Ahead of the September 19 governorship election in Edo State, the Independent National Electoral Commission says it has ensured all its staff and the 20,974 ad hoc staff that will be deployed for the exercise. It said comprehensive insurance had been put in place for them and those who would serve in the October 10 governorship election in Ondo State.
INEC’s National Commissioner and Chairman of its Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, told journalists in an interview on Saturday that the election officers would be insured against deaths and other election hazards.
There have been apprehensions from within and outside the state that the election, which holds on Saturday, maybe marred by violence. This had prompted INEC, security agencies, prominent individuals, and organizations to sue for peace.
No fewer than 14 political parties would participate in the election, but the two major parties in the state; All Progressives Congress and Peoples Democratic Party, continue to accuse each other of planning to foment trouble during the exercise.
The Oba of Benin, Oba Ewuare II, had on September 2 chastised the candidate of the PDP, Governor Godwin Obaseki; that of the APC, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, and some other party chieftains over the pockets of political violence and tensed political atmosphere in the state.
In a meeting with the candidates, their running mates, and other stakeholders at his palace, the monarch described some of their utterances and activities during the electioneering as immature.
Many previous elections across the country have been marred by violence, during which some election officers were killed.
But in a bid to assure its personnel of its commitment to their safety in the forthcoming election, Okoye said the staff members of the commission were already insured but that the ad hoc staff would be insured.
Okoye said, “All the ad hoc staff engaged by the commission for the purposes of the Edo and Ondo governorship elections will be covered by insurance and it’s comprehensive insurance covering deaths, accidents, and other election hazards. It’s a group insurance that covers every individual given a contract by the commission as ad hoc staff. The staff of the commission are already covered and there is no need to cover them a second time.”
The National Commissioner also said most of the ad hoc staff had been trained, except for Collation Officers who are usually trained three to four days to the election.
He said corps members would be deployed as Presiding Officers and students of federal tertiary institutions as Assistant Presiding Officers. While promising that each of them would be given a contract and their allowances paid promptly, he added, “We plead with them to always supply their correct details and account numbers to prevent the late payment from the bank.”
He added, “The commission will deploy a total of 20,974 election officials in Edo State. We have 18 Local Government Areas in Edo State, so there will be 18 Local Government Collation Officers; 192 Registration Area Collation Officers, 263 Supervisory Presiding Officers, and 2,627 Presiding Officers.
“The commission will also engage a total of 13,557 Assistant Presiding Officers and 3,259 Presiding Officers (Voting Points) and we will also engage not less than 841 Reserves. There will be one Returning Officer for the election. There are 2,627 polling units and a registered voter population of 2,210,534. Our training programme has been robust and we are confident that our trainers have done a good job.
INEC had said out of the 2.2 million registered voters in the state, only 1.72 million collected their permanent voter cards, while 484,000 persons who did not collect theirs would not vote.
Mahmood meets Obaseki, Ize-Iyamu, others Monday
Meanwhile, INEC National Chairman, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, will on Monday hold the last stakeholders meeting in Benin, the state capital, while the ad hoc staff would be deployed on Friday prior to their resumption on Saturday. He noted that non-sensitive materials had been deployed to the Registration Areas already.
Okoye said, “The commission will deploy the ad hoc staff to the Registration Area Centers on Friday, September 18, from where they will be deployed to the polling units at first light on Saturday. As a prelude to the election, the Chairman and National Commissioners will hold the last stakeholders meeting on Monday and sign, and the political parties and their candidates will sign a peace accord on Tuesday.”
Yakubu had said on Thursday that the National Peace Committee, INEC, and every conscientious Nigerian had been concerned about the fear of violence in elections.
JUST IN: Obaseki, Shaibu Sworn-In For Second Term
Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, and his deputy, Philip Shaibu, have been sworn in for a second term in office.
The Oath of Office was administered around 12 noon by the Chief Judge of the State, Justice Esther Edigin.
In attendance at the inauguration which took place on Thursday at the Tennis Court of the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, Benin City, were governors of the Peoples Democratic Party including Nyesom Wike of Rivers State, Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State, Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State, and Duoye Diri of Bayelsa State.
PDP National Chairman, Uche Secondus, was also present at the event with some other party officials while Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo was represented by a government official.
Obaseki had defected to the PDP from the All Progressives Congress after he was denied the ruling party’s ticket in the primary election due to intra-party wranglings.
He later defeated the APC candidate in the September 19, 2020 governorship election, Osagie Ize-Iyamu, to be re-elected governor of the state.
Speaking at the inauguration, Obaseki promised to consolidate on his first-term achievements.
He said, “We will also rapidly develop our critical energy, housing, digital and road Infrastructure, which provides a framework to drive inclusive growth as well as build the economy and drive industrialization, trade, and investment, to solidify our state’s status as the choice investment destination in the country.
“We will preserve the environment and public utilities, to make our state more functional and adapt to the challenges of climate change and rural-urban migration. Our major drive will be the clean and green Edo initiative and sustaining our campaign to plant trees and restore the forest.”
Buhari Approves Registration Of New APC Members
President Muhammadu Buhari Tuesday in the State House approved the registration of new members of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The president gave the approval when the Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee of the party led by the chairman and the Governor of Yobe State, Mr. Mai Mala Buni, submitted the timetable for party registration to him.
Briefing reporters after the meeting at the Presidential Villa, Buni said the approval was “in accordance with section 9 (4) of the Constitution of the All Progressives Congress (October 2014 as Amended).”
He added: “The Caretaker and Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee consulted all stakeholders and have organized for membership registration. The said Section 9 (4) provides as:
“A register of members shall be compiled and maintained at the ward level and be transmitted to the secretariat of the party at the local government area, which shall transmit a copy to the state headquarters, national secretariat.”
#EndSARS Protest: Mandate International UK Speaks Over Lagos Carnage
A political group in affiliation to the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the UK, Mandate International, UK has said the actions of the peaceful protesters were praiseworthy and very necessary considering the way the now banned Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) was brutalizing Nigerians mostly youths before they were proscribed a few days ago.
Mandate International UK under the coordination of the APC stalwart, Hon. Ibrahim Yusuf said the protest was all Nigerians needed at the time but condemned the unnecessary arson and looting that preceded the protest.
Yusuf in a statement signed and made available to the press condemned the way some hoodlums and thugs turned the peaceful protest into an avenue to wreak havoc on the peace of the nation. He condemns the insinuations that thugs were destroying properties owned by the government and individuals thinking that Tinubu owns them all.
In his word, it is condemnable to think that some hoodlums either sponsored or otherwise will take such an action against a great man like Tinubu who has built bridges and made people across the land and has never relented in doing so. Asiwaju has done all within his power to ensure he delivers the best at all times.
“At Mandate International UK, we urge those who are planning to bring the political strongman down to have a rethink, Tinubu will not succumb, he remains the rally point for Lagos and Nigeria politics at large”.
Meanwhile, Sen. Bola Tinubu has been accused of ordering the military to shoot at the protesters at the Lekki Toll Gate, but in rebuttal, Tinubu described the insinuation as a complete lie.
According to Tinubu in a press release he signed, he was surprised to be linked to such an incident. His words “let me directly address the sharp point aimed against me. I have been falsely accused of ordering the reported deployment of soldiers against peaceful protesters that took place at Lekki on 20 October 2020. This allegation is a complete and terrible lie. I did not order this or any assault against anybody. I would never want such a vile thing to happen nor did I have any prior knowledge about this sad event. It is my firm belief that no one should be harassed, injured or possibly killed for doing what they have the constitutional right to do in making their contribution to a better, more equitable society”.
Tinubu had described the allegation as slander and untrue. “The slander aimed at me is based on the untruth that I own the toll gate concession. The hate mongers prevaricate that I ordered the Lekki assault because the protests had caused me to lose money due to the interruption of toll gate activity”.
Yusuf encouraged the social media influencers to be wary of their actions as their responses to the Lagos protest have brought wanton damages to Lagos and the nation at large. He described the burning of public institutions including Nigeria Port Authority (NPA) and others as surprising and condemnable.
The statement urged the governors elected on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to make governance people’s more friendly so as give clarity to the difference between progressives and others. It also commiserates with Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos state and other affected governors of the federation.
Yusuf condemned in a strong term the killings saying no one should die for asking for good governance, “he urges the government to ensure that the killers of these victims be unraveled without delay and be immediately be brought to book. He opined that our police officer should carry body cameras at all times whenever on duty, this will help them in an investigation and ensure justice”.
Mandate International UK commends Gov. Sanwo-Olu over his handling of the matter since the pandemic era up till now. He has risen to the occasion, he is dogged, has the firmness of purpose and pertinacity. These characters have helped him and we have no doubt that he will succeed in taking the Lagos state to the next level.
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