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INEC states general elections dates for the next 36 years

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The Independent National Electoral Commission on Wednesday announced dates for general elections in the country for the next 36 years, starting from 2019 to 2055.

Chairman of the commission, Prof. Mamood Yakubu, made the announcement at a consultative meeting with leaders of political parties in Abuja.

“In 2019, the dates are February 16 and March 2; in 2023, the dates are February 18 and March 4.

“In 2027, the dates are February 20 and March 6; in 2031, it is February 15 and March 1.

“In 2035, it is February 17 and March 3; in 2039, it is February 19 and March 5 and in 2043, it will hold on February 21 and March 7.

“In 2047, it is February 15 and March 2; in 2051, it is February 18 and March 1; in 2055, it is February 20 and March 6,” Yakubu said.

He pointed out that in other democracies of the world, periods of elections are generally known and are not topics for speculation.

Yakubu explained that the aim was to engender certainty in the election calendar and also to allow for long-term planning by the commission and all stakeholders.

He said that certainty in election calendar was necessary to match Nigeria’s democratic system with global best practices.

The chairman said that in the last one week, INEC had received 108 applications from associations seeking to be registered as political parties.

He said that 66 of the applications did not meet the initial requirements, while 33 passed and had proceeded to the next stage.He said that nine others were at the final stage of registration.

The INEC boss commended political parties for the roles they played in the governorship and National Assembly by-elections in Anambra, which ensured that the exercises were crisis-free.

He urged all existing political parties yet to comply with all relevant sections of the constitutional requirements necessary for their existence, to do so.

He advised the parties to ensure rancour-free conventions and congresses ahead of 2019 and the Ekiti and Osun governorship elections later in the year.

“Internal party democracy is critical to the overall success of the elections and it helps to eliminate some protracted litigations.

“Less than a year to the 2019 general elections, there are still cases in courts challenging the nomination of candidates in the 2015 elections,’’ he said.

Yakubu urged the parties to support the commission in its quest to sanitise the voter register by drawing the attention of the umpire to any irregularity.

In his remarks, the Chairman, Inter Party Advisory Council, Mohammed Nalado, commended INEC for recognising political parties as partners.

He said with little or no financial support, political parties have been at the forefront of voter sensitisation to the need to conduct themselves responsibly at polling units.

Nalado commended the commission for creating an enabling environment for free and fair elections by rolling out election calendar in good time.

He added that the political parties were happy with the position of INEC on the sequence of elections, saying the commission acted on the existing law.

He welcomed the newly-registered political parties to IPAC and urged INEC to support the council’s plan to amend its code of conduct.

According to Nalado, the amendment will address issues of internal democracy and conflict resolution system, among other issues affecting political parties in the country.

(NAN)

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False age declaration: Documents clear HoS over wrongdoing, border agency boss faces sack

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Contrary to claims that the Head of Civil Service of the Federation, Mrs. Winifred Oyo-Ita, failed to act on the embattled Acting Director, Border Communities Development Agency (BCDA), Mrs Victoria Olutayo Odumosu, over alleged age falsification, this newspaper has gathered that the HoS had in a letter to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on May 9, 2018 recommended Mrs Odumosu’s sack.

Documents sighted by this newspaper in the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) showed that the memo to the vice president was in line with extant rules of the civil service as he is the Statutory Chairman of the Governing Board of BCDA.

Following the approval of her recommendations by the VP, the HoS wrote to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, on June 13, notifying him of the VP’s approval and requesting him to “kindly direct immediate implementation of His Excellency’s approval as appropriate.”
The BCDA is one of the parastatals of government under the supervision of the office of the SGF.

The HoS letter to the SGF was the climax of a rigorous process of investigation to establish the culpability or otherwise of Mrs Odumosu who was alleged to have falsified her age to remain in service.

“Oyo-Ita’s desire for due process in removing public officials from office, and to comply with the Federal Government directive on handing over to the most senior director in an agency appear to be the reasons Mrs Odumosu stayed up till this time,” an official who asked not to be named as he was not authorized to speak on the matter told our reporter.

Official correspondences obtained from the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation show that the HoS, initially found it curious that the allegations against Mrs Odumosu first came from Engr Numoipre Wills, former Executive Secretary of BCDA at the point he was to hand over to her.

In her first official correspondent on the issue to Vice President Osinbajo, dated December 5, 2017, Oyo-Ita states: “The decision of the outgoing Executive Secretary, Border Communities Development Agency(BCDA) to make allegations of fake age declaration against the most senior Director without proof of his allegations is an issue of concern to the Service.

“It is irregular for Chief Executives of any Government Parastatal to engage in disobedience to policy directives of Government as conveyed by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation(SGF) under any guise of unsubstantiated allegations.”

The memo further stated that public officers should not be deprived of the privileged to serve their nation based on unsubstantiated allegations, adding that such situations are capable of creating negative precedence in the service.

According to the December 5 memo, the HoS observed that the documents provided on the allegations, which she considered “serious,” called for “further investigations into the issues raised.”

She, however, concluded that the existing senior and the only director in the agency should be authorized to act pending the appointment of a new Executive Secretary or outcome of investigations of allegations of false age declaration.

“Where an officer overstayed his/her age in the service, the penalties are available in the service rules. But an officer should not be punished or deprived of a privilege based on allegations that have not been proved,” she pointed out to the Vice president.

With no response from the office of the Vice President to her earlier memos, the HoS prompted a follow up letter on May 9, 2018, more than four months later. But by this time Mrs Oyo-Ita appeared to have been convinced that Mrs Odumosu actually falsified her age and should be immediately asked to leave the service.

In the second letter to the VP, she re-iterated her earlier concerns for due process but revealed she had been presented with more evidence of Mrs Odumosu’s guilt. She stated in the letter that she received additional correspondence from the Senate Committee on States and Local Government Administration which oversights the BCDA, and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC).

On receipt of the correspondences from the institutions mentioned, the HoS said, she wrote to Mrs Odumosu requesting for her response, and also requested for information and other career progress chart from the Industrial Training Fund-former employers of Mrs Odumosu.

She further stated that after a review of the submissions and the records from ITF, there were indications that “a prima facie case of age falsification” had been made against Mrs Odumosu. She therefor recommended thus:

i. Mrs Odumosu be directed to disengage from office.

ii. The SGF designate a Director with requisite seniority from the OSGF to oversee the affairs of the BCDA pending the appointment of a substantive Executive Secretary.

iii. The Overseeing Director could commence investigation/disciplinary procedure against the officer. In the event that the BCDA as presently constituted does not have the required number of Directors to constitute the Investigation Panel same can be empanelled from the OSGF being the supervising office.

iv.The SGF to fast track the appointment of a substantive Executive Secretary.

A response from the office of the VP dated June 12, and signed by Ade Ipaye, the Deputy Chief of Staff, the VP gave his approval to all the recommendations and requested the HoS to “proceed with immediate implementation.”

The HoS consequently wrote the SGF informing him about the VP’s approval and requested that “The SGF may wish to kindly direct immediate implementation of His Excellency’s approval as appropriate.”

-Culled from TheWhistler

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Breaking: DSS arrests Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe

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The Department of State Security has arrested Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, lawmaker representing Abia-South Senatorial District in the National Assembly, The Whistler has learnt.

According to reports, the senator was picked up on Friday morning at a Barbing Saloon in the Apo Area of Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory.

It is not clear why the senator was arrested, but a source close to the Abia lawmaker said his arrest may not be unconnected to his constant criticism of the President Muhammadu Buhari’s government.

Meanwhile, the lawmaker is due to appear before Justice Binta Nyako of the Federal High court, Abuja, on June 26 to explain the whereabouts of leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB}, Nnamdi Kanu.

Abaribe and two others had stood as a surety as part of the bail conditions for Kanu, whose whereabouts has remained unknown.

Justice Nyako fixed the date after the court ordered the prosecution to serve the sureties with an earlier order of court demanding them to appear in court and explain the whereabouts of Kanu or show cause why they should not forfeit their bail amount.

-TheWhistler

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Oshiomhole unopposed for APC chair as Ebri withdraws

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The coast is virtually clear for former governor Adams Oshiomhole’s bid for the chairmanship of the All Progressives Congress. The last of his rivals, Chief Clement Ebri, also a former Governor of Cross River, announced his withdrawal from the race, leaving Oshiomhole now unopposed.

Ebri’s decision to withdraw from the race was made known on Thursday in his letter titled: “Withdrawal from National Championship race”, in Abuja.

Ebri's letter of withdrawal
Ebri’s letter of withdrawal

Ebri’s decision came ahead of the party’s National Convention slated for Saturday and followed two other chairmanship aspirants’ withdrawal from the race.

He stated in the letter that his decision to withdraw from the race came after due consultations with friends, family and associates in the interest of the party.

He added that the decision was also taken in his belief that “all stakeholders “must tow in the same rancour free direction as the 2019 general election approaches”.

Ebri noted that what happened in the leadership of the APC was directly responsible as to whether it could deliver on its promises to Nigerians to provide them with better lives.

He said that such was the core conviction that drove him into declaring his candidacy for the party’s National chairmanship position in the first place.

He also stated that the fundamental task of the APC was to win elections, adding that it behoved on the party to offer its elected officials a means for organising government.

This, Ebri said, became the primary link between the people and government.

He also urged his supporters to transfer their support for his aspiration to former governor of Edo, Adams Oshiomhole as National Chairman of the APC.

“We should all render him every support and encouragement he needs as he and his team proceed to rebuild our party into a formidable, unified and inclusive organisation where every voice counts,” he said.

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