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INEC warns parties to refrain from campaigning

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By Elvis Omoregie, Benin

The Resident Electoral Commissioner of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Edo State, Anugbum Onuoha has warned aspirants and political parties to stop campaigning for the governorship election with immediate effect or face sanction.

The REC who stated this on Monday in Benin, said that the commission was yet to lift suspension on campaign, noting that parties and candidates were expected to begin campaigning on April 24.

He said political parties were not expected to campaign publicly for the primary election as it is an internal affair of the parties.

He said the practice was not in line with INEC timetable, urging them to put a stop to it. He urged all the political parties and aspirants to pull down billboards, signposts as well as adverts on television and newspapers.

The REC said, “I am calling on the aspirants and the 16 political parties taking part in the September 21 election to comply with the timetable of the election. They are not supposed to campaign publicly for the primary election. It is against the law.

“I will urge them to pull down their banners, billboards and stop running jingles on the radio. They should also stop on television and newspapers. If they do not comply with this directive, we would have no other option than to sanction them,” he added.

He said the role of INEC in primary elections is to monitor and supervise proceedings and are not expected to announce results as primary is mainly an internal affair of the parties.

Reacting to the Edo State APC primaries that was marred by violence on Saturday, Onuoha said his duty is to do a report and send to the headquarters of the commission, adding, “we were present at the APC primary election.  We saw what happened and we will present our report to Abuja.”

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PDP appoints Chinda as Chairman for Ondo LG Congress, ahead of primaries

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The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has appointed Rep. Kingsley Chinda as the Chairman, Local Government Congress Electoral Committee for Ondo, ahead of Saturday’s governorship primaries.

The PDP National Publicity Secretary, Mr Debo Ologunagba said this in a statement in Abuja.

Ologunagba said that the constitution of the committee was approved by the National Working Committee (NEC) of the party.

“The committee members are to serve on the local government Congress Electoral Committee to conduct National Delegates Congress for the purpose of electing one national delegate per local government area in Ondo,” he said.

Ologunagba said that the congress would hold at the Collation Center of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in each of the local government areas of the state.

Ologunagba advised all the governorship aspirants, leaders, critical stakeholders and members in Ondo to take note and be guided accordingly.

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Ondo 2024: Don’t field wrong candidate for us — Odimayo tells APC

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By Akintunde Jacobs, Akure

The National Leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) have been called upon not to make the mistake of fielding a wrong candidate in the forthcoming April 20th governorship election in Ondo state.

Jimi Odimayo, a governorship aspirant on the platform of the APC, who made the call on Thursday at the official declaration of his intention to run for the office, held at the NUJ Press Centre, Akure said the leadership of the party should ensure that the South senatorial district whose turn it is to produce the next governor of the state is not prevented from spending its eight years in office.

According to him, the law does not permit the incumbent governor, Lucky Aiyedatiwa to be sworn in as governor thrice if he intends to run for two terms because he was sworn-in as deputy governor alongside his late principal, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu on 25 February 2021.

Odimayo who is the current Chairman, House Committee on Population in the House of Representatives, said he believes that it will be right for any aspirant who by law will be deprived from spending a two-term of eight years to jettison his governorship ambition in the best interest of Ondo South senatorial district.

He said; “If you attempt to bring anybody that is short of eight years we would struggle in the next election, if you flag off anybody who is not up to task, especially someone who would not do eight years, people would not support him. Our leaders should not be sentimental because people are watching

“We the Southerners, will ensure that APC doesn’t produce anybody that would be questionable or challenged by the opposition party. We are going to address our challenges as a party, we are not going to make a mistake, APC is a predominant party in Ondo State.

“Basically, it is the turn of the South, and the party would not play with it, we want the party to utilise this opportunity, we have eight years, we will not tolerate anything less than eight years for the south. So, we should be very careful not to fall into the trap of our enemies.”

Speaking on his vision for the coastal state, Odimayo said he’s fueled by a passion for service and a vision for a brighter future for Ondo while his aspiration is rooted in a commitment to unity, progress, and inclusive governance that prioritises the needs and aspirations of every indigene.

“Ondo State is endowed with immense potential, from its rich cultural heritage to its natural resources. However, we cannot ignore the challenges that have hindered our progress and prosperity.

“Issues such as inadequate infrastructure, unemployment, healthcare disparities, and educational gaps require urgent attention and innovative solutions.

“As a son of Ondo State, I am acutely aware of these challenges, and I am prepared to tackle them head-on with your support. My aspiration is not just about winning an election; it is about ushering in a new era of progress and development for Ondo state.”

The aspirant said he envisions a state where every citizen has access to quality education, healthcare, and economic opportunities as he believes in harnessing the state’s natural resources sustainably to create jobs and stimulate economic growth.

“I pledge to prioritise the safety and security of every resident of Ondo State. I am committed to strengthening Amotekun and fostering seamless collaboration with other security agencies to ensure a safer environment for all.

“Access to quality healthcare is a fundamental human right, and no indigene of Ondo State should be denied this essential service. As Governor, I will prioritise healthcare reform aimed at expanding access to primary care, upgrading healthcare facilities, and recruiting and retaining skilled healthcare professionals.

“I will also champion initiatives to address public health challenges such as maternal and child mortality, infectious diseases, and non-communicable diseases. Recognising the pressing healthcare needs of our people, particularly in the face of chronic diseases like hypertension, I vow to provide accessible and free healthcare services, placing the well-being of every resident of Ondo State at the forefront of my administration’s agenda.”

He emphasised that, if given the APC ticket and eventually emerges as governor, he will declare a state of emergency on education, with a firm commitment to resetting the educational system to ensure quality and accessible education for every child in Ondo State.

“Our youth are the future of Ondo State, and investing in their education and empowerment is paramount. I am committed to revitalising our educational system, from primary schools to tertiary institutions, by improving infrastructure, enhancing curriculum, and providing scholarships and vocational training opportunities.

“Additionally, I will prioritise youth empowerment initiatives that equip young people with the skills and resources they need to succeed in a competitive global economy.

“Agriculture,” he said, “is the backbone of our economy, and rural communities play a crucial role in sustaining our agricultural sector. I am committed to implementing policies and programs that promote modern farming techniques, provide access to credit and markets, and improve rural infrastructure such as roads and irrigation systems.

“By prioritising agriculture and rural development, we can enhance food security, create employment opportunities, and reduce poverty in rural areas. I aim to revolutionise our agricultural sector by mechanising it by 80 percent, thereby boosting economic growth, ensuring food sustainability, and creating employment opportunities for our youth.”

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APC shifts screening of Ondo governorship aspirants to Friday

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The All Progressives Congress (APC) has shifted the screening of its aspirants for the Nov.16 Ondo State governorship election to Friday, following the declaration of Thursday as public holiday by the Federal Government.

This is contained in a message on the party’s official X page, @OfficialAPCNg on Wednesday.

“Due to the inclusion of Thursday, April 11, as a public holiday by the Federal Government for ELd el-Fitr, all aspirants are requested to attend the screening on Friday, April 12, at the party’s national secretariat,” the party said.

A total of 16 aspirants were expected to be screened, ahead of the April 20 primary election.

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