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Bayelsa Polls:  INEC Declares 33,606 Uncollected PVCs … As Key Contestants’ Areas Lead In Non-collection

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has said there are about 33,606 uncollected Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) in Bayelsa State.
The Tide gathered last Thursday in Yenagoa, the state capital, at the maiden press briefing held by the newly redeployed Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) to the State, Barr. Obo Effanga.
“Upon assumption of office last week,  I met with the State’s Commissioner of Police”, he said.
He reiterated that he would continue consultations with critical stakeholders and other security formations, as well as meet with the Inter-agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) to foster an harmonious working relationship as the elections draw closer.
 “I’ve also met with all the governorship candidates and state Chairmen of the 16 political parties which fielded candidates for the November 11th, 2023 Bayelsa State Governorship polls”, the REC added.
Effanga emphasized that he had at the various meetings restated INEC’s commitment in conducting credible polls.
“I’ve told political parties and candidates for the November 11th Bayelsa State Governorship election that the INEC here in the state under my stewardship is and shall continue to be an unbiased electoral umpire, so any candidate or party which desires to win the election must have voters to vote for him or her and their parties to win”, Effanga restated.
The electoral chief, who also indicated plans by the Commission to commence the issuance of uncollected permanent voters cards (PVCs) to their respective owners, noted that about 15 Registration Areas (RAs) have in excess of over 33,606 uncollected PVCs in the state.
“Local Government Areas which have more than 500 uncollected PVCs would do the issuances in the affected RAs (wards). There’re 105 wards in Bayelsa State.
 “The collection of the PVCs would last for one month. It would begin on Monday, 11th, September through October 9th, 2023.
“Those with less than 500 uncollected PVCs would have theirs at their respective Local Government Areas’ INEC offices”, he emphasized.
 Meanwhile, findings  by The Tide, which monitored the briefing, shows that the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief Timipre Sylva’s Brass Local Government Area has a total of 5273 uncollected PVCs.
Okpoama, ward 4 (RA 4), the former Minister of State, Petroleum Resources’ immediate Registration Area (RA), has   4,236, while the ward of the incumbent Speaker of the State House of Assembly, the Rt. Hon.Abraham Ingobere’s Sangana, Ward 10 (RA 10), also of the Brass council area, has 1,037. This makes it a total of 5273 for the Brass Local Government Area.
Ogbia Local Government Area, which shares same  Senatorial District (Bayelsa East Senatorial District) with Sylva and Speaker  Ingobere’s Brass Local Government Area, on the other hand, has 533 uncollected PVCs.
Ogbia Town,  Ward one (RA 01) has 533, while Otakeme, Ward 12 (RA 12), has a total of 545.
Nembe Local Government Area, the LGA of origin of the immediate past Deputy Governor of the state, Rear Admiral Gboribiogha John-Jonah (rtd), and the State Chairman, APC, Dr Dennis Otiotio, is also in the Eastern Senatorial District of the state.
 INEC said, Nembe, Ogbolomabiri III (RA 03), has a total of 694 uncollected PVCs, making a total of 7,045 uncollected PVCs for the State’s Eastern Senatorial District.
The electoral umpire, however, did not state the number of uncollected PVCs in former Governor (now Senator Henry Seriake Dickson’s Sagbama Local Government Area of origin.
The Tide gathered that Bayelsa West Senatorial District Comprises Ekeremor and Sagbama Local Government Areas.
Ekeremor, which The Tide further learnt is the Local Government Area of origin of the trio of the present Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, State PDP Chairman, Chief Solomon Agwana, and former Deputy Governor of the state, Chief Peremobowei Ebebi, according to the data by INEC, has a total of 1,233 uncollected PVCs in ‘Oporomor one’ (RA 06)
The Tide reports that further findings through the INEC statistics showed that Kolokuma/Opokuma, the Local Government Area of origin of the incumbent Governor, Senator Douye Diri,  has 519 uncollected PVCs in Kaiama, ward 4 (RA 04), while in the governor’s immediate Registration Area, the Sampou/Kalama, Ward 6 (RA 06), has 3,133 uncollected PVCs.
Other Wards with uncollected PVCs in the Governor’s Local Government Area are, Kaiama/Olobiri, Ward 5 (RA 05), which has 609.
 The Tide reports that the duo of Southern Ijaw and Yenagoa Local Government Areas, both of Governor Diri’s Central Senatorial District, cumulatively have the largest number of uncollected PVCs.
 INEC gave the figures of uncollected PVCs in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area, Olodiama II (RA 04), as 1,187.
The Tide futher learnt that Southern Ijaw is the Local Government Area of origin of the APC’s  Deputy Governorship candidate for the State’s 2023 governorship polls, Mr Jushua McIver.
Similarly, of all the afore mentioned Local Government Areas of the state with uncollected PVCs, Yenagoa Local Government Area, headquarters of the State’s Central Senatorial District, which is allegedly a PDP stronghold, has the highest number of uncollected PVCs.
In Yenagoa, according to INEC, Atissa one (RA 01) has 2,721; Atissa three (RA 03), 1,444;  Epie one (RA 04), 4,319; Epie two (RA 05),  5,501; and Epie three (RA 06), 5,895, making a cumulative total of 25,328 uncollected PVCs for the Bayelsa State Central Senatorial District alone.

By: Ariwera Ibibo-Howells, Yenagoa

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Niger Delta

Diri Suspends Twin Kingdom Youth Election 

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Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, has directed the immediate suspension of the election of a new executive of the twin clans of Epie-Atissa, popularly referred to as the Oguan Youth Congress (OYC).
The Tide learnt that the Governor’s directive was sequel to the factional crisis that has engulfed the kingdom’s youth body, resulting in tension in the state capital, Yenagoa.
A statement made available to newsmen by the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr Daniel Alabrah, on Wednesday, noted that the Oguan Kingdom comprises 29 Epie and Atissa communities in the Yenagoa Local Government Area of the state.
The statement added that the suspension was indefinite, pending the resolution of the impasse by the State Government.
Alabrah also said the Governor has directed the police and other security agencies to ensure there was no breakdown of law and order as a result of the feud.
Ariwera Ibibo-Howells, Yenagoa
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US Consulate Trains 25 Girls On STEM In Edo

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The U.S. Consulate says it is training 25 girls in underserved secondary schools in Edo State on STEM initiative (Science, Technology Engineering, and Mathematics).
The Tide’s source reports that the training is called the GirlLEAD STEM Talent Accelerator Programme, and was inaugurated recently.
Addressing the female students at the Benin City Window on America, in Benin, the Consul-General, US Consulate in Lagos, Will Steven, said  the programme was aimed at bridging the gender divide in STEM.
Stevens said:  “We want to see more of female founders in the tech space as well as doing well in STEM.
“Technology is one of the drivers of the Nigerian economy, and it holds a lot of opportunities for job creation.
“The job opportunities are there but not to be filled only by boys”.
According to him, the STEM programme prepares secondary school girls for possible scholarships in universities in the U.S. or for the students to continue in Nigeria universities or other universities in the world.
He also talked about the AI (Artificial Intelligence) conference to be organised in Lagos by the United States in collaboration with the Nigerian government.
He said the conference would encourage both countries to work together to talk about the framework as well as the safe environment for AI.
“We want to bring in AI training to the 27 American spaces across Nigeria”, he added.
Earlier, Dr. Georgina Erifeta, Director, Benin City Window on America, said the U.S. space had contributed to making the tech ecosystem in Edo to emerge as a major player in Nigeria’s tech landscape.
“By equipping young people with digital skills, we empower them to innovate, solve problems, and drive economic growth, fostering a brighter future for our community and beyond”, he said.
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Niger Delta

Impeachment: Security Operatives Take-over C’River Assembly Complex

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Security personnel have taken over the Cross River State House of Assembly complex, following the impeachment of the Speaker, Mr Elvert Anyambem, recently.
The Tide’s source  reports that the Speaker’s removal almost resulted in a clash between his supporters and other members of house.
The State Commissioner of Police, Gyogon Grimah, was sighted in the midst of other security personnel around the Assembly Complex.
Analysts say the presence of the security personnel is to forestall breakdown of law and order around the complex.
It would be recalled that the Speaker was impeached on Wednesday on grounds of  gross misconduct, high-handedness and misappropriation of funds.
Anyambem’s impeachment was carried out at a sitting of the Assembly in which he was presiding.
The impeachment notice was singed by 17 out of the 25 members of the Assembly.
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