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‘INEC Requires 100,000 Vehicles, 4,200 Boats For 2023 Elections’

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INEC yesterday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the road transportation and marine workers’ unions to facilitate efficient and successful logistics delivery for 2023 general elections.
The unions include the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), the National Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO) and the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN).
INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, at the signing ceremony, said that the commission would require 100,000 vehicles and about 4,200 boats for the general elections.
“The signing of a revised MoU with the road and marine transport unions today is a demonstration of our determination to implement key recommendations of the review exercise to enhance forward and reverse logistics in our electoral operations.
“The 2023 General Elections will involve the nationwide deployment of over one million personnel and massive quantities of materials twice within a period of two weeks from our state offices to 774 Local Government Areas; 8,809 Electoral Wards and 176,846 polling units across the length and breadth of our country.
“It will require over 100,000 vehicles and about 4,200 boats that will be accompanied by naval gunboats.
“This is a huge undertaking that must be accomplished in the next 66 days and we are resolute in doing so, to give Nigerians a pleasant voting experience.”
Yakubu assured Nigerians that INEC was determined that all polling units nationwide would open at 8.30 a.m. on February 25, 2023 for the Presidential and National Assembly elections and on March 11, 2023 for the Governorship and State House of Assembly elections.
Yakubu said that in order to ensure that personnel and materials arrived polling units before voters on election day, INEC required large numbers of vehicles, including motorcycles, tricycles, boats and canoes in the riverine areas which could not be met from its internal resources.
Yakubu recalled that INEC signed the first MoU with the NURTW in January 2015, reviewed it in December 2018 to incorporate NARTO, but did not incorporate the MWUN within the ambit of the MoU.
The situation, according to him, has often resulted in logistics nightmare in the deployment and retrieval of personnel and materials to the riverine areas of the country.
“This oversight is now addressed by the revised MoU to include MWUN, comprising of sailors, dockworkers and those in related trades in our electoral logistics planning and delivery.”
Yakubu advised leadership of the unions to effectively supervise their members in the various chapters and branches for the full implementation of the MoU.
He charged them to work very closely with INEC and collaborate with the Federal Regulatory and Safety Agencies to ensure that the objectives of the MoU were fully realised in terms of required road/sea worthiness and safety standards of your vehicles and boats.
He said that the new MoU required that all the union members involved in election duties swore and abide by INEC Oath/Affirmation of Neutrality and the INEC Code of Conduct for Electoral Officials as their participation in the delivery of electoral logistics required absolute neutrality and non-partisanship.
“The security agencies shall not only be available to escort all vehicles and boats to locations, they will also ensure the safety and protection of all election personnel and materials.
“As usual, we shall track the movement of all vehicles and boats electronically and in real time to ensure that election personnel and materials are not hijacked or diverted.
“Learning from the experience of the past, I would like to appeal to all the unions and service providers to abide by the spirit and letter of the MoU and the contract agreements.
“They must see their role as a national call to duty by ensuring that there is no failure on their part, especially on the eve of elections when it is too late for the Commission to make alternative arrangements.
“The unions should keep an eye on your members to ensure that when they take personnel and materials to designated locations, they also bring them back at the end of the elections. Your contract is for both forward and reverse logistics.”
Yakubu assured the union that INEC would work with security agencies to protect them and their vehicles in the course of the assignment.
“In the course of serving the nation, many of you have lost your vehicles to acts of arson and vandalism arising from violence and thuggery during elections.
“We appreciate that these vehicles are, in most cases, the sole means of livelihood for your members.
“While we appeal to political actors to call their supporters to order, I wish to assure you that we will continue to work with the security agencies to ensure the safety of your members and the protection of their vehicles and boats,” Yakubu said.
The National President of NURTW, Tajudeen Baruwa, said the signing of the MoU marked the beginning of journey for successful conduct of 2023 general elections.
Baruwa said that the three unions would do everything possible to be neutral and ensure succesful implementation of the MoU.
“I wish to assure you and the entire nation, that the three unions, that on our part, we would not disappoint Nigeria.
“In fact the NURTW, MWUN and NARTO has come to regard this assignment as national service and therefore must deliver,” Baruwa said.
The NARTO President-General, Yusuf Othman, pledged that NARTO was committed to the assignment.
Othman said that NARTO had already commenced the arrangements for the deployment of its men.
“We from NATO we consider this assignment national assignment and we will ensure we give 100 per cent commitment and neutrality.”
The National President MWUN, Dr Adeyaju Adewale, commended INEC for extending the service to the nation to maritime workers.
Adewale pledged that MWUN would support INEC to make the elections successful. (NAN)

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One Year Not Enough To Judge Tinubu -Kukah

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The Bishop of Sokoto Catholic Diocese and Founder of the Kukah Centre, Reverend Matthew Hassan Kukah, has been reported to have visited President Bola Tinubu at the State House in Abuja, on Wednesday.
Addressing State House correspondents shortly after meeting with the president at the Presidential Villa, the cleric said one year was not enough to pass judgement on President Tinubu’s government.
Bishop Kukah said while the administration was providing solutions to the myriad of challenges, Nigerians need to get a sense of how soon they expect to breathe a sigh of relief.
He, however, said that the government needs to communicate to Nigerians when it will fix the current socio- economic challenges in the country.
According to him, Nigerians were in various levels of pains.
“I’m sure that many people will tell you that one year is not enough to make a judgement. However, from where we all stand, we know that we are all in a very difficult situation.
“Nigerians are in various levels of pain and they are pains that are unintended. But, they are as a result of certain policy decisions that hopefully, with time, can be amended in order to serve the welfare of ordinary people,” Bishop Kukah explained.
He said it is the responsibility of the government to ensure better living conditions and security of the citizens.
“I believe that the essence of government is to guarantee the welfare and security of ordinary citizens. I believe that the times that we are in are very very difficult times, and nobody should be under any illusion.
“But, there are also times for renewal. We just need to commit ourselves to the fact that building a good society takes a lot of time.
“This is politics. I’m very hopeful, we ordinary people cry more than the bereaved. The important thing is that politicians will fix their problems”, he added.
“Rivers State is a place that is very dear to me because I have been associating with them for a very long time. But, look, when politicians fight, don’t get carried away because they have their capacity to fix their quarrels.
“I hope and pray that Rivers State will sooner than later reposition itself because it is not an insignificant part of Nigeria,” he said.

 

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One Year In Office: Unity Road Stakeholders Laud Fubara Over Andoni Section Commissioning 

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Some stakeholders in Andoni Local Government Area have lauded Governor Siminalayi Fubara for the inclusion of the Andoni section of the Unity Road among roads to be commissioned as part of activities to mark his first year in office.
It would be recalled that the Andoni section of the Ogoni/Andoni/Opobo/Nkoro Unity Road was initially slated for commissioning on Wednesday, May 15 but later shifted to Saturday, May 18, 2024.
Speaking exclusively with The Tide, some stakeholders commended the Governor for being courageous to complete a road that was abandoned for 24 years.
They said the completion of the road has given the people of Andoni a sense of belonging, adding that it has ended sea piracy in Andoni.
A community leader in Ngo Town, headquarters of Andoni Local Government Area, Chief Awajiokaunye Mbosowo, said the people of Andoni, and Ngo in particular, are very grateful to Governor Fubara for the road project.
According to him: “We are very grateful to His Excellency, our amiable, most focused and action-packed Governor of Rivers State, Sir Siminalayi Joseph Fubara for his timely response and completion  of the Andoni section of Ogoni/Andoni Opobo/Nkoro Unity Road”.
Mbosowo, who is the head chief of Ukumor War Canoe House of Ngo, said Governor Fubara had broken the jinx as far as development of Andoni was concerned.
He said the Andoni people have never had it so good, adding that the road was abandoned for over 24 years by previous administrations.
“The road was awarded by His Excellency, Sir (Dr) Peter Odili, during his second tenure in office .
“We congratulate the governor for his zeal, determination and vigour to complete the road within his first year in office .
“This is most commendable because despite all the challenges, distractions and economic downturn, you braved it all and completed the road in good time and quality. We say Thank You for your unflinching love for the Andoni people.
“We sincerely appreciate and welcome you to the commissioning of this all important project that now links our Ngo, headquarters of Andoni Local Government Area and suburb communities that are on the main land.
“Your Excellency, for the purposes of record, this is the first time in history that a project of this magnitude would be completed and commissioned within the first year of the tenure (of an administration).
“We pray that  the good Lord continue to bless, keep and sustain you richly and grant you the grace to finish both your first and second tenures with joy and good health to the shame of your detractors”, he said.
Also speaking, a one time Chairman of Andoni Local Government Area, Apostle Felix Ayayi, said Governor Fubara has shown that he truly loves the people of Andoni and Obolo nation in general.

Apostle Ayayi described the road as a conduit through which billions of Naira in budgetary allocations had been siphoned and yet abandoned for 24 years, adding that because of this feat, the entire Andoni was now fully ‘Simplified’’.

In his response, former organizing secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Andoni Local Government Area, Elder Blessing Tiko, said the people of Andoni have started reaping the benefits of that road.

“People are happy that a road that started in the year 2000 and could not be completed, our son came and completed it in four months time.

“So, every true son of Andoni is happy with the Governor and any one who is not happy with the Governor is a witch”, he said

On his part, the leader of Obolo Sim Vanguard, Engr Kingston Silvanus, said the road has ended piracy and kidnapping along the Ngo water ways, noting that the people of Andoni will not fail to give the Governor total support.

John Bibor

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Fubara Has Created Conducive Investment Climate In Rivers -LG Boss

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The Chairman of Opobo/Nkoro Local Government Area, Hon. Enyiada Cookey-Gam, has commended the Rivers State governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, for creating a healthy investment climate in the state as he marks his administration’s one year in office.
The Council boss stated this while addressing newsmen shortly after the Simplified Movement’s thanksgiving service in celebration of the governor’s election victory and subsequent affirmation by the Supreme Court at Opobo, headquarters of Opobo/Nkoro Local Government Area.
Hon. Cookey-Gam said that owing to Governor Fubara’s pragmatic economic policies, Rivers State has become an investment destination with enormous potential.
He stressed that the governor has, within his first year in office, invested in the 23 local government areas  of the state, saying, “When you have a head of government who understands the role of government and what it takes to govern, he ensures that investors are comfortable”.
He expressed delight with the personality of Governor Fubara and assured him of his council’s support and cooperation towards changing the economy of Rivers State.
“We will continue to create an enabling environment for you to succeed,” Hon Cookey-Gam assured the governor, saying, “Please bring more investments to the state.”
The local government chairman also urged Rivers people and business owners in the state to gird their loins for an imminent investment boom, stressing that the Fubara-led administration was ready to deliver more development programmes across the state.
Hon Cookey-Gam maintained that Governor Fubara, who is set to commission a lineup of people oriented projects he has executed, was poised to bring transformational development initiatives to Rivers people as his government stabilises.
He described the governor’s one year development efforts as a job well done despite some daunting challenges bedeviling the state and Nigeria in general.
“We are solidly ready to back him to achieve the yearned dividends of democracy to the people”, Hon Cookey-Gam said, and encouraged the governor to stay focused as the generality of Rivers people were on his side.

Bethel Toby

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