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Market Digest Nigeria

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Nigerian Newspaper Headlines (9th September, 2019)

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The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to resign after the minister of Information Lai Mohammed allegedly admitted that he didn’t possess the required educational certificate and that Nigerians should pardon him.

Major Nigerian Newspapers have more on this story:

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Guardian Newspaper: PDP asks Buhari to resign over alleged ‘no certificate’ plea

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday urged President Muhammadu Buhari to resign from office since the Information Minister, Lai Mohammed, allegedly admitted that the president was not in possession of the required certificate and begged Nigerians to pardon him.

The opposition party gave the advice ahead of the judgement of the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal in its case against the declaration of Buhari as winner of the 2019 presidential poll.

But it was learnt that the Ministry of Information had clarified that the video on the matter was taken from the interview granted by the minister as far back as 2015. “While it is true that Lai Mohammed made the comment when he appeared on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, the impression being given that it is recent is misleading. The minister made the comment as far back as 2015,” a source in the ministry said.

However, addressing a press conference in Abuja yesterday, the PDP’s National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, urged the judiciary to resist what he called attempts to blackmail it from doing justice to the pending petition. At the press conference which was tagged “Plea For Pardon: Vacate Office Now”, the PDP said it had reviewed the video of the media interview by Mohammed and had come to the conclusion that “President Buhari should save the judiciary and the nation further troubles by immediately throwing in the towel and vacating the presidential seat following the official admission that he (Buhari) does not possess a WAEC certificate, contrary to his claims and disposition before the law. “Our party mocks the Buhari presidency for pushing out the video wherein the minister pleaded with Nigerians to pardon President Buhari over his false WAEC certificate claims.”

PDP alleged that the pushing out of the video was “the deliberate ploy of Alhaji Lai Mohammed to appeal to sentiments, seeing that Mr. President had failed to defend himself before the Presidential petition tribunal.” The party berated the Buhari presidency “for believing that in pushing the video into the public space, it could influence the mind of the tribunal to bend the law after solid evidence has been presented before it against President Buhari.”

The PDP further claimed that “the pronouncement and appeal for pardon issued by the government’s spokesperson, who is also a lawyer, is a direct guilt plea, which cannot save President Buhari from the course of justice in this matter.”

The opposition party further said:”From the official pronouncement by the minister on a national television, it is no longer in dispute before all Nigerians that President Buhari does not possess the educational certificate he claimed in the affidavit he deposed to in his presidential nomination form. “In this latest shenanigan, President Buhari and his handlers ought to have known that the law, which the judiciary is bound to uphold, is a respecter of no man.”

The party reminded Buhari of how his presidency vehemently applied the law in a similar circumstance to remove a head of an arm of government; a situation, which the PDP noted has rendered Buhari’s plea for pardon a complete nullity before the law. The PDP further submitted that if President Buhari indeed sought pardon from Nigerians, he should do the needful by toeing the path of honour and vacating the presidential seat without further delay. “It is disheartening that Buhari and his All Progressives Congress (APC) would put our nation through the troubles of legal hassles when they knew all the while that they were building something on nothing.”

A former Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Timi Frank, faulted media reports attributed to the APC portraying Buhari as having a West African School Certificate (WASC). Frank, in a statement, described the report as an attempt to deceive Nigerians and sway the tribunal to rule in favour of President Buhari. “The APC should stop spreading falsehood as the world knows that Buhari has no secondary school certificate anywhere”.

According to him, the report titled “Buhari cambridge certificate verification; PDP agent disappointed” is fake news from the pit of hell. The report quoting an unnamed source had claimed, among other things, that as the tribunal kicked off a few months ago, the PDP sent a delegation to the University of Cambridge to confirm the authenticity of the WASC of President Buhari, but was stunned to discover that the president did write and pass the examination.

Frank alleged that the APC descended so low in trying to fraudulently rewrite history by claiming that the Cambridge University confirmed that “a self-confessed certificate-less General Buhari now has a certificate.” He said: “It is a shame that Buhari and his lackeys now churn out blatant lies to confuse Nigerians. The question is: does Gen. Buhari have a WAEC certificate? If yes, where is it? Lai Mohammed had admitted that Buhari did not have a WAEC certificate and asked Nigerians to forgive him for not knowing where his (Buhari) certificate was 53 years after leaving secondary school. “Nigerians can now see why the APC’s government is clueless. This so-called Cambridge source, who is he? What is his name? Nigerians will love to get in touch with him to ascertain the veracity of the information.”

Meanwhile, a group of eminent personalities in the polity are to deliberate on how to sustain Buhari’s legacies at the end of his tenure in office in 2023. Among those slated to discuss the issue in Abuja tomorrow are the Deputy Senate President, Omo Agege; Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila; and his Deputy, Ahmed Wase.

The Spokesman of the Muhammadu Buhari Enduring Leagacy Network (MBEL), Mr. Suleman Mustapha, who briefed reporters yesterday expressed concern that the president remained one of the least appreciated leaders ever to administer the country. He said the mere fact that President Buhari did not bother to dip his hands into public funds to live a lavish lifestyle after serving as head of state, petroleum minister, governor and as a retired military general was worth emulating by future generations of Nigeria’s leaders. “Today we are talking about the Next Level agenda. For us, we are looking beyond the person of Buhari. This brings to the fore the need to sustain his legacies for Nigeria’s political future. “Nigerians don’t appreciate what he is doing and this is not good. What this president is doing we must not let it go into the dustbin of history. We need to begin to propagate and imbibe it. Somebody who does not believe in amazing wealth, he doesn’t own an oil well. People should imbibe the concept of service to Nigeria and not to family and pursuit of self-aggrandizement,” Mustapha said.

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Sun Newspaper: Atiku vs Buhari: Anxiety mounts as tribunal rules this week

The Presidential Election Petition Tribunal, Abuja, will this week, deliver judgment in the petition filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate, Atiku Abubakar, against the outcome of the February 23 presidential election won by President Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressive Congress (APC).

After all the parties had adopted their final briefs of argument canvassed for and against the petition, the Justice Mohammed Garba-led five-member panel said it would deliver the judgement on a date to be sent to all the parties through their lawyers. Although no hearing date has been issued, the statutory 180 days duration for the hearing of the petition which was filed in March expires on Friday, September 15.

Specifically, Section 134 (2) and (3) of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended), provided that  the hearing and judgment in petitions at the tribunal of first instance are supposed to be concluded within 180 days. Already, tension is building up among supporters of the two camps, who have started arriving Abuja in droves, ahead of the judgment.

The tribunal has already dispensed with the three other petitions filed against Buhari’s victory at the February 23 presidential election. In the case of Peoples democratic Movement (PDM), the petition was withdrawn by its presidential candidate, Pastor Habu and accordingly dismissed. The tribunal equally dismissed the petition by Hope Democratic Party (HDP) for lacking in substance and merit.

The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, had on February 27, declared that Buhari garnered a total of 15,191,847 votes to defeat his closest rival, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar of the opposition PDP, who it said polled a total of 11,262,978 votes. In a  petition marked CA/PEPC/002/2019 and filed on March 18, the PDP and Atiku insisted that data they secured from INEC’s server, revealed that they clearly defeated President Buhari with over 1.6million votes.

The petitioners alleged that INEC had at various stages of the presidential election, unlawful allocated votes to President Buhari, saying they would adduce oral and documentary evidence to show that result of the election as announced by the electoral body, did not represent the lawful valid votes cast Atiku alleged that in some states, INEC, deducted lawful votes that accrued to him, in its bid to ensure that Buhari was returned back to office. The petitioners said they would call evidence of statisticians, forensic examiners and finger-print experts at the hearing of the petition to establish that the scores credited to Buhari were not the product of actual votes validly cast at the polling units.

The petitioners serialised results that were recorded from each state of the federation in order to prove that the alleged fraudulent allocation of votes to Buhari and the APC, took place at the polling units, the ward collating centres, local government collating centres and the State collating centres. They argued that proper collation and summation of the presidential election results would show that contrary to what INEC declared, Atiku scored 18,356,732 votes, ahead of Buhari who they claimed got 16,741,430 votes.

During the hearing, the petitioners called 62 witnesses and tendered over 4,000 documentary evidence to prove their case. While INEC did not call any witness, Buhari and APC called seven witnesses before they abruptly ended their defence.

But while adopting final addresses, INEC counsel, Yunus Usman (SAN) said the commission worked in compliance with the Electoral Act 2010 as amended and that the petitioners could never disown that. Usman, therefore, asked the tribunal to dismiss the petition and award cost against the petitioners.

Counsel to Buhari, Wole Olanipekun (SAN), said there was “nothing in law” that would make the tribunal grant the reliefs of the petitioners. INEC through its lead counsel, Yunus Usman (SAN), said  the claim that results of the February presidential election were transmitted to a server was “the greatest lie of this century.”

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