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

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INEC Logo and Chairman,, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu
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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EID El Fitr: Let’s Embrace Ramadan Lessons – Senator Bamidele

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Senate Leader, Senator Michael Opeyemi Bamidele
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Leader of the Senate, Senator Michael Opeyemi Bamidele has rejoiced with the Muslim faithful as they celebrate Eid-el-Fitr nationwide.

Senator Bamidele in a statement he signed explains that ‘Eid-el-Fitr marks the end of the 2024 Ramadan fasting, which started from March 10 and ended on April 9. Stressing that Within this timeframe, we must have learnt a lot of lessons, especially at this critical time in our history’

The lawmaker says the period of Ramadan should again remind us about the essence of forgiving others, ministering of compassion to the less privilege, respect for human dignity, promoting peaceful co-existence and upholding propriety and piety in all facets of life, which we must all embrace irrespective of our ethnic and religious leanings.

The statement reads: ‘These lessons are not meant for the period of Ramadan fasting only. Also, they are indeed principles and values, which should always guide and shape the life of every Nigerian, the quest of all businesses and conglomerates, the timeless task of building our fatherland as well as the decisions of the governments at all levels’

‘Now that Ramadan has come to an end, these lessons should reflect in the way we support our governments to resolve the myriad of internal challenges that we are collectively as a federation. It should reflect in the way we intercede the more for this federation to sustain the gains of economic stability and political cohesion that we have started experiencing in recent times. It should also reflect in our approaches to conducting businesses; running governments at all levels and discharging civic responsibilities on a daily basis’

‘Since the sustained implementation of pro-people macro-economic policies under this government, stability has started returning to economic and fiscal spaces. As against ₦1,900/$ in February 2024, the value of Naira is ₦1,117.5/$ as at Wednesday. This represents a gain of about 42% within the space of two months.

Besides, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has settled $7 billion valid foreign exchange backlogs. The federal government has paid back a whopping sum of ₦4.83 trillion out of ₦30 trillion ways and means it obtained from the CBN. And the flow of foreign direct investments is improving by the day.’
‘With these indices, the consumer price index, which measures inflation, will no doubt begin to drop significantly by mid-year as we sustain the drive for economic and fiscal stability. At the National Assembly, we are committed to providing much-needed parliamentary buffers that always support key public institutions to efficiently discharge their mandates consistent with the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999.’
Sustaining our drive for economic stability, political cohesion and social inclusion no doubt demands the outright adherence to the core essence of Eid-el-Fitr, which in entirety forbids the sabotage of government policies, the quest for profiteering, the exploitation of our collective resources and the sponsoring of internal disharmony, all in the name of selfish interest and political aspiration’

‘Happy Eid-el-Fitr Celebration to all Muslims Nationwide’

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Easter: Senate Leader Calls for Emulation of Sacrificial Spirit of Jesus Christ.

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Senate Leader, Senator Michael Opeyemi Bamidele
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As Nigerians join the rest of the world to celebrate another Easter in remembrance of the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ; the Senate Leader, Senator Micheal Opeyemi Bamidele  has called on them to imbibe the sacrifice and pains the saviour of mankind went through on the cross.

Bamidele who said this in a statement issued by his Directorate of Media and Public Affairs, noted that the price paid by Jesus Christ which eventually saved humanity from eternal damnation could be likened to the economic hardship currently being experienced by Nigerians, a situation he assured will pay off in due course.

He noted that “it is pertinent for us as an individual and citizens of Federal Republic of Nigeria to pick one or two lessons from the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross, though it was a painful sacrifice, but the sacrifice paved the way for our external redemption.

“It is in the interest of nation building for both the leaders and followers to learn the importance of sacrifice as panacea to lay foundation for the future of any nation.

“The sacrifice we are undergoing today may be painful just as it was for Jesus Christ over 2000 years ago, yet I call on the citizenry to remain hopeful and undistracted as there’s light at the end of the tunnel.

“We should not allow pessimists to paint a picture of a failed nation before us, without recourse to the relentless efforts of the current administration of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu,” he assured.

Bamidele further expressed optimism that whatever sacrifice Nigerians may be going through shall not be in vain; adding that the Federal Government is on top of the situation and laying the foundation for a prosperous Nigeria.

He said current economic indices can attest to the fact that there are unprecedented rapid reforms taking place across key sectors of the life of the nation.

He gave the instance of the Foreign Exchange that had hit the roof top few weeks ago but now drastically dropping by 32.6 percent as a result of pragmatic steps taken by President Tinubu and and his economic team.

Bamidele further assured that investors are currently trooping into the country with job creating opportunities, while the National Assembly is prepared to give the President all the needed legislative backing to ensure that the sacrifices of Nigerians are soon rewarded.

The Senate Leader therefore urged Nigerians; as they continue to celebrate this year’s Easter to remember the leadership of the country in their prayers for divine wisdom and direction to pilot our affairs to a safe location.

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Constituency Projects: Oyebanji Joins Senate Leader On Tour Of Project Sites in Ekiti

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Ekiti State Governor, Biodun Oyebanji and Senate Leader, Sen. Michael Opeyemi Bamidele
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Ekiti State Governor, Biodun Oyebanji has commended the members of the State Caucus in the National Assembly for their dedication to the advancement of development in the State.

The Governor praised their efforts in initiating constituency projects that directly tackle pressing needs and improve the lives of citizens.

Oyebanji gave the commendation in Ado-Ekiti, the State Capital on Tuesday when he joined the Senator representing Ekiti Central Senatorial District and Leader of the Senate, Senator Michael Opeyemi Bamidele, on a tour of his constituency projects spanning various local government areas within the senatorial district.

The Governor said he is delighted at the remarkable partnership between the state government and National Assembly members, which according to him is now yielding positive results for the people of the state.

He explained that the projects are testimonials to what is possible when there is unity of purpose between the Executive and the legislative arms of government, commending Senator Bamidele’s commitment to grassroots development, dedication to service, and relentless pursuit of initiatives that directly impact the people.

While expressing his gratitude to Senator Bamidele, the Governor lauded the Senate Leader’s proactive approach to governance and his ability to mobilize resources to effectively implement impactful projects that uplift the socio-economic status of the people.

Governor Oyebanji reiterated his administration’s support for the projects and pledged continued collaboration with National Assembly members to advance sustainable development in the state, adding that he was confident that with the Senator’s visionary leadership and collective efforts of all stakeholders, Ekiti would continue to experience greater strides in development and prosperity.

“I am excited, happy and extremely grateful to God for this partnership that is working in the interest of Ekiti people, like the Senate Leader said, this is what we have when there is unity of purpose and collective ownership of vision to develop the state. A vision to run with the Renewed Hope Agenda of Mr President, and this tells me that I need to dig deeper in ensuring that there is continuous unity among the stakeholders in the National Assembly, “ the Governor said.

Earlier in his remarks, Senator Bamidele who thanked the Governor for his support and cooperation in realizing various development projects, said the purpose of the inspection is to assess the progress and impact of the projects across his constituency.

The Senate Leader, while emphasizing the significance of teamwork between the executive and legislative arms in driving positive change and progress in the state, restated his commitment to representing the interests of Ekiti people and working closely with the state government to address the people’s needs.

Senator Bamidele attributed various development projects in the state to purposeful and exemplary leadership provided by the Governor and assured the people that he would continue to work tirelessly to ensure the advancement of the interests of the people and promote development within the state.

“Part of the reason why this is going on is because am at peace with myself, am at peace with the state government and I don’t have any reason to want to isolate myself from what the state government is doing and we thank God Almighty”. He asserted.

Projects inspected included EKSU internal roads and the newly built medical student’s hostels, the newly built state Library in Ado Ekiti, the Mini stadium and sports complex in Erijiyan Ekiti, Intensive Care Unit and Amenities Center at Aramoko General Hospital, Ijero township road, newly built Iyin Ekiti General Hospital Intensive care Unit and Amenities Center, Iyin – Ilawe road, among others.

 

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