Debating in the shadow of the death of conservative U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, a downsized and more combative Republican presidential field battled in South Carolina over foreign policy, abortion, truthfulness, campaign tactics and blame for the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
The ninth debate featured just six candidates, including an even louder than usual Donald Trump, who blamed former President George W. Bush for the 9/11 attack, a not-so-indirect hit at the candidacy of former Florida Governor Jeb Bush.
Senator Marco Rubio of Florida joined the fray, saying the president most to blame for the terrorist attack was former President Bill Clinton — husband of Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton — because he missed a chance to kill Osama bin Laden in the 1990s.
Coming just a week before the South Carolina primary, the debate featured some of the most intense personal attacks between the candidates, with Rubio accusing Texas Senator Ted Cruz of lying and carrying out dirty tricks on the campaign trail. Ohio Governor John Kasich said the bitter sniping risked throwing the election to the Democrats.
“I think we’re fixing to lose the election to Hillary Clinton if we don’t stop
this,” he warned.
Cruz said Trump was a longtime backer of legal abortion, including partial-birth abortion, as well as European-style socialized health care.
“You are the single biggest liar,” Trump said to Cruz. “You probably are worse than Jeb Bush.”
Trump added: “Nasty guy. Now, I know why he doesn’t have one endorsement from any of his colleagues.”
Cruz fired back, saying Trump didn’t address the substance of Cruz’s criticisms over abortion and health care.
The stakes of the election were highlighted just hours before the debate with news of the death of the conservative justice, making appointments to the high court no longer a theoretical issue in the 2016 campaign.
Even before taking the stage, Rubio and Cruz said the next president, rather than Democratic incumbent Barack Obama, should name Scalia’s successor.
Obama said Saturday he plans to fulfill his constitutional duty and nominate a replacement for Scalia. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican, said he will block a vote this year.
Trump, a billionaire real estate mogul, said he fully expects Obama to nominate someone and called on the Senate to stop it. “I think he’s going to do it whether I’m OK with it or not. I think it’s up to Mitch McConnell and everybody to stop it. It’s called delay, delay, delay,” Trump said.
Cruz said Scalia’s passing “underscores the stakes of this election,” adding that the nation is “one justice away from a Supreme Court that will strike down every restriction on abortion adopted by the states.”
Kasich said it was unfortunate how quickly the death of Scalia turned political, and said Obama could nominate someone who could be approved unanimously.
“It’s not even two minutes after the death of Justice Scalia. I just wish we hadn’t run so fast into politics,” Kasich said. “The country is so divided right now and we’re going to see another partisan fight take place.”
Debate moderator John Dickerson of CBS News opened the debate with a moment of silence for Scalia.
During a discussion about how the U.S. should deal with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Trump was booed repeatedly after saying that Bush was “wrong” in his statements about the billionaire’s views.
“That’s Jeb’s special interests and lobbyists talking,” a more combative Trump said after the boos. “I only tell the truth, lobbyists.”
Bush countered that Trump gets his foreign-policy views “from the shows,” a reference to Sunday morning news programming. The back-and-forth got nastier from there.
“It’s blood-sport for him,” Bush said. “While Donald Trump was building a reality TV show my brother was building a security apparatus to keep us safe.”
Trump shot back, “The World Trade Center came down during his reign. Remember that.”
Bush went on to say, “My mother is the strongest woman I know.”
Trump replied: “She should be running.”
Kasich and Bush tussled over Medicaid expansion, which was a key part of Obama’s health care plan. Kasich, who pushed through an expansion in his home state despite objections from Republican legislative members, said his changes saved prison costs by helping the drug addicted and mentally ill.
“We’ve gone from an $8 billion hole, to a $2 billion surplus,” Kasich said.
Bush interrupted, saying Kasich is “creating further debt on the backs of our children and grandchildren” by expanding Obamacare in Ohio. “We should be fighting Obamacare, repealing Obamacare, replacing it with something totally different,” he said.
After leaving New Hampshire with a decisive victory — his first — Trump enjoys an even more comfortable lead in early polling in South Carolina, a state where politics is known as blood sport.
The establishment candidates — Rubio, Bush and Kasich — are determined to make a stand in South Carolina in order to convince donors and supporters that they have a legitimate shot at winning the nomination, and stopping Trump or Cruz.
Republican leaders in the state have said they expect the debate to be closely watched by those trying to make their voting decisions before the Feb. 20 balloting.
Since 1980, the winner of the state’s Republican primary has gone on to become the nominee every time, with one exception. That was in 2012, when a pair of strong debate performances just ahead of the primary lifted Newt Gingrich to a first-place finish over eventual nominee Mitt Romney.
Before the debate shifted from Scalia, Rubio and Cruz both erred when explaining why Obama shouldn’t get to name a successor to Scalia.
“It’s been over 80 years since a lame duck president has appointed a Supreme Court justice,” Rubio said.
Cruz said: “We have 80 years of precedent of not confirming Supreme Court justices in an election year.”
In fact, the Senate confirmed Anthony Kennedy, a nominee of President Ronald Reagan, on Feb 3, 1988, during an election year.
When Dickerson followed up to note that Kennedy was confirmed in 1988, Cruz incorrectly said, “Kennedy was confirmed in ’87.”
Sponsored by CBS and the Republican National Committee, the session also included retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson. Dickerson was joined by CBS News Chief White House Correspondent Major Garrett and Wall Street Journal columnist Kimberley Strassel.
John McCormick—With assistance from James Nash, Kevin Cirilli, Michael C. Bender, and Sahil Kapur.
92.6 Million Nigerians Enrolled For the National Identification Number – NIMC
The Federal Government through the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) has stated that NIN will be a compulsory requirement for business registration.
The National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) has announced that 92.63 million Nigerians have enrolled for the National Identification Number as of November 2022.
This represents an increase of 1.9 million when compared to the 90.68 million recorded in October.
According to the recent data released by NIMC, more men have been captured than women. The data also revealed that men accounted for about 52.1 million people or 56 percent of the total people captured so far in the NIN database.
On the other hand, women represent 40.5 million or 44 percent of the total enrollment, Investors King learnt.
On a state-to-state basis, Lagos State recorded the highest enrollment with about 10.3 million. This was followed by Kano State with more than 8 million people.
Other states with substantial enrollments include Kaduna with 5.4 million, Ogun with 3.8 million, Oyo with 3.6 million, FCT with 3.2 million, Katsina with 3.1 million, Rivers with 2.7 million, Delta with 2.4 million, and Bauchi with 2.4 million.
Meanwhile, Bayelsa is presently the state with the lowest enrollments. A total of 583,323 have so far enrolled in the state. Ebonyi trailed Bayelsa with 744,869 and Ekiti’s record shows 971,712 enrollments. While Cross River, Taraba, Yobe, Enugu, Imo, Akwa Ibom and Zamfara followed with 1 million, 1.3 million, 1.3 million, 1.5 million, Imo 1.5 million, 1.5 million and 1.6 million, respectively.
In another development, the Federal Government through the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) has stated that NIN is now a compulsory requirement for business registration like it is with banks.
According to the Registrar of the Corporate Affairs Commission, Garba Abubakar, NIN was adopted because its security can’t be compromised, unlike the National Identity card, passport, and driver’s license, which could easily be cloned.
“If you don’t have a NIN, it means you can’t register your company. The essence is to verify the integrity of the data we are collecting,” Garba noted.
National Identification Number is the unique number created by the Nigerian government to identify Nigerians, curb crimes, deepen infrastructure in cities and generally access all citizens.
Governors Forum Replies FG, Blames Poverty on Rising Insecurity
The NGF accused the federal government of being unable to tame rising insecurity which has led to the high costs of food.
The Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF) has stated that governors could not be blamed for poverty in their respective states. The NGF accused the federal government of being unable to tame rising insecurity which has led to the high costs of food.
Investors King could recall that President Muhammadu Buhari earlier alleged that governors are pocketing funds meant for the development of the local governments.
Similarly, the Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Clement Agba, also stated that the 36 governors were responsible for the rising poverty index in the country,
According to the Governors Forum, the rising level of poverty among Nigerians was a consequence of the biting effect of insecurity on commercial and agricultural activities.
A statement released by NGF’s Director of Media and Public Affairs, AbdulRazaque Bello-Barkindo said “It is important to put on record the progress made by state governors in the administration of their states, which have witnessed tremendous progress in recent times. Governors have undertaken projects where they, in conjunction with their people, deem them fit for purpose.
“This dereliction of duty from the centre is the main reason why people have been unable to engage in regular agrarian activity and commerce. Today, rural areas are insecure, markets are unsafe, travel surety is improbable and life for the common people generally is harsh and brutish.”
Barkindo further accused the minister of deviating from the major issues and passing blames when he and his colleague, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, should be implementing policies that can ameliorate the hardship Nigerians were facing.
Barkindo in the statement added that the primary duty of any government is to ensure the security of lives and property, an area he claimed the Federal Government has failed.
“But the Federal Government, which is responsible for the security of lives and property, has been unable to fulfil this covenant with the people, thus allowing bandits, insurgents, and kidnappers to turn the country into a killing field, maiming and abducting people, in schools market squares and even on their farmlands,” he said.
President Buhari Accuses Governors of Stealing LG Funds
Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari has once again accused state governors of stealing monthly allocation due to local government under them.
The president spoke at a parley with members of the Senior Executive Course of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru, held at the State House Banquet Hall, Abuja.
Speaking at the event, the president stated that it beats anyone’s imagination how some governors collected money on behalf of council areas in their states, only to remit just half of such allocation to the council chairmen, who would further deplete the remittance by filching it. Investors King learnt.
‘‘I found it necessary to digress after reading my speech and this digression is a result of my personal experience. What they did, this is my personal experience, if the money from the Federation Account to the state is about N100m, N50m will be sent to the chairman, but he will sign that he received N100m. The governor will pocket the balance and share it with whoever he wants to share it with,” the president narrated.
‘‘This is what’s happening. This is Nigeria. It’s a terrible thing; you cannot say the person who was doing this is not educated. He was a qualified lawyer, he was experienced, yet he participated in this type of corruption.” he queried.
Furthermore, the president clarified that state governors and local government chairmen should be held responsible for the underdevelopment in the rural areas noting that most of the local governments lack basic amenities.
Similarly, the National Union of Local Government Employees on Thursday backed the position of the president on the embezzlement and mismanagement of local government funds.
Responding to Buhari’s position, the President of the Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE), Hakeem Ambali, said Buhari was merely stating the obvious.
The NULGE President nevertheless admonished the president to go beyond the statement and ensure governors, especially those in APC to sign the local government autonomy bill into law.
“He should go beyond that statement. He is the leader of the party, he should ask them to sign the autonomy into law; he is the leader of the governors,’’ he said.
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