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Okorocha’s suspension well deserved- Imo APC chieftains

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Suspension

Some chieftains  of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Imo have described Gov. Rochas Okorocha’s suspension by the party’s  National Working Committee(NWC)  as well deserved.

Speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria (NNN) on the development on Saturday, a party chieftain, Dr Jude Agu, said Okorocha had been  engaged in anti party activities in his pursuit to making his son in-law succeed him as governor.

Agu said Okorocha would have been suspended long ago to check his bad  influence in the party.

He said the NWC of the APC should equally suspend Okorocha’s allies in the party whom he said were also involved in anti party activities.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NNN) reports that the  NWC on Friday suspended  Okorocha  for anti party activities.

But Okorocha in his reaction to the suspension through his Chief Press Secretary,  Mr Sam Onwuemeodo,  said some APC leaders were after him over 2023 politics.

He also said the suspension was meant to stop him from holding a critical position in the senate, adding that the suspension would eventually fail.

Mr John Anyanwu, a former commissioner in Imo, said with the suspension of Okorocha, APC had better chances of winning the state’s governorship election.

He said if Okorocha was allowed, he would definitely work against the APC candidate in the state.

An APC woman leader in Obowo Local Government Area,  Mrs Rose Ibeawuchi,  said Okorocha”s suspension had  restored confidence in the party.

“We were all in dark days during the  imposition of the governor’s son in-law on the party.

“Now that he has been suspended, we will have another opportunity to tell our supporters who the  APC governorship candidate really is,” she said.

NNN reports that Hope Uzodimma is the APC governorship candidate for Imo. (NNN)
IWE/CHOM/OJO

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Kogi election:Politicians engage in fake news to delegitimise INEC -CDD

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The Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD)said political parties used fake news to delegitimise Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)and the electoral process during Kogi governorship election.

Ms Idayat Hassan ,Director CDD ,made this known in the group’s preliminary statement on the conduct of Saturday’s Kogi governorship election.

Hassan said that CDD’ electoral environment observation report had previously predicted that political parties would use fake news during the election to cause confusion.

“Some of the fake news circulated today include the disqualification of the PDP candidates, false results, fake images of thugs arrested and snatching of ballot papers.

” CDD fact-checkers were able to debunk most of the fake news.

“The hoaxes are mainly intended at delegitimising INEC and the process; again, Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp are the leading platforms used to spread disinformation. “

Hassan said that earlier, voters across 21 Local Government Areas (LGAs) of Kogi went to the poll to elect a Governor and in Kogi West, a rescheduled senatorial election also got underway following a court verdict .

She said that at the CDD Election Analysis Centre (EAC), reports have been coming from trained and accredited observers deployed across the 21 LGAs of the state.

She said that the preliminary statement was an overview of the initial findings on the conduct of the election.

She said that it was observed the use of financial inducements to affect the outcome of the election .

Hassan said that CDD also noted systematic and coordinated violent attacks at polling units and carting away of voting materials.

She said that in many polling units, observers and journalists were being blocked from access and taking photographs in what appeared to be an attempt to prevent the gathering of evidence of electoral malpractices.

She noted that the use of violence in the campaign and open threats of more violence in the election appeared to be a voter suppression strategy which played out on Saturday.

She said CDD EAC observers reported coordinated disruption of voting across many polling units with hired thugs invading polling units, shooting sporadically to scare away voters, and in several cases carting away voting materials.

“In polling unit 001 in Ward 4, Dekina LGA, CDD observers reported sporadic gunfire;violent caused by rival party thugs who battled one other over control of the polling environment.

“These were in Felele and Ganaja areas of Lokoja LGA, especially in Registration Area 08, Oworo, Felele Area, PU 004. In Ankpa 1 Polling Unit (PU) with number 2203-04-0 in Ankpa LGA,“she said

Hassan said that notwithstanding the fact that INEC enlisted EFCC and ICPC’s support in curtailing vote-buying, vote-buying was very rampant across the state.

She said that CDD observers reported that party agents in several polling units engaged in the financial inducement of voters to influence them to vote for their parties giving them between N500 and N3,000.

She said that as at 11 a.m, accreditation and voting had started in 55.1 per cent of polling units in which CDD deployed observers in Kogi.

She said that further information revealed that a good number of INEC ad hoc staff were knowledgeable and familiar with the operation of the smart card readers in some of the polling units observed.

Hassan,however, said that late delivery of materials experienced in some parts of the state was primarily due to logistics challenge and deplorable state of infrastructures like bad roads and difficult terrains experienced in the deployment of electoral materials.

Edited by Ali Baba-Inuwa

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Minimum wage: Negotiations still in progress – Lagos govt.

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The Lagos State government has said that negotiations are still ongoing with labour unions in the state over the implementation of the new minimum wage.

The Permanent Secretary, Office of Establishments and Training, Mr Biodun Bamgboye, made the disclosure in a statement issued on Saturday, in Lagos.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that the Chairman of the state Joint Public Service Negotiating Council (JNC), Mr Rasaq Falade, had said that necessary terms of settlement and agreement were reached at the end of the meeting held on Nov. 15.

However, Bamgboye said that the process of minimum wage negotiations with labour was still one, adding that the best modalities to implement it were being looked into.

He said that any agreement reached with the labour unions would be made public through government-recognised communication channels.

The permanent secretary assured public servants in the state that the outcome of the minimum wage negotiations would represent their best interest.

He reiterated that the Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu-led administration was committed to enhancing the welfare of workers in the state.

”Being a people-oriented government, we are committed to ensuring better service delivery through a competent and motivated workforce,” the permanent secretary said.

Edited by Ekemini Ladejobi and ‘Wale Sadeeq

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Tolerance Day: Respect one another’s views, cultures, religions, LASG urges residents

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The Lagos State government has called on residents to ensure mutual respect for the views, culture and religions of one another.

The Commissioner for Home Affairs, Mrs Uzamat Akinbile-Yussuf, made the call on Saturday, as the state joined other countries of the world to commemorate the 2019 United Nations International Day of Tolerance.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that the International Day of Tolerance is celebrated on Nov. 16 of every year.

Akinbile-Yussuf, in a statement issued in Lagos, urged residents to be tolerant of one another, regardless of differences in issues and beliefs, stressing that mutual understanding was a form of respect for human rights.

According to her, if mutual respect is observed by every resident, there will be less conflict and violence in the country.

She said that Lagos, being a cosmopolitan state and home to people of different backgrounds, underscored the need for tolerance during interpersonal relationships.

The commissioner acknowledged the hospitality of the people of the state, especially their receptive disposition to strangers, adding that the trait had earned the state accolades, both locally and internationally.

She commended the role of religious leaders in the state in instituting and maintaining religious harmony in the state.

”It is only in Lagos State that you will have a Muslim marry a Christian and they will live harmoniously without conflict,” Akinbile-Yussuf said.

According to her, the urge of wanting to impose one’s opinion or religion on another person is the basis for conflict and commotion being witnessed in other parts of the world.

The commissioner said that her ministry had put in place programmes to mark the Day, starting with a road walk on Nov. 16 from Ikeja Local Government secretariat to the state secretariat, Alausa.

She also said that there would be a symposium, with the theme: ”Enhancing Harmonious Relationship and Peace among Religious Bodies for Better Socio-economic Development in Lagos State” on Nov. 20, at Ikeja.

Edited by Ekemini Ladejobi and ‘Wale Sadeeq

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Kogi polls: Former Gov. Wada advocates electronic voting system to curb flaws

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Former Governor Idris Wada of Kogi has called for adoption of electronic voting system with computerised data base to curb the nation’s flaws in electioneering processes, costs and security challenges.

Wada, who made the call while addressing newsmen after casting his vote at Odu Ward 4 Unit 001 on Saturday in Ogboyaga, said most of the nation’s electioneering challenges would be a thing of the past with electronic voting put in place.

He said that the electoral process needed to be organised in a way that there would be minimal human interface.

“We need to go into electronic voting, computerised data base and so on. So that people do not abuse the process.

“Because one of the major problems now is that even when you have orderly voting; when you go to the collation centre, thugs will intercept, shoot guns and change the results and it will not reflect the will of the people,” he said.

On his expectations from the polls, the former governor said, “My expectation is that PDP will win, the situation in our state is very clear to everybody. So, I believe that at the end of the day, PDP will win.

“The process looks quite orderly here in this polling unit but I have received calls and reports of various misconduct in various polling units.

“People are snatching ballot boxes, ballots papers, they broke into a Registration Area Center for ward 2 over night and they took away 7 boxes.

“It is a sad development in our democracy; people should follow an orderly process and allow people to perform their civic responsibility of voting for the candidate of their choice.

Wada said unless the unhealthy development of people imposing themselves on the people as leaders and disallow a free and fair process stopped, the country would not improve and there would be no development.

He condemned the wanton destruction of people’s property over election, saying it was not fair to burn the house of a citizen who had laboured all his life to build “simply because you don’t want him to come out and vote”.

Edited by Abdullahi Yusuf

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Bayelsa poll: Group lauds peaceful process

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YIAGA AFRICA, a Civil Society Organisation (CSO) has commended the people of Bayelsa for peaceful conduct in the Saturday governorship election.

Mr Ezenwa Nwagwu, a Board Member of the CSO, gave the commendation in an interview with Nigeria News Agency while observing the election in Yenegoa, on Saturday.

Nwagwu said though there were pockets of challenges including delays in opening of polls in the morning in some polling units including Otuoke area, the election was relatively peaceful.

“Generally speaking we had a good progress. There may be challenges in one or few places.

“From our information centre we know there are places where they beat up observers, ballot boxes were snatched but so far I think we don’t have the Armageddon that was predicted.

“You could see at the polling units that people of Bayelsa were enthusiastic to vote candidates of their choice,” he said.

Nwagwu also commended security agencies for their professional conduct, although there was a case in Otuoke where election materials could not be deployed on Friday at Registration Centre, because there were no security personnel to accompany them on Friday.

“Across everywhere we have seen better mobilization, the conduct of the security officials have been cordial and we have not seen them harassing people.”

Nwagwu also said that the Smart Card Reader functioned well in most of the polling units that his team visited, except in one complaint of malfunction.

Edited by Maureen Atuonwu

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Bayelsa poll: Commends INEC, military on conduct

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The Transition Monitoring Group (TMG) on Saturday hailed the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for the conduct of the Governorship election in Bayelsa.

Mr Niengi James, South-South Coordinator of the Non-governmental Organisation, made the commendation in an interview with the Nigeria News Agency in Yenagoa after monitoring the election.

James, who also commended the conduct of the Nigerian Army personnel, described it as the “most peaceful”.

He said:“Firstly, the security situation was very impressive compared to what we used to have in previous elections.

“I give INEC 90 per cent in the distribution of non sensitive and sensitive materials, it has been orderly and smooth.

“I also commend the military because  they really did their work according to the rules of engagement.

“Today’s election is among the most peaceful election in the history of Bayelsa.

“I observed the process at Nembe, Ward 2, polling unit 2, 3,6, 11, and 12. I also observed in Ward 1, polling unit 10.

“Other areas I visited include Nembe-Basangbiri, ward 5, unit 1, 2, 5 and ward 4 all in Nembe local government area of Bayelsa.

“My suggestion for INEC in case of next election should improve in area logistics for the police and other security agencies.”

Edited by Dianabasi Effiong/Sadiya Hamza

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