General news

Jega says improving integrity of elections critical to democratic growth



Prof. Attahiru Jega, former chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says that improving the integrity of elections is key to democratic development of any nation,

Jega said this in Ibadan on Thursday while delivering a lecture to mark the 71st Foundation Day and Convocation of the University of Ibadan.

The former INEC boss spoke on the topic: “Towards Credible Electoral Process and Sustainable Political Systems in Nigeria: What Role for Universities?”, said Nigeria could achieve greater integrity in its electoral process through the collaboration of stakeholders.

“It is generally recognised that fortifying democracy is vital to sustainable development, but what is not as widely acknowledged is that improving the integrity of elections is key to democratic development.

“Sustainable electoral process with requite integrity is the panacea for democratic development in Nigeria and in all African countries struggling with the challenges of democratisation.

“The Nigerian electoral process has historically been flawed and repleted with profound challenges in all three key phases of electoral administration pre-election, election and post-election phases.

“All stakeholders, therefore, must play a positive role in bridging these gaps,” he said.

The former INEC boss commended the role of the academia in raising the bar of electoral administration in Nigeria since 2011.

He, however, called for more collaboration by way of research, advocacy, training and mentoring of all actors involved, particularly in inventing in-house election-related equipment and technologies.

Jega also urged improvements for electoral integrity and sustainable democratic development through determined efforts, creative and innovative deployment of national resources and endowment.

He said improvements were needed in the areas of legal and regulatory framework for elections, utilisation of technology, inclusiveness, transparency, accountability and competitiveness.

Other areas, according to him, are citizens’ trust and confidence in the electoral process to motivate them for greater participation and nurturing of positive agents of democratic development through attitudinal reorientation.

“It is quite possible to bring about a thriving democracy in Nigeria in spite of evident challenges.

“It would only require a more serious and purposeful engagement with and in the electoral process by all the key stakeholders.

“To ensure that it brings the desired quality representation and elected public office holders who are responsible and responsive to the needs and aspirations of the citizens.

“And that would catalyse and nurture good democratic governance.”

Jega said inadequate and inconsistent legal framework for conducting elections had been used by some politicians to their advantage as well as insufficient and delayed funding for elections among other challenges.

Earlier, the Chancellor of the institution, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar lll, represented by the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Idowu Olayinka, said: “all of us should be interested in credible elections that are transparent, free and fair as a bedrock of participatory democracy.”

He commended the former INEC Chairman for his initiative of deploying lecturers in electoral administration in Nigeria.

He said this had proven to be good for our electoral process.

Also speaking, the Pro Chancellor of the university, Nde Joshua said Jega holds an excellent record when it comes to the history of good performance in electoral process in Nigeria.

“Truthfully, our universities have fundamental roles to play in bridging challenges in the electoral process.

“One role is to provide human capital for elections as credible elections are indispensable to the sustainability of our democracy.

“A viable electoral process is germane to the survival of our democracy.

Kogi and Bayelsa elections are examples that we need a policy that will not only dowse political tension, but will proffer solutions to the political imbroglio we are experiencing in the country presently,” he said.

Edited by Ese E. Ekama

General news

Lawmaker seeks CDAs support to enhance security



Mr Yusuf Mugu, a member of the Kaduna State House of Assembly has called on various Community Development Associations( CDAs) in his constituency, Kaura, to support in the fight against the incessant killings in the area.

Mugu,a member of PDP representing Kaura in the assembly made the appeal while reacting to the recent killings in Zunuruk and Tsonje villages in Kaura Local Government Area.

He told the Nigeria News Agency in Kafanchan on Friday that the CDAs and the security agents should work together,and fashion out ways of exchanging information and complaints between them.

Mugu also enjoined the affected communities to rise to the responsibility of securing their areas through the use of local vigilante groups and hunters to compliment the  efforts of security operatives.

“I advise the affected and neighboring communities to consistently alert and volunteer information to security operatives especially on suspicious movements and sounds. particularly during festive seasons to nip any ugly development in the bud.

“I must also caution against any attempt by members of all communities to take the law into their hands in the event of any provocation, instead, seek redress through the legal means,” he said.

The Lawmaker also called on Security operatives to redouble efforts at tackling insecurity, particularly the killings of innocent people of the communities.

Mr Derek Christopher, President of Kaura Youth Coalition also called for the deployment of additional security personnel to be stationed at locations vulnerable to attacks.

Christopher, who commended the communities’ efforts, also advised the residents against use of knockouts during the Christmas and New Year festivities adding such acts could raise tension in the communities.

Edited /Tukur Muntari.

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Edo Police Command arrests 50 suspects



The Edo Police Command on Friday said it had arrested no fewer than 50 suspects in connection with various crimes in the last three weeks.

The State Commissioner of Police, Mr Lawal Jimeta, told newsmen of the arrests in Benin, while highlighting the command’s achievements since his assumption of office in the state in November.

Jimeta said that those apprehended include 34 suspected cultists, six suspected fraudsters, five armed robbery suspects, four kidnap suspects as well as one suspect arrested for defilement.

He said that two vehicles, two barreta guns, 10 cut to size guns as well as three axes, four toy guns and 60 cartridges were recovered from the suspects.

The police commissioner urged citizens to be vigilant at all times and report clandestine activities in their domain for prompt attention of the police and other security agencies.

He said that since becoming the Commissioner of Police in the state, he had put in place strategies to ensure safety of lives and property in Edo.

Jimeta said the move was in line with the vision of the Inspector-General of Police, Mr Mohammed Adamu.

Edited by: Oluwole Sogunle


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Anambra FRSC warns tricycle operators against plying highways



The Anambra Command of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) has warned tricycle riders in the state to operate within the rules approved for their operations or risk severe sanctions.

Mr Andrew Kumapayi, the Sector Commander of FRSC in the state, said this while briefing newsmen on the ongoing special patrol and advocacy on the activities of tricycle operators in the state.

Kumapayi said the patrol, which is a joint operation with officials of Anambra Traffic Management Agency (ATMA), was meant to dislodge the “keke” riders from areas where they were constituting traffic nuisance in the cities of Awka, Onitsha and Nnewi.

He described keke riders’ encroachment on the expressway as dangerous to the motorists and themselves, saying that the command would no longer tolerate such indiscipline.

Kumapayi said that about 95 per cent of tricycle operators in Anambra had yet to obtain Class A Drivers’ License, which should give them the authority to do their business.

He said the process of issuing the licence included training of the riders on traffic rules and expected behaviour.

He said that the training would help to minimise the recklessness among keke operators in the state.

“The restriction of tricycle operators to the streets and hinterland is still in force.

“They are not permitted to ply the expressway, drop or pick passengers at certain places. It is an offence for them to operate on the expressway.

“We started an operation in the command to clampdown on the activities of tricycle operators, who constitute menace on our highways.

“It was a joint operation with operatives of Anambra Traffic Management Agency.

“We also want to ensure that all tricycle operators have Class A drivers license and ensure that their number plates are well fixed to help government’s security efforts.

“Tricycle operators in Anambra are mandated to have Class A drivers license before they can ply our roads.

“We are doing advocacy to enlighten them on these policies and enforcement shall commence soon.

“I want to regrettably inform you that about 95 per cent of these riders do not have Class A drivers license.

“So, in collaboration with the state Board of Internal Revenue, we agreed to have a special patrol across the state,” Kumapayi said.

The sector commander advised pedestrians to always use bridges while crossing the expressway.

He said that trying to dash across the highway rather than using the pedestrian bridge most times resulted in avoidable deaths.

(Edited by: Sam Oditah)


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Oyo govt. to support UNICEF on advocacy, enlightenment




Ibadan, Dec. 13, 2109 The Oyo State Government has expressed its readiness to support the advocacy and enlightenment programmes of UNICEF to further educate the public on the activities of the body.

Dr Wasiu Olatubosun, the state Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism, gave the assurance when a UNICEF team from its Southwest office visited him on Friday in Ibadan.

Olatubosun said the impact of UNICEF on children in the areas of education, health and social welfare was immeasurable.

He noted that the international body had contributed so much to the world, hence the need for the state to give it necessary support.

The commissioner promised that his ministry would deploy its online radio and other media platforms to project the activities of the body.

“UNICEF has done the world a great deal of good through positive impact in the protection of the rights of children to quality education, health, shelter and other necessities of life.

“Whatever it requires to support you, it will be provided by the ministry. In addition, the Gov. Seyi Makinde-led administration will always recognise the areas that UNICEF has made life easier for children.

“So it is a thing of pride for us to associate with the works of the body for a better world.” Olatunbosun said.

Earlier, the team leader, Dr Tushar Rane, said that UNICEF was happy to associate with the state for its welfare policies in education, health and social inclusion.

Rane sought for collaboration with the government to boost the programme and activities of UNICEF in the state.

Edited ‘Wale Sadeeq

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Film corporation trains 120 youths on entrepreneurship skills in Ekiti



The Nigerian Film Corporation (NFC) on Friday commenced a two-day training for about 120 youths in Ekiti on entrepreneurial, business and networking skills.

Declaring the entrepreneurial training open in Ado-Ekiti, the Head, Production and Industry Support Services, Mr Edmund Peters, said the training which was facilitated by Sen. Biodun Olujimi, (Ekiti South).

The training was part of Olujimi’s programmes aimed at addressing challenges of unemployment facing the nation’s youths.

Peters stated that it was developed to help young people achieve their career ambitions by providing guidance, support and assistance during their transition from school to meaningful employment.

He said that the training was the second to be facilitated and sponsored by the senator and had impacted positively in lives and directions on Nigerian youths.

“This is the second to be facilitated by Senator Olujimi with the first training for about 40 indigenes of her constituency (Ekiti South) and here we are for the second training.

“Youth empowerment has two broad modules; life and business skills. These are skills that young people are not taught in many Nigerian schools. The experience we have had so far showed that these young people are talented, but they need some help in understanding the best way to accomplish their goals.

“They have ideas of how to move this country forward with bankable business ideas. They need someone to guide them in the right direction to be able to actualise their full potentials,” he said.

The report of the training prepared by Dr Rosetta Nnsi, listed the areas of coverage to include: Film Production, Cinematography, Non Linear Editing, Script writing and Production Management.

Beneficiaries included: Producers, Directors, Cinematographers, Editors, Still photographers, Continuity, Digital and New Media, Production Managers and Scriptwriters.

The Managing Director of National Film Institute, Dr Chidia Maduekwe, urged participants to avail themselves the opportunities at the Institute where they could obtain diploma and higher degrees to the masters level in film production.

Maduekwe said the facilitators at the institute included Nollywood veterans and industry players as well as lecturers from the film institute.

The facilitator of the training, Olujimi urged beneficiaries to always strive to survive without white collar jobs, saying idle hands and minds were the devil’s workshop.

Represented by one of her aides, Mr Kunle Aina, the senator reiterated her commitment towards ensuring that youths in the state were given a new lease of life.

She promised that the training, which centered on youths across the 16 local government areas of the state, was to inspire them by unleashing their latent entrepreneurial skills and ideas for the benefit of Ekiti in particular and Nigeria in general.

She added that the goal was to motivate youths into a pool of individuals who would conceive business ideas, create employment opportunities and wealth.

The senator, however, stated that the programme would show to the world that Ekiti is home of intellectuals that were ready to showcase growth and sustainable development of entrepreneurs in the state.

Nigeria News Agency reports that the beneficiaries were picked across the three senatorial districts in the state with highest number from Ekiti south with 60 participants.

Edited by: Chioma Ugboma/Ismail Abdulaziz


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