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US election: Trump, Biden in tensed battle to the finish

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‘Whether Trump ultimately wins or loses, he has cast a pall on this election, as he calls the very machinery of American democracy into question’

There is a tense wait in the United States and indeed across the world as results of the presidential election are still trickling in.

The BBC reports that the outcome of the election is on a knife edge, with Donald Trump and his rival Joe Biden neck and neck in key swing states.

Trump, a Republican, claimed to have won and vowed to launch a Supreme Court challenge, alleging fraud.

Earlier Biden, a Democrat, said he was “on track” to victory.

Millions of votes remain uncounted and no candidate can credibly claim victory as yet. There is no evidence of fraud.

The US is on course for the highest electoral turnout in a century. More than 100 million people cast their ballots in early voting before election day, and tens of millions more added their vote on Tuesday.

With the nation on edge, the final result may not be known for days.

Trump has defied the pre-election polls to do better than predicted, but Biden is still in the race and the overall result is not yet clear.

In the US election, voters decide state-level contests rather than an overall, single, national one.

To be elected president, a candidate must win at least 270 votes in the electoral college. Each US state gets a certain number of votes partly based on its population and there are a total of 538 up for grabs.

The president is projected to have held the must-win state of Florida – a major boost to his re-election bid.

The BBC projects Trump will win another conservative sunbelt state, Texas, where the Biden campaign had dreamed of an upset victory.

But Biden could snatch Arizona, a once reliably conservative state. Fox News and the Associated Press have projected Biden will win that state and CBS News, the BBC’s US partner, says it is leaning the Democrat’s way.

A loss for Trump in that previously Republican-voting state would be a potentially serious setback.

The Rust Belt battlegrounds of Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin – which propelled Trump to the White House four years ago – are very close.

Pennsylvania is considered crucial for Trump if he is to stave off defeat – he has a significant lead there but a large number of mail-in ballots are yet to be counted. Biden has a narrow lead in Wisconsin and the two are almost neck-and-neck in Michigan.

Trump will keep hold of Ohio and Missouri, known as bellwether states because they have so often predicted the eventual winner, according to the BBC’s projection.

He is also projected by the BBC to win Nebraska, though Biden picked up one vote there in the electoral college, which could turn out to be crucial.

No surprises have emerged yet in the other states.

Control of Congress – the two-chamber legislature – is also at stake. As well as the White House, Republicans are vying to hang on to a majority in the Senate. The House of Representatives is expected to stay in Democratic hands.

What are the candidates saying?

Trump hosted an election night gathering inside the White House with about 100 guests.

In a speech at about 02:30 local time (07:30 GMT) he said: “We were getting ready to win this election. Frankly, we did win this election.”

He went on to allege “major fraud on our nation” without providing evidence, adding: “We’ll be going to the US Supreme Court.”

“We want all voting to stop,” the president said, apparently meaning that he wants to block the counting of postal ballots, which can be legally accepted by some state election boards after Tuesday’s election.

Millions of ballots have yet to be counted and there is no evidence of fraud.

His rival’s campaign condemned the president’s statement as “outrageous, unprecedented, and incorrect”, calling it a “naked effort to take away the democratic rights of American citizens”.

Earlier, at about 01:00 local time, Biden predicted in a speech to supporters in his hometown of Wilmington, Delaware, that he would be victorious.

The Democrat said, “We feel good about where we are; we really do. I am here to tell you tonight we believe we’re on track to win this election.”

He added, “We’re going to have to be patient until the hard work of tallying votes is finished and it ain’t over until every vote, every ballot is counted.”

As his opponent spoke, Trump tweeted from the White House: “We are up BIG, but they are trying to STEAL the Election. Twitter labelled the post as potentially “misleading about an election or other civic process”.

A new “non-scalable” fence was put up around the White House ahead of election day. Businesses in the nation’s capital and also in New York City boarded up their premises due to fears of unrest.

Donald Trump has been telegraphing for weeks that if the presidential election were close, he would accuse his Democratic opponents of committing voter fraud and trying to steal victory away from him. In the early hours of Wednesday morning, he did exactly that.

It is the doomsday scenario that many Americans were fearing, where the president of the United States – from the White House itself – would undermine ballot-counting.

It’s a process that stretches on for days after the election even in normal circumstances, where voters haven’t turned to postal or early voting in large numbers because of an ongoing pandemic.

After Trump spoke, Vice-President Mike Pence tried to smooth over his remarks, declining to declare premature victory and insisting that all the legally cast votes will be counted. It was much more in line with how a US leader would be expected to behave in a moment of political uncertainty.

The damage had been done, however. Whether Trump ultimately wins or loses, he has cast a pall on this election, as he calls the very machinery of American democracy into question.

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Buhari appoints Semiu Adeniran new stastician general

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President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the appointment of Mr Semiu Adeniran as the Statistician General of the Federation and Chief Executive Officer of the National Bureau of Statistics.

The appointment follows the demise of the former statistician general, Dr Simon Harry, on April 13, 2022, eight months into his five-year tenure.
A statement by Sufuyan Ojeifo, Special Assistant (Media) to the Minister of State, Budget and National Planning, Clem Agba, said, “Adeniran is a professional statistician of repute with bias for Demography and Social Statistics. He has over three decades of statistical hands-on experience garnered from various local and international institutions.”

“Until his appointment, Mr Semiu was the Director of Demographic and Household Statistics at the National Bureau of Statistics.”

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Cancel gospel crusade in Abia — IPOB warns Kumuyi

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Pastor William Kumuyi

The Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, has asked the General Superintendent of Deeper Christian Life Ministry, Pastor William Kumuyi, to take note of the ugly security in the South East zone and cancel the crusade he has scheduled to hold in Aba, Abia State.

Pastor Kumuyi is slated to hold a gospel crusade in Aba, from 24th to 29th May, 2022.

IPOB stated that it will not allow anybody to die because of this crusade as there are high chances of criminals operating as unknown gunmen to infiltrate the crusade and blame it on IPOB.

In a statement signed by the Media and Publicity Secretary, Comrade Emma Powerful, IPOB urged the cleric to pray for an end to the insecurity in Biafra land and tasked Christians to engage God in fervent prayers to expose all those behind the insecurity in the land.

“The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), ably led by our great leader Mazi Nnamdi Kanu wish to advise Pastor Kumuyi of Deeper life Ministry to take note of the security situation in the South East as he comes to Aba for his gospel crusade. Let him and the organizers of the crusade make sure that nothing happens.

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“The security of this region is not good because of political and criminal activities. Therefore, we advise him to stop this crusade for security reasons. We equally want them to be united against the Islamic agenda against non Muslims in Nigeria. We had expected them to demand justice for the innocent Deborah Yakubu burnt alive by Muslim fanatics in Sokoto State. Her killers are walking freely today and 34 lawyers shamelessly volunteered to defend her killers but Christians are just watching them. The double faced Nigeria security agencies only managed to arrest two of her killers because they are Muslims. If it were to be in Biafra land, all the youths on the street will be in police cell by now while the unlucky ones would have been killed.

“How many Igbo or Christian lawyers came to defend our Leader fighting for the freedom of all Biafrans but 34 Muslim lawyers have come in defense of killers of Deborah Yakubu? Is it not time Christians and Men of God woke up to the realities in Nigeria? They should support Biafra and Oduduwa agitators in their bid to free Biafra and Oduduwa republics from the Islamic bondage in Nigeria so that they will enjoy freedom of worship in both republics.

“Leah Shuaibu is still in captivity today because she is a Christian but all the Muslims abducted along with her have since been freed. Christians must support IPOB to liberate them from bondage in Nigeria.”

The pro Biafra group further asked Kumuyi to pray against wicked leaders in Biafra land and Nigeria, stressing that they are the real problems of the people.

“Let him use the opportunity to pray against the powers holding people captive in Nigeria in his church in Lagos.”

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I’ve no apology for being ‘mad’ about Nigeria ― Obasanjo

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Former President Olusegun Obasanjo says he has a “mad passion” for Nigeria.

Obasanjo, who stated this when he played host to a presidential aspirant under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mohammed Hayatu-Deen at his Penthouse residence in the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, said he had no apology for being mad about Nigeria “because I have no other country I can call my own and I have no other country I can go to and say yes, I have come to live here.”

According to him, Nigeria needs a leader who is ‘mad’ and passionate about the country to address its myriad problems and put it on the right path.

He said, “Passion means being mad about Nigeria; having a touch of madness and I look at you (Hayatu-Deen) and say yes, you are mad about Nigeria too.”

Obasanjo lamented the deteriorating security situation in the country and insisted that Nigeria could overcome its security challenges within two years with the willingness to make tough decisions.

He said, “Some people say the human memories are short, maybe they are right because if human memories are not short, some of the mistakes that we are making, we will not be making them.

“I believe like you (Hayatu-Deen) have rightly said, that this period is not like any other period in the history of Nigeria and you used two words – decomposing and dissolving. I can’t find any better words to describe the situation we have found ourselves.

“It is an agonising situation for you obviously and also for me. I want to emphasise the point that the Nigerian situation, bad as it is, will only be put right by Nigerians at the forefront of our situation. So, Nigerians have to brace themselves to do what needs to be done to put Nigeria back on the right path.”

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Hayatu-Deen who came in the company with his team at 12.30pm went into a closed-door meeting with Obasanjo which lasted for about an hour before speaking with journalists.

The former Managing Director of FSB International Bank, described Obasanjo as a father of modern Nigeria whose administration recorded tremendous achievements.

Speaking at the state PDP secretariat, Hayatu-Deen said he possessed the capacity, experience and knowledge to govern Nigeria.

The aspirant, who said he had been to several parts of Nigeria, including South-West, stressed that he is a passionate and complete Nigerian.

He said, “My blood is Nigerian blood. I had seen Nigeria with the eyes of a Nigerian and not from the perspective of a tribal man. I am prepared to govern Nigeria from the first day of inauguration on May 29, 2023.

“We are suffering from self-inflicted wounds. As an economist, I know how to fix the economy. I will provide social security, I will provide Energy Security, I will deal with the issue of national insecurity.”

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