A legal practitioner, Robert Obhafuoso, has called on Nigerians to commend INEC Chairman, Attahiru Jega for accepting responsibility for the lapses encountered at the Anambra governorship election, particularly in the case of the electoral officer who is under investigation for sabotaging the process in Idemili North.
Speaking on Sunrise Daily, Mr Obhafuoso accused politicians of contributing to the furore which arose following the election which the Commission said was ‘inconclusive.’
Obhafuoso, who commended Jega and sympathaised with him, explained that elections at the National level had only been conducted four times in Nigeria and no election can be perfect, because humans are involved in the process.
He said that judging by former elections conducted in Ondo, Adamawa and Edo States, it was typical for politicians to criticise the Chairman of the electoral umpire, INEC, when the process seemed not to favour them.
According to him, the hullabaloo trailing the recent election is “a calculated attempt by politicians to get what they want by all means and at all costs.”
“As a matter of fact, we have to give kudos it to Jega, for accepting responsibility for the INEC official who was indicted in the case of corruption.
Obhafuoso also played down the magnitude of the issue of missing names in the register and said that the parties were to blame for not conducting a proper check on the updated register which was presented to them three days to the election.
He alleged that it was possible that those affected registered twice.
The strike action embarked upon by health workers in Federal Government owned hospitals across the country, under the Joint Health Sector Workers Union is already having effect at the Federal Medical Centre, Owo in Ondo State.
A visit by Channels Television to the hospital revealed that the usual activities and movement of people in and out of the premises is almost totally absent.
The Staff involved in the strike action include Nurses, Medical Laboratory Scientists and Pharmacists.
Though, Medical Doctors are not part of the strike action.
There are some Doctors working in the hospital while colleagues from other hospitals in the Stat, under the State Chapter of the Nigeria Medical Association, gathering to hold a meeting on the strike issue.
All efforts made by Channels Television to speak with the representatives of the striking health workers failed, two of them who spoke with us said they were busy and not ready to speak to us on the matter.
Also, the management of the hospital was not around to grant our crew interview; and we were not allowed into the wards.
The Minister of Information and Communications Technology, Mrs. Omobola Johnson on Thursday identified ICT as the fastest growing sector of the Nigerian economy.
She also added that “there are still tremendous opportunities for growth, job and wealth creation which various Stakeholders in the sector can tap into”.
The Minister stated this in her keynote address at the meeting of the National Council on Communication Technology holding in Akure, Ondo State Capital.
She noted that the Council acts as a consultative body for the Governments of the Federation in matters pertaining to ICT with a view to achieving some degree of uniformity in the sector.
Ondo state governor, Olusegun Mimiko in his opening speech commended the efforts of the Minister in ICT development.
He however called for the bridging of the gap of access to ICT between the rural and the urban populace as well as the poor and the affluent in the society.
Goodwill messages were delivered by few key Stakeholders at the meeting, including the Chairman House of Representative Committee on ICT, Hon Oyetunde Ojo and the President of Nigeria Computer Society, Prof David Adewumi.
Ondo State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Dayo Adeyanju in a chat with Channels television explained some of the areas in which ICT has been applied in the State’s health sector.
This is the second meeting of the National Council on Communication Technology, coming after the first and inaugural meeting which was held in Abuja last year.
The National Council on Communication Technology is a forum for interaction of Stakeholders in Information and Communication Technology in Nigeria.
The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has ratified and approved three United Nations Conventions for domestication and operation in the country.
The conventions are the Prevention and Punishment of Crimes against Internationally Protected Persons; International Convention against the Taking of Hostages and that of the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings.
While briefing State House Correspondents after the meeting, the Minister of Information, Mr Labaran Maku said that the memos for the ratification of the convention were brought to the council by the ministry of foreign affairs for approval.
Over N123 billion road contracts was also approved, while the full operation of rail transportation is said to commence fully within major city in the country by next year.
The Minister of Works, Mr. Mike Onolememen said the contracts will focus on the reconstruction of section two phase two of the Oshodi –Apapa Expressway with N14.9 billion.
He also said that the Mokwa-Bida Expressway in Niger state is a collaborative effort with the World Bank and will gulp N10.9 biilion, adding that the rehabilitation of the Akure-Ilesha Expressway in Ondo and Osun states will cost N7.39 billion.
The FEC also approved the purchase of 6 mobile sub stations in the power sector totaling N1.8 billion.
The Minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo said the substations will serve as substitutes when the need arises for both the existing power plants and the NIPP projects.
He also announces that seven out of the 10 NIPP projects are ready for commissioning
The Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF) led by Mr. Jonah Jang of Plateau state has appealed to the striking members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities to suspend the current industrial action in the interest of the nation.
The forum also reviewed the on-going constitutional amendment and constituted a five-man committee headed by the governor of Katsina state, Mr. Ibrahim Shema with a mandate to streamline the proposed amendment.
Vice Chairman of the forum and governor of Ondo state, Mr. Olusegun Mimiko who read the communique of the forum stressed the need for states to work towards reducing crude oil theft.
A security analyst, Mr Ona Ekhomu has called on the Joint Task Force to increase its operations in Edo state, where members of the terrorist group, Boko Haram, are hiding.
Speaking on Sunrise, Mr Ekhomu said that the insurgency has moved to the southern region of the country, into states like Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, Ondo and Edo. He added that Edo state is where the Ansaru factionof the insurgency, which was operating in Kogi, is now running into to escape law enforcement and JTF, he said.
That means “Edo ought to have a good JTF operation in place”.
A human rights activist, Razaq Oladosu, while speaking on the programme debunked claims that the insurgency declared a cease fire in honour of the Muslim fasting season.
Voicing his suspicions of certain people in government, who are using the situation against the Goodluck led administration, he said that it is just an effort to misinform and distract plans and strategy on ground because they know their days are numbered.
Mr Ekhomu also said that the government needs to control the violence until Boko Haram’s will to fight is down, afterwhich dialogue will be more effective.
Officers of the Ondo State Command of the Nigeria Police Force have re-arrested 54 out of the 175 prisoners who escaped from the Olokuta Medium Security Prison, Akure when some gunmen attacked the prison few days ago.
The Public Relations Officer of the Command, Mr. Wole Ogodo, who stated this in a statement, also denied a newspaper report that 10 travelers were shot and killed by the gunmen during the attack.
According to the Police Spokesperson “The attack on the prisons was carried out by some armed robbers mainly aimed at liberating some members of their gang who were in prison custody.
“No death was recorded either on the side of the security agents, inmate or any traveller.”
Meanwhile, security has been beefed up in Akure and its environs; and other towns such as Ondo, Idanre and Owo by security operatives who have launched a search party for the prisoners still at large.
President Goodluck Jonathan has said that the current security situation in the Niger Delta region is a top priority of his administration as they are working to deepen the foundations of durable and mutually beneficial peace.
President Jonathan who was represented by Vice President Namadi Sambo made this known at the Inauguration of the National Council on Niger Delta, held at Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State Capital.
The Vice President was present at the Stakeholders’ first National Council on Niger Delta which was organised by the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs.
Pertinent issues bothering on the security and development challenges facing the Niger Delta were discussed at the event which was attended by experts, technocrats, traditional rulers, the Civil Society.
Governors Olusegun Mimiko of Ondo state and his Delta state counterpart, Emmanuel Uduaghan as well as the Secretary to the Cross River State government, Mike Aniah were present at the ceremony.
Top on the deliberations was the consideration of implementation of the Niger Delta Action Plan, by the administration of President Jonathan, to compliment the specific commitments contained in the Amnesty Programme.
The president said he believes that the action plan will be of great relevance and will serve as a coherent programme for investments in the social and infrastructure sectors of the various communities of the region, thereby encouraging participation.
He went on to call for active support and collaboration of major stakeholders in the oil and gas industry, development partners, states, communities and specialized interest groups partner the region for a new reinforced phase of effective development in the Niger Delta.
Speaking at the event, Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Godswill Akpabio disclosed that, the people of the Niger Delta region have in the past being relegated to the background in terms of development in the midst of abundant human and natural resources.
He advocated for the non-inclusion of the Niger Delta Development Commission as a parastatal under the Ministry, noting that the region deserves an agency solely headed by its people.
12 persons including a pregnant woman were confirmed dead in two separate auto crashes which occurred at about 8 o’clock on Monday night in Igbado town along the Ondo-Ore Expressway.
One of the accidents involved a truck loaded with plantain with registration number LAGOS XA 200 GND going to Lagos and an 18-seater Toyota Hiace bus with registration number OSUN XD 982 GNN heading towards Ondo town in the opposite direction.
Several occupants of the vehicles were burnt beyond recognition while others sustained various degrees of injuries.
Commenting on the incident, the Ondo town unit Commander of the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), Mr. Gabriel Folawe who supervised the rescue operation informed Channels Television that he got a distress call concerning the incident in his office at about 8.30pm in the evening of yesterday and immediately rushed there to rescue the victims.
The second accident which occurred along the same route few hours later, involved a truck loaded with liquor drinks that veered off the road while four other vehicles were crushed.
The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved a loan facility of $77.73 million to support urban water projects for Lagos and Cross River states.
Briefing State House correspondents after the council meeting, minister of information, Mr. Labaran Maku said the loan granted by the International Development Agency (IDA) is been given on a concessionary ground to the two states to rehabilitate urban water works.
While Cross River state will take $43.92 million, Lagos will take $33.83 million.
FEC also approved a contract for the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) to commence the rehabilitation of the ECOWAS parliament building located in theAsokoro District of the FCT. The facility which is said to have gone into a state of disrepair was awarded to the Julius Berger to the tune of N3.43 billion.
A contract for the construction of what it called a “strategic road” linking Sagbemi-Kiribo-Gada-Egbekigbo in Ondo state at the cost of N3.55 billion was also approved by the council. The road which is a 23 kilometer stretch is part of the post amnesty projects of the Niger Delta Ministry.
Apart from holding the council meeting in the First Lady’s conference room, the president used the opportunity to receive the trophies and plaques Nigerian nurses and midwives won in a recent Maternal and Child Health Competition held in India.
FEC apologized for the poor quality of telecommunication operators in the country and promised to raise sanctions for defaulting operators.
Apart from the contracts approved, the federal executive council is to spend another N454 million for the augmentation of the contract on the Ibadan-Ilorin road while the rehabilitation of the service lane on the Niger Bridge will cost N2.393 billion.
The Benin-ore expressway which was closed by the joint military and police patrol to prevent entry into Ondo state during the governorship election has been re-opened.
Earlier, Deputy Corp officer enlightenment of the Federal Road Safety Corp (FRSC), Bisi Kasim had said the closure was to forestall any movement into the area by people who have nothing to do with the election.
With this development, motorists who had been advised by the road safety to ply alternative routes can now use the Benin-Ore expressway.
Previous report:Dozens of passengers stranded as police close Benin-Ore expressway
As earlier forewarned, the joint military and police patrol unit in Ondo state on Saturday morning closed the Benin-Ore expressway to prevent entry into the state during the governorship elections.
The three main contenders for the top seat at the Alagbaka Government House are the incumbent governor, Olusegun Mimiko (Labour Party); Rotimi Akeredolu (Action Congress of Nigeria); and Olusola Oke (Peoples Democratic Party).
In a telephone interview, the Deputy Corp officer Enlightenment of the Federal Road Safety Corp (FRSC), Bisi Kasim told Channels Television that the closure is to forestall movement into the state by people who have nothing to do with the election.
He expressed displeasure that despite earlier warnings, there are still a lot of stranded passengers and motorists who are attempting to beat the blockade at the Oni Paraga area in the Ondo axis of the expressway.
One of the angry motorists questioned the rationale behind the closure of the road asking “How can the whole of South-South and South-East be bedridden and imprisoned because of one state election?”
“We have been held up for over 2hours now at the same spot at the border between ondo state and ogun state at the sagamu benin express way,” a passenger posted on Nairaland forum, a social media plateform.
In the meantime the FRSC have advised motorists to ply alternative routes such as the Lagos/Ibadan/Ilesha/Ekiti/Kabba/Okene or Abuja/Okene/Kabba/Omuo/Ibadan.
The Governors of Edo, Delta, Ekiti and Ondo on Thursday rejected the announcement of Vigeo Power Distribution as the successful bidder for the Benin Distribution Company by the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE).
The states are investors in the Southern Electricity Distribution Company which lost out in the bidding process.
The Chairman of the Technical Committee, National Council on Privatisation (NCP), Atedo Peterside, had on Tuesday during the opening of the commercial bids of the privatization of Power Holding Company of Nigeria, announced Vigeo as the successful bidder claiming the committee adopted Aggregate Technical Commercial and Collection loss Reduction as the basis for choosing the preferred bidder for the Benin Distribution Company.
In a press briefing after the announcement, Governors Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State, Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta State and Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State, told journalists that the process that led to the emergence of Vigeo Consortium lacks transparency.
It accused NCP of not judging by necessary parameters which include; technical competence, state participation, on the ground knowledge and financial competence.
The governors said: “States were allowed to participate in the privatization exercise after exhaustive deliberations and consequent recognition of the value that the states were uniquely positioned to add to the success of the post privatization utilities mostly in the troubled areas particularly, the Niger Delta Region. Some of these include Right of Way, rural electrification, legislation against theft and vandalism, policing to improve collection.
“Our states have invested heavily in power generation, transmission and distribution across the length and breadth of our respective states as we recognized the importance of power as the pre-condition for socio-economic growth and industrialization of our states.
“We participated and came out as the most technically competent and have the consortium that is most suited to the peculiarities of our region.’’
“In our region, you cannot succeed in operating the utility without the participation of the state governments, on ground knowledge and relationship with different stakeholders such as youths, communities, leadership. Our consortium possesses all theses. Experts have said that Aggregate Technical Commercial and Collection losses as the singular basis for selecting the preferred bidder after qualifying technically was completely flawed. It is neither here nor there. It is simply arithmetic progression or statement which does not in any way demonstrate your ability to succeed post privatization.
On the question of whether the governors were considering litigation to restrain the BPE and the successful bidder, Governor Adams Oshiomhole responded that the company would not be allowed to operate in the states.
He added that “The technical qualification criteria also failed to take into consideration the peculiarities of the various discos, otherwise why would a company whose current service territory is 500 square kilometre be technically qualified to operate a 57,000 kilometre service territory in an area like the Niger Delta region without any local knowledge of this trouble area?
“BPE just allocated to companies that have big figures, you don’t reduce power to patronage, something you give to the boys, who are connected. It is a big shame. The whole process was riddled with corruption. The winner isn’t welcomed into our states; we will not allow it to operate in our state. He may be the one to go to court.