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2023 : Choose Credible Candidates, Group Urges Electorate

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A non-governmental organisation, Willz Trust Foundation, has urged the Nigerian electorate to choose credible candidates in next year’s general elections in the country.
The Executive Director of the Foundation, Ide Aaron Anyanwu, who gave the charge at a press briefing in Port Harcourt, particularly urged the Rivers electorate to ensure that only credible candidates that will fulfill their campaign promises are voted into office.
According to him, the aim of his organisation is to entrench civil and democratic values in Nigeria by encouraging increased participation of citizens in the electoral process  across the geopolitical regions through advocacy, public sensitisation and enlightenment programmes.
“We are making progress in our commitment especially in voter education, sensitisation and mobilisation,  capacity building,  voters conferences,  media advocacy and election observation exercises”, he said, adding that his group had worked in the South- South and South- East since 2019 with focus on increasing the scope of operations in the future.
“Whillztrust foundation has, independently and through strategic partnership with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)  initiated programmes that promote voter education, provide critical voter informations to local communities in our bid to encourage citizens participation at all levels,” he added.
While recalling that the foundation played active role during the just concluded Continuous Voter registration (CVR) exercise and was able to assist over 20,000 new registrants to acquire their new Permanent Voter’s Cards (PVCs), the organisation, in partnership with INEC, would soon commence door to door voter education exercise for which its representatives have been formally trained by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in conjunction with INEC.
“A critical look at Nigeria shows indicators that all is not well at the moment. Unfortunately, we are compounded by continued decadence, corruption and lack of transparency in government and public sectors, at every election cycle incoming government will make promises to rectify the difficulties we face as a nation. However, they have always failed.
“This experience has created huge vacuum of hopelessness and loss of confidence in business of government and governance. Our experience in the field as voter education providers shows that greater percentage of Nigerians are hardly interested in voting and Election”, he lamented.
Anyanwu charged citizens never to be discouraged, but be rather determined to hold those in positions of power accountable, adding that their power to change the negative narrative is through voting in credible leaders.
“How can we hold our government accountable for promises they made on their campaign if we do not participate in elections ? Participation in election is the constitutional right and civic responsibility of every Nigerian, provided you have met the electoral requirements.
“It was because of these challenges that the existence of Whillztrust foundation became a necessity to help redefine advocacy in social sector and encourage public interest. We focus on grassroots to reach the hard to reach in  society”, he said.
He disclosed that a South- South voters’ conference is slated to hold in Port Harcourt from 1st to 3rd December, 2022, adding that the event is aimed at achieving improved voter population growth, providing voter information and education that will equip the Nigerian voters to the extent that they are able to make informed decisions and quality choices of who their preferred parties and candidates are.
Earlier, a former Commissioner for Information in Rivers State, Prof. Bene Abbey, in her opening remarks stated that voters’ education was key to having a developed country.
Abbey noted that the rapid growth of Singapore was as a result of education, remarking that there is a great difference between the literates and the illiterates as well as developed and developing countries.
She reiterated the commitment and the work the foundation was doing to ensure peaceful elections, while enjoining INEC, security agencies, the press  as well as other relevant stakeholders to play by the rule to ensure credible, free, fair elections come 2023.

By: Susan Serekara-Nwikhana

 

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Rivers Lawmakers’ Defection, ‘Monkey Politics’-CSO

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Civil Society Coalition for Good Governance, Budget and Accountability has condemned the defection of the 27 members of the Rivers State House of Assembly from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Executive Secretary, Civil Society Coalition for Good Governance, Budget and Accountability, Amb. Emmanuel Nkweke, who said this in an interview with The Tide in Port Harcourt also described as illegal all legislations passed by the defected lawmakers.
Amb. Nkweke described the defection as “monkey politics’, queried the rational behind the action of the lawmakers few months after being sworn into office, adding that members of the civil society community were yet to be told reasons for the defection.
“Up till now, we are yet to be told why they defected just few months of being sworn into office. For me, that is monkey politics”, he said.
He urged the lawmakers to go back to their former party and beg Rivers people for forgiveness, adding that if that is done, they may be welcomed back.
Amb. Nkweke also cautioned the lawmakers not to allow themselves to be used to do the bidding of an individual, adding that the present administration in the state needs the support of all to move forward.
Meanwhile, the Executive Secretary of the group has commended Governor Siminalayi Fubara for giving civil societies the latitude to operate freely in the state.
He alleged that civil societies were caged in the last eight years, adding that there was no breathing space for civil societies in the last eight years in the state.
Amb. Nkweke described civil society as the engine room of democracy as it engages in sensitisation on the policies and programmes of government, regretting, however, that their inputs were never taken into considerations.
“Civil societies give signals, civil society creates the awareness and sensitize the people towards achieving a reliable democracy.
‘’i want to let you know, very frankly, that civil society space in Rivers State, for the past eight years, was suffocated. There was no breathing space, they didn’t breathe. Civil society was dead completely”, he said.
Amb. Nkweke said the situation also affected upcoming activists as some of them had to operate from hideouts.

By: John Bibor

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Sack Incompetent Officials In Your Govt, NANS Urges Tinubu

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The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) has called on President Bola Tinubu not to condone incompetent personalities in his government.
Addressing newsmen in Abuja, NANS President, Comrade Pedro Obi, expressed concerns about the competence of the Minister of State for Youth Development and the SSA to the President on Student Engagement.
Comrade Obi, after staging a peaceful protest at the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), reiterated that the NANS will not be intimidated and will continue to fight for the interests of Nigerian students.
He said, “The message is very simple, we have incompetent people who have been appointed to offices. It’s unfortunate and it’s not the President’s fault, of course he believes in Nigerian youths and has also given us the opportunity to showcase our capacity in various roles that he has given us.
“We have the SSA to the President on Student Engagement, who has shown incompetence. He cannot continue to hold that office and we are calling on Mr. President that he should be sacked with immediate effect.
“Also we have the Minister of State for Youth Development. We are also calling that immediately he should be sacked, because he has left what he ought to do and has dabbled into the affairs of NANS.
“These people have displayed incompetence and are destroying the youth community. There are so many competent youths that President Tinubu can pick from.
“NANS can never be intimidated. This is an organisation that we grew up to meet and we will continue to protect the dignity of this organisation.”
Receiving the NANS on behalf of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator George Akume, the Permanent Secretary, General Services Office in the SGF, Dr. Maurice Nnamdi Mbaeri, assured the NANS of relaying back their complaints to the SGF which he said will land on the listening ears of President Tinubu.
According to him, “I have listened to the complaints you raised. I assure you that your complaints will get to the listening ears of Mr. President.
“Let me assure you that I’m happy this was also re-echoed in the NANS President’s speech that President Tinubu has indebt love for the youths of Nigeria and also for the students of Nigeria. This has been demonstrated by polices that (has) been put in place for the youths.
“I want to assure you that the President has your concerns in his heart and he’s always ever ready to attend to your needs.
“With this, I am going to report back to my boss the SGF, who will take up the matter with the President. I urge you to continue to maintain peace and tranquillity. Don’t do anything that will make Mr. President feel bad about you.”

 

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Ayu Withdraws Case Against PDP Ahead NEC Meeting 

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Former National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Dr. Iyiorchia Ayu, has withdrawn the court action he instituted against the party over his controversial removal from office barely two years into his four year  term.
His action has removed legal impediments likely to militate against the emergence of his replacement from the North Central.
Several meetings have been held and being planned following this new development.
On Tuesday, the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) passed a vote of confidence on the Ag. National Chairnan, Amb. Umar Damagum, whom members said has discharged his functions creditably.
It was gathered that the North Central Caucus of the party had long before now started mobilizing to ensure that the zone produces Ayu’s replacement to complete his tenure which expires in 2025.
In a related development, Amb. Damagum has held series of meetings with various groups to perhaps shore up his chances of retaining his seat as acting chairman.
He led the members of the NWC on Wednesday to interact with the PDP National Ex-officio ahead of the NEC meeting.
Immediately after the meeting with them, he led the NWC members to another meeting with the State Party Chairmen from the 36 States, including FCT, Abuja.
The meetings were  held at the NEC Hall, PDP National Secretariat at Wadata Plaza, Wuse Zone 5, in Abuja.

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