The Northern Traditional
Rulers Council has expressed confidence in the ability of the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Attahiru Jega to conduct free, fair and credible elections on March 28 and April 11.
The Northern monarchs also said they would neither endorse the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), President Goodluck Jonathan nor his All Progressives Congress (APC) counterpart, Major Gen. Muhammadu Buhari.
The position of the Northern emirs was the outcome of their meeting in Kaduna last Wednesday to discuss the rising “social and political tension” in the country ahead of the country’s general elections.
The emirs position was contained in a statement issued on Saturday by the EtsuNupe, Dr Yahaya Abubakar.
The chairman of the council and Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, and other northern traditional rulers in attendance noted that the country must conduct peaceful and credible elections.
The northern rulers said “the council noted the dire need for the emergence of free, fair and credible elections and resolved to lend a helping hand to the statutory body established to oversee the conduct of the elections, that is INEC.
The council equally commended the good work being done by INEC under the able leadership of Prof. Attahiru Jega and prayed for the success of INEC’s worthy assignment.
The council also stated that the nation was going through serious challenge and called on the country’s statesmen not to act like politicians.
“These challenges, coming at the current stage of the nation’s development, have to be addressed carefully and responsibly. In these circumstances, the country needs statesmen more than mere politicians for these challenges call for reflective and strategic leadership. Therefore, the council calls on the statesmen in the country to come forward and appreciate the need to act like statesmen so as to take the country out of the doldrums”, the NTRC said.
The statement condemned the unrestrained verbal attacks among politicians, saying their unguided statements are worsening the current situation in the country.
The northern emirs noted that, “unfortunately, some religious and ethnic leaders have joined the bandwagon thereby making matters worse. The vocabulary used and absence of respect and decorum in the campaigns is particularly disturbing for it tends to initiate the younger generation into a culture of incivility and insolence. It will be sad and tragic if this is all the political leadership is able to bequeath to posterity.”
Some individuals and sponsored groups in the country have in the past few weeks called for Jega’s sack over his insistence on the use of the permanent voter cards (PVC) and the smart card readers (SCR) which the INEC relies on as antidotes to election rigging.
Ayade Orders Recruitment Into Civil Service
Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River State has ordered immediate recruitment into the state civil service to fill the vacuum that may occur due to workers’ retirements.
The new Head of Service (HoS), Mr Timothy Akwaji, disclosed this on Wednesday during his maiden meeting with permanent secretaries on Wednesday in Calabar.
Akwaji said the creation of AkwaIbom from Cross River in 1987 caused a mass exodus of civil servants to the new state, leading to mass recruitment by the state government to fill the attendant vacant positions.
“Most of these workers will be exiting the service, having completed their mandatory 35 years in service and this may create a bureaucratic vacuum if there is no mentoring of those who may be left behind to keep the service running.
“The governor has, therefore, given approval for the recruitment of workers to cushion the effect of the impending mass retirement from the state civil service.”
The Head of Service stressed the need for the permanent secretaries to mentor their subordinates, as directors and for other civil servants to look up to them as role models.
He said mentorship in the service had become necessary to enable civil servants discharge their responsibilities effectively.
APC Releases Timetable For Nat’l Convention
The All Progressives Congress has said it will begin the sale of forms for aspirants vying for its national positions ahead of the National Convention from February 14.
National Secretary, APC Caretaker and Extra-ordinary Convention Planning Committee, Senator John Akpanudoedehe, announced this in a statement he issued on Wednesday in Abuja.
He said, “The APC CECPC at its 19th regular meeting on Wednesday, January 19, 2022, at the party’s National Secretariat considered and adopted the timetable/schedule of activities for the February 26, APC National Convention.”
According to him, the schedule of activities ahead of the party’s national convention is as seen below:
“Receiving of the interim report of the National Reconciliation Committee, January 31, 2022.
“Consideration and adoption of Reports of State Congresses February 2, 2022.
“Inauguration of the State Executives February 03, 2022.
“Sale of forms to all aspirants vying for National Offices at the APC National Secretariat, February 14, 2022.
“Submission of completed forms and accompanying documents at the APC National Secretariat on or before February 19, 2022.
“Publication of Sub-Committees February 19, 2022.
“Screening of all aspirants vying for National Offices February 20 February 22.
“Screening Appeals to hear and resolve complaints arising from the screening exercise February 23, 2022.
“Accreditation of all statutory and elected delegates to the National Convention – February 24 to February 25, 2022.
“National Convention to elect National Officers to the National Executive Committee February 26, 2022.
“National Convention Appeal to hear and resolve complaints arising from the National Convention February 28, 2022.”
The APC scribe, at an interaction with newsmen at the party’s National Secretariat, had earlier described as fake, reports that the party’s leadership had zoned its national chairmanship position to a particular zone.
Akpankudohede said the report should be disregarded, adding that there was no decision on that.
INEC Dismisses Tinubu’s Comment On PVCs
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs) have not expired.
The commission said this while responding to the comment credited to Senator Bola Tinubu, National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Speaking while addressing the women leaders of the party who paid him a visit recently, Tinubu asked voters to obtain new PVCs.
Earlier in the month, after so much speculations, Tinubu formally announced his intention to contest for the 2023 presidency.
“In case they do not announce to you on time, the PVC you have has expired,” Tinubu said.
“Take one family member, two family members, knock on all doors and make sure that the new registration… Because they may not announce to you on time. The PVCs you have have expired. Yes!
“You need to spread it to various local government and wards at each levels. No matter how difficult it is. To me, I look at it closely and you look at other elections being held, you will see that it’s diminishing because those cards (is) expired. It’s mandatory that you go and register to vote and achieve your aspirations. May God bless you and bless Nigeria.”
But reacting, the Chief Technical Adviser to the Chairman of INEC, Prof. Bolade Eyinla, said those who have registered for election do not need to do so again because their cards are valid for future elections.
“This information is not correct. The PVC issued to all previously registered voters remains valid. This kind of statement will certainly push eligible voters to register more than once thereby creating the problem of double and multiple registrations,” he said.
In the same vein, the Chief Press Secretary to the INEC Chairman, Rotimi Lawrence Oyekanmi, said that Nigerians who already have their PVCs do not need to register again.
He warned, “In fact, double registration is an offence under our laws. Eligible Nigerians are entitled to register only once.”
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