The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, says it has concluded the process of conversion of voting points to polling units across the 23 Local Government Areas in the State.
The National Commissioner Supervising Bayelsa, Edo and Rivers States, May Agbamuche-Mbu made the announcement during a stakeholders’ meeting on the expansion of voters’ access to polling units with political parties, security agencies, Civil Liberty Organisations, and others at the commission headquarters in Port Harcourt.
She emphasised that the proximity of people to the voting centers necessitated the commission’s move to convert voting points to polling units.
In a remark, the INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner in the State, Obo Effanga said the converson of voting points to polling units was one of the administrative activities of the commission.
According to the Electoral Commissioner, polling units are also the creation, ownership of INEC and not any community, family or individual.
Effanga stated that the Polling Units in the State had been increased from 4,442 to 6866.
He affirmed that the exercise was necessary given that it was coming 25 years since the last time new polling units were created in Nigeria.
“At the end of the field work in Rivers State, we converted 2424 Voting Points to Polling Units. When this is added to the current figure of 4442 Polling Units; Rivers State will have a total of 6866 Polling Units for its current voter population of 3,215,273.”
Explaining further on the due diligence of the expansion exercise, Effanga noted that “in carrying out the conversion of Voting Points to Voting Units, we deployed technology, specifically the Geographical Information System (GIS) to plot with specificity, the location of all our polling units.”
He added that “the outcome of the fieldwork has since been subjected to verification by a team from the INEC Headquarters and the state office to ensure that the outcomes reflect our guideline.”
Also speaking, the Commissioner of Police, CP Friday Eboka said the assurance of equitable security during electoral process was important to retain participants’ confidence and commitment to any election.
CP Eboka who was represented by Deputy Commissioner of Police, Operation, Muazu Muhammed outlined the challenges faced by the command and urged the commission to notify the command one month ahead of any poll.
In his contribution, the Chairman of the State chapter of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Desmond Akawor commended INEC for a job well done, advising the commission to give consideration to the need for increase in logistics, especially, in the area of security since there were more polling units.
Akawor also harped on the need for the full elections timetable to be out in time to avoid a fire brigade approach to elections by political parties, while calling on INEC to continue mounting pressure on the National Assembly to pass the amendments to the Electoral Act into law to have the right framework for conducting the next election.
A representative of Isaac Ogbobula, the Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the State, Celestine Akpobari raised concerns on why Khana LGA with 19 wards would have 64 polling units while Obio/Akpor LGA with 17 wards now has 852 polling units.
The State Chairman of the National Orientation Agency (NOA), Young Ayo-Tamuno, who advocated for the commencement of comprehensive orientation of the populace before the next elections.
Also speaking, the Chairman of Persons Living with Disabilities in the Sate, Kie Obomanu called on INEC to make special preparations for his members so as not disenfranchise them in future elections.
Bieye Emerges New IAUE Senior Staff Club President
A medical doctor with the Health Centre at Ignatius Ajuru University of Education (IAUE), Dr Briggs Bieye, has emerged as the new President of the institution’s Senior Staff Club.
He polled a total of 120 votes to beat other candidates who contested keenly with him at the Staff Club last Friday.
The closest to him at the election was Mr Minikwu Donald, who secured 117 votes, followed by Mr Ngeribara Aribibia, who got 102 votes, while Dr Edwin Ajoku garnered 42 votes to come at the rear, with nine votes void.
In the same vein, Mr Nwachukwu Harrison of the Department of English and Communication Art emerged the Treasurer of the Club.
He secured 180 votes to beat Mr George Telema who got 123 votes, while Mr Wali Innocent got 74 votes,with twelve void votes.
Also, Deputy Registrar and Head, Legal Unit, Barrister Chris Didia, emerged the Bar Manager of the club.
He clinched the position with a total of 268 votes as against his opponent, Mrs Gloria Emesiobi, who got 112 votes, with ten void declared void.
A total of 390 teaching and non-teaching staff were accredited and voting started from 12noon and ended by 2pm.
Announcing the winners, the Chairperson of the Electoral Committee Dr. Chikanele Asuru, who also swore in the elected members, advised them to work as a team to achieve a greater goal.
She also expressed hope that the club will witness remarkable transformation during their tenure.
In his acceptance speech, the new President, Dr, Bieye Briggs, commended the Electoral Committee for conducting a transparent election and expressed appreciation to both those who voted and did not vote for him, emphasising that his tenure will witness an inclusive policy.
He added that the club will wear a new look during their tenure and operate in tandem with what obtains elsewhere.
Others such as Wahua Ndamavu (Vice President), Dr. Taylor Tamunosaki (General Secretary), Dr. Franklin Ekweme Apelu (Financial Secretary), Okidim Samuel Horsfall (Assistant Secretary), Mr Dawariboko Parker (Provost), Moudyn Tariah (Public Relations Officer), and Jonathan Regina Jonaba (Sports Secretary) were unopposed.
The Executive will run the affairs of the club in the next two years.
NDDC’s Youth Employment Initiatives Impresses RSG
Rivers State Government has expressed excitement over the vision of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) youth development scheme tagged “Holistic Opportunities, Projects and Programmes for Engagement (HOPE), otherwise known as “Project Hope”.
The Government said the project was in consonance with the vision of the State Ministry of Youth Development tagged, “A Preparedness Plan for Rivers Youth paradigm shift from Unemployability to Resourcefulness”.
The State Commissioner for Youth Development, Dr Chisom Kenneth Gbali, stated this, Wednesday, during a facility tour of the Rivers State Information Communication Technology (ICT) Centre in Port Harcourt by the NDDC management led by its Managing Director, Dr Charles Ogbuku.
Gbali stated that the State Government through the Ministry of Youth, in partnership with NDDC as critical stakeholders, would go a long way to encourage Rivers Youths to believe that both State and Federal Government are ready to pull them out of their limitation.
The Commissioner further stated that Rivers State Government over the time have been sustaining the state in different spheres, especially on youth affairs.
He opines that with this initiative the Federal Government will help to encourage and arouse the curiosity of the youths on the need to become self-reliant through the acquisition of modern skills.
According to him, the Ministry of Youth Development in the state has created a level playing ground required to attract opportunities that will change the narrative of the state to that level of employability and resourcefulness which is the theme of the Ministry’s sensitisation/advocacy campaign.
Dr. Gbali noted that since the ministry took the sensitisation programme to the 23 Local Government Areas of the state, there has been a rise in progressive reasoning from the reaction of the youths in the media, and behavioural change on social vices has significantly reduced.
He said that the Ministry of Youth Development will liaise with the Federal Ministry of Youth on how to explore opportunities that will benefit the youth in the State.
The State Government, he continued, “is optimistic that the Brand innovations adopted by the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) in the state will give youths the needed footing to become self dependent and employers of labour”.
Speaking earlier, the Managing Director, NDDC, Dr. Samuel Ogbuku, commended the Governor of the State, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, for the partnership, and granting the commission access to use the State’s ICT facility for the programme.
Dr. Ogbuku noted that one of the major priorities of NDDC is to ensure that Niger Delta became a Tech- Hub, additing that the State ICT Centre would be an added advantage to encourage the commission achieve their vision.
He emphasised that a perfect knowledge of technology was key for guarantee youths to work in multinational companies and become not just self-reliant, but also employers of labour.
Also speaking, the Project Manager, NDDC, Amb. Blessing Fubara, explained that the NDDC Youth Development scheme, “Project HOPE”, is focused on empowerment, employment and Development of Niger Delta youths.
He disclosed that 185 supervisors have been employed, one each from the 185 LGA’s in the Niger Delta region, stating that more 185 collation officers will be employed for database collection.
By: Akujobi Amadi
Church Inducts 30 New Knights, Others
The Methodist Church of Nigeria has inducted 32 new knights into the knighthood of the Archdioceses of Ikot Ekpene and Port Harcourt Churches.
Also inducted were 18 members into the order of Wesley (OOW), and 17 persons into the Member of Order of the Wesley (MOW) category.
Speaking at the Recognition Service and Award of Merit 2023, held at the Banham Cathedral Diocese of Port Harcourt, Tuesday, the prelate of the Methodist Church of Nigeria, His Eminence, Dr Oliver Ali Aba, while congratulating all the recipients, urged them to maintain the Christian virtues for which they were chosen.
Aba stated that they were chosen because of the various contributions they have made to the development of the church and humanity, adding that the church expects nothing but more commitment and services to the growth of the church.
Earlier in his sermon at the service, titled, “Contending for Faith”, taken from Jude 3, the Bishop of Diocese of Kano, Rt. Rev. Ibrahim K. Chindo, urged Christians to strive to contend the Faith of the body of Christ, adding that the Christian faith was being attacked.
Also speaking, the Chairman, Council of Knights, Port Harcourt, Sir I. Uwakwe, urged the newly invested knights to strive and remain worthy of their calling,warning that anyone found belonging to any secret societies or cult groups would be derobed as a knight.
By: Akujobi Amadi
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