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We will not repeat Osun mistake in the general elections – INEC

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…As mock accreditation with BVAS kick-starts across the nation

Joel Oladele-Abuja

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has assured Nigerians not to repeat the mistake made in the Osun state July 16 governorship election in the forthcoming 2023 general elections.

The chairman of the commission, Professor Mahmood Yakubu made this vow while addressing journalists on Saturday during a visit to selected polling units in the Federal Capital Territorial, Abuja as part of the mock accreditation exercise ahead of the February 25th and March 11th elections.

Recall that INEC had in September last year admitted there were lots of errors on the unsynchronized BVAS Report dated 29th July, 2022, as a result of non-synchronization of data information with the primary Bimodal Voter Accreditation System(BVAS) Machine as at the date of application and issuance which resulted in false over voting in the 750 polling units in Osun state governorship election.

Professor Mahmood said one of the lessons the commission has learned is to be able to transmit accreditation data alongside election results as against the usual practice of transmitting only the election results on the INEC Result Viewing Portal (IReV).

He reiterated his confidence in the efficiency of BVAS and assured Nigerians of free, fair and credible elections.

“The BVAS has never failed anywhere and obviously I’ve seen here the machine actually never failed. I wouldn’t like to comment on a live matter in court but in every situation the commission learns carries the experience from what has happened towards improving the processes for the next election.

“We have learned some lessons from what happened and one of the lessons is to be able to transmit the accreditation data. So we have assembled results sheet here that will transmit the accreditation data. But there are no results sheets because people have not voted.

“So on the IReV portal, we have created a new URL for those of you that are on the IReV portal. And if you go home after 230 You will see the result of the mock transmitted from the 437 polling units nationwide, including the details of accreditation and we are going to transmit both the results on election day and the accreditation figures

“So the two will rhyme; by this we are given assurance that on election day, both the accredited data and the actual votes cast will be transmitted simultaneously and accurately.” Professor Mahmood said.

Two of the polling units visited in Abuja by the INEC boss are: AMAC City Centre 018 NIPOST, Area 10 and Bwari Sarki, near Chief’s Palace, Bwari.

Speaking further, the chairman added that
The essence of such exercise is to achieve the integrity of the machines before deploying them to over 400 polling units across the nation on election days.

“Essentially, what we intend to achieve is to further test the integrity of the machines that we are going to deploy on election day. We are satisfied with the tests carried out in our office, but we needed to test the machines in the field ahead of the election.

“Bearing in mind that this is the first time we are deploying the machines nationwide. So we have identified 436 polling units nationwide on the equality of tests of the Federation, on the basis of two local governments per senatorial district, and four polling units per local government making a total of 16 polling units per state, on the basis of which we have now deployed the machines.”

Professor Yakubu therefore expressed satisfaction in the outcome of the two polling units visited. However, he noted that an alternative arrangement has been made in case of any failure on the part of the machines on election days.

“In the FCT, there are four polling units earmarked for the test. This is one of the polling units. The other one is the one we visited in the post office. And so far, so good voters have been verified using their PVCs and then authenticated, using their fingerprint or facial on the basis of which they will be given the ballot papers on election day after successful accreditation.

“In the two polling units have visited so far. There is no report of failure. The machines are performing optimally. And this is the report we’re getting so far nationwide, but we have also made contingency arrangements like we will do on election day, that there is a spare machine in case and in the unlikely event of a malfunction.

” We will be able to respond and fix the machines. But so far, so good. No incident, no failure, and we’re hoping and praying. Having worked very hard on February the 25th and March the 11th the machines will also perform optimally.”

Talking about the speed of the BVAS, he said: “Well, you have seen so far. In this particular polling unit the last person accredited in our presence took less than 30 seconds to accredit and this is the report we are getting from all the polling units nationwide. So the speed is good and also the authentication is good.”

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Osun APC commends Tinubu, Oyetola  for members’ Tertiary Institutions’ Board appointments

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By Ismail Azeez, Osogbo

The All Progressives Congress (APC), in Osun State, has commended President Bola Tinubu and Alhaji Adegboyega Oyetola for deeming it fit to appoint members and supporters of the party as chairmen and members of governing councils of some Federal Government-owned tertiary institutions.

The Osun State chairman of the APC, Sooko Tajudeen Lawal, in a statement issued by the party’s Director of Media and Information, Chief Kola Olabisi, on Sunday.

Lawal said, “The board appointments rolled out by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu for some of our people few hours after the defection of some PDP members into the APC is a confirmation to them that their destiny is bright in the party that controls the centre.”

The party also appreciated all the stakeholders of the party for their individual and collective contributions towards the grand defection programme of Alhaji Shuaib Oyedokun, former Deputy National Chairman  of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)  and member, PDP’s Board of Trustees; Prince Dotun Babayemi, former governorship aspirant of the PDP and their numerous supporters in thousands on Friday, in Osogbo, the Osun State capital.

Lawal stated that he was grateful to God Almighty for making the defection event hitch-free without any record of untoward incident before, during and after it.

He explained that he would make the leader of the APC in the state, former Governor Gboyega Oyetola now Minister of Marine and Blue Economy, a point of contact to appreciate all the other leaders of the party for their financial and moral support for the organization of the event.

The party chairman also used Engr Sola Akinwumi, the Chairman of Igbimo Agba in the State APC, as a point of contact to appreciate the other members of the group for the unalloyed qualitative support given to the execution of the event.

He said he was particularly appreciative of the selfless and dedicated services rendered by the Organizing Committee of the event led by Alhaji Debo Badru, the Maiyegun of Iwoland, which marvelously realized the target of the committee within a very short time.

Lawal also extended his appreciation to the state executive officers of the party, the leaders of the party at all  levels across the state and all the members of the party who diligently identified with the programme in order to make it a huge success.

He explained further that his words of appreciation would not be complete if he fails to recognize the contributions of both statutory and unofficial security services who also contributed their quota to the success of the programme.

Lawal also commended the PDP decampees for their orderly manner and good conduct, reminding them that there would always be equal opportunity for them and the members of the party they met on the ground.

He charged them to start attending the APC political meetings in their units, wards, local governments as it is only regular meetings that could translate to a serious political involvement of members of any particular party.

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My one year in office better than eight years of previous administration — Gov. Fubara

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By Barth Ndubuwah, Port-Harcourt

The Rivers State Governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, has declared that his first year in office is better than the eight years spent by some other administrations.

Governor Fubara made the assertion on Saturday at Ngo Town during the official inauguration of the Andoni section of the Ogoni-Andoni-Opobo Unity Road project, in Andoni Local Government Area of Rivers State.

The Governor said the accomplishments were secured within three months that his administration had actually settled down to work, given the festering political crisis.

Revealing what will be done soon in the health sector, Governor Fubara said it was appalling that recent statistics had classified Rivers State as below the set benchmark in terms of enrollments and health facilities availability.

Governor Fubara, who explained that the statistics, not specific to any particular administration’s lifespan, covered over a period of time, which indicates unacceptable levels of neglect to the health sector.

He, however, assured that in the next six months, Rivers’ people should expect to see evidence of significant investment that his administration has made to change the narrative.

“I was at the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) meeting on Wednesday, and we were given an update from the chart on the medical position of all the states. It was in zones.

“You won’t believe that in that chart, everything that has to do with enrollment, even the level of facilities that is on ground in that assessment, Rivers State was classified as below benchmark. It is a pity.

“It is not something that just happened in a day. It is not something that just happened within my time in government. No, no. It is a statistics collated over a period of time. So, it means when we tell you that our target is education, healthcare and agriculture, we didn’t make any mistake.

“We might have done other things, but those key areas have not been adequately attended to. And we promise our people this afternoon that by the special grace of God, in the next six months, there will be a total change in the health sector of Rivers State,” the Governor said.

Commenting on the project, Fubara said the project has been delivered successfully, and applauded the initiator of the project, former governor, Dr Peter Odili and successive administrations that contributed their quota in realizing the Unity Road, for the people.

Governor Fubara stated that his driving principle remains putting the people first, which is why he will not renege on the promise of internal roads that he made to Andoni people during electioneering campaigns.

The governor, therefore, directed the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Works, to liaise with Monier Construction Company (MCC) to do scoping for commencement of reconstruction of Ngo internal roads and new contract for extension of the road to Oyorokoto Town.

“But, I just want to say this, what is important today is the section of the Unity Road that connects Andoni to Ogoni and Opobo/Nkoro has come to reality. That is the important thing.

“We have to thank first, the initiator, Dr Peter Odili. We have to thank other successive governments which also contributed before we finally made this day to be.

“It is important we set this record straight. The Permanent Secretary has mentioned the cost of the job and the review cost. The beauty of it is that we are not owing any dime on this particular project,” he added.

“We are happy that it is happening in our own time. Our motto remains: ‘The People First,’ and anything that has to do with the people, we must take it very seriously.

“I know that if it is this road, we are already done with the road. The politicking of the road is already done. I don’t want to politick on this road anymore.

“I want to say here that we need to develop our own, and if we have to do it, we have to do it ourselves. So, I promise my people that we are going to do more jobs, more connecting roads for the Andonis by the special grace of God,” the Governor assured.

“I remember when we came for campaign, we promised our people that when you support us, we are going to give you the internal roads. And by the special grace of God, the Andonis gave us their support, and the election was won.

“So, let me use this opportunity to thank you, first for that support. Thank you, that even after the election, you have continued to support the government, not minding the situation that we find ourselves in.

 ”A lot of people were thinking that this place will be empty today. Some people had other plans. But to the glory of God, we are getting natural support, people that we didn’t pay money to are here to say that they are identifying with this government, we appreciate what this government is doing.

“For that alone, I want to direct the Permanent Secretary to immediately liaise with the contractor to ensure first, that the internal roads in Ngo, and connecting this road to Oyorokoto are immediately awarded.”

Governor Fubara urged the people to have good faith in the administration of President Bola Tinubu, and appealed for their total support to the Federal Government so that it can continue to undertake life-changing programmes that will trickle down to the State and Local Government Areas.

“I am also aware that we have issues in the other communities in Andoni. Some of them are flooding issues, which is even the more critical issue.

“I know of a place called Oronija. They are having very serious erosion and flood issues, and other places. We are going to do something about it. It is my promise to my dear people today.

“I also want to say in this gathering, please, support the government at the centre. I am happy when our leader was mentioning the activities of the oil companies here, and said that there is no interruption. I was impressed by that.

“It shows that we are contributing positively, and we understand the meaning and importance of peace. So, let me enjoin you,continue to show this good faith, and be a good host.

“In the governance of this country, the success of the centre is the success of the sub-national. And when the sub-national succeeds, which is the state, the local governments will succeed. And when the local governments succeed, it means, more projects, more life-changing activities will be seen in your domain.”

Governor Fubara said further, “I also remember that another vital area that we need to touch in our governance was mentioned: the issue of hospitals. We are coming here, and we will make sure that we attend to that need.”

Also speaking, former national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Prince Uche Secondus, said it was important to explain that the Unity Road, initiated by Dr Peter Odili, had its inaugural foundation stone laid on the 3rd January, 2005, and not in 2004.

Prince Secondus thanked Governor Fubara for completing the project, which now serves as a miracle, enabling the people to drive on land to Andoni from the city.

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Osun 2026 election: Big wigs’ defection fuels APC’s confidence to return to power

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…Oyetola, Basiru, Omisore welcomes Babayemi, Oyedokun, thousands of PDP to APC fold

By Ismail Azeez, Osogbo

All the roads leading to the Secretariat of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Osun State chapter, were on Friday 17th May 2024, jampacked by thousands of the members of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the State, who decided to pitch their tent with the main opposition party, APC fueling the confidence of the opposition leaders ahead of the 2026 elections.

Over six hours residents of Owo-Ede suburb of the country home of Governor Ademola Adeleke find it difficult to get to their various businesses, especially those who are plying Osogbo Gbongan road.

The former PDP gubernatorial aspirant in the 2022 Osun governorship election, Prince Dotun Babayemi and former National Deputy Chairman of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, Chief Shuaibu Oyedokun and their supporters defected to the APC.

Addressing the mammoth crowd populated by his supporters at the APC State Secretariat on Friday in Osogbo, Prince Babayemi affirmed their readiness and commitment to work relentlessly with members of the party to dislodge the incumbent Governor Ademola Adeleke in the next governorship election in the state.

He said their defection to the opposition party was based on personal and collective conviction to work in unison with the progressive minds towards  building a virile and vibrant party to oust out the incumbent government come 2026.

He said: “I have said a lot about our defection, and I won’t say much today. As you all know, good governance in Osun stopped in 2022 immediately the former Governor Adegboyega Oyetola left power. It is obvious that since then, the people of Osun have not been experiencing good governance. What we have today are political interlopers and usurpers.

“So, we are coming home today to work together with leaders and members of the APC in Osun and beyond to record more electoral successes and victories in the future elections. We will work tirelessly to take power from the PDP come 2026.

“We commend President Bola Ahmed Tinubu for his great works. It is obvious that he was determined to reposition the country and take us to greater heights. We believe in his leadership, and we pray God to continue to grant him enablement to achieve all the lofty programmes designed to take the country to enviable heights,” he added.

In his short remarks, the former PDP Deputy National Chairman, Chief Shuaibu Oyedokun,  attributed his defection to the palpable inequality and lingering crisis in his former party saying his defection is based on personal conviction.

Oyedokun pledged his unalloyed commitment to further advance the cause of his new party, adding that his return is divine and a clarion call to collectively wrestle power from the ruling party in the state come 2026.

The former member of the PDP National Working Committee who narrated their ordeals in their former party faulted the 2022 Osun governorship primary that led to the emergence of Senator Ademola Adeleke admitting that the primary was outrightly skewed to favour the incumbent Governor.

Oyedokun appealed to Nigerians, home and abroad, to rally round President Bola Ahmed Tinubu in his efforts to build a nation dreamt by all and sundry.

The Minister of Marine and Blue Economy, Adegboyega Oyetola, lauded the defectors for their uncommon courage and bravery, which culminated into their choice of the party – the APC.

“I thank you all. I thank God that since we left the government, our party and its members remain resolute and united. It is worthy of note that we are increasing every day in number and size.

“I want to assure you that you are all accepted wholeheartedly, and with open arms, there is equal right for all. There won’t be any discrimination whatsoever, and I want to assure you that you would be wholeheartedly received at your various wards and local governments with open arms.”

“We must all work together to come back to power. We are confident in God that we will return to power. APC is the God’s chosen Party. I commend all of you for your commitment and dedication that had been leading to the peaceful running of the affairs of our great party thus far,” Oyetola stated.

The state APC Chairman, Alhaji Tajudeen Lawal, acknowledged the rare courage exhibited by the decampees describing the decision as a “round peg in a round hole.

“Your decision to defect to APC is a wise choice which was influenced by God who has been your political pathfinder as the APC is a party of the people. It is not an overstatement to state that Osun state is a traditional APC enclave and any other party that may be occupying a political space in the state is a mere tenant which will soon be shown the way out of the power.

“The more the merrier. Let’s work assiduously towards the next series of elections in the state and take back our state from those grossly lacking administrative know-how as it is being reflected in their actions and inactions on a daily basis,” he added.

In his welcome address, the Chairman, Defection Committee, Mayegun Debo Badru lauded the former Governor and Minister of Marine and Blue Economy, Adegboyega Oyetola for setting up the defection committee which was populated by people of impeccable character.

He reaffirmed the commitment of the leadership and members of the party to kick out the PDP government out of power in the next governorship election.

Meanwhile, the chairman of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Osun, Hon. Sunday Bisi urged the people of the State not to lose sleep over what he called the formal realignment of some political traders, whose round tripping business of feeding fat on the common patrimony of the state was decisively halted through the July 16 2022 governorship election.

Bisi said Mr. Dotun Babayemi and others have since been put in their place long before now and have ceased to be members of our party right before the 2022 governorship election.

He said, “We however understand that Osun PDP’s image stock is so huge that impressionists like Babayemi must clinge onto, deceiving themselves as decamping from the ruling party.

“We hold that self help may not be unusual with desperate politicians but self deceit is a sign of ominous trouble! Tagging people you know you have worked with to fight the PDP, right when the party was in opposition, as defectors from the same party that floored you inside out, is simply put, a terminal symptom of APC s life-limiting illness.

“Or is it not self deceit taken too far to say that one Akin Ogunbiyi who was sponsored to contest the last governorship election in the state on the banner of Accord Party is also defecting from the PDP? Someone the PDP was confident enough to refuse his reabsorption into the party after his failed Accord voyage?

“The same Ogunbiyi whose electoral worth was put to test with Accord and scored paltry 4 thousand votes or thereabouts including those of his polling agents?

“Or the octogenarian Shuaibu Oyedokun who has been a liability to himself, living on samaritan gestures of the PDP over the years based on his age? A man who had no record of performance at his electoral unit, let alone his community? That is not a character to be missed by a strong political institution like the PDP.

“Osun people are assured that the PDP train of victory recorded in recent elections in Osun State, is indivisibly intact. The people’s Governor, Asiwaju Ademola Jackson Nurudeen Adeleke is also unperturbed by the distractive antics of the never do wells, whose mission to end Osun State economically has since been defeated.

“All developmental plans put in place by his Excellency, the Executive Governor would continue to form the fulcrum of the PDP administration and will be executed religiously for the wellbeing of all and sundry,” he added.

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