The major headlines for today, Friday, February 1, are focused on Prof Wole Soyinka’s vow not to vote for either President Muhammadu Buhari or Alhaji Atiku Abubakar in the upcoming presidential election; the APC’s decision to field candidates in Zamfara and Rivers, despite INEC’s decision on the matter; INEC’s release of the final list of candidates for state elections; the PDP’s reaction to the presence of governors from Niger Republic at the APC’s presidential rally and the CCT’s decision to go ahead with the trial of Justice Walter Onnoghen.
Kicking things off, The Guardian reports that Nobel laureate, Prof Wole Soyinka, has stated that neither President Muhammadu Buhari nor former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, would get his vote.
Soyinka made the comment on Thursday, January 31, at the Freedom Park, Hospital Road, Lagos during an interactive session with the theme “Civic Choice In A Time Of Judicial ‘Penkelemes.’ ”
The Nobel laureate noted that the country was in an urgent need of a new direction, stating that it was little wonder that there were so many opposition parties to take over governance.
He further disclosed that there are meetings being held simultaneously in Lagos and Abuja to evolve a political platform that would produce a consensus candidate that would define his choice.
According to Soyinka, there is no need for Nigerians to be enslaved permanently with the old discredited order of politicians.
Still on the forthcoming elections, Vanguard reports that the All Progressives Congress (APC) has stated that it would field candidates in Zamfara and Rivers state, despite the fact that its fate in those states is a subject of litigation.
The development was made public by the APC’s national publicity secretary, Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu.
The ruling party’s decision also runs contrary to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)’s Wednesday night, January 30 decision, barring it from fielding candidates in Zamfara.
Issa-Onilu also added that the Court of Appeal’s decision on the trial of the suspended chief justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, had vindicated President Muhammadu Buhari’s handling of the matter.
The Nation is also focused on election matters, reporting that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) released its list of party candidates running for state elections.
The publication notes that the electoral commission did not include names of APC candidates for elections in Zamfara and Rivers states.
Seventy-nine of the candidates on the list are women; many of them are from Kano and Delta states.
INEC listed Babajide Sanwo-Olu as the APC’s governorship candidate for Lagos state, while the commission listed Jimi Agbaje as the PDP’s candidate.
INEC also resolved the controversy over the PDP’s governorship candidate in Ogun state in favour of Senator Buruji Kashamu. The senator and another party chieftain and House of Representatives member, Ladi Adebutu, had been battling for the ticket. INEC said it chose Kashamu based on a court judgment.
The commission also resolved the crisis over the APC governorship candidate in Abia state in favour of Uche Ogah, who battled Chief Ikechi Emenike for the ticket.
On its part, Punch reports that the Peoples Democratic Party has berated President Muhammadu Buhari and the All Progressives Congress over the presence of two governors from the Republic of Niger at the ruling party’s presidential rally in Kano on Thursday.
Governor Issa Moussa of Zinder and Maradi state governor, Zakiri Umar, both from the Republic of Niger, had been at the rally to support President Buhari’s re-election.
In a chat with the publication, however, the PDP’s national chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, accused the president of mortgaging Nigeria’s future.
Secondus said the president and his party would also import voters from neighbouring countries for the February 16 presidential election. He called the attention of the international community to the alleged plan by the ruling party.
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Rounding thing off, ThisDay reports that the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) has insisted on proceeding with the trial of the suspended chief justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, on February 4.
This is despite the ongoing investigation of the CJN by the National Judicial Council (NJC).
The move comes as the APC said President Muhammadu Buhari had been vindicated by the appeal court’s ruling which upheld the trial of the CJN by the CCT.
Following an emergency meeting on Tuesday, January 29, the NJC had given Onnoghen, and the acting CJN, Justice Ibrahim Muhammad, seven days to respond to petitions written against them.
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