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LG Chairmen And Re-Election Fever

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With the inauguration of a new Rivers State Electoral Commission forthnight ago, it is now clear that local government election will hold next year.
Among the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) led states, Rivers State seems to be in the lead in constitution of local councils. This posture exemplifies the posture of the state governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, who has given attention to grassroot governance and ensuring that democracy  flourishes at all levels of government.
He told the eight member RSIEC- led by Justice   George Omereji, to ensure that the LG election was done in compliance with the Local Government Law as amended.
The law provides that LG elections will be conducted every three years.
By June next year, the current local government chairmen and councillors will complete their first tenure. And with the pursuit of the elections there might be  caretaker committee in the various councils for the transition period.
It’s against this backdrop that the governor counselled the new RSIEC to ensure there were no loopholes, as he reminded them that , “ some people will be looking for loopholes but do your work first.”
Mindful of antics and possible distraction by the opposition , especially the All Progressives Congress(APC), the governor urged the State Electoral body to be transparent and firm.
His charge is to ensure that all logistics and shortcomings of previous LG elections are curbed and at the same time make sure , the election is credible.
Against this backdrop, Chief Wike challenged them to be committed and focused to deliver on their mandate.
But while primaries are yet to be conducted by the parties, the major challenge now from The Tide investigations is the area of controversies surrounding the de- registration of some political parties.
Recall that shortly after 2019 elections some parties were de-registered.
Before now there used to be over 90 political parties. But the parties were trimmed down to 18. About 22 political parties affected by the axe of  the  Independent  National Electoral Commission(INEC) went to court.
The parties lost at the High Court but got judgement at the  Court of Appeal which called for status quo.
According to the Rivers State Chairman of the Young Democratic Party(YDP), Ronarth Dappa, that is a big challenge.
“Currently only 18 parties are recognised, but the controversy is, will INEC accept the Court  of  Appeal’s ruling? ”Dappa querried.
Already, it was learnt that INEC has appealed the matter at the Supreme Court, “ and we are expecting a favourable outcome,” said the YDP chairman.
“Since RSIEC most times works with INEC template, it’s likely that it’s the 18 recognised political parties that will be in the ballot next year”,  Dappa added.
Dappa’s YDP was de-registered, including 21 others who had participated in the last LG elections.
 Another area of concern for stakeholders is in the selection of candidates and other internal party matters.
With this in view, the ruling PDP has announced its template for candidates who will qualify for primaries.
Though the primaries are yet to commenced the state chairman of the PDP, Ambassador Desmond Akawor, said that only performing LG chairmen might have the chance to  contest  for second term.
Though he said that would be determined by the people, he told a delegation led by Ikwerre LG Chairman, Engr Samuel Nwanosike  during a courtesy call in his office in Port Harcourt, in September,  that performance in the first tenure was key.
Akawor reiterated the same view when the leadership of a pro- PDP group, “Wike for Positive Change” visited him earlier this month.
He stressed that  only local government chairmen with proven records of performance would be given a second chance and urged members of the party to await the decision of the party leadership before deciding on who to support during the governorship election.
According to him, the control of the third tier of government is being driven at the grassroots,  hence all Local Government chairmen must ensure good governance touches their people.
The state PDP chairman opined that managing humans was a Herculean task, as he urged the Ikwerre LG Chairman to ensure all persons were carried along to ensure peace, order and development in the area.
The PDP chairman revealed that leadership of the respective local government areas would decide, and not the party, but that performance would be used as a factor to adjudge those fit for second term.
He blamed the opposition for the crisis in Ikwerre LGA, as he urged the council chairman to display tact and wisdom to ensure that the party remained united and free from crisis.
Consequently, many local government chairmen have begun frantic lobbying and networking on how to beat the hurdle, but the reality remains that happenings in the next few months will be key on who will fly the party’s flags in the primaries.
Though RSIEC is yet to unveil its election timetable, serious underground campaigns have begun by chairmen and other candidates to get endorsement from the party leadership before the primaries.
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FG Tackles UK Parliament Over Attack On Gowon

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The Federal Government has berated a UK parliamentarian, Tom Tugendhat, for accusing a former Nigerian leader, retired Gen. Yakubu Gowon, of stealing during a debate on the #EndSARS protest in the House of Commons.
The government also rebuked the UK parliament for acting in an uninformed manner in recommending sanctions for Nigeria over the hoax massacre at the Lekki Toll Gate during the protest.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, at a meeting with online publishers in Lagos yesterday said the knee jerk reaction of the House of Commons was informed by fake news and disinformation.
He lambasted the chairman, Foreign Affairs Committee of the British House of Commons Tugendhat, for being “ignorant’’ and “flippant’’ in his accusation against Gowon.
“It is most disheartening that parliamentarians in a country with a history of upholding the finest ideals of democracy will act in such an uninformed manner on an issue such as EndSARS.
“The quality of the debate at the British Parliament on EndSARS was under par.
“Fake accusations based on fake news and disinformation were levelled against the Federal Government by poorly-informed participants at the debate.
“One MP even accused former Nigerian leader, Gen. Yakubu Gowon (rtd), who served this country to the best of his ability, of stealing half of the Central Bank of Nigeria.
“Sheer Ignorance! The flippant MP, who unfortunately chairs the Foreign Affairs Committee of the British House of Commons, did a great disservice to himself, the committee he chairs and the entire parliament by allowing himself to be misled by fake news exponents.
“Fittingly, the British Government has distanced itself from him,’’ he said.
Tugendhat, a Conservative Parliamentarian for Tombridge, Edenbridge and Malling had during the debate which led to the recommendation of sanctions against Nigeria, accused Gowon of stealing and money laundering.
“Now some people will remember when Gen. Gowon left Nigeria with half of the Central Bank, so it was said, and moved to London,’’ the MP had said.
Mohammed stressed that the twin evils of fake news and disinformation aggravated the recent #EndSARS protest and the aftermath.
He said the reactions of some countries were informed by fake news and disinformation, and varying figures of those purportedly killed in the hoax massacre at the Lekki Toll Gate.
“For example, parliamentarians in Britain put the figure of those killed at 10, CNN first reported 38 and then lowered the number to 1.
“And DJ Switch’s numbers cascaded from 78 dead to 15 to 7!
“Even an international broadcaster like CNN was misled by fake news and disinformation.
“But CNN has itself to blame for relying on unauthenticated videos which it took from social media
“Now, CNN is seeking to save face by trying to clarify its report, which was not only inaccurate but failed the simple test of balance and fairness,’’ he said.
The minister recalled that the government had petitioned CNN, asking it to use its own internal mechanism to probe its so-called investigative report on the Lekki Toll Gate incident.

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Senate Confirms Yakubu As INEC Chairman

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The Senate has confirmed the appointment of Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, as Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission for the second term of five years.
Recall that the Senate had received a request from President Muhammadu Buhari to confirm the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, for a second and final term in office.
Following the request, the Senate Committee on INEC, led by Senator Kabiru Gaya, made the confirmation at the plenary yesterday.
Senators who spoke before his confirmation also described him as highly qualified for the job.
Meanwhile the Senate has advised that President Muhammadu Buhari to replace the service chiefs following the killing of 43 farmers.
The senate President, Ahmed Lawan told Buhari to immediately restructure the country’s security architecture in order to fight against insurgents and secure lives of citizens.
“I urge the President of Federal Republic of Nigeria to immediately initiate the transitionary process of phasing out the current over-stayed security chiefs and replacing them with new ones with new ideas and solutions;
“I urge the President to take immediate steps to restructure, remodel and revamp the country’s entire security architecture and provide enough state-of-the-art weapons and equipment to effectively combat the belligerent power of the insurgents.”
The Senate President also advised the President to immediately set up a probe panel into widespread allegations of corruption and leakages within the security structure and put mechanisms in place to foster transparency.
“The President should ensure all resources meant and deployed for security are actually spent on the needs on ground; Impress on the Federal Government to aggressively explore multilateral and bilateral options of partnership with the neighboring nations of Chad, Niger and Cameroon towards reviving and strengthening the Multinational Joint Task Force.
“Finally, as a way of proffering long term solution to Nigeria’s existential security challenges, the Federal and States Government must adequately address all immediate and remote causes of insecurity in the nation,” Lawan added.

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Lagos By-Elections: INEC Delivers Non-Sensitive Materials To LGAs

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Lagos State, says that it has delivered non-sensitive materials for the Saturday’s Lagos East Senatorial and Kosofe Constituency II House of Assembly by-elections to all the five affected councils in the area.
INEC spokesman, Femi Akinbiyi, told newsmen yesterday in Lagos that the commission would soon receive the sensitive materials for the elections.
Akinbiyi said that the receipt of the materials would be in the full glare of the political parties’ representatives, election observers and the media.
“The non-sensitive materials have been delivered to various local governments already, and they have been batched into various registration areas (Wards).
“We are not leaving any stone unturned in our preparations to conduct free, fair, credible and acceptable by-elections on Saturday in Lagos East Senatorial District and Kosofe State Constituency II,” INEC PRO said.
Akinbiyi said that the INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mr Sam Olumekun, has advised the people to come out en mass to exercise their franchise on Saturday in a peaceful and orderly manner.
He said that the commission was poised about conducting elections that everyone including all participating political parties would be proud of.
He said that INEC in collaboration with security agencies had made adequate arrangements for smooth and safe conduct of the election.
The Tide source reports that the five local government areas that make up the Lagos East Senatorial District are Somolu, Kosofe, Ikorodu, Epe and Ibeju-Lekki.
Candidates from 12 political parties will be contesting in the Lagos East Senatorial by-elections while eight candidates will be contesting the Kosofe Constituency II, Lagos State House of Assembly by-elections.
The contestants for the senatorial election are: Muyiwa Adebanjo, Action Alliance (AA); Ms Mercy Adeoye, African Action Congress (AAC) and John Kome, African Democratic Congress (ADC).
Others are: Adebowale Ogunlaru, Action Democratic Party (ADP); Adetokunbo Abiru, All Progressives Congress (APC); Olusola Babatope, Allied Peoples Movement (APM); Mrs Florence Trautman, Labour Party (LP) and Ms Adijat Lawal, New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP).
The rest are: Babatunde Gbadamosi, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP); Akin Olukunle, National Rescue Movement (NRM); Saheed Aluko, Social Democratic Party (SDP) and Taiwo Temitope, Young Progressive Party (YPP).
The eight contestants for the Kosofe Constituency II bye-election are: John Akerele, AA; Sadiq Olawale, AAC; Wasiu Saheed, APC; Adekunle Oladapo, LP; Muyideen Agoro, NNPP; Ademorin Adelaja, NRM; Sikiru Alebiosu, PDP and Mrs Mary Abojeh, ADC.
The two by-elections, slated for December 5, became necessary following the demise of the former occupants who were members of APC.

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