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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

Man Faints After Discovering His Wife Is His ‘Landlord’

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A Zambian man identified as Martin Stampa reportedly collapsed after discovering his wife is his “landlord.”

Local news platforms reported that Stampa lived in the house for 15 years, and was paying 3500 kwacha every month. It was also gathered that his wife was the one who always took the rent to his “landlord.”

However, an altercation ensued after the lady identified as Lushomo discovered that her husband was having an extramarital affair. Martin reportedly told his wife that he got a side chick because he wanted someone who was intelligent and engages in smart conversations.

This riled Lushomo, who ended up spilling the beans and telling Martin that he’s not intelligent enough as he has been paying her a monthly rent because the house they live in belongs to her.

On seeing the house’s title deeds, Martin lost consciousness and collapsed. People had to drench him with bucketfuls of water to wake him up.

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My Administration Has Brought Visible Developments To The State, Lagosians Will Re-Elect Me In 2023 – Sanwo-Olu

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Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State has said he is confident that the electorates in the state will re-elect him to steer the affairs of the state for another four years given his record of achievements.

He spoke during a chat on Channels TV’s Sunday Politics program.

Governor Sanwo-Olu, alongside 14 others, will be jostling for the governorship seat in 2023.

He said his administration had brought in development that can be seen and felt by the state’s residents.

“I managed the emergency of the city. Today alone, there are emergencies that have been reported today alone. I’ve recruited over 650 fire service men. I’ve bought 64 brand new trucks that you will come, I will invite you for commissioning.

“I spent over a billion to take off the refuse in Lagos. We’re creating a sanitary landfill site. That’s what we’re doing. We’re building 1618 kilometres of rigid pavement road that runs to tens of billions. We’re building the biggest market in the country because that’s what we’re doing.”

When he was asked if he saw one of his challengers, Olajide Adediran of the PDP, and his deputy, Funke Akindele, a filmmaker, as a threat, Sanwo-Olu said he is the most preferred candidate because he is more experienced.

“So you know, like I said if you have an emergency, who would you call? What are your chances? Do you call the man that has the experience that has gone through the trenches before that has lived with it that understands what the issues are,” he said.

“That appreciate what challenge you have even at 3 a.m. or will you leave your chance to someone that doesn’t know where the dial is or that doesn’t even know what the issues of governance are? This is Lagos.

“This is an informed audience. This is not a tea party. We’re talking about real governance. We’re talking about the lives of 20-plus million Nigerians.

Sanwo-Olu added that Lagos cannot be left in the hands of someone who “cannot run a business that has 100 people.”

The Governor noted that traffic robberies and accidents have significantly reduced following the directive on motorcycle (okada) transportation.

Okada riders were banned by the governor from plying in six local government areas in the state – Eti-Osa, Ikeja, Surulere, Lagos Island, Lagos Mainland, and Apapa and nine local government councils areas.

It is not the first time the government would impose the measure.

In January 2020, the government banned the operation of motorcyclists in 15 local councils across the state.

The governor said that since he gave the directive to restrict the motorcyclists in certain areas of the state, residents have written to him commending the development.

“We’ve also seen a significant drop in accidents. You know, we don’t see people being lame, you know, cutting off limbs in our hospitals again, because these were reckless driving that usually terminate people’s life, unexpectedly,” he said.

“We’ve seen tremendous improvement in that statistics to support. In terms of death drop in the last two months. At the peak of it, we saw about 550 Okada-related accidents at the peak of it in January for over a month.

“Now, it’s coming down to less than 100 direct Okada accidents that we’ve seen, from our hospitals.”

On Amotekun, Sanwo-Olu said there is no need to replicate the Western Nigeria Security Network called in Lagos.

He said the Lagos State Neighbourhood Safety Corp is a replica of the security outfit which “works closely” with the Nigerian Police Force.

“We have the Lagos State Neighbourhood Watch, which are almost 7,000 men that have been trained, that have been energized and are working day to day in the state,” he said.

“There’s no need to reinvent the wheel.”

Since its establishment in 2020, the security outfit has been operational in five states in the South-west except for Lagos.

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BIG STORY

HEALTH: Nigeria Records 157 Monkeypox Cases, Four Deaths

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The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has confirmed 157 cases of monkeypox across 26 states in the country.

This is contained in its latest monkeypox situation report for week 30, posted on its verified Twitter page.

According to the report, four deaths were recorded in 4 states – Delta (1), Lagos (1), Ondo (1), and Akwa Ibom (1) from January 1 to July 31, 2022.

So far, Nigeria has at least 413 suspected cases of monkeypox.

The report read in part, “There were fifty-six (56) new suspected cases reported in Epi week 30, 2022 (25th to 31st July 2022) from nineteen (19) states – Ondo (13), Plateau (8), Lagos (6), Adamawa (4), Abia (3), Borno (3), Delta (2), Kano (3), Anambra (2), Bayelsa (2), Kwara (2), Akwa Ibom (1), Gombe (1), Imo (1), Nasarawa (1), Osun (1), Oyo (1), Rivers (1) and Taraba (1).

“Of fifty-six (56)suspected cases, there were twenty-four (24) new confirmed positive cases in Epi week 30, 2022 from twelve (12) states – Ondo (5), Kano (3), Lagos (3), Abia (2), Adamawa (2), Bayelsa (2), Kwara (2), Delta (1), Anambra (1), Gombe (1), Rivers (1) and Nasarawa (1).

“From 1st January to 31st July 2022, there have now been 413 suspected cases and 157 confirmed cases (105 male, 52 female) from twenty-six (26) states – Lagos (20), Ondo (14), Adamawa (13), Delta (12), Bayelsa (12), Rivers (11), Edo (8), Nasarawa (8), Plateau (6), Anambra (6), FCT (5), Taraba (5), Kwara (5), Kano (5), Imo (4), Cross River (3), Borno (3), Oyo (3), Abia (3), Gombe (3), Katsina (2), Kogi (2), Niger (1), Ogun (1), Bauchi (1) and Akwa Ibom (1).

“Four deaths were recorded from 4 states – Delta (1), Lagos (1), Ondo (1), and Akwa Ibom (1).

“Overall, since the re-emergence of monkeypox in September 2017 and to 31st July 2022, a total of 925 suspected cases have been reported from 35 states in the country.”

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