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My Party is Solidly Behind Me, Obaseki tells Edo people



Gov. Godwin Obaseki of Edo, says his party, the All Progressive Congress (APC) is fully in support of his administration and he is not standing alone.

The governor stated this when he attended the graduation ceremony of Edo STAR Teachers  Professional Development Programme at Samuel Ogbemudia Model College, Benin on Wednesday.

According to the Governor, I want to assure you that my party is solidly behind me,  I am not standing on my own.

“So ignore and forget what you are reading in the newspapers; those are people who want me to give them money rather than use it to develop the state.”

He said his administration was determined to use the state’s resources to prioritise development especially in the education and health sectors.

“We do not have the money in Edo but whatever we have, no matter how little, the priority will be on education and health.

“The things that affect  Edo citizens are the things important to us and those are the things i stand for and those are the things APC stands for,” he said.

He explained that the College of Education at Abudu would have a laboratory for training of primary cchool teachers, the college in Igueben would train secondary school teachers, while the one in Afuze would train Physical Education and Special Needs teachers.

He added that the digital teaching and learning process being used in public primary schools would be replicated in private primary schools across the state, to ensure that no child was left out.

He commended the teachers for successfully going through the training programme, assuring that the digital training they had received would improve their teaching outcomes.

The Executive Chairman, Edo Universal Basic Education Board, Dr Joan Oviawe, said the training was part of the Edo State Basic Education Sector Transform (Edo BEST) Initiative.

Oviawe said 4, 600 teachers participated in the 27-day training programme on digital teaching and learning process and were presented with certificates, smart phones and tablets.

She said that the 104 Social Mobilization Officers (SMOs) under the Edo BEST initiative had trained about 11, 689 School Based Management Committee members in the communities they interface with.

She added that the SMOs would be meeting with 170,000 parents from across the state, to find out the performance of their wards under the Edo BEST programme. .


Finland’s Social Democratic Party gains popularity: poll




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.


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Palestine’s Fatah party forms committees to challenge Israel’s annexation plan: official




A senior official in Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah Movement announced on Thursday that the movement formed committees to challenge Israel’s plan of annexing Palestinian lands.

Jamal Muheisen, member of the Fatah Central Committee, told the official Voice of Palestine radio that the committees will be acting in Palestinian towns, villages, and refugee camps across the Palestinian territories.

“The committees’ mission will be based on broader popular activities to confront the annexation plan and protect the territories that will be targeted by any Israeli measure, including settlers’ assaults,” said Muheisen.

The proposal to form popular committees against the Israeli annexation plan was presented during a meeting held in Ramallah on Wednesday between Fatah and other factions in Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).

“The aim of holding the meeting was to agree on comprehensive popular actions against the Israeli plan of annexing parts of the West Bank,” said Muheisen.

The Israeli government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu plans to annex around 33 percent of the West Bank, including the Jordan Valley, and impose Israeli sovereignty on several Israeli settlements in the territory.

Meanwhile, Salleh Rafat, member of the PLO Executive Committee, said that the Palestinian leadership and the PLO factions decided on an open-ended meeting to follow up on the popular activities against the Israeli annexation plan.

He told the Palestinian radio that the “annexation plan aims at keeping the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories and preventing the establishment of an independent Palestinian state.”

The Palestinian leadership is also on a permanent contact with the world‘s states and countries to make clear positions to reject the plan and impose sanctions on Israel once the plan is implemented,” said Rafat.


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



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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Ondo 2020: Okunomo, PDP governorship aspirant, picks party’s nomination form



Mr Banji Okunomo, a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) gubernatorial aspirant in Ondo State, has picked a nomination form ahead of the party’s primaries scheduled for July.
made the disclosure in a statement issued made available to newsmen on Wednesday in Okitipupa.
The News Agency of Nigeria
reports that the nomination form was also in preparation for the governorship election slated for Oct. 10 in the state.
NAN also reports that Okunomo, who picked his form at the party’s national secretariat in Abuja, was the first among the array of the PDP governorship aspirants in the state to do so.
Okunomo, a former PDP Publicity Secretary in the state, said that he dedicated the form to God and the people of the state, who, he said, he intended to serve as governor.
“I picked the nomination form of N21m at Wadata House in Abuja today and this has made me the first among the PDP aspirants to purchase the form.
“I also dedicate the form to God and the good people of the state, whom I intend to serve meritoriously, if I am elected the party’s flag bearer.
“I also promise to eradicate poverty, generate employment, create wealth and enhance the livelihood of the several millions of Ondo State residents, if elected governor,” he said.
NAN recalls that Okunomo was also the first aspirant, who collected the expression of interest form at the PDP secretariat in Akure last week.

Edited By: Modupe Adeloye and (NAN)‘Wale Sadeeq

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Police Command in Niger “in talks” with top APC official over party funds



The Police Command in Niger on Tuesday said it had invited a top official of the All Progressive Congress (APC) in the state, over alleged financial misappropriation.

According to the Commissioner, Adamu Usman, the APC official is specifically accused of misusing party finances “since he assumed office in 2015”.

Usman told the News Agency of Nigeria in Minna that a petition against the APC official had accused him of misusing funds realised from the sale of Expression of Interest forms to members that contested elective positions.

He said that the petitioners accused the party chief of spending the funds “unilaterally and without due process”.

According to him, the petition was written by some members of the executive council of the party who also accused the official of abuse of office.

“We are investigating the matter and shall get to the root of it. We want to find out if there is any substance in the claims of the petitioners.

The Nigerian Police has the responsibility to investigate any form of criminal complaint from any citizen of the state. That is what we are doing.

“We are handling the matter professionally to ensure that justice is done to all sides,” he said.

Efforts to speak with the affected party official did not yield fruits as he was said to be “in deep discussions” with  personnel of the Criminal Investigation Division.

Edited By: Chioma Ugboma and Ephraims Sheyin (NAN)


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Leader of Mongolia’s ruling party calls for synergy to promote national development, interests




Ukhnaa Khurelsukh, leader of Mongolia’s ruling Mongolian People’s Party (MPP), on Tuesday called on voters to promote synergy and unity for the country’s development and interests.

Khurelsukh made the remarks during the launching ceremony of the party’s election campaign for the forthcoming parliamentary elections.

“There are no party interests that go beyond the interests of the country. I am calling on all people or voters to synergize their efforts to promote the interests of Mongolia, support the economic growth, strengthen justice in the country, and to improve people’s livelihood,” said Khurelsukh.

“I am confident that the next four years will be the years for Mongolians to consolidate their achievements, increase economic growth, reduce unemployment and poverty, create new jobs, and strengthen freedom and justice,” he said, calling for a resounding support from voters.

A total of 76 candidates from the MPP are running in the upcoming parliamentary elections under the slogan “Let’s synergize.”

According to the country’s General Election Commission, 485 candidates from 13 political parties and four coalitions as well as 121 independent candidates are running for the parliamentary elections scheduled for June 24.

Mongolia’s opposition Democratic Party is participating in this year’s elections under the slogan “Let’s allot the benefits of economic growth to every household and protect citizens by laws.”

The Asian country’s parliament, the State Great Khural, is unicameral, consisting of 76 lawmakers with a four-year term.

The previous parliamentary elections in Mongolia were held in 2016.


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Spanish gov’t assures State of Alarm extension after pact with Ciudadanos party




Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez on Tuesday assured that his petition for a sixth extension to the State of Alarm, which limits freedom of movement to help control the COVID-19, will be approved by parliament on Wednesday after reaching an agreement with the center-right Ciudadanos party for their support.

Both Sanchez’s government and Ciudadanos have confirmed the agreement, which will see Ciudadanos lend their votes to those of Sanchez’s Socialist Party and Unidas Podemos in Congress on Wednesday.

The leftist Mas Madrid will also support the measure, along with the Basque Nationalist Party and some regionalist parties.

This means Sanchez has more than enough votes to overcome the opposition of the right wing People’s Party and the far right Vox, both of whom have said they will vote against him.

The cabinet will on Tuesday approve the “sixth and final” extension to the State of Alarm (originally put into effect on March 15).

The prime minister explained the extension, which will last until June 21, would be “different” and “much lighter” than previous confinement measures.

He also said that once they reach the final stage of his government’s four-stage plan to relax confinement measures, Spain’s 17 autonomous communities would be allowed to “manage the rhythm of their respective territories, including the change of phase and its duration.”

Sanchez confirmed that the central government would “only control mobility,” and that some regions could consider “lifting the State of Alarm” before June 21.

The agreement with Ciudadanos also includes a commitment for the government to provide a line of credit of 2.5 billion euros (2.79 billion U.S. dollars) to “guarantee the liquidity” of the tourist sector.

As of Monday, the Health Ministry reported 71 new infections, taking the total to 239,638, while death toll remained at 27,127, with no new death registered in the past 24 hours.


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S. African ruling party deplores racial discrimination in United States




The ruling African National Congress (ANC) has deplored rising racial discrimination in the United States, calling for “an amicable solution” to the current racial impasse.

“While we note the action taken by American authorities in charging one of the officers who was caught on camera kneeling on an unarmed (George) Floyd, it is equally concerning that incidents of police brutality against African American citizens are on the increase,” the party said in a statement available to Xinhua on Tuesday.

The cascade of recent cases involving police brutality against black Americans “has sharpened the focus on inescapable realities that American society places a perilously low value on black lives,” the ANC said.

The Black Lives Matter movement, formed in 2013, highlighted the scourge of racial killings in the U.S. by organizing marches and demonstrations in response to the killings of black men and women by the police, said the ANC.

“It’s deplorable that almost 70 years since racial segregation was abolished in America, people of color are still routinely slaughtered for the color of their skin,” the party said.

The ANC fought and defeated racial supremacy and will not be cowered to remain silent in the face of the lynching of black people wherever they manifest, the party said.

The ANC urged the South African government to engage with the American government through established diplomatic channels to diffuse racial tensions and build social cohesion among different races.


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



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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