Osinbajo In Kano To Commission Flyover Bridges, Other Projects

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo disembarks from the aircraft at the Mallam Aminu Kano international Airport on January 13, 2020.

 

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Monday is in Kano State, northwest Nigeria on a one-day official visit to commission some major infrastructure projects.

Osinbajo who arrived at the VIP Wing of the Malam Aminu Kano International Airport was received by the state governor, Abdullahi Ganduje, his Deputy, Nasiru Gawuna and senior government officials.

The Vice President will use the occasion of his visit to commission the Alhassan Dantata Bridge in Sabon Gari, Tijjani Hashim Flyover in Kofar Ruwa areas of the state.

READ ALSO: Honest Conversation Would Have Prevented Civil War, Says Utomi

He will also perform the foundation laying ceremony and inspection of some projects embarked upon by the state government.

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US Bans DRC Election Chief, Top Judge Over Vote Conduct

President of the National Independent Electoral Commission, Corneille Nangaa (C), leaves a joint meeting with the main presidential candidates and the African Union (AU) in Kinshasa.
John WESSELS / AFP

 

The United States said Friday it will refuse visas to the Democratic Republic of Congo’s election chief and top judge on charges that they undermined long-awaited presidential polls.

Washington said it wanted to send a clear signal of the need for accountability in the conflict-torn nation but stressed that it will still work with the controversially elected new president, Felix Tshisekedi.

The United States said it would refuse visas to five senior figures as well as their immediate family members over “involvement in significant corruption relating to the election process.”

They include Corneille Nangaa, president of the Independent National Election Commission, Benoit Lwamba Bindu, the president of the Constitutional Court and Aubin Minaku Ndjalandjoko, president of the National Assembly.

The State Department said it was also imposing visa restrictions on an unspecified number of other military and government officials over human rights abuses related to the election.

READ ALSO: Four Killed In Suspected Terrorist Attack In Niger

“These individuals enriched themselves through corruption, or directed or oversaw violence against people exercising their rights of peaceful assembly and freedom of expression,” the State Department said in a statement.

“They operated with impunity at the expense of the Congolese people and showed a blatant disregard for democratic principles and human rights,” it said.

The United States and other international players had been closely watching the December 30 election, which marked the first peaceful transfer of power in sub-Saharan Africa’s most vast country since independence from Belgium in 1960.

Martin Fayulu, a former oil executive considered a favorite, alleged widespread fraud and accused Tshisekedi of collaborating with outgoing president Joseph Kabila.

Despite recognizing concerns over the election, regional and world powers led by South Africa quickly coalesced behind Tshisekedi in hopes of preventing greater instability.

AFP

Thai Election Commission Plans Dissolving Party Linked To Princess

Thai Princess To Run For PM In Parliamentary Elections
(FILES) This file picture taken on March 24, 2010 shows Thai Princess Ubolratana visiting the Thailand pavilion at the Hong Kong Entertainment Expo. Mike CLARKE / AFP

Thailand’s election commission on Wednesday asked the constitutional court to dissolve a political party that put forward a princess as a candidate for prime minister, days after the move earned a royal rebuke from her brother, the king. 

Thailand has been mired in political drama since Friday when Princess Ubolratana’s name was submitted by Thai Raksa Chart, a party allied with the powerful Shinawatra clan.

Ubolratana’s unprecedented bid to enter frontline politics unravelled within hours after King Maha Vajiralongkorn decried the entry of a royal into the political fray as “highly inappropriate”.

Thailand’s monarchy is seen as above politics, although royals have intervened in public during times of political crisis.

The princess was disqualified as a candidate by the Election Commission, which then filed a request with the constitutional court to have Thai Raksa Chart disbanded for bringing a royal family member into politics.

READ ALSO: Thai King Orders Party To Block Princess PM Candidacy

“That action is considered hostile to the constitutional monarchy,” it said.

The monarchy in Thailand is considered sacred and revered by its people, and is under the protection of draconian lese majeste laws. The king’s word is considered final.

The scuttling of her candidacy and potential moves to dissolve the Thai Raksa Chart party is a blow to the political machine of former premier Thaksin Shinawatra.

The party was set to add to the vote bank of the bigger Shinawatra electoral vehicle, Pheu Thai, in an election where secondary parties are targeting seats via the party list system.

Parties overseen by Thaksin have won all elections since 2001.

Thaksin and his sister Yingluck — who was overthrown in the 2014 coup — live abroad to avoid convictions they say are politically motivated.

 ‘I’m sorry’ 

In an Instagram post late Tuesday the 67-year-old princess apologised for her role in the drama, which has sent jitters across the politically febrile country just weeks before elections.

“I’m sorry that my genuine intention to help work for the country and fellow Thai people has created a problem that shouldn’t happen in this era,” she wrote.

It was tagged with a hashtag: “#howcomeitsthewayitis”.

Ubolratana is the first-born of former king Bhumibol Adulyadej, but she gave up her royal titles when she married an American in 1972.

After her divorce, she moved back to Thailand where she is regarded by the Thai public as a part of the royal family.

While she said she was exercising her rights as a commoner to stand for premier, the palace statement last week said she is “still a member of the House of Chakri”, referring to the name of the dynasty.

Junta chief Prayut Chan-O-Cha, who toppled Yingluck’s government, is running for prime minister in the March 24 poll.

Analysts say the blocking of the princess’s candidacy could benefit Prayut, who has portrayed himself as a defender of the monarchy.

Party executives from Thai Raksa Chart have expressed contrition after the upheaval but said they would challenge any attempt to disband it.

A media organisation affiliated with the Shinawatras was also in the crosshairs this week.

Voice TV, owned by Thaksin’s son Ponthongtae, was ordered Tuesday by the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) to go off-air for 15 days after two of its programs caused “confusion and provocation”.

AFP

Buhari Inaugurates $150m Feed Mill In Kaduna

President Muhammadu Buhari today commissioned an integrated feed mill and Poultry valued at $150million in Chikun Local Government Area of Kaduna State.

The President was at the event with Kaduna State Governor Nasir El-Rufai, Central Bank of Nigeria Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele; Minister of Agriculture, Mr Audu Ogbeh; Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II; and the Minister of Sports, Mr Solomon Dalung, among others.

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FG’s Anti-Corruption War, A Tool To Cripple Opposition Parties – Fayose

The Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, has accused the Federal Government of using the anti-corruption war as a tool to cripple the opposition political parties.

Governor Fayose was reacting to the cash discovery at an apartment in Osborne towers in Ikoyi, Lagos state, by the Economic and Financial Crimes, Commission (EFCC).

The governor questioned the recovery, while urging the government to declare the owner of the money.

“If the President is not aware, the EFCC is not aware, the NSE is not aware, then there is more to it. I want to enjoin Nigerians to let us continue to ask questions; this drama is becoming one too many.

“Again up till today, the EFCC is yet to tell Nigerian the identity of the owner of the shop, and Nigerians are asking whether or not the LEGICO shopping Plaza, Ahmadu Bello Way Victoria Island Lagos, is not owned by anyone and the owner of the Plaza won’t be able to  identify his or her tenants. We would keep our fingers crossed because we cannot be fooled forever,” the governor said.

INEC Set To Commence Distribution Of PVC In Ekiti

Ogun stateIn preparedness ahead of 2018 gubernatorial election in Ekiti State ,the Independence National Electoral Commission (INEC) is set to commence the distributions of Permanent Voters Cards.

Speaking at the interaction session with stakeholders in Ado Ekiti, the Administrative Secretary of the Commission, Dr Musilim Omoleke, who represented the Resident Electoral Commissioner, said the purpose of the meeting is to demonstrate transparency and fairness of the commission.

He stated that the commission still has 224,840 uncollected PVC.

He appealed to all political parties to help educate their supporters and party members on the importance of the PVC.

Meanwhile, the representative of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Taiwo Olatubosun, who is also the party’s Publicity Secretary, said the commission should ensure adequate awareness of the PVC collection exercise.

The Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Ekiti State, Mr Gboyega Oguntuase, said his party is ready to support the commission in achieving a free and fair election come 2018.

Shiite Members Shun Judicial Commission Of Inquiry’s Sitting

kaduna-ShiiteMembers of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria on Monday shunned the inaugural sitting of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry into the December 12, 2015, violent clash between the group and the Nigerian Army in Zaria, Kaduna State.

At the commencement of the public sitting at the General Hassan Usman Katsina House in the State capital, venue of the public hearing, as early as 9 O’clock in the morning and waited for about an hour without seeing members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria. They did not send any representative or apology.

Members of the commission arrived at the General Hassan Usman Katsina House, venue of the public hearing as early as 9 O’clock in the morning and waited for about an hour without seeing members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria or their lawyers.

Their absence may be unconnected with their demand for the release of their leader, Sheik Ibrahim El-Zakzaky and over 700 of their members, who were taken into custody by security operatives days after the incident.

But the Nigerian Army was represented at the sitting by the General Officer Commanding One division, Major General Adeniyi Oyebade.

The absence of the Shiite members compelled the commission to adjourn till Wednesday, February 4 in expectation that counsel to the commission, Yusuf Ali, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, would ascertain the whereabouts of Sheik El-Zakzaky and report back to the commission by the next sitting.

Some lawyers representing various interests at the panel asked the commission to ensure that all parties involved in the matter were adequately represented in order to give each of them a fair hearing, but the commission’s chairman, Justice Mohammed Garba, insisted that they had notified all parties involved about the sitting and therefore, does not have the powers to give an open invitation to any individual or group.

The commission’s chairman also announced that a total of 105 memoranda had been received from members of the public.

He reassured the sitting that the commission would conduct an unbiased investigation and recommend necessary action that would be fair to all parties involved.

Mr Garba also asked the Nigerian Army to ensure it was represented during all the sittings of the commission.

The commission, which has 13 terms of reference, will inquire into the immediate and remote causes of the clashes, and thereafter make recommendations to the state government.

Fire Guts INEC Warehouse In Abuja  

inecThe Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said that the fire that gutted some parts of its storage facilities in Abuja will not affect the upcoming general elections.

The Commissioner in charge of Electoral Operations and Logistics, Mohammed Hamanga, said that the affected materials, which were in the process of being destroyed, were obsolete.

According to an official of the commission, the fire outbreak was as a result of a surge in electricity after three days of power cut.

It was gathered that the fire which started at 11:00 PM was contained by 2:00AM due to the quick response of officials of INEC and the Federal Fire Service, who forced their way into the warehouse.

The Commissioner in charge, who inspected the affected areas of the warehouse, allayed fears that the fire would affect the reschedule elections.

INEC have faced lots of challenges on the road to the 2015 general elections, but the commission has reinstated its commitment to deliver a free and fair election, despite its challenges.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was established by the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to, among other things, organize elections into various political offices in the country.

AD Confident INEC Will Deliver Credible Elections

inecThe leadership of the Alliance for Democracy (AD) has expressed its support and confidence in the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Attahiru Jega, to conduct free, fair and credible general elections.

The National Vice Chairman of the political party, Mr Muhammed Yakubu, gave the party’s vote of confidence in Abuja while commenting on the recent postponement of the general elections.

Recently the INEC has come under criticism for not being adequately prepared for the 2015 elections.

The Independent National Electoral Commission in Nigeria (INEC) on the February 7 announced a shift in the general elections dates to March 28 and April 11.

Professor Jega said that the Presidential Election would hold on March 28 while the Governorship election would hold on April 11.

The Chairman of the commission said that the decision was not influenced by any group or individuals, adding that “We have done wide reaching consultations to enable us have as much input as necessary before taking an informed decision.

The major opposition party in Nigeria, the All Progressives Congress (APC,) has come down hard on the electoral umpire on the decision to postpone the polls.

The APC Chairman, John Oyegun, in a press statement, also stated that the decision was a major setback for Nigerian democracy, saying “This is clearly a major setback for Nigerian democracy, and our party is meeting in emergency session to study its implications and will inform Nigerians of its decisions in the next few days.

INEC Begins Distribution Of Non-Sensitive Materials In Kaduna

INECThe Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has commenced distribution of non-sensitive materials for the February 14 polls across the 23 Local Government Areas in Kaduna State.

The Kaduna State Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), who was represented by the Head of Voter Education and Publicity, Abdullahi Gujungu, disclosed this.

He said that the commission has received about 6,000 smart card readers, ballot boxes, posters and other non-sensitive materials.

INEC staff, according to him, have started configuring the 6,000 smart card readers, in order to make accreditation easier and faster during the 2015 general elections.

They have also commenced the conveyance of the ballot boxes to the 23 Local Government Areas of the state to ensure promptness.

The commission also said that about 2.8 million PVCs out of the 3.1million registered voters have been distributed across the state.

This figure, according to the commission, represents about 95% of the total registered voters.

In addition to these, Mr Gujungu also told Channels Television that over 33,000 AdHoc staff were being trained for the election.

Peace and Security

The preparedness of INEC to conduct a hitch free election with few days left has been a major issue for many Nigerians but with INEC in Kaduna already finalizing arrangements towards ensuring a hitch free exercise, the commission says it is fully prepared for the elections.

However, another issue of concern to stakeholders is the maintenance of peace and security before, during and after the election.

The Director of the National Orientation Agency (NOA) in Kaduna State, Elisha Meck Sabo, urged the residents of the state to be security conscious and be politically alert ahead of the polls.

He disclosed that the agency has deployed staff to all the 255 wards of Kaduna to enlighten the public on the need to maintain law and order during the election.

Kaduna residents on their part have also expressed satisfaction with the progress made so far in the distribution of PVCs. Some of them also told Channels Television that they were ready to vote for their choice candidates.

With the level of preparation by INEC and the commission’s assurance to conduct a hitch free election, residents expressed optimism about the forthcoming elections.

According to them, they would be holding the commission accountable to its promise.

NDDC Set To Empower Niger Delta Youths

The empowerment programme of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) will get a boost soon as the commission is set to release various equipment and tools to the youths of the Niger Delta.

The Acting Managing Director, Dr. Christy Atako announced this shortly after inspecting warehouses in Port Harcourt. She said that the various items kept in the stores would be released to the appropriate groups as a means of empowering them.

The aim of the inspection, according to her, would help the interim management to take informed decisions that would reposition the interventionist agency to increase the tempo of its activities in providing sustainable development.

Having seen what was on ground, she promised that the management would take the necessary steps to facilitate the distribution of equipment and tools to the relevant groups in the region.

Samsung,LG Fined By China For LCD Price Fixing

Samsung and LG Electronics, along with four Taiwanese companies, have been fined by the government for jigging LCD screen prices between 2001 and 2006.

The secret negotiations held the prices of LCD screens artificially high, China’s National Development and Reform Commission found – affecting the manufacture of phones, laptops, TVs and other devices for which they are a crucial component.

China’s National Development and Reform Commission imposed fines totaling 353 million yuan ($56m) on the six South Korean and Taiwanese LCD makers, the Wall Street Journal reported.

All six companies are under investigation for the same behaviour from the European Union, which imposed levies in 2010 and in the US, where a series of different cases are ongoing.

The Commission said that a total of 5.15 million LCD panels connected to the price-fixing case were sold in mainland China.

Samsung’s 101 million yuan penalty ($16m) is pocket change to the company that last year had a market capitalization of over $200bn. According to the Wall Street Journal, the fines would have been higher but because the price-fixing occurred before international antitrust legislation was passed in China, the companies could only be prosecuted under domestic legislation, which can impose only smaller fines.

LG Electronics landed the highest fine: 118 million yuan ($19m).

Innolux Corp, AU Optronics Corp, Chungwa Picture Tubes Ltd, and HannStar Display Corp all received lesser fines. Innolux was fined 94.41 million yuan ($15.15m), AU Optronics 21.89 million yuan ($3.51m), Chungwa Pictures received a 16.2 million fine ($2.6m) and HannStar Display was ordered to pay 240,000 yuan ($39,000).