jegede petition

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The Ondo Election Petitions Tribunal in Akure on Tuesday threw out the petition challenging the victory of Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu in last year’s governorship election for want of jurisdiction.

Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Eyitayo Jegede, had filed the petition seeking to be declared winner of the election on the grounds that Governor Akeredolu was not properly nominated by the All Progressives Congress.

Justice Abubakar Umar, who delivered the judgment, said Jegede had no justification to interfere in the internal affairs of the APC.

He said, “Issue raised therein in this petition are settled issue of internal affairs and Management of a political party which this Tribunal has no Jurisdiction.”

He dismissed the petition for lacking in merit.

The tribunal declared Akeredolu and his Deputy, Lucky Aiyedatiwa, as duly elected in the October 10 governorship election.

Governor Akeredolu hailed Ondo residents for the confidence reposed in his administration and urged Jegede to join him in developing the state, saying there was no need for further litigation.

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Why northern governors opposed Jonathan’s second term bid – Babangida Aliyu

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Former governor of Niger State, Dr Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu, has said northern governors rose against former President Goodluck Jonathan’s second term bid in 2015 because of the perceived threat of his victory to the North.

Aliyu said in Minna on Friday that the northern governors felt at the time that their part of the country stood in a disadvantaged position and would be shortchanged should Jonathan win a re-election.

He claimed that Jonathan had earlier reached an agreement with the north to complete what was left of the tenure of the late President Umaru Yar’Adua and then run for only one term.

He said the ex-president’s insistence on going for another term in 2015 was against the agreement he had with the northern governors.

“Following the sudden passage of President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua on May 5, 2010, the leadership of the then governing Peoples Democratic Party along with the state governors under the flagship of the party had series of meetings on the presidency and the future of our great party,” he said.

The ex-governor also said, “All the governors in the North under the PDP supported the then Vice President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan to complete the remaining years of Yar’Adua’s tenure and to contest the next presidential election as a sole candidate of our great party.

“However, midway, President Goodluck Jonathan insisted to run for the office in 2015 against the grain of our earlier agreement.

“Since this was against the grain of our earlier agreement in the party, and which we the governors in the north felt the North would have been shortchanged if Jonathan had succeeded, we rose stoutly to insist on the agreement we all had.

“On that premise, we opposed Jonathan. But all along, Goodluck Jonathan had enjoyed every support from the governors in the north and the entire region.”

The former governor said it was wrong for anyone to say that he opposed Goodluck Jonathan.

He added that as the chairman of the Northern Governors Forum then, it was his responsibility to tell the people about the stand of the governors.

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Makinde’s candidate, Arapaja, emerges PDP South-West chairman

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Former Oyo State Deputy Governor, Taofeek Arapaja, has been declared the South-West chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

He was pronounced winner of the hotly contested poll by chairman of the region’s congress and Benue Deputy Governor, Benson Abounu.

Arapaja, backed by Oyo State Governor Seyi Makinde, polled 343 votes to defeat Dr Eddy Olafeso, who scored 330.

Olafeso is of the camp of former Ekiti Governor Ago Fayose.

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