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INEC To Publish The List Of New Polling Units Next Week

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has pledged to publish a comprehensive list of its new polling units across the nation next week.

The INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, disclosed this on Monday in Abuja.

Yakubu was speaking at the formal handing over of a new state of the art fire truck, deployed to the Commission’s headquarters in Abuja by the Federal Fire Service (FFS).

He said that details of the locations of its registration centers and the procedure for the commencement of online registration for resumption of nationwide Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) would be made available in the second week of May.

He expressed appreciation of the commission to the FFS and all security agencies for the demonstration of their support to protecting INEC facilities

He said that the support was coming on the eve of the resumption of the CVR nationwide in the next three weeks.

“We earlier assured Nigerians that we shall conclude work on the expansion of voter access to polling units and make the new polling units available to citizens ahead of the CVR exercise.

“I am glad to report that we have accomplished this task for the first time in 25 years.

“A comprehensive list of the new polling units will be published next week.

“Similarly, details of the locations of the registration centers and the procedure for the commencement of online registration will also be made available after a series of regular consultative meetings with stakeholders next week,” Yakubu said.

He said that as a member of the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) FFS had been as concerned as other security agencies about the recent attacks on our offices across the country.

“This is particularly so because out of the 42 attacks on our facilities nationwide, 18 incidents resulted from arson and three more by a combination of arson and vandalisation.”

Yakubu recalled that concerned by those incidents, the commission convened an emergency meeting of ICCES last week of April, where the security agencies renewed their determination to collaborate more with the commission.

According to him, they pledged to assist the commission address the challenge beyond the routine protection of INEC assets and the security of its officials, voters, observers, the media, candidates and their agents during elections.

“On its part, the Federal Fire Service offered to deploy an additional state-of-the-art fire engine to the INEC headquarters to complement the two existing trucks.

“At the same time, it directed its state offices to take additional protective measures around other INEC facilities nationwide.

“Today’s inauguration of the new fire engine is another affirmation of the support to the commission from the FFS whose personnel, already deployed permanently to the commission

“The personnel will continue to operate and maintain the fire engines and other firefighting equipment installed by INEC,” Yakubu said.

Speaking earlier, the Controller-General (CG) of FFS, Alhaji Liman Ibrahim said the deployment of the firefighting truck was premised on recent fire attacks on INEC offices in different parts of the country.

Ibrahim, represented by the Assistant Controller-General of the service, Mr Samson Karebo, said the deployed truck would serve as fire cover for the premises of INEC headquarters and the entire Maitama vicinity of Abuja.

“The FFS is taking this step as a proactive measure to protect our critical infrastructure and help to protect our economy by forming synergy with all stakeholders in protecting our environments.

“Our center is focused on bringing firefighting operations to every part of the country as part of our statutory duties by having a presence in virtually every state in Nigeria

“The FFS will very soon be moving into all senatorial headquarters in the country. That is how we want to operate for now so that we can touch every corner of this country,” Ibrahim said.

He called for the cooperation of all for the service to better serve the nation by not molesting FFS staff in the line of duty.

In his remarks, the National Security Adviser (NSA) retired Maj.-Gen. Babagana Monguno, who is also Co-Chair of ICCES, described the deployment of the truck as a demonstration of President Muhammadu Buhari’s commitment to sustain Nigeria’s democracy and address insecurity.

Monguno said that the gesture also symbolised commitment to a clear affirmation of Buhari toward protecting institutions of government, toward securing their property, toward fighting acts of irresponsibility, vandalisation and outright criminality.

“The President is determined as much as he can within the confines of legality to suppress any kind of criminality and destruction of public property.

“This is something that he is determined to do regardless of whatever the challenges are.

“He will apply all the resources in his disposal in his capacity as the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces to ensure the wider Nigerian society is safe, stable and is allowed to carry out its legitimate undertaking, free from any act of insecurity,” he said

Monguno urged all other security agencies not to relent in ensuring that they continued to protect lives and property.

The Inspector-General of Police, Mr Usman Baba pledged commitment to security agencies to work with INEC and protect INEC’s facilities, citizens’ life and property.

Also at the occasion was the Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, represented by Director of Joint Services, Mr Peter Obodo; as well as the representative of Director-General, Directorate of State Services, Tony Adikweruka.

Government

Rishi Sunak Announces Resignation Amid Labour’s Sweeping Victory

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Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has announced his resignation as the leader of the Conservative Party following a historic victory by Labour in the general election.

Addressing the nation from the steps of 10 Downing Street, Sunak expressed his deep regret and took full responsibility for the party’s defeat.

“I would like to say, first and foremost, I am sorry. I have given this job my all,” Sunak began, visibly moved.

“But you have sent a clear signal that the government of the United Kingdom must change. And yours is the only judgement that matters. I have heard your anger, your disappointment, and I take responsibility for this loss.”

The Conservatives experienced a staggering loss, with more seats taken by Labour than in any previous election.

This shift marked a dramatic change in the political landscape, as large swathes of the country turned red. Sir Keir Starmer, leader of the Labour Party, claimed victory early Friday morning, addressing a jubilant crowd of supporters.

“The UK has the opportunity after 14 years to get its future back,” Starmer proclaimed.

Sunak, who retained his seat in Richmond, North Yorkshire, described the night as “sobering.”

In his concession, he stated, “The Labour Party has won this general election, and I have called Sir Keir Starmer to congratulate him on his victory. The British people have delivered a sobering verdict tonight; there is much to learn, and I take responsibility for the loss.”

Following his resignation speech, Sunak and his wife, Akshata, departed from Downing Street for Buckingham Palace to formally tender his resignation to King Charles III.

A spokesperson for the King confirmed, “His Majesty was graciously pleased to accept.”

Reflecting on his tenure, Sunak said, “I am honoured to have been your prime minister. This is the best country in the world.”

He also acknowledged the many Conservative MPs who lost their seats, stating, “It pains me to think how many good colleagues who contributed so much to their communities and our country will now no longer sit in the House of Commons. I thank them for their hard work and their service.”

As the Conservative Party faces a period of introspection and rebuilding, Sunak emphasized the importance of the party’s role in opposition.

“It is important that the Conservative Party now rebuilds and also takes up its crucial role in opposition, professionally and effectively,” he noted.

The leadership race within the Conservative Party is expected to commence shortly, as the party seeks to navigate its path forward after this significant electoral defeat.

For now, the UK braces for a new political era under Labour’s leadership, with the promise of significant changes on the horizon.

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Trump’s Immunity Claim Partially Upheld by Supreme Court, Trial Postponed

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The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that former President Donald Trump possesses partial immunity from criminal charges related to his attempts to overturn the 2020 election results.

The ruling, which splits along ideological lines with a 6-3 vote, represents a significant legal victory for Trump, effectively ensuring that a trial will not occur before the November 2024 election.

The Court found that the federal appeals court was too dismissive of Trump’s immunity arguments.

For the first time, the Supreme Court acknowledged that former presidents could be shielded from prosecution for certain official acts carried out while in office.

Chief Justice John Roberts, writing for the majority, explained that “The president is not above the law. But Congress may not criminalize the president’s conduct in carrying out the responsibilities of the Executive Branch under the Constitution.”

The ruling did not go so far as to dismiss the indictment altogether, as Trump had hoped.

However, the decision’s timing is pivotal as it narrows the opportunity for Special Counsel Jack Smith to bring Trump before a jury in Washington, D.C., before the November 5 election.

The ruling now returns the case to the lower courts to determine which specific allegations are protected under the presidential immunity doctrine.

This process will likely extend beyond the election, leaving Trump facing only one of four criminal cases against him before voters head to the polls.

Trump was previously convicted in a New York state court on May 30 for falsifying business records to cover up a hush money payment to adult film actress Stormy Daniels prior to the 2016 election.

His Washington trial, related to efforts to overturn the 2020 election, has been on hold pending the Supreme Court’s decision on his immunity claim.

The dissenting opinion, penned by Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, and Ketanji Brown Jackson, criticized the majority for granting such broad immunity.

They argued that the decision undermines the principle that no one, including the president, is above the law.

The decision underscores the ongoing legal battles facing Trump as he campaigns for the 2024 presidential election.

While this ruling may provide a temporary respite, it also raises critical questions about the extent of legal protections afforded to former presidents and the balance of power within the U.S. government.

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Macron’s Alliance and Left-Wing Bloc Consider Strategy to Block Far-Right Surge

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Emmanuel Macron

President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist alliance and the left-wing New Popular Front are contemplating strategic withdrawals of their candidates to prevent the far-right National Rally from gaining power.

Marine Le Pen’s National Rally secured a surprising 33.2% of the vote, according to interior ministry figures, outpacing both the New Popular Front’s 28% and Macron’s coalition, which garnered 20.8%.

This result has sent shockwaves through the French political landscape, heightening fears of a far-right ascendance.

“The lesson of today is that the far right is at the gates of power,” French Prime Minister Gabriel Attal told supporters on Sunday night. “Our objective is clear: to prevent the National Rally from having an absolute majority.”

A decisive victory in the second round would enable National Rally President Jordan Bardella to claim the premiership, granting the party significant legislative power.

Traditionally, France’s mainstream parties have united to keep the far right out of government.

The financial markets responded with cautious optimism after the National Rally’s smaller-than-expected margin of victory.

Futures on France’s CAC 40 index surged almost 3% at the opening bell, while the euro gained 0.5%, marking its largest intraday increase in over two weeks.

However, the political uncertainty has led to fluctuating yields on French bonds, reflecting investor unease.

In over half of the 577 constituencies, three candidates qualified for the runoffs. In these cases, the third-placed candidate can withdraw to bolster the chances of another mainstream party defeating the National Rally.

The deadline for such withdrawals is 6 p.m. on Tuesday, leaving party leaders in a frantic race to form alliances.

Jean-Luc Mélenchon, leader of the New Popular Front, an alliance of left-wing parties, announced his intention to encourage third-placed candidates from his group to withdraw in favor of a united front against the far right.

President Macron echoed this sentiment, calling for a “broad, clearly democratic and republican alliance for the second round.”

However, the situation is complicated. Mélenchon’s France Unbowed has proposed policies that conflict with European Union budget rules, potentially unsettling investors.

This has made it unclear whether Macron’s Renaissance party will withdraw in constituencies where the far left would benefit.

In a gesture toward building alliances with the left, Prime Minister Attal announced the suspension of an unpopular unemployment insurance reform on Sunday evening.

The government had argued that the changes would incentivize employment, but opposition parties criticized the timing, given rising joblessness.

Although Macron’s presidency itself is not at risk — and he has stated he has no plans to resign — the election results indicate he will either have to share governing responsibilities with the National Rally or navigate a gridlocked parliament.

The National Rally opposes many of Macron’s key initiatives, including migration policy, pension reform, and EU integration.

Market analysts suggest that while investors prefer gridlock over a far-right government, any credible alliances to block Le Pen from absolute power could restore some stability to French markets.

“A hung parliament could make it hard to get anything done in France, which is exactly what the markets would like,” said Kathleen Brooks, research director at XTB.

As the political landscape evolves rapidly, the coming days will be crucial in determining France’s legislative future and the broader implications for European politics.

The nation watches closely as Macron and Mélenchon’s parties deliberate their next moves to counter the far-right surge.

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