Presidency Denies PDP’s Claim Of Plans To Rig Kogi Election

Garba-ShehuThe Presidency in Nigeria has denied an opposition party’s claim that it plans to rig the forthcoming governorship election in Kogi State in favour of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had raised an alarm on Sunday over what it called plots by the ruling party and the Presidency to rig the elections in favour of the APC.

In response to the statement of the PDP, a spokesman for the President, Mr Garba Shehu, said that the PDP’s claim was false, insisting that the opposition party was determined to destroy all national institutions.

“They have done this for 16 years and having now lost power to the APC, President Muhammadu Buhari has said strongly that national institutions have been destroyed by strong persons.

“The PDP has attacked the court system in Nigeria. They have tried to destroy the EFFC. They have been attacking the police and other institutions,” Mr Shehu stated.

Electoral Theft

In the 11-paragraph statement by the National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Olisa Metuh, the opposition party said it had incontrovertible records of secret meeting between the Presidency and the INEC leadership as well as some top security officers and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, on arrangements to take over Kogi State.

But President Muhammadu Buhari’s spokesman reiterated that the President had a duty to ensure that the nation was governed very well.

“He has a duty to make sure that national institutions do their duties in line with the constitution. He had called a meeting specifically to warn INEC and the police against the coming elections in Kogi and Bayelsa that they must not do anything that is untoward. He had told them that he expected nothing short of a free, fair and credible election.

“The President said that he had suffered electoral theft in 2003, 2007 and 2011 and he made it clear that he would not want any Nigerian to go through what he went through in the past,”Mr Shehu said, giving a brief of a meeting between President Buhari, INEC and security agencies held on Sunday.

He quoted President Buhari as saying that he was ready and prepared to take all actions against anybody or institution that harasses or intimidates electorates in the upcoming elections in Kogi and Bayelsa States.

 

New INEC Chairman Pledges To Hold Credible Elections

Mahmood-Yakubu-InecThe new Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Nigeria, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, has promised to consolidate on the gains of the commission by conducting credible elections.

Speaking in Abuja on Monday shortly after taking over the affairs of the commission from its Acting Chairman, Mrs Amina Zakari, Professor Yakubu assured Nigerians that the commission would be guided by the constitution and the Electoral Act in the conduct of all elections.

“Mr President, we pledge our commitment to the discharge of our responsibilities without fear or favour.

“Free, fair and credible election is at the heart of our nation’s progress and stability. We shall not fail the nation,” he said.

Also speaking at the handing over ceremony, the former Acting Chairman said the commission was already prepared for the conduct of the Kogi and Bayelsa governorship elections.

During the swearing in of Professor Yakubu, President Buhari pledged to respect the independence of the electoral body and promised to give the commission all the support it may need.

The President said that a situation where people hide under technicalities to deny the citizens their rights was unacceptable. He called on state governments to make their electoral bodies work for the benefit of all.

INEC Releases Names Of Candidates For Kogi, Bayelsa Elections

Permanent_Voters_Cards_CollectionThe Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has made public all the governorship candidates and their running mates for the Kogi and Bayelsa elections.

The electoral commission on Monday declared that 22 candidates would be contesting in Kogi State while 20 have been confirmed for Bayelsa State on the platform of their different registered political parties

The Kogi State election is slated for 21 November while Bayelsa election is scheduled for 5 December, 2015.

Some of the top contenders in the Kogi governorship race include the incumbent and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Captain Idris Wada, who will be in a tough race with a former Governor and the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Abubakar Audu.

Philips Salawu, a former Deputy Governor to the immediate past Governor of the state, Ibrahim Idris, is the candidate of the Labour Party.

In Bayelsa State, the incumbent Governor, Seriake Dickson, will fly the PDP flag, while a former Governor, Timipre Sylva, is the APC flag bearer and Moses Siasia of the PDM are top contenders in the race.

PDP Inaugurates Campaign Committees For Kogi, Bayelsa Polls

pdpAhead of the governorship elections in Kogi and Bayelsa states in November and December, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has inaugurated two separate campaign committees to mobilise and manage funds for the polls.



The Acting National Chairman of the PDP, Mr. Uche Secondus, who inaugurated the committees, said that the party was on the path to victory, having conducted credible primaries in the states since inception. This is besides mobilizing funds for the campaigns.

The Senate Minority Leader, Senator Ike Ekweremadu and the party’s Board of Trustees Chairman, Mr Haliru Mohammed, are the chairmen of the committees for Kogi and Bayelsa respectively.

Hydrological Services Agency Issues Flood Alert

floodThe Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA) has issued a flood alert to communities on the shores of River Niger and River Benue.

In a statement signed by the Director General of the Agency, Dr Moses Beckley, the agency said that communities in‎ Niger, Anambra, Taraba, Nasarawa, Kebbi, Sokoto, Adamawa, Kogi and Benue States will experience flood due to the latest release of water from the Lagdo and Kainji dams.

The agency advised the affected communities to relocate to avoid the 2012 incident, where lives and properties were destroyed by flood.

Kogi Police Parade Suspected Robbers, Kidnappers

PoliceThe Police in Kogi State have paraded nine persons suspected to be behind the recent armed robbery and kidnapping incidents in the Okene and Lokoja axis.

The State Commissioner of Police, Emmanuel Ojukwu, while briefing newsmen, said that the suspects include a seven-man robbery gang whose members were arrested at different places.

While parading them at the Police Headquarters in Lokoja, Ojukwu said that two members of the gang, Muhammed Yusuf and Abdulrahim Sani were arrested while on a robbery operation on Eika- Itae road.

He stated further that one Suleiman Abdulazeez was also found to be in possession of 207 temporary voters cards which he was yet to explain.

The CP then warned those planning to cause trouble during the Kogi governorship election to desist, noting that the hands of the law would catch up with them.

INEC Assures Kogi Residents Of Free, Fair Election

inecThe Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said it is poised to conduct free, fair and credible Governorship election in Kogi State.

The State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Hussein Halilu Pai disclosed this while briefing journalists on the activities of the commission ahead of the governorship election in the state, adding that the lessons learned from  previous elections will be used in raising the bar during the forth coming Governorship election.

In his briefing to journalists the State Resident Electoral Commissioner, said  about 10 data capturing machines will be distributed  in each of the 21 Local Government Area offices to be manned by two personnel, adding that the distribution of Permanent Voters Cards would soon commence for those that could not  collect before the 2015 elections.

He stressed further that the commission will use the Kogi election to display improved processes and rigor, while noting that those registered will have their cards printed out and voters transfer will also be supported.

PDP Confident Ahead of Kogi, Bayelsa Polls

pdpAhead of the Governorship elections in Kogi and Bayelsa States, the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said they have reviewed their strategy for the primaries to be open for participation, free and fair.

The acting chairman of the party, Mister Uche Secondus told journalists in Abuja after a Caucus meeting of the party’s Chieftains that the PDP will be a party to beat during the elections in the two states.

Meanwhile the Party’s Board of Trustees Chairman, Mister Haliru Mohammed says the party is also making plans to harness resources ahead of  the 2019 general elections.

INEC Assures Of Credible Elections In Kogi, Bayelsa

INEC Chairmanm, Amina ZakariThe Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is giving assurances that the governorship elections holding in Kogi and Bayelsa States about three months from now would be free and fair.

The Acting Chairman of INEC, Amina Zakari, told Channels Television’s correspondent, Gbenga Ashiru in Abuja that everything has been put in place to ensure a hitch-free exercise.

“We do a by-election within a month with the time we get information from the National Assembly if there’s a vacancy, but this is about three months/four months.

“I think we’ve been adequately prepared and remember, we just came out of the national election and we have already met some purchases of some non-sensitive materials. What is remaining for us is to put our acts together,” she said.

The Acting Chairman also commented on the controversy surrounding her appointment.

She said, “I think we should not distract ourselves from the issues at hand. I have been in the commission, I’m a National Commissioner.

“I passed through the Senate screening to become a National Commissioner and by virtue of that, I am appointed Acting Chairman in the commission, so there shouldn’t have been much controversy. But be it as it may, I have a job to do and I am set out to do that job,” she added.

Group Urges PDP Not To Cancel Kogi Ward Congress

pdpA group under the aegis of Wada solidarity group has appealed to the party’s National Working Committee not to cancel  the ward congress election conducted in the state “if they don’t want to lose the governorship election”.

The spokesperson for the group, Yahaya Karaku, made the appeal in Lokoja while addressing party members after their protest to Abuja was stopped by Governor Idris Wada.

He said the appeal became necessary in order not to lose the state to the opposition.

Yakubu Adamson also spoke on behalf of the Central Senatorial District. He described the action of the so called politicians in diaspora as ‘impunity’ which he warned should be curtailed

Governor Wada appealed to the group to be calm, noting that the issue was already receiving attention from the National Working Committee.

The Governor said he was in Abuja to state reasons the ward congress election should not be cancel.

The group has promised to throw there weight to the opposition if the ward congress election was canceled, stressing the need for an amicable solution.

No Bailout For State Governors Owing Salaries

Buhari_Governors

The meeting between President Muhammadu Buhari, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and the 36 state governors on how to offset over 100 billion Naira salaries of Nigerian workers ended without an offer of a bailout plan by the Federal Government to the States.

At the end of the meeting held on Tuesday, the Governors were only able to reach an agreement that the Federal Government should pay debts it owed the states over jobs they executed.

Zamfara State Governor and chairman of the Governors Forum, Abdullaziz Yari, who briefed reporters after the meeting, said that instead of a bailout, the state governments were told to look inwards and generate needed funds to clear their debts.

Poor Management Of The Economy

The State Governors also requested that the Nigerian Liquefied Gas Company’s tax should be paid into the Federation Account and be shared.

They also asked the Federal Government to ensure that monies accruing from the Federation Account should be shared, as stipulated by the constitution.

It is the first time the President will be meeting with the Governors to find a solution to the financial crisis that has made no fewer than 22 of the states owe salaries to their workers to the tune of 100 billion Naira (about $5,000,000).

The Nigerian Governors, whose lot has always been to come to Abuja to share in the Federation Account, through their chairman said they were pleased to meet with the President but that it was beyond a bailout as reported.

After a meeting of the All Progressives Congress Governors Forum last week, the chairman of the forum, Governor Rochas Okorocha, called for a bailout for states which have been unable to pay workers’ salaries.

He said that the current situation was a product of poor management of the economy.

“On the economy of the nation, we are concerned and worried by the dwindling revenue of the states which today has affected negatively, the lives of our people.

“The matter has become so serious that urgent action must be taken for a bailout for the states, as things are not getting better either.

“We have sat down to review steps that should be taken and we are calling for total overhaul of the system to block all the leakages in our nation’s economy,” Governor Okorcha said.

Other issues in the front burner include how to curb insurgency in Bornu, Yobe and Adamawa states and what the president is doing in collaboration with the international community.

The Governors also expressed concerns over the decision to dismantle military check points, stressing that it was not the right time for such decision.

Some of the governors present include those of Nasarawa, Imo, Gombe, Benue, Delta, Niger, Kano, Katsina, Zamfara, Kogi, Borno, Jigawa, Rivers, Ogun, Kebbi, Kwara, Taraba, Ekiti, Ondo, Kaduna, Oyo, Osun, Edo, Anambra, Sokoto, Ebonyi, Lagos, Adamawa, Cross Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Yobe, Plateau (Deputy), Bayelsa (Deputy).

SERAP Drags Government To ILO Over Unpaid Workers’ Salaries

SERAPThe thorny issue of unpaid workers continues to make the headlines with the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) dragging state governments and the Federal Government to the International Labour Organisation (ILO).

The organisation said that the complaint was brought pursuant to Articles 26-34 of the ILO Constitution.

SERAP is asking the ILO to establish without delay, a commission of inquiry to examine the systematic and non-observance of Convention No 29 on forced labour and other international standards on the right of workers to timely payment of salaries.

SERAP’s Complaint

”SERAP is seriously concerned that several state governments and the Federal Government of Nigeria are failing and/or refusing to pay workers’ salaries and pensioners’ entitlements, amounting to billions of dollars in arrears. The state governments that have failed and/or refused to pay workers’ salaries and pensioners’ entitlements include: Osun, Rivers, Oyo, Ekiti, Kwara, Kogi, Ondo, Plateau, Benue, and Bauchi states.

SERAP argues; ”The failure and/or refusal of state governments and Federal Government to pay workers’ salaries and allowances and pensioners’ entitlements is a clear violation of the right to work recognized by various ILO instruments and Article 6 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, to which Nigeria is a state party. The right to work is essential for realizing other human rights and forms an inseparable and inherent part of human dignity.

”The Failure of states to pay workers’ salaries is tantamount to penalising them, and as the International Labour Organization has ruled, menace penalty amounts to forced labour and economic exploitation. This is because the workers have not offered themselves to work without pay.”

They also said: ”The failure to pay workers’ salaries amount to a fundamental breach of the obligation to ensure the absence of forced labour and economic exploitation, and guarantee workers’ remuneration so as to provide an income allowing workers to support themselves and their families. The right to work contributes to the survival of the individual and to that of his/her family, and to his/her development and recognition within the community. Therefore, by failing to pay workers’ salaries, the state governments in Nigeria have violated the right of the workers to live in dignity.

”There is absolutely no justification why state governments or the Federal Government in Nigeria should not pay workers’ salaries. In fact, international law provides that workers’ salaries must be paid even in times of severe resource constraints, as disadvantaged and marginalized individuals and groups must be protected by the adoption of targeted programmes to ensure that they live in dignity.

“The failure of the state governments and the Federal Government in Nigeria to pay workers’ salaries is as a result mismanagement of resources and corruption which under the Covenant amount to ‘deliberate retrogression’ in the protection of the right to work.

”While ordinary Nigerian workers and pensioners are routinely denied their salaries and entitlements, senior government officials continue to receive their salaries and live lavishly. This also clearly amounts to discrimination against workers on the grounds of national or social origin, or civil, political, social or other status, as it has the effect of impairing or nullifying exercise of the right to work on a basis of equality.

”The failure to pay workers’ salaries also violates Nigeria’s obligations to respect, protect and fulfil the right to work, including requiring state governments and Federal Government in Nigeria to refrain from interfering directly or indirectly with the enjoyment of that right and to adopt appropriate economic and budgetary measures to ensure timely payment of workers’ salaries and pensioners’ entitlements.

”The failure of state governments and Federal Government in Nigeria to pay workers’ salaries show that they are unwilling to use the maximum of their available resources through insufficient expenditure or misallocation of public funds, for the realization of the right to work in violation of their obligations under Article 6.

”The country’s justice system has proven highly inadequate to enforce the right of workers to timely remuneration and freedom from economic exploitation. The state governments and Federal Government of Nigeria have taken no effective measures to address the salary crisis in the country, and have in fact significantly downplayed it.”

SERAP also said that the right to work is essential for realizing other human rights and forms an inseparable and inherent part of human dignity.