The Senate, penultimate Thursday, after two days of water-tight screening ratified the nomination of chairman-designate, Professor Attahiru Jega as the new helsman of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). Similarly, the upper chamber also confirmed the appointment of six national commissioners of the commission.
The six commissioners okayed by the Senate along with Prof Jega include: Nunu Yakubu, Col M. K. Hammanga (rtd), Dame Gladys Nne Nwafor, Dr Ismail Igbani (re-appointed), Mrs Telma Iremiren and Prof. Olayinola Olurode.
President Jonathan who had earlier dropped Gen. Abdullahi Bagudu Mamman and Amb. Mohammed Anka from the nominees list for the fact that they were found to be partisan promised to replace them in due course.
Reports indicate that Prof. Jega and his commissioners are already warming up to resume duties at INEC headquarters in Abuja, a development which shows their readiness to answer the national call and face the assignment with seriousness and commitment.
Senate President, David Mark shortly after the screening exercise told the INEC boss and the commissioners that Nigerians, and indeed, the world expect so much from them, especially at this critical moment of our political history.
Jega, in his response, however pledged to conduct the most credible, free, fair and widely acceptable elections in post-independent Nigeria at the end of his stewardship. He affirmed that he will never compromise his integrity which he worked hard to build over a long period.
For many Nigerians, Jega’s promise is like any other from public officeholders in our clime. His predecessors made similar promises but all ended u p compromising themselves.
Jega, while serving as the national president of Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) maintained good track record and antecedent which made most Nigerians to easily accept his nomination for the INEC job.
The task before Jega is obviously enormous but definitely not insurmountable if the federal government and other stakeholders give him the necessary support and enabling environment.
Jega’s INEC must therefore endeavour to address fundamental problems plaguing our polity, some of which include credible voters register, voting pattern, sanitizing the INEC (from local to federal levels) re-orientation for all electoral officers, among others, which in the long run will lead to a successful 2011 polls, a major task of the Jega’s dispensation.
It is believed that the sacking of Iwu is just part of federal government’s desire to ensure that next year’s general elections will witness a radical departure from our ugly past.
Already, pressures are mounting on the presidency to take a step further by retiring all serving electoral commissioners, especially those involved in the electoral bazaar in 1999, 2003 and 2007 general elections.
As much as one will not want to doubt the president’s determination to, for once, prove our critics wrong that Nigeria can hold elections that would be acclaimed worldwide as “fair and credible”, we expect that Jonathan,s choice of Jega is right and just.
Besides, the political will on the part of the presidency, and the National Assembly must as a matter of necessity facilitate the process of reforming our electoral system and law in tandem with realities on ground.
The voters register must be reviewed as the existing one no longer conforms with current realities. Rules, regulations and guidelines on elections must be rigidly adhered to and not bent to suit sectional or partisan interests.
Besides, electoral officers should be given a re-orientation. Electoral offices need a complete departure from the impression which makes most of them erroneously believe that power of incumbency and the ruling party interest must be protected always.
We must realize at all times that Nigeria is far greater than those temporarily in power and therefore must exhibit neutrality and fairness to all during and after elections.
Similarly, voters have a major role to play in our crave to achieve credible polls. They need not mortgage their conscience but insist on credible candidates with good antecedents.
As the 2011 general elections draw closer, the presidency and other stakeholders must ensure that this time around, Nigeria gets it right. One way we can achieve this is to ensure that Jega and his team discharge their duties with utmost sense of responsibility, commitment and diligence.
NGE Advocates Insurance Cover For Journalists
The President, Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE), Mr Mustapha Isah, has called for insurance cover for journalists in the country to encourage them carry out their duties effectively.
Isah made the call in in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), yesterday in Abuja.
He said such insurance policy would encourage journalists to go the extra mile in getting authentic stories and disseminating credible information.
He said that insurance cover for journalists in the country was a necessity and would boost their morale, enhance effectiveness and efficiency in the media industry.
According to him, journalists in Nigeria are practising under a difficult and sometimes dangerous environment, thereby putting their lives on the line.
“During the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown, media houses didn’t shut down. Journalists were still going out to do their work, even without any form of insurance cover.
“Some of us were infected in the process. Also, some journalists lost their lives in Kano and Abuja during the Shi’a protest.
“As we speak now, a reporter from Vanguard newspaper is missing and has not been found. Journalists should have insurance cover.
“CNN would not take you without having an insurance cover for you. That is why their journalists would be bold to report even from the war front,” the NGE president said.
Isah narrated how a director of press in a military formation in Maiduguri once told him to come to Borno to cover the war against insurgency instead of calling via the phone every time there was an attack.
“I told him I didn’t have insurance cover to cover the war against Boko Haram insurgency in Borno.
“I asked him if I died in the process, what would happen to my family.
“So, there is the urgent need for media house owners and outfits to get insurance cover for their journalists,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) has said that it was ready to partner with the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE) on empowerment to enhance their livelihood even after retirement.
The Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of NIRSAL, Dr Aliyu Abdulhameed, revealed this at the weekend.
The MD/CEO said this in his keynote address at the 17th All Nigeria Editors’ Conference 2021, organised by the NGE, last Friday, in Abuja.
Abdulhameed said there were many opportunities and services at NIRSAL that the NGE could benefit from, adding that they were ready to partner with the Guild.
He said: “What NIRSAL would do with the NGE is to speak with them through a technical team set up by the Guild and create a model for up and down stream of how the Guild can benefit from the various opportunities in NIRSAL.
“Then, we optimise these models so that when we put in N1, we can get N3 in return because it is not economically wise to put in N1 and get N1.
“The agriculture sector is subject to science and modelling.
“So, when we optimise your project with you, we then optimise financial solutions.
“Then, we approach the bank.
“My call of action to the Guild is: how can we work with you to create a technical pilot model to benefit the Guild?”
Abdulhameed urged members of the Guild to understand that agriculture was a business venture, adding that the sector contributed to about 24per cent of Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
He stressed that in Brazil and Egypt, especially in the Nile Valley, agriculture had been passed from generation to generation, saying it had the potential of enhancing the livelihood of the citizens.
According to him, it is regrettable that a lot of farmers think agriculture only begins and ends with production.
He said production was an aspect of the agriculture, there was need for other chains like packaging to enhance value.
The conference provides a platform for relevant stakeholders in the media from across the country to cross fertilise ideas for improved efficiency.
Earlier, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Ltd had advocated for the consideration of what he calls “energy justice” in the implementation of global energy transition.
The Group Managing Director of the NNPC Ltd, Mele Kyari, said this at the 17th All Nigerian Editors’ Conference in Abuja ahead of the commencement of the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow, Scotland, this week.
Discussions on countries transiting to less carbon-intensive energy sources have been gaining momentum in the last few years, with global leaders calling for a shift away from fossil fuels as a critical action towards tackling the climate crisis.
The GMD argued that wholesale execution of energy transition without regard to the peculiar socio-economic conditions of various countries would cause dislocations that could exacerbate security challenges in developing nations.
Kyari, whose paper was titled “Insecurity as it Affects the Oil and Gas Sector”, maintained that his concept of energy justice was to allow each country, especially developing nations, to progress at their own pace while leveraging on their hydrocarbon resources for smooth transition to net zero by 2050.
“Talking about energy transition, it is my very well-considered view that there must be energy justice, which means that countries should develop at their own pace while taking into consideration the realities that they face,” Kyari stated.
According to the NNPC CEO, individual nations should be allowed to transit on the basis of their contributions to the carbon emission to the point that ultimately, there will be justice for all by 2050.
“Energy justice would ensure that as we transit, we are allowed to develop at a pace and in a manner that is just,” Kyari added.
The NNPC helmsman also urged the media industry and other stakeholders to champion the cause of energy justice in the global quest for cleaner energy, stressing that gas development remained the only option for Nigeria to achieve energy transition.
Speaking on NNPC’s refineries and the role they play in ensuring energy security for the country, he said NNPC management under his leadership was keen on changing the narrative and getting the refineries back on stream by taking advantage of the free-hand given to the management by President Muhammadu Buhari to do the right thing.
“This is the first time in history that NNPC and its subsidiaries are allowed to do things the way things should be done. Now, I can confirm to you that we have taken responsibility and we will fix the refineries. We have started the process, contractors have been mobilized to the Port Harcourt refinery; while the same process for Warri and Kaduna refineries will conclude by the end of this year,” he declared.
On the menace of crude oil and products theft, the NNPC CEO said much progress has been made through collaboration with security agencies.
He called for support of the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE) and other stakeholders towards reducing insecurity within the oil and gas industry.
PH Agog As NBA Holds 61st Annual Confab …Over 14, 514 Lawyers Storm Garden City …Eight-Day Event Features 50 Speakers, 28 Sessions
As the 61st edition of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) annual conference continues in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital has been agog with various activities, including economic, social, among others, taking the centre-stage.
The conference, which commenced on October 22, at the Yakubu Gowon Stadium, Elekahia, with the theme, “Taking The Lead”, will end on October 29, with more than 50 subject matter speakers in over 28 sessions.
Lined up to make the conference memorable are various sports activities, including football, table tennis, golf, chess, and scrabble; and social events that include networking, dinners, cocktails, photo booth, live band, comedy, dance performances, presentation of trophies and prizes to winners of various sporting competitions, and awards presentation to distinguished persons both in the profession and other vocations and careers.
The Tide gathered that inter branch football competition began last Saturday and would end on October 28, just as Juma’at Service held last Friday at Rivers State Central Mosque, Niger Street, to herald the commencement of the conference, with health talk at Real Madrid Football Academy on Saturday, and multidenominational thanksgiving service at Christ Church Interdenominational, Forces Avenue, Port Harcourt, yesterday.
The Tide learnt that the official opening ceremonies would hold, today, at the Yakubu Gowon Stadium, Elekahia, with the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Tanko Muhammad, leading top echelon of the Judiciary in Nigeria to attend, while many state governors, state and federal lawmakers, politicians, captains of industry, ministers, and law professional across Africa and the globe, would participate and or headline the epoch-making NBAAGC21.
Already, business activities are booming in all sectors in the state capital, with hotels, transport companies and commercial transport operators, airlines, and small businesses making brisk turnovers, as the more than 14, 514 participants relish the opportunities the state offers.
A visit to the venue of the event revealed a beehive of business activities around the entire circumference of the stadium, including the adjoining Real Madrid Academy, the two State School premises nearby, and other hitherto empty spaces around the stadium have been converted to a sprawling economic and social epicentre for commerce and networking, with thousands of people buying and selling all manner of goods and services.
The Tide further noticed high level of security presence at strategic locations to provide adequate security around the area, with the operatives of the police, Department of State Service (DSS), Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), among others, deployed to perform assigned duties in line with their legitimate mandates.
Also, heavy vehicular movement was witnessed on the various intersections and roads leading in and out of the stadium, particularly the Rumuomai-Elekahia and Ken Saro-Wiwa (Stadium) roads.
The Tide also discovered that virtually all hotels in and around Port Harcourt City and Obio/Akpor local government areas have been fully booked for the conference, showing a bustling boom in the hospitality industry.
The airlines and inter-city transport companies are not left out, as virtually all seats in planes flying into Port Harcourt International Airport and vehicles coming into Port Harcourt from major cities of Abuja, Lagos, and 34 other cities across Nigeria had been sold out from Saturday through today.
Social life has witnessed tremendous make-over with many eateries, restaurants, cinemas, clubs, recreational centres, sports facilities entertaining customers and visitors to full capacity.
In a statement, the former National Welfare Secretary of the NBA, Adesina Adegbite, welcomed members of the association to the 61st Annual General Conference (AGC), and commended the leadership of the NBA for the choice of the topic and for taking a lead in capacity building.
He said, “With great delight, I welcome all distinguished delegates to this year’s NBA Annual General Conference holding in Port Harcourt, which commenced on Friday, October 22, 2021.
“This year’s Theme: ‘Taking the Lead’ is quite apt and ripe for discussions and evaluation at this present time where it is demanding on legal practitioners to lead by example and be at the frontline of leadership.
“I must commend the present executives of our dear association for taking the lead in various spheres, especially in the area of capacity building for members of the association.”
Adegbite also commended the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike for what he described as “sterling performance” in infrastructural development which has made it possible to host the AGC.
“I must also salute the very dynamic Governor of Rivers State, Chief Nyesom Wike (Life Bencher), for his sterling performance resulting in the unprecedented infrastructural development projects in the state, which has made it possible for Port Harcourt to host the largest gathering of lawyers anywhere in the world.
“I look forward to the exhilarating activities, the intellectual discussions and impactful experience yet to unfold during the conference. I encourage us all to prepare to learn, network and have fun and most importantly take the lead and leave a positive impact on others,” he said.
Also, the African Women Lawyers’ Association (AWLA) hailed the President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) on its 2021 Conference.
In a statement, the President of AWLA, Mandy Demechi-Asagba said: “We at African Women Lawyers Association (AWLA) felicitate with the President, Mr. Olumide Akpata, and the entire members of the Nigerian Bar Association on its Annual General Conference 2021 with the theme “TAKING THE LEAD”. The theme is apt and in season – a wake-up call to SAVE our dear country from denigration and disintegration.
“We wish all conferees a very successful, impactful, peaceful, safe and memorable conference!
“We also wish you all journey mercies and divine protection as you journey to and fro.
“We seize this opportunity to appreciate our amiable, gracious and hospitable host, the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, who is poised to make our experience in Rivers State memorable.”
Similarly, Chairman of the Port Harcourt branch, Prince Nyekwere, expressed the branch’s readiness to receive the delegates and make all activities lined up for the event memorable for members.
“In terms of security, I don’t have any problem at all with Port Harcourt,” Nyekwere added.
The Chairman of the Technical Committee on Conference Planning (TCCP), Mr. Omubo Frank Briggs, said the programme of activities was put together with the interest of all members and the government and people of the state at heart.
He assured that everything has been put in place to make the events seamless and hitch-free, saying that the NBA would come out of the conference taking the lead in all fronts towards making the nation better.
Insecurity: Cleric Blasts FG For Hoarding Truth From Nigerians
The Bishop of Methodist Church Nigeria, Diocese of Remo Central in Ogun State, Rt. Rev. Olu Akinola has berated the Federal Government for hoarding the truth about state of the nation from Nigerians.
The Bishop, who spoke at the burial and outing service for Madam Felicia Ambali, mother of Special Adviser to Governor Dapo Abiodun on Politics, Hon. Biyi Adeleye, at Methodist Church, Isara–Remo, Remo Local Government Area of the state, said the reality of what was happening in the country, was different from what the government was telling Nigerians.
Akinola while saying that truthfulness was no longer the order of the day in the country, urged governments at all levels in the country to tell Nigerians the truth in order for the people to know where to support it.
The cleric, who spoke from the book of Numbers 23 verse 10, admonished Nigerian leaders to be righteous, stressing that righteousness exalt nations from calamities and woes.
He said: “The Lord said the truth is not prevailing in our country again. Unfortunately for us, our leaders are not saying the truth, we don’t know the state of our economy, we don’t know the state of security, we don’t know the state of education, and we don’t know the state of health in the country. They will tell us something but what is going in the grassroots is different from what they are feeding the masses with.
“I just want to plead with the people that are leading us, from the local government to the Federal Government, they should tell us the true situation of things because what we are seeing is different from what they are telling us. Let them be faithful to the people that voted them to power, so we may know where we need to support them.
“We must be righteous for a better society. Before in this country, people will leave their goods outside and people will take goods and leave money where the goods, but today, the story is different. We must be righteous, our leaders must be righteous for improve and better country,” he said.
He, however, appealed to the government to take the welfare of the elderly as paramount by paying pensioners as at when due.
In his remarks, Ogun State Governor, Dapo Abiodun, who was represented by the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Mr. Tokunbo Talabi, described the deceased as a great woman whose seed was part of the pillars of the current administration in the state.
While commiserating with the children and the family, Abiodun urged them to take solace in the fact that their mother lived a good life.
Adeleye while speaking to newsmen said the society and the government at all levels, must take care of elderly who have paid their dues to the development of the country.
He said having commission to look into the welfare of the elderly in society is something government should take serious.
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