The Honorary President, ECOWAS Network of Election Commissions (ECONEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, has described the network as a vital instrument in successful conduct of credible election in West Africa sub-region.
ECONEC is an umbrella body of Election Management Bodies (EMBs) in West Africa.
He said ECONEC was one of the best things at bilateral level that happened to good governance in West African countries.
Yakubu said the network working with international communities and development partners had been instrumental in facilitating smooth collaboration among key stakeholders such as the media, civil societies and the judiciary in member countries during the conduct of elections.
He said that ECONEC had also been helpful in addressing various challenges confronting different member countries while conducting major elections.
“For instance, when we went to Liberia, there was an issue of budget. We had a meeting with the electoral commission and we visited the parliament.
“I am happy to say that a day after we met the Senate President and Speaker of the House of Representatives, the budget was passed.
“Thereafter we met Mrs Johnson Sirleaf, the former president and fund was made available for the conduct of the electoral commission.
“We talked with the United Nations Mission in Liberia, they also provided a lot of logistics assistance,” he said.
Yakubu also said that by ECONEC interaction with international communities and development partners, electoral assistance were also provided to countries such as Benin Republic, Niger, Sierra Leone and Liberal during their elections.
“In the case of Sierra Leone, that was what led to the printing of voter cards which was a problem.
“As I said, among ourselves we have also been helping one another. Niger Republic had a problem of ballot boxes; Burkina Faso helped the country out in 2016,” he said.
Yakubu also said that Nigeria had been a force for good governance in West Africa, as Nigeria had being of help in providing some election logistics.
He said that based on request, INEC had also assisted countries, such as Sierra Leone, Guinea-Bissau, Conakry and Liberia, especially in the use of ICT for elections, voter registration and cleanup of voter register.
“One interesting development in Liberia is that after the election was inconclusive, there was a big problem with the register of voters.
“Because of what we did in ECONEC, the ECOWAS and UN specifically invited us to help with ICT experts to help clean up the voter register.
“It was the work done by three officers of INEC Nigeria that led to the cleanup of their voter register and conclusion of the elections in the Republic of Liberia.
“In a country like Guinea-Bissau for instance, they have not conducted elections for some time and presidential election as well.
“We were approached by the electoral commission in the country to assist with voter registration machines.
“We helped them with voter registration machines, conducted successful registration, leading to successful conduct of the parliamentary elections in March and the presidential election now scheduled for Nov. 24.,’ he added.
Senate labour committee lauds Buhari’s efforts on employment, economic development
Chairman, Senate Committee on Employment, Labour and Productivity, Sen. Benjamin Uwajumogu has commended President Muhammadu Buhari’s economic development agenda leading to current rise in employment figures in the country.
Uwajumogu gave the commendation in a statement he issued on Sunday in Abuja, while reacting to the July Purchasing Index Report (PMI) report of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
He said the index which showed sustained rise in employment level index for 27 consecutive months, was an indication of economic policies of the Federal Government and was yielding sustainable development and dividends for citizens.
The CBN PMI report was a statistical tool used by the apex banking institution to measure performance of economic growth in some sub-sectors of the economy.
The report also indicated expansion in the manufacturing sector for the 28th consecutive month with production level growing at 58.9 per cent.
Uwajumogu said the employment data was an indication of the success of the Economic Growth and Recovery Plan (EGRP) of the federal government, which was expanding the economic frontiers in different sectors.
He recalled that recently, an International economic rating agency based in USA, Fitch Solution predicted a 2.3 per cent growth in the country’s GDP.
Uwajumogu, representing Imo North Senatorial District, said the favourable prediction was an indication of a brighter economic outlook for Nigeria, as more Foreign Direct Investments would come into the country’s economy leading to increase in employment and productivity.
Uwajumogu assured that the 9th Senate of the National Assembly would cooperate with relevant Government agencies to sustain the economic policies.
He said that through effective legislation and oversight responsibilities, the lawmakers would drive improved employment opportunities for the growing young population.
Edited by Chioma Ugboma/Felix Ajide
Wase felicitates with Sultan of Sokoto at 63
In a congratulatory message on Saturday in Abuja, Wase described the monarch as an icon of peace.
The parliamentarian said that the sultan through his spiritual counsel brought peace and tolerance not only to Sokoto state but the entire nation.
“His Eminence has over the years demonstrated both in words and in deeds that he is a true man of peace by always preaching unity, mutual understanding and peaceful coexistence among the diverse ethnic and religious groups in Nigeria.
“As a spiritual leader and traditional ruler, you have over the years, distinguished yourself as an exemplary leader, traversing the length and breadth of the country, preaching peaceful coexistence and building bridges across religious and cultural divides.”
Wase prayed for many more years in good health for the sultan as he continued in his service of humanity and uniting the people of Nigeria.
Nov. 16 election: APC screens Lokpobiri, ex-INEC REC, 4 others in Bayelsa
The All Progressives Congress on Saturday screened the immediate past Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Sen. Heineken Lokpobiri.
Similarly, the party screened the immediate past Cross River State Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) of the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) Frankland Briyai for Nov. 16 governorship election in Bayelsa.
Nigeria News Agency, reports that others, who were screened by the Mr Ita Isong led National Screening Committee include a former female Commissioner of Police, Deseye Poweigha, Ebitimi Amgbare, David Lyon and Preye Aganaba,
Earlier, Isong assured all the aspirants of a level playing ground to ensure a smooth primary of the party on Sept. 29 andl the election.
Speaking with journalists after the screening, the former Cross River REC, Frankland Briyai, and former Minister, Heineken Lokpobiri, said that they were satisfied with the outcome.
Lokpobiri said: ”Well, the screening committee did an excellent job, out of the seven aspirants, I happen to be the last person to be screened and I think the process went very well.
“If I don’t get the ticket, I will definitely cooperate with the party. Am a party man.
“Ultimately, other aspirants are expected to rally round whoever gets the party ticket, so that we can work together for the party.”
On his part, Briyia, reiterated his earlier promises to led Bayelsa industrial revolution as he had been a leader with proven integrity and commitment.
He said: “Bayelsa needs somebody who could share, who could build, who could lead.
“I have been a leader in my post primary school and tertiary school, even in my places of work I have quite outstanding qualities that make me believe that when I win and become the governor of Bayelsa, citizens will experience the best of life.”
Go, change narratives about womanhood – Mrs Akeredolu charges BEMORE girls
Wife of Ondo State Governor, Mrs Betty Akeredolu, has advised girls who participated in the BEMORE Summer Bootcamp to go back to their homes and change the narratives about womanhood.
She enjoined the girls to proclaim what they were taught at the camp and impact the society positively.
She also urged them to introduce a ‘Weekend Democracy Meeting’ to their families, where some of the things they had learnt would be shared with others for good living.
According to the governor’s wife, she is determined to focussing on the young girls who are malleable and not yet polluted with tribalism and rabid religiosity which are common with many Nigerians.
“I’m determined to equipping them with the tools to succeed and protecting them from harm, and all manners of physical abuse.
“I am certain that this will lead them to becoming leaders, not only in technology, but in all endeavours, especially in politics where their voices are desperately needed to sit at the table of decision making,” she said.
The governor’s wife said BEMORE was structured to chart a new course and serve as a grooming ground for a new breed without greed.
She explained that the girls were taught to be selfless, good mannered, advocate of causes of their choice, especially those related to the uplift of women.
“They were also trained to be proficient in their chosen professions,” she said.
Mrs Akeredolu tasked the girls to return to their various communities and initiate positive changes without being bothered by the high and mighty that might confront them when practising what they had learnt in the camp.
The Nigeria News Agency reports that the over 250 girls, selected across the state, were trained on ICT, solar energy, taekwondo and various skill acquisitions.
Edited by Moses Solanke and ‘Wale Sadeeq
Be selfless, patriotic in discharging your duties, CLO charges new ministers
The Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO) has charged members of the newly-constituted Federal Executive Council (FEC) to be selfless and patriotic in the discharge of their duties in order to improve the conditions of the citizenry.
Mr Vincent Ezekwueme, Chairman of the Anambra State chapter of the organisation, gave the charge on Saturday in Enugu while speaking with the Nigeria News Agency on the expectations of Nigerians from the new federal cabinet.
Ezekwueme urged the new ministers to work relentlessly in order to restore the trust and hope of Nigerians in government and earn their respect.
According to him, they must engrave their names in the heart of the citizens by being catalysts for positive change.
“They must promote and provide good governance, transparency, accountability, public interest, welfare and fear of God. Passion for betterment of the country and its citizenry must also be their moving spirit.
“The new ministers must be more effective, efficient, prudent, assiduous, conscientious and upright in the discharge of their national duties,’’ he said.
The CLO boss urged citizens to hold them accountable and tell them what they needed to know rather than what they wanted to hear.
“Holistic implementation of government policies and programmes in words and actions, not political rhetoric, is the greatest and best expectations of Nigerians.
“This is the precondition for the true democratic governance which our people have been yearning for,’’ he added.
Edited by Chioma Ugboma and ‘Wale Sadeeq