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2023: Group Tasks INEC On Fairness To Political Parties

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The Abuja School of Social and Political Thoughts (ASSPT) has tasked the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to be fair to all political parties ahead of 2023 general elections.
The Director of the School, Dr Sam Amadi, made the call at a news conference in Abuja, on Tuesday while speaking on the uploading of party agents for the Feb. 25 presidential election.
Amadi urged INEC to work hard and simplify its digital processes to enable efficient and timely upload of Polling Units (PUs) agents by political parties.
He equally advised the commission to factor the interests and challenges faced by the less established political parties in managing its deadlines.
Amadi said from the group’s interactions with some of the parties “outside the major ones, namely the Peoples Democratic Party, the All Progressives Congress, the Labour Party and the New Nigeria People’s Party” the feedbacks were not encouraging.
“We receive reports of difficulty in uploading party agents including difficulty of using the INEC’s portal and the number of PUs to be uploaded.
”Some of the officials of these parties informed us that INEC official did not notify them that their method will only provide online forms suitable for self-service and not for enterprise use cases.
“Some of them have also complained that the tasks requires more time that INEC allocates.
”Some of these party officials are requesting INEC to adopt the Enterprise Data Upload Method which will be easier and faster to enable them to quickly upload their agents.
”And this will enable them be in a position to monitor and defend their votes, especially in the presidential and governorship elections where incentives for rigging and manipulations may be high.
“INEC should recognise the comparative disadvantage of the less established parties and grant them amply opportunity to meet the deadline.
”If INEC is not able to be flexible with its system to enable smooth upload, then it should, within its conveniences and schedule, consider to extend the deadline.
“This will enable effective participation by the less established parties, outside the Big Four to ensure fair participation in competitive election, “ Amadi explained.
Our correspondent reports that the school at the event launched a 2023 Election Observatory to monitor, analyse and provide solutions to issues that would affect the credibility and fairness of the elections.
Amadi said the gesture became necessary in order to help the INEC with necessary information in its preparations towards a credible exercise.
He said, “the objective of the observatory is to offer an independent analysis of the challenges of free and fair election to INEC as the country approaches its general elections.
“We believe that the most important aspect of the electoral process is not the actual voting, but actions taken by the electoral management body to make voting free and fair.
“We are not engaged in election monitoring but rather in observing and analysing the processes and procedures that guarantee fairness and credibility of voting and declaration of results.
“To this end, we will be having weekly press briefings to highlight challenges and offer solutions to ensure the conduct of the 2023 elections remain free, fair and credible.”
The school urged INEC to ensure that all eligible registered voters collect their Permanent Voter Cards(PVCs) before the election dates to avoid disenfranchisement.
He explained that the logistics could be overwhelming for the institutions, adding that the election is a crucial one and its competitiveness requires more transparency and accountability than in the past.
He commended INEC for the decision to use its staff to conduct the election rather than academics outside its control.
“By establishing a committee of its senior management and taking ownership of the process, INEC is proving that it is learning from the failures of the past and is determined to conduct more efficient and reliable elections in 2023.
“This decision underlines a recognition of the needs to standardise the procedures and processes of the elections.
“This is more so as the returning officers make decisions that at times are arbitrary and capricious to undermine the fairness of electoral outcomes,” he said.
Mr Kenneth Eze of Speak Out Africa Initiative, urged INEC to put measures in place for all eligible registered voters, especially students who were now back to their various schools, get their voting PVCs.
“We all know that when the Continuous Voter Registration was conducted, Nigeria students were home due to eight months strike declared by ASUU.
“Today, as we are talking PVCs distributoon and collection, these same largest decision making constituency are currently back in their school busy with their studies.
“Its unfortunate and I am calling the attention of INEC. There is no way they will be in school and still collect their PVCs which they did at home.
“Youth population is over 26 million as we were told by INEC and they must be part of determining who governance us in the next four years, “he said.
He urged the Federal Government to declare public holiday for students for one week and mandate ASUU, Nigeria University Commission (NUC) and stakeholders in education sector to suspend every activity during this one week break.
Oh his part, Mr Law Mefor, fellow of the school, urged INEC to improve its delivery system and overcome some of the managerial shortcomings recorded in the past weeks.
He said some of these suggestions were made to provide fair and effective participation in INEC process and to avert litigations that might damage the credibility of the entire process. (

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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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