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INEC chairman, ACF disagree on conversion of Voting Points Settlements to PUs



Laraba Raphael

Independent National  Electoral  Commission (INEC) has countered pan northern socio-cultural organization, Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) advise to convert existing Voting Points and Voting Point Settlements into Polling Units(PUs) as practical and immediate measures to decongest and expand voter access to Polling Units.

The Secretary-General of the ACF, Murtala Aliyu (Mutawallen Gombe) made this known following a presentation by the INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu.

The ACF members were unanimous that the Commission should use its powers in Section 42 of the Electoral Act (as amended) to create Polling Units.

The INEC Chairman disagreed, pointed out that even though the National Assembly had the power to make laws, it still held Public Hearings.

Professor Yakubu argued that creating Polling Units in the past by fiat and without sufficient consultations resulted in debacles and controversies which the Commission wanted to avoid.

He said:” This is a democracy. And there is a place for consultation in a democracy.”

Professor Yakubu disclosed that the Commission had received more than nine thousand requests across the country by communities for the creation of Polling Units. He emphasised, however, that these requests were unsolicited and that they would not form the basis for the creation of Polling Units.

The INEC Chairman said the Commission will hold similar consultations with socio-ciltural organisations such as the Afenifere, Ohanaeze Ndigbo to harvest their inputs.

The presentation which took place at the ACF headquarters at No 11A Sokoto Road, Kaduna, coincided with its (ACF’s) statutory meeting.

At the meeting were two National Commissioners, Barrister Festus Okoye and Malam Mohammed Kudu Haruna.

Also in attendance at the presentation were: The Chief Technical Adviser to the Hon. Chairman, Professor Bolade Eyinla; the Special Adviser to the Hon. Chairman, Professor Mohammad J.Kuna; the Director, Voter Education and Publicity, Nick Dazang and the Administrative Secretary, INEC Kaduna, Lawal Mohammed Mashi.


Bayelsa APC accuses Diri of pressuring EFCC to arrest Sylva



The Bayelsa State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has accused the Bayelsa State Governor, Duoye Diri of allegedly pressuring the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to arrest and prosecute Timipre Sylva over “trumped up charges” from the State Governor, Douye Diri.

The party spokesperson in the state, Doifie Buokoribo, made the allegation in a statement on Monday.

The APC spokesperson in the State, Mr Buokoribo, said Mr Diri was instigating the anti-graft agency to arrest and prosecute Mr Sylva to frustrate the APC candidate from pursuing his case at the election tribunal.

He said Governor Diri and the PDP adopted the strategy because they know they are holding a “stolen mandate.”

Mr Buokoribo said, “We are aware of Senator Diri’s devious activities at the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission aimed at sponsoring invented petitions against Sylva, and the pressure he is mounting on officials of the commission to initiate arrest and prosecution against him on trumped-up charges, particularly, bordering on his tour of duty as Minister of State for Petroleum Resources.”

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Benue Assembly suspends four lawmakers



The Benue State House of Assembly has suspended four members of the House for allegedly constituting a clog in the smooth running of the House.

The suspension which will last three months was announced during the plenary on Monday.

A motion for the suspension of the members was moved by the majority leader of the House, Mr. Saater Tiseer, and seconded by Mr. Peter Ipusu representing Katsina-Ala West State constituency.

The suspended members were said to belong to the G-22 group of lawmakers most of whom boycotted today’s sitting after earlier reporting for the day’s plenary.

The Speaker said the lawmakers were “suspended for three months for constituting a clog in the way of the smooth running of the legislative business of the House.”

The affected lawmakers were, Mr. Solomon Gyila, representing Gwer West State Constituency, Douglass Akya of Makurdi South, Dyako Ashwa of Konshisha state constituency, and Anthony Agom of Okpokwu state Constituency.

Meanwhile, the House also confirmed Governor Hyacinth Alia’s nominees for the Local Government Caretaker Committee.

The confirmation of the nominees was done through a voice question put by the Speaker, Mr. Aondona Dajoh and the House in a voice vote confirmed 21 of the nominees while two were rejected by the House.

The nominees whose candidacy failed to get the nod of the Assembly were those of Agatu and Oju Local Government Areas, LGAs.

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One year in Office: Group knocks Adeleke, PDP Govt over failure to improve living conditions of citizens 



By Ismail Azeez, Osogbo

The Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM), Osun State Chapter, has said Governor Ademola Adeleke and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)-led government in the state have no fundamental achievement to show for their first year in office.

The group stated that the Adeleke government has failed to improve the living conditions of the people of the state.

This was contained in a statement jointly signed on Sunday by the State Coordinator and State Secretary, Alfred Adegoke and Kola Ibrahim respectively,

They called on the state government to issue immediate payment of all arrears of salaries, pensions and gratuities the government owes all categories of workers and retirees.

Also agitated for immediate increase in salaries of workers and pensions of retirees for due to economic hardship on workers by the effect of fuel subsidy for removal by the federal government.

According to the statement, “Given the support offered by the Adeleke regime by people of the state, there is a lot of expectations on the new administration to improve the living conditions of the people of the state.

“A year into the Adeleke/PDP government, there seems to be no direction for resolving all the various challenges on ground. While the APC government left rot in governance, the PDP government obviously has no solution within the framework of capitalism. While the Adeleke government raised alarm over the looting of the state resources and huge indebtedness by the APC government, it looks like the government only wanted to use it to score political points rather than recovering the looted state funds.

“If the government is serious about recovering the looted funds, it should set up a democratic and open probe committee comprising government officials, representatives of workers, retirees, relevant professional groups, etc., while a task force for recovery will subsequently be established to recover the identified loot. But can the Adeleke government undertake this task, when stalwarts of its party are also salivating for their own ‘juicy’ opportunity.

“The Adeleke government has prided itself as a promoter of workers’ and retirees’ welfare; yet this mere grandstanding. It is not actually a detour from the past. For instance, in the last one year of Adeleke administration, only two (2) months payment, out of 30-month arrears of half-salary and half-pension owed workers and government retirees inherited from the previous government have been paid.

“Also, the majority of government retirees on contributory pensions, especially those who retired from 2017 to 2023, have not received their pensions, including their own contributions; and thus have been subjected to excruciating poverty.

“Also, retirees on government enrolment, who retired between 2012 and 2023, have not received a single tranche of their gratuities under the current administration. Yet, payment of outstanding salaries, pensions and gratuities was a cardinal campaign promise of the Ademola Adeleke/PDP for which it was voted into office. Rather than pay the arrears of salaries and pension, the government was enriching its private consultant under the guise of conducting staff and retiree audits. This put the workers and retirees in unwarranted discomfort.

“The argument of lack of funds is not tenable given that the same government that complained of the fraudulent loans and contracts that put the state in huge indebtedness is still repaying the loans with interest.

“Besides, the allocations to the state governments from the federation accounts have been increased in the last five months following the removal of petrol subsidy and devaluation of naira – two of the anti-poor policies of Tinubu government which have compounded the cost of living crisis for working masses and the poor. The government could have simply demanded a moratorium on the loan repayment on the ground that the government is auditing the loans and contracts for which the loans were procured.

“This would have given the government time and resources to address workers’ welfare and embark on serious projects, while also having time to recover the looted state funds. But the PDP government will hardly go this route because it has the same primitive, capitalist approach to governance just as its APC counterpart.

“However, beyond the workers’ and retirees’ entitlements for which the government has fraudulently scored itself high, there is nothing to show for the one year in office. Social service sectors are in a deplorable state.

“For instance, public primary and secondary schools are still in the terrible conditions the previous administrations of Aregbesola and Oyetola left them, while state-owned tertiary institutions are still underfunded.

“The recent report on the dilapidated state of schools built by the Aregbesola administration tells much about the Adeleke government. Rather than face up to the task of funding the tertiary institutions, the state government is getting enmeshed in leadership tussle in the state owned polytechnic in Iree.

“Public health institutions from primary to tertiary level are still underfunded and in deplorable conditions. Rather than improve on the quality of the facilities and employ adequate numbers of medical and health workers, the government only organised a two-week free health mission!

 ”A significant increase in fund allocations, by at least 100 percent, to public primary and secondary schools, tertiary educational institutions and public hospitals (primary, secondary and tertiary). This should help to expand facilities and employ more hands

“Massive funding of mass public works programmes that is capable of leading to expansion of water supply infrastructures; expansion of intra- and inter-township roads, building of schools, hospitals, etc. These works programmes should be carried out through the Ministry of Works, as an alternative to the contract system through which huge sums are usually siphoned from government covers.

“Democratic monitoring committees on all projects and funds by elected, non-salaried representatives of workers and communities where the projects are being implemented and funds allocated.”

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