US: Buhari, Obasanjo, Jonathan join world leaders to congratulate Joe Biden – Newstrends
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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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Election tribunal sacks Sokoto House of Reps member 

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Election tribunal sacks Sokoto House of Reps member 

The Election Petitions Tribunal for Sokoto/Zamfara States sitting in Sokoto has sacked a member of the House of Representatives representing Yabo/Shagari federal constituency of Sokote State, Umar Yusuf Yabo Danmaje.

The tribunal also ordered Danmaje to pay N500,000 as damages to the petitioner in a verdict given on Monday.

In a unanimous judgement read by its chairman, Justice Ashu A. Ewah, the tribunal declared the election of Danmaje as member representing Yabo/Shagari Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives as null and void.

Justice Ewah said the election, which was initially conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in 2023 and rerun election on February 3, 2024, was marred with malpractices in some polling units, hence the exercise was inconclusive.

The tribunal ordered INEC to withdraw the Certificate of Return issued to Danmaje and conduct a fresh election in the affected polling units of the constituency within 90 days.

The election is to be conducted in four affected polling units of the two local government areas of Yabo and Shagari in the federal constituency of the state.

The four polling units where INEC was asked to conduct election are three polling units in Shagari LGA and one polling unit in Yabo local government area.

The affected polling units are Dagawa Maji Kira, Dagawa Mai Zane, Shiyar Magaji, Kesoji Shiyar Hakimi, Jaredi Maji Kira and Mazoji, all in Shagari and Yabo local government areas of Sokoto State.

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Count us out of Rivers Appeal Court case – PDP

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PDP National Publicity Secretary, Debo Ologunagba

Count us out of Rivers Appeal Court case – PDP

The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) says it did not authorise an appeal purportedly filed on its behalf at Court of Appeal, Port Harcourt, bordering on the ruling of Rivers High Court.

A statement signed by the National Publicity Secretary of PDP, Debo Ologunagba, on Sunday, said only the National Legal Adviser of the Party has the exclusive responsibility of conducting the litigation, prosecution and defencd of cases on its behalf.

Newstrends reports that a High Court sitting in Port Harcourt had  barred the Chief Judge of Rivers State and the Clerk of the Rivers State House of Assembly from receiving or acting on any resolutions from the embattled lawmakers loyal to Federal Capital Territory Minister, Nyesom Wike.

The PDP statement reads : “The attention of the national leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has been drawn to a purported Appeal filed at the Court of Appeal, Port Harcourt Division with respect to Suit No: PHC/2177/CS/2024 wherein the PDP is reportedly listed as Appellant.

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For the avoidance of doubt, the PDP National Legal Adviser, Barr. Kamaldeen Ajibade SAN has ascertained that the Party did not file the said Appeal neither did it authorize any external solicitor to file same on its behalf. As such, the PDP cannot be listed as Appellant in the Appeal.

The PDP states categorically that it did not file the said Appeal at the Court of Appeal, Port Harcourt Division challenging the Order of the Rivers State High Court restraining the Chief Judge of Rivers State and the Clerk of the Rivers State House of Assembly from receiving or acting on any resolutions from certain individuals pending the determination of a case before it.

The PDP restates that only the National Legal Adviser of the Party has the exclusive responsibility of conducting the litigation, prosecution and defense of cases on behalf of the Party including its Organs, Chapters and Officials as expressly provided for in Section 42 of the PDP’s Constitution (as amended in 2017).

Our Party had in a Public Notice published on January 17, 2023 notified the public that nobody, Authority, Office or Organ other than the National Legal Adviser has the competence to file or engage external solicitors to file or handle cases on behalf of the Party, which engagement must also be in writing under the hand of the National Legal Adviser specifying amongst other things, the nature of the case and other terms and conditions of the engagement.

The PDP therefore dissociates itself from the purported Appeal filed at the Court of Appeal, Port Harcourt Division in connection with Suit No: PHC/2177/CS/2024.”

Count us out of Rivers Appeal Court case – PDP

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Why I dumped APC, Kano party chieftain, Doguwa

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Why I dumped APC, Kano party chieftain, Doguwa

A former Senator representing Kano South senatorial zone, Senator Mas’ud El-Jibril Doguwa, on Friday, said he is dumping the ruling party, All Progressives Congress, APC because the party’s policies were anti-people oriented.

Doguwa in a statement made available to newsmen in Kano, said he resolved to dump the party alongside his supporters because the party’s policies do not align with their political ideology.

The former Senator said the party prioritize policies that cause more harm than good to the ordinary citizens of this country.

The close ally of the former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, however, announced their return to the People’s Democratic Party, PDP.

According to him, “we have discovered, after careful appraisal of the activities of the APC governments, that many of their policies are anti peoples oriented, which do not align with our political ideology. They prioritize policies that cause more harm than good to the ordinary citizens of this country.

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“Based on the foregoing therefore, we heed to the instruction of our elders and the advice of our political associates, to hereby announce that, we as a group have taken the bold decision to return to our political base, the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) to continue as full pledged members.

“We have taken this decision without any prejudice or malice to any individual or groups of persons.

“This decision is consequent upon a series of wide-range consultations with our people who believe that APC, at all levels, does not take advantage of our long-standing experience in politics and governance. As members of the APC, we feel we are being grossly underutilized, as we are rarely involved in any forum to discuss and share our experiences for the development of the Party, the State or the Nation.

“An idle mind is the devil’s workshop. We believe that, in politics, as in other fields of human endeavour, activity ranks paramount. If you make players in any given field redundant, they are bound to struggle to create activities for themselves, somewhere outside the party. Experienced politicians do not want to stay idle.

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