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Violence erupts in Washington as Trump supporters clash with counter protesters

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Violence erupted on the streets of downtown Washington, United States, after thousands of supporters of US President Donald Trump held a protest rally to back his unproven claims of massive voter fraud and electoral malpractices during the 2020 presidential elections.

The Outlook, Washington Post and several sources report that the “Million MAGA March”, held a week after Democrat Joe Biden was declared the winner of the November 3 election, was mainly peaceful throughout the day on Saturday, but by late in the night, clashes erupted between Trump”s supporters and counter protesters.

A mass brawl broke out later on Saturday night just five blocks away from the White House as counter protesters clashed with a group of Trump supporters.

According to reports, a man in his 20s, believed to be a Black Lives Matter protester, received serious injuries and was rushed to a hospital after he was stabbed in the back during the altercation. Two police officers were also injured.

The clash lasted for several minutes as the two groups wielded batons and pushed and shoved each other until cops intervened, the reports said.

Thronging to Washington DC from various parts of the US, participants of the Make America Great Again (MAGA) Rally asserted that Trump won the elections and that they were in the city to express their support to their leader.

Trump, who has not yet conceded the election to the projected winner, Biden, has repeatedly asserted, without evidence, that fraud and other irregularities deprived him of millions of votes in key battleground states.

According to Fox News, anti-Trump demonstrators allegedly hurled eggs at Trump supporters — or stole signs, hats and banners, and lit them on fire.

Videos posted on social media showed some demonstrators and counter-demonstrators trading shoves, punches and slaps.

Anti-Trump protesters clashed with law enforcement in downtown DC as they tried to make their way to a hotel where Trump supporters were staying, the CNN reported.

Later in the day, Trump in a tweet alleged that news channels are not showing the massive gatherings in support of him, as he posted a picture of protesters of his MAGA rally.

“Instead they have their reporters standing in almost empty streets. We now have SUPPRESSION BY THE PRESS. MAGA!” he said.

Participants of the rally, which started at Freedom Plaza, chanted “four more years” and “stop the steal.”

Sporting the red MAGA cap, they displayed large posters and banners in support of Trump. Washington DC Metropolitan Police Department, late Saturday, said that at least 20 people were arrested.

Trump in a tweet blasted counter protesters who turned up at the Million MAGA March as ”Antifa scum” as he joked that they ran for the hills after violent scenes erupted in Washington DC on Saturday night.

The President claimed ”Antifa” had waited until the end of the march to attack attendees as he praised his supporters who “aggressively fought back”.

“Antifa SCUM ran for the hills today when they tried attacking the people at the Trump Rally, because those people aggressively fought back,” he tweeted.

Later, in a series of tweets, Trump attacked media outlets.

“The Fake News Media hardly even discussed the tens of thousands of people that came to DC Formed organically, and in many parts of the Country!

“The Silent Media is the Enemy of the People!!! Human Radical Left garbage did this. Being arrested now!” he tweeted.

Trump”s campaign has also filed legal challenges complaining that their poll watchers were unable to scrutinise the voting process. Many of those challenges have been tossed out by judges, some within hours of their filing.

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2023 presidency: Buhari favours Jonathan, delays APC screening

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President Muhammadu Buhari may have ochestrated the delay of the screening of presidential aspirants of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to accommodate former President, Goodluck Jonathan, Daily Independent reports, quoting a reliable source.

A Federal High Court in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, will today rule on the eligibility of Jonathan to contest the presidential election.

APC had fixed the screening of the presidential aspirants on Monday, May 23, 2022, but it was later postponed indefinitely.

If cleared by the court to contest, Jonathan, who has been given a waiver by the APC leadership led by its national chairman, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, will participate in the screening exercise and the primary slated for Sunday.

A chieftain of the APC who asked not to be named told Daily Independent that the President wanted Jonathan to participate in the primary.

”President Muhammadu Buhari is still plotting for Jonathan to participate in the primaries. He deliberately delayed the APC screening to accommodate the court ruling today”.

“If the ruling is favourable, Jonathan will be screened and having been granted a waiver, he will participate in Sunday’s primary”.

A fortnight ago, the leadership of the APC in Ogbia Local Government Area of Bayelsa State had confirmed that Jonathan is a registered member of the party.

The chairman of APC in Ogbia ward 13, Mr Igori Freeman said Jonathan, who is yet to announce his resignation from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) registered as a member of APC since 2019.

 

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Primaries: Three PDP delegates killed by gunmen in Niger

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Gunmen have killed three delegates of the Peoples Democratic Party from Mariga Local Government Area of Niger State.

According to available information, they were shot dead as they made their way to Minna for the party’s primaries.

The Chairman of the Gubernatorial Electoral Committee and Deputy Governor of Bayelsa State, Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, confirmed the killing of the delegates.

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This was before the commencement of the rescheduled party primaries at the party secretariat in Minna.

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Presidential Race: Osinbajo’s Campaign Trips’ Funding Raises Dust

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Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo

The funding of the trips of the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo to states for his presidential campaigns ahead of the primary of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has continued to attract mixed reactions in the polity.

Osinbajo, one of the 23 aspirants eyeing the ticket of the ruling party has gone to 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), to woo delegates and other stakeholders of the APC ahead of the presidential primary slated for May 29 and 30.

Daily Trust had reported how nine serving governors, who are also aspiring for the presidency have spent millions of naira to charter private jets to move around the country.

The vice president, who declared for the presidential race on April 11, has been going about to meet delegates using the 16-seater presidential jet across the country.

The Boeing 727-2N6 with registration no. 5N-FGN aircraft was used to Maiduguri, Borno State on Monday as part of his consultation.

It was not clear from which airport Osinbajo left for Maiduguri, a flight from Abuja to the Borno State capital, which is 710km takes about one hour and 10 minutes on the Boeing Jet used by the vice-president.

The aircraft consumes at least 4,500 litres per hour of flight. As at today, a litre of aviation fuel known as Jet A1, which has been on a steady increase in recent times, presently costs between N550 and N600 depending on the location.

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For instance, at the cost of N600 per litre, it implies that it would be costing the federal government about N2.7m to fuel the aircraft on each one-way trip embarked upon by the president and over N5m for a return trip.

Aides, others get DTA from government coffers

Aside from the use of a presidential jet, it was gathered that the vice president also travelled with a retinue of aides tagged Protocol, Security and Press (PSP).

Daily Trust reports that the vice president by virtue of his office as number two citizen travels with a retinue of aides drawn from different departments including the protocol, security, and media among others who are officially entitled to Duty Tour Allowance (DTA) of about N12,000 per day after each trip.

A source in the presidency told this paper that no fewer than 40 members of the PSP are on the entourage of the vice president.

Asked who pays the aides their Duty Tour Allowance (DTA), the source, who is familiar with the workings of the presidency, said they are being paid from the government coffers.

“You need to understand this, he is not an appointee, he was elected together with the president. He is eligible for all the entitlements of his office as the vice president.

“Who else will pay for their allowance?  They are attached to the office of the vice president and as such, they will draw their allowances from the coffers,” he said,” pleading not to be named.

But another source said the allowances of aides on the vice president’s team are not being paid from the government coffers.

“Osinbajo was conscious of the implication of using the government’s fund to finance his campaign trips, hence he has been using donations from his movement and friends to fund his campaigns,” the source said.

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Use of presidential jet paid for in US – Aviation analyst

Aviation analyst, Group Capt. John Ojikutu said Nigerian leaders are thoughtless in the use of public facilities.

He said in the US, any unofficial use of the presidential jet is paid for.

In a chat with our correspondent, he said, “In the US, unofficial use of the presidential jet is paid for; the cost is the fare of a business class for each person on board including the media personnel.

“Trump would rather use his personal aircraft to go to Palm Beach in Miami on holidays when he was president. Unfortunately, our leaders in the administration of our government are reckless in the use of our public facilities including the use of security personnel.”

Our correspondents report that President Muhammadu Buhari also used Presidential Jet during his 2015 re-election campaign.

 It’s an act of corruption – Kari

According to an associate Professor of Political Sociology, University of Abuja, Dr Abubakar Umar Kari, the use of state resources by government officials for campaigns was an act of corruption.

“Government officials using state resources for political campaigns were morally reprehensible, legally unjustifiable and logically unacceptable. It is an act of corruption and a clear abuse of office. No impunity is greater.

“In saner climes, it is enough to put the offending officer in trouble – and that’s how it ought to be here.

“It’s regrettable that our moral and political values are so low and so loose that we do not even seem to realise that such a thing is wrong. Beyond being a misnomer, it also confers an unfair advantage on the officer over and above his opponents who are not so opportune.

“It personalises things that are public and makes strictly the property of the state to become or be used as booty by virtue of being in power or in office. But let’s face it: Osinbajo is not alone in this. Everyone from the president to councillor, and even their wives, children and friends, are engaged in it,” he said.

VP hasn’t breached law, conduct raises moral questions – Lawyers

Lawyers have said that Osinbajo’s use of official jets, vehicles and other facilities for his 2023 presidential campaigns has not breached any law, but could pose some moral issues.

Speaking on the matter, Paul Ananaba (SAN) said it is not illegal because even the American president and vice president use their official vehicles while going for campaigns.

“Their securities are not bifurcated because they are now going for campaigns. The Airforce One is what they use. So, those are part of the appurtenances of democracy. So, there is nothing wrong with that,” he said.

However, E.M.D. Umukoro Esq said although there is no law specifically prohibiting a sitting vice president from the use of public resources for campaigns, moral questions are bound to be raised.

He, therefore, called for inclusion into the statutes a law prohibiting the use of government jets, vehicles and others for campaigns.

“Unless there is a law that specifically puts that into contemplation, issues about it cannot be raised. Whether we like it or not, it gives the person an edge. It’s just like the president or governor seeking a second term using state apparatus and machinery.

“People need to raise this and when it is raised, we begin to look at the state and federal level and streamline it. This is why they talk about the power of incumbency,” he said.

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