“Consequently, all accounting officers of such boards, parastatals and commissions are to take charge with immediate effect.”
‘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.
Mohammed Shehu, chairman, Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC), says some political appointees earn more salary than President Muhammadu Buhari.
Shehu disclosed this during an interview on Channels Television on Thursday.
The RMAFC boss, who spoke on the commission’s plan to review judicial and political holders’ salaries, said some officials of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) collect salaries higher than the president.
He said the country needs to review allocations as some agencies remit less revenue.
“The severance package of the president is just N10.5 million. This is after the president leaves office. You can imagine after spending four or eight years, that would be the only take-home. The salary of Mr President is not up to N1.3 million a month,” he said.
“There are people in the private sector and others in other public sectors that earn twice, three times or four times. No public servant should earn a salary bigger than Mr President. But we do have public servants that earn salaries bigger than Mr President, such as in the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), etc.
“My argument has always been that no public servant should earn allowances, severances, or salaries larger than the president of the federal republic of Nigeria, and I stand by it.”
Speaking further on how salaries would be reviewed, especially on current realities, Shehu said salary review would go through processes.
He, however, added that salaries may be reviewed upward after going through due processes.
“When you do a review, the takeoff point is not immediate. And this is a process that has to go to the president and then to the national assembly, and then it becomes a law,” he added.
“I can not tell you whether we can afford it or not, but what I can tell you is there are unremitted revenues out there, probably estimated from N6 trillion to N7 trillion that should be remitted to the federation account.
A Buckingham Palace aide has resigned and tendered an apology over racist comments reportedly made to a black British guest at a reception hosted by the Queen Consort.
Ngozi Fulani, the founder of a charity supporting victims of domestic abuse, alleged that she was repeatedly asked by a royal aide at a Palace function where she was “really from” in Africa.
The palace said it was taking the incident “extremely seriously”.
An eyewitness to the conversation, Mandu Reid, confirmed the account and told the BBC the questions put to Ms Fulani were “offensive, racist and unwelcoming”.
Reid said she had a “sense of incredulity” about the exchange with a member of the Royal Household, in which Ms Fulani was “interrogated” about where she was from – even though she had explained she was born and lived in the UK.
Ms Fulani is the founder of the London-based charity Sistah Space, which supports black women who have faced domestic and sexual abuse.
Along with 300 guests, she had been invited to a high-profile reception at the Palace on Tuesday, where the Queen Consort, Camilla, had warned of a “global pandemic of violence against women”.
But after the event, Ms Fulani described her conversation on Twitter, where she was challenged by a royal aide to explain where she was from.
She recounted how she said: “We’re based in Hackney,” and the aide replied: “No, what part of Africa are you from?”
She said, “I don’t know, they didn’t leave any records”, and the Palace member responded, “Well you must know where you’re from, I spent time in France. Where are you from? Here, UK.”
“No, but what nationality are you?”
“I am born here and am British.”
“No, but where do you really come from, where do your people come from?”
She said that members of the Royal Household were circulating at the reception and making “chit chat” – but she said it became a “really unpleasant interaction”, when despite Ms Fulani’s replies there was an insistent questioning about her background.
Ms Reid said they were “stunned into silence” afterwards and says that Ms Fulani should receive an apology and those working for the palace should receive training.
Both Ms Reid and Sistah Space have decided not to name the royal aide believed to be involved.
In response, Buckingham Palace said, “We take this incident extremely seriously and have investigated immediately to establish the full details.
“In this instance, unacceptable and deeply regrettable comments have been made.
“We have reached out to Ngozi Fulani on this matter, and are inviting her to discuss all elements of her experience in person if she wishes.
“In the meantime, the individual concerned would like to express her profound apologies for the hurt caused and has stepped aside from her honorary role with immediate effect.
“All members of the household are being reminded of the diversity and inclusivity policies which they are required to uphold at all times.”
Osun State Governor, Ademola Adeleke, has denied making executive orders to sack traditional rulers and workers in the state.
He said he only set up a review panel and nobody has been sacked.
His Chief Press Secretary, Olawale Rasheed, who in spoke Rave FM in Osogbo, said executive order one to five shows the intentions of the administration to review, nullify, and set aside while the instrumentality to effect the orders was order six which is the composition of the panel.
He said: “There was never sack of any worker or traditional ruler. We only set up a review panel. It is impossible to sack and put a review panel in place.
“The review panel is to look at the numbers of the people that were employed, due processes of the employment, and qualification among other things.
“Before our taking over, there were issues of backdating of employment, even till last year. So, order 1-5 will be operationalised by order 6 which are the panels.
“Those that were employed from July 17 till our takeover are still at work presently, they have not been sacked. The staff audit will review the employment.”
However, a statement by Rasheed said the governor has approved the dissolution of all non-statutory boards in the state with immediate effect.
“As a follow-up to the pronouncement of Governor Adeleke, on Sunday, November 27, 2022, all non-statutory boards, commissions and parastatals, including those of tertiary institutions (with exception of UNIOSUN) are hereby dissolved in the state, forthwith.
“Consequently, all accounting officers of such boards, parastatals and commissions are to take charge with immediate effect.”
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