As reactions continue to greet the passage of the Electoral Act No. 6 2010 (Amendment) Bill 2017 into law last week by the National Assembly, the Chairman of the New Nigerian Peoples Party (NNPP) in Rivers State, Deacon Princewill Enyi says the development “is a plus to the National Assembly but minus to Nigerians”.
Enyi who was reacting to the recent passage of the bill by the National Assembly in Port Harcourt, said the Electronic Voting Act passage by the red chambers is just a trial Act on Nigerians.
According to him: “Until and unless the National Orientation Agency (NOA) does its duty of extensive, elaborate grassroots sensitisation of the citizenry on the issues accent by the presidency, efforts, resources yet to be expended on the programme may be a waste.
The Chairman of the Social Democratic Party in Rivers State, EngrJoshua Worlu described the passage of the Bill by the Senate as a bold, innovative and common sense step on Electoral Reforms designed to guarantee free, fair and credible elections in Nigeria.
Worlu commended the National Assembly, stating that it will reduce rigging and snatching of ballot boxes in the next and subsequent elections in the state and the nation.
Also speaking, A legal practitioner and former Caretaker Committee Chairman of the Port Harcourt City Local Government Council, Barrister Clifford Oparaodu commended the National Assembly and noted that the new law will return power to the people rather than to politicians who put themselves back to power and oppress the less privileged.
The chairman caretaker committee, Asari-Toru LGA, lauded the National Assembly for taking the bold step to amend the electoral Act, stressing that this has been one of the outstanding laws passed by the 8th Assembly.
The Tide learnt that if the presidency assent’s to the law, then there shall now be full biometric accreditation of voters with Smart Card Readers and/or other technological devices, as INEC may, from time to time, introduce for elections.
It also means that the Presiding Officers must now instantly transmit accreditation data and results from Polling Units to various collation centres. Presiding officer who contravenes this shall be imprisoned for at least 5 years (no option of fine).
While all Presiding Officers must now first record accreditation data and polling results on INEC’s prescribed forms before transmitting them, the data/result recorded must be the same as what they transmitted.
The Act, it was learnt, gives INEC unfettered powers to conduct elections by electronic voting and manual registers, INEC is now mandated to keep Electronic registers of voters.
It also empowers INEC to publish voters’ registers on its official website(s) for public scrutiny at least 30 days before a general election and any INEC staff who is responsible for this but fails to act as prescribed shall be liable on conviction to six months’ imprisonment.
Other things expected of INEC is to keep a National Electronic Register of Election Results as a distinct database or repository of polling unit by polling unit results for all elections conducted by INEC.
Collation of election result is now mainly electronic, as transmitted unit results will help to determine final results on real time basis and INEC mandated to record details of electoral materials – quantities, serial numbers used to conduct elections (for proper tracking).
A political party whose candidate dies after commencement of an election and before the declaration of the result of that election now has a 14-day window to conduct a fresh primary in order for INEC to conduct a fresh election within 21 days of the death of the party’s candidate;
Political parties’ Polling Agents are now entitled to inspect originals of electoral materials before commencement of election and any Presiding Officer who violates this provision of the law shall be imprisoned for at least1 year.
No political party can impose qualification/disqualification criteria, measures or conditions on any Nigerian for the purpose of nomination for elective offices, except as provided in the 1999 Constitution.
The election of a winner of an election can no longer be challenged on grounds of qualification, if the he (winner) satisfied the applicable requirements of sections 65, 106, 131 or 177 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) and he is not, as may be applicable, in breach of sections 66, 107, 137 or 182 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999. [For example, a person’s election cannot be challenged on the ground that he did not pay tax, as this is not a qualifying condition under the Constitution.]
All members of political parties are now eligible to determine the ad-hoc delegates to elect candidates of parties in indirect primaries. The capacity of party executives to unduly influence or rig party primaries has been reasonably curtailed, if not totally removed.
Parties can no longer impose arbitrary nomination fees on political aspirants. The Bill passed prescribes limits for each elective office as follows:
(a) One Hundred and Fifty Thousand Naira (N150,000) for a Ward Councillorship aspirant in the FCT;
(b) Two Hundred and Fifty Thousand Naira (N250,000) for an
NAFDAC Warns Against Drug Abuse
The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), has warned against patronising drug hawkers.
The agency also decried abuse of codeine drugs and self medication.
Director General of NAFDAC, Prof. Moji Adeyeye, gave the warning during the flag-off of the agency’s seven-day awareness campaign in Port Harcourt.
Adeyeye cautioned against the use of kerosene tanker to load groundnut oil and the danger of using potassium bromate to bake bread.
The message of the director general which was delivered by the agency’s South-South Zonal Director, Subulade Isijola, also warned against the use of sniper to preserve any type of food or to keep flies away from meat, saying that the chemical in the sniper could be dangerous to human health.
He emphasised on the dangers of transfat and consumption of excessive oil, use of formalin on food and its associated health hazards and low level of exclusive breast feeding practice by lactating mothers and its associated health hazards.
According to Prof. Adeyeye, the sensitisation became necessary to promote health of the people, intensify and expand the scope of the informal and formal behaviour change communication strategies in order to reach the vulnerable communities especially at the grassroot.
The Tide reports that representatives of pharmaceutical organisations, Nigerian Customs, Federal Road Sefaty Corps (FRSC), Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Civil Society Organisations, community leaders amongst others were present at the awareness campaign.
Council Partners Navy Over Insecurity On Waterways
The Chairman of Andoni Local Government Council, Bar. Erastus Charles Awortu, has stated his administration’s readiness to support the Nigerian Navy to address the menace of insecurity along waterways of the area.
The council boss made this known when he briefly stopped over at a Navy patrol boat along the waterway while on security official visit to Oyorokoto fishing settlement in the area.
Oyorokoto Community is located at the Coast of Atlantic Ocean in Andoni Local Government Area of Rivers State, It is the largest fishing hub in West Africa. Before the presence of council administration, the area was plagued by issues of insecurity due to brazen attacks by sea pirates and other criminal gangs.
Awortu said his decision to support the personnel of the Nigerian Navy was borne out of the need to stem the tide of insecurity along Andoni waterways.
“We are very much ready to support the Nigerian Navy to help us to achieve peace within the Andoni waterways. We also need your support to address insecurity along our waterways. We have already established a good relationship with the men of Nigerian Navy deployed to Andoni coastal areas, I’m hopeful that this relationship would be beneficial to our effort towards addressing insecurity. We will also encourage the Navy in any way we can”, the chairman said.
Addressing the people of Oyorokoto Community, the council boss expressed his administration’s determination to bring lasting peace, stability and security in Andoni including fishing settlements and coastal areas.
He said the effort is geared toward economic development as well as to attract investors to the area.
According to him, more security men would be deployed to Oyorokoto community and its environs to improve security in the area.
Awortu assured the people of even development that would improve economic activities in all fishing settlements as well as sustain the existing peace in the area.
He said no amount of money spent in safeguarding the lives of people and properties to achieve an enduring peace in the area is a waste.
“We are very passionate about the issue of security. It was sad and unfortunate that when you tune to the radio, you don’t hear any good thing about Andoni, what you hear are kidnapping, sea piracy, cult killing, armed robbery and chieftaincy crisis”.
When I came into office only two security men were deployed to secure the whole of Oyorokoto and its environs which was grossly inadequate. I felt this wasn’t the right way to address the security challenges in the area.
“However the story is different today as we have been able to secure and facilitate increased deployment of security personnel to Oyorokoto and its environs to provide adequate security in the area. We are spending much to sustain the increased deployment of security personnel in Oyorokoto and other parts of Andoni”. Awortu said.
The Council Chairman while urging the people to maintain good relationship with security operatives deployed to the area, hinted that his administration has taken measures to curb the spate of attacks by Sea pirates and other criminal gangs.
He assured the people that the council will played more priority to ensured that activities of the criminals do not impact negatively on the businesses of the Small-Scale Fishermen and women at the Coastal Communities.
Awortu also promised to intervene in the area of Education in Oyorokoto Fishing Settlement and pledged to draw the attention of the relevant authorities in the Education Sector of Rivers State to public schools in the area.
Coastal Communities also visited by the Council Chairman Erastus Awortu includes AmaNsan, IbotokponMbaba, and Oyorokotoetc.
By: Enoch Epelle
Again, Gunmen Kill Two In Ogoni Community
Some unidentified gunmen in the wee hours of yesterday invaded Ka-Bori Community in Khana Local Government Area of the State, killing two persons.
An indigene of the area, who craved anonymity told newsmen that the victims were two females and a male.
One of the victims reportedly died on the spot.
The other victim was rushed to a medical facility where she is currently receiving treatment.
The natives have in the meantime, accused people of Kono-Boue Community of complicity in the attack.
The natives said security agencies had moved into the community to restore normalcy even as no arrest had been made.
Meanwhile, the Public Relations Officer of Kono-Boue Community Development Committee (CDC), Golden Nwibakpo has described as untrue insinuations that his people were responsible for the attack.
Mr Nwibakpo in a telephone interview said his community had been deserted and his people were roaming about in Bori and did not have the time to plan such an attack.
The image maker of the State Police Command, Nnamdi Omoni, a Superintendent of Police (SP), is yet to react to the incident.
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