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Omo-Agege Initiates Electoral Act 2010 Amendment Bill

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Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege on Monday said, he had introduced a bill for comprehensive amendment of the Electoral Act No. 6 of 2010.
Omo-Agege said this at the Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room Stakeholders Forum on Elections, organised by the coalition of more than 70 civil societies in Abuja.
He said the bill, co-sponsored by Sen. Abubakar Kyari of Borno North Senatorial District, was now making its way to public hearing, having scaled Second Reading with overwhelming bipartisan support in the Senate.
“It is a decisive response to a plethora of our Supreme Court’s decision inviting the National Assembly to make sensible amendments to the Electoral Act.
“And I believe it is responsible for us to take the apex court’s constructive guidance on issues that fundamentally affect our democracy.
“This apart, Section 153 of the Electoral Act, 2010, as amended, specifically and expressly empowers INEC to “issue regulations, guidelines, or manuals for the purpose of giving effects to the provisions of this Act and for its administration thereof.
“The pervasive non-compliance with the Guidelines, Regulations and Manuals, would carry clear consequences for people who think violating electoral due process is a rewarding exercise.
“The proposed Bill to amend the Electoral Act would focus on resolving issues surrounding INEC’s introduction of modern technologies into the electoral process, particularly accreditation of voters.’’
Omo-Agege said that the bill would also mandate INEC to publish the Voters’ Register for public scrutiny at every Registration Area and on its website, at least seven days before a general election.
According to him, it also mandates INEC to suspend an election in order to allow a political party that loses its candidate before or during an election to conduct a fresh primary to elect a replacement.
He said the bill would grant agents of political parties the right to inspect original electoral materials before the commencement of election, define over-voting to include situations where “total votes cast also exceed total number of accredited voters’’.
According to the lawmaker, it also provides greater clarity and transparency in the process of reaching the final announcement of election results, starting with sorting of ballots, counting of votes among others.
Omo-Agege said the bill would mandate INEC to record and keep relevant detailed information of results sheets, ballot papers and other sensitive electoral materials used in an election, with clear consequences for violation.
He said the bill also provided sanctions for giving false information on registration of a political party, and that failure by INEC and others to comply with any provision of the Act carried clear and adequate sanctions.
INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, who was represented by Mr Festus Okoye, Chairman Information and Voter Education, said the Commission was committed to electoral reforms that would strengthen the power and value of the vote.
Yakubu said the Commission would work assiduously with critical stakeholders in the electoral process in providing clarity, removing ambiguities, plugging existing lacuna in laws and constitutionally implementing those aspects of the law that guaranteed the credibility of elections.
“The Commission will definitely send its proposals to the National Assembly to clearly state aspects of the existing Law it supports, aspects that need further retooling, and new proposals that will strengthen the electoral process and the regulatory functions of the Commission.’’
Mr Abubakar Malami, Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, said the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration was committed to tackling electoral fraud and violence through the establishment of an Electoral Offences Commission.
Malami who was represented by Ms Juliet Ibekaku, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Ethics and Justice, said the government was already working with the 9th National Assembly with a view to ensuring an early passage of amendments to the Electoral Act and the Election Offences Commission Bill into law.
Earlier, Mr Clement Nwankwo, Convener, Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room, said the objective of the event was to discuss the current state of the electoral environment in the country.
Nwankwo said it also aimed to make recommendations and suggestions that would improve the political and electoral process in Nigeria.
“We believe INEC has the responsibility to be a key driver of the much needed change in the electoral sector,’’ he added.

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Anambra:Bill To Abolish Open Grazing Passes Second Reading

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A bill seeking to regulate animal grazing and establish cattle ranches in designated areas of Anambra has scaled second reading in the House of Assembly.
The Majority Leader of the house, Dr Nnamdi Okafor (APGA-Awka South I), said the bill would promote peace and ensure safety of lives and property in the state.
The bill is entitled, ‘Open Grazing of Cattle and other Livestock Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Bill 2021’.
He said that when the bill becomes law, it would help to curb the incessant herders/farmers clashes and generate business opportunities in the state.
“The bill will be part of the efforts to address the incessant clashes between livestock owners, herders and farmers in the state, which has often led to loss of lives and properties over the years.
“The bill will also prevent the destruction of farms and farmers’ crops brought about by open rearing and grazing of cattle,” Okafor said.
Also, Dr Timothy Ifedioranma (APC-Njikoka l) said the bill would promote the production of healthy breeds of livestock and boost job and investment opportunities in livestock farming.
Mr Chuka Ezewune (APGA-Idemili South) said the bill would also promote modern techniques of animal husbandry and international best practices in the dairy and beef industry.
“The old form of cattle rearing is very destructive to the nation and it is time we embraced change,” Ezewune said.
Contributing, Dr Pete Ibida (APGA-Njikoka II) said his constituents had long clamoured for the law.
“Open grazing has constituted security and safety hazards. It messes up our roads and my constituents have been displaced from their farms.
“I believe the bill will also help to manage the environmental impact of open grazing and protect the environment from degradation and pollution,” Ibida added.
Mr Obinna Emeneka (APGA-Anambra East) said that open grazing contributed to disease transmission and described animals as carriers of parasites transmitted to humans.
Emeneka said the bill required accelerated passage to promote agriculture, security and stability in the state.
The Speaker, Mr Uche Okafor, described the bill as everybody’s business, adding that it bothered on food security, economic development and security of of lives and property.
The bill was later committed to the Committee on Agriculture, headed by Mr John Nwokoye, for further deliberation and the committee was expected to report back on September 30.

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Obaseki Names Cabinet 10 Months Later

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The Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, on Friday released a list of nominees for post of commissioners in the State Executive Council.
This decision is coming close to a year after Obaseki and his deputy, Philip Shaibu, were inaugurated for a second term into office on November 12, 2020, following their victory in the September 19 governorship election under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The governor had re-appointed Osarodion Ogie as the Secretary to the State Government after his inauguration with no other appointment since then.
This led to criticism from the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) in Edo State that accused Obaseki of presiding over the affairs of the state like a sole administrator.
“There are some policies and actions of a state that legally and constitutionally should not be undertaken without the approval of the State Executive Council. As we speak, some of those actions are being taken solely by Godwin Obaseki as a sole administrator. He has not displayed the tendencies of a democratically elected governor,” Chris Azebanmwan, the Edo APC spokesman said.
Nonetheless, the Governor has finally released the list of his nominees. They are: Barr. Osamudiamen Wole-lyamu (Oredo); Mr. Chris Nehikhare (Orhionmwon); Mr. Richard Edebiri (Uhunmwode); Barr. Andrew Emwanta Adaze (Egor); Mr. Tony Aganmwonyi (Ikpoba Okha); Mr. Ethan Uzamere (Ovia South West); Ms. Efosa Uyigue (Ovia North East).
Others are, Barr. Donald Okogbe (Akoko Edo); Barr. Anthony Innih (Etsako East); Mrs. Omo Otse Omorogbe (Etsako West); Hon. Damian Lawani (Etsako Central); Mr. Jimfred Obaidiku (Owan West).
Also in the list are, Barr. J. O. Braimah (Owan East); Hon. Felix Akhabue (Esan West); Fred Emefiele (Igueben); Mrs. Anehita Ojezua-Emeya (Esan Central); Dr. Olu Ayewoh (Esan North East) and Mrs. Magdalene Ohenhen (Esan South East).

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Speaker Lauds Wike On Infrastructure

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The Speaker, Rivers State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Ikuinyi-Owaji Ibani has commended the Governor of Rivers State, Chief Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, for the rapid development of Rivers State.
He made this statement when he played host to members of the Council For the Regulation of Estate Surveyors and Valuers of Nigeria recently.
Rt. Hon. Ibani assured the Council that the State Assembly would continue to do that which was beneficial to their constituents. He noted that as a public servant, his door was open to all.
He said: “As a public servant, my door is open to all, and at all times. We work in the interest of the State and for the interest of our people….”
Earlier, the Chairman of the Council For The Regulation of Estate Surveyors and Valuers of Nigeria, Gersh Henshaw, commended the efforts of the Speaker as the Head of Rivers State Legislature.
He stated that Rt. Hon. Ibani had continued to maintain a cordial relationship with the Executive arm of Government and the result of such collaboration was the developmental strides in Rivers State.
The Chairman stated that the essence of the visit was to seek partnership with the Rivers State House of Assembly on any new legislation concerning Estate Surveyors and Valuers in Rivers State.
He expressed appreciation to the National President of the Council, Sir Emmanuel Wike for his immense contributions to the success and progress of the profession.
The delegation which was on a courtesy visit to the Rt. Hon. Speaker, was led by its National President, Sir Wike.

By: Kevin Nengia

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