President Donald Trump says the Democratic Party is trying to rig the 2020 US presidential election in favour of candidate Joe Biden.
Speaking at the White House on Friday morning (Nigerian time), the president said election officials are part of a “corrupt Democrat machine”.
“There’s tremendous litigation going on, and this is a case where they’re trying to steal an election. They’re trying to rig an election and we can’t let that happen,” Trump said on Friday.
“Detroit and Philadelphia, known as two of the most corrupt political places anywhere in our country easily, cannot be responsible for engineering the outcome of a presidential race, a very important presidential race.
“This was unprecedented in American history. This was by design. Despite years of claiming to care about the election security, they refuse to include any requirement to verify signatures, identities, or even determined whether they’re eligible or ineligible to vote.
“People are walking in there, they have no idea. They just take in the numbers. They’re writing down things, the workers, and doing a lot of bad things. And we have a lot of information coming and litigation that you’ll see that will shake even you people up, and you’ve seen it all.
“The officials overseeing the counting in Pennsylvania and other key states are all part of a corrupt Democrat machine that you’ve written about.
“I went to school there and I know a lot about it. It hasn’t changed since a long time ago and hasn’t changed. It has gotten worse.”
ELECTION OBSERVERS ‘USING BINOCULARS TO MONITOR POLL’
Trump, who is trailing Biden with over four million votes, said election observers have been sent far away from the voting process that they have to use binoculars to monitor the poll.
“In Philadelphia, observers have been kept far away, very far away. So far that people are using binoculars to try and see, and there’s been tremendous problems caused.
“They put a paper on all of the windows so you can’t see in, and the people that are banned are very unhappy and become somewhat violent.”
Trump alleged there was “historic election interference from big media, big money, and big tech”.
MSNBC, ABC, CBS, CNBC, and NBC cut away from his speech stating that the president was peddling falsehood.
Biden tweeted after Trump’s speech that “no one is going to take our democracy away from us. Not now, not ever”.
“America has come too far, fought too many battles, and endured too much to let that happen,” he said.
Trump is still 56 electoral votes away from the 270-mark of victory, while Biden is only six votes away from becoming the 46th president of the US.
The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) says the passport of Modupe Odele, an #EndSARS advocate, was not seized as a result of the campaign against police brutality.
Odele, a legal practitioner and member of the Feminist Coalition, had narrated how NIS officials stopped her from travelling out of the country.
The Feminist Coalition, which is the promoter of the #EndSARS protest, raised about N147 million for the cause.
The lawyer, who was actively involved in the campaign, offered legal aid to persons who were arrested during the demonstration.
Speaking on Thursday, Sunday James, NIS spokesman, said the passport was seized as part of a routine border assignment.
He said whenever a restriction is placed on any individual, the immigration service is responsible for its enforcement.
James added that the action is unconnected to the #EndSARS protests.
“As an enforcement agency in charge of border management, if there is an order restricting anybody from entry into the country, we enforce it without any prejudice. This doesn’t have anything to do with EndSARS protest or an individual, it is a routine assignment,” NAN quoted him to have said.
The federal government has been accused of generating a no fly list of #EndSARS promoters — but it denied this claim.
The Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has disclosed why he is yet to use state resources to buy new vehicles for himself and aides since he assumed office as the governor.
He said that it is not necessarily fanciful that Governor must buy brand new vehicles when there is no need for them.
While making the disclosure on Thursday, November 5, 2020, at the 22nd Annual Tax Conference of the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (CITN) held at Eko Hotel, Victoria Island in Lagos, Sanwo-Olu stressed the need for better utilization of taxpayers’ money by public office holders to build the trust of the citizens, adding that State executives must work toward having a better reform process.
He charged governors to look into their expenditure profile and do away with unnecessary spending to increase state revenue for the government to have more resources to meet the basic needs of the people.
Sanwo-Olu said, “We need to look at our expenditure profile as Chief Executive of our state and ask ourselves, where can I cut the red tape; what can I do away with so as to increase the revenue of my state or even make available more money for my state.
“What I have done till date is that I have not purchased any single official vehicle for myself, for any of my personal staff or any of my family members from the government purse. If you see me have a convoy of 10 vehicles, these are all vehicles I was using during my campaigns.
“Governor Nasir el-Rufai joined me in one of my cars this morning and I can tell you that vehicle was one of the vehicles I used for my campaign; it is not brand new.”
“So, I said to my people that, it is not a fanciful thing that every governor must begin to buy brand new vehicles when you do not need to. So, all of those millions have gone back into the treasury of the state and we are using it to develop the state very well.”
Governor Sanwo-Olu who stressed the need to increase revenue generation without totally dependent on revenue from oil, charged tax practitioners, especially members of CITN, to take a leadership position and put themselves in rightful position in Nigeria to increase government revenue and change the narrative in the country.
Speaking at the event, Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai commended Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s leadership in managing the affairs of the state and his effort to rebuild Lagos after the massive destruction that marred the peaceful protests organised by the youth recently.
He said: “Whatever happens in Lagos concerns everybody because it is the economic hub of the country while Kaduna State is the political hub. I can assure you that all the 35 governors will support your rebuilding Lagos project,” Governor el-Rufai promised.
In her address, the President of CITN, Dame Gladys Simplice, urged the executive arm of government to ensure that government economic policies in generating revenue are matched with tax reforms that encourage growth through Executive orders and sponsorship of legislative bills capable of promoting entrepreneurship development.
She also advised the National Assembly to address the nature of the Value Added Tax (VAT) by including more items under the exemption list and giving clarity to existing ones.
The U.S. Justice Department released a statement, yesterday night, disclosing it seized over $1 billion worth of bitcoin associated with a shady online marketplace Silk Road.
What we know: Thousands of BTCs worth $1 billion were snatched by the United States law enforcement agencies this week in what the Justice Department disclosed was the largest seizure of cryptocurrency in the history of the agency.
The United States government will now try to prove in court the items are subjected to forfeiture. In the past, the government has later auctioned off forfeited cryptocurrency.
In a report credited to CNBC, the U.S. Attorney David Anderson of the Northern District of California said in a civil complaint Thursday, “Silk Road was the most notorious online criminal marketplace of its day. The successful prosecution of Silk Road’s founder in 2015 left open a billion-dollar question. Where did the money go?”
What you need to know: Silk Road is a shady marketplace, where people individuals use the online platform to buying illegal stuff that includes hard drugs, child pornography, malware, and use bitcoin in paying for such transactions.
Such a platform had earlier being shut down by U.S. federal authorities in 2013 and its founder, Ross Ulbricht, was sentenced to life in prison two years later.
How did the crypto seizure happen? The U.S. enforcement agencies were able to make such seizure those through a unit within the Internal Revenue Service that specializes in tracking virtual currency transactions prevalent when using cryptos. The Internal Revenue Service agents were able to identify 54 new bitcoin transactions executed on the shady platform.
Forex turnover improved significantly by 536.7% as Nigeria’s exchange rate at the NAFEX window maintained its stability against the dollar to close at N386/$1 during intra-day trading on Thursday, November 5.
Also, the naira depreciated further against the dollar, closing at N465/$1 at the parallel market on Thursday, November 5, 2020, as BDCs get another round of dollar supply from CBN.
This is also as businesses that were shut down due to the outbreak of violence in Lagos and some parts of the country during the protests against the special anti-robbery unit (SARS) and police brutality by the Nigerian youths get back to full activity.
Parallel market: According to information from Abokifx – a prominent FX tracking website, at the black market where forex is traded unofficially, the Naira depreciated against the dollar to close at N465/$1 on Thursday. This represents a N1 drop when compared to the N464/$1 that it exchanged for on Wednesday, November 4.
- The local currency had strengthened by about 7.8% within the one week in September at the black market, as the CBN introduced some measures targeted at exporters and importers, in order to try to boost the supply of dollars in the foreign exchange market, and reduce the high demand for forex by traders.
- The CBN has sold over $500 million to BDCs since they resumed forex sales on Monday, September 7, 2020. This was expected to inject more liquidity to the retail end of the foreign exchange market and discourage hoarding and speculation.
- However, the exchange rate against the dollar has remained volatile after the initial gains made, following the CBN’s resumption of sales of dollars to the BDCs.
- The President of the Association of Bureau De Change Operators, Aminu Gwadebe, said he expects the impact of the extra liquidity in the market to be gradual.
- Despite the drop in speculative buying of foreign exchange, the huge demand backlog by manufacturers and foreign investors still puts pressure and creates a volatile situation in the foreign exchange market.
NAFEX: The Naira remained stable against the dollar at the Investors and Exporters (I&E) window on Thursday, closing at N386/$1.
- This was the same rate that it exchanged for on Wednesday, November 4.
- The opening indicative rate was N385.94 to a dollar on Thursday. This represents an 11 kobo gain when compared to the N386.05 that was recorded on Wednesday.
- The N393.51 to a dollar was the highest rate during intraday trading before it closed at N386 to a dollar. It also sold for as low as N380/$1 during intraday trading.
- Forex turnover: Forex turnover at the Investor and Exporters (I&E) window rose sharply by 536.7% on Thursday, November 5, 2020.
- According to the data tracked from FMDQ, forex turnover rose from $23.56 million on Wednesday, November 5, 2020, to $150.02 million on Thursday, November 5, 2020.
- The CBN is still struggling to clear the backlog of foreign exchange demand, especially by foreign investors wishing to repatriate their funds.
- The sharp increase in dollar supply after the previous trading day’s drop reinforces the volatility of the foreign exchange market. The supply of dollars has been on a decline for months due to low oil prices and the absence of foreign capital inflow into the country.
- As part of the measures to check forex abuse and illegal transactions, the CBN last month directed the freezing of accounts of about 38 companies.
- The average daily forex sale for last week was about $169.93 million, which represents a huge increase from the $34.5 million that was recorded the previous week.
- Total forex trading at the NAFEX window in the month of September was about $1.98 billion, compared to $843.97 million in August.
- The exchange rate is still being affected by low oil prices, dollar scarcity, a backlog of forex demand, and a shaky economy that has been hit by the coronavirus pandemic.
Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Wednesday signed an executive order for the rebuilding of Lagos as a result of the massive destruction inflicted on the state by hoodlums during the #EndSARS protest.
Sanwo-Olu also constituted an eightmember board for the new Lagos State Rebuilding Trust Fund Committee (LRTFC), to not only oversee the rebuilding of every aspect of the state but also to look at the future of the state and healing of wounds.
Membership of the Board cuts across, the private and public sectors as well as international bodies who have offered to assist in rebuilding the state.
The eight-member board will be chaired by Mr. Yemi Cardoso, while other members are: Prof Kanyisola Ajayi, Mr. Gbenga Agboola, Mrs. Bola Adesola, Mr. Sam Egube, Engr. Jimi Hotonu, Mr. Abubakar Suleiman and a member of international donor agency.
The governor also set up six other committees to assist in quick recovery from the present situation, they include: Business Continuity Committee, Assessment Committee, Planning Committee, Execution, Measurement and Evaluation Committee, Security and Enforcement Committee and Communication and Community Engagement Committee.
The governor, who addressed the press at the Lagos House, Alausa, Ikeja, where he signed the executive order, said it was time to let go of the pains of the loss and focus on rebuilding the state.
He stated that the state government had been inundated with offers of assistance to rebuild, both locally and internationally. Sanwo-Olu said though a bill on LRTFC will be presented to the House of Assembly in few days time for passage, he had to issue an executive order and set up the committee on rebuilding because of the deluge of offer of assistance both locally and internationally.
The governor assured that the state was going to come out of the ashes with upgraded structures and a modern Lagos as it embarks on reconciliation, rebuilding, unity, social reforms for the state to attain new height of development and “obtain greater heights for a greater Lagos”.
The governor said Lagos takes pride in the ability of several ethnic nationalities to peacefully cohabit while resiliently pursuing their personal goals and ambitions.
“It is in that cherished Spirit of Lagos that we have decided to put behind us our most recent challenges and face the daunting task of collectively rebuilding our state.
We believe that our culture, heritage, values and future are worth much more than the looting, arson and destruction, which we witnessed in Lagos State about two weeks ago.
“We have decided to look to the future with hope as we work on healing the wounds of our recent past.
Instead of wallowing in our pain, we have chosen to positively move forward.
We will embrace new standards of governance; we will build stronger partnerships, stronger people, stronger institutions, and a stronger state.
Our strength lies in our uncanny ability to overcome the most complicated challenges because we have people who genuinely love Lagos State and will assiduously do all they can to preserve its peace and unity.
“In the last few weeks, we have been inundated with local and global offers of assistance to rebuild our state and recover all we lost to arson and violence in October. It is obvious that we can no longer wait to begin the onerous task of reconstructing Lagos State.
“When the Trust Fund Bill is passed by the House of Assembly and becomes law, the Lagos Rebuild Trust Fund Committee will be dissolved, and its functions will be immediately transferred to the newly established Trust Fund.
“However, with the deluge of offers of immediate help and assistance that we have received locally and internationally, we can no longer wait until the bill is passed.
It is expedient that our enumeration, recovery, and rebuilding efforts start as soon as possible.”
The governor further assured of the trust fund committee’s utmost commitment to the reconstruction and upgrade of our the state, adding that “In these challenging but interesting times, we realize that we have the potent opportunity to reform our state, and upgrade our structures.
“Out of the despair and challenges of the Coronavirus Pandemic and the destruction of our public assets comes a glimmer of hope – The Trust Fund Committee, which will set the pace for the eventual transformation of our state.
The Committee will have a profound effect on how quickly and efficiently we are able to rebuild our state and restart our socio-economic growth. It is the needed crucial intervention at this time if we must make a difference.
Among the duties of theTrust Fund Committee is getting the detailed cost of restructuring and rebuilding the destroyed properties, the identification of the state’s most critical needs and how they align with the THEMES agenda, how best to improve emergency response service (Fire, LASEMA and Health), determination of the areas of critical need to get affected agencies back to work, and the construction of a website to gather ideas from the public on the way forward.
“I believe this is the starting point of a new socio-economic process. I am also hopeful that this initiative will help us to seamlessly make the transition to a rebuilt Lagos with upgraded public structures, facilities and amenities.
I know that the ashes that presently dot our landscape will birth modern and globally acceptable infrastructure.
“As I sign the Executive Order today, I am positive that we will attain new heights of development, we will build more resilient systems, we will become more united and accomplish our audacious goals and visions for Lagos State,” Sanwo-Olu said.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Thursday approached Justice Ahmed Mohammed of the Federal High Court, Abuja for an order directing it to visit the Central Bank of Nigeria, Kano branch and inspect the sum of $9.7 billion recovered from a former Managing Director of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Andrew Yakubu.
EFCC prosecutor Mohammed Abubakar made the oral application at the resumed cross-examination of Yakubu who is facing a twocount charge of money laundering.
He also said that he relied on what prosecution witness 3 said that the fresh dollars new mints are in “one hundred dollars note” and that they are contained in 30 packs.
Yakubu further told the Court that he was the deponent of an affidavit at the Supreme Court which stated that the money is in custody of CBN.
“I have not gone to Kano CBN but I relied on what you said here that it is in CBN and I don’t have reason to dispute that,” he said.
However, an attempt by prosecution counsel to tender the affidavit with the motion on notice that was filed at the Supreme Court, in respect of the money by the deponent was vehemently opposed to by the defence counsel, Raji, on the ground that it is a public document that requires certification.
Recalled that Yakubu has approached the Supreme Court with the affidavit to challenge the decision of Court of Appeal.
The appellate court refused to release the money to him after squashing four of the six count charge against him.
Justice Mohammed reserved his ruling on the admissibility of the document till November 30. On EFCC’s oral application for (locus in quo) visit to CBN Kano branch, the judge ordered the prosecution to file a formal application and serve the defendant by next week.
He also directed the defendant counsel to file his response, as he has indicated intention to vehemently oppose it.
Yakubu was arraigned on March 16, 2017 on a six-count charge of failure to make full disclosure of assets, receiving cash without going through a financial institution, which borders on money laundering and intent to avoid a lawful transaction under law, transported at various times to Kaduna, the aggregate sum of $9,772,800 and £74,000.
The EFCC said the money was recovered by its agents from a safe allegedly hidden by the defendant in a house in a community Kaduna State.
On October 17, 2018 the prosecution closed its case after calling its seventh witness, Suleiman Mohammed (an EFCC operative) who gave evidence regarding how the commission’s officials, on February 3, 2017, recovered $9,772,000 and £74,000 stashed in a huge fire proof safe in a building belonging to the defendant, located at Sabon Tasha area of Kaduna State.
At the conclusion of the prosecution’s case, the defendant made a no-case submission, which Justice Mohammed partially upheld in a ruling on May 16, 2019. The judge struck out two of the six counts contained in the charge and ordered Yakubu to enter defence in relation to the remaining four counts.
Justice Mohammed said: “I agree with the defence counsel that the prosecution has failed to prove the essential element of transportation of money on counts five and six. I accordingly discharge the defendant on counts five and six.
“Even though I am tempted to discharge the defendant on counts one to four, I am however constrained to ask the defendant to explain how he came about the monies recovered from his house.
“Fortified with my position, the defendant is hereby ordered to enter his defence in respect of counts one to four.”
Rather than enter his defence as ordered by the court, Yakubu appealed to the Court of Appeal, Abuja.
In a judgment on April 24, 2020, the Court of Appeal partially upheld Yakubu’s appeal.
A threeman panel of the appellate court held, among others, that the prosecution was unable; by the evidence it led at the trial court, to establish a prima facie case against the defendant in relation to counts five and six.
The Court of Appeal then struck out counts five and six from the charge and ordered the case be returned to the trial court for Yakubu to enter defence in respect of the remaining two counts – counts three and four.
• World’s biggest Democracy suffers setback
• Democrats support Nigeria’s WTO bid
As emergence of President-elect in the U.S. Presidential election becomes more imminent, authoritative sources close to former Vice President Joe Biden are reeling out salient issues that would form U.S. Africa Policy under his administration. Nigeria, The Guardian gathered, is at the centre of it all.
President Donald Trump of the Republican Party and Biden each claim to be leading in the bitter election.
While Trump campaign is contesting counts in key states of Nevada, Wisconsin, Georgia, Pennsylvania and Michigan, projections say Biden won in Wisconsin and Michigan. The two swing states (Wisconsin and Michigan) have a total of 26 electoral votes. Biden is also presumed to win in Nevada and Arizona, two other critical states to both candidates.
Biden, last night, stopped short of declaring himself winner, but said he was very confident to beat his Republican rival. Pennsylvania, with 20 electoral votes, is critical to the conclusion of the process, but Democrats say they are hopeful to win the state by a significant margin. “The United States will have a president-elect tonight, a source said.
At 66.9 per cent, Tuesday’s election voter turnout was America’s highest in 120 years, and Biden had the 70.5 million votes already, the most won by any presidential candidate ever.
MEANWHILE, an authoritative ally of Biden, yesterday, hinted that the potential U.S. government run by Democrats would drive positive Africa-specific policies with special interest on Nigeria.
According to Ambassador Johnnie Carson, who serves as Senior Advisor at the United States Institute of Peace in Washington, DC, Biden, as President, will most likely differ on the United State’s current position regarding the choice of Nigeria’s Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala as Director-general of the World Trade Organisation (WTO). Trump’s administration had opposed the presentation of Okonjo-Iweala as the popular choice by WTO Troika to the General Council as popular choice. The U.S., instead, preferred her South Korean rival, Yoo Myung-hee.
Carson who disclosed this to The Guardian, at the 2020 US Presidential Election reporting Seminar virtually taking place in Hawaii, said “more attention will be paid to Africa now by Biden.” Carson explained that the Biden’s expected drive for review and revival of strong U.S.’ Africa policy would be triggered and sustained by the domestic support his campaign enjoyed from the Black and other demographic groups within the United States in the run up to the presidential election.
Carson, as a diplomat, served as principal deputy assistant secretary of state for African affairs, staff director of the House Subcommittee on Africa, national intelligence officer for Africa, and deputy chief of mission in Maputo, Mozambique and Gaborone, Botswana. He also held assignments at the U.S. embassies in Lisbon, Portugal; London, England; and Lagos, Nigeria. Ambassador Carson is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and board member of the American Academy of Diplomacy and the National Democratic Institute.
Ambassador Carson noted a number of global and transnational issues on which the United States and African countries should be working together to include public health pandemic, terrorism and helping Africa deal with its “youth bunch” as the “youngest continent in the world.”
Carson, who said that Africa-specific policy of the U.S. under President Donald Trump was negative said Trump’s decision to pull out from the Paris climate change agreement was a big blow to Africa, especially as former President Barack Obama had put in $2 billion. According to him, “Africa will be most affected (by climate change) and has the least resources to deal with it.” Carson told a group of international journalists at the virtual session of the ongoing 2020 U.S. Presidential Election Reporting Seminar organised by the East-West Center, Hawaii.
The career diplomat who served as assistant secretary of state for African affairs during the first administration of President Obama from 2009 to 2013, said Trump’s Immigration Policy that announced visa ban, especially for Muslim countries — four of which were African countries — specifically targeted Nigeria, Sudan, Chad and Mozambique — would be reviewed. “Nigeria was particularly under focus and Trump administration has a proposal that will exclude Nigeria and African countries from visa lottery,” he said.
Ambassador Carson specifically said that Biden would review Trump’s threat that United States would pull out of the World Health Organisation, whose head is an Ethiopian and revisit the “global policy of the U.S. against Africa.”
He explained that former vice president, Biden would toe the path of his former boss, president Obama in re-invigorating Africa partnerships in areas of power, agriculture, security and fight against terrorism. “Under Obama, we saw the Power Africa Initiative for the electrification of Africa and Green Revolution projects. We also saw the (YALI Africa) programme for youths of Africa to provide leadership skills.”
He said he believed that Africa, in encouraging its youths with economic opportunities and progress, would find willing partner in Biden Presidency
IN corroborating Carson’s position on a potentially drastic shift in U.S foreign policy, Michael Kugelman, the deputy director and senior associate for South Asia at the Woodrow Wilson Center, said Biden would be more willing to call out India on human rights violation. “We should expect criticisms more than we saw during Trump administration,” Kugelman said, arguing that Biden’s boss, Obama, openly criticised India on New Delhi issues.
Kugelman also speculated that Biden would be “more willing to call out Bangladesh on its crackdown on political opposition.”
Professor Charles Kupchan, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations said a new administration led by Biden would see a doubling-down on America-first mantra to pursue a more robust U.S.-Europe Relations. “ Many Europeans are surprised at how U.S. has not been playing its role. We will now see the United States as a member of the liberal democrats community standing shoulder to shoulder with other liberal democracies,” said Kupchan.
The relationship between the United Kingdom and the United States will be fine, but I’m not sure it’s going to matter much, Kupchan said of expected U.S.-UK relations under Biden. Kupchan is a professor of International Affairs at Georgetown University in the Walsh School of Foreign Service and Department of Government.
Former Nigeria’s President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, on Wednesday, unravelled reasons why he supported the candidacy of Alhaji Shehu Musa Yar’Adua over Chief Olu Falae in 1992, during the pre-election preparation for the 1993 presidential election.
Chief Obasanjo, who recalled this during the launch of the autobiography of a former Oyo State governor, Otunba Adebayo Alao-Akala’s book titled: “Amazing Grace,” said both politicians were his close aides, while he was the military head of state, adding that his preference for Yar’Adua was hinged on his belief in the Nigeria project.
He said: “In 1992, Shehu Musa Yar’Adua came to me to request me to intervene on his behalf with Chief Adedibu. It was the usual thing I would do but for Shehu.”
“I went to the chief, meeting him one on one for the first time and he received me warmly. And I said to him, I know both Olu Falae and Shehu Yar’Adua very well as they both worked directly under me. Olu as Permanent Secretary and Shehu as my political number 2.”
“They are both very good. But if we are looking at the entire Nigeria picture, it should be Shehu before Olu; If however, it is purely Yoruba issue, it should be Olu before Shehu.
“If my information is correct that you people are considering Nigeria and not just Yorubaland, then I will recommend Shehu. That led to Chief Adedibu changing his support in favour of Shehu Yar’Adua in 1992,” Obasanjo revealed.
He, then, congratulated Otunba Alao-Akala, who attained the age of seventy years recently, for his contributions in the political circle, saying: “You have had the opportunity to serve, you have served to the best of your ability.”
“You have kept as best as you could recollect records of events as you wish to present them. It has become part of history and let others contend. And you are already a maker of history,” he added.
In his remark, Otunba Alao-Akala, said it fulfilled his desire to bookmark the landmark narratives of his life, how the tragic death of his father in a road accident in 1952 single-handedly threatened to swap his dream of getting to the cusp of his life aspirations.
“The title of the book, “Amazing Grace is not a happenstance. It is the audacity of providence to bring me out of the dungeon of a hopeless tomorrow into a fulfilment of a life that I today, celebrate seventy years on earth.”
“My very meaningful and impactful sojourn in the Nigeria Police Force is also amply documented in the book, to tell the story of how grace pushed me to the top.”
“God brought me from junctures where many who had great and greater hope of tomorrow, fell. He lifted me, without an iota of hope, to my feet and brought me to this juncture,” Alao-Akala posited.
He, however, expressed appreciation to Chief Obasanjo, who chaired the event, for forfeiting many of his schedules to be present at the occasion.
Dignitaries from all walks of life converged on the Trenchard Hall of the University of Ibadan to celebrate the former governor.
Among the personalities present were, Ekiti State governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi, Deputy Governor of Oyo State, Mr Rauf Olaniyan, the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi; the Olubadan of Ibadan, Oba Saliu Adetunji, for Chief of Staff under the administration of the former governor, Dr Saka Balogun, who reviewed the book and others.
As the counting of the ballots entered the second day on Thursday, anxiety and tension have heightened in the United States as results from six states held up the emergence of the election winner.
As of Thursday night, results from Arizona (11 votes), Nevada (6 votes), Georgia (16 votes), Pennsylvania (20 votes) Wisconsin (10 votes) and Michigan (16 votes) were being awaited.
While Biden has scored 253 points, President Donald Trump is trailing behind with 213 points. The winner has to score 270 points in the Electoral College system to emerge president.
If Biden gets Nevada, Arizona and Wisconsin in addition to Michigan, he gets his 270 votes.
Trump, however, will need Pennsylvania’s votes and win three states out of Georgia, North Carolina, Nevada or Arizona.
The Trumps campaign has attacked the integrity of the voting process with lawsuits in three key states of Pennsylvania, Michigan and Georgia where the race has not been called and votes are still being counted.
Election officials had cautioned that the winner of the presidential election might be unknown days after the election is over.
Rules in some states don’t allow election workers to begin the labour-intensive work of processing mail-in ballots until Election Day. And with a record number of voters casting their ballots by mail, the influx could delay final tallies for days.
On the allegations by the Trump campaign team, election law experts and state election officials had overwhelmingly said there had been no sign of widespread or even sporadic voter fraud.
They said counting votes just took more time than in past years because the coronavirus pandemic had changed the way people go about it.
But the Trump campaign said the lawsuits were necessary.
Meanwhile, Biden’s campaign attorney, Bob Bauer, said the suits had no merit and were meant to spread a false narrative about the electoral process.
He said it’s more about “Trump’s own effort to discredit the election.”
Trump campaign loses legal fights in Georgia, Michigan
President Donald Trump’s campaign lost court rulings in the closely-contested states of Georgia and Michigan on Thursday, even as it vowed to bring a new lawsuit challenging what it called voting irregularities in Nevada.
In the Georgia case, the campaign alleged 53 late-arriving ballots were mixed with on-time ballots.
In Michigan, it sought to stop votes from being counted and obtain greater access to the tabulation process.
State judges tossed out both the suits on Thursday.
Judge James Bass, a superior court judge in Georgia, said there was “no evidence” that the ballots in question were invalid.
In the Michigan case, Judge Cynthia Stephens said: “I have no basis to find that there is a substantial likelihood of success on the merits.”
Trump allies alleged that there had been voting irregularities in Nevada’s populous Clark County, which includes Las Vegas. A Trump campaign spokeswoman did not respond to requests for comment by Reuters on the Michigan and Georgia rulings.
…Says N1.3bn proposed for the State House clinic in 2021 budget
…N1.3 billion is absolutely inadequate — FG
..Presidency keeps mum
…Nothing on ground to convince us they will comply – NMA
THE Senate, yesterday, warned State House officials against President Muhammadu Buhari embarking on foreign trips for medical attention.
It said rather than allow President Buhari to jet out to seek treatment abroad, the government and State House officials should put the State House Clinic in order for such purposes.
The President’s frequent treatment abroad has generated so much controversy in the polity each time he jetted out for medical attention.
The Senate Committee on Federal Character and Inter-governmental Affairs, led by Senator Danjuma La’ah (PDP, Kaduna South), gave the warning when the State House Permanent Secretary, Tijjani Umar, appeared before the committee to defend his 2021 budget estimates.
Efforts made to get the Presidency’s reaction last night proved abortive, as the media office of the President kept sealed lips on the matter.
A highly placed official of the President, who did not want his name mentioned, simply replied “thanks” to the sms message sent to his GSM for his reaction to the Senate’s position.
But the Nigerian Medical Association, NMA, described the issue as a political statement, saying though the Senate directive was desirable, it was yet to be seen how it would be enforced since nothing was yet on ground to make it possible.
Umar had told the committee that of the N19.7 billion allocated to State House in the 2021 budget, only N1.3 billion was proposed for the State House Clinic.
Senator La’ah in his response, explained that though the committee would approve the budget for the State House Clinic, President Buhari and other top officials of his government should no longer be flown abroad for medical treatment.
He said: “Our President is not a man to be taken out anytime anything happens to him or he is sick.
“He must attend our clinic here and we must make sure we equip our hospital to the best of our ability so that any emergency will first be taken care of here before flying out, if the need arises.
“N1.3 billion is already approved for State House clinic. I want this thing done and I want the credit to go to the whole committee that the rehabilitation and equipment of State House clinic we requested was done within the shortest time. Oversight will be done monthly to ensure the job is completed in record time.’’
Speaking with journalists after defending his budget, the Permanent Secretary promised to put necessary arrangements in place to meet the medical needs of the President and other top officials once the budget was approved.
‘N1.3b budget inadequate’
He said: “Today (yesterday), we had the privilege of appearing before the Senate committee. It is not correct to say the State House clinic is comatose, it is not.
‘’We have realigned so many things and one of the fundamental challenges we have dealt with is the sustainable supply of drugs and consumables. Don’t forget that this is derived from the budget.
“We have appealed to the committee to assist us with the presidential wing of the State House clinic.
“The N1.3 billion is absolutely inadequate when you juxtapose the amount proposed and the labour, the status of the principals that the project is going to serve and you compare with worldwide standards you see that it is nothing near what we need. It is considered a legacy project for us because we want to leave something down.”
Mere political statement — NMA
Reacting to the development yesterday, President of the Nigerian Medical Association, NMA, Prof. Innocent Ujah, described the call by the Senate as a mere political statement.
Ujah also argued that even if the Upper Chamber meant its words, there was nothing on ground to convince Nigerians that those involved would comply.
The NMA president, who also described the statement as old news, told Vanguard on telephone that Nigerian doctors had been calling for it a long time ago but noted that the legislators failed to come up with a law to back it up.
“There is nothing on ground to convince us that the officials will comply with such directive. The one Senate is talking about now is just a political statement because they don’t have the powers to enforce it.
‘’You know it is just a political statement without the backing of a law. We are very sure and confident that the officials will not comply because there is nothing on ground to convince us that they will.”
He stated further that the NMA was not totally against people seeking medical treatment abroad, adding that what it was emphasizing was that no government officials should travel abroad for medical treatment with public funds.
“The call is not new to us, we have been advocating for years. The State House Clinic they are talking about is not a new hospital. Is it not the same hospital that was widely published doesn’t have syringes and needles?
“Even if money is being budgeted for the Clinic, what will it be used for? Is it for equipment or development of capacity for health workers or to buy consumables? It is not enough to put money in it but how much is released?
“Ideally before any public official should embark on a medical trip outside this country, it must be reviewed and approved by Medical Board because fundamentally, everybody has the right to seek medical treatment anywhere. What we are saying is that they should go with their own money, not government money,” he stressed.
Buhari’s medical trips since he assumed office in 2015
Since he assumed power on May 29, 2015, President Buhari has embarked on foreign medical trips five times covering a period of about 170 days (8.56 per cent) of the 1,987 days he has been in power. A peep into the trips reveals:
February 5-10, 2016: Buhari took a six-day vacation in the United Kingdom, claiming that his doctors live in England.
*June 6-19, 2016: Buhari went on a 10-day medical trip to England for an ear infection surgery. He extended his trip by three days to rest.
*January 19, 2017: Buhari went to London again on a medical vacation.
*February 5, 2017: Buhari wrote National Assembly, seeking extension of his London medical leave.
March 10, 2017: Buhari returned to Nigeria but didn’t resume work immediately at Aso Villa. Presidency said “he’s working from home.”
*May 7, 2017: Buhari embarked on trip to London for another medical vacation. He returned after 104 days.
*August 19, 2017: Buhari returned to Nigeria and it took him a while to resume work because rats had reportedly damaged furniture in his office. Presidency announces he’ll be working from home.
*May 8, 2018: Buhari went to London for a four-day “medical review.” Following his meeting in Washington, DC, with President Trump on April 30, President Buhari did not return directly to Nigeria but instead made a stop in London where, according to his staff, he received medical treatment.
Joe Biden has reacted to allegations made by President Donald Trump that the presidential election is being rigged in his favour.
Trump said if the legal votes were counted, he truly won the election, but noted the illegal votes were being counted which should stop.
But Biden, reacting to Trump’s allegation said “No one is going to take our democracy away from us. Not now, not ever.“
“America has come too far, fought too many battles, and endured too much to let that happen,” he tweeted.
Trump had in his address to the nation from the White House said US presidential election is being rigged in favour of Joe Biden, saying “If you count the legal votes I easily win.”
Trump, who addressed the nation from White House, said the mail-in votes were adopted to rig the election in favour of the Democrats.
He said he is being deprived of victory by fraud perpetrated by the Democrats through mail-in votes.
“If you count the legal votes I easily win. If you count the illegal votes, they can try to steal the election from us,” Trump alleges.
The President said he was advocating for a halt in counting of “votes that came in late,” and went on to tout races that had already been called for him.
“I’ve already decisively won many critical states, including massive victories,” he claimed
The Nigerian Army, contrary to its decision last week, will appear on Saturday before the Lagos State Panel of Inquiry probing the alleged shooting of #EndSARS peaceful protesters by soldiers on October 20 at the Lekki tollgate.
Sources close to the retired Justice Doris Okuwobi-led panel confirmed to The PUNCH on Thursday that the army had acknowledged the panel’s invitation and the panel had fixed Saturday (November 7) for its appearance at the hearing taking place at the Lagos Court of Arbitration, Lekki.
Recall that for two weeks last month, youths calling for the disbanding of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad of the Nigeria Police protested across the country.
In Lagos, the protests assumed a tragic dimension when soldiers shot protesters at the Lekki tollgate.
The shootings have attracted local and international condemnations with Amnesty International saying that no fewer than 12 people were killed.
Recall that the Lagos State panel had invited the 81 Division of the Nigerian Army, whose soldiers were alleged to have carried out the shootings.
But the spokesman for the Nigerian Army, 81 Division, Lagos, Major Osoba Olaniyi, said the army would not honour a summons from the panel as the army believed that it was not the panel’s “duty” to invite the army.
Olaniyi had stressed that the military would only appear before the panel if it received an invitation directly from the Lagos State Government, rather than the panel.
“If we receive a letter from the state, we will go. Are we not under civil authorities? Are we not part of Nigerians? Have you forgotten that we did not go there (Lekki tollgate) on our own?.
“It is the state government that constituted that panel of inquiry. So, if anybody needs to get in touch with us to come, it is still the state, not the members,” Olaniyi had said.
But on Thursday, multiple sources confirmed that the army had changed its position and would be presenting its case before the panel on Saturday.
One of the sources close to the panel, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said, “Contrary to its earlier posture of resistance, the Nigerian Army seems to have bowed to pressure in respect of the invitation to appear before the Lagos panel on SARS. The Army will appear before the panel on Saturday. That is the day the panel has fixed for the Army to appear.
“You know the panel was set up with the approval of the National Executive Council and President Muhammadu Buhari has always assured Nigerians and indeed the international community of full cooperation with the panel, so the Army cannot afford to ignore the invitation from the panel duly signed by its chairperson, who is a judicial officer.
“The whole world is watching us and all eyes are on the panel, especially in respect of the Lekki Tollgate. The Army is critical to the work of the panel and it will erode public confidence in the government if any of its institutions snubs the panel with impunity. After all, the President is the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, so how can the army openly defy the Panel that its own Commander-in-Chief has endorsed?”
The source dismissed the fear that the panel might not be objective since it was set up by the Governor of Lagos State, whom the Army said called for the soldiers who engaged the peaceful protesters at Lekki tollgate.
When contacted on the telephone, the spokesman for 81 Division of the Nigerian Army, Olaniyi, said, “If you have any question, go and meet the panel, don’t come and ask me. The panel is carrying out the investigation, go and meet the panel. I don’t have any comment.”
Further efforts to get Osoba to answer other questions were rebuffed as he hung up the call during the telephone conversation.