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W/African countries want INEC’s election monitoring tool — Yakubu

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INEC Chairman Prof Mahmood Yakubu
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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says  many countries in West African have shown interest in studying and adopting its innovative tool on election monitoring and support system for their use.

INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, disclosed this on Friday at the opening of a two- day retreat on ”the Optimisation of the Election Monitoring And Support Centre (EMSC) operational structure” held in Keffi, Nasarawa.

Yakubu said that the EMSC had become a vital tool in the monitoring, implementation and management of Nigeria’s electoral plans and activities.

He said when his led-commission was first inaugurated in November 2015, its resolve was to consolidate on the gains of the last commission (2010-2015) in building systems for the continuous and effective management of the electoral process.

Yakubu said the goals were not only to address the challenges encountered during the 2011 and 2015 general elections.

He said it was also to develop proactive and knowledge-driven systems that would address those challenges in 2019, as well as continue to support the commission’s efforts in the planning, conduct and management of elections.

”The continuous search for innovative and better systems for the management of our electoral process crystalised into the 2017-2021 Strategic Plan (SP)/Strategic Programme of Action (SPA), the 2019 Election Project Plan (EPP), as well as the EMSC.

”Consequently, the commission has, over the years, continuously expanded the frontiers of electoral management and governance by introducing innovations and knowledge-driven systems. The EMSC is one of such innovations.

”As an electoral early-warning, monitoring, implementation and management tool, the EMSC, relying on field offices and personnel across the 36 states and the FCT, alerts the commission to the challenges, identifies electoral risks/threats and provides real-time information on the status of an election.

”In doing so, the EMSC makes available to the commission the necessary information in making real-time interventions to avert or mitigate potential risks or threats to an election,” he stated.

Yakubu added that in the build-up to the 2019 general election, it became increasingly clear to INEC that a coordinated early warning, monitoring and implementation system was necessary.

This, according to him, was to track hundreds of inter-related electoral activities in the Election Project Plan for the 2019 general election.

He said that accordingly, INEC accepted the recommendations of the 2019 Election Project Plan Committee (EPPC) to integrate the three monitoring mechanisms of the commission into a single unit called the EMSC.

He listed the three monitoring mechanisms as the Election Management System (EMS),  Electoral Risk Management (ERM) and Election Operations Support Centre (EOSC).

”The EMSC has greatly helped the commission in managing the electoral process.

”As a testimony to its robustness as an election management tool, many countries in the West African Region and beyond have shown interest in studying and adopting the system for their use.

”The Ethiopian and Malawi Electoral Commissions are already considering the deployment of some aspects of the tool in the management of their elections.

”The EMSC may well be another contribution of INEC (and indeed Nigeria) to election management in the world,” he noted.

Yakubu said that pioneers and INEC needed to keep pushing the frontiers of the system, fortifying its strengths, addressing its challenges and expanding its reach, in the conduct and management of elections.

”Having deployed it for the 2019 general election, the commission has certainly seen its advantages as well as its challenges.

”The advantages need to be strengthened and improved upon while resolving the anticipated challenges before the 2023 general election, which is just 560 days away,” he said.

The INEC boss further  noted that the retreat was therefore crucial to the EMSC and the commission.

He urged participants to work round the clock during the period of the retreat, suggest novel ways of tweaking the EMSC, addressing its challenges and formulating comprehensive policy guidelines for its operation.

”It must be repositioned to discharge its most primary responsibilities of providing early warning, identifying threats/risks, monitoring the implementation of election activities.

“(It must) reposition in ensuring real-time and accurate information to the commission on all field-related activities that have a direct bearing on elections,” he stated.

Mr Hamza Fassi-Fihr, Project Coordinator, European Centre for Election Support (ECES), said monitoring of processes was integral to the success of any system and a commitment toward ensuring accountability and transparency.

Fassi-Fihri, who represented Dr Isiaka Yahaya, ECES Senior Electoral Administration Expert, commended INEC’s effort at ensuring effective electoral management and promotion of electoral integrity through the innovative tool.

”It is clear that the EMSC has come to stay as an indispensable and integral part of Nigeria’s electoral system and a process to be exported across EMBS in the African region and beyond,” he said.

On his part, Ahmed Mu’azu, National Commissioner and Chairman Planning, Monitoring and Strategy Committee (PMSC), said the retreat was critical as INEC prepared for the 2023 general elections.

Mu’azu said that the EMSC had been key to the process adding that that it was the reason it had remained in the fore burner for INEC,  since it had become a strategic implementation framework in the electoral process.

Also Prof. Ikechukwu Ibeanu, INEC National Commissioner, and Chairman Electoral Operations and Logistics Committee (EOLC), described EMSC as an important aspect of INEC commitment to the use of technology to deepen electoral process in Nigeria.

He said the adoption of technology had helped in tracking and ensuring compliance in the electoral processes.

Ibeanu noted that it had  also helped in improving efficiency, as well as reduced negative human interference in the electoral process.

INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner, in Nasarawa Uthman Ajidagba said the retreat was timely and apt as the commission prepared for the 2023 general elections. (NAN)

 

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Bauchi Blasphemy: We ‘ll not accept this brutal way of murder – CAN

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Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN)
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Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria ( CAN) in Kaduna State, Rev.Joseph John Hayab has raised concern over the allegation of blasphemy in Bauchi, saying the challenge now is for Government authorities and security agencies to act fast to address abuse of the constitution before it leads to a more serious conflict that can not be handled.

He said in a statement on Saturday, that allegations of blasphemy have now become the new excuse by fundamentalists in Northern Nigeria to kill the remnant that bandits and terrorists have not yet killed.

“How can you justify the period of what happened in Sokoto, the allegation in Borno, the fake allegation on Babachir Lawal by one northern actor who we have on record how he made blasphemous remarks about
Jesus Christ but quickly went and brought it down on the internet to cover himself before coming out to falsely accused  Babachir Lawal the former SGF and today we are seeing another carnage in Bauchi under the excuse of blasphemy, “He said.

“We know and have evidence of how some of these allegations of blasphemy are false and just for blackmail or settling scores with perceived enemies or well-mannered young girls who have refused sexual advances by the opposite sex from another religion.”

“We are also aware of how fanatics have in the past raised lies in the name of blasphemy.”

“CAN wonder if the recent sermons we are getting from some Islamic clerics on what the Holy Quran says about what should be done if anyone is accused of blasphemy is unpopular amongst followers?”

“The challenge now is for Government authorities and security agencies to act fast to address this abuse of our constitution before it leads to a more serious conflict that can not be handled.”

“Nigeria Christians most especially those of Northern extraction have for ages exhibited tolerance despite many provocations and lack of reciprocation of our love and friendship but these new tactics for killing our people from any and every accusation of blasphemy are unacceptable to CAN and all Christian faithful.

We will not accept this brutal way of murder and inhuman treatment of our followers to continue.”

“Government and security agencies should come out to enforce the law on every murderer hiding under religion.

We will also wish to appeal to Christian leaders and parents to guide their children to resist any ungodly provocation that will make them says things that blood-thisty fundamentalist can easily use to kill them.”

“CAN is appealing to religious leaders from both religious divides to intensify teachings about the evil of taking the laws into one hand and killing another person for whatever reason.

Allege offenders should be reported to security agencies or taken to any competent court of law for judiciary pronouncement.
Nigeria is not a banana republic but a nation we believe should be governed by the rule of law,” he said.

 

 

 

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Oyetola bags Vanguard 2021 ‘Governor of The Year Award’ for Good Governance 

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Osun State Governor Adegboyega Oyetola
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says ‘award is a challenge to impact more on humanity
In recognition of his achievements and outstanding performance in office, Governor Adegboyega Oyetola of Osun, on Friday night, received yet another award, as he was crowned the Vanguard Newspapers’ Governor of The Year 2021 for Good Governance.
He received the award at a colourful event tagged ‘Vanguard Personality of the Year 2021 Award’ which held at the Eko Hotel and Suites, Lagos.
Recall that Oyetola had in the recent past won the Business Day Best Governor of the Year award, Blueprint Newspaper Governor of the Year, DAAR Communications Outstanding Leader in Governance, Nigerian NewsDirect 2021 Best Governor of the Year and Man of the Year award, among others.
The governor described his latest award as a challenge to impact more on humanity just as he dedicated it to the people of Osun for giving him the opportunity to prove that governance can be done better with utmost fear of God and for the sake of humanity.
According to the management of the Vanguard Newspapers, the choice of Governor Oyetola for the Good Governance award was basically on empirical facts and indisputable statistics on the geometric transformation that Osun and her people had witnessed under his watch since assumption of office.
It explained that the philosophy of the award is to recognise and celebrate excellence, national pride and service to humanity.
“Since assumption of office you have delivered the dividends of democracy without loans. It is on record that you have prudently managed available resources while your Administration has kept faith with the people and maintained fidelity with your electoral promises.
“We also noted the crisis in the education sector and how brilliantly the Governor has resolved it. One other thing we have seen is the character of Mr. Governor: no crisis, no rancour. In fact, we have seen the highest level of decorum in governance.
“Generally, this nomination for the award of Governor of the Year for Good Governance is actually an encouragement award on how the Governor has raised the pedestal of governance for the people of Osun and beyond,” the award organisers added.
Speaking shortly after receiving the award, Governor Oyetola thanked the management of the Vanguard Newspaper for recognising the modest achievements his administration had made to transform Osun. He dedicated the award to the people of the State for giving him the opportunity to serve them.
Oyetola said: “I am highly elated to accept this award of Governor of the Year for Good Governance by one of the nation’s frontline and integrity-savvy newspapers. This a reward for hardwork and I accept it wholeheartedly.
“Ordinarily, good governance in itself answers to unblemished demonstrable service to the people and its factors for service are economic buoyancy, transparent and inclusive governance, equitable service delivery and political will; and all are seemingly mutually inclusive.
“However, achieving good governance and winning nomination in a depressed economy in a country where some of the competitors are way richer than us, makes our story somewhat different.
“We came in when no one gave us a chance. We inherited a financially challenged State and one that could not pay its bills. We were however resolved to make a difference. And the difference we have so far made through prudent management of resources, including plugging waste and cutting costs.
“Through creative and innovative alternative project funding, we have built and rehabilitated roads that had been abandoned for three decades or more.
“Our service distribution is anchored on quality and equitable service delivery. From infrastructure to health and education, security to welfare, projects and service have been equitably distributed to all the wards in the nine Federal Constituencies and three Senatorial Districts of the State.
“In these three and a half years that we have been in the saddle, we have proved as a government that good governance and service delivery is possible in a depressed economy; that we can execute projects without borrowing; that we can look inward to pay salaries.
“We have spent over three and a half years in government building a solid foundation for a sustainable economy. The remaining years shall be spent to build bricks that will deliver a strong and prosperous Osun and a happy and productive people. This is our mission in government. This is the least we owe our people.
“I, therefore, dedicate this award to our people wherever they are, for giving us the opportunity to prove that governance can be done better with utmost fear of God and for the sake of humanity.
“To the staff and management of Vanguard Newspapers, we thank you for recognising our modest achievements as we continue to keep our eyes on the ball. We appreciate you for giving us this award to encourage us to do more”.
Earlier in his remarks, the Chairman of the occasion and former Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Obong Victor Attah, lauded the leadership of the newspaper for promoting excellence, hard-work, competence, integrity and character through it daily reportorial and yearly award of excellence.
Attah also charged Oyetola and other awardees to continue to be the source of inspiration and perfect examples for those behind.
Other award recipients are: Ogun State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun; Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki; Nasarawa State Governor, Alhaji Abdullahi Sule; Gombe State Governor, Muhammed Inuwa Yahaya, foremost Legal Luminary, Aare Afe Babalola among others.
Governor Oyetola was accompanied to the event by his wife, Mrs. Kafayat, his children, Speaker, Osun House of Assembly, Hon. Timothy Owoeye, Secretary to the State Government, SSG, Prince Wole Oyebamiji, Chief of Staff, Dr. Charles Akinola, Finance Commissioner, Bola Oyebamiji, Information Commissioner, Mrs. Funke Egbemode, former member of House of Representatives, Hon. Ayo Omidiran and other friends and well-wishers.
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LAGOS EXPLAINS OKADA CLAMPDOWN

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Lagos State Government has described the ongoing enforcement of restrictions on the operations of commercial motorcycles, popularly called okada, in certain parts of the State as a necessary step to curb their indiscipline, save lives and improve security.

Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Gbenga Omotoso, spoke on Channels TV Sunrise Daily about the new enforcement order given by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu and the backlash recorded in a part of the State.

According to Omotoso, the resurgence of Okada operations and acts of indiscipline being exhibited by riders have become a serious source of concern as many people have lost their limbs and lives through Okada accidents.

His words: “Our doctors are complaining that more and more people are coming with Okada-related emergency. About 1,712 accidents have been recorded in Lagos in the first quarter of this year. Out of this figure, about 45 percent; to be precise, 767 of the accidents were caused by Okada. And it is shocking to know that about 54 percent of the victims are between the ages of 30 and 39. These are our able-bodied young people who are getting cut down like that all because they mounted okada.”

Attributing the high fatality rate of riders and passengers to plying about 500 highways, major roads and bridges, which the Road Traffic Law prohibited, Omotoso affirmed that Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s order was to reinforce the law and give the riders an opportunity to move out and find some other things to do.

He said: “There is a Law that lists all the routes commercial motorcycles are restricted from plying. The Law is still there; it has not been repealed. So, the enforcement is not new and it is going to continue as the June 1st deadline stands.”

Describing as unfortunate the insecurity in some parts of the country that has forced many people to migrate to Lagos to make ends meet by riding Okada, the Commissioner explained that the development led to complaints from residents who have expressed their rejection of okada.

“Lagosians are worried about the mystery of Okada; they don’t know where they come from; the riders are unknown; they don’t even have number plates. They don’t come for LASRRA registration, so we can’t account for them,” he said.

Speaking further, the Commissioner described the approach to the renewed enforcement as well planned and strategic because the State expected the kind of backlash the exercise has generated, but assured all that it was an experience the law enforcement agents were used to.

On possible increase in crime rate, following the enforcement, Omotoso said “everything the law enforcement agencies need in terms of equipment, welfare and encouragement would be provided for them to step up enforcement and security of lives and property.”

The Commissioner expressed the determination of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu to ensure full enforcement and allayed fears that the government would want to go back because of politics.

He said: “Mr. Governor is a man of integrity; he is a man of his words. He is going to ensure that whatever it takes to enforce the law will be done. We have been encouraged by Lagosians who have seen the danger and who feel that moving with Okada from one place to another because it is very fast cannot be compared to the security threat they pose. The goal is to have a Lagos without motorcycles because there is no megacity in the world that you go to and find this kind of mode of transportation.

“It is also preposterous for anybody to say for our votes come and mess up Lagos. No, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the Governor, is not going to do that. This is the last time we are going to have this as the bikes are being crushed to show people that we are very serious, and communicate to those bringing them in, that enough is enough.”

Omotoso advised okada riders to look for something else to do as there are so many opportunities in Lagos for anyone who wants to stay in Lagos and wants to be law-abiding.

“You should go and collect your LASRRA card and be an official resident of Lagos and find something to do. Artisans who left their jobs to ride Okada should find a reason now to go back to their jobs,” he said.

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