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Political Space Is Only For Parties Ready To Take Power – Okoye

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Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC’s), Festus Okoye, national Commissioner on Information and Voter Education has reminded Inter Party Advisory Council (IPAC) that political space is meant for political parties that are ready to take power, maintaining that political associations can exist, mobilise, build structures before seeking registration, as soon as they get registered they must be ready to take power.
Okoye said this while speaking on a local media station after the High Court adjourned hearing in the case filed by 33 political parties under the auspices of IPAC, challenging their deregistration by INEC.
The national commissioner reminded IPAC that as registered political parties, they should be ready to take power, because the space was not for learning, as the electoral body would be prepared to de-register any political partyand relegate it to an association if it found out that the party failed to meet the threshold of its registration, in accordance with the 1999 Constitution.
“The political parties contesting did not meet the terms of their registration, neither did they win elections in their various states, nor met the projections. Two of the parties that went to court, Labour Party and African Democratic Party, were not deregistered. They claimed they had court injunctions and I don’t know what they are doing in court.”
“The spirit and intent of the constitution, is that political associations can exist, mobilize people, build up structures. The moment they come for registration means they are ready to take power. If you are not due for political power, you should not apply for registration, because the political space is not for learning or testing the ground”, he said.
Okoye said that 74 political parties had been deregistered and the deregistion had already taken place.
He maintained that because the 33 political parties that went to court were aware that deregistration had taken place, that was why on 14 February they filed an application in court, asking the court to reverse it.
The INEC official stated that the act had already been completed, that was why the court adjourned till 27 February for accelerated hearing.

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Bauchi Declares 14-Day Lockdown, Closes Borders

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The Bauchi State government has ordered a 14-day lockdown and closure of all the state borders with effect from 6 pm. on April 2, as part of efforts to control the spread of Coronavirus in the state.
This was contained in a statement issued by the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Mohammad Baba, and made available to newsmen in Bauchi yesterday.
“In an effort to control the
spread of COVID-19, the Bauchi State government has imposed a lockdown throughout the state for a period of 14 days, with effect from 6 pm. on April 2.
“Consequently, all borders to Bauchi State will be closed.
“Governor Bala Mohammed appreciates the sacrifice of members of the public in these agonising times.
“He has subsequently to secure food items, movement will be allowed between 10 am. and 4 pm. on Wednesdays and Saturdays,” he said.
directed that in order for the public to secure food items, movement will be allowed between 10 am. and 4 pm. on Wednesdays and Saturdays,” he said.
Baba, however, added that the ban would not affect essential services.

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Fayemi Names Committee For COVID-19 Support Account

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Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State, yesterday, named an eight-man management committee for the COVID-19 Pandemic Support Account recently set up by the state government.
The Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr Yinka Oyebode, in a statement issued in Ado-Ekiti, said this was part of the efforts at curtailing the spread of the Coronavirus pandemic in the state.
He said that the account was opened specifically to receive donations from corporate bodies, philanthropists and well-meaning members of the society, who were willing to support government’s efforts at combating COVID-19.
According to him, the funds will be targeted at providing palliatives for the vulnerable persons in the state.
Oyebode added that the committee was set up in line with the governor’s commitment to transparency and accountability.
He listed members of the committee to include the Secretary to the State Government, Mr Biodun Oyebanji, who would serve as the Chairman, with the Special Adviser to the Governor on Development Partnerships, Mrs Margaret Fagboyo as Secretary.
Other members were the Commissioner for Finance, Mr Ayoola Owolabi, Commissioner for Budget and Economic Planning, Mr Femi Ajayi, Commissioner for Health and Human Services Dr Moji Yaya-Kolade, as well as Commissioner for Special Duties, Alhaji Ayodele Jinadu.
The committee also has Prof. Bolaji Aluko, Special Adviser/Director-General, Office of Transformation and Strategic Development and Dr Hakeem Bakare, Director, Directorate of Inter-Communication Technology as members.

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Coronavirus: UN, AU, Others Must Do More – Obasanjo, Ex-Presidents

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Former President Olusegun Obasanjo and 11 other former leaders have appealed to governments in Africa to do more in the fight against coronavirus.
They also advised international organisations to draw up a concrete, effective and continental emergency plan to combat COVID-19 outbreak in the continent.
The ex-Presidents/Prime Ministers warned that “with porous borders all over Africa, national efforts will not be enough but regional and continental were required”.
Their position was contained in a joint statement yesterday titled: “Appeal for preparation for Africa to confront the onslaught of COVID-19”.
It reads: “We have seen the mitigation effect or otherwise by the preparatory and preventive actions made by different nations and international organisations to combat the killer virus.
“The results have been related to seriousness of preparation and preventive measures taken including the level of healthcare measures and delivery. The epidemiological progression in already affected areas has indicated that the worst case is yet to occur in Africa.
“Taking into account the weak healthcare bases in Africa, the conurbation, and the communal living of our people particularly in ghettos and poverty-stricken areas of our cities, the outbreak of COVID-19 in these areas of African communities and cities will be a monumental disaster.
“We, as concerned African leaders, note the efforts that African governments are making within their limited resources to deal with this global challenge.”
The statesmen urged the African Union (AU), United Nations (UN), World Health Organization (WHO), World Bank and G-20, to urgently come up with a plan to alleviate social and economic effects of the disease.
The call for action was co-signed by Obasanjo, Festus Mogae (Botswana), Hailemariam Desalegn (Ethiopia), John Kufour (Ghana), Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (Liberia), Joyce Banda (Malawi) and Joaquim Chissano (Mozambique).
Others are Thabo Mbeki (South Africa), Kgalema Motlanthe (South Africa) Benjamin Mkapa (Tanzania), Jakaya Kikwete (Tanzania) and Mohamed Marzouki (Tunisia).

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