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Election : Ad hoc staff “ll be taken through nitty gritty of BVAS – INEC

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As the INEC is making finishing touches to the conduct of general elections, the commission says all ad hoc staff will be taken through the nitty gritty of Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) and all the electioneering processes.

Newsmen reports that BVAS is an electronic device designed by INEC to read Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) and authenticate voters through the voters’ fingerprints to prove their eligibility to vote at a particular polling unit.

In an interview with Newsmen, in Ibadan, on Thursday, Dr Mutiu Agboke, the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Osun State, maintained that ad hoc job for the forthcoming general elections was so special.

“Not just for corps members, but for those who are going to serve as supervising polling officers and collation officers.

“Everyone must be outstanding in the job, as the commission is not going to tolerate anybody sabotaging the election processes for us.

“We are going to train and retrain all ad hoc staff, organised refresher courses for them, all these will enhance the election processes to achieve success,” he said.

Agboke added there was Code of Conduct for the election which all the ad hoc staff would sign, saying anyone that did contrary to it shall face the wrath of law.

On security, the Osun REC said the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) in each state met regularly for the purpose of curtailing criminal excesses before, during and after elections.

According to him, members of ICCES are the Police, NSCDC, ICPC and EFCC.

“ICCES are going to be on the lookout, not just the buyers and sellers of votes but those who would come to the pulling units with third party PVC.

“The commission will continue to collaborate with security agencies because they have to secure us and protect election materials while INEC mandate is to conduct, supervise and ensure that there is a credible process,” he said.

Agboke added that the commission also incorporated National Orientation Agency (NOA) and National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) into its doing.

The REC further said that the commission would soon conduct mock accreditation across the country before the general elections.

According to him, the exercise will be done at selected polling units to ascertain the performance of the BVAS.

“We have used BVAS in some of our by-elections and off season governorship elections.

“But in the wisdom of the commission, it decided that the new technology of BVAS has to be test-run, look at the way it will perform since the commission has not used it during general elections.

” This will make us know whether its efficiency is still guaranteed or otherwise.

“So the commission will announce the date for the exercise soon, it has picked the senatorial districts, local governments, wards and polling units where the mock accreditation will be held,” he explained.

He further reiterated that INEC was not ready to postpone or cancel the forthcoming general elections.

He said the elections would hold, “notwithstanding any challenge or challenges, we are going to have the general elections by God’s grace”.

On other preparations by the commission, Agboke said INEC in various states “are engaging political parties on how to make campaign violence-free.

“Collection of PVCs is still ongoing; we have returned to local government areas and we urge owners of uncollected PVCs to come out for collection.

“PVC is crucial and vital in this forthcoming general elections, as no one without it would be allowed to vote, in addition, no accreditation through the BVAS no voting”.

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Kwara Assembly passed 9 bills, 20 motions in one year — Speaker

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Speaker of Kwara House of Assembly, Yakubu Danladi-Salihu, on Thursday said nine bills and 20 motions were passed by the Assembly in the last one year of its 10th legislature.

The Speaker, during the first anniversary of the 10th legislature under his leadership, said eight other bills were also undergoing legislative processes.

“They are at various stages of scaling passage in the House,” he said.

The 10th legislature of the state House was inaugurated early June 2023 after a proclamation.

The bills passed in the last one year include the Kwara State Education Trust Fund (Amendment) Bill, 2023 and the Revised Appropriation (2023) Bill, 2023.

Others are the Kwara State Environmental Protection Agency (Amendment) Bill, 2023; Kwara State Local Government Electoral (Amendment) Bill, 2023; and Kwara State Rural Access Roads Agency Bill, 2023.

The remaining bills passed include the Kwara State Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Agency (Amendment); and State Roads Fund and Administration Bill, 2023.

The rest are the Kwara State University Teaching Hospital (Establishment) Bill, 2024 and Kwara State University of Education (Establishment) Bill, 2024.

The Speaker however said the House has been enjoying a harmonious working relationship with the other arms of government in the past one year.

He added that Gov. AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq deserves appreciation for the prompt attention accorded the resolutions of the House when transmitted to him.

Danladi-Salihu noted that the governor has allowed the independence of the three arms of government to be firmly rooted in the state.

“The cordial relationship that exists among the arms of government is paying off in the state, and we the lawmakers envisage the same hand of fellowship from Gov. AbdulRazaq in subsequent legislative years,” the Speaker said.

He stated that the House also introduced new ideas into the conduct of legislative business without sacrificing the norms for innovation.

“For the record, in the first session, the 10th Assembly has as of date at the committee of the whole house considered a total number of nine landmark reports which emanated from different standing and ad-hoc committees of the House.

“These reports which generated robust debates on the floor, and on which resolutions were made in line with transparency, equity and accountability, have significantly assisted in reshaping governance in the state,” Danladi-Salihu noted.

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Senate passes 25 bills in 1 year

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The Senate has passed 25 out of the 447 bills introduced on its floor  since the  inauguration of the 10th Senate in 2023.

Senate Leader, Mr Opeyemi Bamidele, who disclosed this in Abuja on Thursday, also said that the upper chamber adopted 115 resolutions .

He said  the 25 bills fully passed into law, comparatively, accounted for 5.24 per cent of the entire bills introduced within the timeframe.

According to him, aside from the 25 fully enacted pieces of legislation, no fewer than 275 bills (57.65 per cent) were read for the  first time within the timeframe.

“About 135 (28.32 per cent) awaiting first reading; 45 (9.43 per cent) awaiting the second reading; 43 (9.02 per cent) currently at the committee stage and three bills (0.63 per cent) were refused on different grounds.

He added that while only 13 (2.73 per cent) of the total bills originated from the executive arm, 464 (97.27 per cent) were private member bills.

“Apart from the bills, the Senate arrived at 115 resolutions, which are far-reaching in consequence; profound in their significance to our economic development and strategic to the cohesion, growth and stability of our nation.

“Each of these resolutions arose from motions of national importance, which different distinguished senators sponsored after due diligence was conducted.” he said.

According to him, the Senate also received and treated petitions from members of the public on diverse matters of grave concern within the timeframe.

“In spite of time constraint, 50 of the public petitions were successfully and satisfactorily resolved.

“The Senate equally screened and confirmed 215 nominees for different political offices at the request of President Bola Tinubu and in accordance with Section 147 (2-6) of the 1999 Constitution and other Acts of the National Assembly.

“Among others, the confirmations include key appointments into the Federal Executive Council, Board of the Central Bank of Nigeria and the leadership of the Nigeria Armed Forces, Nigeria Police Force.

“Nigerian Immigration Service, Nigeria Customs Service, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission,” he said .

He explained that the confirmations were key to national development and speeded up the process of forming or constituting the national government at a very critical time when the economy was struggling to stay afloat.

“National security under threat and internal cohesion was seriously gasping for fresh breath.

“Already, the first year has passed by and we have decisively addressed issues of strategic national interest with utmost priority,” he said.

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Pensioners name Gov. Yusuf as Outstanding Governor of the Year

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The leadership of the Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP) has named the Governor of Kano State, Alhaji Abba Kabir Yusuf, the title of the most pensioner-friendly Governor of the year.

Presenting the award  to the Governor, the National chairman of the Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP), Mazi Godwin Ikechuku Abumisi, expressed that it was incumbent upon the union to acknowledge the Governor due to his steadfast dedication to the welfare of pensioners in the state.

“Your Excellency, you shine brightly as a beacon of support to our members. Over the past year, you have authorised and disbursed eleven billion naira to clear the backlog of pension gratuity payments.

“This milestone is unparalleled; no other governor has accomplished such a feat within a single year since the restoration of democracy in Nigeria.”

In their messages of goodwill earlier, the state chairmen of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and the Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP) in Kano expressed gratitude to the Governor for his unwavering commitment to addressing the pension liabilities amounting to N43 billion left by the previous administration.

Responding to the honour, Governor Abba Kabir Yusuf reiterated his unwavering dedication to supporting pensioners by the settlement of their gratuities and the timely disbursement of monthly pension allowances.

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