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    Groups urge INEC to tackle IRev challenges, improve on Feb. 25 polls

    By Angela Atabo

    The Coalition of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs)has called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to tackle and improve on noticeable challenges experienced during the Feb. 25 Presidential and National Assembly elections.

    The CSOs made the call in their preliminary statement on the March 18th elections, signed by the Convener and Co-Coveners, Ene Obi, Asmau Joda and James Ugochukwu, ahead of the Governorship and House of Assembly elections.

    Obi, while addressing newsmen on the preliminary statement in Abuja, said the Civil Society Situation Room deployed 2,340 election observers, with at least three election observers per LGA in every state of the federation, excluding the FCT.

    She added that the number included 131 Persons with Disabilities for receiving data and reports from the field, which would be analysed and disseminated through press statements and reports.

    Obi said that the Situation Rooms observation and analysis of the conduct of the Governorship and State Houses of Assembly elections would be guided by the Credibility Threshold for the 2023 General Elections.

    Situation Room expects that INEC has taken lessons from the challenges experienced during the Presidential and National Assembly elections of Feb. 25.

    We hope that the commission has made adequate arrangements to forestall the recurrence of the gaps observed during the elections.

    Situation Room also expects that the glitches that led to the malfunctioning of the INEC Result Viewing Portal (IReV) have been resolved.

    And also that the issues that occasioned the inability of the commission to conduct elections in some polling units and late opening of polls in others have been addressed.

    In particular, the Situation Room calls on INEC to address the shortages in the number of ad hoc staff available for the elections, she said.

    Obi also urged INEC to make adequate transportation arrangements, conduct additional training for the ad hoc staff, and promptly reconfigure and deploy the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) and other materials required for the elections.

    According to her, INEC should ensure that it communicated in a timely manner to the public on any challenges or changes made to the electoral process.

    Obi said that the security situation across the country appeared tense, with reports of violence, kidnappings and assassinations in several states, including Lagos, Rivers, Imo, Abia, Ebonyi, Enugu and Kano.

    She reminded the Nigeria Police Force and other security agencies that they had a primary responsibility to guarantee the safety and security of election officials as well as other election stakeholders.

    Obi urged security agencies to take adequate measures to forestall the recurrence of acts of voter suppression, disruption of voting, and outright violence experienced in some places during the Presidential and National Assembly elections.

    Situation Room calls on the Nigeria Police and other security agencies to ensure that they are non-partisan, professional and will avoid any actions capable of being interpreted as acting in support of any political interest, she said.

    Obi also used the opportunity to call on political parties to respect and abide by the Peace Accord signed by them.

    She said that Situation Room would be tracking violent incidents across the states, adding that perpetrators and masterminds would be called out for investigations and punitive measures in line with Section 92 (5-8) of the Electoral Act 2022.

    Obi called on citizens to continue to show patriotism and patience by coming out to cast their votes, and by conducting themselves in a peaceful manner during the elections. (NAN)(
    Edited by Yinusa Ishola/Idris Abdulrahman


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    Polls: Resist thugs, ensure votes count, LP urges supporters in Delta

    Labour Party supporters at a Day Unity Summit in Ughelli on Thursday

    By Edeki Igafe

    The Labour Party (LP) in Delta has urged party faithful to resist political thugs and ensure their votes count in the March 18, Governorship and House of Assembly elections in the state.

    The Chairman of LP in Delta, Mr Tony Ezeagwu, gave the advice on Thursday at a Day Unity Summit organised by the party in conjunction with the Nigeria Ministers in Politics.

    Addressing the teeming party supporters in Ughelli, Ezeagwu said that the country had been mortgaged by some political parties on the guise of having leadership experience.

    He added that LP did not believe in experience but candidates that had the capability to change the current narratives in the country.

    He urged the people to vote for all LP candidates in the state to liberate Delta from the shackles of oppressions.

    The party chairman decried the current monetary policy in the country describing it as unfortunate.

    According to him,citizens are now buying Naira notes with the Naira.

    LP is only providing candidates that will change the system unlike the parties that believe in experience.

    We must try and liberate the country and Delta from those who have experience.

    I encourage you to take the bull by the horn. Be serious with whatever you are doing. If they give you huge money, collect it because it is our money.

    However, vote your conscience so that at the end, they will be ashamed that even with their money, they could not win, he said.

    Ezeagwu, however, urged the people to remain steadfast and warned them against collecting miserable money so as not to mortgage their future.

    Build your spirit and mind that this peanut you are collecting cannot help you. Have the confidence that we are already at the Osadebe (Government House) in Asaba, he said.

    Earlier, the convener of the summit, Mr Benjamin Jakpor, urged the people to vote massively for the LP candidates in the Governorship and House of Assembly elections.

    Jakpor said that the essence of the gathering was to bring the LP candidates and their supporters in Delta Central together to forge amomentum ahead of the March 18 elections.

    He noted that it would be better to tackle the election in group than approaching it individually.

    We sent a clear message to the Federal Government that were tired of the government, of the All Progressive Congress (APC) at the top and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Delta.

    We gave them a deadly blow in the Presidential and National Assembly elections and we are going do it better in the Governorship and House of Assembly elections.

    We are tired of corruption and debts in the state. Go to the poll and vote for LP candidates, so that we can have a new Delta.

    Every indigene of Delta is owing about N150,000 debts cause by the state government.

    Who will pay it, we are the ones that will put an end to that on Saturday through vote so that we can reclaim the state from the oppositions, he said.

    Jakpor said that the momentum the party garner in theFeb. 25 Presidential and National Assembly elections still lives on, adding that the people were ready to replicate same in the March 18 polls.

    He urged them not to allow APC or PDP win Delta otherwise the state would thrown into pepertual bondage in the next four years.

    The summit convener assured that a new Delta would start on March 18 with LP Governorship candidate in the state, Mr Ken Pela emerging as winner alongside other candidates of the party in the House of Assembly.

    On their parts, the LP candidates representing both Ethiope West and Ughelli South, Mr Lawrence Egodotayire and Mr Joshua Omorere respectively in the House Assembly election thanked the people and appealed for their support in the poll. (NAN)(


    Edited by Isaac Aregbesola

    Source: NAN News

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    CSOs seek FGs approval for Ogbanga as NEITI representative

    Illustration for CSOs

    By Ella Anokam

    Coalition of Civil Society Organisations working in natural resource governance has urged the Federal Government to approve the nomination of Prof. Margret Ogbanga as representative to NEITI National Stakeholders Working Group (NSWG).

    Speaking on behalf of the coalition at a news conference in Abuja on Thursday, Chief Ezenwa Nwagwu, Executive Director, Peering Advocacy and Advancement Centre in Africa (PAACA), said that Ogbanga emerged through a transparent electoral process.

    According to Nwagwu, 68 authentic CSOs working in the various thematic and allied areas in the extractive sector participated in the process which duly elected Ogbanga to represent them in Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) working group.

    In an election concluded on Sunday March 5, 2023, scores recorded by the candidates were as follows: Prof. Ogbanga Margret 13 votes representing 52 per cent, Ms. Victoria Ohaeri, six votes, representing 24 per cent and Ms Emem okon scoring five votes representing 20 per cent.

    Celestine Odo one vote representing four per cent and Ibeh Gloria zero votes, he said.

    While urging the Federal Government to approve her nomination, Nwagwu decried efforts by non-members of the group to undermine the process that ensured Ogbangas emergence.

    He said that those castigating the process were not in NEITI CSO data base which has information and data on CSOs working with NEITI in the extractive industries.

    He said the coalitions attention was drawn to the fact that people approached the election with self-entitlement mentality either for themselves or for their surrogates.

    He said rather the painstaking process that was followed failed for them to realise this ambition and they now resorted to castigating the process.

    We reject their approach and we think it is shameful, distasteful and uncivil, we want to call on the international Secretariat and the civil society globally to ignore their insinuations because it is self-serving, misleading and their claims frivolous.

    The election was conducted and Prof. Ogbanga emerged, whatever may have been the issues encountered during the process may constitutes lessons we may have learnt.

    Prof Ogbanga is a reputable woman of substance and mix directly into our 3 Cs which stands for Capacity, Competence and Credibility.

    Above all, her election has also helped the civil society to have quality representation and address the issue of gender gap in the current NSWG Board which is made up of 15 Members with only one woman who is a government appointee.

    We call on NEITI, the international EITI and the Civil Society Organisations in the EITI Process to ignore any insinuations against this process because it is lacking in merit.

    We want to use this opportunity to call on government to please approve our choice to represent the civil society in the NSWG, Nwagwu said.

    He, however, advised Ogbanga to initiate a reconciliation process to reunite the civil society constituency and harmonise the divergent groups. (NAN)(

    Edited by Isaac Aregbesola

    Source: NAN News

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    Polls: Coalition tasks INEC on functionality of BVAS, IReV
    By Angela Atabo

    National Voters Drive Coalition (NVDC) has urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to address lapses recorded in the Feb. 25 elections and guarantee functionality and effectiveness of Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS).

    The Coalition is made up of the African Primary Healthcare Foundation (APHF),Nigerian Physicians Advocacy Group (NPAG), The Compatriots ,Ready to Lead Africa (RTLA), Progressives Abia Youths (PAY) and Shift Nigeria .

    Other supporting groups include Connected Development (CODE) and Accountability Lab.

    Mr Godbless Otubure, President, Ready to Lead Africa, who made the call this at a news conference in Abuja, also urged INEC to ensure results were uploaded on INEC Result Viewing portal (IReV).

    Having acknowledged the importance of technology in our electoral system, we call on INEC to fully utilise the BVAS in accreditation and transmission and ensure professional conduct of its staff in organisation of the Governorship and House of Assembly elections.

    INEC staff should endeavour to arrive at the polling units ahead of time for an on time start, he said.

    Otubure said that the Feb. 25 election was widely anticipated given the unprecedented number of major contenders and the promise of more transparency with the BVAS.

    A member of NVDC, Ekejimba Kingsley, said the the coalition applaud the work of INEC.

    Ekejimba, however, said the group was not blinded to the logistical challenges such as delayed arrival of INEC staff in over 75 PUs ,lack of preparedness such that electorate had to purchase inks and markers for INEC officials.

    Failure of Presiding Officers to upload PU results to BVAS, delay in transmission of PU results to INEC Result Viewing Portal.

    We hope that there have been lessons learnt and that necessary steps are in place to avoid a repeat of logistical shortcomings, he said.

    Ekejimba called on Nigerians to come out en mass to vote and monitor their votes to avoid result manipulation and to elect leaders that would be more accountable to the people regardless of age ,gender ,ethnicity among others .

    He also appealed to security agencies saddled with the responsibility of ensuring a hitch free election to discharge their duties with diligence and honour.

    Mr Hamzat Lawal ,Chief Executive ,CODE, said that the March 18 elections had given Nigerians another opportunity to decide who would lead them at the state level, urging citizens to make the most of it and make the elections a reflection of their wishes.

    We must not give up on this key assignment Go out on election day ,cast your votes and stay peacefully ,let us all be part of rebuilding our nation, he said.

    Ms Chiamaka Jonathan, Program Manager, Ready to Lead Africa (RLA), urged citizens to come en mass to excercise their civic rights adding that their votes would count.

    The News Agency of Nigeria(NAN) reports that NVDC is a non-partisan citizen-led Coalition created to address voter apathy in Nigeria.(NAN)(


    Edited by Ali Baba-Inuwa

    Source: NAN News

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    BPSR, UNILAG sign MoU to train elected governors, others on good governance
    By Bridget Ikyado

    The Bureau of Public Service Reforms and University of Lagos (UNILAG) Consult have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) towards building capacities for elected public office holders to entrench ethos of good governance.

    The MoU was signed on Friday in Abuja on behalf of BPSR by its Director-General, Mr Dasuki Arabi, while Prof. Mohammed Usman, the Managing Director, University of Lagos Consult signed for UNILAG Consult.

    The initiative is inspired on the need to ensure that newly elected officers are properly prepared for assumption of office, Arabi said after signing the agreement.

    He said that the public officers would be taken through rigorous training in rudimentary governance procedures and practices.

    Arabi said that this was necessary to equip them and understand the operations of the public service.

    The director-general said that the MoU was in line with the mandate of the Bureau, especially the implementation of the National Strategy for Public Service Reforms, which includes induction training for top government officials.

    The idea is to ensure that given the background of some of the appointees who were mainly drawn from the private sector, they are acquainted with the rudimentary knowledge on public governance in respect to their roles, relationship and responsibilities.

    This informed the decision of the Bureau to quickly embrace the proposal from the UNILAG Consult to conduct a wider training that will involve the induction of elected public officers such as state governors, deputies as well as members of state assemblies.

    According to him, the induction will ensure seamless take-off on their assumption of duties, as well as assist them on the expectations of their new offices.

    Modern governance requires a lot of tasks owing to the vulnerability across the globe. It is therefore apt that elected public officers are properly up skilled on modern governance practices and challenges, he added.

    He said that already, the Bureau had written to the SGF for approval to organise Post-Election Mandatory Leadership training for the newly elected governors, deputies, lawmakers and elected local government officials.

    The proposed induction involving newly elected governors and deputies is expected to hold in the first week of May in Abuja, while that of the members of state assemblies will follow subsequently across the various geo-political zones.

    Curriculum for the training has been carefully selected to cover multi-disciplinary areas such as Procurement, Public Governance, Economic and Financial Crimes.

    Others are E- Governance, Freedom of Information, Investment and Internally Generated Revenue and the Open Government Partnership, he added.

    Responding, Usman, who was also the Chairman of the Technical Committee for the event, thanked all members and urged them to put out in their best for effective public service delivery.

    He said so far, four sub-committees had been formed and they were performing excellently to ensure public service delivered on their mandate.

    He named the committees to include that of Finance, Technical, Logistics and Publicity.(NAN)(

    Edited by Grace Yussuf

    Source: NAN News

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    PS tasks committee on making MoD technologically driven

    L-R: Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Defence, Dr Ibrahim Abubakar-Kana; Director (HRM) Hassan Baba; Director (Reforms, Coord

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    Sustain apolitical posture in March 18 elections  COAS to commanders

    Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Faruk Yahaya

    By Sumaila Ogbaje

    The Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Faruk Yahaya, has directed formation and unit commanders to ensure that troops remain professional and apolitical during Saturdays Gubernatorial and House of Assembly elections.

    Yahaya gave the directive while addressing formation and unit commanders across the country on Thursday, prelude to the March 18 polls.

    The Director, Army Public Relations, Brig.-Gen. Onyema Nwachukwu, made this known in a statement in Abuja.

    The COAS commended the troops for their overall performance in the provision of security during the Presidential and National Assembly polls on Feb. 25.

    He admonished them to shun all forms of inducement, enticement or cajoling that could compromise the security of the polls, adding that a secure and safe atmosphere must be provided for the citizenry to exercise their civic responsibility of choosing their leaders.

    Yahaya also charged the troops to adhere strictly to the guidelines in the Code of Conduct for Operation Safe Conduct, warning that any contravention will attract dire consequences.

    He urged the commanders to intensify efforts at providing security support for the elections and be ready to respond promptly to any emergency situation, while prioritising the protection of key national infrastructure.

    The Army chief also reminded the commanders of the oath of allegiance they swore to defend the sovereignty of Nigeria, adding that the Nigerian army must be seen by all to stand in defence of Nigerias democracy.

    Meanwhile, the army authority has updated its list of hotlines for monitoring and reporting of emergencies and acts capable of disrupting the coming elections.

    The Nigerian army had prior to the Feb. 25 polls, released a set of contact numbers as part of measures to support the Police in establishing a conducive environment for the successful conduct of free, fair and peaceful elections.

    The authority therefore urged members of the public to call the phone numbers below in their various states and the Federal Capital Territory Abuja to report any security breach during the elections:

    Source: NAN News

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    Nigerian Navy unveils navigational chart for lower River Niger

    Dignitaries at the Unveiling of the Navigational Chart for Lower River Niger in Abuja on Thursday (16/3/23)

    Source: NAN News

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    INEC blacklists 100 ad hoc staff in A/Ibom
    Isaiah Eka

    INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner in Akwa Ibom, Dr Cyril Omorogbe says the commission has delisted 100 ad hoc staff in the state over alleged involvement in election malpractices.

    Omorogbe made the disclosure in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Uyo on Thursday.

    He said the affected ad hoc staff were found culpable of electoral malpractices during the Presidential and National Assembly elections in the state.

    We blacklisted them, we will not use them during the Governorship and House of Assembly elections on Saturday, he said.

    The REC said the commission had started distributing sensitive materials to local government areas of the state ahead of the Saturdays election.

    Omorogbe said that all arrangements had been made to ensure early arrival of materials and personnel for the polls.

    We have made adequate preparations to ensure that materials and personnel do not arrive late at polling units.

    We are aware of the complaints raised during the presidential and national assembly elections, we do not want that to repeat itself, he said.

    He said the commission had made arrangements for backup vehicles in the event of sudden breakdown of any utility vehicle.

    This arrangement is to ensure that materials and personnel are conveyed to polling units without delay.

    I can assure you that the challenges we faced during the last elections wont be repeated , he said.

    He said the commssion was collaborating with security agencies to ensure improved security during the exercise.(NAN)(

    Edited by Azubuike Okeh/Chioma Ugboma

    Source: NAN News

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    FG reiterates commitment to reactivating inland waterways transportation

    Dignitaries at the Unveiling of the Navigational Chart for Lower River Niger in Abuja on Thursday (16/3/23)

    By Sumaila Ogbaje

    The Federal Government has reiterated its commitment to reactivating the nations inland waterways transportation to revive the trading activities and boost the economy.

    The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr Boss Mustapha, said this at the unveiling of the Navigational Charts of the power River Niger on Thursday, in Abuja.

    Mustapha said that there was the need to really get back the mode of transportation on the inland waterways, so as to rekindle the trading activities that used to exist along the river Niger and Benue.

    He commended the Nigerian Navy for providing the resources, persons and the platforms for the conduct of the chatting of the River Niger.

    He also commended the Ministry of Transportation through National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) and other stakeholders for the professionalism they had exhibited.

    He said the successful execution of the project locally, had saved the country huge foreign exchange, adding that all the charts in the past were done by foreign firms.

    But today we can beat our chest and say that our Nigerian Navy has provided the platform that is necessary for the chart and for that.

    What this charting has done is that it has created an infrastructure or a process that eventual exercises of capital dredging or maintenance dredging will be guided.

    It is important that we realise that whichever government takes over from President Mohammed Buhari, it must continue the trajectory of creating an intermodal transport system for this country.

    whether we like it or not, it would inhibit our development if we could.

    About a month or two ago, the Federal Executive Council approved a contract, worth N1.9 trillion through the tax credit scheme for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of our roads.

    He said that, that was however important, but added that if an alternative means of transportation was not provided that would carry heavy duty goods, the lifespan of the roads could not be saved.

    So it is important that we continue along this trajectory and ensure that it is not only the chatting but also to think about getting the corporate world to participate.

    It is also important that we get the corporate world to be genuinely involved in the development of the river Niger so that we can save the lifespan and also remove the level of carnage, casualties, fatalities that are recorded on our roads on a daily basis, he said.

    Minister of Transformation, Mr Muazu Sambo, said the navigational chart was a project that could potentially change the very dynamics of prosperity for the country.

    Sambo said the project was in tandem with the statutory responsibilities and objectives of the Ministry of Transportation to boost the efforts of the President Muhammadu Buharis government.

    This he said was towards the development and operation of an efficient and safe transportation network.

    He said that a well developed and efficient inland water transportation was necessary for an integrated and functional multimodal transportation system which its major pillar was dependent upon accurate and timely hydrographic studies and charts.

    According to him, the objective of this project is to provide direct maritime linkages within Nigeria and between African countries.

    Thereby utilising Nigerias Gross Domestic Products (GDP) growth attracting foreign direct investments (FDI) creating highly needed jobs and boosting internal as well as intra African trading.

    The United States economy today is supported by revenues in excess of 70 billion dollars from 600 million tonnes of cargo transported through its inland waterways.

    It created hundreds of thousands of jobs, building and industrial communities along the waterway channels and thus spreading economic prosperity throughout the length and breadth of these waterways.

    The United States of Americas waterways and multimodal transportation network provide a competitive edge in global markets.

    No wonder its corn and soybean farmers are the most efficient in the world.

    The minister said that Nigeria was blessed with an 800 kilometer coastline and over 10,000 kilometers of inland waterways that potentially confirms it with such maritime power.

    That in itself alone and transform this country into a great and prosperous place on earth.

    I would like to reaffirm the Federal Minister of Transportations commitment to the successful attainment of the overall objective of this project as aligned with President Muhammadu Buharis vision for the holistic and sustainable development of the maritime sector and the inland waterways in particular, he said.

    The Managing Director of NIWA, Dr George Moghalu, said the chart covered a total distance of 594KM (321 Nautical Miles) with a total survey area of 1719.8 Square Kilometers.

    Moghalu, represented by the General Manager, Legal Services, Mr Danladi Ibrahim, commended the Nigerian Navy for the successful collaboration which ensured the successful execution of the project.

    He said that NIWA would be looking forward to future collaboration with the Navy with a view to extending the hydrographic survey of Inland Waterways nationwide.

    Consequently, the successful completion of the project through this kind of collaboration represents a major milestone in the history of the development of inland water transportation in Nigeria.

    I would therefore like to affirm the NIWAs commitment to its statutory function of developing and improving the Inland Waterways Transportation system in Nigeria.

    We are also committed to providing an enabling environment for the private sector Participation in the development of the Inland Waterways Transportation (IWT) sector.

    In the same vein, I am glad to inform you that the Authority has just concluded the installation of marine navigational buoys from the Onitsha River Port to the Bifurcation on the River Niger as part of our efforts to ensuring adequate provision of navigational aid on the Waterways.

    The Authority has also installed Permanent Electronic Gauge Stations at several locations along the Lower River Niger and is also executing several other projects on Inland waterways nationwide especially on the Lower River Niger to ensure all year-round navigation, he added. (NAN) (

    Edited by Deborah Coker/Isaac Aregbesola

    Source: NAN News

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