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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.”

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JUST IN: 3 House of Reps members dump APC for PDP, meet Atiku [PHOTOS]

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Three members of the House of Representatives have dumped the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, for the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.

POLITICS NIGERIA gathered that the defectors also met with the 2023 Presidential candidate of the PDP, Atiku Abubakar, who officially welcomed them into the party on Sunday.

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The reps members are; Hon Ahmed Dayyabu Safana (Member Representing Safana/Danmusa/Batsari), Hon Hamza Dalhat Batagarawa (Member Representing Batagarawa/Rimi/Charanchi), and Hon Salisu Iro Isansi (Member Representing Katsina Federal Constituency).

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Viral Video: My campaign bus was hijacked by APC thugs- Jandor

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Olajide Adediran, popularly known as Jandor

The PDP Governorship Candidate in Lagos, Abdul-Azeez Adediran (Jandor), has claimed that the PDP campaign bus seen in a viral video where some hoodlums shot in residential areas of Surulere was hijacked by thugs.
He sated this on Sunday while explaining that his campaign tour has come under heavy attacks in the state.
He appealed to the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Usman Baba, to take measures to check incessant attacks on his campaign trains.
Adediran also called on President Muhammadu Buhari and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to intervene in the attacks.
Adediran’s campaign train had been attacked by political thugs in Badagry, Ikorodu, Agege, Kosofe and Surulere, leaving some of his followers wounded and vehicles smashed.
It was also reported that the attack on Friday in Surulere was the third attack in succession where suspected hoodlums were said to have fired guns and destroyed some of the campaign vehicles in Adediran’s convoy.
Clearing issues around various attacks, Adediran noted that his change of campaign strategies by going to the people through his ward tours to sell himself to them had exposed him and his followers to huge threats and harassment from political thugs.

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“I have constitutional backing to go everywhere to campaign for this election.
“Many of the people attacked are here because these attacks are not about me but the people, hence the account we are giving now.
“At Surulere, the moment I stepped out of the mosque, these boys came and began to shout “where is Jandor?”, and started to shoot everywhere. I quickly entered my car and we drove away.
“The thugs hijacked one of our cars. Before we knew it, all our campaign vehicles were damaged and the party secretariat was also damaged.
“We still want the IGP to take these happenings in Lagos State very seriously. Police should please live up to its constitutional responsibility of protecting our lives and property,” he said.
Adediran, who noted that his team had severally reported all the attacks to the police, said that there were video clips and pictures of the attacks.
He lamented that in most of the places, political thugs were also in the habit of harassing and dispersing people waiting to receive him.
Adediran explained that his running mate, Ms Funke Akindele, was also chased out of the Fruit Market in Kosofe by thugs while some others mounted a road block against his passage in the same council and resorted to hurling stones and bottles at him.
“We will go out there and continue with our campaign. We don’t want anybody to harass us, we don’t want to be intimidated.
“I have been speaking to the people, interacting with artisans, professional and religious groups as well as various associations and stakeholders.
“We were attacked in Badagry, Agege, Kosofe and Surulere in Lagos.
“All these happened in Lagos. Our expectation was that the Chief Security Officer of the state would have addressed the people of Lagos and condemned the attacks in its entirety. But nothing of such happened.

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“We believe that they (the ruling party) actually want to use that to scare us away from embarking in the ward-to-ward tour. We will forge ahead,” he said.
Urging no one to twist the story, Adediran said that his followers could not have attacked the people he wanted to sell his manifestoes to, as was being alleged.
According to him, his team will not succumb to any threat from anywhere but will got out and engage the people at the grassroots, telling them what he would do differently if elected.
Adediran said that political actors should not resort to violence but allow the people of the state to select their leaders.
Stressing that the party had written an official petition to the IGP on the attacks, Adediran urged the police to do the needful.
Also speaking, Mrs. Aduke Akinde, a PDP leader at Iponri in Surulere, said that party members were preparing and waiting to receive Adediran and his team when masked political thugs drove in and destroyed the rented canopies and chairs on Thursday.
In her comment, Mrs Idowu Adeniyi (Iyalaya), a trader at fruit market in Kosofe, who is a PDP member, said that since the foiled attempt of Akindele to campaign in the market, the market authorities had not allowed them to enter their shops.
“Up till now, no opportunity to enter the market. We plead for help; we are being threatened since Tuesday. Our fruits, apples and bananas must be rotten now,” she said.
In his remarks, Pastor Philips Aivoji, the Lagos State Chairman of PDP, said that there were so many other attacks on PDP members in the state not reported in the media.
Aivoji, who noted that many PDP members in rural places were being threatened, said that election should not be a do-or-die affair.
“These cannot deter us. We will continue to forge ahead because we believe we are on the side of the people. We are not going to be intimidated,” he said.
Reacting to the alleged attacks in a statement on Saturday, Mr. Seye Oladejo, the Lagos APC Publicity Secretary, accused Adediran of unleashing terror on innocent residents in the course of his campaign in Surulere.
Oladejo condemned the resort to violence on the citizens of the state in the name of electioneering campaign.

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Sowore tackles Peter Obi for accepting donation from SS2 Student

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The presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi has come under criticism for accepting money donations from an SS 2 student. This criticism is coming from the candidate of the African Action Congress (AAC), Omoyele Sowore.

Since the beginning of his campaign, Obi has asked Nigerians to support his plans to rescue Nigeria. A young secondary school girl by the name Chizzy Ebube Balogun heard this call and donated to Obi’s campaign.

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Peter Obi accepted the money and thanked her for investing in her future and those of her contemporaries and generations yet unborn.

Here is what Obi wrote on his Twitter handle, “My deep appreciation to Ms. Chizzy Ebube Balogun, a secondary school (SS2) student, for her small but most invaluable donation. God bless you and your generation.”

Reacting to this, Sowore tagged it a scam. In his tweet, he shared a similar event that happened during President Buhari’s campaign years ago.

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