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Elections: Whole World Watching Us -Anyaoku …Nigeria Can’t Afford To Fail, US Warns

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A former Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, yesterday urged the Federal Government and the relevant institutions to ensure that the February and March elections are free and fair.
Anyaoku gave the advice while speaking at a symposium to unveil the new logo of Nigerian Tribune in Lagos.
Our correspondent reports that the theme of the symposium was “Electoral Integrity, Legitimacy of Democratic Institutions and Good Governance”.
Anyaoku said the expectations of the people and indeed the international community were that the elections would be credible.
He urged the government, particularly the Independent National Electoral Commission, the security agencies and other relevant institutions to meet the expectations.
Anyaoku said the rest of the world was keenly watching Nigeria and the conduct of election would determine how the country would be viewed and treated by the international community.
“As our country is preparing for the general elections in two weeks time, I have three observations to share with the Nigerian government, INEC and others.
“First, Nigeria’s friends and the whole of the international community are watching. Watching the behaviour of Federal Government and its agencies, especially the police, the army and the other law-enforcement agents, to see how far we respect the country’s constitution, the rule of law and the obligation to act well in playing their roles in respect of the elections.
“From my long experience in international politics, I must say no country is an island unto itself, especially in our increasingly globalising world.
“Therefore, our Nigerian government, like other governments all over the world, while of course guarding its sovereignty, should pay heed to the views of the international community.
“Otherwise, the country would return to the pariah status which she happily exited in 1999 when it once more embraced democracy.
“My second observation is that INEC had earned deserved compliments for its commendable handling of the last governorship elections in Ondo and Anambra States.
“But it must be admitted that it attracted criticisms for its conduct of subsequent elections in both Ekiti and Osun States.
“I urge INEC to remain aware of the fact that the credibility of the results of our forthcoming elections will depend on the level of impartiality and transparency it demonstrates in ensuring all aspects of the elections are free and fair, thereby making the results to truly represent the will of the people.
“Indeed, the image and standing of our country within the international community will be significantly affected by how INEC and the Federal Government as a whole are seen to behave in all matters relating to the elections,” he said.
Anyaoku decried what he called the debasement of lives by incessant killings in the country, saying the problem should be tackled holistically
The former diplomat said a return to true fiscal federalism was imperative to move the country forward.
Meanwhile, United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Stuart Symington, yesterday said Nigeria should get the 2019 elections right in order not to disappoint those that look up to it after the feat recorded in 2015.
Symington made the remarks when he paid a visit to the Police Command in Kaduna.
“The State of Kaduna is an important place during this election. I am here to underscore a couple of key ideas.
“The first being that these elections are really about Nigerians, decided by Nigerians under it’s laws which will define the future of Nigeria.
“The election is also for others who have looked up to Nigeria’s example of democracy in the past especially if it would be as good as that of the elections of 2015.”
He therefore said it was important for Nigerians to decide on the election’s credibility like they did in 2015, “so that it’s credit will be invested in democracy and freedom throughout West Africa and across the entire World.”
He urged Nigerians to also interrogate politicians using hate speeches and disseminating fake news, as they are capable of dividing or causing problems among the people.
“These kind of negative speeches can have negative impacts in the future.
“There are other people who have pointed fingers at those who are saying the elections would come out wrong, saying the elections can be right if every citizen of Nigeria act on the understanding that they are individually responsible for anything they get from the polls”, he stressed.
He noted that so far, there has been cheering commitments from President Muhammadu Buhari and other leading candidates contesting to rule the country, to ensure that every vote counts.
The U.S. ambassador added that people must take responsibility for their actions, “first before God, second under the laws of the country, in the eyes of countrymen and lastly in the eyes of the world.”
Symington therefore encouraged all Nigerians to participate peacefully in the elections, to guarantee free, fair, peaceful and a credible honest reflection of their choice.
In his remark, the Police Commissioner, Mallam Ahmad AbdurRahman, assured that the command would do its best in providing level playing field to all political parties, candidates and the electorates to actively participate in the polls.
He said it was expected of all Nigerians to conduct themselves according to the rules guiding the election.
“The Police has no interest in the outcome of the elections or the person who wins eventually, ours is to police the process to it’s conclusion.
“We are the referees without a team, just abide by the rules and don’t engage in hate speeches right from the campaign to elections,” Abdur-Rahman said.
The Commissioner stated that the command has commenced the prosecution of those alleged to have engaged in hate speeches during campaigns.

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FG Targets Production Of Locally Made Vehicles By Dec

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The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr Doris Uzoka-Anite, has affirmed that Nigeria now has the capacity and materials to manufacture Made-In-Nigeria cars for local use and export.
With the enabling environment being provided by the government, she said manufacturers should be held responsible if the cars are not rolling out by December 2024.
Currently, Nigeria produces less than 10 per cent of the vehicles used in the country.
Last year, Nigeria’s vehicle assembling industry, estimated to be worth around N302billion, tanked to a new low due to increasing production costs and weakened demand for locally assembled automobiles.
According to the Manufacturers CEOs Confidence Index, activities of motor vehicles and miscellaneous assembly deteriorated further below the benchmark (50 points) from 48.6 to 46.7 points.
But speaking at the Automotive Component Manufacturers meeting in Abuja, she noted that the automobile industry is faced with both challenges and opportunities.
A statement issued last Friday by the Director of Information and Public Relations, Adebayo Thomas, said, “In a significant move aimed at fostering sustainable growth and development in Nigeria’s automobile industry, the Federal Government has issued a clarion call to all stakeholders, including manufacturers, dealers, regulatory bodies, and other players in the automobile ecosystem.
“The call comes as part of a broader strategy to enhance the sector’s contribution to the nation’s economy.”
Encouraging the stakeholders to key into the Nigerian Automotive Development Policy, the Minister said, “As far as we are concerned, the auto industry is now set to go.
“We are counting on all stakeholders to make that happen. If we do not produce made-in-Nigeria cars before the end of this year (December), it will be your fault, because I am sitting down here giving you all the assurances that this administration has created the enabling environment to make sure that the auto policy kicks off.”
Anite emphasised the need for collaboration among manufacturers, dealers, regulatory bodies, and other players in the automobile ecosystem, saying by working together, they can address challenges, streamline processes, and drive innovation.
She also urged stakeholders to maintain high-quality standards across the board, including vehicle manufacturing, safety features, emissions control, and after-sales services.
Stringent adherence to quality, she said, will boost consumer confidence and attract investment.
The minister assured all that the government would continue to encourage increased investment in research and development, adding that, innovations in electric vehicles, fuel efficiency, and alternative energy sources are critical for long-term sustainability.
On local content, she also emphasised the importance of promoting local content by sourcing materials and components locally.
By doing this, she said, the sector can create jobs, reduce import dependency, and contribute to economic diversification
In his introductory comments, the ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Nura Rimi, emphasised the significance of team action and shared vision as outlined in the Nigerian Automotive Development Policy.
He also urged stakeholders that the country “will overcome obstacles and unleash the full potential of Nigeria’s automotive component sector.”
He encouraged NADDC and other stakeholders to use the chance to form alliances, explore new areas of collaboration, and devise ways to catapult the automotive components manufacturing industry to new heights of success.
The statement added, “The government’s charge underscores the pivotal role stakeholders play in shaping its trajectory. Their commitment to sustainable practices will drive Nigeria’s automotive sector towards a brighter and more prosperous future.
“Environmental Responsibility: Stakeholders are reminded of their environmental responsibilities. Sustainable practices, recycling, and eco-friendly manufacturing processes are essential for a greener future.”

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Waive Tax On Electronic Imports, Women Engineers Appeal To Tinubu

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The Association of Professional Women Engineers of Nigeria (APWEN), Lagos Chapter, has called on President Bola Tinubu to exempt the importation of electronic components from taxation for inventive engineers.
Chairman of APWEN, Ms Atinuke Owolabi, said this a in statement yesterday in Lagos, in commenration of the 2024 World Creativity and Innovation Day, with the theme: “Step Out and Innovate”.
The Tide source reports that World Creativity and Innovation Day is a global UN Day, celebrated on April 21, to raise awareness about the importance of creativity and innovation in problem solving.
This is with respect to advancing the United Nations’ sustainable development goals, also known as the global goal.
Owolabi explained that such a measure would significantly enhance technological progress, support local innovators, and elevate Nigeria as a leading hub for innovation globally.
She stated that in a world marked by dynamic challenges and unprecedented opportunities, creativity and innovation stand as the driving forces behind progress and transformation.
According to her, women engineers recognise the critical role that innovation plays in shaping our societies and driving sustainable development.
”On this occasion, we affirm our commitment to fostering a culture of creativity and innovation within our organisation and the broader engineering community.
”Together, let us step out, innovate, and inspire the next generation of women engineers to reach even greater heights of achievement and impact.
”We believe that by stepping out of our comfort zones and embracing new ideas, technologies, and approaches, we can unlock innovative solutions to the complex challenges facing our world today,” she said.
According to her, the theme: ‘step out and innovate’, serves as a call to action for women engineers everywhere to break barriers, challenge conventions.
She noted that it would also pioneer groundbreaking solutions that would propel them toward a brighter and more sustainable future.
Owolabi disclosed that in celebration of the World Creativity Day, APWEN Lagos had inaugurated an artificial intelligence club tailored for female engineering students and young engineers.
She said that the proactive initiative aimed to inspire and equip young engineers with cutting-edge technological insights.
Th chairman said, “Additionally, we already have a 200-capacity hall to set up a resource, technology, and innovation hub to empower women and girls in engineering.
”This endeavour serves as a catalyst for encouraging aspiring female engineers to embrace innovation and stay abreast of emerging trends in the field.
”APWEN Lagos stands united in its dedication to promoting diversity, inclusivity, and excellence in engineering.
“We encourage all female engineers to seize this opportunity to unleash their creativity, explore new frontiers, and make an indelible mark on the world.”

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Pan-Igbo Group Hails Dangote Group For Reducing Diesel Price

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A pan-Igbo group, Ndigbo Unity Forum (NUF), has commended the Chairman of the Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, and his management for reducing the price of diesel from N1,600 to N,1000 per litre.
The Tide’s source reports that diesel is the major fuel used by heavy duty vehicles and generating sets to transport goods as well as run industries across the country.
The President of NUF, Mr Augustine Chukwudum, told The Tide’s source in Enugu, yesterday, that Dangote’s timely response to suffering masses of Nigerians, going through hell to get a meal a day, “is highly commendable”.
According to Chukwudum, Nigerians need to appreciate the patriotism of Dangote since what he has done will go a long way in reducing prices of goods, especially food stuff which has gone out of the reach of the poor.
He called on Nigerians, who wish and pray always for the betterment of the country, to appreciate and thank God for answering their prayer through Dangote’s move.
“It is clear that if Dangote Refinery starts fully and gets all the crude oil needed from Nigeria, the prices of petrol, kerosene and diesel will further reduce.
“We commend President Bola Tinubu for being a listening President and supporting the Dangote Group on our crude oil needs.
“We appeal to Tinubu to encourage Dangote by providing the company with crude oil at a reduced rate as we have been demanding,” he said.
Chukwudum said that this move and subsequent further reduction, would bring industries in comatose back to life, jobs created for unemployed youths and reduction in crime as well.
“We call on governors of oil-producing Anambra, Imo and Abia States to bring investors, who shall build refineries in each of the states to refine thousands of barrels of crude in commercial quantities,” he said.

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