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We Won’t Extend Timetable For 2023 Polls, INEC Tells Parties

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The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, has said that the commission would not review the Timetable and Schedule of Activities for the 2023 general election.
Yakubu said any review to extend the timeline for one activity will affect other activities and put unnecessary pressure on INEC and political parties in the country.
The INEC chairman made this known while speaking at the second quarterly meeting with political parties in Abuja, yesterday.
He noted that since INEC released the Timetable and Schedule of Activities for the 2023 general election on February 26, 2022, all 18 political parties have forwarded the schedules of their primaries to the commission, while some have commenced the process of choosing their candidates by conducting ward and local government congresses.
Yakubu said: “Twice in the last two weeks, the commission had cause to remind political parties of the necessity for strict compliance with the timelines for party primaries. I hereby reiterate the position of the commission that there will be no review of the timelines. There are so many inter-related activities that are associated with the timelines which must be carried out.
“Any review to extend the timeline for one activity will affect other activities and put unnecessary pressure on political parties and the commission. This will ultimately result in more complications than what the extension seeks to achieve. Therefore, the commission will not review the timelines.”
The INEC boss further charged political parties to ensure commitment to the timelines in conducting transparent and democratic primaries ahead of the 2023 general election.
“Working together, we should ensure fidelity to the timelines in conducting transparent and democratic primaries for the purpose of electing candidates for the 1,491 constituencies for which elections will be held on February 25 and March 11, 2023.
“In the spirit of working together to comply with the requirements of law, the commission has prepared a document to guide political parties in the conduct of primaries and nomination of candidates for election, including a checklist of the documentation required for a successful nomination. The guide is among the documents contained in your folders for this meeting.
“Similarly, the commission has prepared a calendar of party primaries for presidential, governorship, national, and state assembly seats based on the proposals submitted by political parties as of Friday, May 6, 2022. This document is also contained in your folders for this meeting,” he added.
Yakubu further enjoined the political parties to encourage greater involvement of all under-represented segments of the society as candidates for elections, noting that women, youths and Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) have been yearning for greater representation, particularly in elective positions.
He added that the involvement of the PWDs is the “only way we can change the reality of increasingly low level of representation of these critical segments of the society in legislative assemblies in particular and the governance of our country in general.”
Speaking on the forthcoming governorship elections in Ekiti and Osunstates, the INEC boss said the commission, in compliance with the Section 42 of the Electoral Act 2022, has invited all political parties fielding candidates for the Ekiti State gubernatorial polls to inspect samples of the materials on Wednesday, May 18, 2022, at the commission’s Conference Room in Abuja.
Yakubu stated: “I wish to remind you that the Ekiti State governorship election is holding next month on Saturday, June 18, 2022, while the Osun State governorship election is holding in two months on Saturday, July 16, 2022.
“Section 42 of the Electoral Act 2022 requires the commission to invite political parties to inspect samples of materials for the election not later than 20 days before the date fixed for an election.
“In compliance with this provision, we have invited all political parties fielding candidates for the Ekiti State Governorship election to inspect samples of the materials on Wednesday, May 18, 2022 at the commission’s Conference Room in Abuja at 11.00am.”
He, therefore, urged political parties to ensure a transparent electioneering process devoid of “acrimony and rancour”.
“Unfortunately, the number of litigations by aggrieved party members challenging the conduct of party primaries so far may exceed the 807 pre-election court cases on the 2019 General Election in which the commission was joined by litigants.
“As we commence our second regular quarterly consultative meeting for this year, I want to reassure party leaders that while the commission will remain firm in applying the law, we will continue to work with political parties as critical stakeholders in the best interest of our country,” the INEC chairman stated.
Earlier, the 18 registered political parties under the aegis of Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC) had appealed to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to tinker with its electoral timelines and shift the June 3 deadline for the conduct of primary elections by the parties.
The parties are asking the electoral umpire to shift the deadline by 37 days.
IPAC National Chairman, Engr. Sani Yabagi, made the appeal, yesterday, in Abuja, at the INEC’s interactive session with political parties.

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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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