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Guber: INEC Fixes Supplementary Polls In Six States, March 23 …Explains Inconclusive Elections …PDP Warns Against Results Alterations

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The Independent National Electoral Commission has fixed supplementary elections in six states for Saturday, March 23, 2019.
The commission has also set up a panel led by a National Commissioner to resolve the controversies over the results of Bauchi State governorship election which was declared inconclusive.
INEC noted that governorship elections in the six states were declared inconclusive for a combination of reasons, including the discontinuation of use of the Smart Card Readers midway into the elections, failure to deploy SCRs, over-voting and widespread disruption in many polling units.
A statement issued last night by INEC National Commissioner and chairman of its Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, said the decision was part of the resolutions reached after an emergency meeting held in Abuja.
Okoye also said the Commission had considered a report submitted by the Resident Electoral Commissioner for Bauchi State, Ibrahim Abdullahi, on the disruption of results collation at the Tafawa Balewa Local Government Area collation centre, which led to the cancellation of results for the entire LG.
INEC, he said, found that there were issues that needed further investigation and has set up a team led by a National Commissioner to resolve them.
The statement reads: “The Commission met today (Tuesday) March 12 2019 and reviewed the conduct of the 29 governorship and 991 State constituency elections held on March 9 2019. In all, the commission declared winners in the governorship elections in 22 states.
“However, the Returning Officers in Adamawa, Bauchi, Benue, Kano, Plateau and Sokoto States declared the governorship elections inconclusive. Consequently, the commission will conduct supplementary elections on Saturday March 23 2019 to conclude the process.
“Supplementary elections will also hold in polling units in all States where State Assembly elections were declared inconclusive and winners could not be declared. Details of the constituencies including number of polling units and registered voters, will be published on our website on Wednesday March 13 2019.
“The elections were declared inconclusive for a combination of reasons, mainly the discontinuation of use of the Smart Card Readers midway into the elections or the failure to deploy them, over-voting and widespread disruption in many polling units.
“In compliance with the Margin of Lead Principle derived from Sections 26 and 53 of the Electoral Act mm (as amended) and Paragraph 41(e) and 43(b) of the INEC Regulations and Guidelines for the conduct of elections, the outcome of these elections could not be determined without conducting polls in the affected polling units. Hence the commission’s decision to conduct supplementary elections in line with this principle.
“Furthermore, the commission has considered a Report submitted by the Resident Electoral Commissioner for Bauchi State on the disruption of the collation at the Tafawa Balewa LGA collation centre, which led to the cancellation of results for the entire Local Government. The commission found that there are issues that need further investigation and has set up a team led by a National Commissioner to resolve them.”
Meanwhile,the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has declared the March 9 governorship and State House of Assembly elections inconclusive in at least seven states.
They are: Plateau, Adamawa, Bauchi, Benue, Sokoto, Kano and Rivers states.
Returning Officers for the election in Plateau and Adamawa states, made the declaration on Monday in separate announcements at their respective collation centres.
In Jos, the Plateau State capital, Professor Richard Kimbir announced that the margin of a lead of 44,929 between the APC and the PDP candidates, is less than 49,377 cancelled votes.
Simon Lalong of APC polled a total of 583,255 votes, while Jerry Useni of PDP scored 538,326.
Professor Fatima Muktar had given the same reason for her decision in Adamawa and asked those troubled to report to the electoral body.
The election was declared inconclusive in both states, following a similar development in Sokoto State.
Also in Bauchi, Prof. Mohammed Kyari, the Returning Officer, said that apart from the cancellation of the result from entire Tafawa Balewa Local Government Area because of irregularities, the exercise in some other polling units also suffered the same fate.
Late on Monday, the same verdict was passed in Benue state, where a date for the rerun is expected announced within 21 days.
Just yesterday, INEC suspended all electoral processes in Rivers state until further notice.
In a statement, the commission explained that they took the decision, due to widespread violence in the state during the March 9 governorship and State Assembly polls.
The commission also claimed some of its staff were held hostage and materials including results sheets were destroyed.
The elections in Kano have also been adjudged inconclusive. The electoral body suspended the collation of the results, due to security challenges at the Nasarawa Local Government collation center.
Also, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) accuses the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, of overtly playing the script of the Muhammadu Buhari Presidency and the All Progressives Congress (APC) by declaring governorship elections in states where the PDP is in clear lead as inconclusive.
A statement signed by National Publicity Secretary and Director, Media & Publicity, Kola Ologbondiyan, said “The party insists that INEC, under Yakubu, has become overtly partisan, surrendered its independence to the APC and carries on as a compromised umpire with obnoxious impunity, thereby sending signals of being heavily bribed by the APC to alter results for its candidates.
“The PDP has full intelligence of how INEC is acting on instructions from the Buhari Presidency and the APC in orchestrating unwholesome situations and declaring already concluded governorship elections in Sokoto, Adamawa, Bauchi, Plateau as well as other states as inconclusive, immediately it becomes obvious that the PDP was set to win.
“This also informs the foisting of unexplainable stoppage and delays in the announcement of already collated results in other states where the PDP is clearly leading the race, from the results so far declared at the polling units.
“Our party has also been informed of how INEC is now seeking ways to use the situation to aid the APC to alter the results and announce APC candidates as winners in the elections clearly led by the PDP just as it did in the 2018 Osun State governorship election.
“In some of the states like Rivers, the PDP has information of plots by APC to leverage on the declaration by INEC to unleash more violence in the state and push for isolated election where they can bring in more security forces to concentrate on forcefully taking over the state.
“Already, in Rivers State, INEC is under heavy pressure from the Director General of the Buhari Campaign Organization and Minister of Transport, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, to post out and replace the state Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) as well as the Administrative Secretary.
“This will be totally unacceptable, completely provocative and shall be firmly resisted by the people even if the totality of our nation’s security is deployed to Rivers State.
“This is more so as results of all the state assembly elections in Rivers State have been declared and winners had emerged.
“The PDP cautions Yakubu and his INEC to perish the thoughts of altering any figures for the APC and to immediately announce our winning results in these states and others where our candidates clearly won, going by the results already declared at the poling units, wards and local government collation. Anything short of this will attract the legitimate wrath of the people.
“This is because Nigerians are already aware that elections have been concluded in these states; results have been collated and declared at the polling units, ward and local government collation centres and all returning officers and political parties conclusively have the figures.
“Yakubu must have noted how his name is becoming synonymous to electoral manipulations, among Nigerians, and the fact that our citizens and international community hold him responsible for the rigging of the Presidential and other elections for the APC.
“Today, majority of Nigerians and the global democratic institutions are questioning the state of our democracy and electoral processes, which have been under siege under the supervision of President Buhari and Prof. Mahmood Yakubu.
“In the light of these INEC’s manipulative tendencies, PDP, therefore, charges our leaders, teeming members and lovers of democracy in the affected states to immediately commence a march to INEC offices and use all legitimate means to protect our mandate as freely given by the people at the polling units across the nation,” the statement added.

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Make Laws To Advance Nigeria, Not Selves, Fubara Tells NASS …Seeks Concerns Of Women, Issues In Difficult Terrains Addressed

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Rivers State Governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, has challenged the National Assembly Joint Committee on Electoral Matters to focus on amendments that contribute to improving the electoral process in the country for good of society and not to advance individual gains.
The Governor maintained that any legislation targeting to empower or undo particular individual(s) is misplaced, and urged the lawmakers never to pay attention to identified problems it promoted.
Governor Fubara gave the charge when he hosted a delegation of the National Assembly Joint Committee on Electoral Matters, led by its Chairman, Senator Sharafadeen Abiodun Alli and co-Chair, Hon Adebayo Balogun, on courtesy visit to Government House in Port Harcourt, yesterday.
The Governor said: “You are still working on your electoral amendment. I wouldn’t say much on that until when we see your proposal and conduct public hearing where we will make our inputs.
“But, legislate in such a way and manner, knowing full well that tomorrow, you will also sit here (executive). So, don’t do it because you are on the other side. And you say, maybe, let it be at the disadvantage of the people sitting here.
“Do your legislation in such a way and manner that when you sit here, those laws that are made can also apply to you, and you will sit and say, yes, I did the right thing.”
Governor Fubara noted that Nigeria is in a very trying time, and needed to be careful not to make costly mistakes that would erase any good work that has been done in the minds of the people to necessitate a fresh start.
The Governor explained that the level of political awareness and the drive among the people to be involved in the political process is higher now than it was about 20 years ago, and urged the lawmakers to be more sensitive to the realities of the times.
Governor Fubara said: “Everybody now understands that political involvement is the key to a better and developed state. Everybody wants to be part of the system, from the local government to the state and to the Federal Government.
“So, I am happy that we are doing this at this time; and not just doing this but taking the most critical aspect of the election: women. If we are talking about election, it is not the men, the true votes that are counted in elections are women and youths.
“So, taking up this very delicate and sensitive subject to addressing the situation at this time, I think the National Assembly is trying to understand and to feel the pulse of our people.”
Governor Fubara particularly noted how difficult it is to conduct elections in Rivers, Bayelsa, Delta, and Ondo states because most of the communities are riverine and could take more than two days journey to access them on sea amidst the scare of being kidnapped or suffer boat mishap.
Governor Fubara applauded the committee for the courage to take on such sensitive task of embarking on sensitisation of the people and engaging with them on best way to ensure that they enjoyed greater safety during elections.
He said, “I believe that after this committee’s sensitization programme that you are doing, it is going to help us have a framework that will help us get an amendment that will protect the interest of the women, protect elections in difficult terrains.
“Because most times, when elections are conducted, we will wait two days or more before results from different areas will come in. And when they come, at times, these results decide the total picture of the election.
“Considering this now, I believe that you will come out, work out something that will help us solve this difficult problem.
“But, most importantly, to encourage women, give them opportunity more than the 35 percent Affirmative Action, and something that will give them assurance that they should be part of this process.”
Governor Fubara said his administration understands the importance of opportunities when given and what it means to give people opportunities to actualise their aspirations.
The Governor, therefore, assured that whatever the recommendations they make, if they make it public, the Rivers State will be one of the states that will first implement them.
He added, “But, most importantly, we want you to be our ambassadors. You are a visitor to Rivers State today. You have seen us. When you go back, you should also tell them that it is not really those things that you are hearing. Tell them that Rivers State is organised. Tell them that Rivers State is focused, and the leadership is purposeful for the people.”
In his address, the Chairman, National Assembly Joint Committee on Electoral Matters, Senator Sharafadeen Abiodun Alli, said they are in the State for what he described as the second in the series of zonal engagements of the people on the proposed amendment to the Electoral Act, 2022.
Senator Alli stated that there is no doubting the fact that Nigeria has never had an Electoral Act that is as good as the one of 2022, but noted that as soon as the 2023 elections were over, flaws were noticed that needed to be addressed.
He said, “And, I must say without being inmodest, that this is the first time this is happening in the history of the National Assembly. Because we felt that for us, for our people to have confidence in the electoral process, they should be involved in the lawmaking process, and we have decided to go round.”
Senator Alli further said: “About two months ago, we were at Ibadan to talk to the youths and the traditional institutions. Today, we came in here, and it is continuing tomorrow to talk about the issues of legislation: the women and elections in difficult terrains.
“We put this because, apart from the issues of the women and the youths; the South-South, because of the topography of the place (region), it is one of the most difficult terrains we are having difficulties in conducting elections in Nigeria.
“And we need to let the people tell us how the challenges they are facing during elections could be ameliorated in the lawmaking process, hence our coming here,” he added.
He solicited the support of the Government and people of the State and the zone in efforts to fashion a workable electoral amendment that would address the concerns of majority, if not all Nigerians.

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Spain Puts Forward 11 Stadia To Host World Cup 2030

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The Spanish FA are reportedly set to confirm the 11 venues that will make up their end of the 2030 World Cup.
The game’s global showcase will take place in Spain, Portugal and Morocco in six years’ time with the final set to take place at Santiago Bernabéu.
But 10 more stadia are set to be put forward by RFEF by the deadline set by FIFA, according to our sources.
Games will take place in: Madrid, Barcelona, Bilbao, San Sebastian, La Coruña, Zaragoza, Seville, Malaga and Gran Canaria, the Madrid-based sources claimed.
Neither Vigo nor Valencia, as initially planned, will be present amongst the host cities.
Madrid and Barcelona will both have two stadia present with the Santiago Bernabéu and Civitas Metropolitano in the capital and Camp Nou and Stage Front Stadium in Barcelona.
Meanwhile, FIFA has announced their summer update to the men’s world ranking list with some significant movers.
Argentina’s Copa América victory sees them keep hold of top spot, while France’s disappointing European Championship isn’t enough to dislodge them from second.
Spain are the biggest movers near the summit, rising five places to third, while Belgium drop down to sixth and Colombia enter the top 10 as a result of their run to the Copa final.
Elsewhere, Türkiye have shot up 16 places to 26th due to their Euros showing and Venezuela move from 54th to 37th as a result of their recent showings, making them the biggest overall movers.

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Tinubu Tasks Ambassadors On Enhancement Of Economic Value

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President Bola Tinubu received some ambassadors at the Presidential Villa yesterday.
President Tinubu in Abuja called for the enhancement of the economic value of bilateral relations between Nigeria and partner nations.
The president spoke when he received Letters of Credence from the Ambassadors of Portugal, Jorge Adao Martins Dos Santos; the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, Biu Quoc Hung; and the State of Kuwait, Salim Khalifa Mohammed Almuzayen, at the Presidential Villa.
Tinubu expressed his appreciation for Nigeria’s long-standing relations with Portugal and the shared interest in the areas of trade and culture, as well as partnership in oil and gas, which had translated into gains for both countries.
“It is good to have you in Nigeria. I am happy you are familiar with Nigeria and the environment.
“I believe that with your presence, our bilateral relations will be further improved. I am happy you are also present in other West African countries.
“I have been informed of your economic interest in Nigeria. We need to work together for more localised productions as regards mineral deposits.
“I have an open-door policy, and you can always reach me through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and my Chief of Staff, Right Honourable Femi Gbajabiamila,” the president said.
To the Ambassador of Vietnam, President Tinubu said the manufacturing sector in Nigeria was ready to benefit from the automating skills and technology of the Asian country.
“Thank you for coming to work in Nigeria. We share a lot with Vietnam in terms of diversity and values.
“We really value our bilateral agreements with your country, Vietnam, especially in the area of technology. We look forward to adding more value to the partnership with you in terms of collaboration for development,” he said.
President Tinubu also thanked the ambassador of Kuwait for his country’s long-standing good relations with Nigeria and extended his appreciation to the Emir and the Crown Prince.
“I am glad we are pulling strings to enhance the value of our relationship. We are both committed to the development of our people and will explore opportunities for economic ties. I have an open-door policy so you can always reach me,” the president said.
In his response, the Ambassador of Portugal said investors from his country had a keen interest in Nigeria, and that the trade with Nigeria on gas predated the war between Russia and Ukraine, and would be sustained.
“I will work on our agreements on improving economic relations. There is no shortage of interest in the areas of development where we can be partners.
“We are one of the highest buyers of gas from Nigeria, and we remain grateful for the supplies.
“Portuguese companies are also handling the rail line construction from Kano to Niger Republic. It will be ready in two years,” the Portuguese Ambassador said.
His Vietnamese counterpart said: “Under your leadership, I see Nigeria overcoming most of her challenges and taking its place among the happiest people in the world.”
Hung added that he was in the country to strengthen relations and improve economic ties.
The Ambassador of Kuwait assured President Tinubu that he would do his best to strengthen bilateral ties for the mutual benefit of both countries.

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