2023: Jega Decries Poor Voter Education, Wants Security For INEC Server
Former chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Attahiru Jega has charged politicians participating in the forthcoming 2023 general election in Nigeria to uphold credibility and honesty as a mantra to ensure a free and fair election, adding that politicians should adhere to set rules, to avoid discrepancies that would mar the election.
Jega was a special guest at a weekly Townhall forum by the Africa Leadership Group (ALG) held virtually last week, in a bid to forestall election credibility and good governance in the country.
The immediate past INEC boss also expressed worry that the activities of internet fraudsters in the country may affect the strength of the Commission’s website if unchecked.
Jega, during the interactive session, narrated how the INEC server was hacked by fraudsters which inadvertently affected the Commission’s digital operations.
While speaking at the forum moderated by Pastor Ituah Ighodalo, he said, “It would be in the interest of everyone if politicians should play by the rules. Now, Nigerians should deserve nothing but a credible, free and fair elections.”
Speaking further, Jega warned INEC officials not to allow the hackers to have access to their website.
“Some hackers are being hired and paid to cause disruption,” Jega said, adding that some of the fraudsters are very smart and experienced in the nefarious act.
“We experienced it on the day of election when I was in charge but we resolved it within a very short time,” he said.
He decried the near absence of voter education in Nigeria, describing it as a vital ingredient in the electoral process.
“The law allows you to stay, watch and monitor the votes and processes and ensure that the presiding officer does the needful, else desperate politicians would hijack and pollute the whole process. We must not be lackadaisical in this election”, he said.
He then charged political parties to engage more in voter education and sensitization exercises, adding that “Voter education and sensitization is part of the responsibilities of political parties”.
This also comes as he implores Nigerians to vote for only credible candidates that will serve their purposes, observing that good people had either sat on the fence or kept away from politics.
Jega reiterated the availability of credible and competent candidates in Nigeria and urged the masses to choose wisely.
On why he thinks foreign interests are very much in Nigeria’s political state, Jega stated that the country’s political status is rated low, adding that it is characterized by impunity and other malpractices.
“For this reason, I am a strong advocate for the establishment of Electoral Offences Commission which shall help to curb so many anomalies politically,” remarked Jega.
The former INEC boss was not pleased with some political candidates who would rather shun domestic invites for public debates in preference to foreign invites like the Chatham House in UK and others.
However, the chairman and founder, ALG, Pastor Ituah Ighodalo, reiterated the group’s effort to intensify and push more discussions on rebuilding Nigeria.
While concluding the virtual session, Ighodalo noted, “The Africa Leadership Group would sincerely keep the faith to promote good governance, accountability, equitable and judicious use of both human and natural resources and designed to address the leadership dilemma in Nigeria and the African continent at large.”
He also enjoyed Nigerians to hook up to the foundation’s website and social platforms to get more enlightenment about the Group’s activities and efforts to ensure good governance in the country through the weekly forum.
Reps Summon Army, Defence Chiefs Over Benue ‘Assault’ By Troops
The House of Representatives has summoned Lucky Irabor, Chief of Defence Staff, and Faruk Yahaya, Chief of Army Staff, over the alleged involvement of some soldiers in the assault of residents in Gboko, Benue LGA.
The lower legislative chamber passed the resolution during the plenary session on Wednesday following the adoption of a motion sponsored by Mark Gbillah, the lawmaker representing Gwer East/Gwer West Federal Constituency of Benue State.
Speaking on the motion, Gbillah alleged that on March 18, officers of the 401 Division invaded Old Barn Hotel, Gboko, in army trucks and “viciously assaulted and brutalised several persons and guests”.
He said the officers, about 20 in number, were dressed in military uniforms but “without any identifiers such as nametags, any form of personal identity or ranks”.
“The military men ordered all persons within view to move, gather in groups and squat on the ground without explaining such cruel and inhuman treatment,” he said.
Gbillah said Kpam Sokpo, a lawmaker representing Buruku Federal Constituency was also attacked by the soldiers.
“Despite introducing himself as a serving member of the House of Representatives, the soldier rather poured more invectives on the honourable and ordered his subordinates to slap him and in an attempt to defend himself from the unprovoked assault, about 20 soldiers pounced on him and others with guns and brutally assaulted them. This resulted in serious injuries on his head, face, shoulders, chest, back, both arms and legs.
“This same team of soldiers were allegedly responsible for the extra-judicial killings of at least two persons in Gboko in two separate instances on the same day”, he said.
The motion, which was not debated, was adopted when Idris Wase, the presiding officer, put it to a voice vote.
The army and defence chiefs are expected to explain to the lawmakers the circumstances behind the “unprovoked attack and why these military officers did not carry proper identification or inform the civilians about their mission.
“And to brief house about actions currently taken by military authorities to investigate the unprovoked assault on residents of Gboko, including honourable Kpam Jimin Sokpo and the shooting to death of two persons in Gboko on 18 March 2023.”
Kalabari Voted Massively For PDP In Appreciation Of Gov Wike’s Goodwill – Council Boss
The Chairman of Degema Local Government Area, Hon. Michael John Williams, has stated that the people of the Kalabari Ethnic Nationality voted massively for the Rivers State Governorship Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Sir Siminialayi Fubara, and all the National and State Assembly candidates of the party in the just concluded general elections, to show appreciation to Governor Nyesom Wike.
The Council Boss, who disclosed this during the commissioning ceremony of the first phase of the Trans-Kalabari Road, noted that the Kalabari people have benefited more from the Wike led administration than they had done from any other government since the creation of the State.
He said that though some persons from the Kalabari extraction threw their hats in the ring in the governorship election, the Kalabari people rather opted for Sim Fubara to demonstrate their appreciation to the governor for his magnanimity towards them.
The DELGA helmsman further stated that the Kalabari people were overjoyed with the actualisation of the first phase of the road project, adding that the crowd of people at the event came to say ‘thank you’ to the governor for linking six island communities, that were hitherto inaccessible by road, to the mainland.
Earlier in his address, the Amanyanabo and paramount ruler of Abonnema, King Disrael Gbobo Bob-Manuel, Ekineye Gbobo, Owukori IX, while thanking Gov. Wike for the milestone achievement, noted that the governor had lived up to the title of Se-Ibidokibo 1 of Kalabari (one who does good for the Kalabari people), bestowed on him during the grand civic reception, held in his honour by the people of the ethnic nationality.
The Monarch, who is also the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman, Governing Council of Benue State University, particularly thanked the governor for elevating several chieftaincy stools in Kalabari and recognition of incumbents, as well as executing several notable projects in Kalabari land and prayed God to give the governor the grace to continue to stand by and support the Kalabari people, even after he leaves office.
In his address, Rivers State Governor, Chief Barr. Nyesom Wike thanked the Kalabari people for what he described as their “wonderful performance” during the just concluded governorship election.
“Let me use this opportunity to thank the people of Kalabari, making up the three LGAs for the wonderful performance you showed in the last election”’ he said.
Former Deputy Leader Hails Gov Wike Over Sir Fubara’s Emergence
Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has received commendation over his examplary leadership qualities that led to the emergence of Sir. Siminialayi Fubara as Governor-Elect elect in the State.
Former Deputy Leader of Ikwerre Local Government Legislative Assembly, Hon. Amadi Jacob made the commendation while exchanging views with journalists on Wednesday at Elele in Ikwerre Local Government Area.
According to him, the victories of Sir Fubara, Allwell Onyesoh and Boniface Omerengwa in their respective positions was a clear testimony of good leadership by Gov. Wike.
“ I sincerely thank the electorates for coming out en masse to vote for all Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidates in the State, especially in Elele town.
“I use this forum to congratulate the Governor-elect, Sir Siminialayi Fubara , Chief Allwell Onyesoh and Boniface Omerengwa for their landslide victories at the polls.
“We have no doubt that they will perform creditably in their respective positions”, Jacob said.
The former Deputy Leader who is also one of the leaders in Ward 4 in the area expressed the confidence that Sir Fubara would consolidate the good works of Governor Wike following his track record as a civil servant.
“I also thank the Chairman of Ikwerre Local Government Council, Hon. Samuel Nwanosike for his role during the elections.
“Besides, the appointment of Chief Mike Elechi as member of the Rivers State Civil Service Commission is highly welcomed”, he stated.
By: Tonye Orabere
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