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Contrary to earlier denials, embattled ministerial nominee, Musiliu Obanikoro, has confessed to several Senators in Abuja that he did participate in an election-eve meeting in Ekiti in June 2014 in which a group of politicians and government ministers met with a Nigerian army general to rig the governorship election in favor of Ayodele Fayose, the candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).

The meeting, which is now known as “Ekitigate”, was secretly taped by an army captain who was subsequently forced to flee for his life.

Despite the scandal, President Jonathan went ahead to nominate Obanikoro into his cabinet for the second time, and the nominee is lobbying the Senators to give him a pass during his upcoming nomination hearing.  It is in the process that he has confessed to some of them that he was indeed present at the rigging meeting in Akure, on behalf of the President, to ensure that everything went smoothly.

Obanikoro’s story is that he was simply making “peace” between the army and Ayo Fayose at the meeting, claiming that he was not party to any conversation about rigging.  On the contrary, Obanikoro, who was at the time junior Minister for Defence, is overheard clearly on the tape bragging about the authority granted him by President Jonathan.

Prior to admitting his involvement to the Senators, the former minister met with President Jonathan to discuss the tape and his role. A presidency source said Obanikoro told President Jonathan he was present at the meeting but that a part of the audio-recording was “doctored”.

They said President Jonathan had called him to the meeting to discuss how to mitigate the damage created by the leaked tape.  He told the Senators categorically that it was Jonathan himself who had sent him to Ekiti to help Fayose win the election.  On the tape, Obanikoro says, at least twice, that he is on a “mission” for the President.

He also reportedly told President Jonathan at their meeting that he had asked his US-based lawyers to do a separate voice analysis of the tape and that the lawyers came back with “proof” that certain aspects of the tape had been doctored by SaharaReporters to make the regime look bad.  Counting on that assurance, President Jonathan told a team of reporters from the Wall Street Journal during an interview that the tapes were not real and that he would not investigate the incident.

Obanikoro also told President Jonathan that his US-based lawyers had assured him that they could file some cases against SaharaReporters in the US to “teach SaharaReporters and its publisher, Omoyele Sowore” a lesson. He explained to the president that with enough financial support, his lawyers would file the case and also employ private detectives to take down SaharaReporters. President Jonathan reportedly nodded at the idea, and asked Obanikoro not to worry.

Following that meeting, the former Minister began a series of legal threats last week claiming to have sued SaharaReporters, as well as The Punch newspaper and Premium Times, both in Lagos.  Up until now, those newspapers are yet to be served copies of the lawsuit.

On Tuesday night, Obanikoro, who is also a US citizen, assured some of the Senators that his US lawyers had already filed the libel suit against SaharaReporters in New York.

On Wednesday, Obanikoro deployed a small rented a crowd of protesters to hold placards in front of the National Assembly to denounce the All Progressives Congress.

It is to be noted that two other key participants at the meeting, Police Minister Jelili Adesiyan and Ayo Fayose, the beneficiary of the Ekiti governorship rigging, have admitted that they were at the meeting that was taped by the army captain.

For Obanikoro’s role in the rigging of the election, APC has advocated his being banned from holding any public office, and asked the Senate not to confirm him.  Mr. Jonathan is known to have re-nominated Obanikoro as his prize for stepping down from the PDP governorship race in Lagos.

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ISWAP abduct six girls in Chibok

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Terrorists suspected to be members of the Islamic State for West African Province (ISWAP) on Tuesday night, reportedly attacked the Yimirmigza village in Chibok Local Government Area of Borno State, abducting three young girls in the raid.

The state police spokesman, ASP Sani Kamilu Mohammed who confirmed the attack, said the insurgents stormed the village at about 10 pm after the people had retired for the night and started shooting sporadically.

Mohammed added that the insurgents have made contact with the family of one of the abducted girls, telling them to forget them as they would never be released unless their commanders think otherwise.

Chibok community has been the epicenter of many attacks by insurgents beginning with the Boko Haram sect with the famous abduction of 276 students at Government Girls Secondary School on 14 April, 2014, which drew serious consternation worldwide.

Since that abduction, there have been a series of other attacks and kidnappings in Chibok, a mainly Christian community located in the southern part of Borno State.

 

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Ban Christians without PVCs from receiving holy communion, Anglican Bishop tells pastors

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The Anglican Bishop of Asaba Diocese, Justus Mogekwu, has called on Nigerian churches to insist on parishioners presenting their PVCs before participating in religious activities, including receiving holy communion.

He said it is the duty of Christians to “enthrone” good leaders by voting.

“Christians must actively get involved in politics to enthrone good governance at all levels. If men who are righteous and fear God are in power, the people rejoice,” said Mr Mogekwu during a sermon on Sunday, Nov. 14.

He added: “Pastors should ensure their members get their PVCs before they take communion and do other worship services in the household of God.”

He continued: “As communion is important to us as Christians, which makes us healthy, spirit-filled and very strong, it is such with the PVC that makes us enthrone good governance at any level.”

Mr Mogekwu then committed the coming elections into the hands of God, praying for good leaders who will move Delta State and Nigeria to a better place.

Similarly, the Delta branch of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) demanded that churchgoers get their Permanent Voters Card before engaging in worship at their respective churches.

This was made known by Kofa Ithanasius, the CAN chairman of the Patani local government area.

The clergyman added that Christians who refused to vote during the election had committed a sin and that children of God should not murmur or complain when evil men are in power.

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A 10-Year-Old Black Girl Commits Suicide After Racist Bullying at Elementary School

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A Salt Lake City mother says her 10-year-old daughter took her own life over the weekend after being bullied at school.

 

According to an attorney representing the family, Isabella “Izzy” Tichenor, who was also on the autism spectrum, was harassed by her classmates with racial slurs, called “smelly” and teased about being autistic.

The child’s mother, Brittany Tichenor, said she reported the bullying to her teachers at Foxboro Elementary School, but nothing was done.

“We don’t take umbrage with the children,” the family’s lawyer Tyler Ayres told KTLA.

“We take umbrage with the adults who chose not to do anything about it.

The adults who were in charge there should have taken these kids aside.”

Ayres added that the family is also worried for Izzy’s siblings, who attend the same school and have faced similar harassment.

About two weeks ago, the Davis School District, which includes Foxboro Elementary School, was reprimanded by the U.S. Department of Justice for not doing enough to address the widespread racial harassment of Black and Asian American students.

A federal civil rights investigation found hundreds of documented incidents where Black students were repeatedly called the N-word and other racial slurs by their peers from 2015 to 2020.

Black children also told investigators they were referred to as monkeys or slaves by their classmates and told to “go pick cotton.”

In their own investigation, Davis School District officials admitted that discipline data showed their staff treated non-white students differently than white students. However, according to the DOJ, the district did nothing to correct these disparities.

Black and Asian American students reportedly make up about 1 percent each of the approximately 73,000 students enrolled in the district.

In a statement, district spokesperson Shauna Lund said Foxboro Elementary School “worked extensively with the family” and claimed administrators handled the family’s reports of bullying appropriately.

“We, like everyone, are devastated by the death of this child,” Lund said. “Our hearts go out to the family.

Foxboro Elementary has worked extensively with the family and will continue to provide help to them and others impacted by this tragedy.”

On Tuesday (Nov. 9), several hundred people reportedly gathered for a vigil in Izzy’s honor. The hashtag #StandForIzzy also began circulating on social media to bring awareness to the tragedy.

“Even though my baby is gone, I’m going to make sure that I stand for Izzy,” her mother said.

“And I’m going to make sure — for voices that can’t be heard like hers — that this will never happen again to any kid.”

 

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