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Friday, July 12, 2024

Nigerian newspapers headlines Sunday morning

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Police recruitment: IGP heads for Supreme Court [THE NATION]

Inspector General of Police Mohammed Adamu and the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) have gone to the Supreme Court to seek the upturning of Wednesday’s judgment of the Court of Appeal which nullified the recruitment of 10,000 constables across the country.

The IG and the NPF, in their notice of appeal, claim that  the Appeal Court “erred in law when it held that the provision of section 71 of the Nigeria Police Regulations 1968 made pursuant to section 46 of the Police Act is inconsistent with the provision of paragraph 30 Part I of the Third Schedule to the 1999 Constitution.”

Section 71 of the Nigeria Police Regulations 1968, according to them, specifically confers on the IGP “the power and responsibility of enlisting recruit constables.”

The appellants, through their lawyer, Dr. Alex Izinyon (SAN), insisted that the lower court “was on error in its findings that the provision of Section 71 of the Nigerian Police Regulations, 1968 made pursuant to Section 46 of the Police Act is inconsistent with the provision of paragraph 30 Part I of the Third Schedule to the 1999 Constitution”.

Similarly, they faulted the judgment on the grounds that the court erred in law when it held that the IGP and the NPF “are not conferred with powers to enlist recruit constables.”

They also argued that the Court of Appeal erred in law when it held that the PSC was conferred with powers to enlist recruit constables into the NPF by virtue of the provision of paragraph 30 of Paragraph 30, Part I of the Third Schedule to the 1999 Constitution.

The appellants in the matter before the Supreme Court are seeking an order setting aside the judgment of the Court of Appeal delivered on September 30, 2020, another dismissing the appeal filed by the PSC, and another affirming the judgment of the Federal High Court delivered by the Federal High Court on December 2, 2019.

The notice of appeal was filed alongside an application for a stay of execution of the Appeal Court’s judgment.

The Police Service Commission (PSC) had, last year, dragged the  Police Force (NPF), the Inspector General of Police and the Minister of Police Affairs as first, second and third respondents respectively to the Federal High Court in Abuja. The Attorney General was added as a fourth respondent.

The PSC sought an order to  restrain the defendants, their officers and representatives including anybody or person acting on their behalf from appointing, recruiting or attempting to appoint or recruit by any means whatsoever any person into any office in the first defendant.

Restructure Nigeria or risk break-up, says Adeboye

The General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Pastor Enoch Adeboye, on Saturday joined in the agitation for the restructuring of Nigeria, saying it is the only solution to the persistent threats to secede by aggrieved component parts of the country.

Adeboye spoke at a symposium co-organised by RCCG and the Nehemiah Leadership Institute to mark Nigeria’s 60th Independence Anniversary.

He also advocated the adoption of a system of government that is unique to the country but borrowing from the British system of government and the American model.

His words: “Why can’t we have a system of government that is 100 per cent Nigerian, unique to us? For example, we started on with the British system of government, somewhere along the line, we moved over to the American system of government.

“Can’t we have a combination of both and see whether it could help us solve our problems? In Mathematics, if you want to solve a problem, you try what we call real analysis. If it doesn’t work, then you move on to complex analysis and see whether that will help you. If that fails, you move on to vector analysis, and so on.

“I believe that we might want to look at the problems of Nigeria in a slightly different manner. Some people feel that all our problems will be over if Nigeria should break up. I think that is trying to solve the problems of Nigeria as if it is a simple equation. The problems of Nigeria will require quite a bit of simultaneous equation, and some of them are not going to be linear either.

“Forgive me; I am talking as a Mathematician.

“Why can’t we have a system of government that will create what I will call the United States of Nigeria?

“Let me explain: We all know that we must restructure. It is either we restructure or we break; you don’t have to be a prophet to know that one. That is certain: restructure or we break up.

“Now, we don’t want to break up, God forbid. In restructuring, why don’t we have a Nigerian kind of democracy? At the federal level, why don’t we have a President and a Prime Minister?

“If we have a President and a Prime Minister and we share responsibilities between these two, so that one is not an appendage to the other.

“For example, if the President controls the Army and the Prime Minister controls the Police. If the President controls resources likes oil and mining and the Prime Minister controls finance and inland revenue, taxes, customs, etc. You just divide responsibilities between the two.

“At the state level, you have the governor and the premier, and the same way, you distribute responsibilities to these people in such a manner that one cannot really go without the other. Maybe we might begin to tackle the problems.

“If we are going to adopt the model, then we need to urgently restore the House of Chiefs. I have a feeling that one of our major problems is that we have pushed the traditional rulers to the background, and I believe that is a grave error.

“Without any doubt, we must restructure and do it as soon as possible. A United States of Nigeria is likely to survive than our present structure.”

The symposium had the theme ‘Where will Nigeria be in 2060?’

 

2023: PDP presidential ticket open to all, says Secondus [THE NATION]

The 2023 presidential ticket of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) will be open to all party members, National Chairman Uche Secondus said on Saturday.

“Everyone who is qualified, young, old, governors and non-governors, is qualified and will have the opportunity to contest, and we have the space for everyone,” Secondus said in Bauchi.

His handling of the crisis in the party in the Southwest is not sitting well with governors elected on the platform of the party, its Board of Trustees (BoT) and some other prominent groups and individuals.

Secondus’ position appears to contradict the calculations in some quarters that the party would automatically zone the ticket to the South, as President Muhammadu Buhari would have completed two terms of eight years for the north.

Secondus, who said the PDP remained committed to zoning, said there would be no discrimination in picking the party’s presidential flag bearer in 2023.

He said: ”Zoning is entrenched in our constitution, and at the right time, you (reporters) will hear from us. However, the party is very democratic. There is no room for discrimination.”

Secondus was accompanied to Bauchi by Governor Aminu Waziri Taibuwal of Sokoto State, former Senate President  David Mark, former governor of Gombe State, Hassan Ibrahim Dankwambo and the Deputy National Chairman of the party, North, Senator Nazif Sulieman Gamawa.

The PDP delegation paid a solidarity visit to Governor Mohammed Bala.

Asked about the recent defection of former House of Representatives Speaker Yakubu Dogara and his supporters from the PDP to the APC following a disagreement with Bala, Secondus said the political space was wide enough for everyone to move as he wishes.

“There is no rift. The political space is so wide in Nigeria, and anyone that is not comfortable will move, and we have seen such moves before. They will move and come back. That is the assurance I want to give to you,” he said.

Also speaking, Governor Tambuwal asked President Muhammadu Buhari to deploy information communication technology in the fight against banditry, insurgency, kidnapping and other crimes ravaging parts of the country.

He said: “The situation is sad because bandits are carrying out atrocities and killing innocent people. The situation is improving in Sokoto, Zamfara and Kebbi states but the situation is getting worse in Katsina. I call on the President to take decisive steps to recruit more competent, qualified security personnel.

“The federal government should ensure that weapons are provided for the military to fight Boko Haram and give them their rights.

“The President must ensure that packages meant for soldiers reach them in terms of their rations, earnings, welfare and well-being. The Federal Government should deplore more ICT equipment to men at the forefront to forestall kidnappings and other crimes.”

Secondus’ statement is close to a recent statement by Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State who said the PDP would be guided in picking its presidential candidate by what it thinks would make it win.

“As an opposition party, we look at all variables,” Wike said.

 

COVID-19 infection spreads in Trump’s camp as US president remains in hospital [THE NATION]

A number of aides of President Donald Trump have been diagnosed with COVID-19 as the US leader spent his second day at Walter Reed Medical Center on Saturday.

There could be more infections among his loyalists, according to reports on Saturday.

But Trump’s personal physician, Sean Conley, said yesterday the President was “doing very well.”

“This morning, the president is doing very well,” Conley told reporters.

He said he was “extremely happy” with the president’s progress so far.

The rank of Trump’s backers who have tested positive include First Lady Melania, Campaign Manager, Bill Stepien, Kellyanne Conway, who, until recently, was one of Trump’s most visible aides and staunchest defenders and Presidential Advisor, Hope Hicks.

Three reporters in the White House Press Corps similarly tested positive.

Trump and Melania announced their COVID-19 status on Friday after appearing at a slew of events earlier in the week, including a presidential debate, a fundraiser at his Bedminster resort and a White House Rose Garden ceremony to nominate Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court.

Many people who attended these events, including top Republican senators, have also tested positive for the virus this week.

More than 7.3 million Americans have already contracted the coronavirus with more than 208,000 Americans dying from the disease.

The White House pool, the group of reporters who follow President Donald Trump throughout the day, passed along a statement on the president’s health from a source on background:

“The president’s vitals over the last 24 hours were very concerning, and the next 48 hours will be critical in terms of his care. We’re still not on a clear path to a full recovery.”

Secret Service agents have allegedly complained about not being tested for the virus after returning from rallies with the president in recent weeks.

Trump held three rallies in the days leading up to his positive test result. He remained hospitalised at Walter Reed military hospital yesterday.

 

160 new COVID-19 cases recorded in 12 states, FCT [THE NATION]

Nigeria’s confirmed cases of coronavirus reached 59,287 on Saturday night following 160 fresh infections, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) said in an update.

Rivers recorded 42 of the 160 cases, followed by Lagos with 32, Plateau with 21, FCT with 18 and Kaduna 14.

The rest are: “Ogun – 11, Katsina – 10, Kwara – 3, Ondo – 3, Imo – 3, Anambra – 1, Abia – 1, Oyo – 1.”

The total confirmed cases so far in Nigeria now stands at 59,287 of which 50,718 have been discharged.

However, the infection has claimed 1,113 lives.

 

Restructuring: Adeboye, Ooni, Duke, others demand action from Buhari [PUNCH]

The General Overseer, the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Pastor Enoch Adeboye, on Saturday joined other prominent Nigerians to call on the Federal Government, led by the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), to urgently restructure the country to save it from breakup.

The revered cleric, who spoke at a symposium alongside the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi; former Governor of Cross River State and former presidential aspirant, Donald Duke and a former Minister of Education, Mrs Oby Ezekwesili, warned that it was either the country restructured as soon as possible or it broke up. “You don’t have to be a prophet to know that one,” he added.

Prior to Adeboye’s statement on Saturday, there have been clamours from different individuals and socio-cultural groups that the country needs to be restructured. Some groups in the South-East had also threatened to secede from Nigeria over what they described as the gross marginalisation of their region.

The ruling All Progressives Congress-led Federal Government had prior to the general election in 2015 promised in the first part of its manifesto that it would restructure the country. It went ahead to set up a committee, led by the Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El-Rufai, to work on the idea, but since the committee submitted its report, the government had maintained silence over the matter.

Meanwhile, at the 60th Independence Day Celebration symposium co-organised by the Redeemed Christian Church of God and the Nehemiah Leadership Institute, themed ‘Where will Nigeria be in 2060?’, Adeboye said Nigeria needed to adopt a system of government that was unique to it. He proposed a blend of American and British styles of government.

Adeboye, a former senior lecturer at the Department of Mathematics of the University of Lagos said, “Why can’t we have a system of government that is 100 per cent Nigerian and is unique to us? For example, we started with the British system of government, somewhere along the line, we moved over to the American system of government.

“Can’t we have a combination of both and see whether it could help us solve our problems, because in Mathematics if you want to solve a problem, you try what we call Real Analysis, then if it doesn’t work, then you move on to Complex Analysis and see whether that will help you. If that fails, you move on to Vector Analysis and so on.

“I believe we might want to look at the problems of Nigeria in a slightly different manner. Some people feel that all our problems will be over if Nigeria should break up. I think that is trying to solve the problems of Nigeria as if it is a simple equation. The problems of Nigeria will require quite a bit of simultaneous equation and some of them are not going to be linear either – forgive me I am talking as a mathematician.

“Why can’t we have a system of government that will create what I will call the United States of Nigeria? Let me explain. We all know that we must restructure. It is either we restructure or we break-up, you don’t have to be a prophet to know that one. That is certain – restructure or we break up.

“Now, we don’t want to break up, God forbid. In restructuring, why don’t we have a Nigerian kind of democracy? At the federal level, why don’t we have a president and a prime minister?”

Adeboye explained that if there is a President and a Prime Minister, responsibilities could be shared between them such that one is not an appendage of the other. He said the president could control the Army while the prime minister controls the police, adding that if the president controls resources likes oil and mining, the prime minister could control finance, internal revenue, taxes, customs etc.

He added, “At the state level, you have the governor and the premier and in the same way, you distribute responsibilities between them in such a manner that one cannot really go without the other. Maybe we might begin to tackle the problems.”

The cleric also noted that the place of traditional rulers must be recognised and restored in governance, noting that people respected and listened to their traditional rulers more than some politicians.

He added, “If we are going to adopt the model, then we need to urgently restore the House of Chiefs. I have a feeling that one of our major problems is that we have pushed the traditional rulers to the background and I believe that is a great error particularly for a great country like Nigeria.

“Go to any town in Nigeria, everybody in the town knows the paramount ruler in the town and they respect him (but) many of them don’t even know the name of the chairman of their local government. The traditional rulers are the actual landlords; they control the respect of their people.

“Without any doubt, we must restructure and do it as soon as possible. A United States of Nigeria is likely to survive than our present structure.”

Also, Duke, who was the presidential candidate of the Social Democratic Party in the 2019 elections, said at the event that Nigeria needed to review its structure so that constituent parts could be economically productive and then contribute to the central.

He added, “The leadership of today is supposed to prepare for the future of the country. What can we do that by 2060, we will be in the committee of great prosperous countries? We are going to have 400 million people within our space and as the population has grown rapidly, the economy should also grow.

“But for all this to happen, we need to look at the structure of our nation. That is why there is clamour that we should restructure the country. It is not to break the country; it is not to frustrate the development of any side or constituent part. It is incumbent so that we don’t restrict our development.

“Between now and 2060, the focus should be that we have a skilled population; a healthy population and the skills must also embrace technology. Then, restructure the leadership so that even if poor leadership is thrown up at the centre, it does not frustrate the constituent parts of the country.”

While calling for the restructuring of the judiciary, he noted that the country needed purposeful and visionary leadership and one that had the will. “We say the right things; we all know the problems. But we do not have the will, not just the political will but the human will. That will is what we need to make it happen,” he added.

 

Merit, not federal character, should determine govt appointments – Osinbajo [PUNCH]

Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo has said for the country to attain economic growth and development, the dominant principle when appointing people into public offices should be merit rather than federal character.

He stated this amid grievances in some quarters over the lopsided appointment of persons into national offices by the current regime led by the President, Muhammadu Buhari (retd).

Osinbajo spoke at a webinar on Saturday organised by the Nigeria Leadership Initiative, led by a former Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr Olusegun Aganga.

The Vice-President, who was the keynote speaker at the webinar monitored by our correspondent, spoke on the theme, ‘Rebuilding our national value system.’

He said the country’s value system must be established in such a way that it would reward talent and enterprise towards economic growth and sustainable development.

He said, “A value system rewards talent and enterprise, and it is talent and enterprise that will drive sustainable growth. I need to make this point because time and time again, we get arguments around whether the appointment of persons into public institutions should be based on federal character. The dominant principle should be merit.

“Federal character is essentially affirmative to create a balance, but even if we are to create that balance, it should still be based on merit. For example, if we are to reserve an office for a particular zone, that zone should be able to produce the best (candidate).”

Osinbajo said the values that needed to be instilled among the citizens include integrity, dignity, national responsibility and unity, and patriotism – adding that this was why the President recently launched the National Ethics & Integrity Policy.

“The point to be noted is that practically all discussions on our national odyssey so far centre around development, and for good reasons, this is by far the most important dynamic in measuring individual or communal success.

“I am focussed on the existential role of values in the socioeconomic development of any nation. The value system we need is the one that promotes our economic development. It must also be capable of engendering unity. The end result will be the creation of a happy society,” he added.

The special guest of honour at the event, Gen Yakubu Gowon (retd), said history was replete with the stories of societies and nations that succeeded under shared common values, and those that floundered due to the lack of those values.

He said, “The most profound example of an institutionalised well-grounded value system is the military. We are trained on the critical values of discipline, loyalty, patriotism, commitment, seeking the common good, justice and equity, and defending the territorial integrity of our country without prejudice.

“In my view, any progress made by a nation through the exercise of political power without a value system is unsustainable. Therefore, we need to have a value system that is shared by every component of society. The society of today is different from the one we grew in where values such as patriotism, integrity, honesty, contentment, refusal to steal either privately or publicly, good neighbourliness, commitment to community, and seeking the common good were the order of the day.”

 

Nigeria’ll crash with current domination of North — Edwin Clark [PUNCH]

Elder statesman, Chief Edwin Clark, speaks to JOHN ALECHENU about Nigeria’s 60th independence anniversary, current socio-political challenges, fiscal federalism and what needs to be done to get the country working

What do you think about the state of the nation as Nigeria celebrates its 60th independence anniversary?

At 60, we should be celebrating, despite the coronavirus pandemic. But when you look back at what Nigeria used to be in the 1950s up until 1966 when we had the first coup in this country, you would realise that things were very progressive. At the time, we had the Northern, Western and Eastern Regions and there was healthy competition among them.

Chief Obafemi Awolowo, who was the leader of the Western Region, was able to introduce free education in 1956 and build the University in Ife, Cocoa House, and the first television station in the country. Nnamdi Azikiwe in the East and Sir Ahmadu Bello in the North did similar things. At independence, we had what we called the Independence Constitution which was carried over from the colonial government and the constitution we had was what we agreed upon both in London, United Kingdom and Ibadan in the Western Region for Nigeria to be a federation. The revenues accruing from the various regions were shared according to the federal system.

You got 50 percent of what you produced in your area and the remaining 50 per cent went to the Federal Government, and other regions, including yours would benefit from the funds. This was how each region developed and they were not bitter, as far as I am concerned, up till 1966 when we had the coup.

I was part of the Midwest and the Federal Government from 1968 until 1975 when I was Federal Commissioner for Information. As of 1963, we still had a good constitution which was a carry-over from the Independence Constitution; it mirrored the same fiscal federalism (inherited from the British) and each region was developing at its own pace. But when we had the 1966 coup and counter-coup, that constitution was suspended. With the intervention of military regime, things changed and a unitary form of government emerged. All the constitutions that had been produced were abrogated. We are 60 today but we can’t compare ourselves with our contemporaries like Malaysia, Singapore and others. We have so much corruption, banditry, attacks by herdsmen on farmers and so on. Sometimes you believe that there is no rule of law. The kidnappers are not being tried. The government has so much work to do; the trial of one man is taking about five years. Then we have the issue of Fulani herdsmen who go about with AK 47 rifles, destroying farms, raping women, kidnapping and doing all sorts of things. Not a single one of them has been arrested, detained or tried. We are in trouble. Nigeria today is not united; we are divided.

The Vice President (Prof Yemi Osinbajo) was alleged to have said we have cracks in this country and that we must all do something otherwise we will break; I think that is the correct way of describing Nigeria today.

Comparing the current security situation with how things used to be, how bad do you think the security situation has degenerated?

The security of this country is in a very bad shape. For instance, Governor of Borno State, Prof Babagana Zulum, who went into service because of his love for his people, has been attacked three times by Boko Haram. The governor is doing a good job but unfortunately, our military has not been able to do enough to drive away these terrorists. Four years ago, we were told they were technically defeated but they are still there.

Today, in Kaduna; Katsina, where Mr President comes from; Kebbi; Zamfara; and Sokoto states, bandits attack people every time. The situation has become so bad that governors now go into the bush to negotiate with bandits. What type of country do we have? We are even surrendering to bandits. In the North-East, criminals are on the rampage. Our country today is very, very unsafe. The rate of kidnapping all over the country is terrible. What is there to be happy about?  We are 60 as a country and we cannot say we are in a united and prosperous Nigeria.

You were in government in the 60s up till the 70s, how was the situation at the time different from that we have now?

Things were a lot better because the level of crime you see and hear about today didn’t exist at the time. The economy was better managed and most citizens enjoyed a level of comfort. Public schools, transport systems and hospitals could compete favourably with their counterparts in other parts of the world. Don’t forget that the roads, bridges and other infrastructure that were built during this time, most of them are still in use today. In fact, there is no basis for comparison with what we are seeing today.

 

Electricity tariff subsidy gulped N540bn, must stop — NERC [PUNCH]

The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission has said the Federal Government spent N540bn subsidising electricity in 2019, stressing the need to put an end to subsidy.

According to the commission, the amount spent on electricity subsidy should be channelled to other sectors of the economy such as health and education, and power users should learn to pay for what they consume.

The Vice-Chairman, NERC, Sanusi Garba, who doubles as a commissioner at the commission, told our correspondent in Abuja that this was why the commission had to provide service reflective tariffs.

He said the service reflective tariff, which took effect on September 1, 2020, before it was suspended for 14 days after an agreement between the Federal Government and labour unions, would ensure that customers of distribution companies pay for what they consume.

Garba said it was important for power users to make the right payments, instead of the government paying subsidy on electricity every year.

According to him, it is not in the best interest of Nigeria to continue shifting tariff review.

He said, “The time of the review has actually been shifted twice, in consideration of the exigencies that obstructed everybody, particularly the COVID-19 pandemic and other situations.

“But you cannot continue to defer the review indefinitely because you should look at electricity supply as a value chain. Generation companies are spending money to produce electricity and TCN (Transmission Company of Nigeria) is transmitting that electricity to the distribution companies.”

He added, “If you continue to suppress prices, somebody has to take a hard cut in terms of cost; somebody’s revenue will not be covered.

“Now what has been happening is that over the last few years, government had been subsidising rates paid by end-users significantly. In 2019, the subsidy was something in the region of N540bn that has been paid.”

The NERC vice-chairman said some persons could argue that the government should continue to subsidise electricity, but stressed that this was not sustainable.

He said the commission would continue to work towards the sustainability of the power business in Nigeria, urging Nigerians to understand why it was necessary to end subsidy on electricity as well as review tariffs.

Garba said, “Yes, government can continue, as a policy, to subsidise, but the path to sustainability of this industry is an electricity market that is financially sustainable.

“Therefore, after the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, it was considered appropriate to do what is right in terms of what is provided in the law and also what is in the methodology of the commission itself.”

According to him, electricity is a commodity somebody has to pay for and rates review cannot be postponed indefinitely.

Garba said, “If you continue to defer the rates review, unless government has the resources to fill in the gap, the implication is that you will see service plummeting significantly.

“This is because at the end of the day, the generators will not be paid. And if the generation companies are not paid, it means that they will not be able to pay for gas. And so the 3,000 megawatts, 4,000MW and occasionally 5,000MW that we are getting now will significantly come down.”

 

NGO warns parents against promoting sex trafficking [THE GUARDIAN]

Parents have been warned against mounting pressure on their children to be part of sex trafficking business abroad to avoid penalties and imprisonment.

Executive Director, Pathfinders Justice Initiative, Evon Benson-Idahosa, gave the advice in Benin at a dissemination meeting of research findings on recruiters of females for sex trafficking in Oredo Local Council, Edo State, conducted in partnership with CLEEN Foundation.

The ‘Pathway to Prevention’ research Project was conducted September 2019 and September 2020, focusing on sex traffickers from one of the most endemic hot spots in Africa.

She said the research showed that 98.7 per cent of interviewees agreed that parents in Oredo Council mounted pressure on their children, potential victims, to travel aboard for prostitution.

“It also revealed that although, both parents of potential victims may mount pressure on them to consent to being trafficked abroad, mothers are more often implicated.”

She also said 99.9 per cent of respondents indicated that they had heard about sex trafficking, but some asked that campaigns should focus on the dangers and implications of sex trafficking.

The executive director said the findings also showed that traffickers now recruit sex victims via digital platforms, such as Facebook, WhatsApp, among others.

The Zonal Coordinator, National Agency for the Prohibitions of Trafficking in Persons, Benin Zonal Command, Mrs. Ijeoma Uduak, called for stiffer punishment for traffickers to serve as deterrent.

 

Ondo 2020: EU, INEC affirm no cause for alarm [THE GUARDIAN]

Despite fears that the October 10, 2020 governorship election in Ondo State may experience some hitches, especially on violence, European Centre for Electoral Support (ECES) has assured that there is no cause for alarm.

ECES, a European Union sponsored group, which has been partnering with Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and others stakeholders for successful elections in the country, added that the election will record low violence.

Aside working assiduously to achieve a vuolence-free election, it also pointed out that voter apathy and low turnout, which hitherto marred elections in recent time, would be reduced to barest minimum.

The ECES Senior Project Officer, Mr. Sylvestre Somo, affirmed this while speaking with The Guardian yesterday in Akure, diffusing all fearful concerns that could mar the election.  Somo revealed that ECES had organized series of meetings and workshops with critical stakeholders, amongst which was a recent training of community voter education providers across the 18 councils of the state.

According to him, the training, in conjunction with INEC, is aimed at building the capacity of community voter education providers for effective delivery of voter enlightenment campaigns in the grassroots.

“Voter education means providing to the electorate of a democracy with basic information (sensitise) about how important participating in elections.”

He noted that their task is “to assist INEC in its task of delivering a free, fair, inclusive, efficient and cost-effective election, strengthening democratic values by increasing voter education and the tour-out.”

Similarly, the state INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner, Rufus Akeju, stated that the commission is ready to conduct free; fair and credible poll in the state, adding that there is also ample sensitisation on the COVID-19 protocols for the election.

While the INEC National Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, during a three-day visit to Ondo State recently in preparation for the poll, noted that the commission would surpass the success recorded in Edo State’s governorship election.

Yakubu expressed the commission’s readiness to conduct a credible, free and fair election in the state, adding that all the smart card readers lost in the Akure inferno had been replaced from Oyo State. He revealed that the National Peace Committee would be in the state this Tuesday to commit all the parties and candidate to sign a peace accord.

According to him, the commission had put in place a strong synergy with the security agencies in the state. He added that the youths, who are always the tools used to foment troubles, have been properly engaged on non-violent campaigns.

 

Kwara government leads clearing of schools ahead resumption [THE GUARDIAN]

Kwara State Governor, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, at the weekend, led the cutting of grass at the Mount Carmel College in Ilorin ahead of statewide school resumption tomorrow, saying his action is meant to inspire people to take responsibilities for government facilities located in their areas.

Clad in jeans, fez cap, shirt and his signature get-ready-for-work shoe, the governor arrived the school with his cutlass alongside the House of Assembly Leader, Magaji Olawoyin and Chairman of the state’s Environmental Task Force, AbdulRazaq Jiddah, and then inspected the school, which was also partly affected in the recent rainstorm in many parts of Ilorin.

“The message here is to emphasise self-help and community contribution to public projects. When government locates a project in your community, community should take ownership. My being here is to send the signal that nobody is too big to be involved in community work; we need to help ourselves. It is really no big deal to make things work,” the governor told residents of the area.

AbdulRazaq said a lot of community self-help projects and interventions are needed now more than ever as government resources dry up amid global economic downturn and rising needs of the public.

“There is scarcity of resources to go round. From the recent ecological disaster, it is clear that government can’t really cope in terms of funding. Communities should assist and join hands together, especially the parent teachers associations (PTAs). Everyone should cooperate with the government in order to keep the environment clean and mitigate environmental disaster.

“There is a lot of work to be done. Most of our schools are dilapidated and many have also been affected by the recent flooding and rainstorm. So, the message is self-help and community work. The communities should take ownership of schools and adopt schools around them,” he said.

He reiterated the efforts of his administration to reposition basic schools whose conditions he described as mostly appalling, citing the precarious condition of the Mount Carmel that is one of the most popular schools in the state capital.

AbdulRasaq said: “The neglect of schools is disgraceful and this justifies our commitment to invest in the schools. We will renovate and rebuild most of these schools because most of them are not about renovation. That is why the cost is coming high because we’re rebuilding some outrightly. With the help of Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), we will gradually put things back in shape. It would not stop at just that; we still need to train the teachers and give them the conducive environment to be able to teach.”

Mededem Jacinta, the Principal of the Mount Camel Junior Secondary School who later joined the governor, commended him for the unannounced visit to the school.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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