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Anambra Poll: PWDs Task INEC On Braille Ballot Guides

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Inclusive Friends Association (IFA), through  its ‘Access Nigeria Campaign’ has called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to deploy braille ballot guides to all polling units in Anambra State, ahead of the governorship election.
Executive Director, IFA and the convener of Access Nigeria Campaign, Grace Jerry, made the call at the Stakeholders Roundtable on inclusive elections in Nigeria, in Abuja, recently.
The meeting was organised by IFA, in collaboration with the National Democratic Institute (NDI), United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
Jerry said that the group recommended that INEC deploy the braille ballot guides to all polling units in Anambra State due to the unavailability of data for the blind in the state.
She said that INEC should ensure that the braille ballot guides dimensions matched the ballot paper to ensure successful use of the guides during the elections.
“INEC in collaboration, with NOA broadcasts voter education messages in the media on the use of the braille ballot guide, form EC30 E Persons with Disabilities (PWDs), magnifying glasses to assist voters vote appropriately.
“INEC ad-hoc staff must also be trained on PWD friendly aids and processes, like the braille ballot guide, EC30 E PWD, EC40H, priority and so on to ensure reasonable accommodation and better interaction with PWDs in governorship elections and other upcoming elections.
“This is because our observation from previous elections has shown that elections officials know little or nothing about these PWD election assistive materials.
“The Election Day Written Instructions (EC30PWD) should be properly deployed to all polling units and pasted at good locations to ensure that deaf voters understand election day procedures and vote without any communication problems,’’ she added.
Jerry said that magnifying glasses should also be provided for voters with impaired vision and those with Albinism, to ensure that they voted without difficulties.
She said that the group had commended INEC for observing and practicing priority registration at the ongoing CVR in Anambra as reported by its observers.
“We recommend that INEC should also strengthen observance of priority voting at the forthcoming governorship elections, to assist voters with disabilities to vote without difficulties,’’ she added.
Jerry said that while the group commended the efforts of the security architecture in previous elections, there was need to call for a more robust security deployment that prioritises PWDs, considering the recent insecurity issues in the country.
Deputy Director, Chief Security Officer, INEC Headquarters, Mrs Lakunuya Bello, commended the efforts of IFA and other partners for deepening the participation of PWDs in the electoral process, through the mainstreaming of disability issues in their operations.
She said that there was an additional online registration portal, where 2,763 centres and citizens could register physically nationwide and as it was their custom, PWDs who showed up at those centres were given priority to register.

Bello stressed that it was INEC’s responsibility, under the law, to provide every eligible Nigerian the opportunity to register, irrespective of where they live or other circumstances of life .
She reassured that preparations were in top gear for the conduct of the Anambra governorship election adding that all citizens would be able to cast their votes because the commission was committed to free, fair and credible elections.

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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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