The President-elect of Gambia, Adama Barrow, is alive contrary to rumours of his assassination on social media.
Multiple sources in Gambia confirmed to PREMIUM TIMES that Mr. Barrow is alive.
Jeffery Smith, a journalist with Vanguard Africa, confirmed that Mr. Barrow was alive.
Another Gambian journalist, Demba Kandeh, also confirmed same to PREMIUM TIMES.
Mr. Barrow has remained in Gambia to ensure he is sworn in as president on January 19 after he defeated outgoing leader, Yahya Jammeh, in the December 1 election.
Mr. Jammeh, who initially conceded to his opponent, later recanted and has since vowed to stay on in office.
President Muhammadu Buhari is currently leading a West African, ECOWAS, mediation asking Mr. Jammeh to step down.
The Nigerian government on Wednesday said it still hoped to resolve the Gambian conflict peacefully after Mr. Jammeh accused ECOWAS of declaring war on Gambia by insisting that all options including military deployment were on the table to make Mr. Jammeh leave power.
U.S. 115th congress has re-elected Representative Paul Ryan as speaker of the House of Representatives on Tuesday, January 3 as a Republican-led Congress began a new session.
It was gathered that the Wisconsin congressman was elected on a vote of 239-189 and until his re-election, had served as speaker in October 2015, after his predecessor John Boehner retired following repeated revolts by House conservatives.
Meanwhile, The re-elected house speaker addressed 115th congress as he resume office immediately as leader of the house, swore in members of the floor.
All Heads of State and Government of the ECOWAS member countries have resolved to attend the inauguration of the Gambian President-Elect, Adama Barrow, on January 18, 2017, in conformity with the Gambian constitution.
According to a communiqué presented at the end of the 50th Ordinary Session of the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government held in Abuja on Saturday, the out-going President Yahya Jammeh must uphold the result of the December 1 presidential election in the country and must guarantee the safety and protection of the President-elect.
“The Authority calls on President Yahya Jammeh to accept the result of the polls and refrain from any action likely to compromise the transition and peaceful transfer of power to the President-Elect,’’ the communiqué added.
The Authority also appointed President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria and his Ghanaian counterpart as Chief Mediator and Co-Mediator respectively in the Gambian political impasse.
The governor of Rivers state, Barrister Nyesom Wike has been reported to have made a call to INEC officials with some elements of threats prior to the Rivers state re-run elections of Saturday, December 10, Vanguard learnt.
According to Vanguard, an audio recording making the round on social media was alleged to have been the voice of the current governor of the South south state.
Information has it that the governor threatened fire and brimstone if the electoral body did not do his wish since he had done some settlement and entered into a deal with INEC officials.
President Muhammadu Buhari, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf of Liberia, who is the current chair of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), and President Ernest Bai Koroma of Sierra Leone, arrived this morning in Banjul, capital of the Gambia, for talks aimed at averting chaos and violence in the impoverished West African country.
Earlier, Ghana’s President John Dramani Mahama, who was last week defeated in a presidential election, had arrived in Banjul to join the peace effort by President Buhari and the other leaders. A source told SaharaReporters that President Idris Derby of Chad should join the high-powered UN/AU/ECOWAS delegation later today, Tuesday, December 13.
The Gambia was thrown into uncertainty after the country’s longtime ruler, Yahya Jammeh, who had conceded his defeat in a presidential election held a week and a half ago, suddenly reversed course a few days ago, alleging in a national broadcast that the elections had been rigged.
Mr. Jammeh also demanded fresh polls to be conducted by what he called an impartial and “God-fearing” electoral commission.
A statement issued today by President Buhari’s spokesman, Femi Adesina, disclosed that the visiting West African leaders would meet President Jammeh, who first came to power in a military putsch in 1994, at the CoCo Ocean Resort and Spa, Banjul.
In a break with protocol, Mr. Jammeh failed to be at the airport in Banjul to welcome the visiting leaders. Instead, he sent Gambian Vice President, Isatou Njie-Saidy, to receive Mr. Buhari and the other West African heads of state. A source close to President Buhari told SaharaReporters that the Nigerian leader, who has close personal relationship with the mercurial Gambian president, was “slightly taken aback” by Mr. Jammeh’s absence at the Banjul airport to welcome the visiting delegation.
In a sign that the peace talks may not go smoothly, Gambian and Nigerian sources told SaharaReporters that Mr. Jammeh has been demanding a power-sharing arrangement with the winner of the presidential election, Adama Barrow. But a spokesman for Mr. Barrow, a businessman, told SaharaReporters, “The Gambian people made a clear choice in the recent elections. Their choice did not include a scenario where outgoing President Yahya Jammeh would remain in power, even in a partial capacity. So we are not going to entertain the idea of sharing power.”
President Buhari and the ECOWAS delegation appear to share the same sentiment. Mr. Adesina’s statement disclosed, “President Buhari and the ECOWAS leaders will discuss the ensuing impasse in The Gambia with President Jammeh, and insist on the sanctity of the electoral process, and respect for the wishes of the people.”
The statement added that the visiting team of presidents “would also ask their host to respect the Constitution of his own country, and maintain the inviolability of an electoral process that had been concluded, and in which he had admitted defeat, and congratulated his main challenger.”
A prominent Gambian opposition politician told SaharaReporters that Mr. Jammeh’s response to the entreaty of the visiting West African leaders could shape the political atmosphere in the beleaguered Gambia. “If Jammeh remains intransigent after talks with the ECOWAS leaders, then this country [the Gambia] may inch closer to bloodshed that would do nobody, least of all President Jammeh, any good,” said the politician.
Mr. Adesina disclosed that Mr. Buhari and the visiting heads of state “are also scheduled to meet the President-elect, Adama Barrow.”
A Nigerian police officer, Alkali Mohammed, was beheaded during Saturday’s rerun election in Rivers State, PREMIUM TIMES has learnt.
Mr. Mohammed, a deputy superintendent of police, was killed during an ambush at Omoku, Onelga Local Government Area, CLEEN Foundation said in its report of the election. He was killed alongiside his police aide, the group which monitored the election and works closely with the police said.
Other police officers confirmed Mr. Mohammed’s death to PREMIUM TIMES. They said he was a member of the Mobile Police19 team in Port Harcourt and is a son of a retired police officer.
There were several cases of violence, ballot box snatching in the Rivers election to elect lawmakers that would represent the state in local and federal parliaments.
“We call on the Inspector General of Police to investigate all cases of voter harassments and intimidation during the elections, especially the alleged shooting to death of Mr. Mbari John MeeBari, killing of DSP Alkali Mohammed and his orderly who was beheaded during an ambush at Omoku, Onelga LGA,” CLEEN said in its report.
The police are yet to officially announce the killing of the officials. The Rivers Police spokesperson did not pick or return calls to his phone.
The candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, for Rivers South East senatorial district election, Magnus Abe, has been returned winner.
Mr. Abe becomes the first Senator-elect in the Rivers rerun polls held on Saturday, December 10.
Abe was declared winner by the INEC returning officer on Sunday evening.
He polled a total of 125,938 votes to defeat Olaka Nwogu of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, who garnered. 25,394 votes, INEC said.
PREMIUM TIMES had reported the widespread irregularities that characterised the elections including with active connivance of security officials.
Abe urges PDP to accept his victory
In his victory speech, Mr. Abe urged his opponents not to challenge his victory as declared by INEC, saying the people of the state had suffered.
At least three people died in the Saturday’s elections, and more died in the previous polls.
“I want to also say that Rivers State has suffered enough and that it is time for us to bring this contest to an end,” said Mr. Abe.
He then acknowledged his challenger, and asked Governor Nyesom Wike to congratulate him.
“I want to thank my friend and brother, Distinguished Senator Olaka Nwogu for his very kind and peaceful words, which he has expressed to the people of this state.
“I also want to use this opportunity to extend a hand of friendship to the executive Governor of Rivers State, Barrister Nyesom Wike and to say to him that he had promised that there was nothing personal in this contest and he has said that if I win he will congratulate me.
“The only barometer for measuring success in an election in this country is the declaration by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the commission has declared me the winner, I want to call on the governor to keep his words and send me his letter and words of congratulation because I have won,” said Mr. Abe.
Mr. Abe was first elected to Senate in 2011. In the 2015 general elections, he had lost a return bid to Mr. Nwogu; before the poll, like others in Rivers, was invalidated by the court, necessitating Saturday’s rerun poll.
One week after conceding defeat to opposition leader, Adama Barrow, Gambian President Yahya Jammeh on Friday, December 9 in a televised address to the country said he rejected the outcome of the election and called for fresh election conducted by a “God-fearing and independent electoral commission.”
Jammeh who has ruled the country for 22 years, by the announcement, has cast a shadow over the future of the small West African country after his televised phone call conceding defeat to the opposition leader led to wild celebration in major cities in the country and was hailed across the world.
“After a thorough investigation, I have decided to reject the outcome of the recent election. I lament serious and unacceptable abnormalities which have reportedly transpired during the electoral process,” President Jammeh said.
“I recommend fresh and transparent elections which will be officiated by a God-fearing and independent electoral commission,” he said.
The announcement cast an air of uncertainty around the capital of the country Banjul as people stayed indoors following Jammeh’s threat to deal severely with protesters.
The head of the country’s army, Ousman Badjie, told Barrow to pledge allegiance to Jammeh, the spokesperson of the opposition said.
The army has shown unshaken loyalty to Jammeh during the 22 years of his rule, which human rights groups said was characterised by torture, political detention and extra-judicial killings.
Analysts expect Jammeh, who is widely known for being erratic, to take decisions that may affect the safety of Barrow; but opposition spokesperson said the president-elect is fine.
“We are consulting on what to do, but as far as we are concerned, the people have voted,” Mai Ahmad Fatty told Reuters. “We will maintain peace and stability and not let anyone provoke us into violence.”
The electoral commission initially gave Barrow 45.5% of the vote against Jammeh’s 36.7% but later reviewed the result giving the opposition candidate a slimmer victory of 43.3% with less than 20,000 votes over the incumbent.
Early in the week, leaders of the opposition party had threatened to stop Jammeh from leaving the country after he hands over. They suggested that he might be imprisoned for the alleged human rights violations committed during his long tenure.
Analysts believed the threat of imprisonment might have forced Jammeh to rescind his earlier decision conceding defeat.
In a swift reaction to the announcement, neighbouring Senegal called for an emergency UN Security Council meeting. Senegal is currently a non-permanent member of the Security Council.
The country’s foreign minister, Mankeur Ndiaye, in a televised address called on Jammeh to respect the wishes of the electorate and not to do anything to harm the interest of the country or its citizens in the Gambia.
Similarly, the United States Department of States has released a statement warning the current president to ensure smooth and peaceful transition of power.
Describing Jammeh’s televised statement as “reprehensible and unacceptable breach of faith with the people of Gambia”, the U.S. government called on Jammeh to carry out an orderly transition of power to Barrow in accordance with the constitution of the country.
“The people have spoken and it is time for the Gambia to come together to ensure a peaceful transition to President-elect Barrow,” the statement read.
The Supreme Court has dismissed the bid by Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal to stop a court’s action challenging the propriety of his nomination for the 2015 governorship election by the All Progressive Congress (APC).
The Supreme Court held that the nomination of Tambuwal by his party should be challenged by another governorship aspirant, Umaru Dahiru, on the ground that he has sufficient justifiable cause.
In a unanimous decision of a five-man panel of the Supreme Court Justices, the Apex Court held that to agree with Governor Tambuwal that the primary election that produced him cannot be challenged by another governorship aspirant is to allow democracy to be murdered by the governor.
In the lead judgement by Justice Musa Mohammed, read by Justice Chima Nweza, the apex court set aside the decision of the court of appeal that the court action instituted by Dahiru against Tambuwal had been overtaken by events on the strength of the election of the governor.
The Supreme Court said the Appeal Court erred in law by holding that the event had overtaken the case simply because the governorship election had been conducted after the primary election.
The Apex Court therefore ordered that a Federal High Court in Abuja should retry the case on its merit and make decision as demanded by law.
Dahiru had challenged the conduct of the primary election that produced Tambuwal as candidate of APC on the ground that it was fraught with fraud because the original list of the delegate for primary election was swap in favour of Tambuwal.
By this development, the Federal High Court in Abuja will now determine the matter on its merit as ordered by the Supreme Court.