TOP 10 NEWS MAKING THE ROUNDS IN NIGERIA TODAY, WEDNESDAY
1. ECOWAS To Honour President Buhari With ‘Democracy Icon Award’
The Economic Community of West African States, (ECOWAS) has revealed plans to honour President Muhammadu Buhari with an award in recognition of his achievements in the defence and promotion of democracy in the subregion.
The ECOWAS Chairman, who is the President of Guinea Bissau, Umaro Embalo made the disclosure at a bilateral meeting with the president against the backdrop of the ongoing 5th UN Conference on the Least Developed Countries in Doha, Qatar.
According to Embalo, Buhari will have his name on the ‘Roll of Honour’ in the community’s new headquarters building upon its completion in Abuja because he has promoted democratic governments in West Africa more than any other president.
In a statement, the president’s spokesman, Malam Garba Shehu, the ECOWAS Chairman noted that Buhari had done exceptionally well in the fight against the emergence of non-democratic regimes in the sub-region.
Therefore, the leadership of ECOWAS has approved the award for the president as he prepares to leave office upon the conclusion of his two-term tenure.
The conferment of the award he said would enable future generations of West African citizens to know about the greatness he (Buhari) achieved and to emulate his laudable examples.
2. INEC Reveals What Will Happen To Data About 2023 Presidential Election On BVAS If It Is Reconfigured
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has assured that data from the 2023 presidential election on the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) won’t be lost if the devices are reconfigured.
INEC on Tuesday said the data from the presidential election would be transferred to the INEC backend server where it would be safe and intact.
The counsel to INEC, Tanimu Inuwa gave the assurance on Tuesday while moving an application seeking to vary the orders of the court which gave permission to Peter Obi, candidate of the Labour Party (LP), and Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), to inspect all the sensitive materials used in the conduct of the presidential election held on February 25.
The lawyers to Obi and Atiku had argued that if the BVAS devices were released to INEC for the forthcoming governorship and state assembly elections without extracting the data regarding the outcome of the presidential election which they are contesting, the information on it would not be preserved and could be compromised.
However, INEC’s lawyer while arguing that the data would be preserved said if the BVAS devices are not released in good time, it would affect the commission’s preparations for the March 11 governorship and state assembly elections.
3. Gov’ship Election: No Pets, Dogs Allowed At Polling Units – Police Issues Strong Warning
Nigerians have been warned not to bring pets including dogs to their polling units on Saturday during the governorship and state assembly election.
This is as the Nigeria Police Force on Tuesday banned the use of pets especially dogs at the polling units on election day.
According to the Police, the presence of pets or dogs at the polling unit is a violation of the provisions of the Electoral Act, 2022, as amended.
The Force Public Relations Officer, FPRO, CSP Olumuyiwa Adejobi’ in a statement issued in Abuja on Tuesday declared that the act was criminal and condemnable as it runs contrary to the provisions of the new act.
4. Court Summons Wike, INEC, PDP Over Gubernatorial Election
The Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) have been summoned to appear before the Federal High Court in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
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The court Is asking the defendants to provide justification for the reason it should not grant a motion ex-parte seeking to suspend the Saturday elections and Executive Orders 21 and 22.
African Democratic Congress (ADC) governorship candidate, Chief Tonte Ibraye, and the ADC filed the motion ex-parte.
The plaintiffs also prayed the court to provide an order preventing the State Government from enforcing Executive Orders 21 and 22, which were passed in 2022.
The plaintiffs insisted that any orders issued should remain in effect until the motion on notice is decided.
Although the lawsuit was originally filed in Abuja, it was sent back to the Port Harcourt court’s judicial division.
The presiding Judge, Justice A.T. Mohammed, on Tuesday said upon reading the 13-paragraph affidavit deposed to by Solomon Shoyemi and after hearing from the applicant’s lawyer, H.V. Chukure asked the applicants to put the respondents on notice to appear on March 8.
5. Why I Didn’t Congratulate Tinubu — Kwankwaso
The New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) presidential candidate, Rabiu Kwankwaso has revealed why he did not congratulate the president-elect, Bola Tinubu.
Kwankwaso in a statement released through the party’s spokesman, Agbo Major said he did not congratulate Tinubu because the presidential election was grossly flawed and disputed.
He said the claimed mandate of the former governor of Lagos State is questionable.
Kwankwaso said, “The New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP) presidential candidate, Engr. Rabiu Kwankwaso did not congratulate the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu on the grossly flawed, contentious and disputed presidential election.
“The report that Engr. Kwankwaso congratulated Tinubu as a figment of the imagination of anti-democrats, political hirelings and fifth columnists leveraging on the popularity of the party’s presidential flag bearer.
6. Court Set Fresh Date To Rule On INEC’s Application Challenging Peter Obi’s Suit On BVAS
The Presidential Election Petition Court has fixed Wednesday to rule on an application by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) seeking to vary an earlier order granting Peter Obi of the Labour Party access to inspect materials used for the 2023 presidential election.
INEC, in a motion on notice filed on March 4, prayed the court to vary the order which restrained it from tampering with materials used for the election.
The commission said it needed to reconfigure the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System for the next round of elections.
T. Inuwa SAN, counsel for INEC, urged the court to grant his prayers using their discretion and varying the order that gave Obi the permission to inspect INEC materials.
Obi’s lawyer, Onyechi Ikpeazu SAN opposed the INEC’s motion in open court, urging the court to dismiss the electoral umpire’s application.
But the panel asked the INEC lawyer, which order he wants varied.
Inuwa argued that the Electoral Act 2022 will be affected by all existing orders restraining INEC from making use of all election materials for the upcoming election.
The ruling will be tomorrow, 10 am tomorrow,” the tribunal said after hearing the arguments.
7. Both Old And New Notes Are Now Legal Tenders – CBN Official
The Spokesman of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Isa Abdulmumin, has said both the old and new naira notes are now legal tender following the new directive of the Supreme Court.
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According to Abdulmumin, banks have begun to issue both old and new notes to customers at their various Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) terminals and over the counter.
Speaking with The Cable on Tuesday, Abdulmumin said even though the CBN is yet to issue an official statement on the matter, Nigerians can now spend and collect both the old and new notes.
He added that the apex bank just wants to make life easy for Nigerians and has directed commercial banks to obey the supreme court ruling which extended the validity period of the old notes to the end of the year.
The CBN spokesman said: “Banks are paying old notes as well as new notes. They are all legal tender.
“Yes, the CBN has not issued an official statement on the issue. Anyone banks give to you, you can collect. We just want to make life easy for Nigerians.”
Abdulmumin expressed concern about the continued rejection of the old notes by some traders and transporters.
The CBN spokesman said the old notes should not be rejected as they are still a valid means of exchange.
8. Labour Party Dissolves Rivers Chapter Over Corruption
The national chairman of the Labour Party (LP) Julius Abure has dissolved the Labour Party State Executive Council of Rivers State with immediate effect, for gross anti-party activities and corruption in the management.
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In a statement issued on Tuesday by the party spokesman, Kenneth Okonkwo, the chairman believes that it’s in the interest of Labour Party and the Obidient movement in Rivers State that those who were at the helm of affairs in Rivers State when our presidential mandate was openly stolen in State step aside until a full investigation is completed.
The National Chairman added that he has lost confidence in the ability of the compromised State Executive Council led by Deinye Pepple to lead the campaign for the Gubernatorial and State House of Assembly elections on March 11th.
He urges all Obidients in Rivers State to disregard every comment made by the disgraced State Chairman of the Labour Party, Deinye Pepple, on the election of March 11th and reiterates the full backing of the Labour Party on the candidacy of Comrade Beatrice Itubo of the Labour Party as the next Governor of Rivers State.
9. INEC Issues Certificates Of Return To Elected Senators
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has presented Certificates of Return to those who won senatorial seats in the February 25th election.
Recall that the Senatorial elections were conducted across states on the same day as the presidential election two Saturdays ago.
INEC Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, in that regard, presented certificates of return to the election winners today at the National Collation Centre (the International Conference Centre) in Abuja.
The INEC boss had on Saturday said winners were declared for 423 legislative seats, indicating that supplementary elections would be conducted in 46 other constituencies.
The elected legislators include 98 out of 109 Senate and 325 out of 360 House of Representatives seats. Seven parties won in the Senate, while eight parties won House of Representatives seats.
10. ‘Stay Away From Office’ – INEC Directs Sokoto REC Days To Governorship Election
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has directed the Sokoto State Resident Electoral Commission, Nura Ali, to stay away from the commission.
The directive of the electoral body is coming four days before the governorship and House of Assembly elections across the country.
INEC’s directive was contained in a letter signed by the secretary to the commission, Rose Oriaran-Anthony.
The letter was addressed to the Sokoto State office of the commission on Monday.
INEC further directed the administrative secretary in the state to take full charge with immediate effects.
Recall that INEC Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu on Saturday in a meeting with states REC vowed to deal with any official of the commission who contributed to the shortcomings of the presidential election.
According to Punch, INEC directed the REC to stay away from the office immediately until further notice.