Politics

Today's Headlines: 2023 Elections Divided Nigerians Along 3 Blocs –Kokori; Abuja Plaza Collapses

2023 Elections Divided Nigerians Along 3 Blocs –Kokori

Frank Kokori, a prominent member of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and former General Secretary of the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), expressed his view that the 2023 presidential election has left the nation deeply divided into three distinct blocs: the Asiwaju bloc, Atiku bloc, and Obi bloc. Kokori lamented that this division has led to a challenging situation as none of these blocs appears willing to compromise.

In an interview with THE SUN, a national daily, Kokori offered a comprehensive perspective on various developments within the country. He discussed topics such as the coup in Niger, the removal of fuel subsidies and its adverse effects on the population, the scale of President Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s cabinet, and the current government’s approach towards addressing corruption, among other subjects.

Two Fatally Injured, 37 Rescued as Abuja Plaza Collapses

A two-storey plaza located on Lagos Street in Garki Village, part of the Garki District in the capital city of Abuja, collapsed on Wednesday night.

Emergency officials have managed to rescue 37 individuals thus far, but two of them have sustained “fatal injuries.”

Due to the lack of immediate access to an excavator, rescue operations proceeded slowly throughout the night, necessitating manual efforts.

Dr. Abbas Idriss, the Director General of the FCT Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), confirmed the incident. He stated that 37 people had been successfully rescued from the collapsed structure and transported to various medical facilities in Abuja.

Idriss emphasized, “Thirty Seven persons have so far been rescued and evacuated to hospital, others reportedly still trapped. Rescue team and others are on ground. Rescue operations on but slowly due to ongoing rain.” He also mentioned that they were working to secure an excavator to facilitate the removal of individuals from the rubble.

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Idriss expressed his appreciation for the collaborative efforts of various stakeholders, including community members, in conducting the manual rescue operations. He disclosed that the rescue mission was continuing and that they were awaiting the arrival of equipment to enhance the efficiency of their operations.

Imo: CSOs Demand Transfer of REC, Others for Free, Fair, Credible Election

The International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law (Intersociety) and the South-East Zone of the Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO) have jointly appealed to the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to reassign Imo State’s Resident Electoral Commissioner, Prof. Syl Agu. This request aims to ensure a transparent, participatory, and credible governorship election on November 11.

The organizations have expressed concerns about the REC’s effectiveness, citing her inadequate handling of the previous 2023 elections. This has led to doubts about her ability to successfully organize and execute an unbiased and trustworthy governorship election.

In separate letters addressed to the INEC Chairman, signed by Mr. Emeka Umeagbalasi, Chairman of Intersociety, and Mr. Aloysius Attah, Chairman of CLO’s South East zone, they have urged INEC to conduct a comprehensive overhaul of the Imo INEC and its key departments such as EOs, Administration, tions, ICT, and Voter Education. This restructuring is necessary to address the irregularities stemming from the 2023 Presidential/National/State Assembly elections in the state.

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The groups have alleged that numerous INEC officials were implicated in various misconducts that compromised the credibility of the elections. The situation was reportedly so dire that the state Assembly poll was particularly problematic, with the candidates of the ruling APC seemingly dominating by “winning” 26 out of the State’s 27 House of Assembly seats.

Abia: INEC Witness Contradicts Self Over Obingwa Result as Commission Closes Defence

The ABIA State election petition tribunal, convened in Umuahia, continued its hearing of a petition filed by Ambrose Okechukwu Ahiwe, contesting the declaration of Alex Otti as the winner of the governorship election.

During the proceedings, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) presented its defense, calling a sole witness, Nkemjika Kelechi Okere, who had served as the electoral officer for Obingwa Local Government Area.

Okere adopted his written deposition as evidence and affirmed that exhibit P188 presented to the court was indeed the genuine result sheet for Obingwa council.

However, a surprising turn occurred when Okere denied that the same exhibit P188 (Obingwa council result) had been rejected, sent to INEC headquarters in Abuja, and subsequently declared by the state Returning Officer, Nnenna Otti, after three days. This denial contradicted a well-known fact acknowledged not just by Abians but by Nigerians nationwide. The incredulous nature of this denial caused a stir in the courtroom.

Under cross-examination by the petitioner’s counsel, Okere was reminded that Otti had brought a result from Abuja lacking any party agent’s signature, which was then declared as the Obingwa council result after three days. The witness, however, contradicted this, leading to astonishment among those present in the court.

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When pressed further, Okere admitted that political parties had observed the collation process and were permitted to sign the result sheet. However, he conceded that the result sheet for Obingwa council lacked the signatures of agents from any political party, including the Labour Party (LP).

Shown exhibit P38, Okere acknowledged the presence of signature marks from agents of over six political parties. He agreed that he was not a polling unit collation officer and couldn’t have physically overseen all the polling units, relying instead on information from collation officers of the 312 polling units within Obingwa council.

The witness also admitted in his deposition that collation couldn’t take place in Nadiakata/Amairinabua Ward 9 of Obingwa council due to violence. Surprisingly, upon the state returning officer’s return from Abuja, votes were allocated to Ward 9 where violence had disrupted voting. He confirmed that Ward 9 was inexplicably assigned votes on the result sheet (P188). Ultimately, he affirmed that he was not the INEC collation officer for Obingwa council.

Concluding the defense, J. C. Nnodim announced that INEC would no longer summon any of the five witnesses initially scheduled.

The tribunal adjourned to the following day for Governor Otti to present his defense.

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