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Too Many Political Parties Hindering Nigeria’s Democratic Progress –UN Envoy

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The Special Representatives of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Office for West Africa, Mohammed Ibn Chambas, says the high number of political parties in Nigeria is worrisome.

Chambas stated this during a courtesy call on the INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, in Abuja.

Chambas said, “So, we came here seeking to be part of that conversation going forward and we will particularly be interested in a number of issues, such as the number of political parties, mode of registration, internal democracy, and accreditation of party agents which the chairman of INEC himself has already identified.

“The number of political parties in certain elections in our West Africa and Sahel sub-region has posed a challenge recently and it is not only here in Nigeria that we need to look at the issue of the number of political parties and their mode of registration.

“Recently in Senegal, this same challenge was faced; they have found their manner of dealing with it. Next door in the Republic of Benin, when they were confronted with as many as 249 registered political parties, they have also tried to find their way to handle this issue.

“In the last elections in Nigeria, many of you will recall that there were 73 presidential candidates. I am not talking about registered political parties but presidential candidates. With the usual Nigerian people, some people even referred to the ballot paper as a tablecloth on account of its length and breadth.

“Of course, that also has its own challenges and for countries in our sub-region, presenting them with such long list of candidates sometimes distracts them from the quality of the process and informed decisions by the electorate.

“So, these are legitimate issues that we want to be part of this conversation that has been initiated by the INEC chairman.

“The UN wants to be part of that preparation. We want to always see in what way we can be useful. How can we support, how can we facilitate, how can we be part of the process which strengthen the capacity of INEC to better deliver in future elections?”

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Anambra govt house blocked as protesters accuse Awka monarch of land-grabbing

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Indigenes of Ntoko community in Awka South Local Government Area of Anambra State have accused the factional monarch of Awka community, Igwe Austin Ndigwe, of land grabbing.

Indigenes of the community, who took a protest to the Anambra State Government House on Monday, blocked the gate calling on the state governor, Willie Obiano, to wade into the illegal acquisition of their land by the monarch.

The protesters, numbering over 100, carried placards conveying their displeasure, claiming that Ndigwe who is one of the two monarchs in Awka has illegally appropriated part of their community land to himself.

Some of the placards wielded by the protesters read, “Austin Ndigwe leave our land alone, stop this your terror on our people, Austin Ndigwe, release our people you arrested, please, Governor Willie Obiano come to our rescue”.

Speaking with reporters, leader of the protesting community, Mr Vincent Ike said, “The People of Ntoko community have over the years been troubled by the disorderliness conduct of Austine Ndigwe, and the forceful takeover of Ntoko Land.

“He had continued to threaten the Community illegally, and claimed ownership of our community lands, and had continued to hijack some property belonging to the sons and daughters of the community.

“Anybody that dared to challenge his actions is always made to receive the beating of his life by the miscreants and hoodlums he uses to execute his wickedness”.

The Special Adviser to Governor Obiano on Security, Safety and Emergency, Chikodi Anarah, who addressed the protesters, assured them that the government would not allow them suffer any harassment or intimidation from any person or group.

He commended the community for not taking the law into their hands but choosing to protest peacefully to bring their plight to the attention of government.

Meanwhile, Ndigwe has denied appropriating any land belonging to the community.

Reacting to claims by the protesters, Ndigwe told journalists that allegation that he used thugs to arrest people of the community was false, claiming instead that the community invaded landed property belonging to his community.

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AFCON 2019: Rohr names goalkeeper that will start against Guinea, gives reason

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Head coach of Nigeria, Gernot Rohr has confirmed that Kaizer Chiefs goalkeeper, Daniel Akpeyi, will start in Wednesday’s 2019 Africa Cup of Nations, AFCON, clash against Guinea.

The German tactician stated that Akpeyi will be in goal for the three-time African champions against the Syli Stars because the 32-year-old did well in that position against Burundi.

He added that the shot-stopper will be maintained as the number-one ahead of Katsina United’s Ikechukwu Ezenwa and Deportivo de La Coruña’s Francis Uzoho.

Nigeria head to the match after defeating Burundi 1-0 over the weekend while Guinea played a draw against Madagascar.

Addressing a press conference on Tuesday in Egypt, Rohr said: ”Akpeyi played the first match because in the three weeks preparations he became number one.

”I don’t decide in this position alone because we have a good goalkeeper coach Alloy and even my assistant Imama is a former goalkeeper so we speak about this problem everyday each time we are together, so we decided together that Akpeyi starts as number one.”

Rohr added: ”At first Ezenwa had a little knee injury in one of the first training sessions in Asaba, so he had to rest and came back slowly, so he lost his number one position because of his injury.

”Akpeyi played in the friendlies, he did well and there was no reason to change. Now Ezenwa is coming back and there’s real competition because we agreed Francis Uzoho is number three, so for the game for tomorrow we will have a big decision to take who will start the game.

”I think that Daniel Akpeyi with the clean sheet in the first match and very difficult ball he stopped in the match against Burundi, I think he’ll be maintained as the number one.”

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Presidential election: Tribunal didn’t dismiss application to check INEC server – Atiku attacks Buhari

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The 2019 presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar on Tuesday said the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal did not reject his request to check the purported central server of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, as “prematurely” claimed by the Presidency.

Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant on Media to President Muhammadu Buhari, had in a statement on Monday commended the ruling by the tribunal, stressing that the opposition’s attempt to overreach the judicial process was overwhelmingly rejected by a unanimous decision.

Recall that the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal had in a unanimous decision ruled that the request could not be granted since the issue of whether such central server existed or not, is already a subject of controversy in the substantive petition that is challenging President Muhammadu Buhari’s re-election.

Atiku, in a statement on Tuesday by his Special Adviser on Media, Paul Ibe, argued that his case to check INEC server was not dismissed as claimed by the presidency, adding that the “main case has not begun and that the matter of granting access to inspect the INEC server is not relevant to the preliminary stages”.

The statement read, “What the honorable Tribunal said is that it is still at preliminary stages and the main case has not begun and that the matter of granting access to inspect the INEC server is not relevant to the preliminary stages. It is a matter to be adjudicated upon when the case proper is being heard.

“Their giddiness has even blinded them to the eye witness testimony given to multiple media in interviews by staff of the Independent National Electoral Commission that there is indeed a server and that they actually submitted results and accreditation through it.

“In their rush to claim a Pyrrhic victory, the Buhari administration missed out the fact that the 2019 budget has multiple line items for procurement, maintenance and service of the server they claimed does not exist.

“Furthermore, the statement tried to spin the recent verdict on the election passed by the EU election observers. For the avoidance of doubt, what the EU report said is that the 2019 elections had significant defects and fell short of expectations. It should be noted that one of the issues they raised is the attempt to muzzle not just the media, but more importantly, the judiciary.

“In the light of this, we remind those who are gloating in their ignorance that ‘he who laughs last, laughs best’. “The last has not been heard of this matter and we eagerly anticipate the actual ruling of the Tribunal when the case proper begins.”

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