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Presidential aide urges INEC to redeploy REC over alleged bias

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The  Special Assistant to the President on Justice Reform, Mrs Juliet Ibekaku-Nwagwu, has urged Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to redeploy Dr Emeka Ononamadu as Resident Electoral Commissioner in Enugu over alleged bias.

Ibekaku-Nwagwu, who contested the seat of the Enugu West Senatorial District in the 2019 elections under the platform of All Progressive Congress (APC) made the call in a petition addressed to Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, INEC’s National Chairman.

News Agency of Nigeria reports that the petition dated March 13 and signed by the petitioner was made available to newsmen on Wednesday in Abuja.

“I write on behalf of Enugu APC Candidates who participated in the 2019 elections, but with particular reference to those who filed petitions against the Feb. 23 Presidential and National State Assembly Election Election Tribunal.

“On behalf of the candidates, I wish to inform the chairman that we no longer have confidence in the Resident Electoral Commission in Enugu.

“We are by this letter asking for his removal from Enugu state and redeployment of another Resident Electoral Commission to the state.

“It is very disturbing given what transpired during the election where the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Enugu State Government officials were used as INEC Adhoc staff’’, Ibekaku-Nwagwu, said.

According to her, Ononamadu is presently colluding with her opponent in the national assembly election, Sen. Ike Ekweremadu of the PDP to further rob her at the tribunal.

Ibekaku-Nwagwu’s petition is titled “Petition against the use of Sen. Ike Ekweremadu’s law firm as INEC’s Legal Representatives in the suit filed by APC Candidates in Enugu Election Tribunal and Request for Redeployment of the REC’’.

“Our attention has been drawn to the fact that INEC hired Mr Peter Eze, Managing Partner of Eze, Ekweremadu law firm based in Enugu and Abuja to represent it in the Enugu State Election Petition Tribuna.

“Find attached, documents confirming that Eze is not only a partner in the law firm, but that in the absence of Ekweremadu, he has been managing the law firm.

“This is not only a conflict of interest given that Sen. Ekweremadu is one of the Candidates that contested the Enugu West Senatorial District election on the platform of the PDP petitioned against.

“Sir, you may further recall that lawyers of APC candidates had petitioned you through Vinyuch law office in March 29 requesting that you investigate Ononamadu for his palpable complicity in the mismanagement of the election in Enugu.

 

 

Foreign

2nd LD Writethru: Burundi court upholds Ndayishimiye’s victory in presidential election

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Burundi’s Constitutional Court on Thursday upheld the May 20 presidential poll results which showed Evariste Ndayishimiye of the ruling party as the winner.

Charles Ndagijimana, president of the Constitutional Court, dismissed the election irregularities reported by Burundi Catholic bishops and Agathon Rwasa, presidential candidate of the opposition National Council for Liberty party.

Ndagijimana said the reports were unfounded, adding that no reported irregularity can taint the results of the elections.

Ndayishimiye of the ruling National Council for the Defense of Democracy-Forces for the Defense of Democracy won 68.72 percent of votes and Rwasa got 24.19 percent in the results announced by the country’s electoral commission on May 25.

Rwasa, who filed the case in the court on May 27, said he would appeal to the regional East African Community Court if the domestic court rejects his appeal.

The Burundian National Independent Human Rights Commission earlier said the elections were held in a “good and fair” manner.

The Constitutional Court ruling now paves way for Ndayishimiye to succeed current president Pierre Nkurunziza who has been in power since 2005.

Under the country’s new constitution promulgated in June 2018, the presidential term was extended from five to seven years and the president is allowed to serve two consecutive terms.

Ndayishimiye, born in 1968, was minister of home affairs and public security.

(XINHUA)

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Urgent: Burundian court confirms Evariste Ndayishimiye’s victory in presidential election

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Burundian constitutional court on Thursday said it approved the results of last month’s presidential election, declaring ruling party’s presidential candidate Evariste Ndayishimiye as the president-elect.

The court also rejected the first runner-up’s complaints filed to the court, which challenged the provisional results announced on May 25.

The provisional results released by the National Independent Electoral Commission showed Ndayishimiye from the ruling National Council for the Defense of Democracy-Forces for the Defense of Democracy won 68.72 percent of votes in the presidential election, followed by National Council for Liberty’s Agathon Rwasa who got 24.19 percent of votes.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

Poland to hold presidential elections on June 28

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Poland will hold its presidential elections on June 28, with a run-off round two weeks later, Elzbieta Witek, speaker of the Polish Sejm (lower house of parliament), announced on Wednesday.

Witek said during a press conference that she had received no objections from the National Electoral Commission (PKW) against the proposed election date, and hoped that the election campaign will be fair and that all election activities will be carried out efficiently.

The elections, which were originally scheduled for May 10, did not take place due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting lockdown. The ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party was eager to let the voting go ahead by mail on the back of favorable polling numbers for incumbent President Andrzej Duda. A conflict with a minor coalition party, however, led to the delay.

Duda, a former MEP for the right-wing PiS, was polled to have over 50 percent support during the pandemic, while other candidates were unable to campaign on the ground due to the lockdown. A support rate of over 50 percent could normally hand him a second term without the need for a run-off election with any viable runner-up candidates.

However, poll results have tightened since, showing currently that Duda is heading for a second-round neck-and-neck contest. His main rival, polls show, is Mayor of Warsaw Rafal Trzaskowski, who is endorsed by the main opposition party Civic Platform. Trzaskowski replaced Malgorzata Kidawa-Blonska on May 15, after the party’s original candidate tanked in opinion polls.

The newly announced elections will be held traditionally with optional postal voting. The PKW can, at the request of the country’s health minister, mandate postal-only voting in districts where COVID-19 could cause health concerns.

Poland is one of the few countries in Europe where the curve of the pandemic has not been flattened. The Health Ministry confirmed by Wednesday a total of 24,545 COVID-19 cases in the country, with the death toll standing at 1,102.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

Biden sails toward Democratic presidential nomination as states hold primaries

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The United States Democratic Party‘s sole remaining presidential candidate Joe Biden continued to march toward official nomination Tuesday, as presidential primaries were held in seven states and the District of Columbia.

As of Tuesday evening, the former vice president has won primaries in Indiana, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Montana, New Mexico and South Dakota. Voters are also casting ballots in the District of Columbia.

Biden, already the presumptive nominee, is edging closer to winning 1,991 delegates, a threshold for nomination. He will have to win 89 percent of the 479 delegates up for grabs Tuesday to formally clinch the nomination.

Though Bernie Sanders, the last candidate to drop out of the Democratic race, has claimed to endorse Biden, he remains on the ballot in a bid to influence the party’s platform, which might slow down Biden’s pace in becoming the nominee.

Tuesday’s primaries were special because they were held not only amid the coronavirus pandemic so that mail-in voting, instead of in-person, is encouraged; but also during nationwide protests against police brutality and racial injustice following the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, in police custody.

In Washington D.C. and Pennsylvania, voters were still seen casting their ballots at polling stations despite the imposition of curfews.

Earlier in the day, Biden said in a speech in Philadelphia that the “I can’t breathe” cry from Floyd during the final moment of his life is a “wake-up call” for all Americans, and that he, not President Donald Trump, can provide the much-needed leadership that serves to unite the nation.

“I won’t traffic in fear and division. I won’t fan the flames of hate. I will seek to heal the racial wounds that have long plagued this country – not use them for political gain,” the 77-year-old said.

“I’ll do my job and take responsibility. I won’t blame others. I’ll never forget that the job isn’t about me,” he stressed.

(XINHUA)

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General news

Financial Autonomy: Presidential committee tasks governors on strict compliance

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The Presidential Implementation Committee on Financial Autonomy for Judiciary and Legislature,  has urged governors to comply with the Executive Order 10.

This it said would enable effective implementation of the financial autonomy of  states’ Legislature and Judiciary guaranteed by the Executive Order 10.

The Committee’s Secretary, Sen. Ita Enang stated this whiel speaking with newsmen on Sunday  in Abuja.

The News Agency of Nigeria recalls that the Executive Order 10, was signed by President Muhammadu Buhari  for the implementation of autonomy of the two arms of government; the state legislature and the judiciary.

The  Executive Order 10,  granted  financial autonomy to the 36 state Houses of Assembly and its Judiciary.

The executive order No. 10 of 2020, made it mandatory that all states of the federation should include the allocations of both the legislature and the judiciary in the first-line charge of their budgets.

Enang said that the financial autonomy would  facilitate development and promote financial accountability at states level.

Enang, who is also the  Senior Special Assistant to the President on Niger Delta Affairs, said that the greatest challenge in Nigeria’s democracy  today was wastage at the state level, hence the need to address it.

He said that the Executive Order no 10 would guarantee financial transparency in states.

According to Enang,  one important feature of the financial autonomy is that all the three arms of government will prepare their budget together; they will know what the state government has and what it do not have.

“In the budgeting process, they will know how much each of the arms of government will use in settling salaries and allowances of the legislators, paying their aids, legislative staff and office maintenance, among others.

“The governors will no longer be responsible for their expenses, it will also make the house of assembly responsive.

“So; what the president is doing is to ensure that each state house of assembly is independent not for the purpose of attacking the governors but for the purpose of checking the executive and making  government more responsible and responsive to the yearnings of the people, and development will be faster.

“The governors will know that the judiciary is independent and same with the legislature, these arms of the government need not to get approval from the governors in order to execute their respective duties,” he added.

The secretary also said that the provision stipulated that the governors upon receipt of money due to any arm of government in the consolidated revenue fund of the state from the federation account and internally generated revenue,  should remit same to the respective arms.

“But where any governor fails to remit the money due to the arms, the Accountant General of the Federation (AGF) will deduct that amount standing to the credit of that state in the federation account and remit directly to arms concerned.

“It is important to emphasise that this deduction is not the first line action, but it is only applicable when one arm of the government is oppressed.

“We are confident that none of the 36 states will in any manner deprive their state legislature or judiciary of the fund that is due to them.

“The implementation committee will be very conciliatory and respectful of the powers of each arm of government at the states level and the powers and privileges of the governors,” Enang said.

He, therefore, advised that all the arms of government at state levels should ensure  they followed the practice that had been at the federal level for proper accountability.

The state Houses of Assembly should follow the process that goes on in the National Assembly, be as independent, inter dependent and consultative as the national assembly is with the executive,  then we will have the best democracy.”

The Presidential Implementation Committee was constituted to fashion out strategies and modalities for the implementation of financial autonomy for the state legislature and judiciary in compliance with Section 121 (3) of the 1999 Constitution, as amended.

Section 121 (3) of the 1999 Constitution states: “Any amount standing to the credit of the judiciary in the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the State shall be paid directly to the heads of the courts concerned.”

Edited By: Chioma Ugboma (NAN)

 

 

 

 

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General news

‘Presidential directive’ on 150 memos is fake news – Presidency

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The Presidency has declared as untrue and fake news, a media report that President Muhammadu Buhari had ordered the cancellation of 150 memos and appointments signed by his former Chief of Staff, late Abba Kyari.

The declaration is contained in a statement issued by Malam Garba Shehu, the President’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity on Tuesday night in Abuja.

The presidential aide urged Nigerians to ignore the media report as those behind it did not wish the nation well.

The statement read in part: “The attention of the Presidency has been drawn to media reports alleging that President Muhammadu Buhari has cancelled a number of memos and appointments signed off by his former Chief of Staff.

“Not surprisingly, these reports have quoted unnamed sources.

“There is not a grain of truth in these reports and Nigerians should please ignore the insinuations behind them.

“President Buhari was duly re-elected by Nigerians in February 2019.

“He has not and will never cede to anyone else, that power and trust given to him by the Nigerian people.’’

Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)

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Burundian ruling party’s Evariste Ndayishimiye wins presidential election: provisional results

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Provisional results show Burundian ruling party’s Evariste Ndayishimiye wins the presidential election held on May 20, the country’s electoral body said here on Monday.

Ndayishimiye from the ruling National Council for the Defense of Democracy-Forces for the Defense of Democracy won 68.72 percent of votes in the presidential election, followed by National Council for Liberty’s Agathon Rwasa who got 24.19 percent of votes, said the National Independent Electoral Commission.

Burundi voters went to the polls last Wednesday to elect a new president, members of the National Assembly, and district councillors.

(XINHUA)

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Malawi’s electoral chair resigns ahead of June’s presidential election

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Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) chairperson Jane Ansah has announced that she has resigned from her position as MEC’s chair.

The MEC leader has confirmed the resignation during an exclusive interview with the Malawi Broadcasting Corporation on Thursday. She has also disclosed that she has written President Mutharika about the decision.

Ansah said the decision has stemmed from the fact that top courts in Malawi has faulted the commissioners for mismanaging the 2019 presidential election.

The resignation has come after the Malawi constitutional court in February upheld the opposition leaders’ petition and nullified the May 2019 presidential election results on grounds of irregularities including manual alterations and use of tippex on the results sheets to change the figures.

Political commentators and activists are asking President Mutharika to appoint new commissioners for the sake of credibility during the next presidential election.

Malawians are expected to go into polls on June 23 to select a new state president despite the threat of COVID-19.

(XINHUA)

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Poland’s presidential elections planned for June 28

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The Polish government plans to hold presidential elections on June 28 as a later date is precluded due to the expiry date of the current presidential term, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said on Thursday.

“We want to fulfil our constitutional obligations and conduct these elections in line with the constitution and today we plan to do that on June 28,” Morawiecki was quoted by the Polish Press Agency as saying.

“A later date would not be indicated because afterwards, on August 6, the president’s term ends and later dates that result from the law would mean that announcing the final results or approval of the elections by the Supreme Court would stretch beyond the deadline,” he said.

On the matter of when the State Electoral Commission (PKW) would publish a resolution concerning the elections, the prime minister said analysis were being conducted as to the best time to publish such a resolution.

The PKW stated that in presidential elections scheduled for May 10 there was no possibility to vote and that the Sejm (lower house of the parliament) speaker would announce a new date within 14 days of the resolution being published.

(XINHUA)

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