Elections: ‘2011’ll Be Worse Than 2007, Unless…
The Chairman of the Hope Democratic Party (HDP) in Rivers State, Lady Igoniwari Halliday says only the implementation of the Justice Uwais-led Electoral reform report would chart a new course for democracy in Nigeria.
Lady Halliday who made the declaration while speaking with journalists in Port Harcourt said the 2011 elections would be worse than the 2007 elections if nothing concrete was done to implement the recommendations of the report.
She noted that it would be unfair to allow an incumbent Governor or President to remain in office to contest elections saying that such situation encourages electoral malpractices and rigging.
Apart from calling for a constitutional review exercise, the Hope Democratic Party Chairman called on the government to fulfill its electoral promise to Nigerians, alleging that the ruling party had derailed from the vision of the founding fathers of the country and has unleashed hardship on the populace.
For instance, Lady Halliday faulted the action of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) on their decision on the health of the President, saying, “the Federal Executive Council suddenly became the Saudi doctors to give the President a clean bill of health to continue in office even though the man is lying motionless in Saudi hospital.”
The party chieftain called on all Nigerians to embrace the party as it was capable of bringing about the change Nigerians yearn for.
In Rivers State, she said the party was set to go into the grassroots by touching the lives of the people, adding that the opposition in a proper democracy was the instrument of checks and balances in governance.
She is also assured that HDP would continue to be vocal against any unpopular government policies in Rivers State by providing critical views capable of directing those in power.
For her, the only way to make government effective is to incorporate the views and feelings of the opposition lamenting that democracy in Nigeria is still autocratic in nature.
EU Recommits To Strengthening Nigeria’s Democratic Governance
The European Union (EU) has restated its commitment towards engendering and strengthening Nigeria’s democratic governance.
The EU stated this at the end of a two-day retreat for Support to Democratic Governance in Nigeria, EU-SDGN, partners in Lagos, pledging to further deepen its engagement with youngsters, women, and persons with disabilities, through its partners.
Remarking further, the EU noted that while there were some positives and good achievements in the just concluded general elections, there were also some issues that needed to be addressed henceforth.
The six EU-SDGN component areas include Support to INEC; Support to the National Assembly and the Judiciary; Support to Political Parties; Support to Media; Support to Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities and Support to Civil Society Organisations.
In his remarks, the European Union’s Programme Manager for Democracy and Rule of Law, Laolu Olawumi, elucidated that the retreat considered the interventions of the partners in the last 12 months with a view to understanding what worked and what didn’t work, identified the challenges encountered, and charted better ways to address them.
Olawumi, while underlining the importance of introspection on the just concluded elections, also urged the EU-SDGN partners not to lose sight of states such as Kogi, Bayelsa and Imo who will be having elections in just over 100 days.
She stated that “Over the last 12 months, we have had an intense work plan where different members of the EU-SDGN cohort have been delivering several activities and technical support to critical stakeholders that we have jointly identified.
“The retreat, therefore, sought to see whether the interventions that we have planned for the next couple of months would help us address the challenges that we have seen in the period leading to the elections, and the immediate aftermath of the election.”
Elucidating further she pointed out that the retreat developed an opportunity for all the partners to discuss their intervention areas, the precise actions they undertook during the elections and what the cohort considers the critical issues that needed to be addressed moving forward.
“In terms of what we are doing around capacity building, one thing to really highlight is the fact that the EU-SDGN programme is Nigerian-led and is mainly implemented by civil society organizations. And that in itself, is our way of contributing and building the civil society space in Nigeria.
“How do we provide a platform with which civil society can better engage with the government and build capacity to ensure that they are focusing on the issues, and they are operating within an environment that helps them properly harness the voices of ordinary Nigerians, and better serve the needs and the will of Nigerian people?
“Within the government, we are working with the electoral management body, trying to provide technical assistance. We are also working with the judiciary through our training and our engagements with Judges, as well as other officers of the court.
“We are also working with the media to promote a conducive legal environment for media to operate and for the Broadcasting Commission to also efficiently promote pluralism in the media and civic space.
“Of course, I think it’s very important to stress here that we have Kogi, Bayelsa and Imo state elections in just over 100 days from now. And so, the priority is to build trust with the Nigerian public by ensuring that those elections are conducted in a way and manner that further instils confidence in the electoral process in Nigeria,” she added.
Group Tasks Tinubu On Inclusive Government
A group, Team New Nigeria (TNN), which has former military president, Gen Ibrahim Babangida as its patron, has urged President Bola Tinubu to form an inclusive government and restore Nigeria’s standing in the world.
The group further stated that the Tinubu administration has all it takes to realize its renewed hope in having a progressive Nigeria.
TNN stated this while commending the appointment of Senator George Akume as the secretary to the government of the federation of Nigeria by Tinubu.
In his message on behalf of the National Executive Committee of the TNN, President of the organisation, Dr. Modibbo Yakubu Farakwai, described Akume as an inspiring, thoughtful and strategic thinker who will bring his trademark skill, talent and judgment to bear on his new assignment.
“In this context, the leadership of Team New Nigeria conveyed the commitment of the Organisation to working closely with the Federal Government in the areas of common Interests, including good governance and democratic values.
“The TNN leadership has also underscored the need of forming an inclusive government, take steps to restore Nigeria’s standing in the world, strengthening the country’s national security workforce, rebuilding democratic alliances across the world, championing Nigeria’s values and human rights, and equipping the Nigerian people to succeed in a Global economy”, Dr Farakwai said.
He described Akume’s appointment as an assurance of first class leadership to work on the recovery Nigeria needs and the shared prosperity Nigerians are expecting from the Tinubu administration.
“We pray that God guide and protect him on this delicate national assignment and to not stop his blessings and protection for President Bola Ahmed Tinubu whose administration promises to impact positively in the lives of the masses”, Farakwai added.
Makinde To Review Minimum Wage For Oyo Workers
Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State has shown commitment to review salaries of civil servants in the state, as part of efforts to cushion the effect of the oil subsidy removal by the Federal Government.
The development came barely 48 hours to the commencement of the proposed nationwide strike by labour unions across the country.
Consequently, the governor has set up a committee comprising both representatives of the labour unions and the state government.
They include, the Head of Service, HoS, Permanent Secretary, Service Matters; Permanent Secretary, Establishment; Director Service Matters, Director, Establishment; Accountant General of the state, and Permanent Secretary, Finance.
On the side of the organised labour are, the Nigeria Labor Congress NLC, Nigeria Union of Teachers NUT, Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees, NULGE, Nigeria Union of Pensioners NUP, Joint Health Sector Union JOHESU and Joint Negotiating Council, JNC and the Chairman, Association of Senior Staff.
The governor, while meeting with leadership of the unions in the state at the Executive Council Chambers, Monday, gave the Committee eight weeks to come up with a workable minimum wage.
Makinde said: “For this administration, with all sincerity, we think it’s time to engage and ensure that we are proactive irrespective of what is happening or coming at the national level, we already prepared for it here and we can run our programme.
“If you all remember, I said there is nothing stopping Oyo State from paying more than the national minimum wage if we had the resources, if we can expand our economy to that extent and I still believe we can do it.
“We can pay in Oyo State beyond the national minimum wage and we have to expand our economy and ensure that the relationship between the leadership of the labour unions and government remains cordial.”
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