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Northern reps meet Tinubu in UK, back 2023 presidential bid

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National Leader of the ruling All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu; members of the House of Representatives from the north in London

Amid the rumoured presidential ambition of former Lagos State governor and National Leader of the ruling All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, members of the House of Representatives from the north have endorsed his candidacy for 2023 presidency, Sunday PUNCH has learnt.

Though Tinubu has yet to declare his intention to contest any office in 2023, there have been rumours and veiled indications that he might be interested in the exalted seat.

A delegation of the northern caucus in the House, led by the Deputy Speaker, Ahmed Wase, had on Friday visited Tinubu in London where he has been receiving treatment for the last three months.

On the entourage were the Majority Leader, Alhassan Ado-Doguwa; Chairman, House Committee on Rules and Business, Abubakar Fulata; Chairman, House Committee on the Army, Abdulrazak Namdas; Blessing Onuh, daughter of former President of the Senate, David Mark; Sada Soli, among others.

A member of the delegation told one of our correspondents on condition of anonymity that the visit was to endorse Tinubu for President.

The lawmaker said, “We in the North (House of Representatives caucus) are kind of endorsing his candidature because he is a national leader and you know that he is aspiring (allegedly). Whether you like it or not, he wants to be President of this country. So, we felt that if the northern caucus of the National Assembly – in the House of Reps – would come to see how he is recuperating, we thought that it would mean so much.

“He really appreciated our coming because he said he rated our coming second after the visit of President Muhammadu Buhari. He mentioned that governors and others came but this is a mini Nigeria in the House of Reps, for the entire northern caucus to find time to come and see how he is faring.

“He stood up and walked. I’m sure you have seen the video. I think he has recovered; he is not doing badly at all – this is not politics. I think because of his age, he has to still go for physiotherapy and things like that. These are things that will take time for him to fully do some politicking. He will soon come back to Nigeria.”

Meanwhile, in one of the videos from the visit, which has gone viral on the Internet, the lawmaker representing Guevara/Suleja/Tafa Federal Constituency in Niger State, Lado Suleja, called Tinubu “Mr President.”

The lawmakers were seen accompanying Tinubu to a waiting car, during which Suleja said, “Mr President, see you soon,” and the ex-governor replied, “Thank you.”

Speaking on the visit, the source added, “I will not say he is speaking for the caucus. Lado is his loyalist. He has been Tinubu’s loyalist for a long time, we know that. It was Lado that made that statement. All of us – even me – wish he is our President.”

When asked to confirm Asiwaju’s endorsement, Ado-Doguwa stated that it was a ‘get-well visit.’

He said, “I am neither the leader of the delegation nor come as the Northern Caucus, perhaps not the right person to answer your question. But on a personal note, I can tell you that I was on this mission to simply pay a ‘get-well visit’ to the National Leader of our party, the APC, like many other Nigerians have done, including Mr President. My religion and tradition allow for such visits to the sick.

“I, therefore, stand bold to say that I wish Bola Ahmed Tinubu well and pray for his fast recovery. I am further glad to say that  I met him in an improved and very encouraging health Condition.”

Punch News

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2023: E-Transmission Of Election Results Has Come To Stay – INEC

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Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu

The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, on Wednesday promised that the results of the 2023 general elections would be transmitted electronically.

There have been calls by stakeholders that the deployment of technology in the country’s electoral processes be enhanced to address hitches witnessed in previous elections.

It was against this backdrop that the Electoral Act was amended by the National Assembly. President Muhammadu Buhari had, on February 25, assented to the Election Act 2022 after its passage by the National Assembly.

One of the key provisions of the law is the deployment of technology in the electoral process.

Section 52(2) of the Act says: “Subject to Section 63 of this bill, voting at an election and transmission of results under this bill shall be in accordance with the procedure determined by the commission (INEC), which may include electronic voting.”

Speaking on Wednesday in Abuja when he hosted a delegation of Media Trust Group (owners of Daily Trust newspapers and Trust TV) on election debate, the INEC boss said going forward, the electoral body would transmit election results electronically.

Media Trust Group is organising a series of debates for presidential and governorship candidates ahead of the next year’s general elections, dubbed ‘Media Trust Nigeria Election Debate 2023’.

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Yakubu, told the delegation that the transmission of elections results from the polling units (PUs) would be a permanent feature in the nation’s electoral processes.

“Yes, it is going to be permanent in all elections conducted by the commission going forward. But I wish to draw your attention to the fact that we did not start the electronic transmission, at least, from the polling units to the IReV Portal, in Anambra or FCT elections.

“It was actually on August 2020 that we deployed that for the Nasarawa Central State Constituency by-election, the first election conducted under COVID-19. So, if you look at the IReV Portal, you could see all the results from the 2020 to the Ekiti and Osun governorship elections and all the other by-elections we conducted,” Yakubu said.

What INEC learnt from Kenyan presidential poll

On lessons learnt from the just-concluded Kenyan presidential election, Yakubu said that the INEC had received a letter from the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) of Kenya that it wanted to deploy the Kenya Integration Election Management System (KIEMS) and that it was going to transmit polling unit level results to the collation centre. KIEMS is the equivalent of the Nigeria’s Bi-Modal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS).

He said like Nigeria, the transmitted results were collated manually.

He also noted that Nigeria’s BIVAS is a significant improvement on the Kenya’s system because in Nigeria, the collations have to pass through several stages from the polling units to the ward level, to the local governments and the states before reaching the national portal for the presidential election.

This, Yakubu said, allows agents of all political parties and candidates to observe the collation process at all stages, unlike in Kenya where results go straight to the national portal.

The INEC chairman also said that while Nigeria learnt from the 2017 Kenyan elections, the Kenyans had also learnt a lot from the conduct of the 2019 and 2023 general elections in Nigeria.

He said the collation of results was faster in Kenya possibly due to the fewer numbers of polling units and registered voters compared to the larger number of same in Nigeria.

On pending by-elections, the INEC boss said that there were 27 pending by-elections across the country.

He said the commission would conduct the elections pending when court cases and insecurity in some of the affected constituencies were resolved.

Speaking further, Yakubu said the INEC would support the Media Trust Group’s debates in order to deepen issue-based politicking ahead of the 2023 elections.

According to him, there are other debates and more expected to be conducted ahead of the 2023 elections.

He, however, said that the commission would be watching all the debates like other Nigerians.

Daily Trust reports that for four months, three Senate seats: Borno North, Nasarawa West and Zamfara Central Senatorial Districts have been vacant following the resignation of the occupants, including the national chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Abdullahi Adamu; Senator Abubakar Kyari and Senator Muhammad Hassan Nasiha.

The Media Trust Group delegation, including the Group Chief Executive Officer (GCEO), Mallam Mounir Haliru Gwarzo, was led by the MTG’s Election Debate Committee Chairman, Prof. Jibrin Ibrahim.

Ibrahim had earlier said that the visit was to seek the support and participation of the INEC in the coming debates and other activities to promote and sustain issue-based politics and campaigns in Nigeria.

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PDP crisis: Pressure mounts on Ayu to step aside, old video surfaces

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PDP National Chairman, Dr. Iyorchia Ayu

National Chairman of People’s Democratic Party, PDP, Senator Iyiochia Ayu, is under fresh intense pressure to step aside as a video of him pledging to do so should a northerner emerge as presidential candidate of the party is trending in the social media.

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APC supporters hold carnival as Tinubu visits Obasanjo

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Obasanjo, Tinubu

The presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, on Wednesday, met behind closed doors with former President Olusegun Obasanjo in Abeokuta.

Both leaders had frank discussion.

Scores of supporters of the APC in state stormed Obasanjo’s residence, dancing and singing praises of the candidate while the meeting lasted.

The meeting, which started at 1.09pm, lasted for three hours and ended without either of the parties speaking with newsmen on the outcome.

Tinubu was believed to have seized the opportunity of the meeting to seek Obasanjo’s support for his presidential ambition.

The former Lagos State Governor was accompanied to Obasanjo’s Penthouse within  the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library, Oke- Mosan, Abeokuta, by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila; a former National Chairman of the APC, Bisi Akande; and a former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Nuhu Ribadu,  among others.

He was received by the state governor, Dapo Abiodun; and former Governors Segun Osoba and Gbenga Daniel.

Also at the gathering were former deputy governors of the state, Gbenga Kaka and Salimot Badru and other state government functionaries.

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While Tinubu emerged from the Penthouse into the hands of the  crowd which  included newsmen, Obasanjo remained indoor as his guests made their way out after the meeting.

The presidential candidate did not grant press interview as he entered a waiting vehicle which conveyed him to the MKO Abiola Stadium for another programme.

When he was asked to address members of the Artisan Association of Nigeria, Ogun State chapter at the stadium, Tinubu only prayed for them and left the venue.

A source, who did not want his name because he was not authorised to speak to journalist on the outcome of the meeting, told our correspondent that some selected persons were allowed to join Tinubu and Obasanjo for the second phase of the meeting.

The source said a pre-meeting was held where almost all the personalities that followed him were in attendance.

The second phase of the meeting was said to have had only five persons who joined the two leaders in the inner room.

The source described the meeting as fruitful, saying the two parties agreed that no one should make the meeting a media affair.

The source said, “It was a very truthful and tough discussion from both sides.

“Obasanjo, as usual, was direct and Asiwaju was very straight forward in his report.”

Punch

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