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‘Money Politics, Biggest Threat To Nigeria’s Democracy’

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A Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), SING Nigeria, has said that Nigeria’s democracy could be destroyed if the activities of moneybag politicians are not checked and tamed by the law.
Executive Director of SING Nigeria, Mr Idris-Etanami Usman said this while monitoring the Anambra State governorship election from the SING Situation Room in Abuja.
Usman said the time had come for Nigerians to begin to sue politicians for overspending money during elections.
“Election has become almost like an investment, so if you are investing, you must reap your investment and by so doing you must do everything to ensure you win.
“As it is no candidate in an election has been disqualified based on overspending; no candidate in the history of our democracy has been disqualified by the court.
“People should start going to court to charge candidates and their party for overspending. INEC should do thorough audit and we have written to them several times to show their books in terms of audit done after election.
“To our disappointment, INEC has not really come out to give us a thorough audit, as audit ought to be done after election but INEC is keeping on that.
“As long as we allow these monies, vote buying and all the funds politicians spend, we will never have a sincere process because these monies are also being used to buy security, buying of guns and sponsorship of thugs.
“These monies also make INEC staff to compromise, so, if we can beat that money politics I think we will solve over 70 per cent of our electoral problem in this country,” Usman said.
He called on Nigerians not to joke with the electoral process as the kind of leaders the people desired could only come when genuine people occupied political offices.
Mr Mohammed Basah, Associate Member, SING Nigeria, who read the text of a press conference organised at its situation room, urged President Muhammadu Buhari to ensure the electoral bill become effective before the 2023 general election.
“The election happening in Anambra is significant for a number of reasons, and we call on INEC to use the conduct of the poll as litmus test for the 2023 general election.
“In Anambra, the task before the electoral umpire is indeed daunting, as they will also be testing the newly created 1,112 polling units in the state.
“We cannot overstate our position that the nation is in dire need of issue and idea based political campaign more than an electoral environment choked with money by the political elites.
“We call on relevant stakeholders to discourage attempts by politicians to scuttle the will of the people through illicit use of money in form of vote buying which will further weaken our democratic practice.
“It will also destroy the citizens’ trust in our electoral democracy and further rip us off of competent hands to drive the nation’s development agenda.
“SING Nigeria wants to use this opportunity to call for support against any attempt to increase campaign financing in the proposed electoral bill,” Basah said.
He called on the National Assembly to expunge any clause in the proposed electoral act amendment bill that is capable of undermining the growth of the country’s democracy.
Board member of the organistaion, Dr Itari Turner who also spoke at the event said INEC ought to have gone past the current level of election conduct in the country.
She said achieving a desired electoral process in the country required all hands to be on deck, as voters would not have any reason to complain when politicians take advantage of voter apathy to manipulate the system.

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MFN President Lauds IFMA Over Tournament Sponsorship

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President of Muaythai Federation of Nigeria MFN, Comrade Paul Egonu has lauded International Federation of Muaythai Association (IFMA) over the sponsorship of about 600 Khru Muaythai, trainers and foreign Muaythai boxers to perform the Wai Khru Muaythai ceremony.

The event was held at the Ancient Olympia Stadium in Greece, the birth place of Olympics Games. It was witnessed by a huge crowd including notable Muauythai athletes all over the world.

Comrade Egonu made the commendation in an exclusive Interview with Tidesports yesterday, shortly he arrived Port Harcourt from MFN meeting in Lagos, saying that the commendation was also borne out of the fact that IFMA made it possible for Muaythai to feature in Tokyo Japan 2020 Olympics as a scoring sport.

He further commended IFMA leaders, Dr. Sakchai Tapsuwan, President Stefan Fox, Secretary-General Janice Linn, Sports Director Dr. Supranee Kuptasara, former manager of the National Sports Development Fund (NSDF)Associate Professor Dr. Anan Meksawan, Dr. Chao Watayotha, International Khru Muaythai and other leaders to organise ” Muauythai IFMA Senior World Championship 2024″ in Patras, Greece, May 31 through June 9, 2024.

According to him, over 1,200 Muaythai athletes from 79 countries from five continents participated in the World Muaythai Championship and Muaythai boxers were divided into different categories.

“We commend our Internatiomal body to have successfully hosted Muauythai IFMA Senior World Championship 2024″ in Patras, Greece, between May 31 – June 9, 2024 and sponsor over 600 Khru Muaythai, trainers and foreign Muaythai boxers to perform the Wai Khru Muaythai ceremony in Ancient Olympia Stadium in Greece, the birth place of Olympics Games and prepared to showcase talents at the forthcoming 2024 Olympic Games in Paris, France.

” Apart from that we are also happy that our parent body is making sure that the sport is acceptable in every part of the world including in Nigeria”, Comrade Egonu said.

He use the forum to urge Muaythai athletes in Nigeria to keep faith and their moral high as the Federation awaits Federal Ministry of Youths and Sports to do the needful by recognising Muauythai as a scoring sports in NSF, as they have met the statutory requirements.

” As Federation we have met statutory requirements to be a scoring sports in NSF because we have appeared in three National demonstrations and have two-third of Muaythai athletes in the States which we have achieved since 2006 at the NSF Gateway Ogun State and unofficial demonstration at the 20th National sports Festival tagged Edo2020 NSF held in Edo state”, he stated.

The MFN President also assured Muaythai athletes in Nigeria that they will participate at the forthcoming NSF scheduled to hold in Ogun State next year January.

 

Tonye Orabere

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Winners-Take-All Approach Detrimental To Political Justice And Unity – Jonathan

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Former President Goodluck Jonathan has cautioned that the prevailing “winners-take-all” approach to politics in Nigeria is detrimental to political justice and unity.
Speaking yesterday as the chairman of the national symposium to mark this year’s Democracy Day at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, Jonathan emphasised the need for a more inclusive system where parties that perform well at the polls are given a role in governance.
The symposium, which marked this year’s Democracy Day, brought together prominent figures from across the country to discuss the state of democracy in Nigeria and the need for reforms.
Jonathan highlighted the negative impact of the current zero-sum practice, which he said fosters a culture of do-or-die politics. He urged the National Assembly to work out a formula that would ensure parties that score a certain percentage of votes in an election are included in governance, thereby promoting political justice and unity.
“The powers of the presidents are defined by different constitutions and so on and so forth.
“So our National Assembly can also look at models that will suit us. The zero-sum approach, where a party that even sometimes gets 40% of votes, especially at the state levels will have nothing, gives rise to this do-or-die politics.
“That zero-sum approach, I think, is inimical to consolidating and strengthening our democracy.
“Let me conclude by saying that together, we can forge a Nigeria where every citizen has a voice, where opportunities abound, where the promise of a better tomorrow is not just a dream but a tangible reality.
“Let us therefore celebrate this milestone with pride and renewed determination.”
President Jonathan also advised President Bola Tinubu’s administration to ensure that the politics of the next 25 years are transformative and inclusive, saying that there must be a determined effort to dilute the politics of region and religion.
“And I know you and President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who was a key actor in the June 12 crisis, will have the capacity to navigate through that process.
“I believe this programme and others commemorating this landmark will point the way to that glorious vision and prepare the nation for golden time centenary celebrations of enduring democracy.”
Noting that the path towards democratic consolidation has been a difficult one, he said the return of democracy in 1999, after many years of military reign, signalled a new phase in the national journey and shared vision of unity, peace and progress.
The former president added: “In the last 25 years, we have made modest progress in this regard amid some challenges. As a nation, we built an economy that was once the biggest on the African continent, experienced significant infrastructural growth, made strides in the arts and sports, and recorded many peaceful political transitions at the national and sub-national levels.
“Democracy has also brought about improved access to governance, amplified silent voices and reinforced the idea of sovereignty.
“Whenever I tune in to Nigerian TV stations, especially in the morning and see young men and women discussing and interrogating contemporary political issues and holding leaders to account, I thank God for democracy and appreciate the gains we have made over the years.
“In these 25 years, through four power transitions from one president to another, including the death of a sitting president, we have seen the gradual strengthening of our democratic institutions, the expansion of civil liberties, and the active participation of our citizenry in the political process. This progress, while commendable, also reminds us that our work is far from done.
“It is, therefore, time to make this journey seamless, through good citizenship, patriotic service as well as sacrificial and exemplary stewardship.
“We must continue to build upon the foundations laid, deepen our democratic roots, and ensure that the dividends of democracy are felt by all Nigerians, regardless of their social, economic or geographic status.”
Jonathan also called on the political class and elites to lead by example and work with unity of purpose to guarantee peace, social justice, and effective governance for Nigerian citizens.
He emphasised the need for elected representatives to reflect their roles through their lifestyles and actions.
He said: “For democracy to yield its desired dividend, we the political class and elites must lead by example and work with unity of purpose to guarantee peace and social justice for the citizens. And our lifestyle must reflect that we are elected people.

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Ibom Developers Drive Sustainable Growth Through Skill Acquisition Workshop In Amazaba Community, Akwa Ibom

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Skill acquisition is a principal factor for building a successful career, significantly enhancing one’s employability and opening doors to various career opportunities. It serves as a cornerstone for driving holistic development within communities, fostering economic empowerment, and promoting sustainable growth.
Recognising the transformative impact of its ongoing skill acquisition initiatives, Ibom Developers has extended its programme to the Amazaba community in Eastern Obolo LGA, Akwa Ibom State, from 3rd to 14th June 2024.
This initiative aims to foster economic empowerment and community development by equipping participants with practical skills essential for economic independence.
During the event, 160 women received intensive training in catering, food hygiene, packaging, hairdressing, wig making, ventilation, and styling over a period of two weeks.
Distinguished guests, including Chief Gogonte Luke Nglass, Chairman of the Amazaba Council of Chiefs, Chief Alexander Ikowa, Village Head of Okorobilom, Chief J.J Job, Village Head of Bethlehem, Mrs. Gloria Gogonte, Vice President of the Amazaba Women Association, and Victoria Solomon Bibama, Assistant Secretary of the Amazaba Women Association, were present.
Grateful for the initiative and its impact on the community, especially in advancing women’s skills, Chief Gogonte Luke Nglass expressed optimism for transformative change, stating, “We are grateful, and we eagerly anticipate witnessing the profound effects of this initiative on our community.”
Skill acquisition empowers individuals to navigate the modern job market, achieve personal and professional growth, and contribute to economic and social development.
Emphasising the role of skill acquisition in empowering women and youth, Victoria Solomon Bibama expressed, “This is highly commendable, and initiatives like these bring us closer to a future where every woman can thrive, and no community is left behind.”
Equipping women with relevant skills, especially in rural areas, expands opportunities for meaningful employment. Ibom Developers’ efforts contribute to building a stronger society, facilitating economic growth and social progress.
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