INEC Records 80% PVC Distribution In Yobe

PVCs-Customs-INECThe Independent National Electoral Commission in Nigeria has recorded 80 per cent distribution of the Permanent Voter Cards (PVC) in Yobe State, one of the volatile states in the north-eastern part of the oil rich nation.

The spokesman for the commission, in Yobe State, Bagudu Nma, said, “so far 80 per cent of registered voters have collected their voter cards, as centres have been open for collection across the 17 Local Government Areas of the state”.

On the Internally Displaced Persons (IDP’s) as a result of the prevailing Boko Haram insurgency in the state, Mr Nma said two camps had been opened for the two affected Local Government Councils of Gujba and Gulani.

He said Gujba voters would cast their votes in Damaturu, the state capital while electorates in Gulani would exercise their franchise in neighbouring Fika.

In the state capital, registered voters queued in their numbers to collect their voter cards, with the complain that the commission was grossly under staff as they hardly distribute the cards effectively.

They called for employment of more staff if the deadline of February 8 must be met.

The staff responsible for the PVC distribution in Damaturu are grossly inadequate, as sourcing and issuing of cards to the rightful owners take too much time.

A staff ought to be charged with the responsibility of attending to a ward. But as it is at the venue, the limited number will hardly beat the deadline.

“We have spent over three hours here and we are yet to be attended to. They are too slow in the distribution because they are few. A staff supposed to attend to a ward but that is not the case,” one of the electorates waiting to get his card said.

Meanwhile, trainings for electoral supervisors and officers have commenced across the state.

A visit to the venue of the training revealed that participants are being tutored on electoral proceedings, as they relate to modern times.

Similarly, a one-day voter awareness campaign on voter education had also been organised in the state.

Mr Hassan Garba, who is a resource person at the training, said the turnouts had been generally impressive. He said that the participants would be equipped with the required knowledge of electoral innovations.

A participant at the training, Mr Salisu Garba, said the training would avail them the opportunity to know more about the new innovations concerning the card readers which would tackle the issue of multiple voting recorded in the past.

Jimi Agbaje Says Focus Will Be On Education If Elected

Jimi_Agbaje_Channels_TVThe governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Lagos State, Mr Jimi Agbaje, says he will focus on primary education, housing and transportation amongst other areas if elected in February’s governorship election.

Mr Agbaje told Channels Television on Tuesday that huge improvement was needed in the education sector, stressing that the Lagos State government had not paid enough emphasis on primary education which was most important in the education of every Nigerian.

“We need to make Lagos work better. A lot of the education budget is spent on secondary and tertiary education. Lagos State has spent about three per cent on primary education and it is negligible.

“Children don’t have a good foundation. Because the primary level is not working, you have children in the private primary schools.

“If you get the foundation right you will be spending less as you go up the ladder,” he said.

The PDP governorship candidate said that he would ensure that basic education remained free, emphasising that there is no country that makes progress without a good primary education foundation.

“Lagos State spends about 14 per cent of its budget on education. The western region spent 40 per cent of its budget on education.”

He further said that his administration, if elected, would ensure that funds were set aside for the training of teachers in the state.

Mr Agbaje said: “Education is about innovation and creativity and it is pertinent that children are prepared along that line”.

“Education has change all over the world and it is no longer the one-plus-one is equal to two. It is about innovation and creativity. You will find that a lot of those who have changed the world did not get to where they were from university education. It is the kind of education that they received at that basic level.

“Currently, about 82 per cent of the education budget is on recurrent expenditure and if you want to make progress, have schools that have laboratories and other necessary facilities, you have to change the round.

“The younger ones today are not very familiar with the use of libraries. We will use education programmes that children can learn from.

“It is time that we begin to have free Wi-Fi hotspots for the young ones to access the internet and get access to materials online.”

He said that funds for the needed improvements would be generated from leakages that we would be tightened. Expound the economy to be able to raise money.

The rate of unemployment in Nigeria is on the increase, with many graduates not being able to secure a job.

To tackle the challenge, Mr Agbaje said that technical and vocational skills acquisition would be funded to empower individuals to be productive.

“The state government spends about 1.5 per cent of its education on technical and vocational skills.

“We will address unemployment better if we place emphasis on vocational skills,” he said.

The governorship candidate also stated that he would set up a job portal for university graduates to guide them in terms of trainings that would prepare them for jobs.

According to him, the state would collaborate with private sector companies to achieve the needed training.

On the issue of housing, he said that Lagos needed about 200 thousand housing units every year and that he would be exploring the possibility of producing housing units for low income earners.

“You will reduce the cost of land to near zero.

“There is bureaucracy in the cost of getting approved plans and this must change.

“Lagos is the worst state by World Bank report, to get approved plans. We will correct that and this will contribute to reducing the cost of housing. We will look at the cost of production of the house by exploring industrial scale housing. For instance, we will get roofing sheets in large quantity.

“We must provide for too many people coming into Lagos State,” he said.

As elections draw near, several peace accords have been signed, between presidential candidates and between governorship candidates.

Everyone of them had pledged commitment to ensuring a violence-free election and Mr Agbaje also urged supporters to be peaceful and ensure they do not get involved in acts of violence, before, during and after the elections.

Sultan Of Sokoto Not Sure Of Voting

sultanofsokotoThe Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III, has expressed fears he may not vote in next month’s general elections as he is yet to collect his Permanent Voter Card (PVC).

In a meeting with the Nigerian President, Goodluck Jonathan, on Monday, the Sultan stressed the need for the electoral body and the government to work together to ensure that no Nigerian was disenfranchised.

President Jonathan was in Sokoto State in continuation of the Peoples Democratic Party’s presidential campaign, when he visited the monarch.

The Sultan called on the Federal Government to do everything within its powers to ensure that no Nigerian of eligible age was disenfranchised in the crucial election.

The challenges that the electoral body is facing in distribution of the PVC had led to the National Assembly advising the electoral body to consider allowing individuals with their old Temporary Voters Card to vote in the elections that will begin in few weeks.

The Independent National Electoral Commission had insisted that only voters with the PVC would be allowed to vote. But distribution had not reached 90 per cent.

At the meeting, the traditional ruler further expressed concerns that campaigns ahead of the general elections were taking religious colouration instead of being issue-based and urged all candidates to embrace peace.

He also urged the political parties to caution their supporters against violence.

The Sultan stressed the need for the government to work hard to end insecurity in parts of the country.

He said: “As the leader of the Muslims faithful I will not fail to intimate the President and his government with the problems Muslims face in this country”.

2015 Elections: INEC Says Rigging Will Be Difficult

Kayode_IdowuThe Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says measures have been put in place to ensure that Nigeria’s February general elections will be of high integrity and difficult for anyone to manipulate.

A spokesman for the electoral body, Mr Kayode Idowu, gave the assurance on Sunday while making comments about the preparedness of the commission ahead of the general elections.

Mr Idowu said that the INEC would distribute up to 90 per cent of the Permanent Voters Cards in their coffers before the elections begin in February.

The spokesman of the commission told Channels Television that out of the 45 per cent cards yet undistributed, a large number belonged to Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) for whom, he said, a plan of action would be announced this week on how they would be accommodated in the forth coming electoral process.

“Substantial majority of IDPs especially those who are in camps, INEC will look for ways to get them to vote,” he said.

Election campaigns are expected to begin this week and the INEC stressed that appropriate security measures were in place to ensure that the February elections would be of high integrity, with ballot papers and ballot boxes coded to ensure they would used only in particular polling units.

“The tendency of people using other people’s voters cards will not work in 2015. That is why we have the Permanent Voters Card which would be read by a card reader,” he said.

Mr Idowu said it was part of the strategies to ensure that the election could not be rigged.

He assured Nigerians that collection of cards was ongoing, urging them to go and pick their cards at the local government offices of the INEC

The commission advised politicians to abide by the code of conduct they had signed.  The code stipulates how politicians should conduct themselves during campaigns and other electoral processes.


INEC Asked To Find Solution To Voters Card Issues

Adetokunbo-PearseA former Lagos State governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr Adetokunbo Pearse, has asked the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to find a solution to the issues surrounding the issuance of the Permanent Voters Card (PVC) that all electorates are yet to get.

It is less than two months to the elections and there have been reports of irregularities with the PVC and some electorates have expressed fears that they may be disenfranchised.

But Mr Pearse expressed optimism that the electorates would still vote in the 2015 general elections.

He suggested that the INEC should allow individuals, who still have their old voters card to use that in the elections if the issue of the PVC would not be solved before the elections commence.

“INEC will be ready for elections as it has always been ready for elections.

“But they need to look for solution to the PVC issues that we are having. If it is not ready, those of us who have the temporary one from 2011 may go back to use that,” he suggested.

The INEC had said that only individuals with the PVC would be allowed to vote in the 2015 general elections.

But Mr Pearse said: “It will not only be gross irresponsibility on the part of INEC but dangerous to insist that without the PVC the electorate cannot vote. Basically a high percentage of Nigerians will not vote in the 2015 election”.

He, however, pointed out that there was a difference between the PVC not being ready and INEC conducting a free, fair and credible election.

The PDP member said that the electoral body would be taken to court if they disenfranchised some Nigerians.

A spokesman for the INEC, Mr Kayode Idowu, on Sunday said that the INEC was ready for the elections and would achieve between 70 to 80 per cent of the voters cards distribution before the elections.

Some threats of post-election violence had been issued by some individuals and these threats had become a thing of concern to some Nigerians and Mr Pearse cautioned political enthusiast to moderate their utterances to ensure that there would be relative peace after the elections.

“People should be very careful with what they say. What led to the insurgency in the north-east has a lot to do with the irresponsible rhetoric of the time; that there would be problems if the election was rigged.

“Right now we should be going after people who are bringing in arms before they use them. Nobody is above the law and once we begin to realise that, then we will have a much more peaceful country.”

He also said persons who issue threats of post-election violence after the 2015 election should be arrested and prosecuted, emphasising that when people are not held accountable for unlawful acts, crimes will continue.

Kwara PDP Affirms Support For Simeon Ajibola As Governorship Candidate

simeon-ajibolaThe simmering dissent in the Kwara State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) appears to have taken a new turn, as 23 members of the 30-member state executive have affirmed their support for the emergence of Senator Simeon Ajibola as the party’s governorship candidate.

Addressing a press conference on Wednesday, the State Deputy Chairman of the party, Mr Attahiru Manko, berated the party’s Chairman, Iyiola Oyedepo, for his statement over the result of the governorship primaries.

Mr Oyebode had said that he would wait for the affirmation of the candidature from the national headquarter of the party, a statement Mr Manko said was not correct.

He questioned why the the chairman should foot-drag in presenting the winner to the members, since the primary election had been adjudged free, fair and credible by the electoral committee and other aspirants.

The Kwara State PDP had witnessed series of controversies over the choice a governorship candidate.

The first election conducted in the state was canceled with a new election conducted. After the second election, Senator Simeon Ajibola was declared winner but some members of the party also refused to accept the result of the election. They said Senator Ajibola was being imposed on them.


Nigerian Politicians Asked To Eschew Desperation For Power

Adams-Oshiomhole_Edo_State-GovernorThe Governor of Edo State, Adams Oshiomhole, has advised politicians in Nigeria not to be too desperate for power, as campaigns for the 2015 election begin across the country.

Mr Oshiomhole told Channels Television in Benin-City, the Edo State capital, that Nigeria won its democracy the hard way and that it would be senseless to mortgage it on the altar of political violence and greed.

“What is coming in 2015 is not war. That is not the promise of democracy.

“Even soldiers, military government recognise that you can’t wage war against your people.

No Hiding Place

“If Nigeria has attained democracy today, it is not courtesy of a willing military. The military had to agree at a point that it can no longer hang on because Nigerians were unanimous,” he said, explaining the struggle that Nigerians had passed through to get a democratically elected government running for the last 15 years.

He cited the removal of the leader of Burkina Faso, pointing out that  “the leader, who thought he had succeeded in making himself a monarch, a life ruler, is seeking exile now unable to live in that country”.

Governor Oshiomhole further expressed the belief that nobody in Nigeria would want Nigeria to go into ruins.

“When people have been so oppressed, dehumanised and they have become very desperate…  The more you have taken, the more your stake in ensuring that the system is not undermined.

“The world is now such that when people overwhelm a people, it becomes a matter of international community. There is no hiding place now for anyone.

“If you resort to measures that are undemocratic, if you resort to killing and you resort to promoting war under any guise, if you are too strong for your country, you cannot be too strong for the international community,” the Governor, who was once a labour leader, said.


2015: Yero Promises To Embark On Radical Reforms

YeroGovernor Mukhtar Yero of Kaduna State and flag bearer of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the February 2015 elections, has promised to embark on radical reforms and policies that will benefit the people of the state

Yero, who was deputy governor, became governor following the death of former governor, late Patrick Yakowa on December 15, 2012.

Speaking at a forum organized by the Kaduna state chapter of the Nigerian Union of Journalists on Tuesday, the governor explained that his reluctance to embark on some radical people oriented reforms, was in order not be misunderstood as being against the people, especially as the 2015 elections draw closer.

Explaining the rationale behind the ban on commercial motorcyclists in the state capital and some other parts of the state early this year, the governor said the action, though painful, was taken in order to secure the state from the hands of criminals.

Yero also urged media practitioners to be objective in their reportage and dwell less on issues that are capable of dividing the country or heat up the polity.

Delivering his keynote lecture at the event, human rights activist and President of Transition Monitoring Group, Mr Festus Okoye, identified some of the challenges that will mitigate against the smooth conduct of the election including insecurity, poor distribution of permanent voters cards, eligibility problem and the desperation of politicians to win at all costs.

He called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to address PVC issues and ensure that no eligible voter is disenfranchised during the forthcoming election.

According to Okoye, the 2015 election is not about Nigeria alone but the international community, who are interested in its outcome, adding that the election presents Nigerians with the opportunity of electing genuine leaders whose mandate will be able to give hope to the people.

PDP Should Step Aside After 16 Years Of Failure – Oshiomhole

adams_oshiomoleGovernor of Edo state, Adams Oshiomhole has called on the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP to step aside and allow other parties to give Nigerians the kind of leadership the nation deserves.

According to him, the party has failed to move the nation forward in its 16 years of being at the helm of affairs and says the time has come for Nigerians to opt for a viable alternative that will right the wrongs PDP has inflicted on the nation.

Governor Oshiomhole spoke to journalists in Auchi Town, Edo State after attending the 22nd convocation ceremony of Auchi Polytechnic.

Youths Protest Irregularities In Imo PDP Governorship Primaries

PDPFollowing the alleged manipulation of the result from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship primaries held in Imo state last week, angry youths numbering over 1000 stormed the PDP state headquarters on Okigwe Road in Owerri, the Imo state capital, calling on the leadership of the party to allow justice and equity prevail and declare Senator Ifeanyi Ararume the winner of the primaries having scored the highest votes at the polls.

They called on the leadership of the party and the National Working Committee to look into the issue as a matter of urgency and rectify the discrepancies in the figures and immediately declare Senator Ifeanyi Ararume as the valid winner of the election with 336 votes.

Addressing the protesters, the State Secretary of the Party, Mr George Egwu, called for restraint, saying that the national leadership of the party is not unaware of the issues surrounding the governorship primaries in the state as they are working tirelessly to resolve the issue amicably.

In a related development, some group of protesters from Orlu Senatorial District of Imo state stormed the Government House in Owerri protesting the result of the senatorial primaries of the All Progressives Congress in the area saying it was marred with irregularities.

They accused one of the aspirants in the area of imposing candidates and forcefully hijacking ballot boxes with thugs to manipulate the process of the election.

They called on the state governor, Rochas Okorocha, to cancel the election and do a fresh primary election in the area.


Kwara PDP Elders Warn Against Imposition Of Candidate

Kwara PDPThe Elders forum of the Kwara State Chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has urged the national leadership of the party to ensure that there is no imposition of governorship candidate in the state.

They stated that a level playing field for all aspirants to contest in a transparent primary would guarantee the victory of the party in the 2015 governorship election in the state.

The Deputy Chairman of the Kwara PDP Elders Forum, Ayinla Folorunsho, during a press conference in reaction to the aborted PDP primary in the state, noted that the approved statutory and Adhoc delegate list should be maintained.

According to him any rescheduled primary should hold in Ilorin, while accreditation and voting should take place at the same venue.

He added that identification of authentic delegates should be done by the respective 16 Local Government chairmen at the venue of the election.

Complaints Trail APGA National Assembly Primaries

APGAThe House of Representatives primary election have failed to hold for the second time in Awka North and South Federal Constituencies in Anambra State, following complaints of a fake delegate list smuggled into the venue to favour one of the aspirants out of the three in the election.

Reacting to the development, the incumbent member representing the constituency in the House of Representatives, Mr. Emeke Nwogbo, said that aside the mockery of democracy being made in the conduct of the primary election, a warrant of arrest had been placed on him by the Police for reasons not known to him.

In a similar development, another aspirant in the election, Mr. Uche Onyilofor, expressed dismay at the desperation of politicians during elections, maintaining that if the election had gone free and fair, it would have been in his favour.

The primary, however, was concluded with a sitting member of the State House of Assembly emerging the winner, winning with 104 votes.

In another development in Idemili North and South, the election was concluded around 9PM but it was very peaceful.

Despite being a lone aspirant in the Senate race for Anambra Central Senatorial District, over 400 delegates turned out at the venue in Awka for the primary election to vote for Victor Umeh, the National Chairman of APGA.

The delegates went through the process of accreditation and voting began immediately. Amongst the delegates was the Deputy Governor, Dr. Nkem Okeke, who urged the people to keep supporting the party that will cater for their future.

The National Chairman, having been declared the winner, also addressed the delegates, stressing his determination to entrench continued internal democracy in the party.

Presently, out of the eleven federal constituencies in the state, five still remained inconclusive while complaints and dissatisfaction trail the majority of the concluded ones.

However, many of the aggrieved aspirants have urged Governor Willie Obiano and the National Chairman of the party, Victor Umeh, to intervene and save the situation in the interest of the party.