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Election: Buhari dispatches special envoy to Benin Republic

President Muhammadu Buhari, the ECOWAS Chairman, has dispatched the Foreign Affairs Minister, Geoffrey Onyeama to intervene in the political crisis in Benin Republic as the country heads for election on April 28.

Ms Sarah Sanda, Media Aide to the Minister, said this in a statement on Thursday in Abuja

Sanda said that the minister in company of the ECOWAS Commission President, Jean Claude Brou, met with President Patrice Tallon of Benin on Thursday in Cotonou.

According to her, the visit of the envoy is to resolve the political disagreement which prompted the opposition to threaten a boycott of the parliamentary elections scheduled for April 28

”Benin Republic has been undergoing political reforms aimed at strengthening democracy.

”The reforms includes the registration of political parties with a view to having parties with national spread based on a new legislation that stipulates conditions for registration.

”However, out of the many parties that applied for registration, only a few have been successful both at the Ministry of Interior and the National Electoral Commission (CEMA).

”With barely a month to the parliamentary election scheduled for April 28, the opposition have complained about being deliberately shut out of the process by the government,” she said.

She said the opposition staged demonstrations and cried out to the ECOWAS to intervene or they will boycott the elections entirely.

She said that after initial engagements and reports from delegations from the ECOWAS Commission who visited the country, President Buhari who is the ECOWAS Chairman sent a Special envoy to meet with Cotonou President, Tallon.

The envoy, she said was received by Beninoise Minister of Foreign Affairs Aurelien Agbenonchi and the Nigerian Ambassador to Benin Republic, Emmanuel Oguntuase.

The envoy according to her, also met with the Tallon behind closed door to deliver the message of the ECOWAS Chairman, President Buhari

Sanda quoted Onyeama as saying: “President Buhari remains concerned about the growth of democracy in the sub region.”

”Hence his message to President Patrice Tallon to ensure that all politicians and political parties in Benin Republic are given a level playing ground to participate in the democratic process,” he said.

He said that Buhari stressed the need for the rule of law and dialogue to prevail in the country, especially as the parliamentary elections were approaching.

He also called on the opposition to embrace dialogue and discuss their grievances rather than resorting to boycott of the entire process.

Also speaking, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Benin Republic, Aurelien Agbenonchi also said: “there is no political crisis in Benin Republic as the main bone of contention is the government’s desire for reform in line with the rule of law.”

He said President Tallon was open-minded and willing to carry all political actors along including the opposition.
He said the Parliament would look at the laws again and see areas that could be addressed in line with the concerns of the stakeholders.

The Minister further disclosed that President Tallon also used the opportunity of the visit to again congratulate President Buhari on his re-election.

Nigeria according to him, continues to set the example for the sub-region and Africa in terms of consolidating democracy.

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Buhari’s second term: Foursquare Church sends strong message to President-elect

The General Overseer of Foursquare Gospel Church in Nigeria, Rev. Felix Meduoye, on Saturday advised President Muhammadu Buhari to embrace all Nigerians, as well as tackle insecurity and power challenges, in his second term in office.

Meduoye gave the advice during the wedding of Miss Olawadamilola Elias, the daughter of Rev. Adewale Elias, the Zonal Superintendent of the Foursquare Gospel Church, Cement Zonal Headquarters in Lagos.

The General Overseer, who attended the wedding alongside several leaders of the church, told NAN that Buhari should embrace all Nigerians in his second term and shun anything that would make him “to be perceived’’ as nepotic or favouring any segment of the country above others’’.

“The President should avoid anything that will amount to nepotism or anything that would give the impression that he is favouring one group of people or one tribe than the other,’’ he told NAN.

Meduoye commended government’s efforts in fighting the Boko Haram terrorist group but appealed to the President to deal with new security challenges claiming the lives of Nigerians.

He also appealed to Buhari to address the problem of insecurity and power in the nation.

Meduoye said that the issue of herdsmen attacks, kidnappings and other forms of criminality leading to loss of lives should be given paramount attention.

“People can no longer sleep with their two eyes closed anymore,’’ he said.

The General Overseer also appealed to the President to tackle the problem of poor power supply to boost the nation’s economy.

“The third issue is the problem of power. Electricity, which has been a problem for so many years; people are lamenting lack of adequate electricity. The government should come out to take urgent steps to solve the lingering problem,’’ he said.

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Bauchi guber: PDP raises alarm over plot to arrest its leaders

PDP has alleged that APC was planning a mass arrest of top PDP leaders in Bauchi State through compromised security personnel.

A statement issued by the PDP National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, on Saturday in Abuja, said the plot was to put PDP leaders out of circulation and enable the APC to rig the supplementary election in the state.

Ologbondiyan said that credible intelligence available to the PDP was that the APC wants to use political thugs and “compromised security agents’’ to storm polling units between 1p.m to 3p.m.

This, according to him, was for the ruling party to snatch election materials and change results and take them to INEC office in Bauchi for collation and announcement.

He listed some of the PDP leaders earmarked for the alleged mass arrest to include Alhaji Bello Kirfi, Sen. Abdul Ningi, Sen. Suleiman Nazif, Sen. Isa Misau, and Salisu Ningi.

Others include: PDP Bauchi State Chairman, Alhaji Hamza Akuyam; Ahmed Yerima, Samaila, Burgah, Aminu Tukur as well as PDP leaders and agents in the 29 polling units where elections were holding in the state.

Ologbondiyan, however, said that such underhand scheme would not deter the PDP from standing firm in resisting all aggression and consolidating on the party’s already established victory in Bauchi state.

“All our members are at red alert in monitoring the electoral process.

“We will never allow any alteration of results as delivered at the polling units and that nobody, no matter the machination deployed, can rig us out in this election,’’ he said.

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BREAKING: Thugs Set Ward Election Materials Ablaze In Benue

Political thugs have set ablaze all the election materials that should have been used for supplementary elections in Azendeshi Ward, Chito, Ukum Local Government Area of Benue State.

A voter told SaharaReporters on phone that the materials had been kept inside a public primary school in the area but thugs gained access and set them ablaze despite the provision of security agents.

“No election held here,” said the disappointed voter, who also couldn’t vote in the original election due to violence. “No one would have thought that despite the presence of policemen, such an act could happen. Maybe the policement should be withdrawn so we know we have no protection.”

However, Nentawe Yilwatda, INEC’s Resident Electoral Commissioner in the state, said the thugs attacked the electoral officials on their way to Chito Adzendechi Council Ward, burning electoral materials in the process.

Apart from Chito town, which is the headquarters of Azendeshi Ward and has a voting population of 13,000, elections are ongoing in 22 of the 23 local government areas where the supplementary exercise was scheduled to hold.

There have been similar reports of violence and disruption of voting in the five states where supplementary governorship elections are holding, particularly in Kano.

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