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2023: We Won’t Release Poll Timetable Until Electoral Bill Is Signed Into Law -INEC

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said it would not release the 2023 general election timetable until the Electoral Act Amendment Bill is signed into law.
INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu disclosed this, yesterday, in Abuja during the commission’s first quarterly consultative meeting with political parties.
He said, “On the Electoral Amendment Bill currently before the National Assembly, the Commission is encouraged by the Senate President’s assurance to give priority attention to the bill when the National Assembly reconvenes from its recess today, and the commitment by the President to assent to the bill as soon as the issue of mode of primaries by political parties is resolved. We look forward to a speedy passage of the bill, which is crucial to our preparations for future elections.
“As soon as it is signed into law, the commission will quickly release the Timetable and Schedule of Activities for the 2023 General Election based on the new law”.
Noting that 2022 is going to be a very busy year for the commission and the political parties, Yakubu reminded them that the 2023 general election was just 396 days away.
He said all the critical preparations must be concluded this year, explaining that the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR), which commenced in June, last year, has entered the third quarter.
“As of yesterday, Monday, 17th January, 2022, a total of 8,260,076 eligible Nigerians commenced the online pre-registration, completed the registration physically or applied for transfer to new voting locations, replacement of their Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs) or updated their voter information records as required by law.
“At the moment, the Commission is undertaking the most comprehensive clean-up of the data to ensure that only eligible citizens are added to the voters’ register for the 2023 general election and will share our findings with Nigerians and the actual dates for the collection of the PVCs nationwide will be announced very soon”, Yakubu stated.
According to him, the commission has also decided that the suspended Ekiti East I State Constituency bye-election would be combined with the State Governorship election holding on June 18, 2022.
He said the date for the Shinkafi State Constituency bye-election in Zamfara State would be announced after a thorough review of the security situation in the area, while the commission awaits the declaration of vacancy by the Kaduna State House of Assembly in respect of Giwa West State Constituency.
“Turning to the major end-of-tenure and off-cycle elections, party primaries for the Ekiti State Governorship election are scheduled for 4th – 29th January, 2022. For the Osun State Governorship election, primaries will hold from 16th February to 12th March, 2022.
“In the case of Ekiti State, all the 18 political parties have served the mandatory notices for the primaries. Let me seize this opportunity to draw the attention of parties to the necessity for transparent and rancour-free primaries. Parties should also respect their chosen dates for the primaries based on the commission’s Timetable and Schedule of Activities.
“Already, many parties have rescheduled their primaries several times. While the commission has earmarked a period of three weeks and 4 days (i.e. 25 days) for the conduct of the Ekiti State Governorship primaries, virtually all political parties have decided to hold their primaries in the last 4 days i.e. 26th – 29th January, 2022. In fact, seven political parties have chosen the last day for their primaries.
“Similarly, no party has so far submitted its list of aspirants, the composition of its electoral panel, or the register of members or list of delegates depending on the chosen mode for electing its candidates.
“As of yesterday, only one party has indicated the venue for its primaries. I urge you all to do so immediately to enable us to work out the detailed plans for monitoring the primaries. All primaries for electing candidates must take place in the constituency where election will hold as required by law. In the cases of Ekiti and Osun State Governorship elections, any primaries conducted outside the two States will not be monitored by the commission and their outcomes will not be accepted. This also applies to primaries for bye-elections conducted outside the constituencies”, he added.
On the Federal Capital Territory FCT Area Council election, Yakubu gave insights into the distribution of voters to Polling Units in the territory, particularly the fact that 593 out of 2,822 or 21% of the total do not have voters.
“This is because voters failed to take advantage of the expansion of access to transfer to these new Polling Units. The detailed distribution of voters to Polling Units in the FCT is among the documents in your folders for this meeting”, he stated.
Responding on behalf of the political parties, Chairman of the Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC), Engr. Yabagi Sani said the parties are anticipating more superlative performance by INEC in the remaining off-season elections, beginning with the council elections in the Federal Capital Territory and later on, the gubernatorial elections in Osun and Ekiti states.
He said the most serious and potent impediment to the successful conduct of the 2023 general elections, is the lingering debacle between the Executive and the Legislature on the fate of the 2021 Electoral (Amendment) Bill.
“While time is dangerously running out for the resolution of the disputes between the two arms, the IPAC is of the position that the controversy may have been contrived in the first instance, purely and clearly in the pursuits of narrow and self-centred political ambitions of some of the gladiators.
“We are therefore, using this occasion to once again make our strident call for the immediate resolution of the unnecessary impasse over the Electoral Amendment Bill in the superior and overriding national interest. The IPAC has persistently suggested at various forums that, the first rational step in the circumstance is for the two apex legislative houses to immediately expunge from the bill, the provisions that make it mandatory for political parties to use direct primary elections in the selection of their flag bearers in general election.
“Going forward, we have also called on the President to thereafter, assent to the Bill without delay. Our concern in the IPAC is that failure to reach a compromise in the short run may invariably translate into the death of the other very crucial provisions, such as the provisions on the electronic transmission of election results”, he stated.

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See Fubara’s Victory As God’s Design, Wike Tells Rivers PDP

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Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike has described the victory of Hon Siminialayi Fubara at the gubernatorial primary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state as God’s design.
The PDP gubernatorial primary held, last Wednesday, at the Dr. Obi Wali International Conference Centre in Port Harcourt.
Wike, who spoke after Fubara was declared the winner of the primary, said so many people strove to clinch the slot but only one person can emerge.
The governor also declared that with the victory of Fubara, Rivers PDP now has a candidate that will fly its flag in the 2023 governorship election.
“I never knew I’ll be governor when I became governor. You have also heard what the candidate said that he never knew he will become PDP candidate.
“But to the glory of God, he is the candidate of PDP. This is because power comes from God. Whoever God says will be, will be.”
Wike pointed out that when it comes to producing the governor of the state, all tribes need to work together on it because no one particular tribe can do it alone.
He said because his administration has performed credibly well in the state, any candidate that the party presents will easily win in the 2023 general election.
“With the performance of our administration, and with what we have achieved in this state, there is no candidate that PDP will present that will not win election.
“Our campaign focus will be like this, that we made promises to the state to do roads and other projects, ask us, have we done them? Yes, we have.
“We will ask them (other parties), what have you done for Rivers State? Certainly nothing. So, who tells you that any other party can come and win this state? Let no one deceive you about that.”
Wike explained that after the presidential primary, PDP leaders in Rivers State will set up a team that will work to ensure that the party wins the 2023 gubernatorial election.
He expressed optimism that those who believe in the party will be dutiful in working for the candidate to win.
In his acceptance speech, Hon Siminialayi Fubara, the immediate past Accountant General of Rivers State, described his victory as evidence of grace.
He called on all party faithful to support his victory and the new drive to consolidate on the achievements of Wike’s administration.
“It is victory for Fubara. It is victory for the party. It is not just victory for the party, but victory for moving the state forward.
“The purpose of this special event this night is also to consolidate on the achievements, on every side, of this present administration.
“We are going to work together to sustain the work that this administration has already done for us.”
In his opening address, the Chairman of PDP in Rivers State, Amb Desmond Akawor said the party was poised to conduct a peaceful and successful gubernatorial primary.
Akawor explained that the party was delighted to have conducted peaceful congresses in the 319 wards and 23 local government areas of the state, including primaries for state and National Assembly.
Declaring the result of the gubernatorial primary, Chairman of the Electoral Committee, Prof. Walter Mboto, said Hon Siminialayi Fubara, polled a total of 721 votes to emerge PDP candidate for the 2023 governorship election.
He explained that Isaac Kamalu polled 86 votes to emerge second position, while Dax Alabo George Kelly polled 37 votes and Tammy Danagogo polled 36 votes.
Also, he said, Chief West Morgan polled 4 votes, David Briggs 4 votes and Brother Felix Obuah polled 2 votes, while eight votes were voided.
“The delegate list that we have has a total number of delegates expected to vote as 980. Total number of accredited out of this 980, 898 delegates were accredited. The total number of votes cast in this election is 898. The total number of valid votes cast is 890. 8 votes were voided.”

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FAAC: FG, States, LGCs Share N656.602bn Revenue

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The Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) has shared a total sum of N656.602billion as April 2022 Federation Account Revenue to the Federal Government, states and local government councils.
This was contained in a communiqué issued at the end of a virtual meeting of the FAAC for May 2022.
The N656.602billion total revenue comprised distributable statutory revenue of N461.189billion, Value Added Tax (VAT) revenue of N166.522billion, the sum of N8.891billion being excess bank charges recovered and augmentation of N20billion.
In April 2022, the total deductions for the cost of collection were N29.609billion and the total deductions for transfers and refunds were N147.651billion.
Director (Information, Press and Public Relations), Office of the Accountant General of Federation, HenshawOgubike, said in a statement, yesterday, that the balance in the Excess Crude Account (ECA) was $35.377million.
The communiqué confirmed that from the total distributable revenue of N656.602billion; the Federal Government received N257.611billion, State Governments got N201.256billion and the Local Government Councils received N149.251billion.
The sum of N48.485billion was shared to the relevant states as 13percent derivation revenue.
Gross statutory revenue of N635.037billion was received for the month of April 2022.
This was lower than the N933.304billion received in the previous month by N298.267billion.
From the N461.189billion distributable statutory revenue, the Federal Government received N217.412billion, the State Governments got N110.275billion and the Local Government Councils received N85.017billion.
The sum of N48.485billion was shared with the relevant States as 13percent derivation revenue.
In the month of April 2022, the gross revenue available from the Value Added Tax (VAT) was N178.825billion.
This was lower than the N219.504billion available in the month of March 2022 by N40.679billion.
From the N166.522billion distributable Value Added Tax (VAT) revenue, the Federal Government received N24.978billion, the State Governments got N83.261billion and the Local Government Councils pocketed N58.283billion.
The Federal Government got N4.684billion; the State Governments received N2.376billion and the Local Government Councils pocketed N1.831billion from the N8.891billion Excess Bank Charges recovered.
The N20.00billion augmentation was shared as follows: the Federal Government received N10.536billion, the State Governments got N5.344billion and the Local Government Councils received N4.120billion.
According to the communiqué, in the month of April 2022, Petroleum Profit Tax (PPT) and Excise Duties increased marginally, while Oil and Gas Royalties, Import Duty, Companies Income Tax (CIT) and Value Added Tax (VAT) all recorded significant decreases.

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Children’s Day: FG Establishes Family Court In 16 States 

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Ahead of this year’s International Children’s Day celebration, the Federal Government has established family courts in 16 states to ensure child-friendly justice for children, either as victims or as offenders of violence.
The Minister of Women Affairs, Pauline Tallen who disclosed this at a press briefing on Tuesday noted that the establishment of family courts resulted from the effective advocacy and sensitisation for effective implementation of the Child Rights Law across the country.
According to her, the theme for this year’s celebration is ‘Strengthening Supportive Systems for the Protection of the Nigerian Child; A Wake-Up Call.’
The minister noted that despite efforts by the government and other stakeholders, children were still vulnerable and victims of abduction, ritual killings, rape, child marriage, domestic abuse, and others.
She said, “As a ministry, we are sometimes overwhelmed with these issues and it will seem as if we are not doing enough.
“More worrisome is the recent increase of violence in schools, where children are physically and sexually abused online and offline.
“In the meantime, the ministry, in collaboration with relevant stakeholders, has developed policies and carried out a series of programmes to ensure the safety of children.
“The establishment of family courts in 16 states of the federation is a direct result of the effective and sustained advocacy”.
Tallen also said that to ensure the safety and protection of children, she also reconstituted the technical working group on ending violence against children in the country.

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