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‘INEC ‘ll Support Diaspora Voting’’

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The Independent National
Electoral Commission (INEC) is in favour of Diaspora voting, and will continue to work with the National Assembly towards its actualisation, the  Commission’s Chairman, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, has said.
Speaking at a meeting, with members of the Senate Committee on Diaspora and Non – Governmental Organisations, in Abuja, Yakubu said that Nigerians living abroad “have the right, like their compatriots living in the country, to exercise their franchise in all elections organised in the country”.
However, for this to happen, he explained, the relevant sections of the constitution would have to be amended. Besides, some challenges that could emerge from allowing Diaspora voting, such as funding and the modalities to be adopted, would have to be tackled.
The Chairperson of the Committee, Senator Rose Okoji Oko said the agitation by Nigerians in the Diaspora to be given the opportunity to exercise their franchise, and the favourable disposition of President Muhammadu Buhari and his predecessor, former President Goodluck Jonathan, informed the committee’s visit to INEC.
According to her, the former President had endorsed the idea in 2010 during his visit to Gabon, while the current President also gave his support during his recent visit to Malabo.
The senator, who once served as National Commissioner at INEC, affirmed that a total of 115 countries, 28 of which are on the African continent, currently have provisions for Diaspora voting.  She admitted that some Nigerians were against the idea “because of what they perceived as funding challenges, the current position of the law on the matter and some fears about the electoral system.”
But that notwithstanding, she was of the view that despite the various challenges facing INEC in the conduct of various elections in Nigeria, the commission “has not continued to conduct elections.” And for those who complain about what Diaspora voting would cost, she asked: “Is the amount so huge that we cannot afford it?”
She said that while Nigeria did not need to copy what other countries had done, “the country needs to evolve its own unique policy.”  According to her, 79 countries currently allow voting to take place at their respective foreign embassies, while 16 others allow voting by proxy. “Nigeria can look at all these different procedures and then evolve its own unique method,” she observed.
One of such methods, she said, is to determine if Diaspora voting could apply only to presidential or governorship election as a starting point. She insisted that it would be unfair to continue to deny Nigerians in Diaspora their right to vote, despite their enormous contributions to the country’s economy. She revealed that two – thirds of the $34 billion being projected to flow into sub-Sahara Africa this year “will come into Nigeria.”

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Anambra:Bill To Abolish Open Grazing Passes Second Reading

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A bill seeking to regulate animal grazing and establish cattle ranches in designated areas of Anambra has scaled second reading in the House of Assembly.
The Majority Leader of the house, Dr Nnamdi Okafor (APGA-Awka South I), said the bill would promote peace and ensure safety of lives and property in the state.
The bill is entitled, ‘Open Grazing of Cattle and other Livestock Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Bill 2021’.
He said that when the bill becomes law, it would help to curb the incessant herders/farmers clashes and generate business opportunities in the state.
“The bill will be part of the efforts to address the incessant clashes between livestock owners, herders and farmers in the state, which has often led to loss of lives and properties over the years.
“The bill will also prevent the destruction of farms and farmers’ crops brought about by open rearing and grazing of cattle,” Okafor said.
Also, Dr Timothy Ifedioranma (APC-Njikoka l) said the bill would promote the production of healthy breeds of livestock and boost job and investment opportunities in livestock farming.
Mr Chuka Ezewune (APGA-Idemili South) said the bill would also promote modern techniques of animal husbandry and international best practices in the dairy and beef industry.
“The old form of cattle rearing is very destructive to the nation and it is time we embraced change,” Ezewune said.
Contributing, Dr Pete Ibida (APGA-Njikoka II) said his constituents had long clamoured for the law.
“Open grazing has constituted security and safety hazards. It messes up our roads and my constituents have been displaced from their farms.
“I believe the bill will also help to manage the environmental impact of open grazing and protect the environment from degradation and pollution,” Ibida added.
Mr Obinna Emeneka (APGA-Anambra East) said that open grazing contributed to disease transmission and described animals as carriers of parasites transmitted to humans.
Emeneka said the bill required accelerated passage to promote agriculture, security and stability in the state.
The Speaker, Mr Uche Okafor, described the bill as everybody’s business, adding that it bothered on food security, economic development and security of of lives and property.
The bill was later committed to the Committee on Agriculture, headed by Mr John Nwokoye, for further deliberation and the committee was expected to report back on September 30.

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Obaseki Names Cabinet 10 Months Later

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The Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, on Friday released a list of nominees for post of commissioners in the State Executive Council.
This decision is coming close to a year after Obaseki and his deputy, Philip Shaibu, were inaugurated for a second term into office on November 12, 2020, following their victory in the September 19 governorship election under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The governor had re-appointed Osarodion Ogie as the Secretary to the State Government after his inauguration with no other appointment since then.
This led to criticism from the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) in Edo State that accused Obaseki of presiding over the affairs of the state like a sole administrator.
“There are some policies and actions of a state that legally and constitutionally should not be undertaken without the approval of the State Executive Council. As we speak, some of those actions are being taken solely by Godwin Obaseki as a sole administrator. He has not displayed the tendencies of a democratically elected governor,” Chris Azebanmwan, the Edo APC spokesman said.
Nonetheless, the Governor has finally released the list of his nominees. They are: Barr. Osamudiamen Wole-lyamu (Oredo); Mr. Chris Nehikhare (Orhionmwon); Mr. Richard Edebiri (Uhunmwode); Barr. Andrew Emwanta Adaze (Egor); Mr. Tony Aganmwonyi (Ikpoba Okha); Mr. Ethan Uzamere (Ovia South West); Ms. Efosa Uyigue (Ovia North East).
Others are, Barr. Donald Okogbe (Akoko Edo); Barr. Anthony Innih (Etsako East); Mrs. Omo Otse Omorogbe (Etsako West); Hon. Damian Lawani (Etsako Central); Mr. Jimfred Obaidiku (Owan West).
Also in the list are, Barr. J. O. Braimah (Owan East); Hon. Felix Akhabue (Esan West); Fred Emefiele (Igueben); Mrs. Anehita Ojezua-Emeya (Esan Central); Dr. Olu Ayewoh (Esan North East) and Mrs. Magdalene Ohenhen (Esan South East).

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Speaker Lauds Wike On Infrastructure

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The Speaker, Rivers State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Ikuinyi-Owaji Ibani has commended the Governor of Rivers State, Chief Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, for the rapid development of Rivers State.
He made this statement when he played host to members of the Council For the Regulation of Estate Surveyors and Valuers of Nigeria recently.
Rt. Hon. Ibani assured the Council that the State Assembly would continue to do that which was beneficial to their constituents. He noted that as a public servant, his door was open to all.
He said: “As a public servant, my door is open to all, and at all times. We work in the interest of the State and for the interest of our people….”
Earlier, the Chairman of the Council For The Regulation of Estate Surveyors and Valuers of Nigeria, Gersh Henshaw, commended the efforts of the Speaker as the Head of Rivers State Legislature.
He stated that Rt. Hon. Ibani had continued to maintain a cordial relationship with the Executive arm of Government and the result of such collaboration was the developmental strides in Rivers State.
The Chairman stated that the essence of the visit was to seek partnership with the Rivers State House of Assembly on any new legislation concerning Estate Surveyors and Valuers in Rivers State.
He expressed appreciation to the National President of the Council, Sir Emmanuel Wike for his immense contributions to the success and progress of the profession.
The delegation which was on a courtesy visit to the Rt. Hon. Speaker, was led by its National President, Sir Wike.

By: Kevin Nengia

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