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Bola Tinubu and Olatunbosun Adebiyi Kuku

“Asiwaju is giving INEC $170 million,” the contractor said in the audio obtained by Peoples Gazette this week. “We will share it around; everybody will do the bidding.”

Atop consultant of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Olatubosun Adeniyi Kuku, has been caught on tape revealing that Bola Tinubu, the flag bearer of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), would offer $170 million to the commission’s officials to manipulate the results of the presidential elections across Nigeria.

“Asiwaju is giving INEC $170 million,” Mr Kuku, who described himself as the number one consultant for the commission, told an official in the audio obtained by Peoples Gazette this week. “We will share it around; everybody will do the bidding.”

Among several other midsize businesses, Mr Kuku was identified by The Gazette as the owner of Winning Keys Consult Ltd, located at 9, Usan Street, Durumi, Abuja, which claimed to have helped candidates win elective positions.

Mr Kuku, who said he visited Mr Tinubu when the former Lagos governor promised to bribe the electoral officials, disclosed that he had received N8 billion worth of election-related contracts from the commission.

“Last 2019, it is N7.8 billion the contract they gave me. Ask him who I am. They call me the Hembe Lembe of INEC. That’s what I do,” the consultant said.

In interviews, Mr Kuku repeatedly said he was not the one on the tape.

“It is not me,” the said by telephone on Friday morning. However, after The Gazette told him the voice was authenticated to be his, Mr Kuku abruptly hung up. 

When The Gazette made another attempt to reach Mr Kuku shortly after his initial denial, he quickly said in Yoruba that the audio was recorded long ago and wondered why it could cause any troubles now. He failed to elaborate when pressed.

Whereas it could not be ascertained when or where the meeting Mr Kuku said he had with Mr Tinubu took place, his position as one of INEC’s biggest consultants was confirmed by The Gazette. INEC consultants have long been known to exploit their access to the electrical office towards personal inurement.

Yet, the electoral office strongly pushed back and summarily disowned Mr Kuku when asked for comments about the tape, which a pro-democracy activist described as “beyond disturbing.”

“The INEC chairman and national commissioners I know cannot accept money from any contestants,” spokesperson Rotimi Oyekanmi told The Gazette Friday afternoon.

“The processes that have been put in place have assured that no single person or any group of persons at all can influence the outcome of the presidential election in Nigeria,” the INEC spokesman added.

An INEC official said Mr Kuku’s status as a consultant with the agency would be placed under immediate review.

Bayo Onanuga, the APC Presidential Campaign Council spokesman, did not immediately respond to The Gazette’s request seeking his comments on the audio.

But Mr Tinubu has strongly denied all charges of corrupt practices or any attempts to compromise existing democratic processes. He was among the presidential candidates who signed a peace and fair pact in the weeks and days leading to today’s presidential election, saying it was only a continuation of his pro-democracy activity that peaked during the 1990s military junta.

Still, the candidacy of Mr Tinubu, a top contender in the presidential race being a choice of the ruling party and a key ally of President Muhammdu Buhari, has over time been tainted with age falsification, ill health, coruption and drug dealing allegations.

Ahead of the party’s presidential primary elections in June 2022, sources told this outlet that Mr Tinubu offered delegates bribes to secure their votes as the APC flag bearer.

The delegates confirmed to The Gazette that the APC flagbearer induced Ogun delegates with $25,000 and Adamawa $10,000.

Voting rights activist Greg Adesuwa said Mr Kuku’s disclosure about what he did with Mr Tinubu was not entirely new to Nigerian elections, which have for decades been characterised by violence, ballot box stuffing and outright rigging often linked to candidates and their political agents.

“This INEC contractor said Tiinubu was looking to bribe officials to the humongous amount mentioned, that is beyond disturbing,” Mr Adesuwa told The Gazette. “I hope the security agencies will work to investigate the man’s claim and hold all his co-conspirators to justice in this country.”

Mr Adesuwa said Nigerian politicianss should move beyond seeing election as a violent and corrupt process and instead focus on polishing their ideas to make them sellable to the masses.

On Friday, the police in Rivers arrested a PDP lawmaker with about $500,000 cash that officers said was designated as bribery for electoral and security officers to compromise the elections in the state. The main opposition party denied any links to the lawmaker’s conduct.

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BREAKING NEWS: PDP’s Diri Wins Bayelsa Gov Election



The incumbent Governor of Bayelsa State and governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Douye Diri, has been declared the winner of the State governorship election held last Saturday.

The Returning Officer, Prof Faruq Kuta, who is also the Vice Chancellor of the Federal University Of Technology, Minna, announced Diri winner of the poll at the collation centre of the election on Monday.

Diri polled 175,196 to defeat his closest rival, Timipre Sylva of the All Progressives Congress, who garnered 110,108 votes while the Labour Party polled 905 votes.

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Plateau: Protesters Storm S’ Court Over Sack Of Four PDP Members From NASS



Over 1000 protesters, on Monday, besieged the Supreme Court to register their displeasure over the judgment of the Court of Appeal in Abuja, which sacked four members of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Plateau State, from the National Assembly, based on a pre-election dispute.

The placard and banner-wielding groups, under the aegis of Coalition for Justice in Africa, CJA, submitted a protest letter to the Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Olukayode Ariwoola.

According to the protesters, the appellate court, by its judgement, thwarted the wish of electorates in Plateau state, when it declared candidates that lost the National Assembly elections that held on February 25, as winners of the legislative seats.

Speaking with newsmen shortly after the protest letter was submitted to the CJN, the National President of the CJA, Dr. Daniel Okwa, maintained that the judgement of the appellate court was capable of causing a breakdown of law and order in the state.

He said the group was at the apex court to seek the intervention of the CJN, alleging that the verdicts that removed all the PDP federal lawmakers were influenced by some chieftains of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC.

The protest letter, which was obtained by Vanguard, read in part: “The Coalition for Truth and Justice believes that the judgment of the Appeal Court in Abuja is a case of injustice, else, how could one explain a situation where lawmakers of the All Progressive Congress (APC) would boast and predict the outcome of the Court of Appeal judgment even before the pronouncement.

“This is unacceptable and indicates that the justice regime in Nigeria has been thrown to the dogs. What happened in Plateau State is an aberration of immeasurable proportion. There is a distinction between a pre-election matter and a post-election matter.

“The Supreme Court has established this fact on several occasions. It is now a wonder why the Appeal Court would act otherwise and in a despicable manner that tends to truncate our nascent democracy.

“The Coalition for Truth and Justice entirely condemns the actions of the justices of the Appeal Court that sat in Abuja. They displayed insensitivity to the electoral choices of the people. This is a worrisome trend that the Chief Justice of Nigeria must address.

“This is on the heels that the Judiciary, the world over, is regarded as the last hope of the commoner. This presupposes that it is the only place the commoner can get justice. The function of the Judiciary is not to twist the truth or fabricate facts but to interpret the law. The consequence of the interpretation of the law is justice.

“However, what played out in Plateau state negates the Judiciary’s position as the common’s last hope. The Judiciary is for sale to the highest bidder in Nigeria, if such positions could be taken without recourse to the implication of such on the psychological state of the people.

“The Coalition for Truth and Justice is using this protest to drive the point that justice in Nigeria should not be reserved for a section of the country or any political party. What happened in Plateau should not be allowed to stand or repeat itself. The implication of such is that the reputation of the judicial arm of government would be eroded.”

It will be recalled that the appellate court had on November 7, in a unanimous decision by a three-member panel led by Justice Elfrieda Williams-Dawodu, okayed the nullification of the election of a Senator and three members of the House of Representatives in the state that emerged on the platform of the PDP.

The panel based its decision on failure of the PDP to fully comply with a court that was made in 2022, which it said directed the party to conduct congress in the 17 Local Government Areas in the state.

It, therefore, held that though the lawmakers won their respective seats during the National Assembly election that held on February 25, all the scores that were credited them, amounted to wasted votes.

It ordered that candidates that got the second majority lawful votes at the election, should be sworn in as winners of the legislative seats.


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Canada’s Abuja, Lagos Visa Centres Open – High Commission



The Canadian High Commission in Nigeria has said its Abuja and Lagos visa application centres remain open for the processing of immigration, refugee and citizenship applications.

The Canadian High Commission had on Tuesday announced the suspension of operations in its Abuja office following a fire incident at its generator house, which claimed two lives on Monday.

Nigerians had expressed fear that the operations suspension would hamper visa application processes.

But  in a statement posted on its X handle on Thursday, the  Canadian High Commission clarified that its Abuja and Lagos visa application centres remain open and operational.

In the statement by its public affairs staff, Demilade Kosemani, the commission said, “As we continue to mourn the passing of our dear colleague from the High Commission of Canada in Abuja, please note the following information below:

“Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada clients: processing of applications continues. Regardless of the suspension of operations at the High Commission of Canada in Abuja, the Visa Application Centres in Abuja and Lagos remain open.”

Meanwhile, a travel agency, , TMT Travels and Tours Limited, has sympathised with the Canadian High Commission over the Monday tragic fire incident.

In a statement on Thursday the agency’s Chief Executive Officer, Collins Onukwubiri,  said, “We at TMT Travels and Tours Limited shares in the grief and sense of loss of the Canadian embassy in Abuja. The partial burning of the Canadian embassy in Abuja and the death of two workers there was most unfortunate.

“Canada, as a major player in the Nigeria’s travel and tours business, is an integral player in Nigeria’s economy. We know how devastating this unfortunate incident is to them but we want to say that we stand with them in this time and always. We specially condole with the families of the two persons who died in the process.”


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