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Trump: I’ll leave if electoral college votes for Biden

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The United States President, Donald Trump, has said that he will leave the White House if the electoral college votes for Democratic president-elect Joe Biden on January 6, 2021.

The President’s comments are the closest he has come to admitting defeat in election and set stage for college vote on 14 December.

Biden won the presidential election with 306 electoral college votes – many more than the 270 required – to Trump’s 232. Biden also leads Trump by more than six million in the popular vote tally.

The electoral college is due to meet on 14 December when each state’s nominated electors will cast their votes for the winner of the state’s presidential ballot. The votes are officially counted by Congress on 6 January.

When asked about Trump’s comments, Biden campaign spokesperson, Michael Gwin said, “President-elect Biden won 306 electoral votes. States continue to certify those results, the Electoral College will soon meet to ratify that outcome,” adding, “Biden will be sworn in as President on January 20, 2021.”

Can Trump actually stage a coup and stay in office for a second term?

Trump has so far defied tradition by refusing to concede defeat, instead making a series of baseless claims about alleged ballot fraud and launching legal attempts to challenge the outcomes in several states such Pennsylvania and Michigan.

But desperate efforts by Trump and his aides to overturn results in key states, either by lawsuits or by pressuring state legislators, have failed.

Speaking to reporters on the Thanksgiving holiday, Trump said if Biden – who is due to be sworn in on 20 January – was certified the election winner by the electoral college, he would depart the White House.

Trump’s comments, made to reporters at the White House after speaking to troops during the traditional Thanksgiving Day address to US service members, appear to take him one step nearer to admitting defeat.

Asked if he would leave the White House if the college vote went against him, Trump said, “Certainly I will. And you know that,” adding that, “If they do, they’ve made a mistake.”

However, Trump said it would be “a very hard thing to concede” and declined to say whether he would attend Biden’s inauguration, which is due to take place on 20 January.

It was the first time he had taken questions from reporters since election day, and at times he turned combative, calling one reporter a “lightweight” and telling him “don’t talk to me like that”.

Trump’s administration has already given the green light for a formal transition to get underway. But Trump took issue with Biden moving forward.

“I think it’s not right that he’s trying to pick a Cabinet,” Trump said, even though officials from both teams are already working together to get Biden’s team up to speed.

At one point he urged reporters not to allow Biden the credit for pending coronavirus vaccines.

As for whether or not he plans to formally declare his candidacy to run again in 2024 – as he has discussed with aides – Trump he didn’t “want to talk about 2024 yet.”

In late-night tweets, Trump complained that the media had not covered his news conference in the way he had wanted, saying the main point he had tried to make was that he won the election. Twitter flagged his comments.

Showing that he intends to stay in the political fray until the end of his term, Trump said on Thursday he would travel on 5 December to Georgia, a once solidly Republican state he lost narrowly to Biden, to campaign for two Republican Senate candidates.

Sources: Reuters and Associated Press

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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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