British High Commissioner Catriona Laing has urged Nigerians to turn out en masse and cast their votes in Saturday’s governorship and House of Assembly elections, to avoid voter apathy.
Laing gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Friday in Abuja.
She decried the attitude of some Nigerians who usually abstained from voting.
She said such attitude contributed to voter apathy and also posed hindrance to the growth of the nation’s democracy.
According to her, “if you do not vote you do not have your chance to choose leaders of your choice and even express opinion on matters bordering progress of the country.
”On the logistical challenges that we faced in the presidential elections, I had meeting with the INEC Chairman, alongside some fellow Ambassadors and we discussed in details on lessons learnt.
”The lessons focused on how to try and ensure apathy will be addressed in this election; we were reassured that INEC officials are working to ensure there were no logistical challenges.
”We talked about security and tried to ensure again that the Inspector-General of Police and other security agencies are there, to ensure people can vote, freely and fairly.
”This is all in the bid to deal with any form of intimidation, including of INEC officials.
”We picked up some intimidation going on in the previous election; any thugs or gangs who are trying to disrupt the elections, need to be dealt with or tackled,” Laing said.
The envoy defined voting to mean the only power that citizens had to enthrone good leaders and to bring about good governance in their country.
She also explained that voting was the fundamental right of every citizen from 18 years and above.
She mentioned that refusal by people to exercise their franchise could have negative impact on them, because their votes would not count.
She, however, reiterated her call on people that collected their Permanent Voters Card to come out and vote in election, to be able to follow up electoral processes and also guard against rigging.
Kogi, Bayelsa poll: Rep calls for adoption of electronic voting
Rep. Leke Abejide (ADC-Kogi) has called for the adoption of electronic voting to eliminate thuggery and violence and ensure free, fair and credible election in the country.
Abejide said this while responding to questions from newsmen during a briefing in Abuja on Tuesday.
“Politics is not a do-or-die. Fighting or causing mayhem and killing is barbaric and I condemn it.
“We are going to come up with electronic voting system where people can vote using their phones.
“In a case whereby someone is bringing the ballot box and it is snatched, we cannot get proper election with this system.
“We cannot get free, fair and credible election with the system of voting we use now,” he said.
He called on aggrieved parties to seek redress in court and also pledged his support to whoever emerged winner.
“We (minority caucus of the house) are displeased and totally against what happened in last Saturday’s election.
“We are not impressed with the mode of conduct of the election given that many lives were lost.
“The party will be going to the tribunal to seek redress; we support them wholly, totally in that drive to reclaim the mandate,” he said.
“Unfortunately, we have come to degenerate in this country with regards to how elections are conducted.
“The level of violence orchestrated in just two states is disheartening; it is something that really needs to be investigated and we are calling on Mr President to take action on that.
“We believe that these matters will be interrogated in court and we will seek redress in the court and we will know that our remedy will be granted by the court.
“We shall drive to make sure the Electoral Act has to be amended and the time is now. We need to address some of these imperfections manifested in very clear forms,” he said.
Edited by Ali Baba-Inuwa
Lagos lawmakers decry incessant seizure of farm products by Customs in Badagry
Lawmakers in the Lagos State House of Assembly on Tuesday decried the incessant seizure of farm products like coconuts from Badagry border community by men of the Nigeria Customs Service and other security agent.
The lawmakers also urged Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu to direct the state Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Mrs Lola Akande, to organise stakeholders’ meeting between the Customs officials and owners of the seized goods.
The Nigeria News Agency reports that the House’s resolution followed a motion moved by Mr Setonji David, representing Constituency Badagry II, over confiscation of farm products by the customs officers in the area.
David had, in his motion, called on the Comptroller-General of Customs, Hammed Ali, to direct his men to stop further harassment of coconut sellers within Badagry and its environs.
The assemblyman said that his people were “passing through hell” with the continuous harassment of members of the Lagos State Coconut Sellers and Traders Association by customs officials in Badagry.
He said the comptroller-general should direct the Coordinator, Border Drill Operations Team, Zone ‘A’ Ikeja, to immediately release the seized two trucks and pickup load of 1,450 bags of locally sourced coconut.
“On Oct. 27, two trucks and a pick-up car load of 1,450 bags of locally sourced coconuts on transit was seized by men of the Nigeria Customs Border Drill Operations Zone ‘A’ Ikeja.
“The seizure took place at the Agbara Customs Point after it had left the popular Agbalata Central Coconuts Market beside the Customs base in Badagry,” David said.
Contributing, Mr Wasiu Eshinlokun-Sanni, representing Lagos Island I Constituency, said that the activities of customs in Badagry was condemnable.
Eshinlokun-Sanni said that the action of the service could discourage the local farmers from performing their legitimate works in the area.
Also, Mr Olayiwola Olawale, representing Mushin II Constituency, spoke in support of the motion, sympathising with the affected residents and traders.
Olawale said that incessant seizure of farm products, not contrabands, from genuine farmers by customs officials was worrisome.
On his part, Mr Sanai Agunbiade, representing Ikorodu I Constituency, said that activities of the customs men were affecting farmers in the area.
Agunbiade said the way people were being harassed showed that something was wrong between the customs and owners of farm products in the area.
In his ruling, Speaker of the House, Mudashiru Obasa, directed the Clerk, Mr Azeez Sanni, to communicate the House’s resolution to the state governor for further action on the issue.
Edited by Olagoke Olatoye
Gov. Dickson rejects result of Bayelsa poll
Dickson disclosed this while addressing a world press conference in Yenagoa on Tuesday.
He maintained that the PDP did not lose the election as it was characterised by violence and widespread malpractices which were carefully documented.
Dickson, however, said he would set up a transition committee to work out modalities for smooth handover on Feb. 14, 2020.
“Our candidate, Sen. Douye Diri and the party chairman have been speaking about the charade called election that took place in Bayelsa on Saturday, and the invasion of our state by security forces.
“The dehumanisation of our people and how the majority of the areas and in places, where our people were denied the right to vote for the candidate of their choice.
“The story is all out there that what took place in the state on Nov. 16 was not a democratic election.
“So, today, I’m here to add my voice to all that has been said already, and it was so brazen, it has never been like this in this state before,” he said.
Dickson added: “I know that in 2015, we went through a very though time, there was displayed of federal might, but at least, it was not as bad as this.”
He said the endorsement of Mr David Lyon the governor-elect by ex-president Good luck Jonathan was regrettable and a ploy by the APC to strategically take over the state.
“Jonathan remains my oga and I respect him, but there are lots of efforts by certain interest to create a rift between us, there is no politician that has been there for the former president than me.
“He has also helped me but it is unfortunate that I am being misconstrued in this matter of the election, I tried to meet Jonathan for 16 times and he opted to support a candidate that does not wish me well.
“I will soon write my memoirs and people will have a fair view of what happened, the visit of some APC governors to Jonathan who congratulated the APC candidate without congratulating the candidate of his party.
“It is strategic for APC leaders to use Jonathan to legitimise the illegitimacy that happened on Saturday,” Dickson said.
Edited by Ali Baba-Inuwa
LASG approves establishment of 173 private schools
The Lagos State Government, through the Ministry of Education, has given approval for the establishment of 173 private schools across the state’s five divisions.
The Commissioner for Education, Mrs Folasade Adefisayo, made this known while issuing letters of approval to the beneficiaries in Ikeja.
Adefisayo said in a statement released on Tuesday that the approval for the private schools was part of efforts to entrench inclusiveness in the education sector.
She said that the present administration was willing to partner with critical stakeholders in the Private Education Sector, as a catalyst to take education in the state to the next level.
“Despite the fact that the number of schools in Lagos, especially in the private sector, has increased tremendously, the yawning gap between demand and supply clearly shows that more schools are needed to meet our educational target.
“We need more private schools to come on board for us to be able to cater to the ever-increasing educational needs of a fast-growing metropolis like ours,” the commissioner said.
Adefisayo urged all school owners to reflect excellence in their service delivery, integrate 21st century skills into their teaching methods and to make provision for special students.
She urged school owners to employ only qualified teachers, emphasise digital literacy and adhere to the recommended curriculum for teaching.
The Director, Private Education and Special Programmes, Mrs Adetutu Adebowale, said that there was the need for school owners to maintain the standard that earned them the approval of the state government.
Adebowale said that private school operators could not afford to fail in their complementary role needed to move the sector to greater heights.
Responding on behalf of the private nursery and primary schools, Mrs Chinyelu Anidebe, a school proprietor, urged the ministry to always make the new curriculum available on time.
Anidebe called on the ministry to update the current curriculum and initiate enlightenment programmes aimed at dissuading parents from encouraging their children to skip primary six.
In the same vein, another proprietor, Capt. Femi Olaiya, representing the secondary school subsector, encouraged the ministry to utilise all available media to disseminate information on the criteria for approval to school owners and to also hasten the process.
Editing by Oluyinka Fadare/Oluwole Sogunle
Buhari, APC governors, others to attend policy synergy parley in Jos – PGF DG
President Muhammadu Buhari, 19 governors under the platform of All Progressives Congress (APC) and other relevant stakeholders will attend the third Federal Government-Progressive Governors’ Forum (PGF) parley on Policy Synergy, holding in Jos on Nov. 25.
Mr Salihu Lukman, the Director-General of PGF, said this in a statement issued on Tuesday, in Abuja.
He said that the parley was to ensure synergy between State and Federal Governments to reposition local governments for excellent service delivery, to achieve the fundamental goals of local governance.
According to Lukman, the parley, with the theme: “Strengthening Public Service Delivery”, will focus on five key areas: internal security, education, transport, health and social investment.
“The aim is to facilitate the development of a commonly-shared service delivery framework for local governments, effective oversight from states and synergy with the Federal Government.
“This will reposition the local governments for excellent public service delivery to achieve the fundamental goals of local governance,” the director-general said.
He added that the Ministers of Internal Affairs, Transport, Education, Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management, and State for Health will make presentations at the parley.
“Some agencies under the above ministries like Primary Health Care Development Agency, Universal Basic Education Commission, Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit and Economic and Financial Crimes Commission will join the ministers to highlight priority issues,” he said.
Lukman further said that these would be considered as components of the commonly-shared service delivery framework for local governments in all APC states.
“President Muhammadu Buhari will be the Special Guest of Honour. Participants expected at the parley include 19 progressive governors, principal officers of the National Assembly and APC legislators.
“Ministers of Internal Affairs, Transport, Education, Humanitarian Affairs and Minister of State for Health are also expected.
“Other participants are the EFCC Chairman, Director, Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit, Executive Secretary, Universal Basic Education Commission (UBE), Executive Secretary, National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHDA) and many other government functionaries from the 19 APC-controlled states,” he said.
Lukman said that at the end of the parley, some understanding would emerge on required actions needed to institute commonly-shared service delivery framework for local governments.
According to him, this will influence programmatic relations between the Federal Government and APC-controlled states in the area of strengthening local governance.
“Some new initiatives that APC states can act upon towards instituting new efficient management models will also emerge for the PGF’s further consideration and approval,” he said.
Edited by Abiemwense Moru and ‘Wale Sadeeq
Lagos Assembly desires to pass budget before year end — Lawmaker
Mr Rotimi Abiru, the Chief Whip, Lagos State House of Assembly, says the lawmakers desire to pass the state’s 2020 Appropriation Bill before the end of the year, but require the cooperation of the executive arm during the budget defence to do so.
Abiru, representing Somolu Constituency II in the house, made this known to newsmen on the sideline of the 2019 Annual National Delegates’ Conference of the National Association of Hansanrd/Verbatism Reporters of Nigeria in Lagos on Tuesday.
The house had referred the state’s 2020 proposed budget to the Appropriation Committee after it scaled through second reading during plenary on Monday.
Abiru urged the state executive arm to cooperate with the legislators during the budget defence so it could be passed before the end of the year.
The lawmaker said the proposed budget passed the second reading on Monday and it was their desire to ensure the budget was passed before the end of 2019.
He said that the house would require necessary documents from the executive that would assist them in the speedy passage of the budget.
Abiru said: “All I can say is that it is our desire to see that the budget is passed before the end of the year.
“We hope for a hitch-free process of the budget defence.
“More importantly, we also require the support of other members of the executive arm of government to avail us all necessary documents that will help us in the passage of the budget.
He said once that was done, the House would ensure that it passed it before the end of the year.
Edited by Shittu Obassa/Oluwole Sogunle
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