The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said it was already running against time as regards preparation for the 2023 general election.
INEC National Commissioner, Information and Voter Education (IVEC), Mr. Festus Okoye, stated this in Asaba, the Delta State capital, yesterday.
He urged both chambers of the National Assembly to harmonise and expedite action in the passage of the amended Electoral Bill, adding that the framework was needed to back up its actions.
Okoye spoke on the sidelines of the opening of a two-day capacity building workshop for Heads of Voter Education and Publicity (VEP), and Public Affairs Officers of INEC from the 17 Southern states.
It was organised with support from the European Centre for Electoral Support (ACES) and the European Union.
He said the commission was resolute in its decision to deepen democracy through a technologically-driven electoral process in 2023 and beyond.
He also stressed the urgent need for the passage and signing of the bill into law.
Okoye, who declared the workshop open, said: “Under the new bill, the commission shall give a notice of elections 360 days to the commencement of poll.
“And you know INEC has already fixed February 18, 2023 as date of election, so when you count backwards, you will see that there is a limited time within which we have to give the notice of election based on the new bill.
“The bill also makes it mandatory that election funds shall be released to the commission at least 12 months before any election.
“So, we are desirous of the bill for whatever funds are due the commission for the purpose of procurement.
“Also under the new bill, political parties are obligated to submit list and personal particulars of their nominated candidates at least 180 days to the election.
“The implication is that parties must conclude their primaries ahead of time, at least six months to election for them to remain within the framework.
“So, the National Assembly is aware of this, and we are confident as a commission, that whatever issues are involved relating to why the bill has not been passed would be resolved any moment from now.
“There are so many provisions in the bill that would impact fundamentally on the electoral process.”
Addressing participants while declaring the workshop open, Okoye told them assist their Resident Electoral Commissioners to engage the media.
“You must not be an orator. You must not be charismatic.
“Your business is communication and you must communicate in knowledge and humility,” he said.
On his part, the Project Coordinator, ECES, HamzaFassi-Fihri said the agency was committed to an efficient and seamless communication system in the nation’s electoral process.
Also, Delta State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mr Monday Udo-Tom thanked the organisers of the workshop, saying that it would enrich the electoral process.
He expressed hope that the outcome of the workshop would enhance INEC’s communication and perception management strategy.
Nigeria’s GDP Grew By 3.11% In Q1 2022, NBS Affirms
The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has said that Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew by 3.11per cent in the first quarter of 2022.
The NBS made this known via its Nigerian Gross Domestic Product Report Q1 2022 released, last Monday.
According to the report, Nigeria’s GDP grew by 3.11per cent year-on-year in real terms in the first quarter of 2022.
The NBS noted that the development showed a sustained positive growth for six consecutive quarters since the recession witnessed in 2020 when negative growth rates were recorded in quarter two and three of 2020.
It added that the first quarter 2022 growth rate further represents an improvement in economic performance.
The NBS stated: “The observed trend since Q4 of 2020 is an indication of a gradual economic stability.
“The Q1 of 2022 growth rate was higher than the 0.51per cent growth rate recorded in Q1 of 2021 by 2.60per cent points and lower than 3.98per cent recorded in Q4 of 2021 by 0.88per cent points.
“Nevertheless, quarter-on-quarter, real GDP grew at -14.66per cent in Q1 of 2022, compared to Q4 of 2021, reflecting a lower economic activity than the preceding quarter.
“In the period under review, aggregate GDP stood at about N45.317million in nominal terms.
“This performance is higher when compared to the first quarter of 2021 which recorded aggregate GDP of about N40.014million, indicating a year-on-year nominal growth rate of 13.25per cent.
“The nominal GDP growth rate in Q1 2022 was higher relative to the 12.25per cent growth recorded in Q1 2021, and higher compared to the 13.11per cent growth recorded in the preceding quarter,” the report read.
RSG Launches RIV-CARES Programme …World Bank Rates Rivers High
The Rivers State Government has launched the state COVID-19 Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus (RIV-CARES) Programme.
The state Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike performed the launching at the NBA Secretariat in Port Harcourt, yesterday.
Speaking through his Deputy, Dr. Ipalibo Harry Banigo, the governor said the programme was to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the poor and vulnerable households and support micro and small-scale enterprises as a means of stimulating economic growth post-COVID.
According to the State Chief Executive, “the state government had signed in for the programme, made provisions in the 2022 Budget for Result Areas and signed Funds Release Policy, which is an assurance to the World Bank that funds shall be released for the implementation of the programme”.
Wike said the launching of the RIV-CARES Programme would create awareness for the people of the state and engender expression of interest by beneficiary households, communities and operators of micro and small businesses (SMEs).
The governor, who encouraged the Rivers people to take advantage of the opportunities provided by RIV-CARES to enhance their means of livelihood and reduce the spate of poverty in the communities, commended the World Bank and the Federal CARES for their support to the state.
In her remarks, the Permanent Secretary of the state Ministry of Budget and Economic Planning, Mrs. Titilola Kuna Cline, said in a bid to check the negative effects of COVID-19 pandemic on livelihoods, food security and micro and small businesses, the World Bank in partnership with the Federal Government of Nigeria and the state governments, introduced the Nigeria COVID-19 Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus (NG-CARES) Programme.
She said the state scaled through rigorous preparatory stages and qualified to participate in the programme whose objective was “to expand access to livelihood support and food security services, and grants for poor and vulnerable households and firms”.
According to her, the stages include, signing of subsidiary loan agreement and fund release policy by the government.
Others include the establishment of the RIV-CARES Steering Committee, establishment of State- CARES Coordination Unit domiciled in the Ministry of Budget and Economic Planning and preparation of work plan.
“The NG-CARES, after domestication of programme implementation manual now known as RIV-CARES programme has the State Coordination Unit (SCU) saddled with coordinating implementation of RIV-CARES programme in the state and reporting to Federal-CARES supporting unit and the World Bank in Abuja.
“It is also a bridge between the delivery platforms and the State-CARES Steering Committee and for delivery platform under three Results Areas (RA1-3).
Cline listed the three areas to include cash transfer unit, labour intensive public works and community-driven development social (CDD-S) Plus.
The rest are, FADAMA and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).
Also speaking, the representative of the World Bank, Mr. Aso Vakporaye, said the programme must succeed in order to kick out poverty from the state in view of the fact that failure to kick out poverty would make life difficult for the entire citizenry.
He, therefore, thanked the governor for making it possible for Rivers State to participate in the programme.
Similarly, the World Bank and the Federal Government have rated Rivers State high in the implementation of the COVID-19 Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus scheme by the state government.
Representative of the World Bank Task Team Leader, Mr.Aso Vakporaye said this, yesterday, in Port Harcourt at the official flag offand implementation of the Rivers State COVID-19 Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus (RIV-CARES) Programme in the state.
Vakporaye, who is also the chairman of the Federal Government’sFederal-CARES Technician Committee,confirmed that Rivers State has met the requirements for the implementation of the programme.
He said alot still remains to be done,adding that the state needs to release more money for the implementation of the programme.
Also speaking, theTechnical Head of State CARESCoordinating Unitand Secretary,RIV-CARESSteering Committee,Mrs Imaonyeni Ephraim, said the programme would improve the livelihood of the poor and vulnerable people in the state.
She said the programme, which runs for two years,was open to many beneficiaries.
The flag off was performed by the state Deputy Governor,Dr.Ipalibo Harry Banigo, onbehalf of Governor Nyesom Wike.
By: John Bibor
PDP Elects Senatorial Candidates For 2023 Elections
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Rivers State, last Monday, held its primary election to elect candidates who will fly its flags for the Senatorial election in 2023.
The election, which took place at the three senatorial headquarters of the state, saw the emergence of the state Deputy Governor, Dr Ipalibo Harry Banigo, as the candidate for Rivers West Senatorial District, Chief Allwell Onyesoh won the primaries for Rivers East Senatorial District while Senator Barinaada Mpigi secured a return ticket to represent Rivers South East Senatorial District.
Speaking before the deployment of electoral officers and materials for the election, the state PDP Chairman, Amb Desmond Akawor, welcomed members of the electoral committee from the PDP National Headquarters, and briefed them on the successes so far recorded in the state House of Assembly and House of Representatives primaries.
Akawor said though some form of consensus had been reached concerning the senatorial aspirants, the party would still observe due diligence by ensuring that proper primary election was conducted at the three senatorial district headquarters, urging the electoral officers to be discrete in handling their assignment.
Chairman of the PDP Electoral Committee for the Senatorial Primary, Hon Donatus Etim, commended Governor Nyesom Wike for the enormous work done in strengthening the electoral process in the state, thereby making it possible for successful primaries to be held in the state.
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