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‘Violence, Shootings At Elections, Setback To Democracy’

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The violence, including shootings that characterised last Saturday’s elections in Ogoni land and other parts of Rivers State have been described as a setback to democracy.
 President, Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP), Mr Legborsi Pyagbara said this in a statement issued in Port Harcourt, Rivers State capital.
Pyagbara said voting was largely peaceful in most parts of the four local government areas that make up Ogoni land, despite the low turnout of people; even as it condemned alleged attack on unarmed citizens, including two of its officials by security operatives.
 The statement reads, “The Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP) has been following, through its local monitors, the processes relating to the general elections particularly the Gubernatorial/House of Assembly 2019 elections in the Ogoni local government areas of Eleme, Tai, Gokana and Khana that took place on Saturday, 9th March 2019.
 “MOSOP welcomes the peaceful conduct of the casting of votes on the election date in some areas of Ogoni notwithstanding the low turnout.
 “However, despite our call for a peaceful and non-militarised elections, we are deeply concerned about reports of grave violence and actions that marred the elections and may interfere with the processing of the votes or which cast doubt on the integrity of the entire process.
 “MOSOP is further concerned about reports of opening of fire on unarmed citizens and tear-gasing of people allegedly by security agents particularly at Ogoni towns of Kpor, Bori and Ogale and the resultant death and wounding of several persons including the shooting of Dr. Ferry Gberegbe and teargasing of Barr.  Dumle Maol, all of whom are MOSOP officials. This is indeed a setback on our democracy.
 “As it is a fundamental right of citizens to vote guaranteed under several human rights instruments including the 1999  Nigeria Constitution as amended, Articles 3, 5 and 8 of the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance  and Article 13 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, MOSOP restated that these instruments affirm that free and fair elections legally oblige all political actors to abide by and respect the legally established processes at  all stages of the election,” Pyagbara stated.
 The statement further reads, “It is in this light that the MOSOP deeply condemns the low intensity warfare at some parts of Ogoni in the name of elections that took place on March 9, 2019 with the open confrontations between security agents and protesting voters and urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to process the tallying of votes with transparency and integrity and in strict compliance with the legally established requirements.”
 The body calls on government to prosecute all actors including security agents, electoral officers and agents of political parties that are involved in the electoral violence that took place in Ogoniland and other areas during the elections.
 The MOSOP President urged all political parties and candidates to respect the electoral laws and regulations and use the legal process established for resolving any disputes relating to the electoral processes, while urging Ogoni people to remain calm and peaceful.
    He also charged all the agencies with responsibilities for peaceful, free, fair and credible conduct of all processes of the elections particularly the INEC, the judiciary and law enforcement agencies that they should discharge their responsibilities with strict adherence with applicable guidelines and utmost integrity and transparency.

Dennis Naku

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‘Reps Passed 88 Bills In Two Years’

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The House of Representatives has passed 88 bills out of 1407 bills in the past two years, its spokesperson, Benjamin Kalu (APC, Abia) has said.
The House clocked two years on June 11 and has two years left.
Mr Kalu had earlier  released  different data on the status of legislative activities. However, The Tide source  is yet to independently verify this latest data.
Mr Kalu had claimed that the House considered 853 bills and 41 of them passed, in the previous statement.
According to the new statement released on Friday, a total of 554 bills were introduced between June 2020 and June 2021. It was a sharp decline considering that the House introduced 853 bills between June 2019 and June 2020.
Although the decline could be blamed on the outbreak of Covid-19.
“The accurate number of bills considered by the 9th House of Representatives as of June 10, 2021 is 1407 out of which the House has passed 88 bills.
“Additionally, the accurate number of motions considered by the 9th House of Representatives as of June 10, 2021, is 730 out of which the House has made 98 resolutions on security issues.”
The data released by the lawmaker shows that while the introduction of bills has been easy, the progression of bills has been very slow.
A total of 942 bills are awaiting second reading, only 327 bills have been referred to committees, and 79 are awaiting committee of the whole consideration.
Within the same period, 730 motions were considered by the House. However, out of the 663 referred to committees, only 40 reports have been laid, and only six have been considered by the House.
Legislative activities suffered a great deal in 2020 due to the breakout of Covid-19. The National Assembly was shut down for about two months between March 2020 and May 2020.
At a point, the plenary was reduced to once a week.
However, the lawmakers did not help the situation by embarking on holidays at the slightest opportunity, thereby missing deadlines on passage of key legislation.
Also, a review of the legislative agenda of the House by The Tide source shows that the lawmakers are far behind in fulfilling their agenda.

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Accord To Contest In 12 LGAs

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Accord Party plans to contest only in 12 local government councils and 37 local council development areas at the July 24 council polls in Lagos State.
Its Publicity Secretary, Dele Oladeji, told newsmen in Lagos, yesterday that the party chose to contest only in its areas of strength rather than dissipate energy across the state.
He said Accord Party would contest chairmanship and councillorship seats in Somolu, Mushin, Odi-Olowo, Igando-Ikotun, Agbado Okeodo, Agege, Alimosho, Apapa, Lagos Mainland, Ikorodu, Oshodi/Isolo, and Ifako-Ijaiye LGAs/LCDAs.
Oladeji said that the party had a good outing in these councils at the last council elections in 2017.
“We are set for the election and we are competing in our local governments of strength where we won in 2017.
“We are set to repeat the same feat and even win more than the eight councillorship seats we won in 2017 to become the only opposition party in the local government administration in Lagos State,’’ he said.
Oladeji said that the party was ready to go to court wherever its mandate was stolen as it did in 2017 local government elections.
“As against 2017 when we went to court only in few areas to get back our rigged mandate, this year, we will go to court in any number of local government areas where our mandate is perceived to have been stolen through rigging.
“As the only opposition party in the local government’s administration of Lagos State, we have retained the abiding hope of Lagos residents as the alternative party.”

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Okorocha Cautions Igbos On Secession

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The Senator representing Imo West, Rochas Okorocha, has cautioned the South-East against their agitations for Nigeria’s breakup.
Okorocha warned that Igbos would be the worst hit if Nigeria breaks up.
The former Imo State Governor spoke in Abuja while addressing some women groups yesterday.
Okorocha stressed that the South- East should push towards fixing the country and not its disintegration.
The lawmaker stressed that Igbos are nationalistic in nature, hence they should dismiss the urge for Nigeria’s disintegration.
He said: “It is only an Igbo man that goes to a place and remains put in that place, buys a land and builds a house for his family without feeling insecure. The Igbos will lose more if Nigeria divides.
“Most Nigerian leaders who were successful had one thing or the other to do with the Igbos. It is either they married Igbo women or had some links with them. I can call names like, former President, Obasanjo; former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, Buba Marwa, just to name a few”.
South-East groups like the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, and the Movement for the Actualization of Sovereignty State of Biafra, MASSOB, have been agitating for the disintegration of Nigeria.
IPOB led by Nnamdi Kanu has been in the forefront, calling for Biafra’s actualisation.

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