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LG Poll: Gov. Bello congratulates 25 newly elected chairmen

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Gov. Abubakar Bello of Niger state has congratulated the 25 newly elected chairmen of local government councils in the state and urge them to see their emergence as a call to selfless service.

Bello disclosed this in a statement signed by Mrs Mary Berje, his Chief Press Secretary in Minna on Monday.

He urged the new chairmen to be fair and just to all irrespective of political interests and urged them to remain focused on the plight of the neglected majority by providing them with good governance and service delivery.

Bello advised them to initiate policies and programmes that would generate more revenue to the LGAs in order to make them economically viable.

The governor noted that the impact of government policies cannot be felt by a larger number of people without viable leadership at the local government level, hence the need for them to live above board and make sacrifices.

“I congratulate you all once again and enjoin you to involve our traditional institutions and other relevant stakeholders in decision-making processes of your respective councils.

“The involvement will bridge communication gap and guarantee ease of governance, ” he said.

Bello urged the new chairmen as Chief Security Officers of their respective councils to be proactive and ensure that they maintain relative peace and stability for socio-economic and political progress of the people of the state

The Nigeria News Agency report that the Niger State Independent Electoral Commission (NSIEC) on Nov. 30, conducted election for chairmanship and councilors across the 25 Local Government Areas(LGAs) of the state.

Edited & Vetted By: Hawa Lawal/Ali Baba-Inuwa
(NAN)

Environment

World Evironment Day: Kano State Govt. to promote policy on environment and pollution

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Kano State Government says it will promote its policy on environment and pollution control as well as forestry and enforce compliance amongst the people.

The state Commissioner for Environment, Dr Kabiru Getso, made this known in Kano at a news conference to mark the 2020 World Environment Day.

Getso expressed the need to pay attention to biodiversity, conservation and restoration of degraded lands.

He also said that it was important to address issues of climate change, fight against dessertification and desert encroachment in the state.

“It is also vital to embark on more methods of pollution control, environmental sanitation, erosion and also prevent flooding,  ” he said.

The Commissioner further revealed the state government’s efforts at biodiversity conservation, saying that it had embarked on water conservation and provision of minor irrigation facilities in some local government areas of the state.

“We also call for collective efforts to conserve the ecosystem because land degradation is responsible for the decline in ecosystem service, food insecurity and reduction in the resilience of natural climate variability,” he said.

News Agency of Nigeria reports that the United Nations has set aside June 5 of every year to celebrate the World Environment Day globally.

The theme of the 2020 the World Environment Day is:  “Celebrate Biodiversity/Time for Nature”, with a focus on its role in providing essential infrastructure that supports life on earth and human development.


Edited By: Abdullahi Yusuf (NAN)

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Politics

Edo Gov. Poll: Rep Chinda chairs PDP screening committee

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Rep Kingsley Chinda, Obio/Akpor Constituency, Rivers, is to chair the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) screening committee for aspirants in its primaries for Edo governorship,  scheduled for Thursday.

This was disclosed in a statement issued by the party’s  National Organising Secretary, Col. Austin Akobundu (rtd) on Thursday in Abuja.

The National Working Committee (NWC) of the PDP approved the list of the screening committee.

Members of the screening committee are: Chief Oladimeji Fabiyi, Sen. Joy Emordi, Hajiya Aishat Hasindu, and Hon. Boyele Debekeme as Secretary.

Akobundu said  the screening exercise would hold at the NWC HALL, Wadata Plaza from 10 a.m.

The three aspirants that obtained the party’s nomination and expression of interest forms for the primaries were, Mr Kenneth Imansuangbon, Mr Omoregie-Ogbeide Ihama and Mr Gideon Ikhine.


Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Felix Ajide (NAN)

 

 

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Anambra poll: Aspirant urges PDP to reconsider zoning of ticket

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A governorship aspirant in Anambra, Mr Valentine Ozigbo, has urged the leadership of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) to reconsider its stance on the zoning of the 2021 governorship ticket.

Ozigbo, a former Chief Executive Officer of Transnational Corporation of Nigeria Plc, stated this during an online news conference on Thursday in Awka.

He said the yearnings of the people of the state was that the Anambra South Senatorial District should produce the next governor of the state.

The News Agency of Nigeria recalls that the party leadership had said at an expanded South-East Zonal Executive Committee meeting in March that it was not considering zoning of the governorship ticket to any of the three senatorial zones of the state, “at least for now’’.

The National Vice Chairman of the PDP for South East, Chief Austin Umahi, had made the declaration, shortly after the meeting in Enugu.

The meeting was attended by governors Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State, David Umahi of Ebonyi and the Deputy Governor of Abia, Senators Ike Ekweremadu and Sam Anayanwu and other current and past National Assembly members.

The governorship election will hold in November 2021.

According to Ozigbo, for the party to have turned down the zoning of the governorship race does not augur well for the people of Anambra South Senatorial District.

“If the proper things are done and the race zoned to Anambra South Senatorial District, I will win the party primary and become the next governor of the state by the grace of God,’’ he said.

He, however, said that in spite of his party refusal to zone the race, he would still contest and win.

He said he was not afraid to contest against any candidate, including the ex-governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo.

“If my party gives me the governorship ticket and Soludo emerges in APGA or any other party, I will floor him.

What Soludo has, I have more.

It’s Soludo that will be bothering on how to beat me in the contest because I have the wherewithal and connection to contest and win the election.’’

Expressing confidence that he would emerge the consensus candidate of the PDP, Ozigbo said he had the goodwill of the majority of the party’s leaders in the state.

“I don’t have a godfather; God is my godfather but I have the goodwill of the leaders of our party.

“Some have linked me with Mr Peter Obi, Chief Chris Uba, Prince Nicholas Ukachukwu and a host of others.

That shows I’m popular across the board,’’ Ozigbo said.


Edited By: Joe Idika/Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)

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Foreign

Finland’s Social Democratic Party gains popularity: poll

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The support for the Finnish Social Democratic Party (SDP) rose to 23.2 percent, showed a poll commissioned by the national broadcaster Yle and published on Thursday.

In the poll, the support for SDP rose by 1.1 percentage points, while support for the Center Party went down by 1.5 percentage points to 10.7 percent, which means SDP has further increased its lead over its main partner, the Center, in the current five-party coalition cabinet. The Green Leagues, also in the cabinet, surpassed the Center as well in the poll.

Tuomo Turja, research director of the Taloustutkimus, one of Finland‘s leading market research companies, noted on Yle that the speed of the ten percentage point increase in the popularity of the SDP since last December is unprecedented.

Local commentators have noted that the government’s handling of the COVID-19 crisis has increased its popularity on the whole. However, the Center has not benefited from it.

Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin represents the SDP, while Finance Minister Katri Kulmuni is chairman of the Center party.

The poll led to an open statement by the centrist parliamentary leader that the party could leave the cabinet. Antti Kurvinen, chairman of the Center Party Parliamentary Group, said on Yle that the party must get its policy goals through in the autumn, otherwise it may not continue. Kurvinen insisted that the government must agree on the “renewal of the labour market” to increase employment.

In the meantime, support for the Finns Party rose to 18 percent, surpassing the conservative National Coalition Party.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

S.Korean president’s approval rating stays high at 58.9 pct: poll

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South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s approval rating fell slightly this week, but stayed high around 60 percent in recent weeks, a weekly poll showed Thursday.

According to the Realmeter survey, support for Moon edged down 1 percentage point from a week earlier to 58.9 percent this week.

The support score had hovered above 60 percent for five straight weeks, before falling to 59.9 percent last week.

The negative assessment on Moon’s conduct of state affairs inched up 0.2 percentage points over the week to 35.5 percent this week.

Support for Moon’s ruling Democratic Party rose 0.7 percentage points to 42.8 percent.

The main conservative opposition United Future Party gained 27.5 percent of support this week, up 1.2 percentage points from the previous week.

It was followed by the minor center-left Open Democratic Party with 5.1 percent, the minor centrist People’s Party with 3.8 percent and the minor progressive Justice Party with 3.0 percent.

The results were based on a survey of 1,510 voters conducted from Monday to Wednesday. It had plus and minus 2.5 percentage points in margin of error with a 95 percent confidence level.

(XINHUA)

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Politics

INEC to voters: Don’t wear party-branded face masks to polling units

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Ahead of the governorship elections scheduled to hold on Sept. 19 and Oct. 10, INEC has warned voters in Edo and Ondo against wearing face masks with the logo of their political parties, to polling units.

Prof. Okechukwu Ibeanu, INEC National Commissioner and Chairman, Electoral Operations and Logistics Committee (EOLC), gave the warning on Wednesday in Abuja, during the commission’s first virtual consultative meeting with media organisations.

“Wearing of face masks to polling units will be compulsory, but any voter with branded face masks will be turned back from the polling unit,” he said.

He, however, said that INEC would not provide or share face masks to voters during polls.

Ibeanu, in his presentation at the meeting presided over by the INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, said that the commission could not afford the cost of providing face masks to registered voters in the states.

According to him, it will cost not less than N640 million to provide face masks to all registered voters for the elections.

INEC cannot provide these face masks. If we were to provide these masks for the registered voters, we are talking about 6.4 million voters.

“Even if you handed out masks costing N100, that is about N640 million already.

So, should INEC be spending N640 million handing out masks that voluntary organisations and government agencies can actually give to people, if we had a national campaign for this purpose?” Ibeanu asked.

He, however, urged the media to sensitise people on the need for individuals and organisations to donate and distribute face masks to the people, not just during elections but at all times.

“It is not just about the election. It is just that it will help in the circumstances of the pandemic.

“I don’t think anybody in Nigeria should not have access to face masks now. But the more important thing is that people can also improvise and they need to understand that they can do so,” he added.

The national commissioner also said that the Continuous Voters Registration (CVR) and the distribution of Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs), before the Edo and Ondo governorship elections, as well other by-elections would not be feasible.

Ibeanu said that there was no need for the distribution of the PVCs before the elections as the nation just came out of a general elections last year.

Since the 2019 general elections, there has not been new CVR. If the collection of the PVCs is allowed for Edo and Ondo polls, the same demand will be made for bye-elections, causing other challenges.

“So, after much consideration, we decided not to allow collection of PVCs before the elections,” he said.

He disclosed that with the new policy document on conducting elections during the COVID-19 pandemic, voting would commence at 8.30 am and close by 2.30pm as against the usual 8 am to 2pm.

Another National Commissioner, Mohammed Haruna, also said that the commission did not envisage the postponement of any election because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Mr Festus Okoye, said that INEC was  determined to be part and, indeed, lead the process of innovation and creativity in the electoral process.

He said that the commission would not throw in the towel and postpone all elections to an indeterminate period.

“Throwing in the towel in our constitutional circumstances may do violence to the constitution and wittingly or unwittingly throw the country into avoidable constitutional crisis.

“The commission is therefore determined to proceed with the two governorship elections in Edo and Ondo States and the 10  Senatorial and State Assembly elections.

”These exercises will  be done with caution, bearing in mind that the health and safety of the people will be crucial determinants of the success or otherwise of the elections,” Okoye said.


Edited By: Chinyere Nwachukwu and Ephraims Sheyin (NAN)

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Edo Gov Poll: INEC set up dedicated portal for form submission 

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says it has set up a dedicated portal through which political parties contesting for Edo governorship scheduled for Sept 19, will submit the nomination forms of their candidates.

INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, disclosed this on Monday, during  the first virtual consultative meeting of the commission with leaders of political parties.

 

Yakubu, however, warned political parties against changes in the date for the conduct of their primaries for the election, as the portal would be automatically shutdown on the scheduled dates.

 

 

“Party primaries for the nomination of candidates for the Edo Governorship election begin tomorrow. Already, some political parties have invited the commission to monitor their primaries which must be conducted from 2nd to 27th June 2020.

” This time around, the submission of nomination forms will be done online for which a dedicated portal has been set up.

“Let me therefore warn political parties that intend to field candidates for the election to strictly adhere to these dates as well as the new online procedure for filing of nominations. Any party that operates outside these dates will only have itself to blame.

“The portal will automatically shutdown on the scheduled date and at the fixed hour. The Legal Department and ICT will brief this meeting on the new procedure,” Yakubu said.

The chairman advised parties on the need to conduct rancour-free primaries, and to  avoid acts of thuggery, brigandage, vote-buying and other sundry violations of the Electoral Act.

Yakubu also directed parties that opted for direct primaries to provide the commission with the list of their registered members, while those going for indirect primaries must also provide INEC with the list of their delegates.

“As we monitor the conduct of party primaries, we will pay particular attention to your compliance with the law and to consider sanctions so that the unruly behaviour of some party supporters is not carried forward to the main election.

“At the same time, I wish to appeal to political parties that opt for direct primaries to avail us with the register of members to be used for the election from Ward to Local Government and State levels for the effective discharge of our monitoring responsibilities under the law.

“Those that opt for indirect primaries should similarly make available to the commission,  the list of delegates for the election. Doing otherwise will amount to going into an election without the voters’ register.

“The commission makes available to each political party, the complete register of voters before every major election. We expect political parties to reciprocate for their primaries,” he said.

Yakubu disclosed that the commission had already carried out the first out of the 14 activities it lined up for Edo governorship election, as the notice for the election (Form EC60A) had been pasted in its Edo state office.

The INEC chairman, who stressed the need for a national conversation around the frequency of bye-elections in Nigeria, said in the month of May 2020 alone, five members of State Houses of Assembly passed on.

He added that since December 2019, a period of six months, twelve members of the National and State Houses of Assembly had similarly passed on.

“This is in addition to the resignation of two Senators from Bayelsa who have since been sworn-in as Governor and Deputy Governor of the state.

“The cost of conducting these bye-elections to the commission, the security agencies, political parties and candidates, election observers, the media, litigations (both pre-election and post-election) and disruption of activities as a result of the restriction of movement on election day is enormous.

“There is no election season in Nigeria any longer. The commission is busy conducting elections all-year round between one general election and another.

“This often diverts our attention away from reform, innovation, peer learning and planning for the consolidation of our electoral process.

“The commission is going to open a discussion with stakeholders and the National Assembly for necessary reforms toward more cost-effective and democratic options,” he said.

Yakubu welcomed the input of party leaders to the new policy for conducting elections under the COVID-19 pandemic recently released by the commission.

In his response, Interim National Chairman, Inter-party Advisory Council (IPAC), Dr Leonard Nzenwa, commended INEC for its policy for conducting elections under the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nzenwa, who is also the National Chairman, African Action Congress (AAC), said organising elections in a pandemic era and in an national emergency period would no doubt be an uphill task.

” For undertaking elections in normal period has never been easy, and definitely will not be less daunting this season.

“It is in the light of this, we, the political parties will  want to commend INEC for the bold step it has taken to come up early with a well-heeled policy on conducting elections in the context of COVID-19 pandemic.

” Indeed, the measures outlined to tame the scourge in the document is realistic, exhaustive, health-sensitive, safety-induced and in tune with reality of the times.

“Our checks so far show that globally,   INEC is the first national election organising body to have done this, not even USA, India, Pakistan has codified effort to respond maximally, politics-wise to the pandemic in an enclosed one-all document as it did. And this was done swiftly!

“It is also gratifying to note that the document received  wide commendation across board and is now being  referenced. And last week we commended the commission via a plethora of media for its effort.

“From high-end issues as health and safety concerns, legal matters, election planning and implementation to elections operations to materials handling, staff management and ad hoc recruitment

” Placement to logistic, transportation and passenger management to queuing arrangement in polling units, crucial areas in pre and post election preparation and management were properly captured,” he said.

Nzenwa,  however, called on INEC to be ready, and willing to review some aspects of the policy document regarding  concerned misgivings by stakeholders who strongly felt that some of its provisions might not be feasible when it was lifted from paper for implementation.

He expressed the resolve of IPAC to work with INEC in deepening engagement with all stakeholders, especially the electorate by properly informing them about their roles and responsibilities during election in the context of COVID-19 pandemic.

He urged INEC to ensure that minimal discomfort was imposed on voters and other stakeholders in its quest to ensure that the nation had credible and acceptable polls during the Edo, Ondo and other by-elections.


Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Felix Ajide (NAN)

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Benue LG polls: PDP Chairman says party’s victory not a surprise

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The Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Benue, Mr John Ngbede, said the party’s overwhelming victory at the council polls on May 30 didn’t come to him as a surprise.

Ngbede disclosed this in an interview with newsmen on Monday in Makurdi.

News Agency of Nigeria reports that PDP swept all the elective positions during the Saturday polls.

The party won 23 Chairmanship positions out of 23. Also, it won 276 Councillorship positions out of 276.

The chairman noted that the party deserved the landslide victory because it worked assiduously for it, which manifested on Saturday.

“We campaigned seriously without relenting. No political party in the state campaigned apart from PDP.

“We followed all the processes of election beginning with the congresses.

“Some political parties did not buy forms. Even the ones that bought forms they did not campaign at all. So, what did they expect,” he queried.

He also said that Benue residents voted massively for the party 8because Gov. Samuel Ortom was performing wonders for the state.

“The milestones recorded by the governor went a long way in winning votes for the party.

“He has completed a lot of projects which were started by his predecessor.

“He also initiated new ones and some of them have been completed while others are on the verge of completion and others ongoing,” Ngbede said.


Edited By: Abiemwense Moru and Abdullahi Yusuf (NAN)

 

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Politics

PDP sweeps Benue LG polls

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The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has won all the electoral positions contested in the Local Government Council polls held on May 30 in Benue.

News Agency of Nigeria reports that the elections were conducted in 23 local government councils across 276 council wards of the state.

The elections, which were adjudged by a team of election observers led by Ibrahim Sheka from Kano, as having low turn out, featured five political parties.

The five parties were; Social Democratic Party (SDP), Accord Party (AP), Africa Action Congress (AAC), All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA), Labour Party (LP) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) while the main opposition political party, the APC boycotted the exercise.

APC had alleged disqualification of their candidates by the Benue State Independent Electoral Commission (BSIEC) and raised issues of bias against the commission.

Announcing the results of the polls on Sunday in Makurdi, BSIEC chairman, Joseph Loko, declared all 23 chairmanship positions in the polls won by the PDP including 276  councilors.

Loko commended the BSIEC officials for the smooth conduct of the polls and directed all elected chairmen and councilors to report to the commissions office in Makurdi on June 1, for their Certificates of Return.

Edited By: Philip Dzeremo and Abdullahi Yusuf (NAN)

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