Good morning Nigeria, welcome to Naija News roundup of top newspaper headlines in Nigeria for today, Friday, 17th March 2023
1. 2023 Presidential Election Was Fraudulent, SMBLF Writes Buhari
The Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum (SMBLF), on Thursday, described the outcome of the 2023 presidential election as fraudulent.
Naija News reports that the Forum made this known in an open letter addressed to President Muhammadu Buhari ahead of Saturday’s governorship and state assembly elections.
The letter was signed by the leader of Afenifere, Ayo Adebanjo; convener of the Pan-Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), Edwin Clark; President of the Middle Belt Forum, Pogu Bitrus; Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide Secretary-General, Okey Emuchay, and former Anambra Governor, Chukwuemeka Ezeife.
According to the Forum, the conduct of the February 25 election failed to meet the expectations of Nigerians and has led to an uneasy calm in the country.
They added that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) failed to follow the Electoral Act 2022, and even its own guidelines in the conduct of the election.
2. PDP Speaks On Atiku Withdrawing Election Petition
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has debunked the report that its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar has withdrawn the petition filed against the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Bola Tinubu at the Presidential Election Tribunal.
According to the National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Debo Ologunagba the report is false and a reprehensible fabrication by the mendacious APC.
He further stated that PDP is committed to retrieving the presidential mandate of its party.
3. Tinubu Sends Message To Nigerians Ahead Of Governorship Elections
Ahead of the March 18 governorship and state assembly elections, Nigeria’s President-elect, Bola Tinubu, has asked Nigerians to believe in the country and in the capacity of their fellow citizens.
In a statement on Thursday he personally signed, Tinubu asked the citizens to work together as Nigerians for the benefit of the country, adding that the country would be great if all citizens support his administration.
Tinubu also asked that electorates who did not vote for him should believe in the country and asked his supporters to continue to believe in his policies and plans for the country.
The All Progressives Congress (APC) chieftain said he is seeking a better country not just for himself and his supporters but for all citizens irrespective of their political affiliations.
He added that it would be undemocratic for him to ask those who did not vote for him to change their affiliation but they should have a “patriotic duty as the loyal opposition”.
4. IGP Restricts Vehicular Movement, Bans Security Aides From Polling Units On Saturday
An order to restrict the movement of vehicles on Saturday has been given by the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Usman Alkali Baba.
Naija News gathered that the police boss in a statement on Thursday signed by the force’s spokesperson Muyiwa Adejobi said the restriction was because of the governorship and house of assembly elections to be held on Saturday.
According to the IGP who also placed a ban on security aides, the restriction will take effect from 12 am to 6 pm.
5. Election Funds: APC Vice Chairman Insists He Won’t Apologize To Omisore
National Vice Chairman, Northwest, of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) Salihu Mohammad Lukman said the lawsuit filed against him by the party’s National Secretary Senator Iyiola Omisore was a distraction.
Senator Iyiola Omisore’s lawsuit against Lukman was in agitation against Lukman’s claims that the APC National Secretary didn’t account for the funds deployed for the last governorship election in Osun State.
Lukman was quoted as saying on Africa Independent Television (AIT), “And that is where we are and that is partly what is producing some of the unhealthy development in the party. For instance, Osun State, which is part of the reason why I said the National Secretary has failed, in terms of stabilizing Osun and uniting people.
“Part of the issue with that is that I am aware the party has given some campaign funds to Osun which was handled by the National Secretary and to some extent, he has either mismanaged it but more importantly, he is not accounting to anybody and you have to activate the process of accountability.”
In reaction to the comments, Lukman received a letter on Wednesday from Omisore, sent through his lawyers, “Lords Temple,” threatening legal action for libel against him.
However, the party’s national vice chairman claimed that he had only reiterated his call for Senator Abdullahi Adamu, the party’s National Chairman, and Senator Omisore to resign.
According to him, their resignations would serve the interests of the country and the party, as well as to demonstrate the party’s ardent support for President-elect Asiwaju Bola Tinubu’s efforts to form an inclusive Federal Government on May 29, 2023.
6. Judge Threatens To Imprison IGP Usman Over Contempt Of Court, Gives Ultimatum
The National Industrial Court in Abuja has threatened to imprison the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Alkali Baba Usman over his persistent disobedience to orders of the court.
The court on Thursday stated that the action of the IGP is unacceptable considering that he is a top-ranking federal official.
In an enrolled order issued by the court and endorsed by Justice Oyebiola Oyewumi, the court gave the IGP till May 2 to appear before it and purge himself of contempt of court or be committed to prison in line with the provisions of the law.
Justice Oyewunmi insisted that irrespective of his rank, the IGP is not above the law.
Naija News understands that the reaction of the court is following a suit instituted by four senior-ranking police officers from courses 33, 34 and 35 who were compulsorily and unlawfully retired from the force.
They are Chief Superintendents of Police (CSPs) Egong Egwu Egong, Omeh Felix Okechukwu. Paul Obot Umoh and Superintendent of Police (SP) Galadima Bello.
The officers sued the IGP on behalf of themselves and affected members who were compulsorily shovelled out of service prematurely.
7. 2023 Elections: Why Governors Are No Longer gods – Garba Shehu
Presidential Spokesperson, Garba Shehu has said the claim that Nigerian governors are gods has been demystified in the just-concluded presidential election.
Speaking on Arise News’ Morning Show on Thursday, Shehu said some of the governors lost their senatorial bids because the will of the people prevailed and the election could not be rigged.
The presidential spokesman added that the assumption that when governors finish their tenure, they are entitled to proceed to the senate has been nullified.
He said: “These governors are not gods. Before now, there used to be the assumption that when you finish your tenure as a governor, you are entitled to proceed to the Senate.
“But we have seen several of them lose their senatorial bids because, ultimately, it is the will of the people that count.”
Speaking further, Shehu said any plan by some governors to rig the March 18 governorship and state assembly elections will be resisted by security agents and they won’t be able to wield god-like influence on the outcome of the exercise.
The presidential spokesman added that law enforcement agencies will clamp down on any acts of voter intimidation and violence during Saturday’s polls.
8. FG Speaks On Agreement With Govs On Fuel Subsidy Palliatives
The Federal Government is yet to agree with state governors on the palliative measures ahead of the June 2023 deadline for the discontinuation of fuel subsidy.
The Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Clem Agba, made this known to State House Correspondents shortly after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting on Wednesday.
Agba stated that the suggestions that have come out from both the Federal Government and the governors on the palliative measures have not been finalized.
He said a committee led by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, and the National Economic Council, composed of state governors, would soon conclude discussions with key stakeholders before May 29.
The minister argued that while the Osinbajo-led committee has no definite timeline to conclude its assignment, discussions were ongoing.
Agba explained that the delay was necessary because the situation had far-reaching consequences for the nation.
9. 2023 Presidential Election Remains Most Improved In Nigeria’s History – Garba Shehu
Presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu has said the just-concluded presidential election remains the most improved election in the history of the country.
During an appearance on Arise Television News on Thursday, Shehu said the presidential election was an improvement on the previous polls in the country.
Shehu said it is wrong to say the election was marred by violence, claiming that 98 or 99 percent of Nigerians voted in a free environment without fear or any sort of intimidation.
The presidential spokesman said the reports of electoral violence were only a few isolated cases, adding that there were irregularities in the conduct of the election.
Speaking further, Shehu said the results of the presidential election came as a shock to many who had declared a winner before the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) announced Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as the president-elect.
Shehu argued that President Muhammadu Buhari cannot conspire with INEC to determine the outcome of the presidential election.
He added that the electoral umpire acted within its powers when it transmitted results manually at the Presidential and National Assembly elections.
10. Was It Not Obasanjo And Ayu That Helped You In Getting Your Ticket? – Rhodes-Vivour Slams Jandor Over Godfatherism Claims
The governorship candidate of the Labour Party (LP) in Lagos State, Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour has addressed reports that his candidacy is being sponsored by some godfathers.
The LP Governorship candidate stated that he has no godfather backing him.
He said this while addressing claims by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate Abdul-Azeez Olajide Adediran, also known as Jandor, who on Tuesday said that his LP counterpart is being backed by godfathers such as Chief Bode George.
Speaking on Thursday morning during an interview on Arise TV, Rhodes-Vivour explained that he only has mentors and leaders.
The MIT graduate stated that it was quite ironic that Jandor was accusing him of godfatherism after getting his tickets with the help of the likes of former president Olusegun Obasanjo and PDP National Chairman, Iyorchia Ayu.