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NLC reveals position on 2019 elections

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), has advised the Federal Government to revisit the report by the Justice Mohammed Uwais-led Electoral Reform Committee and implement the recommendations on reinforcing INEC’s independence.

Mr Amechi Asugwuni, NLC Acting President, made the call in a statement entitled “No Option for Democracy,” and made available to newsmen on Thursday in Abuja.

He said that the conduct of the 2019 Nigerian general elections was largely peaceful in many parts of the country, though there were a number of logistic and security issues that dogged the conduct of this year’s general election.

According to Asugwuni, going forward, there was need for serious national conversations on critical areas of improvement in the conduct of elections in Nigeria.

”We also call for a sincere revisit of the Justice Uwais Electoral Reform Report especially as it relates to reinforcing INEC’s independence, unbundling of INEC and setup of Elections Offences Commission.

”We call on President Muhammadu Buhari to show commitment to implementing aspects of Uwais Report which relevance is validated by recent developments in our electoral space.

”We also demand that INEC must ensure free, fair, and credible elections in some states where the process was declared inconclusive and polls rescheduled for March 23.

”Efforts must also be re-doubled to develop a new national civic culture that venerates the rule of law.

”The trend where politicians consider themselves successful to the extent that they are able to manipulate our electoral laws, maim and kill their fellow citizens, bribe voters and perpetrate all sort of electoral shenanigans must be put to a stop,” he said.

He, however, said INEC should be commended for insisting on the use of card readers for elections in every part of the country and for issuing a policy statement that no election result obtained through duress would be validated by issuance of certificate of return.

He said it was clear that these pronouncements hardly served as sufficient deterrence to those bent on foisting the rule of the jungle on Nigeria election process.

The NLC acting president also said that INEC shares some responsibilities in the shortcomings witnessed during the last general elections.

He said this was in spite of the insistence by INEC on the use of card readers for the election, the purported failure of the card readers to read the finger prints of the electorates in many polling units resulted to widespread use of manual accreditation.

He also said many politicians took the advantage to deploy hired hands to vote with multiple Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) even in the absence of the authentic owners of the PVCs.

”We call on INEC to completely outlaw the use of manual accreditation for voting. We also call for continuous audit of the voters roll.

”We must take advantage of technological advancement and work with all relevant stakeholders to deploy technology in a way that minimises to the barest human interference with our electoral process as a nation.

”INEC must stick to early planning and adequate training of personnel deployed on election duties,” he added.

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2023 presidency: APC chieftain, Eze reacts to Amaechi’s comment, tells Igbos what to do

A chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State, Chief Eze Chukwuemeka Eze, has said there was no basis for the attack on the Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi over his comment on the chances of Igbo producing a presidential candidate on the platform of All Progressives Congress, APC, in 2023.

Eze said that the former Rivers Governor merely stated the obvious.

He counselled that Amaechi’s stand would not stop Ndi-Igbo either using PDP, APGA or any other political platform to field candidates for the 2023 presidential election if they so desired.

Amaechi, had recently opined that it would be difficult and almost impossible task for the Igbo nation to expect the ruling party to give its presidential ticket to South-Eastern Igbo candidate.

The Minister had said, “For refusing to support the APC, they cannot come to the table to demand the presidency slot.For people like us in the APC, if the Igbo had come and voted Buhari, they would boldly tell Mr President and the National Chairman of the party that presidency should go the Southeast, since the South-South, South-West and North-West have produced president. What argument would the Southeast come up with now to convince anybody that they deserve the slot for 2023 president.”

However, Eze maintained that Amaechi’s statement had been blown out of proportion, maintaining that what the Minister said doesn’t in any way stop Ndi-Igbo from fielding or presenting presidential candidates for the 2023 election.

He, however, noted for working against the fortunes of APC during the 2019 general elections, Igbo will not be expected to vie for the APC ticket, adding “it is a common and wise advice; you don’t eat from where you didn’t work for.

A statement he signed and made available to DAILY POST on Wednesday, added, “How does this harmless suggestion portray Amaechi as playing God or planning against Ndi-Igbo from fielding candidates for the 2023 presidential election? .

“The fact remains that the Ndi- Igbo worked and voted for the Peoples Democratic Party, even adopted Atiku Abubakar as their preferred candidate for the 2023 presidential election not minding the consequences that Atiku’s economic agenda for Nigeria runs into 2026, indicating he will contest the 2023 presidential election if he had won, so where and how will the Igbo contest the 2023 election if their adopted candidate had won?

“Amaechi is a patriotic and illustrious Igbo man being married to an Igbo Lady, Dame Judith Amaechi, of Igbo extraction, besides his special love for Ndi-Igbo is infectious by doing everything possible to guide and protect the interests of Ndi-Igbo since he joined politics.

“Apart from marrying an Igbo woman, he appointed an Igbo man, Barr Chuma Chinny of Delta Igbo extraction as Commissioner for Commerce and Pastor Mrs Manuela George-Izunwa who is married to an Igbo man as Commissioner for Women Affairs and accord me, Chief Eze Chukwuemeka Eze a place of honour in the politics of Rivers State likewise many other Igbos’ he has placed in sensitive positions when he was the Governor of Rivers State.

“His chief driver and most of his cooks are all Igbos. Governor Nyesom Wike stopped the foreign scholarship to Rivers state students and canceled the employment of 13,000 teachers that Amaechi employed because Ndi-Igbo were listed as beneficiaries so how can such a fellow be accused of working against the aspiration or interests of Ndi Igbo?

“Politics these days has gone beyond playing tribal and myopic politics and wanting to benefit from where you didn’t labour. Ndi Igbo should come together and proffer solutions to their seeming politics of exclusion from larger political interests and connections. Once they are able to put their house in order, nobody or force will deny them whatever they want in Nigeria.”

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EFCC grills Kwara SSG, excos, lawmakers over N400m gift approved by Gov Ahmed

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Ilorin Zonal Office has commenced investigations into the alleged illegal payment of about N400million to some members of the Kwara State House of Assembly and the State Executive Council members before the expiration of their tenures.

The commission, in a statement, said it is “currently interrogating the Secretary to the State Government, Sola Isiaka Gold and the Clerk of the State House of Assembly, Kperogi Halimat Jummai over the alleged payment which did not follow due process.

“Kperogi who confirmed that the Lawmakers have received their severance gratuity told EFCC operatives that the payment was approved by the State Governor, Abdulfatah Ahmed.”

It noted that all the 25 Lawmakers and some members of the State Executive Council two weeks ago received about N400million severance gratuity before the expiration of their tenure despite the fact that the State is owing workers about three months salaries.

The petitioner said even though the Lawmakers and members of the State Executive Council are entitled to severance payment, it was the next administration that was supposed to pay the money.

It was further alleged that the State Government with selfish intent, swiftly paid the money before the expiration of their terms.

“More worrisome was the issue of furniture allowance running to hundreds of millions of naira according to the petitioner, which they wanted paying along with severance gratuity”, it added.

EFCC revealed that, in a letter written by the Speaker, Kwara State House of Assembly, Dr. Ali Ahmed to the State Governor, it was confirmed that the Lawmakers were entitled to severance gratuity at the end of their tenure due to terminate on June 7, 2019.

“In accordance with the provisions of the Revenue Mobilization, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMA & FC) Honourable Members are entitled to 200 percent of their annual basic salaries as their severance gratuity allowance at the end of their tenure of Office”, the Speaker’s letter added.

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Atiku vs Buhari: Heavy security ahead of Wednesday’s tribunal sitting

Ahead of the Wednesday sitting of the Presidential Election Tribunal hearing the case of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Atiku Abubakar against President Muhammadu Buhari at the Court of Appeal, the FCT Police Command has announced water tight security.

A statement on Tuesday sent to DAILY POST by DSP Anjuguri Manzah, Police Public Relations Officer, said there will be diversion of traffic at Goodluck Ebele way and Shehu Shagari Way.

While apologising for the inconveniences the arrangement might cause, the Command explained that it was part of proactive measure to beef up security at the venue and forestall any act that could disrupt the Tribunal sitting and result in the breakdown of law and order; especially clash between supporters of both parties.

“In view of this development, members of the public are advised to use alternative routes to their destinations on Wednesday.

“The Command reiterate its commitment to the protection of lives and property in the Federal Capital Territory”, it said.

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