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Ebonyi State Governor Defects from PDP to APC

Benjamin Ukpabi

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Ebonyi State Governor Defects from PDP to APC

THERE was disquiet in the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) on Tuesday, following the defection of Ebonyi State Governor David Umahi to the All Progressives Congress (APC).

It was learnt that the defection unsettled the party’s leadership after making a last-minute effort to dissuade Umahi from leaving its fold.

The party said it will not panic over anyone’s defection

“For us, the PDP is a well-structured political party with an experience of nothing less than 22 years in the political firmament of our nation.

“We are not a party that will be responding to issues on impulse. We are not a party that will be pushed around by any individual”, Spokesman Kola Ologbondiyan said, adding: “no individual is bigger than the PDP.” (Ebonyi State)

Ologbondiyan explained: “Umahi served as the State Chairman of Ebonyi PDP (2003 to 2007); deputy governor of the state (2007 to 2015) and two term governor of Ebonyi (2015 till date), all elected on the platform of the PDP.”

While wishing Umahi the best in his adventure, the party called on it members to remain calm and committed to its ideals, saying, no individual is bigger than the PDP.

The opposition party hurriedly convened an emergency meeting of its National Working Committee (NWC), where a decision was taken to dissolve the ward, local government and state executive committees of the party with immediate effect. (Ebonyi State)

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It also dissolved the Southeast zonal executive.

Mr Ologbondiyan said “these decisions are pursuant to the powers conferred on the NWC by the PDP Constitution”.

The move, according to a source, was to prevent the defection of party officers to the APC along with the governor.

Umahi alleged that the PDP failed Southeast people.

He also accused the party of injustice, lamenting that the PDP had refused to zone its 2023 presidential slot to the region.

But, Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike disagreed, saying Umahi left for personal reasons.

Wike said Umahi lied by saying that his action was premised on injustice to the Southeast by the PDP.

He said the Ebonyi governor should predicate his defection on his future political ambition and not blame the PDP.

The Rivers governor, who spoke in Port-Harcourt, said Umahi’s defection did not come as a surprise to committed PDP members because he had been fraternising with the APC. (Ebonyi State)

Wike said although he was not perturbed by Umahi’s decision, he felt offended by his attempt to justify his decision on the purported injustice meted out to the Southeast by the PDP.

The Rivers governor accused Umahi of being unfair to the PDP, which gave him governorship ticket in 2015 against all odds, and in 2019.

He noted that while Umahi had a right to move to the APC, his attempt at blackmailing the PDP and painting it in a bad light was mischievous and unacceptable.

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Wike said: “My friend, Umahi wants to be President. There is no problem about that. You have a right to be President. Nobody can stop you. You are educated. You have been a governor for two terms, so you are qualified to say I want to be President of Nigeria.

“But, that does not mean, that because you want to blackmail your party, and tell lies to the people you are leaving the party because of the injustice meted against the Southeast that is not correct.” (Ebonyi State)

Wike, who demanded that Umahi should retract the statement that the PDP has not been fair to the Southeast, pointed out that under the PDP, the Southeast had produced Senate Presidents; National Vice Chairman of the PDP and Secretary to the Federal Government.

He said it was erroneous for Umahi to accuse the PDP of injustice, when he unilaterally imposed his younger brother as Southeast PDP Zonal Vice Chairman.

He added: “In life, power is sweet, but conscience is important. It is most offensive and insulting for a man to lie against his party because of power.

The governor said although APC had not told Nigerians where it will zone its presidential ticket, Umahi’s presumptuous move may be too hasty. (Ebonyi State)

He warned that the hasty move may ruin him politically.

Wike queried: “Assuming the APC decides to zone its presidential ticket to the Southeast where the party has no formidable base, what is the guarantee that Umahi will secure the ticket.?

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“My reaction to Governor Umahi’s defection is not that he has no right to defect, but to say he is defecting because of injustice meted to the Southeast that is insulting to the Southeast.”

Wike urged the NWC and the National Executive Committee of the PDP to take decisive steps to ensure that PDP does not die in Ebonyi state.

On Monday, The Southeast APC Caucus, which had anticipated the defection, met in Abuja to brainstorm on strategies for repositioning the party in the zone for effective participation in national politics

The caucus met at the Imo State Governor’s Lodge in Asokoro, Abuja, for over two hours. (Ebonyi State)

The meeting, which was hosted by Governor Hope Uzodimma, was attended by the Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonaya Onu, Minister of Labour, Dr. Chris Nigige, Minister of State for Education Okechukwu Nwajiuba, former ministers, former federal lawmakers, Director-General, Voice of Nigeria, Osita Okechukwu, former National Organising Secretary Senator Osita Osinaso, and serving and former national officers.

Sources said the main agenda was how to boost the numerical strength of the APC in the region.

The caucus leader, Dr. Onu, told reporters that APC leaders from the zone were interested in the reintegration of the zone into mainstream politics. (Ebonyi State)

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APC: Goodluck Johnathan supports Buhari

Benjamin Ukpabi

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APC: Goodluck Johnathan supports Buhari

The All Progressive Congress (APC) on Friday said former President Goodluck Jonathan has supported the current administration despite being a card-carrying member of the Peoples Democratic Party.

APC Spokesman, Yekini Nabena, made the comment while appearing on Channels Television’s Politics Today.

Also appearing on the show was PDP spokesman, Mr Diran Odeyemi who said a number of APC governors are set to defect to the PDP.

“Goodluck Jonathan has been working for this government,” Mr Nabena said. “He has been going to all African countries. If he is not a progressive person, he won’t have been working for this government. So the PDP should also know that.”

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Jonathan lost to Buhari in the 2015 general elections, but he has since taken up several diplomatic assignments across the continent.

Recently, the ex-President led talks that helped to de-escalate the crisis in Mali.

Mr Nabena, on Friday, argued that Jonathan’s work is evidence of the APC’s progressive streak.

However, Mr Odeyemi disagreed, reiterating that the APC is set to witness a couple of top defections to the PDP.

“Many APC Governors are talking to us,” Mr Odeyemi said. “Perhaps Nigerians have not seen the end of these activities. More Governors from APC are coming to join us. And I’m saying it with all emphasis.

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“The question we have to ask ourselves is, what has been the achievements of APC now, that will now warrant people to join them, if not for selfish reasons? Nigeria knows which party to vote for in 2023 and that’s what we rely on

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Nigerian govt continues attacks on CNN, says TV ‘sinking’

Sharon Agbai

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CNN had earlier published its investigation on the Lekki shootings based on eyewitness reports and videos that were geolocated from various protesters.

The Nigerian government has continued its attacks on CNN after it reported on the shooting of protesters in the country, sayingthe American channel has been “grasping at straws in desperation” to justify its “inaccurate and unbalanced” coverage.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, said in his latest tirade that the use of “unverified videos” and “non-adherence to the basic tenets of journalism” had landed the broadcaster in “trouble”.

CNN had earlier published its investigation on the Lekki shootings based on witness reports and videos that were geolocated from various protesters.

The Nigerian government wrote to the television to complain, demanding a review of the report.

On Thursday, CNN clarified the Lekki death toll it tweeted on October 23 which said that “at least 38 people were killed.”

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In its clarification, the news network said the tweet “did not make it clear that the death toll was for protests across the country”.

At a meeting on Friday with members of the Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria (BON) in Abuja, Mr Mohammed said, “since we sent our letter, CNN has been grasping at straws in desperation, to justify its inaccurate and unbalanced investigation.”

“But in the process, it is sinking more and more into professional infamy. Yesterday, November 26 that is, in the clearest indication yet of its confusion over the Lekki Toll Gate incident, CNN tried to clarify its tweet of October 23 by saying it never attributed the death toll of 38 to Amnesty International and that the tweet also did not make it clear that the death toll was for protests across the country.”

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Mr Mohammed said CNN’s tweet about the death toll was ambiguous.

 

“But the big lesson to draw from CNN’s faux pas is that it magnifies the failure or inadequacy of our own broadcast organisations.

“In the wake of our spat with CNN, people are asking: Why didn’t our own broadcast stations take the lead in reporting the incident at Lekki? Why didn’t they take the lead in presenting an authentic narrative? Why must we allow the foreign broadcast stations, some of which didn’t even have correspondents on the ground, to dictate the pace, thus misleading the world?

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“These are questions begging for answers and I think for BON, this must form part of their review of the coverage of the whole crisis.

Mr Mohammed restated his call for the regulation of social media which he claimed was used in the protest to guide arsonists and looters to certain properties, both public and private.

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“This brings me to the issue of social media regulation. You must have heard about the hoopla this issue has generated in the media.

“Well, I want to confirm that we will definitely act to ensure the responsible use of social media. You may call that regulation.

“But that is not the same as stifling press freedom or free speech. No. Fake news and disinformation are not the same as free speech. This government has no plan to stifle free speech, neither do we have any intention of shutting down the internet.

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US elections: Did Donald Trump finally concede?

Benjamin Ukpabi

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US elections: Did Donald Trump finally concede?

Donald Trump has accepted a formal US transition should begin for President-elect Joe Biden to take office.

The president said the federal agency overseeing the handover must “do what needs to be done”, even as he vowed to keep contesting his election defeat.

The General Services Administration (GSA) said it was acknowledging Mr Biden as the “apparent winner”.

It came as Mr Biden’s victory in the state of Michigan was officially certified, a major blow to Mr Trump.

The GSA announcement means the president-elect now has access to top security briefings, office space and government officials as he prepares to take office on 20 January.

His transition website has now changed to a US government domain . He will begin announcing the people he wants in the top jobs in his cabinet on Tuesday.

 

“Today’s decision is a needed step to begin tackling the challenges facing our nation, including getting the pandemic under control and our economy back on track,” a team statement said.

Earlier, Mr Biden unveiled his nominations for his foreign policy and national security team, consisting of old colleagues from his years in the Obama administration.

He is set to appoint Anthony Blinken as secretary of state and John Kerry as climate envoy, while Janet Yellen is tipped to be the first female US treasury secretary.

The list of selections came ahead of a formal announcement Tuesday. Most of the appointments will require Senate confirmation.

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Has Trump conceded?
Mr Trump tweeted as the GSA, which is tasked with formally beginning presidential changeovers, informed the Biden camp that it would start the transition process.

GSA administrator Emily Murphy said she was making $6.3m (£4.7m) in funds available to the president-elect.

Mr Trump said: “In the best interest of our Country, I am recommending that Emily and her team do what needs to be done with regard to initial protocols, and have told my team to do the same.”

He did not concede, however, and went on to repeat unsubstantiated claims of corruption, pledging to keep up the “good fight”. It is worth noting that Mr Trump does not have to concede for Mr Biden to be sworn in as the 46th US president.

Ms Murphy, a Trump appointee, cited “recent developments involving legal challenges and certifications of election results” in her decision to start the transition process.

She said she had received no pressure from the White House over the timing of the move.

“I did, however, receive threats online, by phone, and by mail directed at my safety, my family, my staff, and even my pets in an effort to coerce me into making this determination prematurely,” Ms Murphy said in a letter to Mr Biden.

 

She had faced criticism from both political sides for failing to begin the transition process sooner, usually a routine step between the election and the inauguration.

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What has the Republican Party been saying?
Although most of Mr Trump’s fellow Republicans have united behind his refusal to accept defeat until now, some have increasingly been breaking rank.

Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander, who is retiring, said the president should “put the country first” and help Mr Biden succeed.

“When you are in public life, people remember the last thing you do.”

 

More than 160 business leaders had also urged Ms Murphy in an open letter to immediately recognise Mr Biden as president-elect.

“Withholding resources and vital information from an incoming administration puts the public and economic health and security of America at risk,″ they wrote.

What happened in Michigan?
Michigan is the latest hotly contested state to certify its election result, despite disputes from Mr Trump’s campaign.

Mr Biden won in Michigan by more than 154,000 votes. However, Mr Trump claimed voter fraud swayed the outcome, without offering evidence.

The president’s Republican allies had called for the certification – which finalises the outcome of a state’s popular vote – to be delayed for two weeks to audit ballots in a heavily Democratic county.

However, the Michigan Board of State Canvassers voted to certify the result on Monday. One of two Republicans on the Michigan State Board of Canvassers joined the two Democrats to finalise the outcome.

The other Republican board member, Norman Shinkle, abstained, suggesting delaying the certification over irregularities affecting a few hundred votes in one county.

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Can Trump overturn the election result?
‘Overvoting’ and other US fraud claims fact-checked

Video captionHow to move on after the US election
Mr Biden will now receive all 16 of the state’s votes in the US Electoral College, which is expected to approve Mr Biden’s victory on 14 December.

Mr Trump’s legal team said they would still challenge Michigan’s results.

What about Trump’s other legal challenges?
Mr Trump and his allies have suffered a string of court defeats in key states as they race to challenge the results.

In Pennsylvania , a Republican judge on Saturday ruled that the Trump campaign had tried to “disenfranchise almost seven million voters” with no real evidence. The president’s lawyers have appealed now to the Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia.

The president’s other legal efforts in the state have failed to change Mr Biden’s lead of some 80,000 votes.

The Trump campaign has also called for another recount in Georgia , after an earlier recount by hand confirmed Mr Biden’s win in the state.

In Wisconsin , a partial recount is under way by request of the Trump campaign. Election officials have accused Trump supporters of obstructing the state’s recount of votes.

They said observers for Mr Trump were in some cases challenging every single ballot to deliberately slow down proceedings

Source: BBC news

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