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Experts Challenge INEC On Transparent Elections

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The new budget proposed by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for the 2023 elections is now raising eye brows.
Last week during budget defence by INEC Chairman at the Senate, the electoral body proposed N305 billion for the conduct of 2023 elections, aside the N40billion appropriated for next year expenses.
But a political scientist and lecturer at the Rivers State University, Dr. Anthony Egobueze said the amount is suspicious.
The lecturer called on the National Assembly to fully scrutinise the proposed budget before its passed.
Dr. Egobueze in a chat with newsmen Wednesday stated that the public and stakeholders should be given a breakdown of the proposed expenses.
Arguing that it will not be transparent if INEC is allowed to go ahead of the budget, Egobueze stressed the need for more details of the budget.
“What we need now is a transparent election” Egobueze remarked,” so there is need for public confidence in the process. The consolidation process can only be achieved with a transparent election.”
The same view was held by public affairs analyst and publisher, Opunabo Inko Tariah while condemning the action of President Buhari in refusing assent to the new electoral bill.
The publisher said he is not surprised that the president failed to sign the bill into law, as since his inception, he has displayed lack of transparency and failure to support the welfare of the masses.
Tariah insisted that the new electoral bill would have improved the voting process and inject transparency in the electoral system.

By: Kevin Nengia

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Rivers

Usokun, An Integral Part Of My Administration – DELGA Chairman

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The Chairman of Degema Local Government Area, Hon. Michael John Williams, has assured the people of Usokun, in Degema Local Government Area, that their community is an integral part of his administration, and would be carried along in all programmes and activities of the Government.
The Council Boss gave the assurance, when he played host to the Usokun Council of Chiefs, who paid him a courtesy call at the Council’s Secretariat, recently.
He dismissed claims that the people were grossly marginalized in the Council, disclosing that several members of the community were given appointments as aides in his administration.
The Council Boss further recalled that he had recently disclosed to the community the administration’s plan to undertake the completion of their Corpers’ Lodge, and also embark on a new project for them in the coming months, as part of his administration’s pledge of executing projects in all communities of the LGA.
In employment into the Civil Service, the Council Boss noted that the administration was not employing at the moment, but that employment would be equitable to all communities, if the government was recruiting.
While assuring that no community in Degema LGA would be neglected by his administration, the Mayor of Kalabari urged them to remain peaceful, law-abiding and continue to contribute positively towards the development of the LGA.
Responding, the Onu Onya Ekein of Usokun, HRH King Charles Sunday, Ugu VII, commended the Council Chairman for his forthrightness and accessibility, noting that Hon. Williams’ administration was the first to invite the Usokun Council of Chiefs and engage them on developmental issues.
He prayed God to continue to protect the Council Chairman and imbue him with more wisdom to pilot the Council to enviable heights.
Earlier, Secretary of the Usokun Council of Chiefs, Chief Omubo Bob-Jeck, had in his address, bemoaned an alleged gross marginalization of the Usokun people in the affairs of the Council.
He particularly decried an alleged neglect of the Usokun people in employment by the Council, political appointments, and projects execution, praying the Council Boss to use his good office to address their plight.

By: Theresa Fredrick & Charity Amiso

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Rivers

Community Lauds Buhari For Signing PIA Into Law

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The members of the Oha in Council, an apex body of Ubima community in Rivers, have commended President Muhammadu Buhari for signing the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) into law.
Chairman of Ogbakor Ubima, in Ikwere Local Government Area in Rivers, Mr Emma Amad, made the commendation recently in a briefing with journalists in Port Harcourt.
Amadi, also a member of the Board, Host Community Development Trust (HCDT), inaugurated by an indigenous oil company in Rivers, said the implementation of the law would enhance peace and development for stakeholders.
The Tide’s source reports that All Grace Energy Limited (AGEL), operating in the Oil Mining Lease (OML17), on January 20, inaugurated a seven-member board of the HCDT.
They were expected to work with the company on implementation of the PIA law.
Amadi said the inauguration of the board of trustees by AGEL would also enhance the development of the host community.
He said with the law, the community would be conscious of the security aspect of the community where the company operates because they were now stakeholders, unlike what obtained in the past.
“I commend All Grace Energy Limited for their efforts on the process of implementing the PIA law on remittance of three per cent yearly Operational Expenditure (OPEX) as stipulated by the Act to host communities.
“Before now, what we have is Memorandum of understanding (MOU), which is an agreement between the company and the host community which any of the party can go to court if the agreement is bridged.
“Now, it has become a law which the parties must obey.
“I can tell you that the passing of PIA Act which oil companies are to implement is a welcome development.
“This is because if the company bridges the law, we can confidently go to court and enforce that law; so, we thank President Muhammadu Buhari,” he said.
Similarly, Mr Dandyson Onigah, the Chairman of the Board of HCDT, said it was a dawn of a new era where there would not be bickerings between oil companies and their host community.
According to him, with the stipulations of the PIA, the community can make plans toward sustainable development, knowing that there are funds for that purpose.
Onigah said that the board would work with the company to ensure peace for the company to operate freely to achieve its mandate.
The Executive Director, Corporate Affairs and Development, AGEL, Prof. Adeola Adenikinju, reassured of the company’s commitment to the development of its host community in compliance with the PIA.
Adenikinju noted that the inauguration of the seven-member board would provide a unique opportunity to begin a new era in the development of the community.
According to him, since the signing of the PIA in 2021, the company has ensured commitment to advancing understanding of the act, with regard to establishment of the HCDT.
Adenikinju said that compliance with the PIA would deepen the existing mutual relationship and trust-building between the company and the host community.
According to him,the PIA contains relevant provisions which form the basis of strong governance and management structure for the host communities’ development trust.

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Group Pledges Support To New NDDC Mgt

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A group in the Niger Delta, Patriotic Forum of Niger Delta (PAFOND), has pledged its support to the new management of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
This was contained in a press release made available to news men in Port Harcourt.
According to the group,”we are committed to ensure our people work towards a common focus of peace, unity, and progress of the region, and, by extension, with the vision of the Act that establishes the NDDC as an intervention body”, it said.
The group, however, expressed concern over the behaviours of one of the aids to the Managing Director, who failed to carry out the instructions of his principal during its visit to the Commission on the 5th of January 2023.
The release, jointly siged by the groups National Chairman, Owoh Udoh, National Secretary, Pastor Richard Monday, and Chairman, Elders Forum, Chief Francis Briggs, said the behaviour of the aid (name with held ) left many people stranded.
According to the group, the said aid only attended to the ijaw group and left others stranded.
“Of course, a lot of people were totally stranded, but we took our fate because we believe as a group that there’s is always another day.
“We want to strongly advise, sir, that in subsequent events, a more responsible individual should be given such duty so as to reduce tension or suspicion from other ethnic groups who may feel marginalized on the schemes of things”, the group said.
The group, however, commended the MD for his stance on issues bothering on the region so far, pledging support for any effort by the Commission to reposition the region.

By; John Bibor

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