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Will Trump’s obstinacy weaken US democracy?

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  • 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 geographical.com 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.

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3 Governors, Two Deputy Govs, 15 Big Winners, Losers Of PDP Primaries

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Governor Samuel Ortom

The Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) is currently conducting its legislative primary elections across the country.

However, results have started trickling in. As expected, there are winners and losers. In this piece, Daily Trust highlights some of the persons who clinched the tickets and those who suffered setback.

THE WINNERS

ORTOM

Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State won the PDP ticket to contest for a seat in the senate. He will fly the PDP flag in the Benue north-west senatorial district election in 2023. Ortom clinched the party’s senatorial ticket unchallenged. He was first elected on the All Progressives Congress (APC) ticket in 2015 but was re-elected in 2019 on the PDP platform.

DANKWAMBO

A former governor of Gombe state, Ibrahim Dankwambo, also won the ticket to represent the PDP in the Gombe North Senatorial District poll in the 2023 elections. Dankwambo emerged the winner of the exercise after Bayero Nafada, a former deputy speaker of the house of representatives, and Hamma Saleh withdrew from the race. He was the governor of Gombe state from 2011 to 2019.

ISHAKU

Governor Darius Ishaku of Taraba State also secured the PDP ticket to contest the Taraba South Senatorial District election. If he wins the election, Ishaku will join the league of governors who moved into the National Assembly at the end of 8 years as Chief Executive Officers of their states.

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NWOKO

Billionaire businessman, Chinedu Nwoko, on Monday emerged as the party’s candidate for Delta North Senatorial District for the 2023 general election. He defeated his opponent, Paul Osaji, a business mogul, in the Senate Primary held in Asaba with 242 votes as against 67 votes polled by his opponent.

Nwoko, also known as Ned, the husband of Nollywood actress, Regina Daniels, is a former member of the House of Representatives. He represented Aniocha/Oshimili Federal Constituency from 1999 to 2003.

Nwoko had in 2019 contested the PDP Senate primary but lost to the incumbent, Peter Nwaoboshi, in a keenly contested election.

BANKY W

A Nigerian celebrity, Mr Olubankole Wellington, popularly known as Banky W, was declared the winner of the PDP primary for the Eti-Osa constituency House of Representatives ticket in the 2023 general election. He polled 28 out of 31 votes cast by delegates at the primary.

In April, the music star announced on social media that he was once again aiming to represent the people of Eti-Osa Federal Constituency at the House of Representatives.

“We must engage with Nigeria where it is, not where we prefer for it to be. In 2019, we planted the seed. In 2023, by the grace of God, and with your support, we will win the seat. The time for just talking is over. It’s time to #TalkAndDo. I hope I can count on you. We move,” he had tweeted.

ABDULLAHI

Despite being in captivity, Sadiq Abdullahi, son of the Convener, Northern Elders Forum (NEF), Prof. Ango Abdullahi, emerged winner of the party’s primary election for Sabon Gari (Zaria) Federal constituency, Kaduna State.

The younger Abdullahi, who was among those abducted in the March 28 attack on the Abuja-Kaduna passenger train, is still in captivity contrary to recent reports that he was released by the terrorists.

BANIGO

Deputy Governor of Rivers, Dr Mrs Ipalibo Harry Banigo, won the PDP ticket for the Rivers West Senatorial Primaries election. The Deputy Governor was returned unopposed in the PDP Senatorial primaries election conducted at the Rivers West Senatorial district in Ahoada on Monday. Senator George Thompson Sekibo who is presently representing the district in the Senate, did not contest the primaries.

MANU

Deputy Governor of Taraba, Engr Haruna Manu won the PDP’s ticket for the Taraba Central zone. Reacting to his victory, the deputy governor vowed not to let the people of his senatorial district down if finally given the mandate come 2023.

THE LOSERS

PAT ASADU

Asadu lost his bid to return to the House of Representatives in 2023, for the fifth time. The legislator representing Nsukka/Igboeze south federal constituency of Enugu State was defeated by Vita Abba, who won the contest with 91 votes.

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FRED OBUA

The serving member of House of Representatives representing Ogbia Federal Constituency in Bayelsa State, Mr. Fred Obua, has lost his bid to return to the national assembly for a second tenure as he lost the primaries to the chairman of Ogbia Local Government Area, Ebiyon Marvin Turner.

Turner also defeated the incumbent member representing Ogbia Constituency 1, in the State House of Assembly, Chief Metema Obordor and the immediate past Commissioner of Information and Strategy, Mr. Daniel Iworiso-Markson.

NICHOLAS TOFOWOMO

The Senator representing Ondo South Senatorial district, Nicholas Tofowomo, suffered a setback in his bid to return to the upper legislative chamber on the PDP platform. He lost his return ticket to the former Ondo State Deputy Governor, Hon Agboola Ajayi. Ajayi scored 78votes to beat Tofowomo who polled 74votes.

AYO AKINYELURE

A two-term Senator, Ayo Akinyelure, representing Ondo central senatorial district, also lost his seat to Ifedayo Adedipe. In the election held in Akure, the state capital, Akinyelure came second having polled 58 votes behind Mr Ifedayo Adedipe, SAN who scored 82 votes.

Mathew Uroghide

Senator Matthew Urhoghide, lawmaker representing Edo South Senatorial district, lost the 2023 ticket of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to Mathew Iduoriyekemwen, a former member of the House of Representatives. The two-term senator lost the election on Monday.

FRANCIS OTTAH AGBO

Francis Ottah Agbo who represents Ado/Okpokwu/Ogbadibo of Benue State constituency in the House of Representatives lost his bid to clinch PDP’s tickets in the primary elections of the party held on Sunday. Agbo lost to a female lawyer, Aida Ogwuche, who polled 71 votes against Agbo’s 35

PAM SOKPO

Pam Sokpo who represents Buruku constituency of Benue State in the House of Representatives also lost his bid to clinch PDP’s tickets in the primary elections of the party. He was defeated by Terkaa Agba Terkaa.

DAILY TRUST

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Kidnapped train passenger, Ango Abdullahi’s son, wins Kaduna PDP rep ticket

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Sadiq Ango Abdullahi, the son of the leader of Northern Elders Forum (NEF), Ango Abdullahi, has won the primary for the Sabon Gari federal constituency of Kaduna State despite being in captivity.

Sadiq is one of the 61 persons still being held by terrorists who attacked and abducted passengers of the Abuja-Kaduna train on March 28, 2022.

He reportedly won a ticket of the Peoples Democratic Party in the 2023 House of Representatives election.

Announcing the result on Monday morning, Mohammed Shafiu, the returning officer, said Sadiq secured 28 votes to defeat his closest challenger, Malam Abdulhamid, who scored six votes.

Hajiya Mohammed and Paulina Edward, who also contested in the poll, were said to have got no votes.

Shafiu also said 34 delegates were accredited for the exercise, adding that the election was monitored by officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and other observers.

There are unconfirmed reports that the bandits have released Sadiq but his father, Ango Abdullahi, said Sadiq had yet to be released.

Ango Abdullahi, a former Vice Chancellor of Ahmadu Bello University, expressed hopes that his son would be released soon.

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Reps summon NPA, terminal operators over huge debt owed FG

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The House of Representatives Public Accounts Committee has summoned the leadership of the Nigerian Ports Authority and seaport terminal operators over $852.094 million and N1.897 billion and other funds owed the Federal Government.

According to the committee, N269.410 million of the N1.8 billion has been recovered while the balance of N1.6 billion “invoices processed on the encumbered areas remains unpaid.”

It added, “The sum of $504,663,452.37 is volume change on fix lease lease fee payment by APMT arising from clauses in the concession agreement between NPA and APMT out of the total sum of $852,093,730.77.

“Bills raised on encumbered areas which remain unpaid is $19,169,459.00. The following has been paid GMT-$54,707,700.08, unpaid penalties – $11,922,642.68 and unpaid VAT-$28,693,707.07”.

“$92,533,518.72 has been recovered; leaving unpaid lease and throughput fee in the sum of $139,970,637.71 (made up of $113,982,486.82 and $5,988,150.89) respectively.

The committee directed the NPA management to reconcile their records with the office of the AuGF and provide evidence of remitting the recovered N269.51m and $92.534m to the government.

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