The All Progressives
Congress (APC), Delta State chapter, has alleged plans by the state Independent Electoral Commission (DSIEC) to announce fake results during the October 25 local council polls in the state.
The state Secretary of the APC, Mr Chidi Okonji, who made the allegation at a news conference on Thursday in Asaba, however, said the party was ready to challenge any form of electoral fraud during the polls.
“There is widespread speculation going on now of plans by the state electoral commission to announce already prepared results for the coming local government elections in the state.
“But I can bet you that if the plans go through, we at the APC will mobilise our supporters to challenge the results.
“Our women are ready to go naked and curse whoever attempts to rig the coming election because the people are tired of this system. Our people need a change,” Okonji said.
The APC scribe faulted the failure of the DSIEC to publish and display the voters’ register with barely two weeks to the elections.
Okonji expressed fear that the development did not augur well for the conduct of a free, fair and credible local council polls in the state.
“The delay in publishing the voters’ register by DSIEC is a scientific way of rigging the elections.
“As it is now, I can not tell you that I am sure that this coming elections will be free and fair; but I bet you that we will resist any attempt to deny our people their right to elect their choice candidate.”
On the alleged defection of some APC members in the state to APGA, Okonji dismissed the allegation as a mere rumour
He said no card-carrying member of the APC in Delta defected.
“The story that some of our members recently defected to APGA is not true. Those people that went to declare for APGA are not our members.
“Anybody can wake up and say he is an APC member, but if you ask them to produce their identity card, they don’t have it.”
However, when contacted, the Chairman of DSIEC, Mr. Moses Ogbe, told newsmen that the allegations by the APC scribe were unfounded.
“How can we announce an already prepared result when the election has not even been conducted? This is ridiculous.
“We have not even gotten the result sheets; so how do we announce results. The APC’s allegation is a false claim intended to cause disharmony ahead of the elections,” Ogbe said.
The DSIEC boss explained that the commission could not meet up with the earlier plan to display the voters’ register on the 17 September due to the delay in receiving the original register from INEC.
He said that DSIEC only received a soft copy of the register from INEC on Oct. 3, adding that the commission was currently printing out the register for onward display in all councils in the state.
“We just got the DVD of the voters register from INEC on the 3rd of October; we are presently printing them out.
“So far, we have completed the printing of 16 local government areas registers; once the printing is completed, we will publish them in all local government areas.
“DSIEC is going to use the voter register produce by INEC; we can not produce a separate voters’ register.
“The process is not as easy as they think. We are talking about over two million voters in the state,” Ogbe said.
PHALGA Shuts Over 18 Markets
Following the confirmation of the index case of Coronavirus in the state by the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), and the concurrence of the proactive government of Governor Nyesom Wike, of the positive case, last Thursday, the administration of Mayor Victor Ihunwo of Port Harcourt City Local Government Area, has keyed into the subsisting policies of the state government to prevent the spread of the virus in the state.
Consequently, the Mayor of Port Harcourt City, Hon Victor Ihunwo has swung into action by enforcing the directives of the governor on the closure of more than 18 markets within the jurisdiction of the council administration.
A statement by the Chief Press Secretary to the Mayor of PHALGA, Bob Abayomi, quoted Hon Victor Ihunwo as saying that, “It is regrettable that this disease has unusually found its way into our dear state.
“In line with the new directives of the Governor of Rivers State, Chief Nyesom Wike, that all markets in the state should remain closed effective Saturday, March 28, 2020, Mayor of Port Harcourt City, Hon Victor Ihunwo, has announced the closure of all markets in Port Harcourt City with effect from the aforementioned date.
“The following markets in Port Harcourt City must remain closed from Saturday, 28th March, 2020, till further notice.
“The markets include Rumuwoji Ultra Morden Market, Nkpolu Oroworukwo Market, Ogubum-Nu-Abali Fruits &Vegetables Garden Market, New Market, Garri Market, Creek Road Market, Trans Amadi Maami Market, all community-based markets, Goat Market, and all markets in abattoirs.
“All staff of Port Harcourt City Council from Grade Levels 1-10 are to stay at home from Friday, 27th March, 2020, till further notice.
“The Mayor of Port Harcourt City, Hon Victor Ihunwo, will lead a high-powered task force of the council to move around and ensure that this directive is carried out effectively.
“Any trader that violates this directive will have his goods confiscated and that trader will be summarily dealt with.
“The mayor reiterates that the earlier ban on public activities subsist, all public burials, weddings, child dedications, religious crusades remain prohibited while activities of night clubs, public parks, cinemas, lounges, and public drinking bars of over 10 persons without proper social distancing remain banned till further notice.
“Hon Victor Ihunwo appeals that residents of the city should continue to maintain proper personal hygiene and observe proper social distancing.
Coronavirus: Anger In Delta Market As Prices Of Foodstuff Soar
Following the announcement by the Delta State Governmental that there is going to be a total lockdown in the state starting from tomorrow as part of measures to contain the spread of coronavirus, Deltans have lamented the high rate of foodstuff in the markets.
In a bid to ensure that they stock their houses with foodstuff, many Deltans who have stormed the markets to buy food were taken by surprise as the prices of goods have skyrocketed.
The prices of garri, one of the staple food in the state were increased with about three hundred per cent. Garri which used to sell for N500 was increased to N1500 and N1800 respectively.
At Effurun market in Uvwie Local Government Area, the hike in prices of garri did not go down well with the youths in the area, who mobilized to the market to ensure that the price was brought down to N800. Those who flount the order had their produce taken away from them and were sold to the public by the youths at the price of N800. This development forced those who could not sell at the agreed price to lock their stores and go home for fear of the youths who were bent on enforcing the agreed prices.
Some of the market women who spoke to newsmen said they bought the produce at high prices adding that they had no choice than to sell at a high rate.
One of the garri sellers who spoke under strict anonymity said, “We bought this garri at a very high price because those that sold to us told us that government is closing the borders on Wednesday. So we have no option than to sell at a very high price too because that is how we bought. But with what the youths are doing now we are selling at a loss.”
Some who supported the actions of the youths said it was wrong for the women to increase the prices of garri stressing that government has not increased prices of petroleum products so there was no need to increase the prices of foodstuff just because of lockdown.
Mrs Ofuoma Andrew who came to the market to buy foodstuff said, “We were all taken by surprise this morning when we came to the market. The prices of foodstuff just tripled. We don’t see any reason why they should increase things like this. It is not faring at all.
Please government should do something about this if not we will die of hunger during the coming lockdown.”
Meanwhile, the closure of the popular Igbudu market by warri South Council Chairman, Dr Michael Tidi ahead of Governor Arthur Ifeanyi Okowa’s shutdown order which will begin tomorrow, has generated misgiving among residents of the area.
It was learnt that Pessu, Okere,Ugbuwangue and main markets were operational in the heat of the panic of Coronavirus, without social distancing”.
In a chat with newsmen, the Council boss said,”The closure of the market is not to punish anybody” stressing that,”It is for their own good.
“People should not give it unnecessary interpretation. By midnight today, nobody will even come out. The issue of people trying to insinuate that it has anything to do with Ethno-political differences is totally out of place.
World Bank, EU Distribute Computers To MDAs In C’River
The World Bank and European Union (EU) have donated computer sets to critical Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) in Cross River.
The state Commissioner for International Development Cooperation (MIDC),Dr Asibong Inyang who distributed the computers, said they were to aid the MDAs in combating the spread of the Coronavirus pandemic.
“This is under the auspices of the European Union funded/World Bank supervised State and Local Governance Reform (CR-SLOGOR) Project under its State Integrated Financial Information Management Systems (SIFMIS).
“It is to enhance efficacy and accountability in public financial management in Cross River State,’’ Iyang said.
According to her, the distribution of four set of computers each to the State Ministry of Health and Internal Revenue Service (CRIRS) is due to the critical nature of their activities, especially in this critical period.
The commissioner further reiterated the state government’s commitment toward courses that would improve and engender development in the state.
Responding, the Commissioner for Health, Dr Betta Edu, described the gesture as timely.
She added that the equipment would help in video conferencing, monitoring and evaluation, as well as other virtual communication among the ministries, staff and partners at this period of global health crisis.
She thanked the state government for the proactive approach towards containment and prevention of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Edu urged residents of the state to comply with the precautionary measures put in place by the government.
Also speaking, Chairman of Cross River State Internal Revenue Service (CRIRS), Mr. Akpanke Ogar, thanked the EU/World Bank for their intervention in ensuring that the state revenue agency carries out its activities in line with international best practice.
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