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INEC Awaits Buhari’s Nod On E-Transmission Of Results

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The Senate bowed to pressure from the public on Tuesday when it passed a bill that gave the Independent National Electoral Commission the sole power to determine the procedure for the transmission of election results.

The red chamber also approved direct primaries as the method to be adopted by all political parties to elect candidates for all elective positions.

The amendments were made on Tuesday by the Senate to some clauses of the Electoral Act (Repeal and Re-enactment) Bill 2021, passed on July 15, 2021.

In its reaction, INEC told The PUNCH that although it had the capacity to transmit elections results electronically, it said it could only adopt the method after the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), had signed amendments to Electoral Act.

Also on Tuesday, the Peoples Democratic Party and civil rights groups faulted the approval of direct primaries by the Senate.

Justifying its U-turn on electronic transmission of results, the Senate explained that its decision to subject the amended clauses of the bill to re-committal was reached after a critical examination by the Senate Committee on INEC.

The chamber added that some fundamental issues which required fresh legislative actions were observed by the Senator Kabiru Gaya-led INEC Committee in the bill.

Accordingly, the chamber in a bill for re-committal, re-amended certain aspects of the bill contained in clauses 43, 52, 63 and 8.

The upper chamber in Clause 52 of the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill passed almost three months ago, had approved that “the Commission (INEC) may consider the electronic transmission of results, provided the national coverage is adjudged to be adequate and secure by the National Communications Commission and approved by the National Assembly.”

The Senate’s position contradicted that of the House of Representatives, which gave INEC the go-ahead to adopt electronic transmission of results.

The upper chamber was heavily criticized by INEC and other stakeholders over its decision in July

However, the Senate, on Tuesday amended the clause when the bill was subjected to re-committal to provide that, “subject to section 63 of this bill, voting at an election and transmission of results under this bill shall be in accordance with the procedure determined by the Commission (INEC).”

The Senate in approving direct primaries for political parties amended clause 87 which earlier allowed for either direct or indirect primaries.

Clause 87 has to do with the nomination of candidates by parties.

It now reads, “Clause 87. (1) “A political party seeking to nominate candidates for elections under this bill shall hold direct primaries for aspirants to all elective positions, which shall be monitored by the commission.”

In indirect primaries, party members elect delegates who in turn elect the party’s candidates on their behalf.

But in direct primaries, registered members of the party vote for who they want to be their candidates. Delegates are not involved.

Members of the Conference Committee on the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill 2021, are expected to meet with their counterparts in the House of Representatives to harmonize the two versions passed by both chambers

The Senate decisions on electronic transfer of results and direct primaries attracted different reactions on Tuesday.

While the lawmakers were commended over the electronic transfer of results, they were criticized on the adoption of direct primaries.

A former Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, commended the Senate for reversing itself on electronic transmission of results, saying it was a huge victory for the nation’s democracy.

Ekweremadu said the Senate’s action justified his assurances to Nigerians in July that all hope was not lost for the electronic transmission of 2023 election results despite the initial setback.

The Enugu West Senatorial District Senator stated this in a statement by his media aide, Uche Anichukwu.

BIG STORY

Lagos Acquires Two Brand New Sets 10-Cars Intra-City Metropolitan Trains For Red Line Rail Project [PHOTOS]

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In line with his administration’s commitment to Traffic Management and Transportation, Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has acquired two sets of new 10 cars Talgo 330kmph trains for the Lagos Red Line rail project.

Governor Sanwo-Olu completed the acquisition deal of the trains at a public event inside the Milwaukee facilities of Spanish train manufacturer Talgo Incorporated in the United States, on Tuesday.

The trains will be heading to Lagos, Nigeria for the Red Line, a 37 km track rail project started by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu. The red line will have 11 stations and when completed, it will be the first operational metro system in West Africa.

Speaking at the event, Governor Sanwo-Olu, who was accompanied by the Lagos State Commissioner for Transportation, Dr. Frederic Oladeinde; Special Adviser to the Governor on Works, Engr. Aramide Adeyoye and Managing Director of Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA), Engr. Abimbola Akinajo, said Lagos State Government is excited to complete the purchase of the two brand new trains.

He said they were in Milwaukee to see things for themselves in respect of the purchase of the trains, adding that they have inspected the trains, seen their configuration, and are satisfied that they fit into the tracks of the Redline in Lagos.

“A train is not something you can just go on the shelf and pick up. We are very lucky to get brand new trains. We have seen our beautiful white and red trains. Coincidentally, the rail line is called Red Line and you can see they have given us the colour. We are just going to brand it and put up our seal there.

“We hope that this (purchase of the trains) will be the beginning of a mutually beneficial business relationship. Providing source of livelihood for our citizens is all about providing jobs for our people and that is what we are doing. It is about ensuring that we can build our economy; people can move from one location to another and businesses can grow.

“Part of what we have done in the last two and half years is to have what we call Integrated Urban Mass transportation system, where we will be using road infrastructure, waterway infrastructure and rail infrastructure so that we can move over 20 million Lagosians within and around the city,” he said.

The acting Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson, who received Governor Sanwo-Olu in the city, said: “It is a little bittersweet. I am sending my congratulations to the Governor of Lagos State in Nigeria, but also a little disappointed that we missed out on the opportunity to have those train sets operating here in Milwaukee and in Wisconsin.”

Also speaking the CEO and President, Talgo USA Antonio Perez, said “For us, it is important that our trains are utilized. It doesn’t make any good for the trains that we built to be stored and kept without passengers riding them.”

Governor Sanwo-Olu accompanied by the Lagos State delegation during the visit inspected the interior design of the newly acquired Talgo 330kmph intra-city metropolitan trains.

Since the commencement of his administration on May 29, 2019, Governor Sanwo-Olu has maintained his administration’s commitment to bringing the Red Line project to fruition during the lifetime of his government.

The Governor has specifically promised Lagosians that the first phase of the Red Line will begin by the last quarter of 2022 or the first quarter of 2023, with a capacity of 500,000 passengers daily.

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BIG STORY

Davido Slams Cousin Dele Adeleke For Writing About His Mother’s Death

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David Adeleke, better known as Davido, a multi-award-winning Nigerian singer, has slammed his cousin, Dele Adeleke, for his bid for governor of Osun State.

This time, the musician chastised the politician for mentioning his (Davido’s) mother’s death in a story about his political ambitions.

Davido mentioned in a series of tweets on Wednesday that his cousin hired individuals to write about him (Davido), but he didn’t seem to mind.

However, the singer noted that his mother raised his cousin, yet the latter wrote about his death.

“Because of your ambition, you have your people write about me (which I don’t care about) but to include the death of my mother in an article; the same woman that raised you. Ok Dele, God will reward you,” Davido tweeted.

The Aye crooner noted that Dele Adeleke also stoop so low to mention the name of another family member, whom Davido simply described as ‘Aunty Vero.’

He said, “The truth hurt you that much you had to go that low to mention your Aunty Vero that cared for you. Well, I don open my crase for the year (sic). Stay tuned.”

Davido had on Tuesday called out Dele Adeleke for eyeing the governorship seat of Osun State, a position which his uncle, Senator Ademola Adeleke, was also interested in.

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BIG STORY

BREAKING: Court Orders FG To Pay Nnamdi Kanu N1bn

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A High Court in Abia State has ordered the Federal Government to pay N1 billion to Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, as well as write him a letter of apology.

Kanu has petitioned the court for N5 billion in compensation for the military’s raid of his father’s home on September 10, 2017.

In a ruling on Wednesday, according to his lawyer, Aloy Ejimakor, the Court presided over by Justice Benson Anya stated that the Federal Government violated the IPOB leader’s fundamental rights.

The Court also recommended a political solution to the agitation for the restoration of the defunct Biafra Republic championed by IPOB.

Kanu’s lawyer made this known in a tweet, saying, “Mazi Nnamdi Kanu WINS as Abia High Court rules that the Federal Government violated his fundamental rights. Orders the Federal government to pay N1b to him and issue a letter of apology to him.

“Most importantly, the Court recommended political solution to the #Biafran agitation.”

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