Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta has lauded the State Independent Electoral Commission (DSIEC) for the smooth conduct of the local government elections in the state.
Okowa made the commendation on Saturday shortly after casting his vote at Unit 3, Ward 3, Owa-Alero, Ika North-East Local Government Area.
“ I am satisfied with the process because of the smooth conduct of the election and DSIEC has given assurance that the election will be credible, free and fair.
“So far, you can see that people have come out to cast their votes in a peaceful atmosphere and I must commend the electoral body.”
The governor also lauded the electoral process adopted by DSIEC which entailed simultaneous accreditation and voting, which reduced the crowding of polling booths.
“The voting pattern adopted by DSIEC is such that once you are accredited, you cast your vote and you go for your business.
“This is unlike in the past when accreditation commenced at 8 a.m. and ended at 12 noon before voting.
He noted that the process helped to make accreditation and voting easier, saying that it had also helped to compel the electorate to leave the voting centre immediately after casting their votes.
On reports across the state, Okowa disclosed that soldiers stopped some electoral officials in Ndokwa East Local Government Area from moving materials, but the situation was resolved amicably.
The governor also disclosed that some persons allegedly working for an opposition party attacked the DSIEC office in Ughelli, but the quick intervention of security agents restored normalcy.
“It is unfortunate that some persons were not ready for the elections and they resorted to violence, but thank God the situation was however, put under control.
“I can assure you that generally, from information available to me, the state is calm and voting is in progress in the state,” Okowa said.
Some voters who spoke at some of the polling centres visited, expressed confidence in the electoral process.
At about 11.45 a.m., voters were seen exercising their rights at Ward 9, Akumazi; some of them said materials arrived early and there was no crisis as the election was peaceful.
However, security agents arrested two hoodlums suspected to be political thugs with guns at Igbodo, Ika North-East Local Government Area.
A federal lawmaker, Rep. Victor Nwaokolo, said the trouble makers were caught with the guns while attempting to disrupt the election.
He said that security agents acted on a tip off and arrested them, adding that voting eventually took place in a very peaceful atmosphere after the incident.
In Emevor, Isoko North Local Government Area, a resident, Dr. Nelson Ejakpovi, said voting however started at about 12 noon.
He added that the people came out enmasss to cast their votes in a peaceful atmoshere
In Ndokwa East, a Chieftain of the PDP, Chief Godswill Obielum, who lauded the electoral process, told reporters that voting started early at Ward 20, Ushie, Ndokwa East Local Government Area.
“I score DSIEC very high in this election, they were prepared and it gave our people confidence. They came out in the morning and were able to vote in a peaceful atmosphere without any fear of intimidation,” he said.
Howver, the State Commissioner for Lands, Chief Chika Ossai said that due to the terrain of the state which required material passing through different local government areas from Aboh to iselegu, voting items arrived late.
He said materials arrived at about 11 a. m., adding that he cast his vote at about 12.30 p.m. at DSIEC Ward 3, Unit 5, Iselegu.
Also, the State Commissioner for Information, Mr. Patrick Ukah who voted at Ward 12, Unit 3, Okpanam, said voting materials were delayed because DSIEC officials waited for security agents to deploy officers to escort voting materials.
He, however, lauded the electoral process, noting that the concept of voting immediately after accreditation helped in decongesting the polling booths as people left for their homes after voting.
In Ogwashi-Uku, Aniocha South Local Government Area, a cheiftain of APC, Chief George Okafor, lauded the smooth conduct of the elections, which he said was devoid of violence.
Okafor, who is the Vice chairman, APC Delta North, voted at unit 5, Ward 3, Ogwashi-Uku.
He, however, appealed to DSIEC to ensure that the peoples’ votes counted at the end of the day.
“Everything is going on well; you can see people voting in a peaceful atmosphere.
“However, what we expect from DSIEC is to ensure that whatever the people voted here today, let the result stand,” he said.
On the late arrival of materials, DSIEC Collation Officer for Aniocha South, Mr. Sunday Okwudihu, told NAN that it was due to the slow mobilisation of security agents to the polling units.
“As you can see, we are still trying to get the security agents to the various polling units across the LGA, that is why we are experiencing this delay that you are seeing,” he said.
Presidency Lists Beneficiaries Of External Borrowing Plan
The Presidency has said that a total of 15 projects, spread across the six geo-political zones of the country, are to be financed with more than $4 billion from multilateral institutions, under the 2018-2021 medium-term (rolling) external borrowing plan.
President Muhammadu Buhari had requested the Senate to approve sovereign loans of $4.054 billion and €710 million as well as grant components of $125 million for the proposed projects.
According to the letter by the President, the sovereign loans will be sourced from the World Bank, French Development Agency (AFD), China-Exim Bank, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Credit Suisse Group and Standard Chartered/China Export and Credit (SINOSURE).
The President’s request to the Senate listed 15 proposed pipeline projects, the objectives, the implementation period, benefiting States, as well as the implementing Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).
A statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu said a breakdown of the ‘‘Addendum to the Proposed Pipeline Projects for the 2018-2021 Medium Term (rolling) External Borrowing Plan,’’ shows that the World Bank is expected to finance seven projects including the $125 million grant for ‘‘Better Education Services Delivery for All’’.
According to the statement, the Global Partnership for Education grant is expected to increase equitable access for out-of-school children and improve literacy in focus states.
It further stated that the grant, which will be implemented by the Federal Ministry of Education and the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), will strengthen accountability for results in basic Education in Katsina, Oyo and Adamawa States.
Other projects to be financed by the World Bank are, the State Fiscal, Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability Programme for Results as well as the Agro-Processing, Productivity, Enhancement and Livelihood Improvement Support Project.
The statement said, “The benefiting States for the agro-processing project are, Kogi, Kaduna, Kano, Cross River, Enugu and Lagos with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development as the implementing ministry.
“The objective of the project is to enhance agricultural productivity of small and medium scale farmers and improve value addition along priority value chains in the participating states.
“Similarly, the World Bank is also financing the Nigeria Sustainable Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) project in Delta, Ekiti, Gombe, Kaduna, Katsina, Imo and Plateau States, for the next five years.
“The project, when completed, is expected to improve rural water supply, sanitation and hygiene nationwide towards achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for water supply and sanitation by 2030.
“Under the external borrowing plan, the World Bank-supported projects also include Nigeria’s Covid-19 Preparedness and Response Project (COPREP), under the supervision of the Federal Ministry of Health and Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).
“The project, which has an implementation period of 5 years, will respond to threats posed by Covid-19 through the procurement of vaccines.
“Furthermore, no fewer than 29 states are listed as beneficiaries of the Agro-Climatic Resilience in Arid Zone Landscape project, which is expected to reduce natural resource management conflicts in dry and semi-arid ecosystems in Nigeria.
“The benefiting states for the project to be co-financed by World Bank and European Investment Bank (EIB) are Akwa Ibom, Borno, Oyo, Sokoto, Kano, Katsina, Edo, Plateau, Abia, Nasarawa, Delta, Niger, Gombe, Imo, Enugu, Kogi, Anambra, Niger, Ebonyi, Cross River, Ondo, Kaduna, Kebbi, Jigawa, Bauchi, Ekiti, Ogun, Benue, Yobe and Kwara.”
Continuing, it said, “The World Bank is also funding the Livestock Productivity and Resilience project in no fewer than 19 states and the federal capital territory (FCT).
“The China EXIM Bank is expected to finance the construction of the branch line of Apapa-Tin Can Island Port, under the Lagos-Ibadan Railway modernisation project.
“The French Development Agency will finance two projects, which include the National Digital Identity Management project and the Kaduna Bus Rapid Transport Project.
“The digital identity project will be co- financed with World Bank and EIB.
“The Value Chain Development Programme to be financed by IFAD and implemented in Anambra, Benue, Ebonyi, Niger, Ogun, Taraba, Nasarawa, Enugu and Kogi States will empower 100,000 farmers, including over 6,000 and 3,000 processors and traders respectively.
“The loan facility to be provided by European ECA/KfW/IPEX/APC will be spent on the construction of the Standard Gauge Rail (SGR) linking Nigeria with the Niger Republic from Kano-Katsina-Daura-Jibiya-Maradi with a branch to Dutse.
“The specific project title, Kano-Maradi SGR with a branch to Dutse, has an implementation period of 30 months and will be implemented by the Federal Ministry of Transport.
“The Chinese African Development Fund through the Bank of China is expected to provide a loan facility of $325 million for the establishment of three power and renewable energy projects including solar cells production facility Phase 1 & II , electric power transformer production, Plants 1, II, III and high voltage testing laboratory.
Fintiri Commences Work On PDP Nat’l Convention
The Chairman of the National Convention Planning Committee of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Rt. Hon. Ahmadu Fintiri, has commenced work.
Fintiri, who is also the Adamawa State Governor, assumed his new office at the PDP headquarters in Abuja, on Saturday, with a pledge to ensure a smooth convention for the party.
Fintiri’s Press Secretary, Humwashi Wonosikou, said in a statement that Fintiri had hit the ground running towards ensuring a flawless convention for the main opposition party.
According to him, he assumed duty at the PDP Legacy House Abuja, which is to serve as the secretariat of the Convention Committee.
He said the 2021 convention organising committee chairman expressed satisfaction with the state of facilities at the Legacy House and reiterated the determination of his committee to deliver a process that would produce an acceptable National Working Committee to lead the party to victory in 2023.
The Convention Committee, which has Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, as deputy chairman, was inaugurated on Friday.
The National Executive Committee (NEC) of the PDP had earlier, on September 9, 2021, announced Fintiri as the party’s convention planning committee chairman, with Oyo State Governor, Mr Seyi Makinde as Secretary.
2023: Group Warns Against Corruptible Candidates
The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership (CACOL) in Collaboration with the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) has taken its ongoing voter education to Epe, Lagos State, in the move to ensure a free and fair election in 2023.
The anti-graft group, in a statement made available to newsmen on Saturday, said that it had organised a one-day consultative meeting with residents of Epe division during which it warned them to guard their votes jealously in the 2023 elections and ensure that corruptible candidates would not be voted into power.
Presenting a paper titled, ‘Prioritising Anti-Corruption And Accountability Issues During The Upcoming 2023 General Elections In Lagos State’ at the chamber of Epe Local Government Area, CACOL chairman, Comrade Debo Adeniran, lamented that corruption had flourished so much in Nigeria and eaten deep into the country’s economy, hence the hardship and sufferings in the land.
He said the solution that Nigerian citizens could proffer to the menace was to ensure that frontline contestants for the office of the Governor and State House of Assembly would be to articulate their anti-corruption stance and plans to tackle corruption, improve transparency and citizens’ involvement and other governance challenges.
Adeniran said since the Nigerian constitution did not permit independent candidates to run for elective offices, the voters should vote for the political party, whose candidates would be accountable, transparent and genuinely fight corruption.
He condemned the rate at which lawlessness had been thriving in the country generally due to high levels of corruption.
He lamented the high level of youth’s involvement in cybercrime, popularly known as Yahoo-Yahoo, even as he described as worrisome the situation where many parents had been seeing the crime as legitimate work, noting that such parents encouraged and supported their children to succeed in the illegal work.
Adeniran maintained that if care was not taken, the soonest, corruption would be viewed and accepted as a normal way of life, and the future generation might not see anything bad in corruption.
He opined that the negative effects of that would destroy things far beyond the current hardship being experienced across the country.
Mr Adeniran also frowned at the rate at which kidnapping was fast becoming a money-making venture in Nigeria.
He pointed out that both the rich and the poor had become vulnerable to kidnapping, because some people kidnapped for ritual or to harvest organs, or to get the ransom and some others kidnapped for fun.
He said if the poor had known before now that they would be victims of kidnapping when the rich were the only targets, they would have taken necessary steps to end the illicit act.
He advised the people to be proactive in fighting corruption, stressing, “You need to take community action against anyone who wants to use your own lives to over-fatten his own.
“You have the right to demand your entitlements from your representatives in government. If you don’t speak against their reckless spending and corruptible acts now, they will eat up all your entitlements with theirs. Your power is your vote and by voting them into offices, you have given them all their needs.
“It is, therefore, their duty to serve you well; and not embezzle our general wealth.”
The CACOL chairman advised that in order not to be incorruptible, everyone must acquire skill as means of legitimate livelihood, explaining that since no religious book taught and encouraged people to get involved in corruption, it must be shunned by all Nigerians.
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