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Ijaw Council Advocates Diaspora Voting To Tackle Nigeria’s Challenges

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The Ijaw Diaspora Council (IDC) on Tuesday advocated for a review of Nigeria’s laws to allow political participation of Nigerians resident abroad in the General Elections.
Prof. Mony Gold, President of IDC, made the call at a virtual town hall meeting by Global Nigeria Diaspora Forum (GNDF) for Presidential Candidates ahead of 2023 elections.
The IDC leader said it was regrettable that Nigerian citizens in Diaspora made economic contributions by their remittances that boosted the nation’s economy but were denied political participation by voting.
He noted that the leadership of Nigerians in Diaspora was organising a series of 12 town hall meetings for presidential aspirants starting with Prof Kingsley Moghalu, to get their commitments to actualising the long overdue Diaspora voting.
According to Gold, the GNDF has written to leading presidential candidates in the 2023 elections to make case for a review of the extant laws to allow Diaspora voting in future elections after 2023.
Gold observed that Diaspora voting would harness the contribution of millions of Nigerians who would bring ideas for the socioeconomic development of their father land.
He said that Nigerians in Diaspora had been excluded by structural and systemic inequities in Nigeria that kept certain groups from having a fair chance at upward mobility for decades.
“That is why we are appealing to all Nigerians around the world to assist in the removal of persons with leadership duties and the reorganisation of institutions that contributed to injustice, instability, unfairness and nepotism.
“Our economy will not grow continuously unless economic opportunities and gains are shared equitably among the citizens, workers, business owners and business leaders.
“We can never abandon the bonds that tie us to our home country. Therefore, we must collaborate to remove barriers to voting and prepare people to exercise their rights,” he said.
Gold said in spite of its importance, millions of Nigerians were denied access to this right in numerous countries throughout the world.
“The right to vote is seen as a fundamental right in most world democracies, as it allows citizens to influence government decision-making.
“Many democracies have put in place procedures to ensure that this right is realised and enjoyed by their qualifying citizens, to varying degrees.
“For instance, external voting by post was included in the electoral legislation enacted in Zimbabwe after the country gained its independence in 1980,” he said.
Gold said that the1990 Constitution, which was updated in 2004, allowed Mozambican residents living abroad to vote in their home countries.
“The right to vote by Cape Verdeans residing abroad was enshrined in their constitution in 1992.
“In spite of their geographical distances, approximately 100,000 South Africans voted in 78 countries in the 1994 South African election,” Gold said.
He also said that Kenya extended voting rights to its estimated three million residents abroad in 2010 to join a growing list of African and other foriegn governments that have done so.
Gold said following extensive consultations amongst Nigerians in Diaspora, their leadership had reviewed its strategy for political engagement which stretched into the transnational sphere.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Moghalu, a diplomat and former Deputy Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria who addressed participants at the inaugural forum, pledged to drive a review to allow the political system.
Moghalu, an aspirant on the platform of African Democratic Congress (ADC) for position of President in the 2023 polls, noted that it was unjust to exclude Nigerians in Diaspora who sacrificed their earning to support the domestic economy.
He unfolded his economic blueprint to the Diaspora audience and expressed the hope to leverage on their expertise, to ensure rapid economic recovery of Nigeria.

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Niger Delta

Reps Member Loses In Delta Primary

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A member of the House of Representatives from Delta State, Ben Igbakpa, has lost the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) primary.
Mr Igbakpa, who represents Ethiope Federal Constituency, was defeated by Erhiatake Ibori-Suenu, the daughter of a former governor of Delta State, James Ibori.
Mrs Ibori-Suenu scored 46 votes, while Mr Igbakpa scored 22 in a rerun.
Both aspirants had a tie, 34 votes each, during the Sunday’s primary, which caused a rerun to choose the party candidate for the 2023 election.
“I have lost my re-election bid,” Mr Igbakpa tweeted on Tuesday afternoon.
“This is not the outcome we wanted. It is not the outcome the people of Ethiope Federal Constituency wanted.
“The cheers on Sunday, May 22, 2022, demonstrated that, but it does not satisfy the appetite of a few to revise our progress and blur the vision of our people,” he said, on the microblogging site.
The lawmaker said he gave his constituents a fair representation and that they had hope in his future representation, but that “all of these have been painfully stolen by the establishment.
“The grave silence on the streets amplifies the fatal setback for Ethiope Federal Constituency.
“My contest was never about me but for the people, hence their grief. Neither I nor the people prevailed in our hope for sustenance. We have now seen what force and intimidation can do”, he tweeted.
Igbakpa said serving his people in the House of Representatives is one of the greatest honours of his life.
“I feel proud of what we have built together in three years. We have touched the vast expanse of Ethiope Federal Constituency and given our people a loud voice. We have energised our resolve in this instance and vow to continue in the same spirit for progress and unity.
“I will always remain devoted to the development of the Ethiope Federal Constituency and continue to advance my belief in democratic good governance.
“I wish the winners of today’s re-run all the best and I pray that the losers (the people) can endure the outcome and the aftermath,” he said.

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Niger Delta

Nigerian Idol: Okowa Congratulates Winner, Promises More For Youths

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Delta State Governor,Ifeanyi Okowa, has congratulated the winner of Nigerian Idol Season 7, Progress Chukwuyem, describing him as a true son and proud ambassador of the State.
Chukwuyem emerged winner of the Reality TV show after defeating fellow finalist, Zadok on Sunday.
Okowa said in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Olisa Ifeajika, in Asaba, that the 21-year old songwriter, performer and music minister, was impeccable throughout the competition.
He lauded the organisers of the show and the panel of judges for what he called perfect organisation, leading to the emergence of Chukwuyem.
The winner of the competition, Chukwuyem, hails from Ekwueze-Abavo, Ika South Local Government Area of the State.
Okowa noted that the people of Delta were known for great exploits in reality shows, having won on several occasions in different platforms, adding that the State was gifted with abundant talents.
He said his administration had continued to support youths with talents to realise their potentials, stressing that news like Chukwuyem’s would continue to inspire him to do more for them.
“As a State, we are very delighted that our son, Progress Chukwuyem, won the #NigerianIdol Season 7 competition.
“He has portrayed the Delta character of true patriotism and worthy ambassador of the State, especially with the re-orientation of our youths, through our various schemes and programmes, which have been acknowledged as highly meaningful and successful.
“As a government, we will continue to support talents in sports, creative entertainment and even in business and we are glad that Chukwuyem has added to our pride.
“On behalf of the Government and people of Delta, I thank Deltans and indeed, all Nigerians that supported our son Chukwuyem, to clinch the prize money, as winner of Nigerian Idol Season 7.
“Indeed, beyond the prize, Chukwuyem reached greatness with his God-given talent and distinguished himself as a role model and we are very happy to have him bring honour to our state,” Okowa said.
The Tide’s source reports that the show started with 12 top contestants who emerged from the preliminary stage.
It was premiered on February 6, with the weekly shows covering the auditions that led to the theatre week, before the commencement of the live shows in March.

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UNICAL Hosts African Universities On Online Teaching, Quality Assurance

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University of Calabar (UNICAL) in collaboration with the Association of African Universities (AAU) is jointly hosting a three-day workshop in Calabar on Quality Assurance and Online Teaching.
The workshop, which drew participants from some African countries, including Ghana, Cameroon, and Zimbabwe, has in attendance lecturers from over 20 Federal and State universities in Nigeria.
Speaking, the Vice Chancellor of the University of Calabar, Prof. Florence Obi, said the institution was pleased to host the workshop for the very first time in the 47 years of its existence.
Noting that the theme of the workshop, “Quality Assurance in Higher and Tertiary Education: Online Teaching and Learning in the Post Covid-19 Era in the University of Calabar” was apt, she said the workshop was coming at a time when UNICAL was making efforts to adopt the dual mode of teaching and working assiduously with a view to stabilise her quality assurance directorate.
“This training workshop offers the opportunity for strengthening the capacity of stakeholders in higher education institutions in Africa for global relevance.
“The theme is carefully selected in line with contemporary times of post Covid-19 era and the clamoring of higher education institutions in Africa to meet global standards in terms of academic excellence.
“Online teaching is not only necessary but urgently needed to accommodate millions of Africans desirous of further studies, especially in the post Covid-19 era.
“It is on this note that I commend the AAU for keeping tab with her objective of providing a forum for cooperation and exchange of information on higher education and research in Africa,” she said.
She told the participants that UNICAL has a rich alumni profile, showcasing state governors, ministers, captains of industries, world ranking academics, legal gurus, top medical experts and educationist, among others.
According to her, UNICAL with over 40,000 students population is ranked 15th best university in Nigeria and the 64th best in Africa.
On her part, the Project Officer/Workshop Coordinator, Association of African Universities, Dr Violet Makuku, said the association came to Calabar due to the commitment of Prof. Obi towards online teaching and quality assurance.
Makuku said, the AAU, which serves as the apex body for higher education in Africa, seeks to impact practical knowledge and skills on the participants toward enhancing online teaching and learning.
“With the Covid-19 pandemic, we came out to say no more face-to-face teaching in classrooms; hence we needed to adopt new methods of teaching.
“Everything has been digitalised, so we need to digitalise online teaching also,” she said.

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