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ASUU Strike ’ll Affect 2019 Polls -INEC

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), says the lingering strike by Academic Staff Union of Universities(ASUU) will have serious impact on  preparations for the conduct of the 2019 general elections.
Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee of INEC, Mr Festus Okoye, made this known in Abuja at a one-day seminar on Media and Gender Sensitive Reporting of Elections.
According to Okoye, it is next to impossible for the members of the National Youth Service Corp to provide all the ad-hoc staff needs and requirements of the commission.
He said that over 70 per cent requirement in some states of the federation were drawn from students of federal tertiary institutions.
“For the 2019 elections, INEC will recruit and deploy over one million adhoc staff made up of lecturers and students in federal tertiary institutions and corps members.
“These category of adhoc staff will serve as returning officers, collation officers, supervisory presiding officers and assistant presiding officers.
“The bulk of assistant presiding officers will be drawn from students of institutions, INEC is presently organising root training for corps members and wants to begin that with students.
“So it is important and imperative that they are in school a month before the election for this to happen.,” he said.
Okoye therefore called on ASUU and the Federal Government to quickly and genuinely resolve the lingering impasse that led to uncertainty in the education sector.
He said the resolution of the problems that led to the strike would be in the national interest and Nigeria’s democracy.
Dr Adekunle Ogunmola, Chairman, Outreach and Partnership Committee INEC, said that the seminar was organised to brainstorm on new ways to use media to promote gender equality in the electoral process.
Ogunmola said that the commission understood the indisputable role of the media in setting and resetting the mindset of electorates to make the 2019 elections more gender sensitive.
He said that beyond the freedom to vote and adherence to electoral laws, a free and fair election was also about a participatory process where voters were well informed to make right choices.
Ogunmola added that the media serve this role through objective and impartial reporting of political events which help to shape public opinion and deepen democracy.
He urged the media to plan contents that would support gender in their reportage of the electoral process to ensure inclusiveness.
Mr Lansana Wonneh, representative of UN Women, said that when politics is inclusive and women participate, the results would be better.
Wonneh said that Nigeria leads Africa in almost everything except in terms of female participation in governance and politics where Nigeria was among countries with the lowest number.
“We are several weeks away from the general elections and this seminar could not be more appropriate.
“At UN Women, we are working with INEC to make sure that there are efforts in making elections free and fair and inclusive especially gender inclusive,” he said.
He urged the media to use it’s power to promote women in politics to change the narrative.

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Rivers PDP Slams Kogi Electorate Over Bello’s Victory

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Rivers State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has faulted the result of last Saturday’s governorship election in Kogi State, describing the victory of Yahaya Bello as a disrespect to the people there.
The State Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Darlington Orji, stated this in an interview with newsmen in Port Harcourt, the state capital said the administration of Governor Yahaya Bello is characterised by poor performance.
Orji said it is surprising that a governor who is allegedly owing salaries of civil servants for over 30 months would be reelected by the people, noting that in a normal democracy the reverse would have been the case.
“For us (Rivers PDP) what we saw in Kogi in particular is a rape of democracy. If democracy is actually working, people like Yahaya Bello can never return because they have nothing to offer to the people.
“A man that has been indebted to the people for about 38 months, what else did he tell the electorates before he was elected? For us it is a shocker.
“You saw what happened in the Senatorial election where about 70, 000 votes were cancelled from our own candidate (referring to Senator Dino Melaye),” the Rivers PDP spokesman said.
Orji said he expects the people of Kogi and the PDP to contest the election, pointing out that Governor Bello has failed abysmally and does not deserve a second term.
“For us at this point we cannot do otherwise, rather for the people of Kogi State and the PDP to take a decision to challenge the outcome or not,” he said, noting that the PDP is still a party to beat any day, anytime.

 

By: Dennis Naku

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Bayelsa Poll Aftermath: Don Urges Politicians To Fulfill Campaign Promises

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A University teacher, Dr. Kenneth Nweke, has called on politicians to endeavour to deliver on their campaign promises made to the people, noting that sovereignty belongs to the people.
Nweke, who is associate Professor of Political Science at the Ignatus Ajuru University of Education in Port Harcourt, made the call while reacting to the just concluded Governorship election in Kogi and Bayelsa States.
He specifically said that what happened in Bayelsa State is a lesson to politicians, especially Governors not to take the people for granted, because according to him, there will be a day of reckoning and that what happened in Bayelsa State can be replicated at the national level if the political class continue to renege in their responsibilities.
He said: “I think that it is dawn on seating governors to note that power belongs to the people. That sovereignty actually lies with the people and that it is the peoples’ sovereignty that those in public offices derive their political power.
“Now that power is returning to the actual people it belongs to, it should dawn on them that there is absolute need to have regard for major stakeholders. There is absolute need to have regard to the wishes and aspirations of the people.
“And the essence of government is to protect lives and property and to provide the good life for the citizens. At all levels of government we are not enjoying what we ought to enjoy and except that government at all levels live up to the wishes and aspirations of the people.
“You know what has happened in Bayelsa State could also replicate itself anywhere, anytime, anyway whether at the local government level, of course local government level is barely something that we want to see happen.
“But at state and national levels. The way the All Progressives Congress (APC) won at the national level can also be replicated going forward in 2023, if the political class continue to relegate their constitutional responsibilities to the people.”
He therefore said going forward, those in positions of authority need to protect lives and property and provide the good life, noting: “for me I am almost giving up on the Nigerian state because I cannot see that as we continue to live that the essence of government is defeated.”
The senior lecturer however urged those who have lost in the election to accept it in good fate, as it is actually the people who should determine who governs them.
“It is a strong signal to the political class that the era where power is being taken forcefully from the people and that where the views of the people are being suppressed that someday that the people have a right to determine whether to continue in such political leadership,” he declared.

 

By: Dennis Naku

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Taraba Speaker Hails Ishaku’s Victory At Appeal Court

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The Speaker of Taraba State House of Assembly, Mr Abel Diah, has congratulated Governor Darius Ishaku on his victory at the Appeal Court in Abuja.
Diah said that the judgment did not come as a surprise, adding that the appellate court only affirmed the decision of Taraba masses who turned out en masse for the re-election of Ishaku.
He assured the people of the state that the governor would reciprocate their gesture by consolidating on the achievement he has recorded in his first tenure.
The Court of Appeal in Abuja, last Monday, upheld the judgment of the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, which earlier dismissed the petition by the All Progressives Congress (APC) challenging the victory of Ishaku during the March 9, gubernatorial election.
The five-member panel of the court led by Justice Chidi Nwanna dismissed the appeal.

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