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By-elections: INEC seeks NAF’s support for logistics delivery

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Monday,  support of the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) for election materials delivery.

The deliveries would be made to the North-East, South-East and the South-West geo-political zones of the country, for the Saturday, Feb. 3  rerun and by-elections.

The INEC Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu stated this when he visited the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Hassan Abubakar in Abuja , over  the  re-run and by-elections holding in 26 states of the federation.

Yakubu said the elections would fill vacancies in three Senatorial Districts, 17 Federal and 28 State Constituencies spread across 80 Local Government Areas.

He added that the elections holding in 575 Registration Areas/Wards and 8,934 Polling Units,  involved 4,904,627 registered voters out of which 4,613,291 Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs) had  been collected.

“In handling such a huge national assignment, the commission cannot do it alone. That is why we seek to mobilise every national asset, including NAF.

“It is in realisation of this objective that the law empowers the commission to seek the support of the security, intelligence and law enforcement agencies.

“The commission needs their support in the delivery of materials and the protection of election officials as clearly provided for in Section 27(3) of the Electoral Act 2022.

“The elections are holding on Saturday. Working with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), materials are being delivered to many locations.

“However, given the size and distance of some constituencies, we seek for the support of NAF to expeditiously deliver materials to the North-East, South-East and the South-West geo-political zones of the country.

“We have already indicated to the chief of the air staff,  the specific locations and the tonnage of materials to be airlifted.”

According to him, the evacuation of the materials from the focal airports to the states where election will hold will be handled by the commission and the CBN as has been the standard practice.

“Thereafter, the inspection and movement of all materials to the various local government areas and beyond will be done with the full participation of all stakeholders, particularly agents of political parties and candidates, observers and the media in a transparent manner,” he said.

Yakubu commended NAF for its cooperation in  security and logistic support  and  for the timely delivery of materials during the  general elections, off-cycle elections, by-elections, supplementary elections and rerun elections.

“I want to place on record the neutrality and professionalism of NAF in particular and armed forces in general in discharging your responsibilities.

“There has been no unhappy incidents or compromise on the part of your officers and airmen,” Yakubu said.

In his remarks, the CAS, Abubakar, assured INEC that the force would continue to support the commission to deliver credible elections to strengthen the country’s democracy.

Abubakar said the relationship between NAF and INEC had been anchored on shared objectives geared toward ensuring that good governance, stability and the rule of law reign throughout Nigeria.

The CAS described visit of Yakubu as a sign of commitment to strengthen the bonds between both organisations.

“The successful conduct of elections is largely hinged on robust security and well-choreographed logistics supply chain management.

“The NAF has been INEC’s dependable partner in providing security in addition to rapid airlift for the distribution of sensitive and non-sensitive electoral materials across the country.

“I assure you that we remain willing  and able and ready to continue supporting INEC as we have always done in the past.

“At the moment, our C-130s are currently undergoing maintenance but we have other aircraft that can be employed to move sensitive materials.

“The caveat is that we need to move those materials a little earlier due to the capacity of the airplanes which we have available,” he said.

Abubakar commended the contributions and numerous initiatives of INEC under Yakubu’s watch toward deepening of Nigeria’s democracy,  including serving as shining example for other nations of the world.

Some of the initiatives according to Abubakar include continuous voter registration, introduction of new technologies, voter education and sensitisation and post-election reviews.

“Another laudable milestone achieved was the Electoral Act of 2022, which introduced reforms aimed at more timely organisation of pre-electoral processes and increasing transparency in results collation and reporting.

“These and many more reforms have raised the bar of transparency and credibility in our electoral process.

“We thus join the chorus of voices commending your efforts and stand proud as friends of your esteemed organisation,” he said.

Abubakar said the success of Nigeria democracy had been underpinned by strong institutions such as  INEC, which worked  tirelessly to allow all citizens to enjoy the right to decide who should govern them in free and fair elections.

“The invaluable contributions of the INEC, distinguishes democracy as a form of governance unparalleled in its commitment to the people.

“Furthermore, it lends credence to the slogan that democracy is the best form of government known to man,” he said.

Abubakar, however, reminded the INEC chairman that there were some outstanding bills which were yet to be cleared, which Yakubu interjected “ but not from INEC”.

Yakubu said that the settlement of those bills would enable the force to serve INEC better.

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Ogun Govt sympathises with victims of Ado Odo/Ota over rainstorm destruction

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…’We’re in touch with IBEDC for prompt action’

Ogun State  Government said it  is in touch with the Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company (IBEDC) to ensure the immediate fixing of poles damaged as a result of rainstorm occasioned by Sunday’s downpour in some parts of Sango in Ado Odo/Ota Local Government Area of the state.

The government, in a statement signed by the Special Adviser on Media, Hon. Kayode Akinmade said a team from the state government was in the area on Monday to physically ascertain the extent of damage and to know how to engage with IBEDC, as well as sympathising with victims.

Akinmade noted the cables had not been energised before the destruction, which saved lots of lives.

“Our team went on physical site inspection of the affected area on Monday to ascertain the extent of the damage and to know how to engage with the IBEDC team.

“We are currently working with the IBEDC team led by the Regional Manager and the Technical Head for the Ogun Region. Some of the less affected feeders have been restored and energised while the clean-up of the most affected areas has already started.

“Most of the poles on the roads have been removed while the remaining will be taken out today (Wednesday). We are working with IBEDC to ensure there will be full restoration of power in Sango Ota before the week runs out.

“The government is not relenting in its effort to make sure that we restore power to Sango Ota and its environs and we can assure the citizens that we are on top on the matter.

“We, therefore, commiserate with those whose properties were destroyed by the fallen poles, as the government urged those living in the area to remain calm.”

Residents of lyana lyesi, Osuke Town, Egan Road, lyana Ilogbo, Ijaba, Ijagba, Itele, Lafenwa, Singer, Joju, Alishiba, Oju Ore, Tollgate, Eledi, Akeja, Abebi, Osi Roundabout, Ota Town, Ota Industrial Estate, Igberen, lju, Atan, Onipanu, Obasanjo, Lusada, Arigba, Odugbe, Ado-Odo, Igbesa, Owode. Olokuta, Hanushi, Bamtish Camp Lufiwape, Eltees Farm, August Engineering, Spark Cear Soap Ayetoro, Amazing Grace Oil, Christopher University, Royal Garden Estate were affected by the disaster.

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Ortom urges Alia to work with SGF for more democracy dividends in Benue

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By Titus Atondu, Makurdi

The former Governor of Benue State, Chief Samuel Ortom, has called on his successor, Governor Hyacinth Alia to work in synergy  with the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, (SGF), Sen George Akume for sustainable democracy dividends to the state.

 Ortom made the call in Makurdi  while speaking at the public lecture organised by his former aides on the occasion of his 63rd birthday.

Ortom described Sen George Akume as a true father, his leader and mentor and attributed all his achievements in life to the SGF.

He  also thanked Governor Hyacinth Alia for his good will message on his birthday and warned that Benue state has not had the position of SGF in the past and called on Governor Alia to embrace and work with him to enable the state to benefit from the position.

“Benue is our state, we have no other state and no one will come from anywhere to bring peace to Benue.

“Alia must sheathe his sword and find ways to work with the SGF so that all of us can enjoy the dividends of that position,” Ortom maintained.

He noted that elections were conducted and won, litigation were entered and God gave him victory saying, “It is his responsibility to do the needful so that Benue state will be at peace.”

Ortom expressed worry  that Benue is under siege and the governor alone or the SGF and himself cannot fight it alone without working collectively. He therefore noted that, “We are available if we are called upon to support or add value to the peace efforts of the government so that our people can live and enjoy the dividends of democracy.”

He  enjoined Benue people to pray for their leaders, Ortom said, “If I had my way, I would have given everyone the opportunity to be the Governor even in a few days.

“The challenges are enormous. You would not understand the challenges we go through but when you are there, you will understand the issues better.

“Nigeria is passing through very difficult times and that was what I was fighting against and I’m happy that people appreciated what we were doing,” he explained.

He appreciated his former appointees for organising the celebration of his 63 birthday anniversary in his honour.

“I’m very humbled by this special lecture on my 63 birthday celebration. This is not my first but this is the first time I’m witnessing a lecture and I must say that I’m pleased and enriched with all that was said here.

“I was taken unawares. You have made me know that I am appreciated. I thought I was used and dumped. I’m grateful to God for the eight years in office. I did everything with the fear of God, with equity, justice and fairness.

“I must have stepped on toes and those I know and those I didn’t know, I ask for forgiveness. I am humbled by this programme and further encouraged by your presence, kind words and prayers,” Ortom testified.

Guest Lecturer, Prof Samuel Aghalino, in the department of History and International Studies, University of Ilorin who is also the President Historical Society of Nigeria said, “Ortom was that Governor with a face cap. Anyone with a face cap is a revolutionary.

“Ortom played a significant role in extending politics beyond the borders of the state.

“He is one of the few politicians that stood in defense of his people, and was passionate in standing for human value while also demonstrating uncommon leadership.

“He was committed to the wellbeing of his people and stood vehemently, against the then government for murdering justice, fairness, equity and accountability, adding that Ortom expressed a rare readiness to cooperate with the investigations.

“He was a servant leader at a great cost to himself. At a time, during the Buhari administration, the doors of Aso Rock, the seat of power was shut against him for speaking the truth to power and holding the powerful accountable. I wonder how he survived.

“Ortom believes that politicians do not have to strive to be perfect to provide good governance to the people because only God is perfect. In his mind, you only have to love the people, therefore when it comes to democratic considerations, Ortom represents the school of thought that existence must take precedence over essence in governance.”

He said Ortom will be remembered by his people for the numerous things he has done and still doing.

Nigerian NewsDirect reports that the lecture was graced by prominent personalities like the former Attorney General of the federation and minister of Justice, Mike Aondakaa, Speaker, Plateau State House of Assembly, Gabriel Dewan, Member representing Apa-Agatu Federal Constituency, Pastor, Ojotu Ojema, Former Deputy Governor, Engr Benson Abounu, representatives of the Tor Tiv, Professor James Ayatse, Ter Gwer Dominic Akpete, the Ochidoma, Ogabaidu John Elaigwu represented by Dr Chris Ijale among others

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Katsina Gov. tasks corps members on nation building, cultism

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By Matthew Denis

The Governor of Katsina State, Mallam Dikko Umaru Radda has tasked National Youth Service Corps members deployed to the State for the one year national service to strive towards nation building.

This is contained in a statement signed by Director, Press and Public Relations, Eddy Megwa, to the governor and made available to journalists on Wednesday.

He also lauded the immense contributions of successive batches of corps members to the socio-economic development of Katsina State over the years, especially through corps members community development service projects and also increasing the manpower needs in schools and in the industrial sector across the State.

Governor Raddah disclosed this at the NYSC Katsina State Orientation Camp, while speaking through his Deputy, Alhaji Farouk Lawal Jobe during the swearing-in ceremony of the prospective corps members deployed to the State.

The Governor urged the corps members to embrace the opportunities of the orientation course to prepare themselves for leadership responsibilities.

“I challenge you to live up to the standard already set by your predecessors. It is my belief that the orientation lectures will stimulate you to strive for the socio-economic development of our country.

“I urge you to see the opportunity of your call to service as a rare opportunity and your commitment to the Oath of Allegiance to your fatherland”, he said.

He also advised the corps members to shun cultism, political and religious intolerance with other forms of anti-social behaviour.

The NYSC Katsina State Coordinator, Hajiya Aisha Muhammad in her address stated that the orientation course is the first among the cardinal programmes of the NYSC, which was designed to prepare corps members for the challenges of the service year and beyond.

She added that the orientation course, which is a regimented environment has over the years been able to inculcate in the youth, the spirit of positive citizenship, leadership values including the ideals of commitment to national assignment, patriotism, integrity, diligence and loyalty to the fatherland.

“I enjoin you to obey all camp rules and regulations as any erring corps member will be referred to the Camp court for appropriate sanctions in line with the provision of the NYSC by-laws,” She added.

The Coordinator also said a total of 1,410 prospective corps members comprising 715 males and 695 females were deployed to the State.

The Director General of National Youth Service Corps, Brigadier General YD Ahmed who was among the dignitaries that witnessed the swearing-in ceremony earlier in the day implored the corps members to take full advantage of the NYSC Skills Acquisition and Entrepreneurship Development (SAED) programme and acquire at least a skill while in camp.

The DG added that skills acquisition is the remedy to the increasing youth unemployment in the country.

General Ahmed who urged the corps members to be security conscious at all times also advised them to obey the cultural beliefs of their host communities.

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