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Edo Election: Ize-Iyamu, Obaseki in Close Race




The Edo State governorship election, held on Wednesday, appeared to be a tight race between the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, and the standard bearer of the Peoples Democratic Party, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu.

Early results from some wards in the state, which had not been authenticated by the Independent National Electoral Commission, indicated that the two candidates were running neck and neck in the poll.

The two main parties, however, claimed to have gained comfortable lead in the election while accusing each other of planning to rig the poll.

While unconfirmed results showed that the PDP won seven out of the eight units in Ward 3, Uromi in the Esan North-East Local Government Area, where a former chairman of the BoT of the PDP, Chief Tony Anenih, hails from, the APC won one unit.

Also, the APC lost in the polling unit of the National Chairman of the party, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, where the PDP emerged victorious.

The APC, on its own, won in Ward 7 in the Oredo Local Government Area of the state.

The APC scored 4,412 votes while the PDP got 4,047 votes.

The governorship candidate of the PDP in the 2012 election in the state, Maj. Gen. Charles Airhiavbere (retd.), who is now a stalwart of the APC, led the ruling party to beat the PDP in Unit 18, 19, 20 and 21 of Ward one in the Oredo LGA.

In Unit 18, PDP got 158 while the APC got 259. In Unit 19, APC scored 146 and PDP polled 85.

In Unit 20, the APC got 259 votes while the PDP polled 208 votes and in Unit 21, the APC scored 128 votes leaving the PDP with 98 votes.

In Oredo Ward 12, out of the accredited 4,399 voters, the PDP took the lead with 2,066, leaving the APC with 2,041.

In Oredo Ward 4, out of the total accredited voters of 4,911, the APC scored 3,058 while the PDP polled 1,541.

The national leadership of the PDP alleged on Wednesday night that the APC was planning to overturn its alleged victory in the Edo State governorship election.

The party said the results it received from its agents in the state indicated that it was leading the APC with a wide merging in the election.

Spokesperson for the party and member of its National Caretaker Committee, Mr. Dayo Adeyeye, stated this in a statement in Abuja.

Adeyeye said, “Having received results from our agents at approximately 1,800 of the 2,627 polling units spread across the 192 wards in the 18 local government areas of Edo State, we can confirm that our party has attained a near unassailable lead in the Edo State governorship election.

“The results so far confirmed to us that our candidate has garnered approximately 55 per cent of the total votes cast by voters.’’

He alleged that the PDP was aware of the alleged connivance between the state government and a national commissioner at INEC to rig the election in favour of the ruling party in the state.

Adeyeye, a former minister of state for works, added, “We will like to reiterate our earlier note of warning: The Edo people and our party will resist any attempt to subvert the collective will of the people as expressed by their votes today.”

He urged members and supporters of the party in the state to continue guarding their votes at the ward collation centres and the local government collation centres.

“Eternal vigilance is the price we all have to pay for victory,” he added.

Also in a statement, the state Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Chris Nehikhare, said it was surprised that INEC had delayed the announcement of the results from wards.

He said, “Voting stopped at 2pm and votes were counted immediately at the unit levels. From results made available to us, we are in a very comfortable lead.

“We are, however, shocked that up until now, no ward result has been declared.

‘‘We are aware that the APC and INEC plan to change the results at the collation centres and we wish to want that any change of the results will be met with stiff resistance.’’

But reacting to claims by the PDP, the APC said the opposition party was being mischievous “as usual”.

The APC National Vice-Chairman (South), Mr. Segun Oni, said, “The PDP is simply being mischievous.

“From the results I have seen from the field, from where we are monitoring the elections here in Abuja, the APC is in a comfortable lead.

“Out of a hundred, the PDP has not won five, even in units they claim to have won. We are investigating because the number of voters exceeds the number of registered voters per unit.”

Also, the state Chairman of the APC, Anselm Ojezua, dismissed the allegation, describing it as mischievous, since only INEC had the constitutional power to determine the winner of the election.

Ojezua said, “The fact that they are actually making those claims already tells me that there is mischief in the air because it is traditional that even when you know what the situation is, you have to wait for INEC to announce the results.

“If you see the fantastic results that are being posted from certain locations, you know that they could not have been credible. Therefore, I think that what they are doing is just to create more confusion.”

He, however, expressed concern on the announcement of results from the Ovia North-East Local Government Area on the Internet.

Ojezua added, “We are concerned about the figure being circulated on the Internet about the Ovia North-East. Certainly, we are collating the results and we will officially respond.’’

Meanwhile, the Assistant Inspector General of Police in charge of Zone 5, Isaac Eke, described the election as very peaceful.

Speaking through the Police Public Relations Officer of Zone 5, Emeka Iheanacho, in an interview with one of our correspondents, Eke said the election was peaceful.

He said, “The process has been peaceful; there was no hindrance to voters to exercise their franchise.”

Osunbor hails INEC, security agencies

A former Governor of Edo State, Prof. Oserhemien Osunbor, commended the security agencies for maintaining peace and order during the governorship election.

He also praised the Independent National Electoral Commission for introducing reforms in to the electoral process.

Speaking with one of our correspondents after voting in Iruekpen, Osunbor, a chieftain of the APC, said the security situation was encouraging.

“The security agencies have done well to ensure peace and order.

“The people are orderly. The electoral process is getting better; maybe people are now used to the system. I’m satisfied. I hope the entire system remains so till the end,” he said.

INEC also denied report of ballot box snatching and gunshots in some polling centres during the Wednesday election.

Oshiomhole had earlier said he received a report that some thugs allegedly snatched ballot boxes at Opoji in the Esan North-East Local Government Area during the election.

Oshiomhole also alleged that the suspected snatchers shot repeatedly before taking away the ballot boxes.

Meanwhile, INEC Deputy Director of Voter Education and Publicity, Mr Nick Dazang, said in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Wednesday:

“I just called Mr. Solomon Soyebi, who is the National Commissioner supervising the election, and he has denied the allegation of gunshots and ballot box snatching at Opoji in the Esan North-East Local Government Area of the state,” Dazang said.

On the reported accident involving a youth corps member serving with INEC, Dazang said he had not heard “any such sad news”, but promised to get back to NAN “if there is anything like that’’.

But INEC Electoral Officer in the Esan West Local Government Area of the state, Mr. Lebari Nduh, confirmed that hoodlums snatched a ballot box in Ward 7 Unit 11 during voting.

The Resident Electoral Commissioner for Edo State, Mr. Sam Olumekun, said collation of results would begin on Thursday.

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.


COVID-19 Vaccine: African Export-Import Bank (Afrexim) to Purchase 270 Million Doses for Nigeria, Other African Nations



African Export-Import Bank (Afrexim) Approves $2 Billion for the Purchase of 270 million Doses for African Nations

African Export-Import Bank (Afrexim) said it has approved $2 billion for the purchase of 270 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines for African nations, including Nigeria.

Prof. Benedict Oramah, the President of the Bank, disclosed this at a virtual Africa Soft Power Series held on Tuesday.

He, however, stated that the lender is looking to raise more funds for the COVID-19 vaccines’ acquisition.

He said: “The African Union knows that unless you put the virus away, your economy can’t come back. If Africa didn’t do anything, it would become a COVID-19 continent when other parts of the world have already moved on.
“Recall that it took seven years during the heat of HIV for them to come to Africa after 12 million people had died.

“With the assistance of the AU, we were able to get 270 million vaccines and financing need of about $2 billion. Afreximbank then went ahead to secure the $2 billion. But that money for the 270 million doses could only add 15 per cent to the 20 per cent that Covax was bringing.

He added that this is not the time to wait for handouts or free vaccines as other countries will naturally sort themselves out before African nations.

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China Calls for Better China-U.S. Relations



China Calls for China-U.S. Relations

Senior Chinese diplomat Wang Yi said on Monday the United States and China could work together on issues like climate change and the coronavirus pandemic if they repaired their damaged bilateral relationship.

Wang, a Chinese state councillor and foreign minister, said Beijing stood ready to reopen constructive dialogue with Washington after relations between the two countries sank to their lowest in decades under former president Donald Trump.

Wang called on Washington to remove tariffs on Chinese goods and abandon what he said was an irrational suppression of the Chinese tech sector, steps he said would create the “necessary conditions” for cooperation.

Before Wang spoke at a forum sponsored by the foreign ministry, officials played footage of the “ping-pong diplomacy” of 1972 when an exchange of table tennis players cleared the way for then U.S. President Richard Nixon to visit China.

Wang, a Chinese state councillor and foreign minister, said Beijing stood ready to reopen constructive dialogue with Washington after relations between the two countries sank to their lowest in decades under former president Donald Trump.

Wang called on Washington to remove tariffs on Chinese goods and abandon what he said was an irrational suppression of the Chinese tech sector, steps he said would create the “necessary conditions” for cooperation.

Before Wang spoke at a forum sponsored by the foreign ministry, officials played footage of the “ping-pong diplomacy” of 1972 when an exchange of table tennis players cleared the way for then U.S. President Richard Nixon to visit China.

Wang urged Washington to respect China’s core interests, stop “smearing” the ruling Communist Party, stop interfering in Beijing’s internal affairs and stop “conniving” with separatist forces for Taiwan’s independence.

“Over the past few years, the United States basically cut off bilateral dialogue at all levels,” Wang said in prepared remarks translated into English.

“We stand ready to have candid communication with the U.S. side, and engage in dialogues aimed at solving problems.”

Wang pointed to a recent call between Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Joe Biden as a positive step.

Washington and Beijing have clashed on multiple fronts including trade, accusations of human rights crimes against the Uighur Muslim minorities in the Xinjiang region and Beijing’s territorial claims in the resources-rich South China Sea.

The Biden administration has, however, signalled it will maintain pressure on Beijing. Biden has voiced concern about Beijing’s “coercive and unfair” trade practices and endorsed of a Trump administration determination that China has committed genocide in Xinjiang.

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U.S. Supreme Court Allows Release of Trump Tax Returns



President Trump Signs Executive Order In Oval Office Of The White House

U.S. Supreme Court Allows Release of Trump Tax Returns

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday paved the way for a New York City prosecutor to obtain former President Donald Trump’s tax returns and other financial records as part of a criminal investigation, a blow to his quest to conceal details of his finances.

The justices without comment rebuffed Trump’s request to put on hold an Oct. 7 lower court ruling directing the former Republican president’s longtime accounting firm, Mazars USA, to comply with a subpoena to turn over the materials to a grand jury convened by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, a Democrat.

“The work continues,” Vance said in a statement issued after the court’s action.

Vance had previously said in a letter to Trump’s lawyers that his office would be free to immediately enforce the subpoena if the justices rejected Trump’s request.

A lawyer for Trump did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Supreme Court, which has a 6-3 conservative majority included three Trump appointees, had already ruled once in the dispute, last July rejecting Trump’s broad argument that he was immune from criminal probes as a sitting president.

Unlike all other recent U.S. presidents, Trump refused during his four years in office to make his tax returns public. The data could provide details on his wealth and the activities of his family real-estate company, the Trump Organization.

Trump, who left office on Jan. 20 after being defeated in his Nov. 3 re-election bid by Democrat Joe Biden, continues to face an array of legal issues concerning his personal and business conduct.

Vance issued a subpoena to Mazars in August 2019 seeking Trump’s corporate and personal tax returns from 2011 to 2018. Trump’s lawyers sued to block the subpoena, arguing that as a sitting president, Trump had absolute immunity from state criminal investigations.

The Supreme Court in its July ruling rejected those arguments but said Trump could raise other objections to the subpoena. Trump’s lawyers then argued before lower courts that the subpoena was overly broad and amounted to political harassment, but U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero in August and the New York-based 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in October rejected those claims.

Vance’s investigation, which began more than two years ago, had focused on hush money payments that the president’s former lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen made before the 2016 election to two women – adult-film actress Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal – who said they had sexual encounters with Trump.

In recent court filings, Vance has suggested that the probe is now broader and could focus on potential bank, tax and insurance fraud, as well as falsification of business records.

In separate litigation, the Democratic-led U.S. House of Representatives was seeking to subpoena similar records. The Supreme Court in July sent that matter back to lower courts for further review.

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