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Will Trump’s obstinacy weaken US democracy?



  • Pompeo: There’ll be smooth transition to second Trump administration
  • Trump refusal to concede embarrassing – Biden
  • Experts predict what will happen


Rasheed Bisiriyu

The world is watching the drama playing out in the United States after the presidential election last week with keen interest.

In the tensely contested poll between the incumbent, Donald Trump of the Republican Party and his challenger, Joe Biden of the Democratic Party, the later won the race with 77,170,769 popular votes (50.8%) and 290 Electoral College votes against Trump’s 72,057,511 votes (47.5%) and 214 electoral votes.

Trump has accused the Democrats of electoral fraud and headed to court to challenge the outcome of the election, insisting that he was victorious at the poll.

But the president-elect, Biden, called Trump’s actions since the election day “an embarrassment.”

Election officials across the country said there was no evidence that fraud or any other irregularity played a role in the outcome of the presidential race.

There appears no sign that Trump is ever going to accept the results of the poll even if he loses at the court.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Tuesday with a grin that there would be a “smooth transition to a second Trump administration,” echoing President Trump’s demands for a delay until “every legal vote” is counted.

President Trump, facing the prospect of leaving the White House in defeat in January, is using power of the federal government to resist the results of an election that he lost, something that no sitting president has done in American history.

In the latest sign of defiance on Tuesday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo predicted “a smooth transition to a second Trump administration,” defending the president’s refusal to concede even as President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. called Mr. Trump’s actions since Election Day “an embarrassment.”

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Tuesday with a grin that there would be a “smooth transition to a second Trump administration,” echoing President Trump’s demands for a delay until “every legal vote” is counted.

His words: “There will be a smooth transition to a second Trump administration. All right, we’re ready. The world is watching what’s taking place. We’re going to count all the votes. When the process is complete, they’ll be electors selected. There’s a process — the Constitution lays it out pretty clearly. The world should have every confidence that the transition necessary to make sure that the State Department is functional today, successful today and successful with the president who’s in office on Jan. 20, a minute after noon, will also be successful. I went through a transition on the front, and I’ve been on the other side of this. I’m very confident that we will do all the things that are necessary to make sure that the government, the United States government, will continue to perform its national security function as we go forward.”

Speaking to reporters in Delaware, Biden shrugged off Pompeo’s comments, saying that his transition was moving along well and that he was confident that Republicans would eventually accept his victory.

“They will; they will,” he said.

The president’s attorney general, William P. Barr, has also authorized investigations into supposed voter fraud, his general services administrator has refused to give Biden’s team access to transition offices and resources guaranteed under law, and the White House is preparing a budget for next year as if Trump will be there to present it.

Trump started the week by firing Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper and the heads of three other agencies while installing loyalists in key positions.

Allies expect more to come, including the possible dismissal of the directors of the FBI and the CIA.

The moves have left the United States in the position of the kind of country whose weak democratic processes the US often criticises.

Rather than congratulating Biden and inviting him to the White House, as his predecessors traditionally have done after an election changed party control, Trump has been marshaling his administration and pressuring his allies into acting as if the outcome were still uncertain.

The president’s efforts to discredit with false claims both the election results and the incoming Biden administration is in many ways the culmination of four years of stocking the government with pliant appointees while undermining the credibility of other institutions in American life, including intelligence agencies, law enforcement authorities, the news media, technology companies, the federal government more broadly and now election officials in states across multiple time zones.

The president is employing the powers of the government to resist election results.

Officials across the U.S. say they found no evidence that voter fraud played a role in the election results.

Secretary of State Frank LaRose of Ohio, standing, with his team in Columbus on election night. “There’s a great human capacity for inventing things that aren’t true about elections,” he said.

Election officials in dozens of states representing both political parties said that there was no evidence that fraud or other irregularities played a role in the outcome of the presidential race, amounting to a forceful rebuke of President Trump’s claims of a fraudulent election.

Steve Simon, a Democrat who is Minnesota’s secretary of state, said, “I don’t know of a single case where someone argued that a vote counted when it shouldn’t have or didn’t count when it should. There was no fraud.”

A spokeswoman for Scott Schwab, the Republican secretary of state in Kansas, said in an email on Tuesday. “We are very pleased with how the election has gone up to this point.”

But over the past several days, Trump, members of his administration, congressional Republicans and right-wing allies have falsely claimed that the election was stolen from Trump and refused to accept results that showed Biden as the winner.

According to a report by Joe Middleton in The Independent newspaper of the UK, peaceful transition of power is the bedrock of American society, and notes that even in past contentious elections, resolutions had been made long before any refusal to concede.

It recalled that Richard Nixon conceded to John F Kennedy in 1960 amid several accusations of vote rigging for the Democrat, for instance. Vice president Al Gore accepted the Supreme Court’s ruling that George Bush had won the 2000 presidential election even though there were significant questions about the integrity of the results in Florida.

This view is shared by a writer and editor Amy Mckeever in a national report saying no modern presidential candidate has refused to concede.

“The formal concession speech has played a vital role in even the most divisive U.S. elections, from the Civil War to Bush v. Gore,” she states.

Middleton quotes a professor of political science at the University of British Columbia, Paul Quirk, as saying Trump refusing to concede could put law enforcement in an awkward position.

Quirk says, “At some point, the question would become: whose orders do law enforcement (agents) obey? Because it would ultimately become a matter of the use of force in one direction or another.”

The US constitution is said to have made no mention of how a president should be removed if they lose an election and refuse to hand over power to their opponent. So, it is hard to say if anyone would have the appetite to send the FBI, or navy seals, or whatever law enforcement agency, storming into the West Wing to arrest recently defeated Donald Trump.

Another professor of political science at the University of New Haven, Joshua Sandman, said he did not think Trump would ever refuse to leave office after an election because it would destroy the president’s legacy.

He insisted intense congressional and political pressure would force Trump out of office quickly.

“The first line of defence would be the congress, and his party pressuring him out, telling him he must resign or leave,” Sandman says, adding, “If he wants to stay in the White House, he would stay in the White House. But, again, hypothetically you don’t need that. The White House is symbolic. It’s not a seat of power, necessarily.”

In an interview with The Independent in 2019, Ross Baker, an American political expert at Rutgers University in New Jersey, made a prediction of what would happen if Trump lost re-election by a very narrow margin.

He imagined a scenario where the popular vote was won by less than one per cent nationwide, and where there was a near tie in the electoral college. On 4 November 2020, America could wake up to tweets from the president calling the previous day’s results a fraud, and saying there is no way he did not win by huge margins.

Should that happen, Baker said he imagined a scenario in which the House of Representatives got to decide the electoral college based upon each state’s delegation

“It would certainly be a constitutional crisis to the first magnitude,” Baker he said.

Mckeever, recalling how concessions became an election tradition, reports that peaceful transfer of power has been a norm since 1800, when the country’s second president John Adams became the first to lose his reelection bid and quietly left Washington, D.C., on an early morning stagecoach to avoid attending his successor Thomas Jefferson’s inauguration.

According to the report, some early presidential candidates did send congratulatory letters to their opponents, says John R. Vile, dean of political science at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, who has written about the history of concession speeches. But formal concessions didn’t become an election custom until 1896, when Republican William McKinley defeated Democrat William Jennings Bryan.

In his account of the campaign in a later memoir, Bryan wrote that he began to resign himself to the loss by 11 p.m. on election night—a resignation that grew in the subsequent days as states completed counting ballots. On Thursday evening, Bryan learned that his loss was certain and immediately sent a telegram to McKinley, offering his congratulations and stating: “We have submitted the issue to the American people and their will is law.”

With that, a custom was born—much to Bryan’s own bewilderment as he considered it to be simply the courteous thing to do. “This exchange of messages was much commented upon at the time, though why it should be considered extraordinary I do not know,” Bryan wrote. “We were not fighting each other, but stood as the representatives of different political ideas, between which the people were to choose.”

Ever since, losing candidates have conceded to their opponents—even sitting presidents. In 1912, for example, Republican President William Howard Taft conceded to Democrat Woodrow Wilson at 11 p.m. on election night, while in 1932 Republican incumbent Herbert Hoover telegraphed his congratulations to Democrat Franklin Delano Roosevelt the day after the New York governor unseated him, and Hoover promised to dedicate himself “to every possible helpful effort.” (In the wake of the election, however, Hoover became a vocal critic of FDR’s policies.)

In 1960, Republican Vice President Nixon sealed his own loss to Democrat John F. Kennedy when, in his role as president of the Senate, he counted and confirmed the electoral votes. Even though Hawaii had sent two sets of votes after its results had been briefly contested, Nixon asked for, and received, unanimous consent to count the state for his opponent since they would not have changed the results of the election. “I don’t think we could have a more eloquent example of the stability of our constitutional system and the proud tradition of the American people of developing, respecting, and honoring institutions,” even when one loses, Vile says.

He also recalls some sore losers. For instance, in 1916, it took Republican Charles Evans Hughes two weeks to congratulate incumbent Democratic president Woodrow Wilson after a race so close it had taken two days to count the votes—which had initially been erroneously called in Hughes’ favour.


Yari gets court order against arrest by EFCC, ICPC



Yari gets court order against arrest by EFCC, DSS

A federal high court in Abuja has restrained the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) from arresting and detaining Abdulaziz Yari, a former governor of Zamfara State.

The judge, Donatus Okorowo, also stopped the Department of State Services (DSS) from detaining the senator-elect, pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice.

The order was given on Monday on an ex-parte motion filed by Michael Aondoakaa on behalf of Yari.

Okorowo ordered the respondents (EFCC, ICPC, DSS) to show cause in the next adjourned date on why the prayers sought on the motion ex-parte should not be granted.

“The respondents are however restrained from detaining the applicant until the return date for the order to show cause,” the judge ruled and adjourned the matter until June 8.

Through his team of lawyers led by Aondoakaa, former minister of justice, Yari had filed the ex-parte motion marked FHC/ANJ/CS/785/23 asking the court to restrain the EFCC, ICPC and DSS from arresting him.

In the motion dated and filed on June 2, Yari sued the EFCC, ICPC and DSS as 1st to 3rd defendants respectively.

He prayed the court to stop the three agencies from arresting and/or threatening to arrest and detain him to prevent him from participating in the proclamation of the 10th senate by President Bola Tinubu on June 13.

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Nigeria U20 thrash Italy 2-0, top group



Nigeria U20 thrash Italy 2-0, top group

The Flying Eagles of Nigeria on Wednesday night defeated Gli Azzurrini of Italy 2-0 in their second game of Group D at the 2023 FIFA U-20 World Cup.

The victory took Nigeria to the top of the group with six points.

The Flying Eagles will play Brazil on Saturday in their final game of the group.

The two goals were scored by Salim Fago Lawal and Jude Sunday in the second half of the game.

Ladan Bosso made just one change to the team which defeated Dominican Republic 2-1 in the opening game as Italy-based Victor Eletu was brought on for Tochukwu Nnadi in the midfield.

Eletu proved the change was essential when he attempted the first shot on target in the game but Sebastiano Desplanches, the Italian goalkeeper, gathered easily.

The Azurrini, who thrashed Brazil 3-2 in their first game, almost took the lead in the 20th minute but Cesare Casadei struck the woodwork.

The Flying Eagles resumed control of the game, and two consecutive chances fell to Sunday and Samson Lawal but none could beat Desplanches.

Nigerian then suffered another scare when it appeared the ball had clipped the arm of Solomon Agbalaka inside the goal area. An extensive video assistant referee (VAR) review was followed by the referee deciding against a penalty.

After the first-half break, Bosso sent on the double substitution of Nnadi and Emmanuel Umeh for Samon Lawal and Ibrahim Muhammed.

Shortly after, Nigeria broke the deadlock. Umeh held off an Italian defender in the goal area before calmly scooping a cross onto Fago Lawal, who glanced a header to the top corner.

The Nigerians gave little away as they guarded their lead into the later stage of the game.

Deep into stoppage time, Jude Sunday added another goal for Nigeria as he slotted the ball between the legs of Desplanches after reacting fastest to a clearance by Kingsley Aniaboso, the Eagles goalkeeper.

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New national carrier plane to fly on Friday – Sirika



New national carrier plane to fly on Friday – Sirika

Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, has said the much anticipated new national career, Nigeria Air, will begin operations on Friday, three days to the terminal date of the Muhammadu Buhari administration.

Sirika said the new airline’s plane would arrive in Nigeria on Friday.
He disclosed this Wednesday on Channels TV.
He said that the aircraft would be unveiled in Nigeria’s colours, adding that the implementation of the aviation roadmap has been achieved 100 percent.
He said: “On the question of Nigeria Air, on Friday in two days, Nigeria Air plane will land in Nigeria as part of the processes to commence operation. We will on that day unveil this aircraft, the livery and everything in Nigeria’s colours, belong to Nigeria Air and we will proceed to go and do the retrofit and bring back those airplanes.”
However, it is not clear whether the airline would be cleared to commence operations or demonstration flights as part of the requirement to secure the Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC) amidst disquiet within the industry over alleged move by the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) to waive some requirements to enable the take-off of the airline.
Also, the order of perpetual injunction issued against the airline in the suit filed by the Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON), is yet to be set aside even as the substantive motion challenging the shareholding structure is yet to be heard.
Additionally, despite receiving the Air Transport License (ATL), a prerequisite for obtaining an Air Operator Certificate (AOC), the airline still has a long way to go before meeting the stringent standards of the AOC, especially the stipulation of 50-hour demonstration flights for any intending carrier

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