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Democracy Day: APC UK salutes residence, commitment of Nigerians

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Democracy Day: APC UK salutes residence, commitment of

Nigerians

Nigerians

Abuja, June,12,2019 The United Kingdom Chapter of the All Progressives Congress(APC), says the resilient and commitment of Nigerians over the last two decades should be commended as the country mark its democracy day.

Mr Jacob Ogunseye, Publicity Secretary of the chapter said this in a statement on Wednesday in Abuja, adding that the contributions of Nigerians to the sustenance of country’s were tremendous.

“As a nation, we have passed through hurdles, we have swim along the turbulent rivers and endured in the presence of ravaging storm.

“Yet, we are waxing stronger, as a party, we understand that there a lot of work to be done in all sectors including economy, security, infrastructure, education, and host others.

“Our consolation is that the present administration has shown leadership and direction in most of these areas, Nigerians shall soon see a new country where all thrives,”he said.

Mr Ade Omole, leader of the APC UK Chapter said the time for Nigerians to enjoy is now, adding that the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration is poised to better the lives of Nigerians.

He congratulated Buhari, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, the newly elected President of the Senate Ahmed Lawan and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila on the Democracy Day.

He noted that while Wednesday is a special and memorable day, the main celebrants are Nigerians from different backgrounds.

This, he said, is especially so because on this day in 1993, Nigerians shared the same value of entrenching democracy in the country which could not come to pass for some reasons.

Omole enjoined Nigerians to use the opportunity of the celebration of the first Democracy Day to seek for unity among themselves and to continue to pray for the peace and development of the country.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Democracy Day in Nigeria is being celebrated on June 12 in 2019 for the first time.

The change carries heavy symbolism for the country because it had known more years of being ruled by military men than by democratically elected leaders.

President Muhammadu Buhari signed the Democracy Day Bill into law on June 10,the law specifies that June 12 now replaces May 29, which was introduced in 1999 as the official Democracy Day.

Following the signing of the law, May 29 would only be marked as a day for handover and inauguration of new governments in the country.

NAN further reports that June 12, 1993 was supposed to mark the return of democracy in Nigeria, the day carries huge significance for older Nigerians.

This, is especially so, because it was on this date in 1993 that presidential elections were held for the first time since the 1983 military coup.

The June 12 1993 Presidential election is still viewed as the freest, fairest and most peaceful election ever held in Nigeria.

On the day, an estimated 14 million Nigerians irrespective of ethnic, religious, class, and regional affiliations, came out to elect their president with the hope of ending eight years of military dictatorship.

The euphoria was however,short-lived as the results of the election was never released.

But unofficial results gathered from various polling stations by civil society groups across the country, indicated broad national support for the presidential candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), Chief Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola.

Abiola was a businessman, publisher, politician and aristocrat of the Yoruba Egba clan, despite his popularity and the turnout of electorate, the elections stalled.

The then Military Head of State, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida, decided to annual the results of the election.

He justified the annulment on the grounds that it was necessary to save the nation, alleging that political activities preceding the election were inimical to peace and stability in Nigeria.

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Politics

PLSG rolls out activities to commemorate Democracy Day

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Mr Simon Lalong was sworn in as the Executive Governor of Plateau.

“It is in this light, therefore, that a programme of events has been lined up to commemorate the twin events

Friday June 5, a controlled special Muslim Prayers was held at the Jos Central Mosque, while special Golf Kitty will hold on June 6 at the Lamingo Golf Club, Jos.

“On Sunday, June 7, there shall be a controlled Christian prayer at the Government House Chapel, Jos, while on June 8 and 9, a Radio and Television programmes on government policies and programmes will be aired on various platforms.

From June 9 to 11, there will be an inspection of projects across the three senatorial zones of the state by governor,’’ Majang said.

The commissioner said the activities would be climaxed on June 12, with a state broadcast and conversation with the governor via Webinar, an online discussion and interaction with speakers both at home and in the diaspora.

Edkited by Abdulfatah Babatunde

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General news

Democracy Day: Group tasks FG on security

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The Joint Action Committee of Northern Youth Associations, on Friday called on the Federal Government to pay more attention to the security of lives and property in the country.

The convener of the committee, Murtala Abubakar, made call in a statement in Kaduna, ahead of the June 12 Democracy Day in the country.

Abubakar said that regardless of the present economic and security challenges, the successes recorded so far had demonstrated the unwavering commitment of Nigerians toward the growth and sustenance of our democracy.

He said the restoration of democratic rule in 1999 gave the majority of Nigerians the hope that democracy would lead the nation to the path of justice, peace, liberty and egalitarianism.

Abubakar, however, described economic and security challenges as the major problems threatening the country’s democracy.

“These problems are prompting Nigerians to urge the Federal Government to provide solutions to them, to enable them to enjoy the dividends of democracy,” he said.

According to Abubakar, Nigeria is blessed with enormous human and material resources.

He advised the government to provide good roads, to reduce accidents on some of the highways in the north, and to enable farmers to bring their products to the markets.

Abubakar, however, expressed the committee’s readiness to support the government’s policies with the immediate resolution of the economic and security problems in Nigeria.

“It is our belief that a solid economy that will improve the living standards of people is critical to the sustenance of democracy.

“We are in a position to support government policies aimed at encouraging small and medium scale entrepreneurs, as well as developing alternative sources of foreign exchange other than oil.”

He called on the northern governors to handle the problems of the Almajiri system of education with care, to ensure security in the north.

Abubakar called on the security agencies to redouble their efforts in securing the country against any form of threats.  

Edited By: Folorunso Poroye/Ekemini Ladejobi (NAN)

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Foreign

Commentary: Vitality of Chinese democracy never more evident

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The annual session of China‘s national legislature concluded Thursday, showing firm determination to achieve development milestones and making key progress in protecting civil rights and safeguarding national security.

The week-long session of the National People‘s Congress (NPC) adopted the milestone Civil Code and a decision to make Hong Kong national security laws. The annual “two sessions” also include the session of the National Committee of the Chinese People‘s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), the national political advisory body.

In the year of unprecedented challenges and crucial significance in the nation’s development, the major political events have built consensus, boosted confidence and solidarity, and pooled wisdom to enable the country to resolutely advance toward its set goals while overcoming all difficulties and obstacles.

As the Communist Party of China (CPC) leadership steers the nation through these most hazardous times, the vitality, strength and wisdom of Chinese socialist democracy have never been more evident.

During the two sessions, which are major platforms for Chinese people’s democracy and consultative democracy, the term “people first” reverberated among nearly 3,000 national lawmakers and more than 2,000 political advisors.

People have always meant the most to the CPC which follows a people-centered approach. Through legally established procedures, the CPC‘s stances take the form of the will of the country, and its key decisions and people’s aspirations are transformed into concrete plans and actions.

The NPC meeting received 506 motions and around 9,000 suggestions from deputies, while members of the session of the CPPCC National Committee raised 5,709 proposals — a vivid example of reflecting the voices of the people.

Deputies to the 13th National People’s Congress (NPC) walk towards the Great Hall of the People for the closing meeting of the third session of the 13th NPC in Beijing, capital of China, May 28, 2020. (Xinhua/Li Xin)

Deputies to the 13th National People’s Congress (NPC) walk towards the Great Hall of the People for the closing meeting of the third session of the 13th NPC in Beijing, capital of China, May 28, 2020. (Xinhua/Li Xin)

As showcased in the country’s achievements in containing COVID-19 in a short time through a people’s war and giving full play to institutional strength of mobilizing resources for accomplishing major undertakings, Chinese democracy has set an example of protecting lives, health, rights and interests of the people.

The epidemic was behind postponing the two sessions, normally held in March, in order to control it and save the lives of people. And the convening of the sessions also was thanks to the fact that the country had turned the tide in fighting COVID-19 through arduous efforts.

The miraculous lifting of over 90 million people out of poverty over the past seven years and the imminent elimination of absolute poverty this year are concrete manifestations of the strength and effectiveness of democracy in China.

The system of CPC-led multiparty cooperation and political consultation is an important contributor to democratic decision-making and problem-solving. The ruling CPC has cooperated with non-Communist parties which build consensus, formulate proposals and participate in discussing and handling state affairs.

With a stronger common will formed, the two sessions have boosted the national morale for fulfilling development goals to meet people’s aspirations for a better life. And China will continue striving to build a community with a shared future for humanity through deepened cooperation with the rest of the world.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

U.S. coronavirus crisis “failure of democracy”: Obama’s former speechwriter

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David Litt, a former speechwriter for then U.S. President Barack Obama, has said the spread of COVID-19 which has so far claimed nearly 100,000 lives in the United States is a failure of democracy at the root.

“It’s become commonplace to refer to COVID-19 as ‘the worst public health crisis of our lifetimes.’ But what has cost the United States so many lives and jobs during the pandemic is not, at root, a failure of public health. It’s a failure of democracy,” Litt wrote in an article published by Time magazine this week.

“Poll after poll has shown that a clear majority of Americans trust, want our leaders to heed the experts’ advice. Yet that hasn’t happened. We were far too slow to implement social-distancing guidelines — a delay epidemiologists found is responsible for 90 percent of U.S. coronavirus deaths,” he said.

“Now we’re acting far too quickly to reopen the economy,” he added.

Dozens of U.S. states have rolled out reopening plans in late April, with Georgia, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas among the first to allow certain nonessential businesses to resume operations.

The writer pointed out that lower-income and non-white Americans are those most likely to suffer from the U.S. government’s flailing response to the coronavirus.

Citing a report analyzing the changes in the U.S. political map in recent years from the University of Chicago’s Law Review, Litt said “Americans’ political power has been further diminished.”

“As we battle the coronavirus, American lives depend on a successful government response. But with rare exceptions, House Members’ jobs do not,” he said.

“In early March, for example, as the virus was spreading, the first 15 U.S. states to report cases of the coronavirus accounted for 56 percent of America’s population but only 30 percent of America’s senators. No wonder the Senate was initially slow to act,” he said.

So as of Friday night, the United States has reported over 1.6 million cases of COVID-19, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Furthermore, Litt said “the corporations’ increasing clout with policymakers” has pushed the U.S. government into acting more slowly and reopening more quickly than the American people believe is safe.

That capitalistic influence has more influence on policymaking than the people’s welfare, in Litt’s view, is “no surprise.”

“From the way we manage elections to the way we fund campaigns, from the congressional districts we draw to the lobbyists we include in the policymaking process, the story is the same,” he said.

“The American republic is a government of fewer people, by fewer people, for fewer people than at any time in the past half-century. And We, the People, are suffering because of it,” Litt concluded.

Litt is the author of “Democracy in One Book or Less: How It Works, Why It Doesn’t, and Why Fixing It Is Easier Than You Think” as well as “Thanks, Obama: My Hopey, Changey White House Years.”

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

High-profile Hong Kong pro-democracy figures granted bail

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A number of high profile pro-democracy activists appeared in court on Monday to face charges relating to their participation in 2019  anti-government protests.

Police arrested and charged the 15 political figures back in April for participating in three unauthorised assemblies that took place on Aug, 18, Oct. 1 and Oct. 18, 2019.

The Media mogul Jimmy Lai, owner of the popular local tabloid Apple Daily and Democratic Party founder Martin Lee QC, were among the group of legislators and social activists to stand in the dock.

Dozens of pro-democracy supporters turned up at the court, with rival pro-establishment groups also seen demonstrating at the scene.

According to local broadcaster RTHK, the 15 did not need to enter any plea, with all released on bail, with the cases adjourned until June 15.

The group could be seen chanting five demands, not one less, a slogan core to the movement, before entering the court building.

The coronavirus pandemic put a temporary end to the protests which started in June  2019, when up to 2 million people took to the streets in response to a controversial extradition bill proposed by the cities beleaguered Chief Executive, Carrie Lam.

The now withdrawn bill would have seen criminals facing trial in courts in mainland China.

Hong Kong was promised special rights and privileges under the one country, two systems framework put in place when the British handed the region back to China in 1997, after 150 years of colonial rule.

Edited By: Halima Sheji/Ali Baba-Inuwa (NAN)

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Foreign

Hong Kong Police detain veteran democracy activists in raids

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Hong Kong Police, on Saturday, arrested about a dozen democracy activists on charges of illegal assembly in raids across the Asian financial hub, media and political sources said.

Believed to be among those detained in the swoop is prominent Democratic Party founder and senior barrister, Martin Lee, 81, broadcaster RTHK reported.

In all, nine former legislators were arrested.

Hong Kong Police have yet to confirm the arrests, which media said related to marches on Aug. 18 and Oct. 1 last year – both days of large and at times violent protests across the city.

Media showed footage of policemen outside the house of a publishing tycoon, Jimmy Lai, a financial backer of the city’s pro-democracy movement.

Lai was arrested on similar charges in late February, along with veteran activists, Lee Cheuk-yan and Yeung Sum.

It was unclear whether he was among those arrested on Saturday, while others named by media could not be contacted.

The raids mark the biggest crackdown on the pro-democracy movement since the outbreak of large and sometimes violent anti-government protests across the former British colony in June last year.

Marchers initially targeted a now-scrapped bill proposing to send suspects to mainland China for trial but protests broadened into demands for full democracy and a public investigation of the use of force by police.

Saturday’s arrests come after several months of relative calm amid a partial coronavirus lockdown but just as Chinese and city government officials launch a new push for tougher national security laws for Hong Kong.

Democratic legislator, Claudia Mo, who was not among those arrested, said the government, led by Chief Executive Carrie Lam, was trying “to introduce a ring of terror in Hong Kong’’.

“They are doing whatever they can to try to silence and to take down the local opposition,’’ she said, pointing to upcoming legislative elections in September in which democrats hope to win back their former veto power in the city assembly.

Authorities in Hong Kong have arrested more than 7,800 people for their involvement in the protests, including many on rioting charges that can carry jail terms of up to 10 years.

It is not clear how many of them are in custody.

Hong Kong government and security officials have recently described some of the democracy movement’s actions as being close to terrorism.

Authorities are increasingly using the threat of terrorism to justify the need for new national security laws, a requirement under the Basic Law – the mini-constitution that guarantees Hong Kong’s broad freedoms and outlines its relationship with Beijing.

Hong Kong returned to Beijing in 1997 under a “one country, two systems” formula that guarantees its broad freedoms not seen in mainland China, and a high degree of autonomy.

A previous attempt to draft a national security law for Hong Kong, known as Article 23, was met with mass protests in 2003 and abandoned.

AIB

Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)

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Metro

Palliative: Pro-democracy group donates 2,000 cartons of Indomie to FCTA

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An Abuja-based Pro-democracy group, Team Ramatu Support Group (TRSG), has donated 2,000 cartons of Indomie noodles to support the Federal Capital Territory Administration’s efforts to cushion the effect of the stay-at-home order.

Mrs Habiba Bello, the team leader, presented the donation to the FCT Permanent Secretary, Mr Christian Ohaa, on Thursday in Abuja.

She said that the donation was to support the administration and also show solidarity to the Minister of State, Dr Ramatu Aliyu, in the battle against Covid-19 pandemic.

She commended the FCT administration for the active response and prayed that the pandemic would pass over Nigerians.

“We wish to handover our contributions to the FCT Administration and show our unalloyed loyalty to our leader, the FCT Minister of State, Dr Ramatu Aliyu, for her good work.

“As we bring these items today, we pray to Almighty God to grant her success and protect her and we also pray to Almighty God to bring an end to this pandemic,”she said

Responding, Ohaa appreciated the group for identifying with their own in a critical period of need, and assured members that the donation would get to the vulnerable rural communities.

“On behalf of the Minister of FCT, Malam Muhammad Bello, and other members of the family, this evening we are witnessing another show of “a friend in need is a friend indeed”.

“As I speak with you, Team Ramatu has given us 2,000 cartons of Indomie noodles to support the vulnerable in the FCT COVID-19.

“On behalf of the Minister of FCT, Malam Muhammad Bello, and the Minister of State, Dr Ramatu Tijjani Aliyu, I welcome and thank you for this gesture.

“I want to assure you that all the gifts will reach the actual people who really need them. As you pray for the FCT, we hope that this Covid-19 will pass away very soon,” he said.

Edited By: Remi Koleoso and Ephraims Sheyin (NAN)

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Politics

APC lauds chairman for strengthening democracy

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The All Progressives Congress (APC) has commended its National Chairman,  Adams Oshiomhole, for strengthening  democratic structures and participatory politics with utmost fidelity in the country.

The ruling party said this in a statement issued in Abuja on Friday by Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu, its National Publicity Secretary, while celebrating with Oshiomhole on his 68th birthday.

“The National Working Committee (NWC), leaders, members and supporters of APC celebrate with our indefatigable National Chairman, Comrade Adams Aliyu Oshiomhole, CON, on his 68th birthday.

“On this special day, we salute our Comrade Chairman,  who in his entire public service to this great country, has demonstrated doggedness, steadfastness and pro-masses disposition in his actions and utterances.”

The party’s spokesman said that Oshiomhole was working assiduously with other party members to ensure the renewal of our presidential mandate in the 2019 elections.

According to him,  he is also doing all it takes to strengthen democratic structures and participatory politics with utmost fidelity to the best practices and our party’s constitution.

“It is on record how the National Chairman effectively mobilised leaders, members and apparatus of our great party to ensure the emergence of the current leadership of the National Assembly.

“The feat is a development which, in no small measures, has smoothened the engagement between the executive and legislative arms and enhance governance processes,” Issa-Onilu said.

He added that Oshiomhole, as former National President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), fought and defended the interests of Nigerian workers and the masses with an uncommon commitment.

“In his services to the people of Edo State as governor, Comrade Oshiomhole, once again, demonstrated that public service can only be meaningful if it is deployed for the benefit of the people.

“The party acknowledges with pride the energy and commitment with which Comrade Oshiomhole has been propagating the mantra of “One Man, One Vote”, even before joining party politics.

“While wishing our Comrade Chairman many more years of exemplary service to our party and our nation, we wish him a happy birthday and many happy returns,” the party’s spokesman said.  

Edited By: Tajudeen Atitebi
(NAN)

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Metro

RTEAN eulogises Tinubu at 68, seeks dividends of democracy

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The Road Transport Employers’ Association of Nigeria (RTEAN) on Sunday lauded the efforts of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, the National Leader of APC on his 68th birthday.

The National President of the association, Alhaji Mohammed Musa, described Tinubu as “a visionary leader”,  urging him to do more in ensuring delivery of dividends of democracy to the masses.

Musa, in a congratulatory message, commended the efforts of the former Governor of Lagos State in ensuring that people enjoy the dividends of democracy.

“The national leadership of the RTEAN wants to felicitate with Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu on the occasion of his 68 birthday.

“We recognise Asiwaju Tinubu’s efforts in ensuring delivery of dividends of democracy, not only in Lagos, but throughout Nigeria.

“Tinubu has contributed immensely to the socio-political and economic development of Lagos and Nigeria as a whole.

“As a visionary leader, we appreciate his efforts in the development of Lagos State and contributions toward nation building.

“We can only ask for more dividends of democracy through his party, APC.

“We pray that God will grant him opportunity to live longer and contribute to the development of our nation,’’ RTEAN president said.

He also commended Tinubu for his strides in the development of transport sector in the state, saying that “no one could erase his foot print in the sector’’.

On COVID-19, he said that the association was ready to support both the Federal and Lagos State Governments in all policies to curb further spread of the virus.

Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde/Olagoke Olatoye
(NAN)

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