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INEC Repositions For Future Challenges

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) last Monday said it has started repositioning and repackaging for electoral challenges ahead.
INEC National Commissioner in charge of Information and Voter Education, Mr Festus Okoye, said this at a four-day workshop on media monitoring for some INEC publicity officers in Abuja.
Okoye said that the commission was presently harnessing the lessons from the 2019 general election and harvesting positive recommendations aimed at improving subsequent elections.
He assured Nigerians that the commission would continue to improve on its processes and procedures.
Okoye assured the various stakeholders in the electoral process that the Commission would study and analyse all the recommendations made and positively implement them.
Speaking on the workshop, the national commissioner said its aimed at increasing understanding of INEC public officers of new issues, challenges and possibilities in the media.
Okoye added that it was also aimed at how to harness such possibilities and arrest negative perception relating to the work of the commission and build a positive image for INEC.
He said that part of the challenges faced by the commission during the 2019 general elections revolves around information management and strategic communication as well as managing public perception around the processes and procedures of the Commission.
According to him, while the commission had consistently tried its best to provide information to the media it demanded that the spokespersons for the Commission be conversant with the happening in the Commission.
The INEC national commissioner, however, commended the European Centre for Electoral Support (ECES) for the Media Monitoring Center it donated to the Commission.
He assured INEC partners that the Commission would make good use of the facilities at the media center to promote and enhance its image.
Okoye said that the training would equip and empower the participants with modern skills of monitoring the activities of the media, to keep the commission abreast of issues as they break or begin to trend especially on the social media.
He said that the establishment of a media monitoring center within the Commission was a step in the right direction.
Okoye urged the participants of the workshop to read widely and keep abreast of happenings in the social media.
“The Commission must study and understand the thinking of young people who constitute over 50 per cent of the registered voting population in Nigeria and what keeps them away from the polling units.
“Young persons are very active on the social media and yet have not succeeded in influencing in a significant way the pattern of voting in Nigeria.
“It is a matter of common knowledge that a large proportion of the young people are exceedingly active on the social media and take active part in debates around elections and the electoral process.
“It is our responsibility to understudy and understand the direction and perspectives of young people in relation to the electoral process and why they are very active in the social media and inactive in the voting process,” he said.
On his part, Coordination, Advisor/Electoral Administration Expert, ECES, Mr Manji Wilson, said the media monitoring centre was established for INEC following the recommendations of the European Union Observation Mission to Nigeria, 2015 and 2019.
Wilson said that ECES had procured, delivered and was currently installing hardware and software that would in a few days metamorphose into the National Media Monitoring Centre at the INEC headquarters, Annex.
“The skills and expertise you acquire from this workshop will be crucial to strengthening this center.
“Further support will be considered in due course to expand the scope of ECES interventions to the INEC Media monitoring set-up, beyond Headquarters.
Manji said that ECES was committed to strengthening and deepening the democratic process in Nigeria through the implementation of the EU-SDGN programme- Component 1.
INEC Director of Voter Education and Publicity, Mr Oluwole Osaze-Uzzi, said that the participants were drawn from Abuja and INEC offices in Kogi and Bayelsa states.
Osaze-Uzzi said the workshop was relevant even after the 2019 general elections, as the commission was preparing for Kogi and Bayelsa governorship elections.
He said that the training would cover both conventional and social media monitoring.

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Gov Emmanuel Shuts Borders, Suspends Ibom Air

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Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State has ordered the closure of all borders and roads leading to the state with immediate effect.
The governor also directed that Ibom Air suspends all flight operations with effect from Sunday, March 29.
The Secretary to the State Government, Dr Emmanuel Ekuwem, disclosed this in a statement in Uyo, yesterday.
Emmanuel was quoted as directing that workers in the state should stop work with effect from Monday, March 30 for one week. “Following a critical analysis of the situation relating to COVID-19 situation, I have been directed by His Excellency, Mr Udom Emmanuel to make the following announcements:
“Salaries of state government workers for the month of March will be paid on or before Friday, March 27, 2020.
“Workers are advised to prepare to stop going to work and stay at home for one week with effect from Monday, March 30, 2020. The stay-at-home order will be strongly enforced. March 30, 2020. The stay-at-home order will be strongly enforced.
“All borders and roads leading in and out of the state are closed with immediate effect; except for transportation of food items. Ibom Air will suspend all flight operations from Sunday, March 29, 2020.
“Markets are to remain open for sale of foodstuff and essential items only,” Emmanuel said.
The governor appealed to all Churches in the state to fast t situation. and pray on Sunday, March 29 for God’s intervention in the present situation.
He added that while the one week stay at home order would be on, government would continue to monitor the situation and provide update on the coronavirus in the state.
“While the one week stay-at-home order subsists, the Akwa Ibom State government will continue to monitor and provide regular updates on any development in the COVID-19 situation in our state,” he said.

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Partisan Politics: Awuse Wants Civil Servants Isolated

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Elder statesman and chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Rivers State, Chief Sergeant Awuse, has said civil servants should be isolated from partisan politics in order to achieve maximum productivity.
Chief Awuse stated this in his remarks at the public presentation of the book, ‘A Handbook on Discipline of Civil Servants in Nigeria’ written by the State Head of Service (HOS), Rufus Godwins in Port Harcourt, recently.
“He stated, “By 1971/72 when we finished our secondary school, I was in Ministry of Establishment. The Permanent Secretary that they had then, if I may say, was a position that many people wanted to have. They were secure. I will want the writer in subsequent review to consider the importance of career civil servants and not political permanent secretaries.
“The reason is simple. Loyalty is always the ingredient for their appointment. But those days, permanent secretaries were judged by their ability to deliver, their ability to perform and they were more secured. I know you may not include that in your book now for obvious reasons.
“But in future, when you are reviewing, please make sure you mention that area. But remember, in every sector today, the politicians are also very important.
“The important thing is that future civil servants should be isolated from partisan politics. They should be allowed to function and use their brains. They should be allowed to do the job, irrespective of which party is in government,” he stated, noting that it was difficult to get the best out of the civil service with frequent rotation.
“Some of them are afraid to function properly because they know that the words that are used that ‘I am directed’. If you are not directed properly you are on your way out,” the elder statesman noted.

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Lagos Assembly Lifts Suspension On Four Lawmakers

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The Lagos State House of Assembly, yesterday, reinstated four of its members earlier suspended indefinitely over alleged misconduct and insubordination.
The Speaker, Mr Mudashiru Obasa, made the announcement during the plenary in Lagos.
The House, had on March 9, passed a resolution sacking two of its principal officers and suspending two members indefinitely for alleged misconduct, insubordination and action that could destabilise the House.
The speaker announced the punitive measures following the voice votes by members present during the plenary.
He said the principal officers that were removed included the Chief Whip, Mr Rotimi Abiru and Deputy Majority Leader, Mr Olumuyiwa Jimoh.
The speaker also announced the suspension of Mr Moshood Oshun (Lagos Mainland Constituency II) and Mr Kazeem Raheem Adewale (Ibeji Lekki Constituency II).
The offices of the four lawmakers in the House were subsequently locked by the Speaker on March 10.
Obasa said on Thursday during plenary, that the House decided to lift their suspension following the intervention by the Governor’s Advisory Council and the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
“The Governor’s Advisory Council and the National leader of our party, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, have intervened in the crisis and directed that the House should reinstate the suspended lawmakers.

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