The Deputy National Chairman on Communication and Publicity for the All Progressives Congress (APC) National Campaign Council in Edo State, Patrick Obahiagbon, has reacted to the visit by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chieftains to the Oba of Benin, Oba Ewuare II.
Obahiagbon who was interviewed on Channels Television’s Politics Today on Friday said the visit does not translate to the revered monarch endorsing the PDP candidate and incumbent Governor, Godwin Obaseki for the September 19 governorship election in the state.
When asked if the APC candidate, Osagie Ize-Iyamu has the blessing of the royal father, Obahiagbon neither confirmed nor refuted the question.
He replied saying: The Royal Majesty, the Oba of Benin is a neural traditional king. The Oba does not endorse anybody. The Oba prays for all his subjects.
“If you watch his prayers very meticulously, he would say that “may the candidate that would bring freedom, may the candidate that will bring economic prosperity to my kingdom have the blessing of the great architect of the universe.
“So we cannot situate or locate the visit of PDP to His Royal Majesty to be an endorsement. In any case, the APC is yet to carry out its campaign. When we do that, we will equally visit His Majesty,” he said.
Obahiagbon also reacted to the endorsement of some religious leaders to Governor Obaseki today, saying that the action does not pose a threat to Ize-Iyamu in the polls.
The APC chieftain explained that going by the endorsements his party’s candidate has received so fair, Ize Iyamu is confident of victory in the governorship election.
Speaking further, Obahiagbon berated Governor Obaseki over the resignation of seven councillors in his ward in Oredo Local Government of the state.
He said the councillors’ decision to declare their support for Ize-Iyamu speaks volumes as the election draws nearer.
Hong Kong’s democracy supporters were dealt a huge blow Friday as authorities postponed local elections for a year because of the coronavirus, capping a devastating month of political disqualifications, arrests for social media posts and activists fleeing overseas.
The city’s democracy camp has come under sustained attack since Beijing imposed a sweeping national security law last month — a move China’s leaders described as a “sword” hanging over the head of its critics.
The ensuing weeks have sent a chill through a city used to speaking its mind and supposedly guaranteed certain freedoms and autonomy in a “One Country, Two Systems” deal agreed ahead of its 1997 handover from Britain.
On Friday evening chief executive Carrie Lam, a pro-Beijing appointee, announced that September elections for the financial hub’s legislature would be delayed for a year using emergency anti-virus powers.
She denied the move was a political decision to hobble the city’s opposition.
“I am only paying attention to the current pandemic situation,” she said.
Beijing welcomed the move as “necessary, reasonable and legal”.
But the decision infuriated democracy supporters who had warned against any move to delay the polls, accusing authorities of using the COVID-19 pandemic to avoid a drubbing at the ballot box.
“This is a sleazy, contemptible political act to help thwart any victory on the part of the democrats in the original election,” opposition lawmaker Claudia Mo told Media (known to Noble Reporters Media), warning that public anger could explode.
The postponement came a day after a dozen prominent democracy activists were barred from standing for election because their political views were deemed unacceptable.
“Beyond any doubt (this) is the most scandalous election fraud era in Hong Kong history,” Joshua Wong, one of the city’s most recognisable democracy figures, told reporters Friday before the elections were postponed.
Wong was one of those disqualified, along with other young firebrand activists and some older, more moderate democracy campaigners.
Banned political views Hong Kong is not a democracy — its leader is chosen by pro-Beijing committees.
But half of its legislature’s 70 seats are directly elected, offering the city’s 7.5 million residents a rare chance to have their voices heard at the ballot box.
Planning to capitalise on last year’s huge and often violent anti-Beijing protests, democracy activists had been hoping to win their first-ever majority in September.
But officials have begun scrubbing ballot lists of candidates.
Examples given by authorities of unacceptable political views have included criticising the new security law, campaigning to win a legislation-blocking majority and refusing to recognise China’s sovereignty.
Earlier in the day a coalition of democracy parties warned any bid to delay the elections would herald “the complete collapse of our constitutional system”.
Around half of Hong Kong’s nearly 3,300 COVID-19 cases have been detected in the past month alone and authorities fear hospitals are on the verge of being overwhelmed.
According to the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance, at least 68 elections worldwide have been postponed because of the virus, while 49 went ahead.
New security law Hong Kong is going through its most politically turbulent period since its return to Chinese rule, and last year seven straight months of pro-democracy protests swept the city.
The pandemic and mass arrests have helped throttle the movement, but anger towards Beijing still seethes.
In response, China imposed its security law on June 30, bypassing the legislature and keeping the contents of the law secret until it was enacted.
Beijing said the law would restore stability and not impact political freedoms.
It targets four types of crime — subversion, secession, terrorism and colluding with foreign forces — with up to life in prison.
But the broadly worded law instantly outlawed certain political views such as promoting independence or greater autonomy for Hong Kong.
One provision bans “inciting hatred” towards the government.
Critics, including many Western nations, say it has demolished the “One Country, Two Systems” model.
Since it came into force, some political parties have disbanded while at least three prominent Beijing critics have fled overseas.
Libraries and schools have pulled books deemed to be in breach of the new law.
At least 15 arrests have been made so far.
On Wednesday four students were arrested under the new law for “inciting secession” through posts on social media.
Others have been arrested for shouting pro-independence and other protest slogans, or possessing objects emblazoned with them.
A man who allegedly drove his motorbike into a group of police officers while flying an independence flag was the first to be charged under the law, with terrorism and secession offences.
A former Chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Section on Business Law, Olumide Akpata, has been declared the president-elect of the Association.
The Chairman of the Electoral Committee of the NBA, Tawo Tawo (SAN), who made the declaration around 12:52am on Friday says, Akpata scored the highest number of votes cast and satisfied the provisions of the NBA constitution.
“I, Tawo Tawo, the Chairman, Electoral Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association (ECNBA), as the electoral officer for the 2020 National Officers’ Election, hereby declare Akpata Olumide Anthony, having scored the highest number of votes cast and satisfied the provisions of the constitution of the NBA 2015 (as amended), the winner of the election into the office of the President of the Nigerian Bar Association,” Tawo said.
The election which were conducted via electronic voting began at 11pm on Wednesday and ended by 11pm on Thursday.
Akpata scored 9,891 votes out of a total of 18,256 voters who participated in the elections, representing 54.3% of the votes.
He defeated Dr. Babatunde Ajibade (SAN) who scored 4,328 and Dele Adesina (SAN) who scored 3,982.
Other winners who emerged in the elections are: John O Aikpokpo-Martins as the first Vice President with 6,010 votes, and Adeyemo Kazeem Debo as second Vice President with 8,794.
Others are Joyce Oduah as General Secretary; Nwadialo Esther Uchenna, Assistant Secretary; Mercy Ijato Agada, Treasurer; and Edun Olukunle, Welfare Secretary.
Anagor Raphael Nnamdi emerged as Financial Secretary; Nduka Rapuluchukwu Ernest (PhD) as Publicity Secretary; and Naza Ferdinand Afam as Assistant Publicity Secretary.
The new officers of the association are expected to be sworn in at the forthcoming 60th annual general conference of the NBA holding virtually from the 26th to the 29th of August.
In a swift reaction to his victory at the polls, Mr. Olumide Akpata thanked his supporters and assured them that by the grace of God, transformational leadership would be witnessed in his administration.
In his words, “In 2 years from now, we would look back to this day with gratitude. We would say thank God that Olu became President. We would never regret this day. We would transform our association and the Bar will work for all”.
US President Donald Trump on Thursday floated an unprecedented delay to the 2020 election — which polls show him losing — but the suggestion drew cross-party fire and has virtually no chance of being accepted.
Trump, who faces Democrat Joe Biden on November 3, has no constitutional authority to change the date, which is set by law.
His mere airing of the idea, however, broke with presidential custom, adding to tension in a country ravaged by fallout from the coronavirus pandemic and set on edge by bitterly partisan politics.
Trump’s rationale was his claim, not backed by evidence, that large-scale use of mail-in voting as a way to protect voters during the pandemic will lead to mass fraud.
Mail-in voting will make it “the most INACCURATE & FRAUDULENT Election in history. It will be a great embarrassment to the USA,” he said in a tweet.
“Delay the Election until people can properly, securely and safely vote???” Trump asked.
The tweet came minutes after second quarter data showed a 32.9 percent annualized collapse in the economy compared to the first quarter, and down 9.5 percent compared to the same April-June period last year.
Economic pain and mass unemployment is a big reason why Trump finds himself staring down the barrel of defeat in less than 100 days.
Polls show him trailing Biden heavily, including in several must-win swing states, and being relegated to a rare one-term presidency.
“Trump’s threat is nothing more than a desperate attempt to distract from today’s devastating economic numbers that make it clear his failed response to the coronavirus has tanked the US economy,” the Democratic National Committee said in a statement.
“Trump can tweet all he wants, but the reality is that he can’t delay the election, and come November, voters will hold him accountable.”
– Trump’s Republicans say no –
Presidential elections are scheduled by law to take place on the first Tuesday after November 1, which this year is the 3rd.
The United States has never allowed a delay, holding elections even during the Civil War, and only Congress could change the timing.
With Democrats ruling the House of Representatives and Trump’s Republicans in the Senate swiftly voicing opposition, the idea will not get far.
“Never in the history of the country, through wars, depressions and the Civil War, have we ever not had a federally scheduled election on time, and we’ll find a way to do that again this November 3,” the Republican leader of the Senate, Mitch McConnell, told WNKY television.
Asked for a reaction, Republican Senator Marco Rubio, a Trump ally, said: “I wish he hadn’t said that.”
“We’re going to have an election, it’s going to be legitimate,” he said.
The pandemic is still out of control across swaths of the United States, most lately hitting Republican-led states like Florida and Texas.
Given the virus’ threat, there are widespread doubts over how many people will come out to vote and whether sufficient volunteers can be found to staff the polling stations.
During the presidential primary contests earlier this year, several states delayed voting or opened fewer polling sites.
In addition, major sporting events have been canceled or curtailed and there are serious doubts across much of the country over whether schools and universities will reopen for in-person classes in September.
– Little evidence for fraud – Trump himself has previously insisted that he sees no problem in going ahead with the election.
But as the general election date approaches, Trump has angrily resisted Democratic-led attempts to increase mail-in voting as a way to protect Americans from potential exposure to the COVID-19 virus in polling stations.
There is no evidence of meaningful fraud in US elections, including with use of mail-in ballots, which are already common in some states.
Trump’s opponents are instead calling for more effort to improve the complicated logistics and they accuse the president of trying to suppress turnout.
Trump, a real estate magnate who came to power with a surprise win over Democrat Hillary Clinton in 2016, has spent much of his first term challenging the norms of the White House and he is the first president to seek reelection after having been impeached.
Democrats have grown increasingly suspicious of Trump’s intentions as polls point to his defeat.
In April, Biden accused Trump of trying to “kick back the election somehow, come up with some rationale why it can’t be held.”
Catching the mood of Trump opponents ahead of the election, former president Barack Obama said Thursday at the funeral of civil rights hero John Lewis that few elections have been “as urgent on so many levels.”
“Just everybody’s got to come out and vote,” he said in a fiery eulogy.
Belarus said Thursday it had opened a criminal probe into planned acts of terror by Russian mercenaries held ahead of presidential polls, adding that it was tracking down dozens more.
The ex-Soviet country’s security services on Wednesday arrested a group of 32 Russian fighters as well as one other man in a different location.
Belarus security council chief Andrei Ravkov said a criminal probe had been launched and that the men face charges of preparaing “terrorist acts”.
“Thirty-three have been detained, there are up to 200 or thereabouts on the territory (of Belarus),” Ravkov said.
He said “a search is going on” to find the others, complaining that it was “like looking for needles in a haystack.”
Belarus’s KGB security service said the detained men were members of the Wagner group, a shadowy private military firm reportedly controlled by an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin which promotes Moscow’s interests in Ukraine, Syria and Libya.
The arrests came ahead of presidential polls on August 9 in which strongman Alexander Lukashenko is seeking a sixth term.
Lukashenko has detained would-be opposition candidates and their supporters.
Protests have erupted across the ex-Soviet country of 9.5 million people, with a 37-year-old woman political novice, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, quickly emerging as Lukashenko’s main rival.
Lukashenko has accused some of his critics of being controlled by “puppeteers” in Moscow.
– Lukashenko rivals warned – Ravkov spoke after meeting the candidates standing against Lukashenko, including Tikhanovskaya, and warning them that security measures would be stepped up at rallies.
State news agency Belta said the authorities had received information about the arrival of 200 fighters in Belarus “to destabilise the situation during the election campaign”.
Lukashenko at an emergency meeting of his security council on Wednesday demanded an explanation from Moscow.
“If they are guilty, it’s necessary to emerge out of this situation with dignity,” Lukashenko said in televised remarks.
Russian Ambassador to Belarus Dmitry Mezentsev said Thursday that he had been invited to the Belarusian foreign ministry that morning to discuss the case, Russian news agencies reported.
Russia is Minsk’s closest political and economic ally but relations have been strained.
The Belta news agency said the detained Russians sported “military-style clothing” and carried heavy cases.
It also reported that the alleged militants gave themselves away because unlike ordinary Russian tourists, they did not drink.
“They did not consume alcohol or visit entertainment venues. They kept to themselves in order not to attract attention,” Belta said, adding that the men stayed at one of the country’s spas.
National television showed several Russian passports that allegedly belong to the detained men, as well as stacks of dollar bills, packets of condoms and pieces of paper with Arabic script.
The men appeared to also have Sudanese pounds in their possession.
Russian author Zakhar Prilepin, who fought alongside Moscow-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine, said he knew some of the detained men.
Writing on Facebook, Prilepin suggested that the fighters probably used Belarus as a transit point and were en route to “some other destination,” which he said Belarus “surely knows very well”.
Unlike Russia, Belarus has not enforced a lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic and operates flights as usual.
Former senator representing Kogi West Local Government Area, Dino Melaye, has warned all those who plan on rigging the forthcoming Edo State Governorship election to desist from such plans.
Melaye sounded the warning in an unusual fashion at the flag-off of the campaign of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) on Saturday where he said anyone involved in such an act will be infected with the coronavirus.
“Every power that is trying to rig this election, Holy Ghost fire,” the senator said to the cheering crowd of supporters.
He went further to say: “Those who want to come from Abuja where they put Dollar for pocket or from Kogi State, that want to come and rig this election, begin to receive COVID”.
The campaign is taking place at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium in Benin City, the state capital, with strict compliance to COVID-19 safety guidelines, especially the social distancing rule, according to the party.
Governor Obaseki who is running for a second term in office is running on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party following his defection from the All Progressives Congress on June 19, the party with which he won his first term.
The PDP says Obaseki’s re-election bid is on the strength of the work he has done in the last three years.
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has declared that the South-South Zone completely belongs to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
He stated this on Saturday during the flag-off of the PDP campaign for the Edo State Governorship Election held at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, Benin City, Edo State.
Wike, who is Chairman of the PDP National Campaign Council for the election, also declared that godfatherism is over in Edo.
“The people of Edo State must reject godfatherism because nobody can rig the September 19 governorship election in the state,” he said.
“Former national Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole is making a u-turn to lick his vomit by presenting a candidate he earlier rejected and castigated.
“Today, we are here to tell the people of Edo State that they should not be afraid because nobody can rig the forthcoming election.
“Today is the end of godfatherism in Edo State. I want to thank Governor Godwin Obaseki for refusing to dance to the tune of godfatherism.”
“Four years ago, Adams Oshiomhole said he cannot trust the APC governorship candidate that he was rusticated from school.
“Today, Oshiomhole is coming back to present the same person to Edo people. He thinks Edo people are fools. I challenge Edo people not to vote any person presented to them by Oshiomhole.”
Wike assured that as the Chairman of the PDP campaign, he would be in Edo State during the election to ensure that the state is returned to PDP.
He noted the outstanding performance of Governor Godwin Obaseki in the last four years in the development of Edo State and urged the people of Edo State to come out en-masse and vote for the PDP candidate during the election.
“As the Chairman of the PDP National Campaign Council, I will be in Edo State. We will make sure that everything needed will be done to return the state to PDP,” he said.
“You should all come out and vote on September 19, and as you vote, you wait and defend your votes.
“Governor Obaseki has done well in the last four years. You should not allow anybody to deceive you again. APC has no candidate. The only person who thinks that the party is running an election is Oshiomhole.”
Also speaking, the Governor of Sokoto State and Chairman, PDP Governors Forum, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal described Edo State as strategic to the nation and called on Edo people to always remain steadfast and resolute.
Tambuwal, who took a swipe at former APC National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole for condemning godfatherism and turning back to practice it, urged Governor Godwin Obaseki to hold onto God and the people of Edo State to defeat the enemies of the state as he did in Sokoto State.
He also called on the INEC Chairman, Professor Yakubu Mahmoud to build on the legacies of his predecessor, Professor Attahiru Jega who ensured that free and fair election was conducted in Edo State which enabled Adams Oshiomhole to govern for eight years.
Tambuwal also called on President Muhammadu Buhari to ensure that his anti-corruption crusade also affects the forthcoming Edo State Governorship election in order to ensure peace and stability in the state.
Presenting the PDP flag to the party’s Governorship candidate and Governor of Edo State, the National Chairman of the PDP, Prince Uche Secondus described him as an accomplished gentleman and performer.
Prince Secondus, who noted that the party is proud of PDP Governors in view of their high standing performance in governance, said they are the reason democracy is thriving in the country.
He stated that the nation is at a crossroads and appealed to President Buhari to ensure that free and fair elections hold in the country.
Responding, the PDP Governorship candidate and Governor of Edo State, Godwin Obaseki said the mandate given to him marked the transformation of the state and Nigeria.
He promised to sustain the tempo of his developmental strides in his second tenure.
The flag off was also attended by the Governors of Bayelsa, Douye Diri, Oyo, Seyi Makinde, Bauchi, Senator Bala Mohammed, Delta, Ifeanyi Okowa as well as the Deputy Governor of Ondo State, Agboola Ajayi
The Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki has promised to make the state the business and economic hub of the country, if he is re-elected as governor in the September 19 polls.
He gave this assurance at the launch of his re-election campaign as well as that of his deputy, Philip Shaibu at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium in Benin City, the state capital on Saturday.
The governor said it was part of his plan to Make Edo Greater Again, which he said is the theme of his campaign.
“The last time, I said let us go further and we have reached where we are today.
“In a post COVID world, a world that is now defined by social distancing by COVID, where everybody has to now maintain their place, we are saying that we will, by working with you, make Edo greater again,” he said.
“Our message is one of hope and one for the future. The MEGA theme which we have adopted will focus on how to improve governance”.
“We are going to be introducing a lot of technology. We are going to make sure that programmes we are starting particularly with agriculture, youth employment, we are going to insist that we are going to continue in that path.
“Edo will be the business and economic hub of the country.
“We will be because we believe that God has given us everything to become one of the greatest states in this country,” Obaseki said.
Also top on the list of the governor is the restoration of electricity in the state.
According to him, a new plan is underway to revive the power project which had failed earlier.
“I’m sure you are seeing what we are doing with electricity. We invested in Azura, 450 megawatts, that power was put into the grid and now we are darkness in Edo State.
“I have now gone again to look for another set of investors. We invested in another plan and by next month by the grace of God, it would have been completed and we will have electricity in this city.
“I want to assure you that with me and my Deputy, you have two people who are ready to put their lives on the line for you,” he said.
Obaseki is campaigning for a second term in office on the platform of a new party, the Peoples Democratic Party following his defection from the All Progressives Congress, with which he won his first term.
According to the party, his re-election bid is on the strength of the work he has done in the last three years.
The governor thanked the PDP for accepting him into the party.
“When I was thrown out in the rain, and the political storm you gave me the umbrella to shield me, they gave us that umbrella to shield us,” he said.
“To these gallant, trustworthy, members of our National Working Committee, on behalf of the Edo people, I say thank you.
“Now that we have been given the official mandate, we will see what we will do.
“Four years ago, we made a promise to you that we are going to transform Edo State that Edo is the heartbeat of Nigeria and the transformation of the state will lead to the transformation of Nigeria and by the grace of God, that is beginning to happen and it will happen in this election.
“This mandate that has been given to us is simple. What you are saying is, you like what you have seen in the last four years, please go back and continue with what you have done.
Three polls released this week show gains for President Jair Bolsonaro, putting him as favorite to win re-election in 2022 despite his controversial handling of Brazil’s raging coronavirus crisis.
The far-right leader, who is himself currently infected with the virus, has downplayed the pandemic even as it has exploded in Brazil, the country with the most infections and deaths from COVID-19 anywhere in the world except the United States.
But this week’s polls suggest the man dubbed the “Tropical Trump” is weathering the crisis relatively well.
The latest, published Friday by news magazine Veja, puts the far-right leader comfortably ahead in the first round of the presidential election, with 27.5 to 30.7 percent of the vote, depending on his opponents.
Bolsonaro would easily win the second round against any opponent, even his popular ex-justice minister turned nemesis, Sergio Moro, or leftist former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, the poll found.
A poll published Thursday by news site meanwhile put Bolsonaro’s approval rating at 43 percent, up from 40 percent two weeks ago.
His disapproval rating fell one point, to 46 percent, it found.
Noble Reporters Media learnt the president’s approval rating was 52 percent among beneficiaries of the government’s monthly coronavirus emergency relief checks of 600 reals ($115), which aim to help poor Brazilians suffering the economic impact of coronavirus stay-at-home measures.
Bolsonaro is a fierce critic of those measures, arguing the economic pain is worse than the virus itself.
Brazil has registered nearly 2.3 million cases of the new coronavirus and more than 84,000 deaths, and the numbers continue rising rapidly.
Another poll, published Monday by brokerage firm XP Investimentos, put Bolsonaro’s approval rating at 30 percent, up from 25 percent in May.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has restricted the attendance at the flag-off campaign which will hold on Saturday for the September 19 Edo State Governorship Election.
This is in line with the strict directives issued by the Federal Government and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for public gatherings following the outbreak of COVID-19.
In that regard, the Edo PDP Campaign Council for the Governorship Election has limited the number of members and supporters expected at the ceremony which will hold at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, Benin City.
In a statement by the Edo PDP Campaign Council, Chris Osa Nehikhare, says, our governorship candidate, Governor Godwin Obaseki and his running mate, Rt. Hon. Comrade Philip Shaibu will also move around the respective wards in the nooks and crannies of Edo State to acknowledge the support of the people, with full adherence to the COVID-19 regulations.
The Edo PDP Campaign Council deeply appreciates the excitement and enthusiasm of our teeming members and supporters to grace the campaign flag-off, but noted that the restriction is in the best interest of the people.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Thursday rejected calls for a second referendum on Scottish independence, despite an apparent surge in support for a breakaway.
Scots voted to maintain the status quo by 55 percent to 45 percent in 2014, in what even the pro-independence Scottish National Party (SNP) agreed was a “once-in-a-generation” vote.
But spurred by tensions between London and Edinburgh over Britain’s departure from the European Union, and political and personal differences, the issue refuses to go away.
Polling now suggests a majority of Scots are in favour of going it alone, and breaking up the more than three-centuries-old union with England.
Conservative party leader Johnson, however, reaffirmed that the UK parliament would not approve powers for the Scottish Parliament to hold a new vote.
“The union is a fantastically strong institution. It has helped us through thick and thin,” he said on a visit to Orkney, off Scotland’s far northeast coast.
“We had a referendum on breaking up the union… only six years ago. That is not a generation by any computation.
“What people really want to do is to see our whole country coming back stronger, together, and that’s what we’re going to do.”
The coronavirus outbreak, which has led to more than 45,000 deaths across the country, and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s more cautious approach have fuelled the debate.
Majority for independence Earlier this month, polling group Panelbase said a record 54 percent of Scots were in favour of independence. An average of polls in the last six months put support on 51 percent.
SNP leader Sturgeon’s approval ratings soared to 60 percent — well above that for Johnson, who has been accused of not acting fast enough to curb the spread of the virus.
Sturgeon and Johnson were not scheduled to meet but she said his visit, which included a stop to talk to crab fishermen, underscored the need for independence.
“One of the key arguments for independence is the ability of Scotland to take our own decisions, rather than having our future decided by politicians we didn’t vote for, taking us down a path that we haven’t chosen,” she tweeted.
The main thrust of Sturgeon’s push for a new vote is that a majority of Scots did not vote for Brexit, which changed the fundamental nature of the relationship with England.
But Johnson said the strength of the union, which dates from 1707, had been shown to be effective in the coronavirus response.
The issue is unlikely to go away, with warnings of dire economic consequences both from the coronavirus shutdown and Brexit if no trade deal can be agreed with the EU.
Former attorney-general and commissioner for justice in Ondo State, Eyitayo Jegede, has won the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship primary election for the October 10, 2020 guber poll.
Eight aspirants – Jegede, Banji Okunomo, Bode Ayorinde, Boluwaji Kunlere, Sola Ebiseni, Godday Erewa, Eddy Olafeso and the state deputy governor, Agboola Ajayi – participated in the election.
Jegede polled 888 votes to clinch the party’s governorship ticket and slug it out again with Akeredolu of the ruling All Progressives Congress in the governorship election. Ajayi emerged the second runner-up with 657 votes.
The winner was the party’s candidate in the 2016 governorship election but defeated by the All Progressives Congress (APC) and incumbent governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu.
The chairman of the primary election committee and governor of Enugu State, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, while kicking off the election said: “It is our expectation that this Ondo State primary election will be seamless at the time it is completed. We hope to see that the Ondo State chapter of the PDP elects a widely acceptable flagbearer.”
According to him, the candidate should be able to make the ‘umbrella’ stronger and win the upcoming governorship election in October.
Ugwuanyi disclosed that the aspirants were properly screened for the election and made to sign a peace pact.
“We are in agreement on strict adherence to electoral guidelines on the conduct of a credible, free and fair gubernatorial primary election in Ondo.
PDP aspirant, Eyitayo Jegede has won the party’s governorship primary election in Ondo State.
Eyitayo Jegede has emerged as the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)’s flag bearer for the Ondo State governorship election which is expected to place on October 10.
Jegede was announced as the winner after the delegates cast their votes at the party’s primary which held at the International Culture and Events Center, the dome in Akure, the state capital.
He polled 888 votes to defeat his closest rival and incumbent Deputy Governor of the state, Agboola Ajayi who garnered 657 votes and other seven other aspirants.
The other aspirants include Eddy Olafeso – 175, Banji Okunomo – 90, Olabode Ayorinde – 95, Boluwaji Kunlere – 33, Olusola Ebiseeni – 29 and Godday Erewa – 14 votes.
After gathering the highest number of votes in the indirect mode adopted by the party, Chairman of the PDP Primary Election Committee and Governor of Enugu State, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi declared Jegede the winner of the exercise.
Governor Ugwuanyi is supported by his counterpart from Adamawa State, Ahmadu Fintiri among other members.
With this development, Jegede will now battle the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and incumbent governor, Rotimi Akeredolu in the governorship election which is barely three months away.
A new report casts Russia as a hostile power that poses a significant threat to the UK and the West on many fronts.
Russia meddled in the 2014 Scottish referendum, and the British government failed to ask for a deep assessment of possible Kremlin-directed interference in the Brexit vote, according to the British parliament’s intelligence and security committee.
“There has been credible open source commentary suggesting that Russia undertook influence campaigns in relation to the Scottish independence referendum in 2014,” said the report, which was finished in March 2019 but shelved until Tuesday.
It said there were open-source indications that Russia sought to influence the Brexit campaign but that the United Kingdom’s government had not sought deep evidence of meddling.
The report cast Russia as a hostile power which posed a significant threat to the UK and the West across a range of fronts, from espionage and cyberattacks to election meddling and laundering dirty money.
“It appears that Russia considers the UK one of its top Western intelligence targets,” the report said.
The report, which was leaked before its publication time by the Guido Fawkes website, said the British government failed to delve deeply enough into possible Russian meddling in the 2016 Brexit referendum.
‘Anti-Russian hysteria’ The Kremlin said Russia has never interfered in another country’s electoral processes. Russia has repeatedly denied meddling in the West, casting the United States and the UK as gripped by “anti-Russian hysteria”.
When discussing the EU referendum, the UK parliamentary report is heavily redacted, and there was a classified annexe that was not published, but the lawmakers called for a proper investigation.
“In response to our request for written evidence at the outset of the Inquiry, MI5 initially provided just six lines of text. It stated that ***, before referring to academic studies,” the redacted version reads.
“It is nonetheless the Committee’s view that the UK Intelligence Community should produce an analogous assessment of potential Russian interference in the EU referendum and that an unclassified summary of it be published,” the report said.
The committee cast Russia – rapidly losing its superpower clout after the 1991 fall of the Soviet Union – as a source of corrupt money that had been welcomed in London, the world’s premier international financial capital.
“The UK welcomed Russian money, and few questions – if any – were asked about the provenance of this considerable wealth,” the report said. “The UK has been viewed as a particularly favourable destination for Russian oligarchs and their money.”
A leader of pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, Pa Reuben Fasoranti, says unless something is done, the North will produce the next president for the country.
Fasoranti said power would remain in the North if an agreement was not reached to zone the presidency to the south ahead of the 2023 election.
He said this in an interview with on Sunday.
He also disclosed that he was told by the “powers-that-be” that no investigation would be carried out on the murder of his daughter, the late Mrs Funke Olakunri.
Asked if he believes in the zoning of the presidency to a particular region, he said, “Rotational (method) is better because if you want to follow one pattern, rigging will take place and the powers-that-be will continue to rule.
“As we have seen now, power will remain in the North unless something is done. They will rig. They will use the money to influence voters. It is either we have an agreement to rotate, or something happens.”
In a TV interview, Trump also would not say if the Confederate flag was offensive and defended his coronavirus response.
United States President Donald Trump has refused to publicly commit to accepting the results of the upcoming presidential election in November, while also declining to say if the Confederate flag was an offensive symbol.
In an interview with a broadcast (known to Noble Reporters Media) on Sunday, Trump said it was too early to make such an ironclad guarantee, echoing a similar threat he made weeks before the 2016 vote and scoffing at recent polls that show him lagging behind presumptive Democratic candidate Joe Biden.
Prominent Republicans promise to back Biden in election “I have to see. Look … I have to see,” Trump said. “No, I’m not going to just say yes. I’m not going to say no, and I didn’t last time either.”
The Biden campaign responded: “The American people will decide this election. And the United States government is perfectly capable of escorting trespassers out of the White House.”
While considered remarkable that a sitting president would express less than complete confidence in the American democracy’s electoral process, the statement comes from Trump’s insurgent playbook of four years ago, when in the closing stages of his race against Hillary Clinton, he said he would not commit to honouring the election results if the Democrat won.
Pressed during an October 2016 debate about whether he would abide by the voters’ will, Trump responded that he would “keep you in suspense”.
Confederate flag During the interview, Trump also declined to say whether the Confederate battle emblem which has come to represent racial oppression and slavery for many Americans, was an offensive symbol.
“It depends on who you’re talking about, when you’re talking about,” Trump responded. “When people proudly had their Confederate flags they’re not talking about racism. They love their flag, it represents the South. They like the South … I say it’s freedom of many things, but it’s freedom of speech.”
Kentucky mayor calls for removal of Confederate statues Trump has also promised to veto the annual National Defense Authorization Act over an amendment to remove the names of Confederate generals from military bases within a year. The position breaks with several of his fellow Republicans in Congress.
“We won world wars out of these, out of these military bases, no I’m not gonna go changing. I’m not gonna go changing.” Trump said in the interview, which was taped on Friday.
Coronavirus Trump also defended his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, despite the US leading the world in both numbers of cases and deaths, and a renewed surge in states that tried to reopen their economies early.
Trump said the US is “the envy of the world” on testing, while repeating his opposition to any national mandate for mask wearing.
“I want people to have a certain freedom,” he said.
The elections, originally scheduled for April, have been postponed twice due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Although several lists are running in the polls, real opposition to al-Assad’s Baath Party is absent in the election.
Opposition groups traditionally tolerated by the government are expected to boycott the polls and the Baath Party is guaranteed to monopolise the new parliament as it has done in previous elections.
In the last vote in 2016, the Baath and its allies took 200 of the 250-seat parliament while the remaining posts went to independent candidates.
Observers say the contest lacks credibility with the majority of candidates being either part of al-Assad’s Baath Party or loyal to his regime.
“The majority of Syrians believe the election is only a process controlled by the regime to represent itself as a legitimate authority in Syria,” said Zaki Mehchy, a senior consulting fellow at Chatham House and co-founder of the Syrian Centre for Policy Research.
“People know that the majority of MPs are nominated by the Baath party and all of them need to have security approval based on loyalty and not qualifications,” he added.
Karam Shaar, an expert on Syria at the Middle East Institute, said: “The al-Assad regime uses parliamentary elections to reward loyalty. This time around, warlords and militiamen are expected to gain yet more seats for their contributions to the state over the past four years.”
Economic woes More than 7,000 polling stations have been set up across about 70 percent of the country where the al-Assad government maintains control.
Government forces have been pushing to regain control over areas overtaken by opposition and rebel groups since the start of the war.
Al-Assad’s troops regained control over Eastern Ghouta in 2018 and southern parts of Idlib after the launch of a Russian-backed offensive to retake the northwest province in late 2019.
Other parts of Idlib remain as the last rebel-held bastion in the country, while large swaths of land along the Turkey-Syria border house millions of internally displaced Syrians from the war.
Syrians living abroad, including millions of refugees forced to leave their homes because of fighting, will not be taking part in the election.
Citizens casting their ballots in Sunday’s vote are expected to focus on soaring living costs and the country’s dire economic situation.
“As nearly 90 percent of the country plunges into poverty, people are increasingly focusing on meeting their basic needs,” said Shaar.
Syria’s economy has been in freefall over the past few months with the pound losing about 70 percent of its value, making the price of basic commodities now unaffordable to many Syrians.
Still, observers say most Syrians believe the parliament is not the right channel to solve their economic problems.
“The economic situation is choking the average Syrian in both government and rebel areas,” said independent researcher Malak Chabkoun.
She explained a deteriorating economy and US sanctions will be at the forefront of the voting agenda, but people will be casting their ballots for candidates “they were told [by the government] to vote for”.
“The Baath Party candidates have [also] added US sanctions to their platform this time around to garner support and cry victim,” she added, referring to a range of newly-imposed US sanctions, known as the Caesar Act, that target companies, institutions, and individuals doing business with the al-Assad government.
While analysts say the legislation affects the al-Assad government and its local and foreign backers, humanitarian efforts and civilians in Syria, and neighbouring Lebanon, have also been affected by the sanctions.
Lack of international recognition After the vote, the new parliament plans to approve a new constitution, and al-Assad is expected to name a new prime minister. The new parliament will also be expected to approve candidates for the next presidential election.
But experts say the international community will not recognise the vote.
“The international community and political opposition groups will not recognise this parliament as a legitimate one,” said Mehchy.
“A new constitution can be only approved by a new parliament based on a transparent election in which refugees and Syrians outside the country have the right to vote,” he explained, adding the coming parliament will only approve candidates “nominated and approved by the security agencies”.
Al-Assad came to power at the age of 34 in 2000 after nearly 30 years of his father’s rule. He was elected for a third seven-year term in 2014, with the government claiming more than 88 percent of the votes were in his favour.
His time in power has been marred by a bloody civil war that has seen hundreds of thousands of people killed and millions of Syrians displaced inside and outside of the country.
Commenting on al-Assad’s 20 years in power, Chabkoun said: “Bashar has continued the same pattern [as his father’s] of quelling any opposition, disappearing people who speak out against his government, and continuing to control the goods and resources of the country for his family and friends’ own gain.”
According to Freedom House, the Syrian government is considered “one of the world’s most repressive regimes”, which along with “other belligerent forces”, has severely compromised Syrians’ political rights and civil liberties.
According to Mehchy, al-Assad’s rule has been “a catastrophic era, especially the years of conflict since 2011”, which he said the government’s policies during the first 10 years contributed towards as “root causes”.
“These policies neglected the economic and political exclusion that the majority of Syrians were suffering from,” said Mehchy.
INEC’s National Commissioner and Chairman of Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, made the announcement in a statement on Saturday.
He revealed that the electoral umpire has displayed the final list of candidates at its offices in Benin City, the state capital, and the 18 Local Government Areas of the state.
Okoye added that the list has also been uploaded on the Commission’s website.
He explained that the action of INEC was in compliance with its Timetable and Schedule of Activities for the election and in accordance with Section 34 of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended).
“By Section 35 of the Electoral Act and the Timetable and Schedule of Activities of the Commission, the withdrawal and substitution of candidates for the Edo Governorship election ended on 13th July 2020,” the INEC national commissioner stated.
He added, “With the publication of the final list of candidates, no political party can withdraw or substitute any of the nominated candidates or tamper with the list and particulars of the candidates in a manner inconsistent with the intendment of the Constitution and the Electoral Act.”
According to the list released by INEC, 12 of the candidates are male and the remaining two are female.
Okoye urged the participating political parties to pay close attention to the timelines stipulated in the Timetable and Schedule of Activities of the commission, as well as the provisions of the Constitution and the Electoral Act.