POLITICS IN THE WEEK – October 31, 2020

By Josmat Jerry

Still on the recent developments in the country and its aftermath, youths clamouring for a better Nigeria, have taken steps towards active political participation in the coming 2023 General Elections. The nation which is in dire need of novel strategies, would not mind the influx of some intellectual youths in politics. As we step into the 11th month of this dramatic year, here again are some notable political events (concerning youths largely) that took place during the last week of October (25/Oct – 31/Oct/2020) with Jegede heading to tribunal, Okonjo-Iweala’s WTO activities and the Lagos panel of inquiry as top of the list.

FG TO TRAIN 500,000 YOUTHS IN DIGITAL SKILLS

The Ministry of Youth and Sports Development through the Minister, Mr. Sunday Dare, is set to brace up its digital skills training to cover 500,000 youths across the nation after the securing funds under the COVID-19 stimulus budget. The training, under the initiative called: ‘A New DEEL for the Nigerian Youth’, was meant to commence in December 2019, but was delayed due to insufficient funding.

BUHARI RE-APPOINTS YAKUBU AS INEC CHAIRMAN

President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the reappointment of Prof Mahmood Yakubu as Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission. The appointment was contained in a letter to the Senate President, Ahmad Ibrahim Lawan, in accordance with the provision of Section 154(1) of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended). Yakubu, who was appointed head of the commission in 2015, has another five-year-term.

LEKKI SHOOTINGS: LAWYER SUES BUHARI, BURATAI, OTHERS FOR 10bn

A legal practitioner, Olukoya Ogungbeje, has urged the Federal High Court sitting in Lagos to compel President Muhammadu Buhari, Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, and 10 others to immediately pay 10bn to victims of the October 20 shootings at the Lekki Toll Gate in Lagos. He also asked the court to order “the immediate prosecution of all culpable security agents and persons directly or indirectly involved in the shooting and killing of unarmed, defenseless and peaceful protesters – victims of the #ENDSARS peaceful protest”. Some other defendants in the suit include the Federal Government, the Nigerian Army, Chief of Defense Staff, Inspector-General of Police and others.

DUKE BEGS YOUTHS FOR SINS OF NIGERIAN LEADERS

Former Governor of Cross River State, Donald Duke, has sought for the forgiveness of youths on behalf of Nigerian leaders, stating that the political leadership has failed them. He made the plea while briefing newsmen on October 25 in Calabar on the #EndSARS protests that have claimed lives and properties in part of the country. He also expressed that there is a high trust deficit between government and the people.

JEGEDE HEADS TO TRIBUNAL, CHALLENGES ONDO ELECTION RESULT

Candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the last governorship election of Ondo State, Eyitayo Jegede, has challenged the victory of Governor Rotimi Akeredolu, of the All Progressives Congress (APC). Jegede challenged the election on four grounds which included “that the election was marred by irregularities and pockets of violence and intimidation”. He also faulted the emergence of Governor Akeredolu as the candidate of the APC during its governorship primary election held on the 20th of July, 2020. Recall that the Governor with 292,830 votes won his two opponents, Jegede with 195,791 and Ajayi with 69,127 votes.

APC LASHES PDP OVER 3bn COVID-19 FUND WHEREABOUTS

The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Ekiti State and the All Progressives Congress (APC) on Wednesday, 28 October, engaged each other in a verbal war over the 3bn Covid-19 fund and palliatives given to the state to relieve the effects of the pandemic. PDP asked the government to explain how it expended the over 3bn gotten from the Federal Government, World Bank and donations from individuals and Corporate Organizations as well as the palliatives supplied by the Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID) to ease the economic hardship caused by the pandemic. The APC responded by saying “Ekiti PDP is idle and frustrated.”

WE WILL ENSURE OKONJO-IWEALA EMERGES VICTORIOUS – FG

The Federal Government has promised to engage other members of the World Trade Organization to support the election of Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala as the Director-General of the global body. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs noted that the former Managing Director of the World Bank had secured the support of the majority of the WTO members with only the United States opposing her. It also added that Nigeria would continue to engage relevant stakeholders to ensure that the aspiration of her candidate to lead the WTO is realized as the final decision on the election process is scheduled for November 9, 2020.

LECTURER’S STRIKE NOT JUST ABOUT IPPIS – ASUU PRESIDENT

The controversial Integrated Payroll Process System (IPPIS) introduced by the Federal Government is a distraction and not part of the reasons for the lingering strike by university lecturers, says Biodun Ogunyemi, the President of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU). Mr Ogunyemi noted that the strike would have been called off save for the way the government has handled the negotiations. He also added that some lecturers have been owed more than six months’ salaries because they have not been enrolled under the IPPIS.

I AGREE WITH YOUTHS, SOUTH-EAST SHOULD PRODUCE 2023 PRESIDENCY – UMAHI

The Chairman of the South-East Governor’s Forum and Ebonyi State Governor, David Umahi, on Monday, October 26, stressed that the South-East presidency come 2023, was currently the greatest desire of youths of the region. He explained that leaders of the zone, including governors, met with representatives of the youth in the South-East over the #EndSARS protests, on Sunday, October 25, and noted that they had agreed to sheathe their swords for peace to reign.

TASUED LECTURER SLAMS DESMOND ELLIOT

Niyi Ogunkoya, a lecturer at the Tai Solarin University of Education (TASUED) Ogun State, has tackled Desmond Elliot, an actor-turned politician who is representing the Surulere constituency in the Lagos State House of Assembly, over his comments on Social Media Regulations in Nigeria. Desmond had called the youths who reacted online to the October 20 Lekki Shooting “Children”. Ogunkoya, among many others, also accused Elliot of “failing the youths”, warned that history might not be kind to his burgeoning career. He also pledged that he has encouraged folks around him to get their PVCs and vote Desmond out, come 2023 General Elections.

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