- Americans Head to the Polls Today in Historic Election
After the long, bitter, divisive and gruelling election campaigns, Americans will head to the polls tuesday in a historic election that will determine who leads the world’s only super power and largest economy for the next four years.
The battle between the Democratic Party’s candidate, Hillary Clinton, and the Republican candidate, Donald Trump, will be eagerly watched by the rest of the world waiting with baited breath for the outcome of the election.
No US election in recent history has generated as much interest around world like the 2016 election. Not even President Barack Obama’s historic candidacy in 2008 came close.
The campaigns of both candidates were charaterised by lewd and incendiary language, email scandals, WikiLeaks, racism, sexual harassment and misogyny, leaked questions ahead of debates, hyperbole and outright lies, unending Twitter posts even at 3 in the morning, a fractured Republican Party, Russian hacks of the Democratic Party’s emails, and a last-minute FBI intervention that may likely affect the outcome of the election.
Should former US Secretary of State, Mrs. Clinton, beat her rival in the election, she will make history as the first woman to lead the country.
But before she wins that accolade, the US electorate would have to decide in a keen contest that has gone to the wire against Trump, who nobody gave a chance of even winning the ticket of the Republican Party.
Monday, both candidates fought late into the night as they barnstormed across battleground states on the final full day of campaigning.
As Election Day approached, each candidate has a path to victory. However, according to CNN, Clinton was better positioned than Trump with a narrow lead in national polls and an advantage in many battleground states.
But her leads were far from dominant and a strong turnout for Trump tuesday, or a poor response from sections of her own coalition could open the way for the billionaire real estate tycoon to become president.
“I am here to ask you to vote for yourself, vote for your family, vote for your futures,” Clinton said at her first event of the day in Pittsburgh. “Vote on the issues that matter to you because they are on the ballot — not just my name and my opponent’s name.”
The latest CNN Poll of Polls gives Clinton a four-point lead over Trump, 46% to 42%. In most of the swing states that will decide, the race is tight. But if Clinton can cling on to most states that have voted Democratic in recent elections and add at most a couple of swing states, she will likely win the election.
But Democrats are worried about Trump’s strength in the Midwest — particularly in Michigan, which has not voted Republican since 1988. Trump has been making a strong push there amid narrowing polls.
Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway predicted monday that Trump will win Michigan, telling ABC’s “Good Morning America” that the campaign feels “really good” about the latest polling in upper Midwest states.
Clinton was in Michigan later monday. Robby Mook, her campaign manager, said the late move is more a function of the calendar and the lack of early voting there than a sign of genuine anxiety.
“Our strategy these last few days is to focus on the states where voting overwhelmingly happens on Election Day,” Mook said on CNN’s New Day. “Previously, as you’ve seen, we’ve been focused on states like Florida, Nevada, North Carolina, where the majority of the voting happens early.”
He continued: “So, this is really a reflection of the voting calendar. Donald Trump has been kind of running to each and every state it seems. So they have their strategy. But we have ours.”
Trump has little margin for error. He will need to win Ohio, North Carolina and Florida, where he is locked in margin-of-error races with Clinton, just to give him a chance to make the near perfect run through the remaining swing states that he needs to capture the presidency.
Democrats were particularly encouraged by indications of a surge of Hispanic voters in early voting in Florida and Nevada. But there were also warning signs for Clinton, with African-Americans not as large a proportion of the early voting electorate as they were for President Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012.
CNN’s most recent electoral map showed Clinton was projected to win 268 electoral votes from states that are solidly blue or leaning in her direction. Trump had 204 votes from states that are solidly in his column or leaning that way. A candidate needs 270 electoral votes to win the White House.
In the latest CNN Poll of Polls data in the swing states, Clinton led 45% to 43% in North Carolina, the rivals are tied at 45% in Florida, and Clinton led by five points in Pennsylvania, a state Trump hopes to turn red tuesday.
In New Hampshire, where the race moved towards Trump in the last week, Clinton was still up 44% to 41%. New Hampshire only has four electoral votes, but Trump’s path to 270 is so difficult that votes from smaller states could still be crucial for him.
The latest opinion poll, on Fox News monday also gave Clinton a four-point lead, double that of Friday.
The candidates’ schedules monday told the tale of the last day before voting starts. Clinton was in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Grand Rapids, Michigan, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Raleigh, North Carolina.
In Pennsylvania, Clinton appeared alongside her husband former President Bill Clinton and President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, in a bid to ensure the heavy turnout among Philadelphia voters that could make it impossible for Trump to make up the deficit elsewhere in the state.
The event underlined the remarkable role the Obamas have played during the campaign in support of the current president’s former political rival — one that is unprecedented at least since Ronald Reagan campaigned for his chosen successor, George H.W. Bush, in 1988.
Earlier in the day, Obama was in Ann Arbor, Michigan — another sign of how seriously the Democrats are taking the state. “The choice that you make when you step into the voting booth, it really could not be clearer,” Obama said. “Donald Trump is temperamentally unfit to be commander in chief.”
A race that has been full of surprises took another lurch Sunday, when FBI Director James Comey said newly discovered emails being reviewed by the bureau had not changed his conclusion that the former secretary of state should not be charged over her use of private email server.
Comey’s last minute move was a boost for Clinton, but may have come too late to repair the damage to her campaign wrought by a week of controversy and speculation about the email probe.
After Clinton’s latest reprieve from Comey, she adopted a more optimistic message Sunday than she had previously employed in the final week of the campaign, when she was under withering attack over the email saga.
After she was introduced to a crowd in Cleveland by NBA star, Lebron James, she told the crowd that she would always be there for Americans.
“I don’t know your dreams, I don’t know your struggles, but I want so much to convey to you I will be on your side,” Clinton said. “I will fight for you, fight for your family. I want us to do all we can to help you get ahead and stay ahead and my vision is very different from my opponents.”
Trump has adopted a scattershot strategy in the final days, travelling between swing states he needs to win, like Florida, and turf that had been considered solidly Democratic, like Pennsylvania, Michigan and Minnesota.
He was in Sarasota, Florida, Raleigh, North Carolina, Scranton, Pennsylvania, Manchester, New Hampshire yesterday and ended his day with a rally in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Trump shrugged off Comey’s move on Sunday, vowing that the American people would “deliver justice at the ballot box”.
“Hillary Clinton is guilty. She knows it, the FBI knows it, the people know it,” he said at a huge rally at Sterling Heights, Michigan.
If Trump could somehow peel away Michigan or Pennsylvania from Clinton’s column, he could hedge against a possible loss to Clinton from among the trio of Florida, North Carolina and Ohio. If he wins those three states and a big blue state, he could be on the way to the presidency.
Meanwhile, his campaign team monday sought to allay negative views expressed overseas towards their candidate.
Trump’s campaign manager told the BBC such antipathy “doesn’t reflect why Donald Trump is running and who he would be on the global stage”.
She also attacked Clinton’s “unremarkable to chequered” record as secretary of state.
Ms. Conway said negative attitudes overseas “does bother me” but defended Trump’s “America First” stance.
Trump “does say America First and he means it”, she said, spelling out the reasons – stopping the loss of American jobs overseas, making sure all partners, including NATO, pay their fair share and renegotiating trade deals that are bad for the US.
Ms. Conway also responded to a jibe from President Obama that Trump could not be trusted with US nuclear codes.
In The Fight Against Corruption, No Individual is Bigger Than The State – Buhari
In response to the suspended acting EFCC Chairman, Ibrahim Magu, President Muhammed Buhari, lamented that the anti-corruption war becomes endangered “when persons entrusted with the responsibility of that magnitude become suspects themselves.”
Buhari, whose vision is to put an end to corruption in Nigeria, believed that every aspect of the nation’s life is enshrined in corruption and it’s of major concern when leaders of institutions saddled with the mandate to fight the menace are found in the waves of the corruption they claimed to be fighting.
This act is a great abomination not only because it strikes at the root but it also trivialises and undermines the anti-corruption crusade itself, the President explained.
He further said that in a bid to put an end to this great abomination, he had set up Ayo Salami Panel to unravel the mystery behind the mystique of Magu’s alleged involvement in corruption that his administration is fighting.
Buhari said that his administration is ready and willing to go all out in the fight against corruption, and no one is too big nor above the law to become a victim of anti-graft’s sledgehammer.
The president said, “However, the stark reality of widespread corruption becomes poignant when allegations of corruption touch on the leadership of an institution set up by law to coordinate and enforce all economic and financial crimes.
“It is an abomination that strikes at the root and undermines the government’s anti-corruption programme.
“It was in response to the serious allegations against the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission that I set up a panel headed by the Honourable Justice Isa Ayo Salami, retired President of the Court of Appeal, via an Instrument dated 3rd July 2020 pursuant to the Tribunals of Inquiry Act (Cap T21, LFN, 2004).
“We recognise that there are more grounds to cover in the war against corruption, and we are prepared to go out to possess those lands by cutting off any stream that nourishes the seed of corruption and supports its growth.
“Let it be known that in the fight against corruption, no one is too big to tackle, as no individual is bigger than the Nigerian State!”
In Search For The New EFCC Chairman, Justice Ayo Salami Panel Advises Buhari to Look Outside The Police Force
Justice Ayo Salami’s panel advised President Muhammadu Buhari to look outside the Nigerian Police Force for the new Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
A credible source confirmed that President Muhammadu Buhari may have decided to follow the panel recommendation to avoid a similar fate to that of Magu, the former chairman.
The source also confirmed that the panel recommendation was a result of sleaze allegations against suspended acting Chairman, Ibrahim Magu. Also, that search team would be constituted in the next few days to slim down the possibilities of finding the right candidate to bring into reality the President’s vision of a corrupt-free anti-graft agency.
The source further confirmed that “the sleaze and abuse of office allegations against Magu, a commissioner of police, were overwhelming,” and that he may be put on trial.
As advised by the panel, the new EFCC chairman should be in interim position for two years.
It was suggested that the recommendation from the Justice Ayo Salami panel might have pinned Magu, according to Femi Adesina, the presidential spokesman, he advised president Buhari to consider looking into other law enforcement or security agencies, as well as considering important and diligent staff of EFCC in his plans to appoint the next EFCC chairman, as s provided in the EFCC Establishment Act of 2004.
Following the Justice Ayo Salami panel recommendation, Salami said “Your Excellency, permit me to say that four successive chairmen of the EFCC from inception have been drawn from the police. Therefore, in appointing a new chairman of EFCC, consideration should be given to candidates from other law enforcement or security agencies and qualified core staff of EFCC as provided in the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (Establishment Act 2004).
“It is also important to point out that at the moment, 970 policemen (114 drivers, 641 mobile policemen and 215 operations), are on secondment in the EFCC.
“Therefore, an exit plan for the disengagement of the police and other personnel within two years from now should be considered. This will address the issue of non-promotion of core staff for over nine years.
“Your Excellency, our thinking here is that whoever you are appointing other than a core EFCC staff, should be in transitional capacity of two years during which period, the arrangement would be made for the appointment of any of the core staff who has been commended by National Crime Agency, UK and other international law enforcement for their professionalism”.
Justice Ayo Salami appreciated the president for giving members of the panel an avenue to serve the country.
Ezekwesili Presents Research Findings on Fixing Nigeria’s Politics
She stated this at the public launch of #FixPolitics, where she presented findings from her fellowship research on how to fix politics in Nigeria and Africa more broadly.
Ezekwesili invited 124 Nigerians from diverse fields of endeavour and geopolitical zones to collaborate on designing the research findings over the last one year as a Work Study Group. The group is the co-leadership organ responsible for an integrated citizens-led actions to fix the broken political system.
She pointed out that politics in Nigeria was not fulfilling the core requirement of a democratic system, which was to provide good governance for the common wellbeing of citizens.
“My research findings primarily reinforce that the poor state of affairs in Nigeria is the consequence of the quality of politics at play. Politics is at the heart of everything any society can or will become. The essential process of democracy is not complete without politics,” the 2019 Nigerian Presidential candidate said.
In her study, she established primarily that in a democratic system, “there are three triangular pillars which determine the kind of outcomes that politics will produce for the people.
Explaining the concept, the former World Bank vice president said, “On the right angle or demand side of the triangle is the electorate; on the left or supply side is the politicians, political class and parties; and at the top is the regulatory – constitutional, legal, electoral and institutional context within which the politics happen.”
According to her, these tripod pillars create an interconnecting network of actions that determine the outcomes of every political system.
“Every pillar or angle of the triangle must function effectively and concurrently with the other two to enable the right quality of politics that will deliver strong economic performance for a people.
“In evaluating the outcome of politics in Nigeria and Africa, my study established that the quality of the electorate, quality of political class and quality and lack of independence and capacity of political institutions constitute a structural and systemic problem for democracy and must therefore be fixed by citizens,” Ezekwesili said.
She also said, “The research found that Nigeria is ridden with politicians without competing ideas of how to solve the problems of citizens, who lack a culture of public service and subordinate the common good to their personal and narrow interests.
“The constitutional, legal, institutional and regulatory environment is compromised by the political class to more frequently act without independence, fairness and adherence to the rule of law. The political space is thus completely monopolised by the supply side of governance, that is the political class, thereby causing political, economic and social stagnation for the nation and people.
“Currently in our politics, voters generally lack the level of influence necessary to compel the right political processes and good outcomes that serve the good of all in society.
“The bright prospect is that evidence from the #FixPolitics research shows that citizens are the only angle of the triangle that can act and propel systemic change by collectively and decisively acting for their common good.”
To alter the status quo, Ezekwesili said only the electorate “have the incentive to correct the abnormality in a political system.”
She added, “It is the collective effort of citizens that can change the quality of political class and compel the kind of constitutional and electoral changes required to achieve good governance.”
Delivering a keynote address, former President Felipe Calderon of Mexico said there was an enormous gap between the interests of the citizens and that of the politicians, which he saw as a major problem to a democratic setting.
“To fix politics in Nigeria, the citizens and the politicians must work together and represent the same in practical life,” he said.
Calderon further said that “citizens must change their perception of politics and political participation rather than holding to a view that politics is for corrupt and dishonest people.”
According to him, corrupt people are quite the opposite of what politics stands. “To fix politics is what happens when the people participate and take responsibility to provide political participation with ethical sense and ethical parameters,” Calderon added.
In a goodwill message, former President of Malawi, Dr. Joyce Banda, said politics should be seen as an inclusive love affair and if institutionally implemented, “Africa will witness a great change in its democratic system.”
While dissecting the dynamics of democracy, three intergenerational panels with discussants like Prof. Atahiru Jega, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, Pastor Tunde Bakare, Aisha Yesufu, Iyinoluwa Aboyeji, Jude Abaga(also known as M.I Abaga), Cynthia Mbamalu, Yemi Adamolekun, Samson Itodo, among others, agreed that there was an emerging consensus to fix politics in Nigeria as the status quo was untenable and unsustainable.
Speakers like Dr. Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, Ayo Sogunro, Ndi Kato, Adewunmi Emoruwa, and Dr. Usman Bugaje highlighted that “there is a need for young people and women to fully engage in partisan politics, create platforms for political engagement, use politics as a tool for framing a shared vision based on a new dominant value orientation of public service, connect the elite with the grassroots and mobilise the Nigerian public to mount pressure on the legislature for the right constitutional and electoral changes.”
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