Since Nigeria’s return to democratic rule in 1999, now President-elect Bola Tinubu, has become a recurring decimal in Africa’s most populous nation’s body polity, considered the kingmaker extraordinaire (having enthroned governors and contributed to the emergence of presidents) with a larger-than-life vice-grip hold on the resources (political and economic) of Lagos (the commercial capital of Nigeria).
This had culminated in throwing his hat into the ring to metamorphose from kingmaker to the king himself. The Independent National Electoral Commission’s declaration of Tinubu as the president-elect and the February 25 presidential poll are riddled with controversies, both at home and abroad. His election is like no other, and so is his character.
It is against this backdrop that this section, Transition News, is birthed. It will provide up-to-date news, analyses and opinions on or related to Tinubu.
In his Abeokuta prophetic-cum-dramatic declaration of ’emi lokan’, the Jagaban of Borgu, laid claim to the presidency and thereafter deployed all the arsenals at his disposal to the realisation of his lifelong ambition. At the end of a very contentious February 25 presidential poll, INEC declared him the winner amid a cacophony of legal cases trailing his emergence, not least, his forfeiture of $460,000 linked to drug trafficking in the US, the revelation of his Guinean citizenship and ill-health, among others.
The latest episode to Nigeria’s next president’s dramatic resurgence in the polity is the public holiday declared by Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers to herald his visit to the Niger Delta state today, just as Nigerians awoke yesterday’s morning to news linking Seyi Tinubu (the president-elect’s 37-year-old son) to a London firm that paid $11 million for a property in London, previously confiscated from a businessman, Kola Aluko on the request by Nigeria’s anti-graft agency, the EFCC.
Therefore, this special pullout, as an idea, was conceived and designed to treat readers to stories relating to the president-elect and everyone, as well as everything connected to him, as the nation counts down to his inauguration on May 29.
Wike Moves to Snatch Victory from Jaws of PDP’s Defeat
•Flaunting, identifying with ex-Lagos gov despite contributing nothing
•Only Makinde among G-5 has say in president-elect’s emergence
It appears the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, is making frantic moves to snatch victory from the jaws of the Peoples Democratic Party’s defeat, by desperately identifying with the President-elect, Bola Tinubu, to sustain false claims he delivered Tinubu in Rivers.
But contrary to this false impression, recent developments have shown that the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Mr. Peter Obi, and not Tinubu, actually won Rivers State in the presidential bout, thus putting a lie to Wike’s assertions.
Unfortunately, Wike’s struggle to ‘reap where he did not sow’ though gained more attention some days ago, when he announced that Tinubu would be in the state this week to inaugurate a flyover and a court building, the development has since caused disaffection amongst members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state, who did the actual work and delivered their candidate.
However, what the Rivers State results have shown is that apart from the Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde, who clearly delivered the state to the APC and Tinubu, the rest of the aggrieved G-5 governors of the opposition PDP, lost out in their collective bid to undo their party.
Wike had recently invited Tinubu to inaugurate the Rumuola-Rumuokwuta flyover and Magistrates Court building in Port Harcourt on May 3 and 4, 2023. The 1007.5 metres Rumuola-Rumuokwuta flyover, which connects Rumuola road to Ikwerre road is the 12th flyover built by the Wike’s led administration since 2019.
Disclosing this, Wike explained that the president-elect was told when he came to campaign in Rivers State and paid a courtesy call on the Government House, Port Harcourt in February, 2023 that he would be invited to commission some of the landmark projects of his administration.
“To God be the glory. We are expecting the President-elect on the 3rd and 4th of next month to commission the 12th flyover and the Magistrates Court building. You can see the Magistrates Court building and how amazing it is. We commend the contractor too, who has done this job, and quite on time. I don’t think you can find this in anywhere in this part of the country.
“We had invited presidential candidates of other parties like Labour, NNPP (New Nigeria Peoples Party), they all came and commissioned projects, and we did say to him (President-elect) that we believe that after the election we are going to invite him to commission projects too. And luckily, these two very important projects are ready.”
Wike, who said it was gratifying that his administration was able to commence and finish the construction of 12 flyovers within the last four years, said the Rivers people would attest to the fact that his administration has conscientiously delivered on the promises made to them.
But contrary to the results declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), showing that Tinubu won Rivers State, the one eventually uploaded on the INEC Result Viewing Portal (IReV) showed that Obi and not Tinubu, won the oil rich state.
Obi, according to results uploaded on the IreV, won the 25 February presidential election in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State, which by implication, meant he, and not Tinubu, won the presidential election in Rivers.
The Obio/Akpor result, according to INEC, indicated that Tinubu scored 80, 239 votes, while Obi garnered 3,829 votes. Atiku Abubakar of the PDP, according to INEC, polled 368 votes and Rabiu Kwankwaso of the New Nigeria Peoples Party got 161 votes.
A review of the results from various polling units of the 17 wards in Obio/Akpor LGA as uploaded on IReV would later reveal contrary results to INEC’s
The new tally, based on the results on the IReV, showed that APC’s Tinubu got 17, 158 votes while LP’s Obi got 73,311 votes. The real result is wide gulf apart compared to the fake result declared. So, how did Wike deliver?
Obio/Akpor has in totality, 1,211 polling units across its 17 wards, but Premium Times, which reviewed the IReV results only did in 1,116 polling units uploaded on the IReV as of 16 March, representing about 94.13 per cent of the results from the council area.
Although it noted that results from some polling units were either blurred or improperly snapped and therefore illegible, results from about 95 polling units, representing about 5.87 per cent, were yet to be uploaded within the period under review.
It further noted that, there were no results in some polling units either because the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System malfunctioned or people did not come out to cast their votes, as observed at Ake Hostel UNIPORT Polling Unit in Choba Ward.
This, nonetheless, Premium Times computed the available and readable results from the 1,116 polling units uploaded so far on the IReV within the period of the review.
In some polling units in Obio/Akpor, it found that some results were altered in favour of the APC, with the original scores mutilated.
For instance, the result from Rumuorluoji Open Space II polling unit in Oro-Igwe Ward, showed that the APC originally scored 17 but the number, ‘2’ was added to the figure to read ‘217.’
On the other hand, 227 was recorded against the LP, but the number ‘2’ was erased and altered to read ‘027.’
Clearly, in the column meant for recording the scores in words, there were evidence of adjustments to suit the changed figures.
In Rumuokoro Ward, it was noticed that in 34 polling units, results earlier written for the LP were erased and the figures swapped with that of the APC.
In spite of these, Premium Times still tallied the figures as published by INEC, even when there was evidence that the figures had been tampered with.
In some cases, the results for the National Assembly elections were uploaded in some polling units instead of the presidential election results.
A result from the Civic Centre Hall Polling Unit in Rumuigbo Ward, for instance, showed that a result from the House of Representatives election was uploaded in place of that of the presidential election.
Tallied results from Degema Local Government Area uploaded on the IReV, and further findings, confirmed that Tinubu won in the council area, although the score was slightly lower than the one announced by INEC.
Obi was, however, leading Tinubu with over 23,000 votes by the time INEC announced the presidential election results in 21 of the 23 local government areas in the state. He polled 169,414 votes at the time, while Tinubu scored 148,979 votes.
The LP candidate’s largest votes at the time came from Port Harcourt City Local Government Area, where he scored 62,451 votes, while Atiku scored 7,203 votes, followed by Mr Tinubu, who scored 5,562 votes. Kwankwaso scored 301.
Results were still being expected then from two remaining local government areas – Obio/Akpor, where Wike hails from, and Degema.
With the results from Obio/Akpor coming in, and with INEC announcing that Tinubu scored 80, 239 votes against Mr Obi’s 3,829 votes, the APC candidate was now in the lead and was eventually declared the winner of the presidential election in Rivers State.
Atiku scored 368 votes in Obio/Akpor, while Mr Kwankwaso scored 161 votes.
In Degema, Tinubu scored 2,375 votes, while Obi scored 2,212 votes. Atiku scored 3,108 votes, while Mr Kwankwaso scored 44 votes.
Mr Tinubu polled 231,591 votes in Rivers State as against Mr Obi’s 175,071 votes, according to INEC. Atiku, on his part, scored 88,468, while Mr Kwankwaso clinched 1,322 votes.
The collation officer for the presidential election in Rivers had adjourned the collation of results at some point over alleged threat to his life by some supporters of a political party, in addition to reports of attacks and suppression of voters in the state.
…Gov Declares Public Holiday Ahead of President-elect’s Visit
Governor Nyesom Wike has declared today, Wednesday, May 3, 2023, a public holiday in Rivers State, to enable the people of the State give the President-Elect, Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu, a rousing welcome.
Wike, who made the declaration yesterday, in a state broadcast, said during Tinubu’s presidential campaign visit to Rivers State, he had indicated intention to have him commission some strategic projects in the state after the general election.
The Rivers State governor said during his two days official visit to the state, the president-elect would commission the Rumuola/Rumuokwuta Flyover and the ultra-modern Magistrates’ Court Complex, Port Harcourt, today and tomorrow.
He said a formal invitation was sent to the president-elect after the general election, which he graciously accepted, and explained that the proposed visit would be Tinibu’s first official visit to any state since he emerged as the President-elect of Nigeria.
According to him, by this visit, Tinubu would join the long list of distinguished Nigerians the state had hosted to either flag off or commission landmark projects.
Rivers APC Stays Away from Wike’s Committee as Tinubu Visits
•State government declares public holiday
Blessing Ibunge in Port Harcourt
The All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State, has distanced itself from any involvement in the committee set up by Governor Nyesom Wike in preparation for the visit of the President-elect, Bola Tinubu to the state.
But Wike, who attached so much seriousness to the Tinubu visit, has declared today, Wednesday, May 3, 2023, a public holiday in Rivers State, to enable the people of the state give Tinubu, a rousing welcome.
Tinubu is scheduled to commission the Rumuola/Rumuokwuta Flyover and the ultra-modern Magistrates’ Court Complex, Port Harcourt, today and tomorrow, Thursday.
However, in a statement by spokesperson of the APC in Rivers, Darlington Nwauju, the party said the president-elect would be in the state on a private visit.
“Our attention has been drawn to media reports and innuendos circulating in the media space concerning the visit of our President-elect, Senator Ahmed Bola Tinubu to Rivers State.
“While the Rivers State Chapter of the APC wholeheartedly welcomes our president-elect and appreciates his work ethic of getting firsthand knowledge of the various sub-nationals, we, however, wish to clarify that this is a private visit on the invitation of the Rivers State Government controlled by the PDP and has nothing to do with APC in Rivers State.
“We challenge the governor being an outgoing Governor to play less of divisive politics and exercise restraint in planting seeds of discord amongst opposition political parties.
“We are aware that the Governor has been working so hard to paint a false perception of collapse of the APC structure in Rivers State even when he had in previous well-documented interviews vowed never to have anything to do with a ‘cancer party (APC)’.
“We believe that it is morally wrong to always seek to be politically correct even when government should be serious business and access to the instrumentality of power should be to the public good rather than patronage to lackeys and minions.
“We are aware of Governor Wike’s plot to prank our president-elect into believing his false narrative that there is no other opposition political party existing in Rivers State. Rivers people already know this is not the correct situation on ground.
“Rivers State APC lost four of its members on the 18th of March 2023 and we still expect the Police in Rivers State to tell the world who the sponsors and killers of our members are. No member of our party can dance on the graves of our fallen heroes by joining Governor Wike to mock those who lost their lives, except of course, those who Governor Wike financially induced to act as moles while claiming to be APC members.
“Rivers APC is focused on pursuing justice by challenging the outcome of the flawed March 18th 2023 elections at the Elections Petitions Tribunal and cannot be distracted by the antics of Governor Wike and his co-travellers.”
Nwauju, therefore, clarified further that the leadership of APC in the state was neither part of the governor’s Transition Committee nor Committee set up for the visit of the President-elect.
Presidential Election Tribunal Commences Sitting May 8
Alex Enumah in Abuja
Barring any unforeseen circumstances or last minute changes, the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal (PEPT) that would determine the petitions of Atiku Abubakar, Peter Obi and three other candidates at the February 25 presidential election would commence sitting from Monday May 8 next week, a source at the Court of Appeal, Abuja, has disclosed.
The source at the tribunal Secretariat, although pleaded anonymity, however hinted that members of the five member panel that would hear the various petitions against the declaration of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu as President-elect have already been constituted and are ready to do justice in the matter.
Hearing in the petitions is coming over two months after the cause of action which is March 1, the date INEC announced Tinubu as winner.
According to constitutional provisions, the tribunal is saddled with a time frame of 180 days within which to hear and deliver judgment in an election matter.
While petitioners by law must file their grievances against the election within 21 days of the declaration, the respondents are to also reply within 21 days. By law, the petitioners are also allowed to respond to the reply of the respondents before hearing commences.
As at today, INEC, Tinubu and the All Progressives Congress (APC) have responded to the various appeals, asking the court in their respective Notice of Preliminary Objections to dismiss the various petitions for lacking in merit.
Besides their NPO, the respondents also faulted the various petitions and denied every allegations made against them as well as the outcome of the election.
However, following the reply of the petitioners’ last week the coast appeared cleared for proper hearing to commence.
According to the source, the members of the panel which would be led by the President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Monica Dongban-mensem are amongst those who have been handling cases involving the petitioners.
They include Justice Joseph Ikyegh, who have been leading two other members in some panels that heard Atiku and Obi’s request for access to inspect INEC’s materials; Justice Stephen Adah, Justice Abba Mohammed and Justice Haruna Tsammani.
Recall that five out of the 18 political parties that participated in the February 25 presidential election, had approached the court of appeal to protest the process as well as outcome of the February 25 presidential election.
Amongst those aggrieved with the declaration of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and its candidate, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu as winner of the presidential election are the major opposition party, the People’s Democratic Party ( PDP), and it’s presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, Labour Party and its presidential candidate, Mr Peter Obi; Action Alliance (AA) and its presidential candidate Mr Solomon Okangbuan and Allied People’s Movement (APM) and its presidential candidate, Princess Chichi Ojei.
In the separate suits marked CA/PEPC/01/2023; CA/PEPC/02/2023; CA/PEPC/03/2023; CA/PEPC/04/2023; and CA/PEPC/05/2023, the petitioners are respectively challenging the outcome of the February 25 presidential election on grounds of substantial non-compliance with the electoral laws as well as the guidelines of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The petitioners also alleged that the February 25 presidential election was characterized by huge irregularities and electoral malpractices following INEC’s failure to electronically upload results immediately from its polling units to the INEC Results Viewing Portal (IREV). While INEC is the 1st respondent, Tinubu, his Vice-president elect, Kashim Shettima and the APC are 2nd, 3rd and 4th respectively.
Besides non-compliance, Obi and LP in their petition are claiming that at the time of the presidential election held on February 25, 2023 Tinubu and Shettima were not qualified to contest the election. “That it be determined that all the votes recorded for the 2nd respondent in the election are wasted votes owing to the non- qualification/ disqualification of 2,3 respondents.
“That it be determined that on the basis of the remaining votes after discountenancing the votes credited to the 2,3 respondents the 1st petitioner scored a majority of the lawful votes cast at the election and had not less than 25% in each of at least 2/3 of the States of the Federation and the Federal capital Territory, Abuja and satisfied the constitutional requirements to be declared the winner of February 25, 2023 Presidential Election.
“That it be determined that 2nd respondent having failed to score one quarter of the votes cast at the presidential election in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja was not entitled to be declared and returned as the winner of the presidential election held on Saturday February 25, 2023”, the submitted.
INEC Chairman, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, had on March 1 declared Tinubu president-elect on grounds that his party the APC scored majority of votes cast at the poll.
In the results announced Tinubu polled 8,805,835 votes to emerged victorious.
Atiku Abubakar of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) who came second scored 6,984,640 votes while Obi scored 6,101,533 votes.
Besides seeking that he be declared winner of the election on grounds that he is the authentic winner of the presidential election, Atiku in an alternative prayer asked the tribunal to cancel the entire election and ordered INEC to conduct a fresh poll.
Candidate of the Labour Party had also made a similar pleading as that of Atiku.
Tinubu’s Supporters Urge Nigerians to Reject Senate President With EFCC Cases
Sunday Aborisade in Abuja
The Tinubu National Alliance, yesterday, in Abuja, declared that Nigeria could not afford a Senate President burdened with cases at the anti-graft agencies, especially the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The support group said since Tinubu’s government would be that of National Competence, anyone with EFCC case or cases, should not be supported for the office of the Senate President, adding that such personality would be a distraction to the administration.
Director-General of the group, Musa Sharif Rilwanu, who stated this while addressing a press conference, said people with competence and character should be supported for the Senate President office not minding their region or religion.
“We urge all Nigerians to uphold the principles of democracy, peace, and stability. We must remember that we are all Nigerians, and we must work together to build a prosperous and peaceful nation,” he said, adding that the North West deserved to produce the next Senate President.
Continuing, he added: “We have gathered here today to make two important announcements: the first is regarding the upcoming election for the position of Senate President of Nigeria.
“After careful consideration and extensive consultation with our members and stakeholders across the country, the Tinubu National Alliance is proud to declare our full support for the election of Senator Barau as the next Senate President of Nigeria. Senator Barau is a distinguished lawmaker with a long and illustrious career in public service.
“He has demonstrated a deep commitment to the well-being of our people and the progress of our nation, consistently advocating for policies and initiatives that promote good governance, economic growth, and social justice.
“As a senator, Senator Barau, has been a strong and effective voice for his constituents, working tirelessly to ensure that their needs are met and their rights are protected.
“He has also played a pivotal role in the legislative process, championing key bills and resolutions that have had a positive impact on the lives of Nigerians. Furthermore, we believe that Senator Barau possesses the necessary leadership qualities and experience to effectively steer the affairs of the Senate.
“He will work collaboratively with his colleagues to address the pressing challenges facing our nation. His track record of integrity, accountability, and inclusiveness makes him the ideal candidate to lead the Senate and promote the common good.
“We urge all Nigerians to join us in supporting the candidacy of Senator Barau for the position of Senate President of Nigeria. We are confident that he will bring honour, dignity, and excellence to this important office, and we look forward to working with him to build a better Nigeria for all our people.
“We, as a nation, have come a long way in consolidating our democratic gains. The peaceful conduct of elections and the smooth transition of power from one government to another is a testament to the progress we have made as a country.”
Religion Politics Will Destroy Nigeria, Declares Youths Group
A pan-Nigeria advocacy group, Greater Nigerian Youths Movement (GNYM), has warned that if the current political actors did not desist from playing politics of religion and ethnicity, it might ultimately be the nation’s undoing.
The group, in a statement by its Chairman, Lukman Olorunloseyi and Secretary, Mohammed Wakil Abubakar, however, noted that the north west deserved compensation for its role in the victory of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and therefore should be conceded the office of the senate president in the 10th National Assembly.
Speaking against the current jostle for the leadership of the 10th National Assembly, the group, while warning that religion and ethnicity had dealt the nation a huge blow over the years and constituting themselves as needless fault lines, the election of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, has effectively taken care of religion politics, adding also that going forward, it should never have a spot in the annals of the nation’s body polity.
According to GNYM, “No serious nation plays up religion as much as we do in all things and we have seen over time, the devastating effect of religion in many spheres of our lives, the political terrain inclusive. But we have come of age and should begin to see that these things divide us more than they unite us.
“There are people who feast on religion and ethnic factors, in fact, it is a booming industry: playing up religion at every turn. This is why Asiwaju deserves commendation, because he dared it and defeated it. We should, therefore, not go back to it again under whatever guise. It is goodbye to that cancer in our collective life.”
Addressing the issue of the senate presidency, the group said people should not be emotional about what should be based on contribution, noting that politics is an investment, which requires equity from every stakeholder and that whatever you put in would automatically determine what you get.
“The North West can conveniently boast of serving the victory of the APC and the president-elect. They put in their everything and today, there are discussions on whether or not they deserve the senate presidency? That debate should not have come up in the first place.
“The north west deserves, not just to be compensated but to be given the office of the president of the senate. It is not a concession; they earned it, otherwise, we might be rewarding rebellion and bad behaviour if it goes elsewhere and we would have discouraged the north west from trusting us ever again,” the group stated.