Less than 100 days to the 2023 general elections, the Independent National Electoral Commission has said it will print 187 million ballot papers for the presidential poll scheduled for February 25, while half of these will be reserved for a possible run-off.
The commission also classified the Bimodal Voters Accreditation System as a sensitive material to be kept in its custody.
These were made known by the National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, INEC, Festus Okoye, disclosed this in Abuja, Friday.
The commission noted that 9,518,188 new voters were added to the existing 84,004,084 to bring the total preliminary registered voters in the country to 93.5 million.
Speaking at a roundtable with Senior journalists, Okoye said 93.5 million ballot papers would be used for the presidential election on February 25, 2023 and the remaining 93.5 million would be reserved for a possible run-off if there was no clear winner.
A similar situation, he said, would be applicable in the states for the governorship poll.
Okoye explained that INEC decided to print 187 million ballot papers for the presidential election as it would be difficult to engage printers at a short notice and cope with the logistics required to produce extra ballot papers.
In his words, “As of today, 18 political parties will participate in the 2023 general elections and the law has outlined how candidates will emerge and how a presidential candidate will emerge in Nigeria. Because of the limited time on the commission and by the law, in case a candidate does not emerge from the first ballot, the commission prints ballots for run-off or second elections when we are printing ballots for the main election.
“In other words, if 93 million Nigerians are on the ballot for the presidential election, we will print 93 million ballots for the first election and at the same time print 93 million ballots for the run-off election in case a winner does not emerge from the first ballot.
“If at the end of the day, there is no run-off and when election petitions are disposed of, the commission will destroy the 93 million ballot papers printed for the run-off. This is because the law gives the commission just 21 days within which to engage in reverse logistics and conduct a run-off election in case there is no winner.
“Moreover, as of the time of the conduct of the presidential election, the governorship and state Assembly elections are still pending. So for the governorship election, the commission will print ballot papers for the run-off in case we have challenges in terms of winners not emerging in the first ballot in some of the states of the federation.”
Participants At Experience-Sharing Workshop On Child Marriage In Kaduna
The Kaduna State Government has reiterated commitment to end child marriage by improving access to education, food security and economic growth.
The Acting Governor of the state, Hadiza Balarabe said this at the inauguration of a two-day experience-sharing workshop on child marriage in Kaduna yesterday.
She said child marriage has been identified as one of the key challenges affecting northern part of the country which portends negative consequences on education, sexual and reproductive health.
According to her, child and forced marriage are harmful and a violation of human rights, stressing the need to change the narrative towards ending the menace in the country.
“This will require that we terminate the root cause of the problem which has been proven that it will evolve, leverage and harmonise instrument of law; and will need the good intending of leaders, all socio-cultural institutions and stakeholders,” she said
Balarabe said the state government accorded premium to human capital development as panacea to the root cause of the social problem, adding that government had introduced 12-year free and compulsory education for all in the state.
She said, “many girls in the northwest often got married before the age of 18 which called for concern.
“While some are between 15 years and taken out of school and become pregnant with complications due to long labour and undeveloped pelvic”.
The Kaduna state Commissioner for Human Services and Social Development, Hajiya Hafsat Baba described child marriage as a global issue and harmful practice to the society.
She advised parents and guardians not to push children under the age of 18 to early marriage, adding the practice caused devastating end to the life of a child.
SON Moves To Curb Substandard Products
The Director-General, Standards Organisation Of Nigeria (SON), Mallam Farouk Salim, has said for Nigeria to curb the menace of substandard products, the nation must surmount the challenge of low disposable income that drives purchase of substandard products.
Salim stated this during the 50th Anniversary Celebration of SON in Abuja, Monday.
Salim, who identified the challenge of foreign trade policy of some governments that actively encourage exportation of substandard products said “while acknowledging the modest achievements and strides of SON in the last 50 years, my vision for the organisation in the next 50 years is to be the foremost standardised body in Africa and among the top ranking globally.
“While this vision is achievable, the organisation will need to surmount several challenges such as changes in government policies like the often removal of the organisation at points of entry. Huge population growth with limited resources giving rise to communal restiveness.
“Limited research and development activities to keep pace with rapid innovation in the society; the likelihood of harsh weather and increased natural disaster occasioned by global warming; increase in litigation against activities of the organisation”.
He continued, “to mitigate the expected challenges, we need to evolve as a dynamic and innovative body, investing in the following critical areas: efficient workforce with the required skill set, cutting edge technology, appropriate and strategic infrastructure, and enhanced meaningful collaboration with stakeholders”.
In her keynote address, the Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Amb. Maryam Katagum, said SON played a crucial role in the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area, AfCFTA.
Katagum assured the Organisation of the Ministry’s continued support in achieving this feat.
FG Recommits To Lift 100m Out Of Poverty
Minister of State for Power, Goddy Jedy-Agba has reiterated the Federal Government’s determination to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty by 2030 through its Energy Transition Plan (ETP).
Jedy-Agba disclosed this at the 2022 Nigeria Energy Forum Day 2, Virtual Edition, held in Lagos, Monday .Earlier at the Day 1 physical event, President Muhammadu Buhari had unveiled government’s plans to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty by 2030.
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Labour and Employment, Ms Kachollum Daju, said this when she addressed newsmen in Abuja.
According to the Minister, ETP will lift about 100 Nigerians out of poverty and drive economic growth of the country.
“It will also bring modern energy services to the full population and managing the expected long-term job loss in the oil sector due to global decarbonization.
“The plan focuses on the rapid build out of sustainable energy systems to tackle energy poverty in the nation,” the Minister said.
He said in designing the plan, key targets from relevant policies and initiatives such as the 2020 Economic Sustainability Plan, the Nigeria Electrification Project, the National Decarbonization Programme and the Presidential Power Initiative was employed.
“The ETP is geared towards low-carbon development of Energy systems across 5 key sectors; Power, Industry, Cooking, Transport, and Oil and Gas.”
Jedy-Agba said the plan had been approved by the Federal Executive Council and adopted as National Policy.
“An Energy Transition Implementation Working Group (ETWG) has been established to drive the implementation of the ETP along with key International Partners.
“The ETWG is chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and comprises of several key ministers, including the Ministers for Environment, Finance, Works and Housing, Petroleum Resources, Foreign Affairs and Power.
“The Working Group and its secretariat, the Energy Transition Office, have been engaging with in-country stakeholders, development partners, financiers and the international community for the delivery of the plan,” he said.
He said the ETP analysis shows that delivering Nigeria’s net-zero target requires 1.9 trillion dollars spending up to 2060, including 410 billion dollars above business-as-usual spending.
Speaking on the plan, the Team Leader, Green Economy Co-operation Section, EU Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Ms Inga Stefanowicz, said Nigeria was not standing aloof on the ongoing transition.
According to her, EU will contribute some 400 million Euros worth of projects and programmes to the ETP.
“This amount may seem modest when compared with the needs and the ETP estimates, but it is also the role of our funds to act as catalysers of change, reforms, private sector and international development finance investment.
“We are proud to have achieved such positive spillovers for Nigeria already and we look forward to working together more,” she said.
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