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Deploy Technologies To Ensure Credible Polls, PDP Govs Tell INEC

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Ahead of the 2023 general election, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Governors’ Forum has requested the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), to deploy appropriate technologies necessary to ensure that the votes of every Nigerian was counted and made to count.
Similarly, the forum has also tasked the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), especially, the Universal Service Provision Fund (USPF), Nigerian Communications Satellite Ltd, and telecommunications companies to ensure that universal access and service of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) are provided, especially in rural, un-served and under-served areas of the country before the 2023 general election.
The governors, who met in Bauchi, Bauchi State, last Monday, stated these in a 10-point communique issued at the end of their meeting, during which they deliberated and reviewed the deteriorating state of the country’s democracy, the economic and security situation in the country.
The Chairman of PDP Governors’ Forum and Governor of Sokoto State, Hon. Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, who read the communique, said the forum identified with the need for free, fair and credible elections in the country, and called on the National Assembly to entrench electronic transmission of results of elections in the nation’s electoral jurisprudence.
In attendance were, Governors Nyesom Wike (Rivers); Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia); Udom Emmanuel (Akwa Ibom); Douye Diri (Bayelsa); Samuel Ortom (Benue); Ifeanyi Okowa (Delta); Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu); Oluseyi Abiodun Makinde (Oyo); Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri (Adamawa); Godwin Obaseki (Edo); Bala Mohammed (Bauchi); Darius Ishaku (Taraba) and Deputy Governor Mahdi Mohd (Zamfara).
The PDP governors condemned the attempt to foist on all political parties, one method of conducting primaries, that is, by direct method only through the Electoral Act Amendment Bill.
According to the forum, the direct method was prone to massive rigging, as evidenced by a situation where President Muhammadu Buhari scored about 15million votes in the 2018 APC direct primaries, only to score 15million votes from the entire country in the 2019 general election.
The governors stressed that political parties should be allowed to decide whether to use direct or indirect method of conducting primaries as part of internal democracy in political parties.
Again, the PDP governors condemned the use of underhand tactics to arm-twist some of their colleagues and other stakeholders to join the APC, a political party that has wrecked Nigeria’s economy, turned Nigeria into a killing field, and has nothing to offer Nigerians, but misery and bad governance.
The forum lampooned Buhari and APC for turning the Presidential Villa that belongs to all Nigerians into the new APC headquarters, where coerced PDP members were being paraded at intervals.
On the issue of the economy, the PDP governors admonished the APC-led Federal Government to collaborate more with state governments to stem the unemployment scourge affecting the youths of Nigeria, through technology and increased production in all fields of endeavour.
The governors advised the Federal Government to stop paying lip service on the Ease of Doing Business, as foreign direct investments have continued to fall partly due to obstacles placed on foreign companies wishing to invest in Nigeria.
“A glaring example is that of FACEBOOK which insisted on investing in Nigeria rather than Ghana, and is being frustrated by regulatory authorities.”
The PDP governors maintained that it was time to bring the activities of bandits, kidnappers and terrorists to an end, through increased use of military equipment, traditional means of conflict resolution and technology for surveillance and the development of the political will to flush them out.
“Kidnapping, banditry and terrorism are not business ventures as claimed by APC, but heinous state crimes that is destroying the Nigerian economy, the educational and social future of our children and causing significant social upheavals in society.”
The governors reiterated the need for the NNPC and other revenue generating agencies of government to strictly abide by the Constitution by remitting all their revenues less cost of production into the Federation Account as provided for by Section162 of the Constitution.
Furthermore, the governors enjoined all Nigerians of goodwill to take advantage of the ongoing registration of voters by INEC to register to vote, thereby arming themselves with the necessary tools in the struggle to rescue Nigeria from the APC maladministration.
“The general public, especially our youths and women are implored to use the opportunity of the PDP e-registration exercise which will kick off soon, to register as PDP members, while PDP members should update their membership electronically.
The forum thanked the chief host, Governor of Bauchi, Senator Bala Mohammed, for providing conducive atmosphere for the meeting and for the huge difference he has made in provision of infrastructure and general welfare of citizens of the state.
The 10-point communique reads, “Governors elected on the platform of the PDP met in Bauchi, Bauchi State on 26th July 2021. The meeting deliberated once again on the state of the nation, reviewed the deteriorating state of our democracy, the economic and security situation in the country, the state of the PDP as the main opposition platform in Nigeria, and arrived at the following decisions.
“On the Electoral Act Amendment Bill, the Governors identified with the need for a free, fair and credible election in the country and called on the National Assembly to entrench electronic transmission of results of elections in the nation’s electoral jurisprudence.
“The meeting requested Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the only body empowered by the Constitution to conduct elections, to deploy appropriate technologies necessary to ensure that the votes of every Nigerian is counted and made to count. The meeting further called on the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), especially, the Universal Service Provision Fund (USPF), Nigerian Communications Satellite Ltd (NIGCOMSAT), Telecommunications Companies (telcoms) and all relevant stakeholders to ensure that universal access and service of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) are provided especially in rural, un-served and under-served areas of the country before the 2023 general election.
“The meeting condemned the attempt to foist on all political parties, one method of conducting primaries, that is, by direct method only, through the Electoral Act Amendment Bill. The governors noted that the method is prone to massive rigging, as evidenced by a situation where President Buhari scored about 15million votes in the 2018 APC Direct Primaries only to score 15million votes from the entire country in the 2019 general election. The governors advised that political parties, should be allowed to decide whether to use direct or indirect method of conducting primaries as part of internal democracy in political parties.
“The governors reiterated, once again, the need for the NNPC and other revenue generating agencies of government to strictly abide by the Constitution by remitting all their revenues less cost of production into the Federation Account as provided for by S.162 of the Constitution.
“The meeting condemned, once again, the use of underhand tactics to arm twist some PDP governors and other stakeholders to join the APC, a political party that has wrecked Nigeria’s economy, turned Nigeria into a killing field and has nothing to offer Nigerians but misery and bad governance.
“The governors condemned Mr President and APC for turning the Presidential Villa, that belongs to all Nigerians, into the new APC headquarters, where coerced PDP members are being paraded at intervals.
“On the economy, the meeting admonished the APC Federal Government to collaborate more with state governments to stem the unemployment scourge affecting the youths of Nigeria, through technology and increased production in all fields of endeavour, reiterating that government should stop paying lip service on the Ease of Doing Business, as foreign direct investments have continued to fall partly due to obstacles placed on foreign companies wishing to invest in Nigeria. A glaring example is that of FACEBOOK who insisted on investing in Nigeria rather than Ghana, and is being frustrated by regulatory authorities.
“On security of lives and properties, in addition to our earlier recommendations, it is time to bring the activities of bandits, kidnappers and terrorists to an end, through increased use of military equipment, traditional means of conflict resolution and technology for surveillance and the development of the political will to flush them out. Kidnapping, banditry and terrorism are not business ventures as claimed by APC but heinous state crimes, that is destroying the Nigerian economy, the educational and social future of our children and causing significant social upheavals in society, the PDP governors admonished.
“The PDP governors enjoined all Nigerians of goodwill to take advantage of the ongoing registration of voters by INEC to register to vote, thereby arming themselves with the necessary tools in the struggle to rescue Nigeria from the APC maladministration.
“Furthermore, the general public, especially our Youths and Women are implored to use the opportunity of the PDP e-registration exercise which will kick off soon, to register as PDP members, while PDP members should update their membership electronically.
“The governors thanked the Chief Host, Senator Bala Abdulkadir Mohammed of Bauchi State for providing a conducive atmosphere for the meeting and for the huge difference he has made in provision of infrastructure and general welfare of citizens of Bauchi State, the Pearl of Tourism”.

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Shell Donates Subsea Training Facilities To UNIPORT

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The Nigeria deep-water arm of global energy giant, Shell, has donated multimillion naira laboratory equipment and software packages to the Offshore Technology Institute of the University of Port Harcourt as part of the company’s Nigerian content human capital development programme delivered in collaboration with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
Speaking at a ceremony to hand over the facilities to the university, last Thursday, Managing Director, Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company Limited (SNEPCo), Mrs. Elohor Aiboni, said, “The donations are aimed at strengthening advanced practical teaching and research in subsea engineering to give the students the required skills and competences for entry level jobs in the oil and gas industry”.
The facilities, valued at over $700,000, are in alignment with the Human Capacity Development Guideline of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB).
Aiboni, represented by SNEPCo’s Social Investment Manager, Dr. Gloria Udoh, expressed optimism that with the level of investment by NNPC and SNEPCo in deep-water training via the establishment centres of excellence and donation of cutting-edge information and communication technology centres, among others, Nigerian oil and gas industry would surpass its local content aspiration earlier than projected.
“This investment anchored on the maintenance of subsea infrastructure on Nigeria’s pioneer deep offshore field, Bonga, is expected to develop and upskill the cognitive and technical abilities of students who pass through the Offshore Technology Institute for the ultimate benefit of our industry and of our country,” Aiboni added.
With the new laboratory and software packages, according to Aiboni, the Offshore Technology Institute is positioned to deliver effective training in engineering design; construction and installation of offshore and subsea structures; computer simulations; civil and construction tests; 3D printing/engravement capability; Measurement/Metering Technology and Robotics; Alternative Energy Technologies; and Data Acquisition Learning System.
In his remarks, Vice Chancellor, University of Port Harcourt, Prof. Onwunari Georgewill, commended NNPC and SNEPCo with its co-venture partners for their goodwill to the university and particularly to OTI, and canvassed more areas of collaboration between the university and its industry partners.
Georgewell said, “This project’s completion is timely because it latches on to the university’s leadership philosophy, which focuses on advancing education through an integrated learning environment to produce industry-ready university graduates and workforce.
“The current administration of the university places a lot of emphasis on university and industry collaboration and partnership. This donation will therefore enhance the achievement of the postgraduate degree-awarding Offshore Technological Institute in the practical context.”
Also speaking, Executive Secretary of NCDMB, Mr. Simbi Wabote, described the human capital initiatives of SNEPCo as commendable.
Wabote added, “I commend your remarkable and consistent collaboration and partnership with the NCDMB towards the development of in-country capacities and capabilities.”
Represented by NCDMB General Manager, Corporate Service and Logistics, Mr Halilu Abdulmalik, Wabote said, “Your Nigerian content initiatives are consistent with the objectives and aspirations of NCDMB’s 10-year strategic roadmap, and we hope that necessary adjustments will be made to the curriculum to ensure optimal utilization by students in the university community.”

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Obasanjo, Osinbajo, Wike, Others Bag CAN Awards

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Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Senator Rochas Okorocha, Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, Emeritus Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, Cardinal John Onaiyekan, and Mummy Esther Ajayi, were among prominent Nigerians who received awards at the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) Sapphire awards in Abuja, last weekend.
Others, including Pastor Enoch Adeboye, Cardinal Olubunmi Okogie, and Chief Arthur Eze, also received awards at the event; while the kidnapped Dapchi school, Leah Sharibu, won in the Young Christian Achiever award category.
Former Head of State, Yakubu Gowon, and Goodluck Jonathan, Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustafa, and some Christian governors, serving and past National Assembly members bagged awards.
The awards were part of activities for CAN’s 45th Anniversary Sapphire Celebration Dinner and Award Night.
Earlier in his welcome address, CAN National President, Rev. Samson Ayokunle, had said that the gathering was to celebrate 45 years of the church in Nigeria.
He said that Governance Category awards were for Christians in politics who had shown excellent and remarkable services.
“These include past presidents, serving governors and senators in our assessment that deserve such award.
“An award ceremony is applause of vision, personal discipline and determination; it is an event like this that makes people feel that their works are valued.
“The award is a catalyst that is expected to reinforce the awardees to serve humanity more and more,’’ he said.
The CAN president said it was heart breaking that majority of those in Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps were Christians who were displaced by religious fanatics, bandits and gunmen in their territories.
He solicited the awardees’ financial support in fulfilling some of CAN’s obligations to fellow Christians and bringing to fruition the association’s projects.
Obasanjo, who was represented by the Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr Boss Mustapha, was the special guest of honour at the awards.
Obasanjo said that the award was significant in that it would encourage other citizens to serve humanity, adding “I will continue to do the best I can to uphold the principles of justice, love, equity, mutual respect, industry and the fear of God which epitomise the church of Christ until there’s no breath left in me.”
While showing appreciation to CAN on behalf of all the award recipients, VP Osinbajo said Nigerians needed to be more tolerant of other people’s views.
The vice president dedicated the award to those who, daily in different locations, distant and near, propagated the message of the love and reconciliation of the gospel of Jesus Christ, sometimes in difficult and life-threatening situations.
He said that the awardees were not necessarily the most deserving of Christians to be given any recognition but by the special grace of God which placed them in the high capacity they served.
He said, “As we have seen in the past few years, there’s a growing ethnic and religious chauvinism, and almost intemperate, vehement and violent dismissal of the views of people of other persuasions and faith without adequate consideration.
“At the same time, there is also the rise of cultural and identity politics. The answer to hate and intolerance and conflicts is the gospel of Jesus Christ. We must believe enough in it, to live it out as our article of faith.
“The gospel commands consideration of the views of others, treating them we would wish to be treated. Our words must be of grace, seasoned with salt.
“We must remain constant and relentless advocates of freedom of worship, respect for human rights, fairness, justice, rule of law because they are fundamental to peace and security. We cannot talk of peace and security without fairness and justice, and compliance with the rule of law.
“We are in the advantageous position that our contribution will be more easily noticed.
“So, this award is dedicated to the men who, daily in different locations, distant and near propagate this message of the love and reconciliation of the gospel of Jesus Christ in sometimes even difficult and life-threatening situations.
“And to many who have suffered deprivations, the families of those who have lost their lives by reason of their belief.
“And we are deeply grateful to the Almighty God for the opportunity and enablement to serve in the positions to which we have been referred.
“I bring, also, the very warm felicitations of the President Muhammadu Buhari and the Federal Government of Nigeria on the 45th anniversary of the birth of this foremost association of Nigerian Christians.
“CAN was formed to, among other objectives, nurture the unity of the church in Nigeria and to work with the leaders of other faith and persuasions to build bridges and forge understanding, peace and unity among the various people and faith in our nation.
“CAN has not only been continually faithful to its founding vision, it has become a veritable force for peace, for unity and for social justice.
“Pursuant to the gospel, CAN has consistently spoken up on behalf of the least of those in our society,’’ he said.
He said that the current and past leaderships of CAN had acted in full realiasation and recognition of their roles as pivotal stakeholders alongside the government and private sector in nation building.
Earlier, Senator Rochas Okorocha, who noted the dire financial condition of the umbrella Christian organisation in the country, advised clerics to tone down their criticism of those in authority.
He said, “I just want to caution some Christian pastors concerning the way we use our pulpit and the kind of fire of insults and abuses that comes from there. When you abuse those who will give you money where will you get the money.
“The Bible says to pray for those in authority. You need to draw your leaders close. When you draw us closer and tell us what your problems are, it will energise us to help. Money will flow more than you need.”
Also, Imam Abubakar Abdullahi, who sheltered no fewer than 200 Christians in Barkin Ladi, Plateau, during an attack, was presented with the Special Recognition award.
The late Obadiah Mailafia, former CBN Deputy Governor, was given a post-humous award of Spokesperson for Oppressed alongside Matthew Kukah, Bishop of Catholic Diocese of Sokoto and Human Rights Lawyer, Femi Falana.
Awards were also given to best candidates in the 2020 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination and Senior School Certificate Examination.
Highlight of the event was the cutting of the anniversary cake.

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Bandits Free 10 More Kaduna Baptist Students, Keep 11

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The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), yesterday, confirmed that 10 more students of Bethel Baptist School in Kaduna State have been released.
The Vice President of CAN (19 Northern States and Abuja) and its Chairman in Kaduna State, Rev. Joseph John Hayab, said this in a short WhatsApp message to newsmen.
He said, “Ten more students of Baptist High School were released this afternoon. We have 11 now with bandits.
“We are thanking all Nigerians for their prayers and support.
“We are trusting God that the rest will be released very soon. All have been reunited with their parents.”
Earlier, 10 students of Bethel Baptist School in Kaduna were released on Saturday, September 18, after spending 74 days captivity of terrorists, with 22 others still being held.
Hayab had said, “10 students were released this (Saturday) evening and have reunited with their parents. We are now hoping for the remaining 21 who are still with the bandits.”

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