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Winning A Delegate Election in Nigeria—A Critical Look

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Those who have won delegate elections in Nigeria over the last 2 decades fall into the following categories:

  1. Those backed by an incumbent government at national or state levels.
  2. In the absence of a incumbent FG; those who are supported by a majority of “Super Stakeholders”. These include sitting state governors, fmr governors & leaders in states where no sitting governors exist.
  3. Aspirants who are able to dispense stupendous financial resources.

In the absence of an incumbent FG, a very rich aspirant can prevail against scenario “2 above.

*Delegate elections are devoid of conscience, rational thinking, patriotism or the principle of right or wrong.*

From my many years of experience, 70 to 80% of delegates vote along with the dictates of their leaders. It has nothing to do most often with their personal convictions.

WHY IS THIS SO?

It is so because at the end of the convention everyone returns to his state. If at the convention you refused to toe the line, most assuredly you are likely to pay for it and certainly you will not be a delegate in the next election …and so will many perks and privileges elude you in your state.

This is not restricted to ordinary delegates alone. Even if you were a former minister or senator or whatever, once you fail to align with party directives, be ready for sanctions from the powers that be within the party in your state.

INFLUENCE OF MONEY

This is a very interesting and intricate matter.

*Money in some cases may be the ultimate deciding factor. And in other situations where group or regional interest is crucial and compelling, it may be of little consequence.*

*But without money or with an offer considerably much lower than the leading contender financially, the poorer aspirant irrespective of pedigree, competence or suitability, may have no chance of winning at all.*

Mischievously, and quite treacherously, the new trend is that each state delegation collects monies from all the aspirants and thereafter do one of to things.

  1. They still vote for the aspirant they had decided on from home based on several considerations, or
  2. Divide their votes pro rata in accordance to how the aspirants have faired financially.

In the last PDP convention in Port Harcourt in 2019, most delegates went home with between $8000 & $10,000.

This year, the figures are bound to be higher. The big spenders are prepared to go as far as $10,000 per delegate.

As I write this piece, a delegate election to elect the state assembly member for my local government is underway. Information reaching me from the venue is that one of the two contestant is offering N200,000 per delegate while the other has offered N150,000.

We have 10 wards and 3 delegates per ward. That is, each aspirant will today dispense N6m for this delegate election!!!

Let no one fool you. This is what goes on nationwide and in all parties. Only the stakes differ. This practice is not sustainable and is inconsistent with a progressive democratic developmental growth.

♦ Doyin Okupe was senior special assistant on public affairs to Goodluck Jonathan

 

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WAP’S Prof. Chris Ulasi Leads Election Reporting Project in Nigeria

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The co-founder of The West African Pilot News, Professor Chris Ulasi, led a United States-sponsored Election Reporting Project (ERP) in Nigeria.

ERP was a two-day workshop to equip, train and support Nigerian journalists, videographers and photojournalists to adequately cover the 2023 elections in an accurate, objective, balanced and safe way.

The workshop was organised by the West Africa Broadcast and Media Academy (WABMA) and the Enugu Literary Society (ELS) in partnership with the US consulate-general in Lagos, Will Stevens.

At the opening of the two-day workshop, Stevens said the US government allocated $50 million for the training as a way to ensure that the 2023 general elections are peaceful and credible.

“We are supporting more than 100 journalists with this workshop in Ibadan, Enugu, Port Harcourt and Lagos as part of U.S. efforts to support Nigeria’s elections,” the consul-general said.

“Over the last three years and into the next year too, the US government has allocated more than 50 million dollars for technical assistance, support, training, for INEC, and for civil society, among others.

“We are committed to initiatives here in Nigeria to build needed capacity. We have funded training for hundreds of journalists on topics ranging from fact-checking, health reporting, defence and national security reporting, investigative journalism, election reporting and media ethics.

“These training, together with other programmes we offer virtually to demonstrate our commitment to this partnership that we have long enjoyed here in Nigeria.”

The lead facilitator for the workshop was the co-founder, The West African Pilot News, Dean, School of Communication and Chair, Department of Radio, Television and Films, Texas Southern University Houston, USA., Prof. Chris Ulasi.

Some other facilitators include Prof. Lai Oso, fmr. Dean of Communications, Lagos State University; and Miss Grace Ekpu, an investigative reporter with the Associated Press (AP).

According to the lead facilitator, the project was in three phases. Phase one was the workshops which included training held in several zones.

Phase two was the content stage. In phase two, trained journalists were plugged into an election reporting website and online community for support and fact-checking of content pre-during-and-after elections coverage season. Phase three is the awards stage when outstanding participating journalists would be given awards after the elections season.

The two-day intensive training, which was held in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital on 14 and 15 November was attended by journalists from different states in the southwest. The training included practical skills in fact-checking, digital security, and interaction among journalists from different backgrounds among others.

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Nigerian Ex-General Takes on Former Partner That Won $11 Billion Award

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(Bloomberg) — A firm owned by a billionaire former Nigerian defense minister is suing an ex-business partner that’s at the center of a high-stakes London trial over an $11 billion arbitration award, previously unreported court documents show.

A UK tribunal ordered Nigeria’s government in 2017 to pay Process and Industrial Development Ltd $6.6 billion in damages after a gas-supply deal soured, and the amount has ballooned with interest. Theophilius Danjuma’s Tita-Kuru Petrochemicals Ltd. brought its own arbitration claim against P&ID in London in 2020, alleging that its designs had been “unlawfully misappropriated” to secure the gas contract, Nigeria said in a filing to a UK court in February.

“P&ID firmly denies that it unlawfully misappropriated anything from Tita-Kuru,” the company’s majority shareholder, Seamus Andrew, said by email, declining to comment further on the arbitration because the proceedings are confidential. A spokesman for Danjuma declined to comment.

Read more: Behind the Multibillion-Dollar Legal Award Nigeria Calls a Sham

Danjuma, 83, amassed a fortune after retiring from the army as a senior general in the late 1970s and going into business. He founded South Atlantic Petroleum Ltd., which holds a 15% interest in two oil fields that produce about 200,000 barrels of crude a day. Danjuma also served as Nigeria’s defense minister from 1999 to 2003.

Tita-Kuru and British Virgin Islands-registered P&ID worked together from 2006 on an unsuccessful project to build a gas-processing plant. Danjuma’s firm claimed in a 2019 letter sent to Nigeria’s anti-corruption agency that P&ID presented work that cost Tita-Kuru $40 million to win its deal with the government. Nigeria repeated that argument in July to a UK court, where it seeks to overturn the multibillion-dollar arbitration award that P&ID won five years ago.

President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration is now preparing for a London trial in January, during which it will try and prove that P&ID secured the gas-supply contract and arbitration award through bribes and lies.

No Wrongdoing

P&ID denies all allegations of wrongdoing and accuses the government of evading its legal obligation to pay it compensation.

While P&ID was entitled to use the design work paid for by Tita-Kuru for the facility it intended to build under the contract with the state, most of the plans ultimately were “not required,” the company said in its response to the government’s allegations in September.

Nigeria’s Attorney General Abubakar Malami said in a witness statement in June 2020 that an earlier settlement struck between Tita-Kuru and P&ID “may have involved” the ex-minister “receiving the right to some form of equity stake” in P&ID and therefore an interest in the company enforcing the award.

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Nigerian athletes convicted for fraud after FBI investigation

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Nigeria’s athletics federation says last week’s conviction of two of its athletes for their part in a fraud scheme uncovered by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is “sad and damaging” for the country.

On 10 November, Emmanuel Ineh and Toluwani Adebakin were convicted for transferring tens of thousands of dollars to the West African country as part of what the American justice department called “a complex fraud scheme”.

Prosecutors said the scheme involved athletes from multiple higher-learning institutions in the USA, with African Under-18 triple jump record holder Ineh, 23, and sprinter Adebakin, 25, operating part of the conspiracy while team-mates at William Carey University in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.

“It’s really sad and damaging, not just to the image of the sport or federation, but Nigeria as a country,” Dare Esan, a board member of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN), told reporters.

Two Nigerian athletes, Toluwani Adebakin and Emmanuel Ineh, convicted for  fraud in the U.S., to serve 10yrs imprisonment

Emmanuel Ineh and Toluwani Adebakin were convicted for transferring tens of thousands of dollars to the West African country as part of what the American justice department called “a complex fraud scheme”.

“This kind of action could potentially affect other young athletes seeking scholarships to American schools. It dents the incredible achievements other honest athletes have created in the world.

“But we know America is a country with justice and fairness, so whoever is found guilty will be punished and made to pay the price for their own actions.”

Following the FBI’s investigation, the pair pleaded guilty to violations of the United States code, having engaged in unlawful activities and having ‘sent tens of thousands of illicitly obtained proceeds to fraudsters in Nigeria as part of a larger mail fraud, wire fraud, and money laundering conspiracy’.

Both defendants are scheduled to be sentenced on 15 February next year in Hattiesburg, and face a maximum penalty of ten years in prison.

“Sadly, wire fraud and other criminal activities are not limited to athletics but have become a national problem that must be fixed,” said Esan.

“Imagine someone like Ineh, who’s won an African [Youth] Games medal, to be caught up in this? You allow yourself and bank details to be used for fraud and decide to derail your career – for what?

“It’s sad and disappointing to see young athletes with great potential go this route in life.”

Sentencing set for February

A federal district judge will determine any sentence for Ineh, who finished in eighth place at the 2018 African Athletics Championships, and Adebakin, whose career has not shown such promise, after considering sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors.

Ineh is one of Nigeria’s fast-rising long jump and triple jump talents, having moved to the University of Alabama earlier this year.

An African Youth Games silver medallist and continental age champion in the triple jump in 2018, his 8.16 metre long jump mark set last year remains the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) record.

Adebakin graduated from the University of South Florida in May with a dual degrees, a master’s degree in sports entertainment and an master’s in business administration (MBA).

He spent two years at William Carey University and won a national championship in the 4x400m relay.

♦ Culled from the BBC

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