The presidential election petition tribunal last week dismissed the petitions filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Atiku Abubakar, and his Labour Party counterpart, Peter Obi, challenging President Bola Tinubu’s victory in the February 25 election.
This and four other stories we tracked dominated public discourse in the country last week.
1. Tribunal upholds Tinubu’s election
On September 6, Justice Haruna Tsammani led a five-member panel to uphold President Tinubu’s victory in the country’s presidential election.
Tsammani, who read the judgement, held that the petitioners did not successfully prove the allegations of fraud, non-compliance with the electoral act, and indeed all the grounds in their petition challenging the outcome of the election.
He said: “This petition (PDP) accordingly lacks merit. I affirm the return of Bola Ahmed Tinubu as the duly elected President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The parties are to bear their cost.”
Why it matters
The tribunal ruling without a doubt, would be a major lift for the Tinubu administration in its craving for legitimacy following the resentments that trailed the last general election in the country.
It also provides temporary relief for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and its chairman who have come under criticism for failing to upload the election results on its server as prescribed by the Electoral Act and indeed the poor management of the whole process.
However, it may not be a hurray yet for the president and his party as the aggrieved parties had decided to excise their right of appeal at the Supreme Court, a development that could completely turn the case on its head.
2. North-East governors’ order on unrepentant terrorists
The North-East Governors’ Forum on September 9 directed the military to kill the Boko Haram insurgents that failed to surrender in the region. The Chairman of the North-East Governors’ Forum, Babagana Zulum, made the call at the 8th meeting of the forum in Maiduguri, Borno State.
He said: “Let me use this auspicious occasion to commend our brave military in the fight against the insurgency which remains unquestionable while their determination to succeed is very glaring.
“No doubt, they have considered and acted upon a wide range of options in the fight against terrorism, thereby recording tremendous progress which has clearly indicated that the end to the insurgency in the sub-region is fast approaching.”
Why it matters
The governors’ latest move, no doubt, gives the military the power to engage the bandits with all the might the state could muster.
Beyond the directive, however, there is the need for a more holistic approach in the ongoing efforts to tackle the insurgency and restore public trust in the ability of the government to protect citizens from criminals.
3. Fayemi admits ‘politicization’ of subsidy protest under Jonathan
The former Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi, admitted on September 5 that the January 2012 protest against the removal of fuel subsidy by former President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration had a political undertone.
Fayemi stated this in a keynote address at a national dialogue organised to mark the 60th birthday of the founding national secretary of the Alliance for Democracy (AD), Udenta Udenta, in Abuja.
He said: “All political parties in the country agreed and they even put in their manifesto that subsidy must be removed. We all said the subsidy must be removed. But we in ACN at the time in 2012, we know the truth sir but it is all politics.”
Why it matters
Although the former governor’s admission may sound like sweet music to the ears of Nigerians, especially ex-President Jonathan’s supporters, it must be appreciated within the context of regular rhetorics dished out by politicians in the nation’s political space.
It also shows that politics in Nigeria is an intriguing game not designed for the faint-hearted but for those willing to do the unthinkable, even if it means dining with the devil in the quest to grab power.
4. DSS arrests Nasarawa officials for diversion of palliatives
The Department of State Services (DSS) on September 5 arrested some officials of the Nasarawa State Emergency Agency (NASEMA) and other individuals over the diversion and sale of palliatives meant for vulnerable people in the state.
The DSS spokesman, Peter Afunanya, confirmed the development in a statement on Tuesday in Abuja. It read: “Among those suspects are officials of Nasarawa State Emergency Management Agency (NASEMA) and their accomplices in the markets, notably Modern Market Lafia, where the items were being resold.
“Some state governments had made reports to the DSS relating to the diversion or sale of palliatives meant for their citizens.”
Why it matters
The diversion of items designed to cushion the effects of the fuel subsidy removal by a few individuals shows that corruption remains pervasive in virtually every institution in Nigeria. It particularly points to the rot in government agencies known for all kinds of impunity.
It is, indeed, a sad reminder of the true state of the larger Nigerian society where moral decadence has become the new normal and right values eroded.
5. Abia govt accuses ex-gov Ikpeazu of recruitment scam
The Abia State government on September 6 accused former Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of employing many workers during his last weeks in power.
The state’s Commissioner for Information and Culture, Okey Kanu, who disclosed to journalists in Umuahia, alleged that the former governor backdated the workers’ employment letters to legitimize their illegal appointments.
He said: This group comprised those who were illegally employed from December 2022 and up until March and April this year long after the current governor had been declared as the duly elected governor of the state.
“Some of those in this category had their appointment letters backdated. Their employment letters were surreptitious and bait with which to pile undue pressure on the then-incoming administration of Alex Otti. No responsible government will allow such a situation.”
Why it matters
Kanu’s claim confirms the widespread belief about the leadership problem plaguing the state since 1999.
The failings of the Ikpeazu administration and the numerous claims of corruption that blighted the government in the last eight years suggest that it’s just a matter of time before the former governor has his day with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to defend himself on the allegations.
By Hamed Shobiye
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