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You Can’t Remain Analogue, INEC Chairman Tells Staff

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The Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, says no staff of the commission should remain analogue and manual mode but all should adapt to technological innovations and creativity.
Yakubu gave the charge on Monday in Lagos at the opening ceremony of a-four-day capacity building for INEC’s Heads of Voter Education and Publicity (VEP) and Public Affairs Officers (PAOs) in the southern states.
The Tide reports that the workshop tagged “Capacity Building on Effective Communication for Continuous Voter Education and New Polling Units for INEC’s Head of Voter Education and Public Affairs Officers’’, was organised by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
Yakubu, who was represented by Mr Festus Okoye, National Commissioner and Chairman Information and Voter Education Committee, said that staff of the commission must adapt quickly to the new technological realities aimed at deepening electoral process.
The INEC chairman said that the commission was dealing with complex issues, diverse constituencies, intense fight for power and dangerous geographical terrains, hence the need for innovations and creativities.
Yakubu said: “Staff for the commission must adapt quickly to the new technological reality occasioned by advances in technology, the global health pandemic, challenge of best practices in election administration and management.
“The staff of the commission in general and information managers in particular cannot afford to remain analogue and on manual mode when a new generation of Nigerians is migrating steadily to the digital world.
“We must at all times strive to show the way in moving the country toward a direction that will lead to better elections, even as the commission has demonstrated capacity, creativity and innovation in times of great changes, difficulties and challenges.”
According to him, at the height of the pandemic and when many advanced countries suspended or called off their elections, INEC developed an electoral continuity plan and strategy and conducted two constitutionally-circumscribed governorship elections.
He said that INEC policy on conducting elections in the context of COVID-19 pandemic received global and international acclaim and became a standard for so many African countries.
Yakubu said that within the same period, the commission designed a Candidate Nomination Portal through which political parties uploaded the personal particulars and list of their nominated candidates.
He said that the commission also developed a portal for domestic election observers and the media through which they applied for accreditation.
“Within the same period too, the commission developed and deployed INEC Result Viewing Portal (IREV) through which the commission uploaded polling unit results for public view.
“These are innovations and developments all HODs, VEP and PAOs must be abreast of and relay to the public at necessary junctures,” Yakubu said.
He urged all HODs VEP and PAOs to read widely, broadly and be on top of information as well as knowing how to work on different social media platforms so as not to be impediments to INEC’s progress.
The INEC chairman said that the CVR online pre-registration exercise as well as biometric and physical capturing exercises which commenced on June 28 and July 26 respectively nation-wide, had seen more Nigerians embrace technologies.
“The commission is introducing technology in the country’s electoral process to aid efficiency and make the conduct of elections less cumbersome, more transparent and more engaging.
“Considering the complex geographical terrain of the country, the commission believes that deepening the use of technology will assist it organise elections efficiently and declare results in record time,” he said..
According to him, the commission believes that deepening the use of technology in electoral process “will limit prospects of pernicious and malicious interference in the electoral process and election outcomes”.
Yakubu said that the duality of quality control and due diligence would eliminate as much as possible, the anxiety of moving results from the polling units to the collation centres.
“Technology will also enhance and domicile the processes of the commission within the commission and enhance monitoring and compliance.
“Within the context of a global pandemic, technology is the oxygen for electoral continuity.
“The commission is committed to ensuring that all Nigerians, with no legal disability, who desire to vote, must vote no matter their station in spite of their location.
“Technology holds the key to the actualisation of this goal. The commission will, therefore, call-in aid, technology to obviate some of the challenges of manual processes and procedures,” Yakubu said.
He expressed INEC’s determination to enhance the power and value of vote and enable eligible Nigerians to vote in a safe and peaceful environment.
The INEC chairman said that the commission would continue to deepen partnership with the judiciary and other stakeholders in its efforts to improve on the integrity of elections.
He solicited the understanding of the judiciary to interpret the constitution and the law more purposefully and enhance, guarantee, protect and secure the power, prestige and independence of INEC.
Yakubu commended the UNDP and the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs for making the capacity building programme possible.
Also speaking, Mr Nick Dazang, Director of Voter Education and Publicity, said that voter registration remained crucial to INEC’s work and mandate to organise and conduct elections.
Dazang said that without a credible register, election could not be credible.
He noted that since 2007, the commission had begun using technology to register voters with the introduction of Direct Data Capturing Machine.
He said that staff must the brought to speed in all novel technologies.
Earlier in his welcome address, Mr Sam Olumekun, the INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner, Lagos State, said that the workshop was apt now that the commission had embarked on dual online pre-registration and physical biometric capturing.
Olumekun, who was represented by Mrs Ijeoma Okey-Igbokwe, Head of Department, General Administration and Procurement, said that the workshop was an evidence of INEC’s determination to improve on its performance in the conduct of flawless election in 2023.
sinbajo’s Directives -Malami

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Ahead 2027: Pro-Tinubu Group Sets Up Structures In APC

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The Mandate Movement (TMM), a pro-President Bola Tinubu group in the All Progressives Congress (APC), has set up 37 structures in a bid to enlarge its membership base across the country.
The structures consist of the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja.
The national leader of the movement, Cardinal James Odunmbaku, made this known in a statement, explaining that the move became necessary for the ease of administration.
Cardinal Odunmbaku, in the statement, noted that this move was a precursor to the preparations for the 2027 general election.
He stressed that the move aims at ensuring that the APC has strong dominance across communities and towns in every part of the country.
He advised those to be appointed as state coordinators to be more effective in mobilising new people into the ruling APC.
The APC chieftain also used the opportunity to appeal to Nigerians to be patient with the President Bola Tinubu’s administration, assuring that the government was taking steps to address the harsh economic challenges.

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Benue APC Crisis: Court Sacks Acting State Chairman

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The recently suspended Benue State Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr. Austin Agada, has been reinstated by a Makurdi High Court presided over by the Chief Judge of the State, Justice Maurice Ikpambese.
Recall that Mr Agada was earlier in the month suspended from office by another Benue High Court in Aliade presided over by Justice Lilian Tsumba following an ex parte motion filed by Mr Moses Agaba against him and the APC after his Ihaje Ward I Executive in Ogbadibo Local Government Area had passed a no-confidence vote on him and also suspended him for alleged anti-party activity.
The suspension was immediately followed by the inauguration of Mr. Benjamin Omakolo from Igoro Ward, Apa LGA as the acting State Chairman during a State Executive Committee meeting of the party presided over by Governor Hyacinth Alia.
However the crisis in the party took a dramatic turn Monday when Justice Ikpambese reinstated Mr. Agada while ruling on a motion by the embattled chairman seeking to set aside the interim order restraining him from parading himself as  Chairman.
After listening to the arguments of counsel to Moses Agaba, Mr. Johnson Usman, and that of Innocent Daagba, who appeared alongside Richard Ayilla, George Ushongo, Daniel Sorkaa and John Ifer who appeared  for Mr. Agada, Justice Maurice Ikpambese vacated the order restraining him from parading self, function and acting as the Chairman of the APC in the State.
Justice Ikpambese ruled that “under Order 39, rule 3 of the Benue State High Court Procedure Rules, 2023, the lifespan of an interim order is seven days, and since the order was issued on February 2, 2024, it has elapsed by law.”
Justice Ikpambese nullified the appointment of Benjamin Omakolo as acting Chairman and any other appointment made from February 2, 2024.
He accordingly struck out the motion seeking to set aside the interim order of February 2, 2024, as “it has been overtaken by events.”
The matter would be assigned to another Judge by the Chief Judge who would hear it on its merit.
Reacting, the APC State acting Chairman, Mr. Omakolo dismissed the reinstatement of Mr. Agada saying “whether the order restraining him (Agada) from parading himself as the Chairman is vacated or not, the fact that he has been suspended by his Ward still places a ban on him to be able to function as APC Chairman in Benue State. “And it will interest you to know that in the court ruling today, no matter concerning my person or role as the acting Chairman was mentioned.
“So, I still remain the valid acting State chairman of the APC in Benue State. I remain the one who pilots the affairs of the APC in Benue State and the APC family takes instructions and directives from my office as the acting Chairman of APC in the State.
“And even that wrong vacation that was done in the High Court has already been appealed. The person that took him to court has appealed the judgement because it is not correct in law for a High Court to restrain another High Court, a court of coordinate jurisdiction. I have long assumed office as the acting Chairman of APC in Benue State.”

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There’s No Changing Bayelsa Gov’ship Result – Diri

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Governor of Bayelsa State, Senator Douye Diri, has said that the November 11, 2023, governorship election in the State has been won and lost and cannot be changed through subterranean moves of his main rival in the poll.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared the incumbent governor winner of the election and presented certificates of return to him and the deputy governor-elect, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, on November 17, 2023.
Diri, who spoke on Monday during the first year memorial service of his late father, Pa Abraham Diri, at the St Peter’s Anglican Church, Sampou, Kolokuma/Opokuma Local Government Area, said the subpoena to the police to testify as witness at the election petition tribunal by the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, Chief Timipre Sylva, was diversionary, a waste of time and an exercise in futility.
He said the acceptable standard was the election result declared by INEC and not that of the police.
His words, “they are bringing a police report. They are bringing a police commissioner to come and testify in the election tribunal. We have crossed that bridge long ago. Just as we stopped them from rigging, we will stop them again.
“If you want to subpoena anybody, let it be INEC, which conducted the election and declared the results. The police are in charge of security.
“Let us be steadfast. Our second tenure will be better than the first.”
The governor eulogised his father for laying a solid foundation for him and his siblings.
According to him, his father was being celebrated a year after his death because he left good legacies that were speaking through him and his siblings.
He said: “His impact upon our lives, his children and relatives, is unspeakable. That is why I believe in giving the best education to children, so that whether you are alive or not, they can stand anywhere. I urge fellow Bayelsans to give their children good education.
“What we are doing today is to appreciate God and celebrate the life of our father for what he has done in our lives. Our father guided us very well. All his life was how to discipline and give what he had to society.
“Those of us in leadership as president, governors, Speakers and other positions, let us know that there is a legacy we should leave, which will speak for us when we leave this world.”
Speaking on the topic: “What will you be remembered for?” Rev. Funkuro Amgbare, Bishop of the Diocese of Northern Izon of the Anglican Communion, noted that Pa Diri was being remembered a year after his death because he impacted positively on his children and the society.
He admonished all to live a life worth remembering by maintaining their integrity.

 

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