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INEC Okays Resumption of Campaigns

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Mahmood Yakubu
  • INEC Okays Resumption of Campaigns

Parties threatening to resume campaigns following the postponement of the general elections got the nod to return to campaign grounds last night.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) reversed itself on its earlier position that political campaigns ended last Thursday, being 48 hours to the Presidential and National Assembly elections that was shifted by a week.

The commission after reviewing its decision yesterday gave parties the go-ahead to resume campaigns.

INEC had in the early hours of Saturday postponed Presidential and National Assembly election from February 16 to February 23 and the Governorship and State Assembly, as well as Federal Capital Territory (FCT) polls of March 2 to March 9.

The commission cited logistics and alleged sabotage of its efforts for the shift.

Fielding questions at a stakeholders meeting where INEC Chairman, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, explained the last minute’s decision, the commission insisted that the ban on campaigns would remain in force.

But the parties vowed to go ahead with campaigns since Section 99 of the Electoral Act 2010 as amended, stipulates that campaign should stop 48 hours to the election.

INEC announced the resumption of campaign yesterday through a statement by its National Commissioner in charge of Information and Voter Education, Mr. Festus Okoye.

The statement reads: “The Independent National Electoral Commission met on Monday, 18th February, 2019 and reviewed its preparations for the 2019 general elections re-scheduled for Saturday, 23rd February, 2019 for the Presidential and National Assembly elections and Saturday, 9th March, 2019 for governorship, State Assembly and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Area Council Elections.

“It would be recalled that at the briefing held on Saturday, 16th February, 2019 at the Abuja International Conference Centre (AICC), the commission gave reasons for re-scheduling the polls and released a new schedule of activities leading up to the elections.

“The commission has also worked out in detail, concrete steps to be taken to ensure that election materials arrive at the polling units in good time for prompt commencement of the polls on Saturday, 23rd February 2019.

“An update will be provided by the Commission at a press conference on Tuesday, 19th February at the Abuja International Conference Centre by 3pm.

“In the meantime, after consultations with political parties, the Commission has approved that campaigns by parties and candidates can resume forthwith to end by midnight of Thursday, let February 2019.

“Media organisations are at liberty to accept, publish, broadcast and circulate campaign materials up till midnight of Thursday, 21st February, 2019. Political parties and their candidates are enjoined to abide by the extant laws governing campaigns.

“The commission wishes to thank all Nigerians for their understanding regarding the rescheduling of the elections. We appeal to stakeholders to be dispassionate and circumspect in their comments.

“The Commission is focusing on the elections to be held on 23, February and 9, March to ensure that they are free, fair and credible. We urge all Nigerians to participate fully in the elections, notwithstanding the disappointment.”

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

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

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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

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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

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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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