Top Nigerian Newspaper Headlines For Today, Saturday, 18th March, 2023
Good morning Nigeria, welcome to the Naija News roundup of top newspaper headlines in Nigeria for today, Saturday, 18th March 2023.
This Saturday Nigerians will be returning to the polls in 1021 constituencies as against the 470 constituencies where presidential and national assembly elections were held on February 25. No fewer than 993 candidates are standing for the gubernatorial election in 28 states and state houses of assembly elections across the country. Unbeknown to many, the stakes are actually higher in this leg of the general elections. Nigerians are so focused on the center that they overlook the malfeasance and maladministration in the states. Governance is practically nonexistent at the grassroots as local council chairmen who live outside their areas only visit when the FAAC allocation from Abuja arrives. Little or no scrutiny has turned governors into demi-gods who run the states like a personal fiefdom. So totalitarian are they that civil society groups that dare to ask questions are run out of town. During the electioneering, their big ego was on full display as they boasted about candidates who will win or lose in their states. Alas, the outcome of the last election has demystified these demigods as having feet of clay. They have now restrategized into having their way even if the spirit of democracy is damned.
Many of the governors, who are in their final term, lost their ambition to go to the Senate in disruptions that were hitherto unseen. The emergence of the Labour Party as a potent third force changed the political dynamics in the states. Most of the actors that lost out can’t imagine themselves outside the orbit of power hence their resort to other means to regain political relevance. This desperation has thrown concerns that politicians are out to rig the March 18 elections in the most brazen manner, relying on extra-judicial means to compromise the process. Aside recruiting thugs to help them undermine the polls or suppress voter turnout in areas they are weak, failed politicians are reportedly colluding with the Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) to make the falsification of results much out of tune with polling stations’ results than it was in the previous exercise. There have been accusations and counter-accusations over this among the parties in several of the states.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has revealed how results from polling units will be transmitted during the governorship and house of assembly elections.
The Chairman of the Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye revealed this while speaking on Arise TV on Friday.
Okoye said INEC has learnt valuable lessons from the February 25 presidential and National Assembly elections.
He said, “The law as of today prescribes a dual mode of either transmission of results or transfer of results.”
According to Okoye, when polls closed at the level of the various units, the Presiding Officer who superintended the polling unit would enter the scores of the various political parties in form EC8A which is the polling unit level result.
He said, “The PO will sign that particular result sheet and stamp it, the PU agent or party agent if available will also countersign and copies will be given to them and the police.
“That original result will be what will be scanned and uploaded to our INEC Result Viewing Portal for public viewing. Not only that, the accreditation data that has arisen from that polling unit will also be uploaded, but the physical result and the BVAS itself will also be taken to the Registration Area Collation centre.”
The Presidential candidate of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, has knocked the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for allegedly awarding contracts to companies owned by candidates of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
INEC had in a statement by its National Commissioner, Festus Okoye, admitted to awarding a sensitive contract to the Binani Printing Press Limited, a firm which has now been revealed to be owned by APC governorship candidate in Adamawa State, Senator Aishatu Ahmed Binani.
Okoye had claimed that the company was awarded the contract as a way of stimulating the economy and encouraging Nigerian enterprise and that a preliminary search at the Corporate Affairs Commission did not immediately show that Senator Binani was a director.
Responding in a statement, however, Atiku’s Special Assistant on Public Communication, Mr. Phrank Shaibu said INEC’s excuse was watery and unconvincing.
Shaibu said it was unfortunate that despite being given an allocation of over N300 billion as well as financial assistance from foreign governments including the European Union, the United States and the United Kingdom, the leadership of INEC had continued to run the commission without scruples.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has distanced itself from a viral report claiming it will conduct the supplementary elections arising from presidential and national assembly elections simultaneously with this weekend’s civic exercises.
In a statement issued on Friday, the electoral commission said it had not issued any directive in that regard and would communicate the exact day for the supplementary elections after this weekend’s governorship and state house of assembly elections.
The statement signed by the National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, asked Nigerians not to mistake the supplementary elections for the two National Assembly elections suspended on February 25th and rescheduled to hold alongside tomorrow’s election.
INEC’s full statement reads: “The attention of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has been drawn to news that conveyed the impression that the commission intends to conduct supplementary elections arising from the Presidential and National Assembly elections together with the Governorship and State Assembly elections that will take place on Saturday 18 March 2023. This is not correct.
“The Commission has not scheduled the conduct of supplementary elections arising from the Presidential and National Assembly elections. For clarity, the supplementary elections will take place on a date to be announced by the Commission immediately after the Governorship and State Assembly elections.”
An arrest warrant has been issued by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for the President of Russia, Vladimir Putin.
ICC issued the arrest warrant over the unlawful deportation of children from Ukraine to Russia.
The ICC in a statement released on Friday said the warrant became necessary following the applications submitted by the prosecution on February 22, 2023.
It said Putin bears individual criminal responsibility for the crimes committed in Ukrainian territory from February 24, 2022.
The court, based in the Netherlands, said its pre-trial judges had assessed, “There are reasonable grounds to believe that Putin bears individual criminal responsibility for the aforementioned crimes.”
It added that Putin had failed to “exercise control properly over civilian and military subordinates who committed the acts, or allowed for their commission, and who was under his effective authority and control.”
President Muhammadu Buhari has signed into law, a bill which makes it compulsory for the country’s president-elect, Bola Tinubu to nominate his ministers within 60 days of taking his oath of office.
Naija News understands the bill makes it mandatory for Presidents and Governors to submit the names of persons nominated as Ministers or Commissioners within sixty days of taking the oath of office for confirmation by the Senate or State House of Assembly.
It would be recalled that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had on March 1, declared Tinubu the winner of the February 25, 2023 presidential election.
The bill signed by Buhari is part of the 16 constitution alteration bills signed into law by President Buhari as confirmed in a statement on Friday by the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Ahmed Wase.
Back in 2015, President Buhari faced some heavy backlashes over the delay in naming his cabinet members; it took him up to six months to appoint ministers in 2015.
Other bills signed by the President include those to delete railway, electricity generation and prison services from the exclusive legislative list.
The candidate of the Labour Party (LP) in the February 25 Presidential election, Peter Obi, has described March 18 scheduled for the Governorship and State Assembly elections as another day and opportunity to birth a New Nigeria.
In the letter released on Friday titled: “A new Nigeria is again possible on the 18th of March,” Obi appealed to Nigerians to come out en masse and exercise their franchise.
Obi implored Nigerians not to allow the misconduct of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) during the February 25 presidential election to deter them from voting in Saturday’s election.
He appealed to Nigerians especially his supporters to use the same burning passion and commitment displayed during the Presidential campaign to troop out in their numbers and vote in Saturday’s elections.
Obi also condemned the attacks on innocent traders particularly those from the South East, in parts of the South West especially Lagos on account of their political persuasions.
A chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Dele Alake has alleged that many people are rejecting the outcome of the 2023 presidential election in Nigeria due t the bias caused by the Labour Party-sponsored pre-election predictions.
He argued that because the final outcome of the presidential election differs from what some people including certain international media organizations expected, they are finding it difficult to adjust to reality.
This is as he submitted that the election which produced Asiwaju Bola Tinubu as president-elect is free, fair, peaceful and most credible in Nigeria since 1999.
Naija News understands Alake made the submission on Thursday at a meeting with representatives of international media organisations in Abuja.
He, therefore, called on the international media outlets to stop describing the 2023 presidential election as fraudulent, saying the wrong projections of the Labour Party have led to a “mischaracterisation” of Tinubu.
“With the eventual outcome of the election at variance with some of the Labour Party-sponsored pre-election predictions, many international media organisations that took premature positions on the basis of these flawed polls, found themselves blind-spotted, leading to some of the skewed reports about the election,” Alake said.
The likes of Kaduna, Kogi and Zamfara States have insisted on contempt charges against the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele and the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN) despite the directive of the apex bank to commercial banks to accept and dispense the old naira notes.
Recall that CBN in a statement released on Monday night directed banks to receive and disburse the old notes.
The apex bank in a statement released through its acting Director of Corporate Communications, CBN, Isa AbdulMumin wrote, “In compliance with the established tradition of obedience to court orders and sustenance of the rule of law principle that characterized the government of President Muhammadu Buhari, and by extension, the operations of the Central Bank of Nigeria, as a regulator, Deposit Money Banks operating in Nigeria have been directed to comply with the Supreme Court judgment of March 3, 2023.
“Accordingly, the CBN met with the Bankers’ Committee and has directed that the old N200, N500 and N1000 banknotes remain legal tender alongside the redesigned banknotes till December 31, 2023. Consequently, all concerned are directed to conform accordingly.”
The lead counsel for the three states, Abdulhakeem Mustapha (SAN) in a chat with Punch on Thursday, however, claimed that the statement released by CBN was a mere camouflage to give the impression of compliance.
According to Mustapha, the state governments have instructed him to initiate contempt proceedings against the AGF and the CBN governor.
Former Aviation Minister and chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Femi Fani-Kayode (FFK), has alleged that the Labour Party governorship candidate in Lagos, Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour (GRV), hailed from a family of Sierra Leonian slaves.
Fani-Kayode took to his verified Twitter page on Friday to share an epistle he termed as the governorship candidate’s family history, which according to him, is important for the sake of future generations.
FFK went down history lane in his epistle to fault GRV’s claims that his grandfather was the third Nigerian to become a magistrate or a judge.
The former Minister explained how his paternal grandfather, Victor Adedapo Kayode, became the third magistrate in 1939 after the likes of Olumiywa Jibowu (first Magistrate in 1931) and Adebiyi Desalu (second Magistrate in 1938) had enjoyed the honour.
According to FFK, the Lagos State Labour Party governorship candidate’s grandfather, Akinwunmi Rhodes Vivour, was very junior to the first, second and third magistrates listed in his ‘history book’.
He further claimed that GRV’s grandfather never went to any University before being called to the Bar and that he descended from a family of Sierra Leonian slaves.
That’s the top Nigerian newspaper headlines for today. Read more Nigerian news on Naija News. See you again tomorrow.
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