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LG Chairmen And Re-Election Fever

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With the inauguration of a new Rivers State Electoral Commission forthnight ago, it is now clear that local government election will hold next year.
Among the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) led states, Rivers State seems to be in the lead in constitution of local councils. This posture exemplifies the posture of the state governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, who has given attention to grassroot governance and ensuring that democracy  flourishes at all levels of government.
He told the eight member RSIEC- led by Justice   George Omereji, to ensure that the LG election was done in compliance with the Local Government Law as amended.
The law provides that LG elections will be conducted every three years.
By June next year, the current local government chairmen and councillors will complete their first tenure. And with the pursuit of the elections there might be  caretaker committee in the various councils for the transition period.
It’s against this backdrop that the governor counselled the new RSIEC to ensure there were no loopholes, as he reminded them that , “ some people will be looking for loopholes but do your work first.”
Mindful of antics and possible distraction by the opposition , especially the All Progressives Congress(APC), the governor urged the State Electoral body to be transparent and firm.
His charge is to ensure that all logistics and shortcomings of previous LG elections are curbed and at the same time make sure , the election is credible.
Against this backdrop, Chief Wike challenged them to be committed and focused to deliver on their mandate.
But while primaries are yet to be conducted by the parties, the major challenge now from The Tide investigations is the area of controversies surrounding the de- registration of some political parties.
Recall that shortly after 2019 elections some parties were de-registered.
Before now there used to be over 90 political parties. But the parties were trimmed down to 18. About 22 political parties affected by the axe of  the  Independent  National Electoral Commission(INEC) went to court.
The parties lost at the High Court but got judgement at the  Court of Appeal which called for status quo.
According to the Rivers State Chairman of the Young Democratic Party(YDP), Ronarth Dappa, that is a big challenge.
“Currently only 18 parties are recognised, but the controversy is, will INEC accept the Court  of  Appeal’s ruling? ”Dappa querried.
Already, it was learnt that INEC has appealed the matter at the Supreme Court, “ and we are expecting a favourable outcome,” said the YDP chairman.
“Since RSIEC most times works with INEC template, it’s likely that it’s the 18 recognised political parties that will be in the ballot next year”,  Dappa added.
Dappa’s YDP was de-registered, including 21 others who had participated in the last LG elections.
 Another area of concern for stakeholders is in the selection of candidates and other internal party matters.
With this in view, the ruling PDP has announced its template for candidates who will qualify for primaries.
Though the primaries are yet to commenced the state chairman of the PDP, Ambassador Desmond Akawor, said that only performing LG chairmen might have the chance to  contest  for second term.
Though he said that would be determined by the people, he told a delegation led by Ikwerre LG Chairman, Engr Samuel Nwanosike  during a courtesy call in his office in Port Harcourt, in September,  that performance in the first tenure was key.
Akawor reiterated the same view when the leadership of a pro- PDP group, “Wike for Positive Change” visited him earlier this month.
He stressed that  only local government chairmen with proven records of performance would be given a second chance and urged members of the party to await the decision of the party leadership before deciding on who to support during the governorship election.
According to him, the control of the third tier of government is being driven at the grassroots,  hence all Local Government chairmen must ensure good governance touches their people.
The state PDP chairman opined that managing humans was a Herculean task, as he urged the Ikwerre LG Chairman to ensure all persons were carried along to ensure peace, order and development in the area.
The PDP chairman revealed that leadership of the respective local government areas would decide, and not the party, but that performance would be used as a factor to adjudge those fit for second term.
He blamed the opposition for the crisis in Ikwerre LGA, as he urged the council chairman to display tact and wisdom to ensure that the party remained united and free from crisis.
Consequently, many local government chairmen have begun frantic lobbying and networking on how to beat the hurdle, but the reality remains that happenings in the next few months will be key on who will fly the party’s flags in the primaries.
Though RSIEC is yet to unveil its election timetable, serious underground campaigns have begun by chairmen and other candidates to get endorsement from the party leadership before the primaries.
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Obi: You Can’t Speak For Afenifere, Tinubu Campaign Slams Adebanjo

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The All Progressives Congress APC Presidential Campaign Council has slammed Afenifere leader, Pa Ayo Adebanjo for attempting to turn the pan-Yoruba sociocultural association into his personal estate and using same to canvass support for the Labour Party LP presidential candidate, Mr Peter Obi.
Director, Media and Publicity of the council, Mr Bayo Onanuga in a statement on Saturday titled “Our Reaction to Baba Ayo Adebanjo and his new Ohanifere Venture”, said “Papa Adebanjo does not speak for Afenifere”.
According to the council, Pa Adebanjo is free as an individual to support anyone he likes, in furtherance of his democratic rights.
“We know for a fact that Baba has turned Afenifere into his personal estate as Acting Leader. We are also certain that there was nowhere Afenifere, as we know it, met and took a decision to adopt Mr. Peter Obi as a candidate for 2023 presidential election.
“We respect the age of Baba Adebanjo but he can not turn Afenifere into his personal franchise for any political alliance.
“We are very much aware that Baba Reuben Fasoranti, the real leader of Afenifere had stated clearly that Pa Adebanjo has always been speaking for himself on many national issues using the name of the group.
“It is our well considered position that Pa Adebanjo cannot appropriate Afenifere. Baba is just an individual who is free to support any politician of his choice. As an individual, he cannot equate himself with the socio-cultural and socio-political organisation”, the council stated.

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2023 Polls: IPC Begins Training Of Media Monitors

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The International Press Council (IPC), last Friday began the training of 12 Media monitors in Lagos to prepare them for the monitoring of the coverage and reportage of the electoral processes and the 2023 elections by the print and online media.
The essence of the 18-month monitoring that will commence on October 1, 2023, is to assess the level of compliance with professional and ethical standards by newspapers, including online ones, being selected for the exercise.
Among others, the monitoring will be done within the context of the expectation of the Nigerian Media Code of Election Coverage, which spells out the responsibilities expected of journalists and other media professionals at elections.
The Media Election Code was endorsed by umbrella media professional bodies and associations, and close to 300 individual media outlets in 2018.
It enumerates what journalists and media management should do to ensure social responsibility and integrity; equitable access for parties and candidates; media access for disadvantaged groups including women, persons with disability and youths; conflict sensitivity and the avoidance of hate speech.
The training of the monitors is one of the activities under component 4 (Support to media) of the European Union Support to Democratic Governance in Nigeria-Phase 2 (EUSDGN II) project, being implemented by IPC, along with its partner, the Institute for Media and Society.
The overall goal of the media component is to “Support the consolidation of democracy in Nigeria with the media (broadcast, print and online media) helping to facilitate the key ingredient of credible elections through engagement and professionalism in coverage and reportage of the electoral processes.”
The specific objective is to ensure that, “The Media, including New and Social Media, provides fair, accurate, ethical and inclusive coverage of the Electoral Process.”
The two-day training , the first day of which was facilitated by Mr. Edetaen Ojo, Executive Director of Media Rights Agenda (MRA) and Mr. Sanmi Falobi, Project Manager of IPC, aimed to build the skill of the monitors on the processes and methodologies of media monitoring.
“Against the background of the prevalence of misinformation and disinformation especially by political actors, all we are seeking to achieve is for the Nigerian media to contribute to the credibility of electoral information before, during and after the 2023 elections”, said the Executive Director of IPC, Mr. Lanre Arogundade.

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2023: ‘Same-Faith Ticket, Blunder Laced With Hidden Agenda’

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The Christian Awareness Initiative of Nigeria, CAIN, last Saturday night, said no amount of blackmail would stop a former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, and an erstwhile Secretary to Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal, from publicly condemning the decision of the All Progressives Congress, APC, for fielding a same-faith presidential ticket.
The Spokesman of CAIN, Yusuf Kanhu, who said this in a statement he personally signed accused supporters of the APC of hiring mercenaries to tarnish the image of the duo.
Kanhu in the statement made available to journalists in Abuja described the Muslim-Muslim ticket of the APC as a “blunder”laced with “hidden agenda”
He explained: “The decision by Nigerian Christians through the umbrella Association to reject the same faith ticket was not against any particular party but advice to all political parties. Sadly the presidential candidate of APC ignored the advice and picked his vice from the same faith.
“The Christian Umbrella body came out in the first place to reject the idea and challenge Christians in APC to tell their party and Candidate to do what is right and good for the unity of the country.
“Hon Yakubu Dogara and Babachir Lawal respected the call of their leaders and proved that they are not going to betray the position of CAN just to satisfy their belle.
“Interestingly, the APC candidate and some of his supporters instead of making an honest effort to convince Christians and especially those Christians in their party about the reason for their action have chosen to recruit faceless people and are creating unknown groups with funny names to castigate the Christian body and the courageous Christians from their party that are telling them the danger and implication of their ill advised decision.
“We wish to inform the APC candidate that blackmail will not stop Dogara, Babachir, and others from telling them the truth.
“Nigerian Christians know the difference between fake Christian groups from genuine groups such as Northern Christians Youth Initiative with her faceless coordinator Hon. Mike Msuaan Msuaan.
“We can go on to name many hungry people who have not attended any church service in the last 10 years but are cashing on the desperation of the APC candidate to show that he has Christians’ support to start none existing Christian groups to enable them to get their share of the cake in circulation.
“The church in Nigeria and especially in the North knows the voices and names of their genuine leaders fighting for justice which is different from the newly born and newly introduced names that are only speaking to get money from their sponsors.
“Sponsoring fake people and groups to insult others will not correct your big blunder and will only make more Christians accept the fact that the decision has a hidden agenda.”

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