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…As INEC Denies Postponing 2019 Polls

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says it has no plan to postpone the 2019 general elections.
The Chief Press Secretary to INEC Chairman, Mr Rotimi Oyekanmi, made the clarification in a statement in Abuja.
Oyekanmi said the clarification became necessary following a story with the headline, “We may shift 2019 polls over threat of violence – INEC.”
The publication, according to Oyekanmi, does not portray the correct reflection of what INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, said at the Inter-agency Consultative Committee on Election Security meeting in Abuja on Tuesday.
Oyekanmi said what Yakubu told the security chiefs at the meeting was that as the 2019 general elections drew close; the committee would need to meet more frequently.
This, according to him, is to constantly assess the security situation across the country and take proactive actions to forestall any unpleasant event before, during and after the elections.
“He underscored the fact that elections cannot be conducted under a rancorous atmosphere.
“He referred to Section 26 of the Electoral Act which, among others, gives the commission the power to postpone an election if there is reason to believe that a serious breach of peace is likely to occur if the election is proceeded with on (the fixed date)”, or as a result of natural disasters or other emergencies,” Oyekanmi.
He said Yakubu made the reference to the Electoral Act only to underscore the importance of having peace and order in place before, during and after elections.
Oyekanmi also said that the INEC chairman’s reference was to emphasise the significance of the synergy between the commission and security agencies.
He added that Yakubu also noted that the most important assignment before the commission was the Osun governorship election.
INEC boss added that the Osun Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mr Segun Agbaje and Commissioner of Police in the state, Mr Fimihan Adeoye, would brief the committee on the current situation in the state.
The Chief Press Secretary said that Yakubu said the two officers would also brief the committee on the readiness for the governorship poll, which he said that they did.
“Besides, Yakubu spoke on the rising phenomenon of vote buying and selling and harped on the need for collaborative effort to decisively tackle the menace and prevent it during the Osun governorship election.
“He said a Code of Conduct for security agents would be enforced during the elections and warned that any activity outside the confines of legality/ legitimacy will be viewed seriously.”
Oyekanmi said that the INEC chairman also seized the opportunity to draw the committee’s attention to a certain video clip.
According to him, in the video, some political actors were seen making inciteful statements that could lead to serious security breaches before, during and after the 2019 general elections.
He added that Yakubu also called on the relevant security agencies to be vigilant, just as he urged them to take immediate action on the development.
“It is thus clear that at no point during his remarks did the INEC chairman allude to the notion that the commission “may shift 2019 polls over threat of violence” as reported by the national newspaper.
To be sure, INEC has no plan to postpone the 2019 General Elections,” Oyekanmi said.

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CVR: Traditional Ruler Tasks INEC On Mass Mobilisation

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A traditional ruler in Elele community, in Ikwerre Local Government Area of Rivers State, Chief  Mike Elechi, has called on the indigenes of the community and the state to participate in the Continuous Voter’s Registration (CVR) to enable them choose who will govern them in the next general elections.
Sir Elechi also used the opportunity to call on the Independent National Electoral Commission  to organise stakeholders meeting in his community, saying that such  interactive session would shed more light on the importance of the electoral process. 
Elechi stated this in an interview with journalists in his home town over the weekend, saying that the call became imperative following the hardship faced by the citizens as result of bad leadership in the country 
The former Permanent Secretary said although he was yet to see the commencement of the exercise in the area, he, stated the need to organise stakeholders meeting by the electoral empire which would achieve the desired objectives.
According to him, INEC has by this exercise provided an opportunity for full participation of those above 18 years who were not registered during the last exercise 
The Chief Executive Officer of Vintage Farms, said INEC had provided yet another platform for eligible voters to register and vote out bad government led by the federal government. 
“As I urge INEC to carry out adequate sensitization ,it behoves those above 18 years to register and vote and as well be voted for. 
“Get your voters card to enable you throw bad governance into the dustbin. 
“It will also help us get out where we are now.” 
Elechi pointed out that his community has a large number of voters in Ikwerre Local Government area, stressing that concerted efforts should be made to ensure that the exercise was in the area .

By: Akujobi Amadi

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Diri Cautions Appointees Over Early Politicking

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Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, has cautioned his appointees against early politicking ahead of the 2023 elections, saying he would not hesitate to sack any of them found wanting.
Speaking before commencement of the weekly state Executive Council meeting in Government House  Governor Diri frowned on the activities of some of his appointees, which he said were hitting up the polity ahead of the 2023 elections, stressing that it was too early for open politicking. 
A statement by the Governor’s Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Daniel Alabrah, quoted him as saying despite people having the right to aspire to any political office, the time was not ripe for politicking. 
Diri reminded his appointees that the administration lost considerable time last year due to COVID-19 and needless litigations, stressing that it was in a hurry to deliver on its campaign promises and would not afford to waste time politicking. 
He wondered why appointees would be involved in open politicking when the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had not even released a timetable for elections.
The state helmsman urged members of his cabinet interested in open politicking at this time, especially those from Bayelsa West Senatorial District, to resign or be ready to be sacked.
He called on all those involved in the early politicking to immediately withdraw and follow the directives of his administration, saying his government was not ready for politics at this time. 
“I find it very difficult to believe that appointees in this government have already started open politicking.
“Yes, it is the constitutional right of anybody to contest but even the Bible tells us that there is time for everything. At this time, we are trying to stamp our feet to meet up our campaign promises to our people.”
“I hereby caution all those involved to immediately withdraw. If you are prepared to continue with this government, you must listen to the music of this administration. We are not prepared to start politicking from this year”, he said.
Meanwhile, Governor Diri has also sworn in two new Special Advisers.
They are, Alabo Ozubide, Special Adviser, Legal Matters, and Onuma Johnson, Special Adviser on Non-Indigenes. 
While congratulating them, he said their appointments were based on merit and in line with his campaign promises, charging them to avoid friction with commissioners,just as he reiterated that their cooperation with commissioners would deliver development to the people of the state. 
“We promised that when elected, we would appoint a Special Adviser from among non-ndigenes. This appointment is in fulfilment of that promise. We believe that you will be able to synergise and gather non-indigenes together.
“Often, we see role conflicts between special advisers and commissioners that duty bound to implement government policies. You as special advisers should cooperate with them,” he said.

By: Ariwera Ibibo-Howells, Yenagoa

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PDP Urges Nigerians To Embrace E-Registration Of Members

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The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has urged Nigerians to embrace in its online membership registration scheduled to begin in August.
The PDP National Publicity Secretary, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan made the appeal during a news conference on Wednesday in Abuja.
Ologbondiyan urged Nigerians to visit www.iampdp.com for the online registration at the comfort of their homes.
He also expressed delight over  requests from Nigerians  and the interests they were already showing  for the online registration.
Ologbondiyan urged Nigerians to come to PDP and own the process.
The PDP spokesman also commended Nigerians on the way they embraced the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) online ongoing Continuous Voter Registration (CVR).
He said “PDP is happy to hear the INEC saying no fewer than one million Nigerians have completed their online pre-registration.”
Ologbondiyan said  the way Nigerians embraced the CVR showed they were dissatisfied with governance in the country and ready for 2023.
He urged Nigerians of voting age and those yet to register for Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) to continue with the CVR.
He said “We appeal to those who are educated, especially members of the PDP to encourage others to participate in the ongoing CVR.”
Ologbondiyan also urged Nigerians to register to enable them to vote, pointing out that people should know it is  their rights to vote.
Asked how PDP would conduct its e-registration with the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) recent comment on Nigeria network covered, Ologbondiyan said as far as PDP was concerned, every  part of Nigeria had network coverage.
“From the information we have received from all our members across the 36 states and across the 774 local governments area of the country, there is no where that we have received a report that they cannot carry out online registration.
“Even INEC has come out to say that they have no problems with online registration.
“We are happy that INEC has come out to reveal that not less than one million Nigerians have so far participated in the Continuous Voters’ Registration exercise of the commission,” he said.
On  inquiry over the role of the National Assembly members on  electronic transmission of election results, he said the party would meet its members in the National Assembly to review their participation.
He said “The PDP is calling a meeting between the party and caucus in the National Assembly to review the participation of members in the legislative activity of the National Assembly as it concerns the voting on transmission of results.”

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