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​Kogi East Re-run Polls Yield to Predictions

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​Kogi East Re-run Polls Yield to Predictions

The result declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission in the re-run polls for the Kogi East senatorial district and two state House of Assembly seats held at the weekend was just as predicted. 
Yekini Jimoh reports
The people of Kogi East senatorial district of Kogi State on Saturday, July 23 filed out again to elect their Senator and state House of Assembly representatives. There had been a series of appeals from stakeholders in Kogi East, asking the National Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to come forward and conduct the pending re-run elections. One of such group was the Igala/Bassa Consultative Forum, which noted that one year into the life of the present administration they were yet to have representatives in the Senate and two House of Assembly seats.
According to the group, the people were already getting agitated, restive and apprehensive. But after series of legal tussles, a former Senator from Kogi East, Senator Attai Aidoko of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was disqualified from contesting the coming re-run election by the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja and confirmed Air Marshal Isac Alfa as the authentic candidate of the PDP.
 

Challenging irregularities such as ballot scattering and the disruption of counting process during the PDP primary on December 7, 2014 at Idah in which Senator Attai Aidoko was purportedly issued with a certificate of return, Alfa approached the Federal High Court in Abuja, and asked that the court declare him winner of the primary election, having polled the highest number of votes.
Thus, in his judgment delivered on May 2016, Justice Nnamdi Dimgba declared Alfa as the winner of the PDP senatorial primary for Kogi East held on December 7, 2014. By the judgment, therefore, Alfa became the PDP candidate in the rerun poll and by implication, to enjoy the votes cast in favour of the PDP in the first rerun election held in February, 2016. Indeed, Alfa went on to win the polls as predicted by political observers as there was literally nothing standing in his way.
The All Progressives Congress (APC) on the other hand did not participate in the election following the disqualification of its candidate, Alhaji Abubakar Muhammed by a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja. During the Senatorial election, Muhammed won the election but was challenged by Senator Attai Aidoko at the Federal High Court, which led to his disqualification as Senator-elect from Kogi East.
With this development, the PDP had already looked set to win the re-run election as other political parties such as Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN), KOWA Party, Labour Party (LP), Mega Progressive Peoples Party (MPPP) and United Progressive Party (UPP) were not positioned to defeat the PDP in the election as many have observed and their prediction came to pass. INEC declared Alfa winner of the election.
INEC, on its part too, had also worked round the clock to ensure that the election was successful as no fewer than 1,390 ad hoc members of staff were prepared for the elections.
The Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mr. Samuel Usman, who disclosed this while briefing newsmen noted had that after due consultations with relevant stakeholders both at the state and national levels on the conditions precedent to the peaceful election in the zone, and based on the outcome of these meetings/consultations, July 23, 2016 had been fixed for the elections.
According to him, local government areas involved in the elections were Ankpa, Bassa, Dekina, Ibaji and Idah, Igalamela/Odolu, Ofu and Olamaboro, stressing that the state constituency re-run elections would be conducted in 1 Polling Unit out of 89 (PU 003) in Idah while in Ofu, election would be conducted in 79 Polling Units out of 129.

The REC, however, assured the electorate that the lessons learnt from the previous exercises would be used in raising the bar during this Saturday’s elections, saying he would also continue to encourage participation in the electoral process as the present Commission was poised to meet the global best practices. He warned that no permanent voters cards (PVCs), no voting, saying anybody who had no business with the process should steer clear of the Polling and Collation Centers.
“Security agencies have collectively vowed to secure the election and would deal decisively with hoodlums, who would disrupt the process,” he warned.
He also called for the cooperation and appealed that members of the public should be highly informed to conduct themselves before, during and after this exercise and take precautions in order to avoid a repetition of violence and disruption of the process.
In order to have violence-free elections, the REC also appealed to traditional rulers and other stakeholders in the area to preach the message of peace to their subjects before, during and after the poll. He said he would appeal to His Royal Majesty, Attah Igala to mediate between the contenders and their supporters in order to achieve a hitch-free poll.
“We intend to pay a courtesy call to His Royal Majesty, Attah Igala to solicit his fatherly support and to speak with his subjects and if possible, appeal to the contestants to comport themselves in order to conclude the election peacefully,” he said.
On the matter of PDP’s authentic candidate, he declared that the rightful candidate of the PDP was Alfa. REC Samuel Madaki said INEC would rely on the last court judgment, which recognised Alfa unless the commission was instructed otherwise by another court of competent jurisdiction.
‪He disclosed that there had been various cases in which INEC had to substitute candidates of some parties on the order of court even when elections were very close, saying INEC as a creation of the law would not violate any court ruling.
“INEC is guided by the latest court judgment. The person that the court directed us to recognise on the platform of the PDP is AVM Isaac Alfa. He is the candidate for the PDP unless otherwise,” he stressed.

And, at the end of the day, Alfa, who flew the PDP flag, won the election, expectedly with the other big guns cleared off his way. Of course, the fringe parties were just on the ballot to fulfill all righteousness as all indications had shown that Alfa, having reaped the votes cast for the PDP in the previous rerun, was in a vantage position to emerge Kogi East Senator.
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With this development, the PDP had already looked set to win the re-run election as other political parties such as Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN), KOWA Party, Labour Party (LP), Mega Progressive Peoples Party (MPPP) and United Progressive Party (UPP) were not positioned to defeat the PDP in the election as many have observed and their prediction came to pass. INEC declared Alfa winner of the election

Kogi East Re-run Polls Yield to Predictions

 

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22,000 girls die annaully in Nigeria due to pregnancy related complications, early marriages -SCI

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From:Ahmed Rufai, Dutse

The Save the Children International has raised concerns that Nigeria is ranking highest in pregnancy and childbirth related mortality with a whacking death figure of 22,000 girls annually.
The communication officer of the organization, Mr. Kunle Olawomi gave the indication in a press statement he issued in Dutse the Jigawa state capital on Tuesday.

The disclosure was coming as part of the organization’s way of celebrating the International Day of the Girlchild.

He said the cases worsen as a result of early marriage in the country

According to the statement “Nigeria has the highest rate of child marriages and teenage maternal mortality rate which is higher than anywhere in the world”.

Olawomi stated futher that “Although nearly 80 million child marriages globally have been prevented in the last 25 years, progress had been stalled even before the COVID-19 pandemic which has only worsened inequalities that drive child marriage”.
With school closures, health services under strain or closed, and more families being pushed into poverty, women and girls face an increased risk of violence during lengthy lockdowns. A further 10 million girls are now expected to marry by 2030, leaving more girls at risk of dying”.

“Childbirth is the number one killer of teenage girls because their young bodies aren’t ready to bear children. The health risks of children having children cannot, and must not, be ignored, the statement emphasized

The Save the Children therefore called on the Governments as a matter of urgency to prioritise on the girlchild and ensure they’re protected from child marriage and premature childbirth-related deaths”.

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Insecurity: Over 330, 000 Nigerian refugees are languishing in neighboring countries – Humanitarian minister

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At least 330,000 Nigerian refugees are presently residing in neighboring countries on account of the protracted insurgency and armed banditry in the north east and north west, Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar Farouq has disclosed.

She made the disclosure when she was hosted in a Chatham House Webinar to discuss Nigeria’s humanitarian challenges and worsening food crises in Nigeria, yesterday.

The Minister indicated that communal, farmers/herdsmen clashes in the Middle Belt and in the Southern region, riverine floods, drought, as well as fires and industrial accidents, among other things, have led to the high number.

The breakdown of the 330,000 Nigerian refugees in neighbouring countries, according to the Minister,  include 16,634 in Chad, 118,409 in Cameroon, while  Niger Republic has 186,957.

Farouq recalled that the World Food Programme (WFP) estimated that 3.4 million people are currently facing acute hunger in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states, and that another 4.3 million are entirely dependent on food assistance from the government or multilateral organisations across the country.

She, however, disclosed that her ministry has launched two key frameworks aimed at boosting humanitarian actions and making them more practicable and impactful.

According to her: “The first is the Humanitarian Development Peace Nexus Framework, which is derived from the UN Triple Nexus principles that believes development causes peace and that humanitarian actions can bring about development.

“Second is the Localization Framework, an initiative adopted after the commitment of stakeholders at the 2016 World Humanitarian Summit to reenergize the concept of localization of aid.

“The concept seeks to make the humanitarian system more effective and relevant by ensuring that humanitarian preparedness and response capacity is domiciled with those nearest to the crisis-affected populations as they are best placed to respond quickly and appropriately”.

Commenting on the approaches adopted by her  Ministry to mitigate sufferings caused by humanitarian situations leading to food crises in the country, the Minister said: “The food security challenges in the Northeast are peculiar due to the fluid and volatile situation in the region.

“Nevertheless, the Ministry has been working effectively with both humanitarian stakeholders and the Military to facilitate humanitarian access and promote accountability in the humanitarian space within the Civil-Security Framework and coordination platform.

“The recently approved National IDP Policy also provides leadership and guidance framework towards food security for the North-East region, as well as promotes minimum standards and thresholds to tackle ongoing displacement until a durable solution is established for the IDPs”.

Responding to a question on the Q&A segment of the meeting, Farouq disclosed that her ministry has put together some programs with the aim of addressing food crises and other humanitarian issues faced by People of Concern in Nigeria.

“The Federal Government, through the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) provides rationed food items to IDPs in the Northeast, especially in Borno State.

“In addition, State governments and other MDAs also channel food through the Ministry or directly to IDPs.

“For example, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) is currently distributing seedlings, farming inputs and insurance packages to farmers who were affected by the 2020 floods.

“The objective is not to replace lost goods and farm produce, but to enhance better quality yields and build resilience among vulnerable farmers and adopt a more sustainable approach to ending food scarcity,” the Minister said.

While commending what she described as the robust support and partnership her Ministry received from donor agencies and development partners, the Minister, however, appealed for increased partnership in key programs, policies, and structures to address the prevailing humanitarian challenges of Nigeria through collective planning and agenda shaping in a coordinated and sustained manner for better impact.

The Minister further called for increased cooperation in the Nigerian humanitarian space.

According to Sadiya Farouq: “It is my fervent hope that an effective technical, operational and financial cooperation and support from the UN will significantly contribute towards the effective realization of the Ministry’s twin objectives of achieving effective coordination and implementation of its programmes in a sustainable manner.”

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Bokoharam: MBF challenges FG to prove its not culpable by naming sponsors

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The Middle Belt Forum (MBF) has challenged the Federal Government to yield to the demand by the Nigerian public to unveil identities of the sponsors of Boko Haram, especially the 400 Bureau de change operators as identified by the UAE authorities and come clean of allegations of culpability

This was contained in communique released at the end of a 2-day Middle Belt Forum National Executive Committer (NEC) meeting held on Thursday and Friday, September 9th and 10th, 2021 in Qkwanga Nasarawa state which was signed by National President of the forum Dr Pogu Bitrus.

The forum in the communique expressed grave concern especially given the report by the UN that the Federal government is secretly engaged in negotiations tagged ‘Sulhu’ with Boko Haram terrorists through which it is allegedly offering monetary rewards to insurgents and other criminals.

The forum said it is opposed to the project and to any form of amnesty for insurgents and other terror groups who have their hands dripping with blood. “NEC is also vehemently opposed to any planned recruitment of these so called repentant terrorists into the national security architecture.”

They also demanded for 100 percent implementation of electronic transmission of electoral results in order to ensure credibility and transparency in the electoral process.

“Since democracy is about the wishes and aspirations of the people, we call on both the National Assembly and the Presidency to reconsider their position on electronic transmission of election results and yield to the wishes of the Nigerian people who are demanding for 100 percent implementation of electronic transmission of electoral results in order to ensure credibility and transparency in the electoral process.

They observed that the country has been plunged into a critical situation of insecurity occasioned by the activities of Boko Haram terrorists, armed Fulani militia, kidnappers/bandits and other related criminal elements. 

“This spate of insecurity has pushed the nation to the precipice. NEC calls on the Federal Government to take urgent steps to arrest the situation and save the nation from another civil war.

“That, the incessant invasions by Fulani militia on several communities across the Middle Belt Region in particular, and other parts of the country in general, have assumed genocidal/ethnic cleansing scale. “These attacks have left in their wake mind-boggling massacres and devastations in our communities and displacement of indigenous Peoples to various Internally Displaced Person (IDP) camps. 

“That many schools and places of worship in the Middle Belt Region have remained closed due to the criminal activities of these Fulani kidnappers and bandits. 

“NEC regrets that many school children and other hapless citizens are still languishing in the dens of kidnappers. NEC further appeals to the government to take urgent steps to rescue those in captivity.”

“NEC calls on the Federal Government to take urgent steps to return displaced communities to their ancestral lands, given the fact that territory can no longer be acquired in the 21st century by the use of force.  The Forum also called on the government to identify all IDPs in the Middle Belt Region and provide relief materials for them.

The MBF also called on the Federal Government to identify, apprehend and bring the perpetrators of these heinous crimes against humanity to justice so as to serve as a deterrent to others. “Consequently, NEC calls on the government to set up an agency to be called the Middle Belt Development Commission (MBDC) to serve as an intervention agency in addressing the challenges caused by the activities of these terrorists”

On the zoning arrangement in terms of power rotation between the North and the South they group described it as an unfair treatment as it has failed to recognize the Middle Belt geopolitical block.

The forum therefore, called on the political actors in Nigeria particularly political parties to henceforth reflect the zoning arrangements for power to rotate between North, South and the Middle Belt.

 they acknowledged and commended Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue state for his resilient stance in the defence of the rights of the Benue people and for his courage and foresight in making the anti-open grazing law even in the face of threats by Miyetti Allah and those other forces that seek to Fulanise and enslave the Benue people and the rest of the Middle Belt.

“It is for his foresight that today, the entire Southern Nigeria has adopted his position based on the validity of his position.

“By the same token, NEC commends Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State for his consistent struggle for the Rule of Law and true Federalism, particularly the recent judgment of the Federal High Court on the Value Added Tax (VAT) which has opened the door for the commencement of the struggle for Restructuring of Nigeria.

 “Against the backdrop of ethnic cleansing being waged by Fulani terrorists in our Communities, including the supplanting of our people, NEC resolves that people of the Middle Belt people should rise up and defend themselves in the face of governments abandoning their Constitutional responsibility of defending them or seeming complicity. ‘Furthermore, NEC resolves that an attack on any of our communities is henceforth, considered as an attack on all Communities in the Middle Belt Region with the attendant responses and consequences.”

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