Politics

Get your act right on logistics before Kogi, Bayelsa elections, CSOs tell INEC

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The Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room (NCSSR), has called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to put its act together, especially in terms of logistics ahead of the Kogi and Bayelsa governorship elections.

Mrs Esther Uzoma, Alternate Chair NCSSR, a coalition of 70 civil society groups made the call while presenting its Report on the observation of the 2019 general elections in Abuja on Tuesday.

Uzoma said that the call became imperative in order to avert                postponement of the election and delay in commencement of polls among others as observed in the last elections.

“Moving forward, for the Kogi and Bayelsa gubernatorial election, we expect INEC to get its act correct concerning deployment of materials particularly logistics.

“Already, Kogi and Bayelsa have certain reputable characteristics.

“They are prone to violence, so to be forewarned is to be forearmed so we have to start looking at how we can avert that extreme militarisation of the process.

“INEC should ensure there is no postponement, no abrupt start and stop because that creates apathy and charges the atmosphere.

“For Kogi and Bayels, we already know what to expect but we call for massive citizens’ participation which is always the panacea,’’ he said.

According to Uzoma, the political class is reckless, they have no rules, nor hold backs so they will do anything to win but when electorate rise up to say no it will save the day.

Mr Clement Nwankwo, Convener, NCSSR said that to effectively observe the 2019 Elections, the group deployed 4,000 field observers with additional 20,000 deployed by partners.

Nwankwo said that while the group acknowledges efforts made by INEC toward credible elections, there were still some adjustments to be made in terms of logistics etc.

He said the elections saw a record of 73 political parties, though the campaign was robust, several of the candidates on ballot failed to show that they were seriously competing in the elections.

He said there was militarisation of the electoral process as well as questions on the role played by executives and their negative effect on the credibility of the elections.

Nwankwo said going forward for subsequent elections, there was an urgent need for stakeholders to put in place processes to tackle the lapses that had been identified.

He said that there should be an independent inquiry into the poor management of the electoral process by INEC.

Nwankwo said this would help to address among other things challenges of procurement, logistics management, and role of security agents and abuse of process by INEC officials.

He urged INEC to work with CSOs to push for reforms in the electoral process.

According to him, the Electoral Act Amendment Bill declined by the president should be re-introduced early by the National Assembly and transmitted for assent.

Nwankwo said the Electoral Act should include altering Section 68 that gives unquestioning powers to Returning Officers to declare results for an election even where such officer might have done so dubiously or as a result of coercion.

He advised that criminal infractions committed en-route to the declarations of results should also compel the review of results announced from such incidence without requiring that remedial be only possible through litigation at either the election tribunal levels or in courts.

Nwankwo also advised the executives to commit to passing reforms proposed in the bill as well as champion a credible implementation of the recommendations in the 2018 Uwais Panel Report.

He urged the National Assembly to also fast-track the process of passing the Electoral Offences Commission Bill with attention to providing a more credible framework for political finance issues that ensures transparency and accountability.

He said the report would serve as a guide looking ahead to 2023 if expectations were not met in 2019.

He said that the expectations for 2023 were that whatever short-comings in 2019 would be dealt with through the recommendations for a credible 2023 elections.

Politics

I was not placed under house arrest — Oshiomhole

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The National Chairman of All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole, has denied reports that he was placed under house arrest in Edo

Oshiomhole debunked the reports while briefing newsmen at his residence shortly after receiving Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, who defected to APC

“I saw that they wrote a story that I was placed under house arrest. You can see l am here and not under any house arrest.

“I stayed away from Ize-Iyamu’s rally to sustain the peace of the party . I did not want to be blamed for any violence.

“God knows my heart, and he will help me and he has been helping me. We will sustain the governance of this state under the APC.

“With Edo people as our principals and our ultimate employers we are grateful for the support they have given us in spite of any weaknesses.

“Our party does not believe in rigging. We have entrenched the culture of one-man-one-vote, and the name of the game is persuasion not violence,” Oshiomhole said.

He, however, urged members of the party to enchew all forms of violence in order to sustain peace adding that there was no limit to being a member of APC.

He noted that while there was limit for being chairman, governor and tenure of president, there was no limit for being a member of the party.

According to him, once the members are united and comfortable, we will sustain the path of peace.

“That is why I stayed away from the rally.”

Edited by: Donald Ugwu

(NAN)

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General news

Lagos Assembly screens Sanwo-Olu’s 3 commissioner-nominees

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The Lagos State House of Assembly on Friday screened three commissioner-nominees   submitted by Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu.

The eight-member Ad-hoc Committee of the House also screened eight others nominated for the House of Assembly Service Commission and Lagos State Civil Service Commission.

The three commissioner-nominees screened by the House committee on Friday included Mr Ganiyu Ayuba, Mr Olugbenga Oyerinde and Bamigbose Martins.

The Nigeria News Agency recalls that the assembly had on Aug. 16, rejected three of the cabinet nominees presented to it for approval by Sanwo-Olu, necessitating their replacement.

Those rejected by the house included  Mr Ajayi Bembe, Mr George Obafemi and Prince Olanrewaju Sanusi.

The Committee’s Chairman, Mr Rotimi Abiru (Somolu II) said a total of 11 nominees were submitted by the governor to the assembly for screening and confirmation.

He said the eight other nominees included three for the state House of Assembly Service Commission while five for state Civil Service Commission.

Among those screened for the Assembly Service  Commission included Mr Akeem Bello, former member of the 8th Assembly, Mr Kabiru Lawal,  a member from 2007 – 2011 and Mr Richard Osungboye.

The nominees screened for the state Civil Service Commission were Mr Babatunde Seriki, Mr Avoseh Suru, Mr Adesina Odeyemi, Mrs Olubunmi Fabanwo and Mr Kamalrudeen Olorunoje.

NAN reports that other members of the screening committee were Mr Victor Akande (Ojo I), Mr Akeem Shokunle (Oshodi-Isolo I), Mr Desmond Elliot (Surulere I).

Others were Mr Bisi Yusuf (Alimosho I), Mr Noheem Adams (Eti-Osa I) , Mr Folajimi Lai-Mohammed (Ikeja I), Mr Ajani Owolabi (Lagos Mainland I).

Edited by: Chioma Ugboma/Wale Ojetimi

(NAN)

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Politics

Obaseki not ready for settlement — Oshiomhole

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The National Chairman of All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr Adams Oshiomhole, on Friday said that Gov. Godwin Obaseki of Edo was not ready for amicable resolution of the crisis rocking the party in the state.

Oshiomhole made this known while briefing newsmen in Benin shortly after receiving Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu in his residence in Benin

Oshiomhole said “the governor has been refusing and avoiding an all-inclusive meeting where all issues would have been tabled and resolved.

“Four governors volunteered to attend the meeting but he has consistently refused to attend the meeting.

“The only way to iron out issues is to sit down and listen to complaints.

“He should not worry about the ticket but how to win the heart of Edo people.

“The name of the game is persuation not violence.

“The men whose cars were burnt yesterday will never vote for them again. It is unheard of to refuse somebody into your party; politic is a game of numbers,” he said.

According to Oshiomhole, l have said it before that the deputy governor is doing damage to his principal.

“I have to pay the price by staying away from the APC rally,” he said.

The APC Chairman explained that he avoided the rally so that some persons would not have any excuse to go and  kill people and blame it on him.

“We will not go to their level; blood for blood is not our mantra,” he added.

The South South Vice chairman of the Party, Mr Hillard Etta, while presenting Ize-Iyamu to the national chairman of the party, said he was delighted to welcome lze-lyamu back to the party.

“I never imagined that one day I will be performing this function because lze-lyamu was my boss. I did not see this coming,” he said.

Also speaking, Pastor Ize-Iyamu thanked the national and state leadership of APC for welcoming him back home.

Ize-Iyamu said “l have always said that l am not coming to cause confusion in APC but to come and join in strengthening the house l helped to build.”

Edited by: Donald Ugwu

(NAN)

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Politics

Gov. Umahi presents N178 bn budget for 2020

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Gov. David Umahi of Ebonyi on Friday, presented a budget of N178.1 billion for 2020 to the state House of Assembly.

The budget was lower than the 2019 figure of 188.4billion.

Umahi while presenting the budget, tagged ‘budget of growth, consolidation and transformation, expressed appreciation to the House and other critical stakeholders who ensured the effective implementation of the 2019 budget.

The governor said that the budget has a recurrent expenditure of N46.08 billion representing 25.8 per cent and capital expenditure of N132 billion representing 74.1 percent.

“The increase in the capital expenditure is due to the borrowing from the African Development Bank (ADB) for the construction of the state ring road.

“It is pertinent to state that the fund is still with the ADB and not paid into the state’s accounts as the contractors will generate certificate and get paid directly from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN),” he said.

Umahi said personnel cost in the budget was N18.4billion with provisions for payment of the new minimum wage for workers in the state.

“I use this opportunity to urge the organised labour to hasten its negotiations with government on the minimum wage for its implementation.

“I have maintained that the minimum wage starts with the Local Government Areas (LGAs) because a chain is as strong as its weakest link.

“Whatever is agreed at the LGA level is what we will pay and I maintain that no LGA should spend more than 60 per cent of its earning on paying salaries.

“The World Bank has instructed that citizens must be part of budgeting which means that they must be accommodated in it with every fund of the state belonging to them,” he said.

Umahi noted that works and infrastructure has been allocated N54.1b (30.8 per cent) education—N27b (15. 21 per cent) health—N15.4b (8.6 per cent) human capital development and commerce and industry—N8.b (4.5 per cent).

“Agriculture will receive N3.7b ( 2.1 per cent) security—N2.6b (1.5 per cent) as the government desires to enhance the agricultural capabilities of the state and improve its general hospitals,” he said.

Mr Francis Nwifuru, the Speaker commended Umahi for painstakingly implementing the 2019 budget and its preceding ones and assured of the House continued collaboration for the good of the state.

“I urge my colleagues to ensure expeditious passage for the governor to consolidate on his infrastructural and other dividends of democracy bequeathed on the people,” he said.

Edited by: Ali Baba-Inuwa

(NAN)

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Politics

PDP extols Gov. Wike’s virtues

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The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has described Gov. Nyesom Wike of Rivers as an exceptional leader, with extraordinary commitment and sacrifice towards national stability and well-being of Nigerians.

PDP said this in a goodwill message issued by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan, on Friday in Abuja to congratulate Wike on his birthday.

“Wike is a fearless leader, whose staunch stand for justice, equity and fairness to all, has been a boost to the collective struggle by Nigerians for the restoration of democratic values and rule of law in the country.

“The PDP notes with delight that over the years, he has distinguished himself as a leader whose only interest in governance has been the well being of the people,” he said.

He prayed God to continue to bless Wike with many more years in good health for the people of Rivers and Nigerians at large to continue to benefit from his selfless service to the nation.

Edited by: Ali Baba-Inuwa

(NAN)

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