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•Says allegation fictitious, malicious, campaign of calumny 

•Lai Mohammed: Atiku, ex-Anambra gov have no pathway to presidency

•Recommends two-factor authentication to secure WhatsApp 

Emmanuel Addeh, Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja, David-Chyddy Eleke in Awka and Emma Okonji in Lagos

The presidential candidate of Labour Party (LP), Mr. Peter Obi yesterday described that allegation of treason levelled against him and his vice presidential candidate, Yussuf Datti Baba-Ahmed by the federal government as malicious, fictitious and an apparent campaign of calumny against them.

Obi said this in a statement in reaction to the accusation of treason against him and his running mate in the just concluded presidential election by the Minister of Information and Culture, Mr. Lai Mohammed.

Speaking in Washington DC, United States, during his official engagements with some international media organisations, Mohammed had earlier yesterday cautioned the former governor of Anambra state to desist from pushing his people to violence over the outcome of the presidential elections, insisting that neither him nor the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, have pathway to the presidency of the country.

This was just as the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) yesterday denied the allegations on the social media that it had been bribed by politicians to leak Obi’s telephone calls. The clarification by the NCC followed the allegation that a telephone conversation between Obi and the General Overseer of the Winners Chapel, Bishop David Oyedepo, was recently  leaked.

On same day, the former Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Timi Frank, alleged that the Directorate of State Security Service (DSS) has since deviated from its core mandate in the last 10 years by becoming a willing tool to the government in power

Mohammed accused Obi of committing treason and inciting his supporters via his recent public utterances.

The minister also described Obi as a desperate politician.

However, THISDAY’s recollection of recent events before and after the election does not support the allegation of incitement against Obi.

Mohammed did not also mention the particular inciting remark made by the LP presidential candidate.

While his supporters are perceived to be young irascible Nigerians, Obi in his public appearances has repeatedly called for calm while insisting that the law courts must be allowed to decide the election matter.

In March, Obi had urged his supporters against protesting on court premises when the presidential election tribunal commences.

“As we go about seeking redress for our stolen mandate, I plead with ‘OBIdients’ to respect the sanctity of the court premises and give our legal team the space and peaceful environment to carry out their duties.

“The court premises is not and should not be turned into a rally ground. I urge the Obidients to go about their businesses peacefully,” he cautioned.

Also last month, Obi had promised that he would not endanger the relative peace existing in Nigeria while challenging the results of the February 25 presidential election, while reacting to a viral statement in which he was alleged to have said that he never lost an election and that he would fight and “bleed to death until” his mandate was restored. He, however, denied ever saying so.

Obi had also appealed to members of the “Obidient” family and all men and women of goodwill to remain calm and prayerful, described the allegation as not only false, but also mischievous, misleading and out of character.

“I have worked through similar paths in the past and was successful. I shall follow the same path without endangering the relative peace in the country, which is actually what those election riggers are striving desperately to upset,” Obi said through his Media Adviser, Mr. Valentine Obienyem.

But the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) quoted Lai Mohammed as having said it was wrong for Obi in one breathe to seek redress in court over the outcome of the polls and in another breathe to incite people to violence.

Mohammed was in Washington to engage with international media organisations and Think-tanks on the just-concluded 2023 polls and had so far engaged with the Washington Post, Voice of America, Associated Press and Foreign Policy Magazine during the tour.

“Obi and his Vice, Datti Ahmed cannot be threatening Nigerians that if the president-elect, Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) is sworn-in on May 29, it will be the end of democracy in Nigeria.

“This is treason. You cannot be inviting insurrection, and this is what they are doing. Obi’s statement is that of a desperate person, he is not the democrat that he claims to be. A democrat should not believe in democracy only when he wins the election,” Mohammed said.

The minister added that although they were challenging the election results, there was no pathway to victory for either Obi or Atiku of the PDP.

According to the minister, both Obi and Atiku failed to meet the constitutional requirements to be declared as president.

He added: “The constitution has stringent criteria for anybody who wants to be president of the country. Not only must he have the plurality of votes cast in an election, he must also have scored one-quarter of votes cast in at least 25 states.

“Only the president-elect met the criteria by scoring 8.79 million votes and having one-quarter of all the vote cast in 29 states of the federation.”

The minister said Atiku who came second with 6.9 million votes was only able to make one-quarter of the votes cast in 21 states, maintaining that Obi came third with 5.8 million votes, but won only one-quarter of votes cast in 15 states.

“You cannot win an election in a poll where you came to a distant third position and failed to meet constitutional requirements. Peter Obi, while complaining of fraud has not disowned his victory in Lagos,” the minister stressed.

Speaking further on his mission to the US, the minister said he was there to correct the negative narrative being promoted by those he called naysayers and opposition on the election.

The government spokesman said the opposition, having lost in the election was alleging fraud, calling for its cancellation and constitution of an interim government.

“We have come here to balance that skewed narrative and to tell the world unambiguously that the just-concluded general elections in Nigeria were the fairest, most transparent and authentic in the history of Nigeria.

“The election is the fairest and credible because of the introduction of the Bimodal Voters Verification System (BVAS) which I regard as a game changer. BVAS technology has helped to weed out ghost and illegal voters, eliminate multiple voting and return sanity to the elections,” he noted.

Quoting from the report by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the minister said that BVAS, during the polls, worked 97 per cent and added  unprecedented credibility to the exercise.

Meanwhile, Obi in a reaction, said that he was saddened by the minister’s comments, describing them as malicious, fictitious and an apparent campaign of calumny against his person.

In a release made available to journalists, Obi said he was not perturbed by the minister’s reckless use of the word ‘treason’ because, as far as he (Obi) was concerned, he had taken the legal route towards the recovery of his mandate and has remained committed to that.

“Any person ‘seeing’ treason in a clear legal process should explain to Nigerians how opting for the tribunal by myself and my Deputy amounts to treason,” Obi argued.

He added: “In the past few days, I’ve observed various campaigns of calumny directed at my person, the latest being allegations attributed to the Information Minister, Lai Mohammed, in Washington DC. It is most unfortunate that these consistent efforts to portray me in a manner, quite contrary to what I am and my core values, are coming from such high quarters.

“Minister Lai accusing me of stoking the fire of insurrection is totally fictitious and malicious. I have never advocated or encouraged anyone to undermine the Nigerian state; I’ve never sponsored or preached any action against the Nigerian state,” he stressed.

Obi said it was utterly perplexing that a minister would be busy travelling round the world, telling Nigerians that the purpose was to tell the world the true story of the Nigerian election.

He described the move as laughable, against the background of the fact that most of those countries sent their people to monitor the election and had all received reports from the monitors, as well as from their embassies.

“Between Lai Mohammed and their monitors/embassies, who would these countries believe?” he asked.

He further said that such reckless behaviour, sponsored with tax payers’ money, was among the reasons those countries often do not take Nigeria seriously.

 “The billions spent on those meaningless trips would be enough to fix several dilapidated schools in the country,” Obi added.

While urging Nigerians to always remain law-abiding and hopeful for the coming of the ‘New Nigeria’, Obi restated his steadfast inclination to maintaining the peace at all times.

“I’m on record, as always, advocating peace and issue-based campaign, not a campaign based on ethnicity or religion.  I’m committed to due process and presently seeking redress in court. I urge those engaged in this ‘demarketing’ process to stop presenting Nigeria in such bad light.

“Our future generations deserve a new Nigeria where they can live a secure and decent life, like their counterparts in other climes. And this is possible,” he insisted.

NCC Denies Leaking Obi, Oyedepo’s Telephone Conversation

The NCC yesterday denied the allegation making the rounds that it had been bribed by politicians to leak the telephone calls of the presidential flag bearer of Labour Party, Mr. Peter Obi.

The NCC in a statement issued yesterday and signed by its Director, Public Affairs, Mr. Reuben Muoka, denied the social media report that politicians had bribed the commission to track telephone conversation of Peter Obi.

According to the statement, the NCC had been inundated with enquiries by the media on allegations of telephone ‘tracking’ and ‘leakage’ made against the commission by some individuals and groups in the social and alternative media.

Part of the statement read: “The commission denies the allegations in their entirety. By the provisions of the Nigerian Communication Act (NCA) 2003 and other extant Laws of the federation, the commission does not and cannot “track” nor “leak” telephone conversations of anyone.

“The commission has reported the allegations, which we take seriously, to relevant security agencies for proper investigation and necessary action.”

The NCC in the statement, restated its commitment to discharge its responsibilities to the Nigerian people in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; the NCA 2003; and other extant Laws of the Federation; and global best practices.

It therefore advised the public to disregard the allegation.

In another development, the Nigerian Communications Commission’s Computer Security Incident Response Team (NCC-CSIRT) has recommended that users of WhatsApp should set up Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) to avoid falling victim to account takeover by hackers.

In an advisory issued yesterday, NCC-CSIRT noted that WhatsApp, which is a Meta-owned service, is increasingly becoming a prime target for hackers and scammers who are always looking for ways to gain unauthorised access to users’ accounts.

The CSIRT described two-factor authentication (2FA) as an identity and access management security method that requires two forms of identification to access resources and data. 

According to the advisory, “In the world of messaging apps, one of the most popular and recognizable platform is WhatsApp. WhatsApp is 100 per cent free to use, has a great mobile app, and supports audio and video calls. Whether you rely on WhatsApp for all your messaging needs or just use it from time to time, it is recommended to set it up with two-factor authentication (2FA). With this enabled, you will need to enter a custom PIN every time you log in to WhatsApp from a new device, adding an extra layer of security to your account.”  

The team said: “2FA gives businesses or people the ability to monitor and help safeguard their most vulnerable information and networks. The 2FA is important because it prevents cybercriminals from stealing, destroying, or accessing your internal data records for their own use.”

It further stated: “WhatsApp provides two-factor authentication so you can further secure your account using a PIN. It is an optional feature that adds more security to your WhatsApp account, so it is recommended that everyone installs 2FA.”

The CSIRT listed ten steps for enabling 2FA on WhatsApp, which included: “Open WhatsApp, Tap Settings, Tap Account, Tap Two-Step Verification, Tap Enable, Enter the Six-Digit PIN you wish to use, Tap Next, then enter it a second time to confirm it, Tap Next, Add an email address for extra security (this step is optional but it is an extra way to retrieve your account if you forget your Pin) and then Tap Next.”  

DSS Has Deviated from Its Mandate, Says Frank

Frank has alleged that the DSS had since deviated from its core mandate in the last 10 years by becoming a willing tool to the government in power.

Frank in a statement yesterday, alleged that the secret police had metamorphosed into an intelligence arm of the ruling party.

He noted that while the DSS has the right to intercept unlawful communication, it was not permitted under the law to leak private conversations of individuals.

Frank, therefore, called for the  total overhaul of the secret police immediately, saying there was a need for the agency to wake up and restore the lost confidence Nigerians have in its leadership.

He further accused the agency of monitoring and then leaking telephone conversations of some political leaders–opposition leaders in order to embarrass them and to impress the APC elements.

Frank added: “How does someone explain the fact that the DSS has continued to tap the telephone lines and release phone recordings of opposition politicians and influential Nigerians critical of the government.”

He added: “The latest misadventure was a leaked telephone conversation between Labour Party Presidential candidate, Peter Obi, and revered cleric, Bishop David Oyedepo, the founder of the Living Faith Church Worldwide, and presiding Bishop of the Faith Tabernacle in Ota, Ogun State.

“On the eve of the Presidential election, Obi and Bishop Oyedepo had a private telephone conversation. There was no terror plot and the conversation in itself was not about the use of violence. Obi simply asked Bishop Oyedepo to help him convince his congregation in the southwest to vote for him.”

Frank stressed that the main responsibilities of the DSS as stated in its enabling Act include counter-intelligence, internal security, counter-terrorism, and surveillance as well as investigating some other types of serious crimes against the state.

He said: “The Department of State Services or the State Security Service needs a complete and total overhaul. The agency which was established by Military President, General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, was supposed to be patterned after the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in the United States of America or the MI5 Security Service in the United Kingdom.”

“But the DSS has since deviated from its core mandate in the last 10 years by becoming a willing tool to the government in power. In recent times, the DSS has focused more on regime protection and fostering the interest of politicians in the ruling party and their allies.

“The DSS and the APC have become one and the same and it is almost difficult to differentiate a statement written by the DSS and the APC.”

He expressed worry that the most sophisticated security agency in the country descended into the arena of politics in order to favour the ruling party.

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I Will Not Interfere In Ondo Assembly Affairs – Akeredolu




• Leadership positions privilege, not right, Fayemi tells Ekiti lawmakers-elect
• Says selection prerogative of party

Ondo State Governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, has assured the incoming members of the 10th House of Assembly of non-interference in their legislative affairs by his administration.

Akeredolu emphasised that his administration upholds and respects the principle of separation of powers among the three arms of government, as stipulated in the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria (as amended).

The governor gave the promise, yesterday, during a two-day induction programme for the 26 lawmakers-elect in Owo, ahead of their June inauguration.

He, therefore, urged the incoming Assembly members to legislate effectively and promote good governance and development for the benefit of citizens, with the expectation that the legislature will operate independently.

MEANWHILE, the immediate past Chairman of Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), Dr. Kayode Fayemi, has cautioned the newly-elected members of Ekiti State House of Assembly not to see the position of principal officers as a right but a privilege.

He said it is the prerogative of the state chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to decide the presiding officers of the Assembly.

Fayemi, who spoke during the retreat organised for the outgoing and lawmakers-elect, held at the Ikogosi Warm Resort in Ekiti West Local Council of the state, declared that the lawmakers can’t lobby or contest for positions.

Akeredolu, while urging the lawmakers-elect to see themselves as trustees of the entire state, said the decision of their constituents to elect them as representatives is a big testimony of the confidence reposed in them.

The governor, who was represented by his deputy, Lucky Ayedatiwa, described the legislature as the engine room of democracy, adding that when the legislature is removed, what is left is autocracy.

He noted that his administration had a robust relationship with the outgoing Ninth Assembly and urged the incoming 10th Assembly to do the same for continued development.

Earlier, the Speaker of the House, Bamidele Oleyelogun, who declared the event open, said the essence of the programme was to broaden the mind of the elected legislators on the legislative agenda, the procedures, and processes, as well as to remind them of the primary needs of their people.

Oleyelogun noted that the programme is the process of introducing members-elect to the legislative terrain, emphasising that any knowledge acquired at the end of the programme will go a long way in determining their performances as legislators.


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I Am In Partnership With Yari To Produce Next Senate President, Deputy – Kalu




Chief Whip of the Senate, Orji Kalu, has confirmed a partnership with former Governor Abdulaziz Yari of Zamfara State to produce next president and deputy of the 10th Red Chamber. 
In an interview with journalists in Abuja, the erstwhile governor of Abia State said sponsors and supporters were on ground, adding that details of the partnership would be unveiled soon.

“We won’t disappoint Nigerians. We are capable of representing ourselves. Yari-Kalu or Kalu-Yari won’t disappoint Nigerians. We will give Nigerians what they require, and the Nigerian people won’t be disappointed,” he promised.

Kalu said the move was to ensure that only the most popular candidate emerge leader of the next Senate.

The ranking lawmaker, who declared that he would not step down for anybody, said the partnership would consult exhaustively.
Checks, however, revealed that Kalu might have settled to be deputy to Yari.

Prodded on candidate for the Senate presidency, the Abia lawmaker responded: “It’s what we don’t know now. This is why it is coming out in the coming days. We are not greedy about it. We are going to face realities. We are going to get a support base. It is not going to be problem. The most important thing is to have an independent legislature that will represent the interest of Nigerians, and represent also, the interest of our colleagues.”

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Wike No Longer Our Member – PDP NEC



A member of the Peoples Democratic Party’s National Executive Committee, Timothy Osadolor, says the immediate-past governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, is no longer a member of the party, given his conduct before, during and after the 2023 general elections.

Osadolor, who gave the hint in a telephone conversation with The PUNCH on Tuesday, noted that the leadership of the party had decided to isolate Wike and render him inconsequential in the affairs of the PDP.

According to him, Wike’s recent public outings wherein he appeared to be leaning towards the All Progressives Congress, give him away as a man in perpetual craving for the spotlight at all times and regardless of the cost to his image as an opposition political leader.

He said, “The PDP has ignored Wike because the man is no longer himself. There are more ways to deal with people apart from sanctioning them. You can keep someone in isolation. He (Wike) can boast that he is the one that stayed away but is it not better to stay away than come to party activities and nobody wants to associate with you? He has been given a cold treatment because he went to court to procure a judgment that says he cannot be suspended but there is no judgment that says he cannot be avoided. That is what the PDP has been doing to him and technically, if Wike wants to say the truth, he will tell you that he is no longer a member of the PDP. No PDP leader or member behaves the way he does.”

But in a swift reaction, a chieftain of the PDP and immediate past Rivers State Commissioner for Information and Communications, Chris Finebone, said Wike remained a bona fide member of the opposition party.
Describing Osadolor’s comments as wishful thinking, Finebone said he does not have any power to speak for the party.

He stated, “We can’t identify who he represents, but I think it is wishful thinking. It is wishful thinking and the man who is said to have said that is inconsequential as far as we are concerned.

“And so, whatever he has said is of no effect. His Excellency, the former Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, is 110 per cent a member of PDP and nothing has changed. And nothing can change it.”

On the accusation that Wike has been hobnobbing with Tinubu, he said it was petty and frivolous.

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