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Electoral violence: US, UK, blowing hot air – Bolaji Akinyemi *Multiple evidence to indict Nigeria at ICC  



Politicians and godfathers of electoral violence in Nigeria are so rich and powerful that they are virtually untouchables, while their footsoldiers are too low to apply for visas, was the argument with which Bolaji Akinyemi, former Minister of External Affairs, dismissed the threat of the Western nations on political violence in Nigeria.

It is reported that the United States and the United Kingdom is already compiling the names of the sponsors of the violence that characterised the 2023 general elections, especially that of the governorship and Houses of Assembly edition, where voters in many states were prevented from carrying out their civic duties by thugs, in some cases aided by officials of the state.

But, Akinyemi, a Professor of International Affairs and former Director General of the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA), who shared his views while appearing as a guest on The Morning Show, a breakfast programme on Arise Television, told his host that while the patrons of the violence, had so much money stacked in the bank vaults of the same country threatening to sanction them, which served as a sort of insurance to insulate them from their bad behaviours, those they use to carry out the mayhem in the streets, would never apply for visas.

“Those who send these people to carry out the attacks and violence are so rich with so much money in these countries that they are untouchables. On the other hand, those who carry the guns, who carry the cutlasses, who carry the big sticks that we all saw on television don’t apply for visas in any case. They don’t go anywhere, they’re not interested in going anywhere. And that is why I just think this is all noise. It is not going to lead anywhere.”

Akinyemi, who was a member of the Justice Muhammed Uwais Electoral Reform Panel, set up by the late President Umaru Yar’Adua, recalled how the body not only recommended the setting up of an Electoral Offences Commission (EOC) and Electoral Offences Tribunal (EOT), to deal with offenders, regretting that nothing came out of the move after the death of the former President, in 2010.

“Nothing every happened to those recommendations, because Yar’Adua died. Yar’Adua promised us, both at the beginning and when he was receiving our report that he would impliment that report without any amendment. But he was already ill as at the time he was receiving our report. Soon after, he died and President Goodluck Jonathan, did not have the heart to take on that report. Therefore, we have never tried electoral offenders and we have never punished them.”

The erudite scholar, however said that even without the Uwais failed intervention, Nigeria still had enough laws to tackle the development, even if not so strident or far-reaching enough, adding: “There are laws in our criminal code against hooliganism, against conduct likely to cause a breach of the peace and against assault.

“Do you want to tell me that unless it is election time, you can break somebody’s head and you’ll not be charged to court. Is that not assault? You don’t even an electoral tribunal to prosecute people who commit harm, grievous bodily harm. You don’t need that. So, why don’t we use it?”

Akinyemi, while expressing the hope that the police would bring those it claimed to have arrested during the period to trial as they promised, however warned that even if the Western nations never carried out their threats, there was the International Criminal Court (ICC), which had demonstrated its potency in handling such offences, especially in Africa.

Hear him: “The ICC, the International Criminal Court is there that deal with offences that border on hate-crime, sponsoring agitations against groups, not just against individuals. It has already been used in Cote D’Ivoire, and it has been used in Kenya. So, we should be careful of that – that even if we don’t prosecute these people and even if the United States and Great Britain don’t activate their visa sanctions, the ICC is there and there is sufficient evidence on paper and on video that can activate their own interest.”


Akpara emerges Special Adviser on Finance, as Otti names 21 aides



Michael Akpara, Director of Finance and Operations of Alex Otti Campaign Organisation (AOCO), has been upgraded to play the same role, this time in the new government of Abia State, as he has just been named as Special Adviser on Finance to the Governor, by Alex Otti, Governor of Abia State.

In a statement by his spokesman, Kazie Uko, Otti, also named 20 other aides in the categories of Special Advisers, Senior Special Assistants, and Special Assistants, with Uwanna Ikechukwu, emerging Senior Special Assistant on Legal Matters.

Others, in the new set of appointments, were, Uche Eme Uche, Special Adviser on Education, Joel F. Ogbonna, Petroleum and Energy, and Clifford C. Agbaeze as his Senior Special Assistant on Agriculture.

Other appointees are Chimereze Okigbo as the Special Adviser on Internally Generated Revenue, Uche Mark Nwosu as the Chief of Protocol, Uche Ukeje as the Senior Special Assistant on Aba Rejuvenation, Dodoh Okafor as the Special Assistant on Public Communication, and Uzor Nwachukwu as the Special Adviser on Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs.

Meanwhile, Kingsley Anosike was appointed as the Special Adviser on Planning and Strategy, Uzoma Nwagba as the Senior Special Assistant on Digital Economy and SME, Rev. Father Christian Uche Anokwuru as the Special Adviser on Policies and Interventions, and Ifeoma Thomas as the Special Assistant on Vulnerable Groups and Poverty Alleviation.

Dike Nwankwo was also appointed as the Senior Special Assistant, Special Duties, to the Governor; Okey Kanu as the Special Adviser on Strategic Communication; Betty Emeka-Obasi as the Senior Special Assistant, Special Duties; and Chinedu Ekeke as the Senior Special Assistant, Youth and Sports Development.

Chuka Ofili will be the Senior Special Assistant for Domestic Affairs, Luke Ukara Onyeani will be the Senior Special Assistant for Legislative Matters, Navy Commander Macdonald Ubah (Rtd) will be the Special Adviser for Security, and Chimezie Ukaegbu will be the Special Adviser for Trade and Commerce.

The development comes about days after Governor Otti nominated eight officials, including Prof. Kenneth Kalu as the Secretary to the State Government and Caleb Ajagba as his Chief of Staff.

Since assuming office on Monday, the governor has also directed that all accounts of the Abia State Government be immediately frozen, as well as those of its agencies domiciled in all financial institutions.

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Soludo: Denying me State Box seat, close to Tinubu not an insult – Soludo



Anambra State Governor, Chukwuma Soludo, has dismissed being turned back at the pavilion for top dignitaries during the inauguration of President Bola Tinubu on Monday as nothing, saying the incident was merely being twisted.

Soludo, alongside immediate past Governor of Kano State, Abdullahi Ganduje, were barred from entering the VIP section during the inauguration of the President, as captured in a viral video, which surfaced while the inauguration was going on.

A voice was heard lamenting that “they have bounced my governor. See him explaining like a child,” as the governor appeared to be either pleading to be let in or explaining something to some people at the entrance of a particular section of the Eagle Square, who appeared not to be listening.

After a while, as it appeared that the people he was talking to simply ignored him, while busy conducting their business, the governor, who appeared unhappy, was seen turning round to walk away, as the voice in the video continued lamenting on what it believed was poor treatment of “his governor.”

But Soludo, in a statement, through his spokesman, Chris Abarume, simply brushed the incident aside, saying the image at the occasion was simply twisted by the narrator and that he was duly invited to the occasion, and could not have been sent away from the state box, where dignitaries were meant to sit, adding that he was indeed, one of the “few governors” that had the privilege of being invited to the event.

He said: “A very mischievous and misleading video is currently being circulated online by some mischief makers who derive pleasure in misinforming the general public

“The video shows Governor Chukwuma Charles Soludo, CFR, arriving the Eagle Square for the Presidential swearing-in ceremony in Abuja and was subsequently being re-directed courteously by protocol officials to the rightful position reserved for him at the other side of the VVIPs sitting positions. Redirecting invited guests to their rightful sitting position is neither an issue nor a condescending act.”

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BREAKING: Tinubu gets GCFR, Shettima, GCON, at Buhari’s final lap in office



For Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu, and Kashim Shettima, the climax inched further on Thursday with the conferment of the the prestigious honours of Grand Commander of the Federal Republic (GCFR) and Grand Commander of the Order of Niger (GCON) on them, the highest of such in the Nigeria, by President Muhammadu Buhari.

At the investiture, which took place at the State House Conference Center in Abuja, the event, which is part of a series of events lined up for the May 29 inauguration ceremony, was also witnessed by Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, Chief Justice of the Nigeria and Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC),  as well as top Nigerians, Buhari, reiterated his confidence that Tinubu would finish what he started eight years ago, when he came into office.

The event, took place on the heels of the official handover of Transition Documents to the incoming administration of Tinubu, who was declared winner of the February 25 presidential election by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

Channels Television, quotes Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha who doubles as Chairman of the Presidential Transition Council, as disclosing at a briefing last Thursday, that an Inauguration Lecture on the topic: Deepening Democracy for Integration and Development by His Excellency, Uhuru M. Kenyatta, former President of Kenya will take place on Saturday 27th May.

This will be followed closely by a Children’s Day Program which would involve a parade and a party for the kids.

As part of the schedule of activities marking the 2023 Presidential Inauguration, an Inter-denominational Church Service will hold Sunday the 28th at the National Christian Centre by 10:00am and an Inauguration Dinner/Gala Night will take place later on at the State House Conference Centre.

The SGF further stated that on Monday, 29th May, the Inauguration Parade and Swearing-In exercise will take place at the Eagle Square by 10:00am, this is to be followed afterwards by a Post Inauguration Luncheon.

Boss Mustapha assured that adequate arrangements have been made for the safety and security of all people throughout the inauguration period.

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