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2019: Why We Chose Five Presidential Candidates For Debate —- NEDG

Peter Okunoren

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The Nigeria Elections Debate Group (NEDG) has explained how five political parties were selected to participate in the presidential and vice-presidential debates.

NEDG Executive Secretary, Eddie Emesiri, said in a statement on Thursday that the parties for the debate were picked through an independently administered multi-stage process.

The statement was issued in reaction to the criticism triggered by the number of political parties selected by the group and the Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria (BON) organizers of the debates.

Emesiri stressed that the decision to select five parties was taken at the beginning of the process to ensure that the debates were managed effectively.

According to him, the stages of the selection process focused on political parties while the organisers considered the importance of diversity in the nation.

The NEDG Executive Secretary insisted that no preference was given to any candidate or party, adding that nobody influenced the organisers to include or exclude any political party from the debates.

The statement read: “Further to our earlier announcement of participating parties for the Presidential Debates, the organising partners of the Debates hereby reiterate the transparency and independence of the selection process that resulted in the five participating political parties.

“Firstly, we would like to state that the Presidential Debates are organised by a partnership of the Nigeria Elections Debate Group (NEDG) and Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria (BON), a broad coalition of over 100 public and private broadcasters in Nigeria with coverage of terrestrial radio, television, direct-to-home, digital terrestrial television and multimedia distribution system. The members of BON are responsible for over 250 radio and tv stations across Nigeria.

“The choice of participating parties for the debate was made through an independently administered multi-stage process. The first stage was an independent online poll and the second involved the distribution of survey questionnaires per state, to professionals, artisans, students, etc; respondents were within the voting age and spread across urban, semi-urban and rural classifications. The third stage was to take an aggregate of the stage result and extend invitations to the top 5 parties for the debate.

“Following our disclosure of the participating parties earlier in the week, our attention has been drawn to some reactions in the public space over the decision to limit the participation to five parties and exclusion of some party flag bearers from the debate. Considering the vast number of contending parties, the decision to limit to five parties was taken at the beginning of our process to ensure ease of management for the debates. All the stages of the selection process were focused on political parties, taking into consideration the importance of national spread and diversity. Focus was not on specific individuals or candidates.

“We wish to emphatically state that the NEDG and BON were not influenced or induced by anyone to include or exclude any political party from the debate. We understand the disappointment of some political parties who would have wished to see their candidates share their visions for the country at the Debates. However, Nigerians have spoken through the multi-stage process and we urge all Nigerians to respect their choice as we abide by the outcome of the independent party selection process.”

NEDG and BON had named only five political parties to participate in 2019 vice presidential and presidential debates.

The parties listed were Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN), Alliance for New Nigeria (ANN), All Progressives Congress (APC), Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Young Progressives Party (YPP).

This meant that the presidential aspirants expected at the debate are President Muhammadu Buhari, Atiku Abubakar, Oby Ezekwesili, Fela Durotoye and Kingsley Moghalu.

However, Presidential candidate of Allied Congress Party of Nigeria, ACPN, Oby Ezekwesili, has sought for five more influential presidential candidates.

The five candidates include: Donald Duke of the Social Democratic Party, SDP; Omoyele Sowore, of the African Action Congress, AAC; Byron Fagbemj of KOWA Party; and John Gbor of the All Progressives Grand Alliance APGA.

The Vice-Presidential Debate and the Presidential Debate are scheduled for Friday, December 14, 2018, and Saturday, January 19, 2019, respectively.

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BREAKING: Senate Approves N30,000 Minimum Wage

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The Senate on Tuesday approved N30,000 as the new national minimum wage.

This decision was reached after the upper chamber’s ad-hoc committee on new minimum wage headed by Senator Francis Alimikhena submitted its report.

The Senate then went on to request the Federal Government to submit a supplementary budget to cover the new wage structure for consideration and approval.

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Delta Government Suspends Head Teacher Over Success ‘No Be Say I No Go Pay’ N1,000 Viral Video

Peter Okunoren

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The Delta State Government has suspended the Head Teacher of Okotie-Eboh Primary School in Sapele Local Government Area, Vero Igbigwe, for allegedly collecting unauthorised fees, including examination levies, from pupils.

The suspension notice was handed down on Monday by the Delta State Commissioner for Education, Chinedu Ebie, who visited the school following a viral video that showed a schoolgirl, Success Adebor, protesting the decision to send her home over her parents’ inability to pay her second term examination fee, which she put at N1,000.

Ebie said: “There is right to fair hearing.

“So, what will happen is that a detailed investigation would be set up to look into the issue in details.

“Like I did say, I conducted a preliminary investigation, but in the interim we have to suspend her (Igbigwe) as the head teacher of this school pending the outcome of the investigation.

“That suspension will take effect as from today (Monday).

“Obviously, there are contradictions in her story because everybody was there when they talked about school fees.

“It was obvious that Success was sent home because of her inability or her parents to pay the supposed fees, which is not in any way part of the 2018/2019 levies.

“Education at the basic level is free.

“However, it is not unusual that levies are imposed.

“Even at the unity schools, we have levies but these levies must be for specific purposes and must also be very minimal for the children or their guardians can afford.”

Ebie said the Administration of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa would not tolerate any form of extortion by state officials.

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Why We Visited President Buhari In Aso Rock — Sanwo-Olu

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Lagos State Governor-elect, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has revealed that he visited President Muhammadu Buhari at his office in Aso Rock on Monday in the company of his deputy, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, to congratulate the nation’s number one citizen for winning his second term election in the just concluded presidential election.

The elated President Buhari who received Sanwo-Olu and Hamzat also felicitated with the duo for their victory in the gubernatorial election.

Speaking to journalists shortly after the meeting, Sanwo-Olu said: “It is important for the deputy Governor-elect and myself to have a one-on-one short discussion with the Commander-in-Chief, and it’s a rare privilege. It was a short one, just to say congratulations to him on his own election and he also said the same thing to us. So it’s a very short courtesy visit to Mr. President.”

The incoming Governor, who gave an insight into what his government will do, said Lagosians should expect a lot of solutions to many of the challenges they face in areas of transportation, housing, waste management, health and education adding that his deputy and himself have the competences and capabilities that will bring good governance as soon as they are sworn in.

His words: “We are actually very excited. We are excited because we’ve seen all the challenges ahead of us and we know that given all the plans and strategies we are putting in place for execution, we will certainly be bringing about solutions that will solve various challenges in Lagos very quickly.

“We know that with a mega city of our status, it comes with a lot of challenges but we are lucky that we have been part of it before now and we are excited that the solutions we are bringing up – many of which we told our people on the campaign trail, we are sure we will very quickly, be able to bring about positive development that will improve the quality of lives and ease all of the challenges that we currently have in Lagos.”

On the recent building collapse in the state which he described as unfortunate, the Governor-Elect said the current government in the state is doing all that is possible to ensure building codes are strictly adhered to and that his administration will strengthen the existing codes and also apply the rules without pandering to sentiments.

“It’s an unfortunate incident. I used to be the Vice Chairman of the Committee on Building Collapse. That was about ten years ago which was what led to us create an agency called Lagos State Building Control Agency (LABCA). It was meant to identify structures well ahead before issues like this begin to happen. But it’s an unfortunate thing, extremely very unfortunate and it also means that we expect it would happen again if nothing drastic is done to check it. Our administration will strengthen the agency and apply the law without sentiments.

“Lagos truly really needs regeneration especially Lagos Island and that was part of the things we promised on the campaign trail. So, it’s to have a conversation with all of the families on the Island and we’ll see the kind of redevelopment that is important as it is being done by a lot of other big cities like Lagos,” Sanwo-Olu said.

Speaking on the issue of urban renewal, Sanwo-Olu said proper enumeration of properties is the ultimate solution to achieve success. He said once properties are properly enumerated and the owners see the government’s sincerity of purpose, they will key into it and regeneration can take place.

“Well, it’s really not that regeneration has been a challenge, but because we have not been able to see it through to the end. When you want to take people’s properties and you want to regenerate, they must first see the sincerity of purpose – what are the additional plans that you have for them? Before you could regenerate, there must be a stop gap – in the next two to three years what are the plans you have for them? And you need to do what we call proper enumeration. Once you can enumerate properly and determine who the original owners are, and you sit and have an agreement, then the regeneration will start.

“But like I have said, the major thing is sincerity of purpose knowing full well that you are not out to circumvent them or to shortchange them. Once that is put on the table very clearly and transparently, I believe that as it’s also done in other jurisdictions, we will make success of it,” Sanwo-Olu stated.

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