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How To Avoid Electoral Violence In 2023 – CAN, Sultan

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Ahead of the 2023 general elections, the President, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Archbishop Daniel Okoh, and the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Abubakar Sa’ad III have alerted stakeholders to the dangers of electoral violence, including all related forms of rigging and hate speech.
This call-to-action was made at the Inclusive Security Dialogue held on Monday in Abuja and facilitated by the Global Peace Foundation (Nigeria) in partnership with ADI International and Vision Africa.
The meeting provided a platform for community leaders representing various dissidents, militia, and agitation groups in Nigeria to dispassionately unbundle barriers to peace and security in the country.
Speaking, the CAN President, Archbishop Daniel Okoh, warned against electoral violence, saying the consequences are capable of truncating the country’s democratic process.
According to him, while curbing pre- and post-election violence in Nigeria is a herculean task, well-meaning Nigerians and other development partners who want the country to depart from the orgies of electoral violence and its attendant consequences should not be discouraged.
He charged the security agencies to be alive to their responsibilities to enforce the law against perpetrators of electoral violence, stressing that the peace accord signed by presidential candidates should not be mere formality.
Archbishop Okoh said, “Although since 2014 some leaders of great influence in Nigeria led by the former Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar on the platform of National Peace Committee get the commitment of the Presidential Candidates of Parties by encouraging them to sign Peace Accord, the security agencies must be alive to their responsibilities to enforce the law against perpetrators of election violence.
“It is clear that the intention of the National Peace Committee is not just to fulfil all righteousness. The signing of the Peace Accord should be followed up diligently by law enforcement agents in order to ensure compliance by all parties with severe consequences for breaching the agreement.”
He urged both the state and the federal governments to make genuine efforts to create employment opportunities for the teeming youth or provide entrepreneurship training and funding opportunities for their small-scale businesses to prevent them from deploying their youthful energy into the destructive exercise of electoral violence.
The Christian religious leader described the incidences of drug and substance abuse by youths as an enabler of electoral violence.
He further charged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to be impartial in its conducts before, during and after elections.
Archbishop Okoh said, “INEC must be seen to give a level playing ground to all the candidates and their political parties. The allegations of connivance of the electoral officers with party agents to frustrate voters on the day of election or to tamper with the election results should not be allowed to resurface in the forth-coming elections. Sometimes post-election violence is triggered by alleged unfairness and injustice demonstrated by the officers of the electoral body.
“The election of 2023 holds the key to our progress as a nation or our designation as a failed or a failing state.”
The CAN President also stated that religious leaders must be seen to be non-partisan and impartial in their public and private statements in order to gain the respect of all, especially their followers.
In the same breath, the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Abubakar Sa’ad III, urged religious leaders in the country to use their platforms to discourage participation in electoral violence amongst youths.
Represented at the dialogue by Uztaz (Dr) Hussaini Zakariyya, the Sultan said, “Religious leaders are the most important and influential block in every society, especially in Nigeria by their nature and space, very religious people.
“Every Muslim, every Christian is proud to be what he is and what he believes. And not only that, he is willing to protect life with all that he has and everything he owns.
“ Therefore, unless and until religious leaders are involved directly into the peace-building process to bring about peaceful coexistence of Nigerians, there will be no peace. Nobody has actually the power and the influence like just religious leaders.”
Earlier, the President of Vision Africa, Bishop Sunday Onuoha, stated that peace and security in Nigeria were more important than campaigning for votes, warning that the country may be at the precipice of a historic change, if care is not taken.
He said, “If there is no peace, no one will come out to campaign or to vote. With the rate of wanton killing in the country today, an average Nigerian is asking: is Nigeria at war with itself? Why is it that people can no longer go to the farm without being kidnapped or raped in their own farms, and some even raped in their homes in the presence of members of their family – the cries of our innocent women have gone loud, and if the state cannot protect them, we should worry about them fighting back. Our highways that were initially death-traps, have also become kidnapping zones, and even the national capital appears to be under siege.
“If this is not an emergency situation, then what is? The time to act is now,” he added.

 

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2024: Kanye West Offers Trump Vice Presidential Ticket

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Barely forty-eight hours after he declared his interest to run for the President of the United States in 2024, American rapper, Kanye West, has asked Donald Trump, the former President of the United States to be his running mate in the 2024 election.
The music icon made this known on his Twitter page on Wednesday saying he paid a visit to the ex-President at his resort residence in Florida, Mar-a-Lago.
West said he kept Trump waiting, but he disclosed the clue of the topic of their conversation.
The 45-year-old artiste went further to ask his fans to guess how the former American leader would respond to the question.
West ran a Twitter poll on the difficult question he landed on Trump as he tweeted, “First time at Mar-a-Lago. Rain and traffic. Can’t believe I kept President Trump waiting. And I had on jeans. Yikes!
“What do you guys think his response was when I asked him to be my running mate in 2024?”
Meanwhile, Trump had also launched his campaign to run and win the Republican presidential nomination in 2024.
Trump, who has been accused of supporting the mob invasion of the US Capitol Building on January 6, 2021, in protest of the victory of Joe Biden as the president, promised to make America “great and glorious again.”

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 INEC Vows To Clean Up Voters’ Register

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The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, on Wednesday, said it would dutifully clean up the voters’ register that will be used for the 2023 general elections.
The Commission, through its Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, said its decision to holistically scrutinize the voters’ register, followed several complaints it has received from Nigerians.
The INEC boss, who spoke at a national stakeholders forum on elections, organised by the Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room, NCSSR, described the cleaning up of the voters’ register as very critical to the impending polls.
He said: “We have been transparent in making the register available both online and manual copies in 9,583 locations nationwide (8,809 Wards and 774 Local Government Areas) for scrutiny by citizens as required by law.
“The voters’ register is the largest database of citizens in Nigeria. Like all databases of this size, it cannot be perfect. However, the Commission believes that Nigerians are the real owners of the voters’ register.
“They are therefore in a best position to point out ineligible persons on the register, including deceased persons, that will help the Commission to improve on this critical national asset.
“I want to reassure you that based on the observations made by Nigerians, we will dutifully clean up the register ahead of the election”.
Besides, Prof. Yakubu, said there was no truth in the insinuation that the Commission would not allow Nigerians to view election results uploaded from various polling units, in real-time.
He said the Electoral Act, 2022, required the Commission to deploy technology on election day for voter accreditation and the upload of polling unit results to the INEC Result Viewing (IReV) portal.
“These processes will be achieved through the use of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS). I wish to reassure Nigerians that the BVAS has come to stay as the only means of voter accreditation.
“There will be no incident form on election day. Results from polling units will be uploaded to the IReV portal in real-time. Nigerians will view the results as they are uploaded.
“For the last two years, beginning from August 2020, the Commission has published results direct from polling units in 105 off-cycle Governorship and bye-elections in real-time and the results can still be viewed on the IReV portal.
“The 2023 General Election will not be different. There is no truth in any insinuation to the contrary. This should put to rest the erroneous notion that Nigerians will not have the opportunity to view polling unit results uploaded by Presiding Officers in real-time on Election Day”, he added.
On the collection of Permanent Voters Cards, PVCs, the INEC boss said the process was delayed to allow the Commission to conclude the process of identifying and removing ineligible registrants that may attempt to use them during the election.
“We wish to assure Nigerians that the Commission will soon release the timelines and procedure for the collection of PVCs.
“We understand the anxiety of Nigerians to collect their PVCs and appeal for a little patience as we speedily conclude the necessary safeguards for a transparent process”.
More so, Prof. Yakubu stressed that INEC was determined to frontally tackle the issue of excessive campaign spendings by political parties and their candidates, as well as what he termed as “diabolical practice of vote buying at polling units on election day”.
He said the Commission will soon publish a summary of the guidelines on finances and election expenses of parties and candidates.
“Beyond that, we are mobilising every national institution with the responsibility for tracking and combating the illicit flow of funds as well as the broadcast and print media regulatory agencies to confront the problem head-on. The details of this will be unveiled shortly”, the INEC Chairman added.
Meanwhile, in her remarks, the convener of the NCSSR, Ms Ene Obi, commended INEC for displaying the preliminary register of voters online for claims and objections.
She noted that though the Commission made improvements in the off-circle governorship elections it conducted since the 2019 general elections, “there are still several challenges of utmost concern”.
“Nigeria is currently grappling with multiple security challenges across the country. We also witnessed the most monetized political primaries ever in the just concluded political party primaries for the 2023 general elections.
“What do these all portend for the 2023 General election?”, Ms Obi queried.
She said the Situation Room will continue to work towards improving Nigeria’s elections so as to ensure that the process is free, fair and reflects the choice of citizens.

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Wike Isn’t Asking For Too Much – Delta PDP Chieftain

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A chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Delta State chapter, Prof. Patrick Muoboghare, has said that the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike is not asking for too much by demanding the resignation of the National Chairman of the party, Iyorchia Ayu.
Muoboghare, who stated this on Wednesday while reacting to the question on lingering crisis in the PDP in Asaba, advised Wike not to give up on Ayu’s resignation.
He said, “The party’s national chairman, Senator Iyorchia Ayu, has become the subject of contention
“Wike said the National championship should go to any political region in the South, is that asking for too much?
“Each time I hear Wike’s name, I laugh. Somebody said Wike is a man, and I said no, Wike is not a man, Wike is the plural of a man, he is men because he is a dogged fighter. I like dogged fighters.
“Wike is not saying make me the party chairman, he is not saying make someone from Rivers State or the South-South the party chairman, but any political region from the south, is that asking for too much?
“Wike has tried and I encourage him. I pray for him everyday, do not give up on this party chairman fight. You see, if PDP had agreed that the party chairman should resign and indeed he resigned, these problems won’t be there.
“How can you be having PDP presidential rallies and Gov Wike is not there, these other governors won’t be there,” he added.
Muoboghare who was the immediate past commissioner for higher education and a ranking PDP chieftain in Delta State, described Wike’s fight as an honest battle.

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