The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has condemned the statement credited to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), claiming that there was no evidence of underage voting in the last Kano State council polls.
The Chairman of INEC’s fact finding committee, Abubakar Nahuce, had told journalists, last Friday, that from their interaction with civil society organisations and the media, there was no proof of underage voting.
But reacting to the claim, the PDP, in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, described the declaration by the INEC Chairman, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, that there were no underage voters in Kano State as a threat to the nation’s democracy.
Ologbondiyan accused INEC of yielding to pressure by the All Progressives Congress to manipulate processes of the 2019 general elections.
The statement reads, “The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has described the declaration by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Chairman, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, that there are no underage voters in Kano State as a despicable act of cowardice and threat to our nation’s democracy.
“The PDP said the INEC chairman, in allowing the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led Federal Government to push him to make such false declaration, despite manifest documentary evidence in the public domain and even by INEC officials, has cast a huge doubt on the sincerity of INEC to conduct fair, free and credible elections, come 2019.
“The commission has obliterated a huge part of its honour by denying what is obvious to all instead of taking urgent steps to clean up the register and correct all anomalies ahead of 2019 general elections.
“When Prof Yakubu set up his committee of handpicked INEC officials, instead of deploying stakeholders, comprising political parties and credible NGOs, the PDP immediately alerted of a grand design to use the panel to arrive at predetermined findings and cover the illegality for the APC. Today, we have been vindicated.
“We invite Nigerians and the international community to note the sequence of plots by INEC and the APC to hide the existence of underage voters in Kano and Katsina States.
“Nigerians will recall that when the issue first came to the fore, the APC mounted a staunch and unyielding defence for INEC, thus, betraying their vested interests in the illegality.
“INEC, on its own part, issued an initial reaction confirming the existence of underage voting in the February 10, 2018 Kano council poll but attempted to shift the blame to the Kano State Government which conducted that poll.
“When confronted with the fact that it was INEC and not Kano State that registered the minors and issued them with valid voter’s card, the commission again tried to exonerate itself by claiming that its officials registered the minors following threats by the communities.
“In the face of these INEC’s embarrassing dances, how then did Prof Yakubu’s committee arrive at its findings when even officials of INEC, including those who superintended over the registration of the minors, had already declared the reasons behind their action?
“The entire world is shocked at how INEC under Prof Yakubu is caving into pressure by APC to manipulate processes leading to the 2019 general elections”.
RSG Marks Nigeria’s 63rd Independence Day In Low Key
The Secretary to the Rivers State Government, Dr Tammy Danagogo, has said that the state government would celebrate the 63rd Independence Day of the nation in low key, as directed by the Federal Government.
Briefing the Central Planning Committee on the development in his office in Port Harcourt, yesterday, Danagogo said that the church thanksgiving service and parade events would now hold on Sunday, October 1 as against Monday, October 2 earlier slated for the parade.
He added that the venue of the parade ground would now be the Government House at 2pm.
Danagogo noted that because the anniversary was going to be observed in low key, school children and voluntary organisations would no longer participate in the parade, as earlier planned.
The SSG further confirmed that the church service would still hold at the St. Paul’s Cathedral Church by Rebisi Flyover in Diobu at 10am.
He called on all invited guests to adjust their programmes to fit into the new schedule so as to ensure successful Independence Day celebration in the state.
Danagogo noted that the state Governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, would inspect the Guard of Honour at the Government House Ground.
“Please, invited guests are requested to be seated before His Excellency arrives for all the events,” the SSG advised.
Suspend Planned Strike, Senate Begs Labour Unions
As Nigeria marks her 63rd anniversary of independence, today, the Senate Leader, Opeyemi Bamidele, has appealed to the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) to suspend their plan to embark on an indefinite strike in the national interest.
Bamidele noted that the Federal Government and all its relevant agencies are working underground to come up with viable options in response to the demands of organised labour.
In a statement, yesterday, Bamidele congratulated Nigerians across all socio-economic and political strata on the 63rd anniversary since Nigeria became an independent nation.
Bamidele observed that Nigeria, from October 1, 1960 to date, despite her internal challenges, remained “a strong, united and indivisible nation that still provides strong leadership not only for West Africa but also the entire Africa.”
With the new government at the helm of affairs, Bamidele assured Nigerians at home and in the Diaspora that the federation would soon come out of diverse challenges undermining her progress, citing diverse development-driven reforms that the new government has initiated.
The Senate leader, therefore, urged Nigerians to team up with the new government to lead the federation out of the doldrums; implement key reforms that would create limitless opportunities for her teeming young population and rebuild global confidence in the country.
He, specifically, appealed to the leadership of the NLC and TUC not to embark on an indefinite strike in the national interest, saying such an action “will further inflict pains on Nigerians at the time the new government is working hard to address their concerns and grievances.
“At a time like this, labour unions are advised to embrace dialogue rather than consider options that will compound the sufferings of the people. At a time like this, all parties are supposed to go into negotiation with absolute trust in the new government.”
He noted that President Bola Tinubu’s economic reforms would soon begin to yield positive outcomes that would exponentially boost the standard of living among Nigerians irrespective of their socio-economic status.
The Senate leader hailed the founding fathers of Nigeria “for their unalloyed patriotism, towering nationalism, uncommon sacrifice and dogged struggle that culminated in the independence of the country on October 1, 1960.
“As Nigerians, we are under obligation to ensure that the labour of our heroes will never be in vain. I congratulate Nigerians as our nation turns 63 as a strong, united and indivisible nation that the world over is now waiting for to occupy her rightful place among nations.”
Bamidele enjoined Nigerians to maximise the opportunity inherent in their comradeship, willful togetherness and collective desire to further travel the journey ahead and make Nigeria a better place to proudly bequeath to the next generation.
He, however, reassured all stakeholders that the 10th Senate would continue to make impactful legislations for Nigeria’s common good; under the leadership of the Senate President, Senator Godswill Akpabio.
NEC Pleads With Labour To Shelve Strike
The National Economic Council (NEC) has urged the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) not to abandon dialogue in their quest for better welfare for their members.
The Council also appealed to the unions to suspend their planned nationwide indefinite strike schedule to start on October 3.
Governor Caleb Mutfwang of Plateau State stated this while briefing State House Correspondents at the end of the NEC meeting in Abuja, yesterday.
He said that the nation was at a very critical moment in its history, adding that some States took over such labour crisis when they assumed office in May.
According to him, some of such States just resolved the crisis and will be unfair for the labour to return to another industrial action.
The Plateau State governor said that the proposed industrial action would have immense effect on the economy of both the states and the Federal Government.
He said that the NEC expressed genuine concern about the situation in the country and appealed for calm and patience among Nigerians.
“The National Economic Council (NEC) deliberated on the planned indefinite strike by the National leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) to proceed on an indefinite strike on Oct. 3, 2023.
“The council noted further the implications of the planned strike on the economy and the nation and thus urge members to continue to engage with the leadership of their respective states.
“It appeals to them to suspend the action and to continue on the path of dialogue with the Federal Government. This is the appeal of the council.”
Mutfwang said that the council appreciated the concerns raised by the NLC to have those issues addressed, adding that NEC also appealed for time to address the concerns of labour.
“We also believe that President Bola Tinubu will be addressing the nation on Oct. 1, and some of the concerns of labour will be appropriately addressed in the president’s speech.
“It is therefore important to note that it’s a federation issue, so whatever happens the labour is represented in all the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
“And NEC is appealing that discussion should continue at the state levels because there will be peculiarities as to the issues to be addressed concerning the demands of labour and therefore dialogue is the way to go.
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