The Conference of Nigerian Political Parties (CNPP) and civil society organisations (CSOs) under the aegis of the Coalition of National Civil Society Organisations (CNCSOs) have demanded that the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, resigns from office.
The CNPP and the CSOs issued a 14-day ultimatum to Prof. Yakubu to step aside or they will galvanise all democratic and legal means to force him to do so.
In a statement jointly signed by the CNPP Secretary General, Chief Willy Ezugwu and the National Secretary of the Coalition, Alhaji Ali Abacha, they explained that the INEC chairman, who failed to deploy the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) it procured “despite billions of naira wasted on the 2023 general elections is not worthy of remaining in office and must not be allowed to continue to waste the nation’s resources in conduct of future elections.”
According to the statement issued in Abuja, the CNPP and the CSOs said that they are equally disturbed that “INEC under Prof. Yakubu has equally constituted itself into an obstruction to justice in the electioneering process in Nigeria by becoming a partisan umpire and opposing petitioners who are in the various tribunals to seek justice after being allegedly rigged out in the elections.”
They also accused the INEC chairman of inflating about N105.25 billion spent on acquiring BVAS machines for the 2023 polls, saying that “despite having been severally accused of manipulating the February 25 presidential election results, counsel to INEC, Abubakar Mahmoud, recently aligned with the position of the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the February 25 presidential election to object to the presentation of subpoenaed witnesses who were INEC ad-hoc staff during the 2023 presidential election in the petition filed by Atiku Abubakar and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
“We recall that at the resumption of proceedings on Atiku’s petition last Thursday in Abuja, one of the witnesses, Egwuma Friday from Kubwa area of Abuja entered the witness box and prayed the court to admit his witness statement, but all respondents in the petition, including INEC, raised objections to stop the witness from testifying.
“This is the same INEC that has been accused of manipulating election results by deliberately refusing to transmit polling units’ results as promised real-time.
“From mere allegations, a staff of INEC, Abedemi Joseph on Friday told the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) that they were instructed by the commission under Prof. Yakubu, their employer, not to give copies of election results to political party agents who declined to sign the results.
“It’s now becoming more obvious that until INEC chairman exited from the commission, rebuilding confidence in the electoral body will be impossible due to the now battered image of the commission in the eyes of the electorate.
“More so, INEC under Prof. Yakubu took four years to mislead Nigerians by creating false impression that uploading of the election results to the BVAS real-time was the only way to go for the country’s electoral system.
“Contrary to expectations, INEC made it impossible for electoral officers to upload the results of the presidential election real-time from the polling units, which may have created room for the upload of manipulated election results.
“We note that the former Minister of Transportation and chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, had revealed that a member of the camp of the presidential candidate of his party, now President Bola Tinubu, nominated the chairman of INEC, Prof. Yakubu, for his reappointment for a second term.
“In the words of Amaechi, ‘There are those of us who opposed the reappointment of Yakubu Mahmood. The person who nominated him is a member of Tinubu’s camp. So what are you expecting?’
“So, how can anyone convince Nigerians that such a character remain in office as INEC chairman for a single day, not to even think of allowing him to conduct another election in the country?
“We equally call on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), other anti-graft agencies, as well as the Department of State Services (DSS) to immediately commence investigation of INEC’s N105.25 billion budgeted for acquiring 200,000 units of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) as the budget has been found to have surpassed the estimated market cost by a whopping 30.4 percent, yet Nigeria lost the anticipated benefits, and for constituting himself into a national security risk as his continued stay in office could trigger violence in the country.
“According to our findings as corroborated by the media, the BVAS machines, which were deployed during the now controversial 2023 general elections, EMP2920 Biometric tablets, were manufactured and supplied by Shenzhen Emperor Technology at an inflated unit cost of $795 (N366,089.55) at the rate of N460.47/$) as against the Amazon price, where the device sells under a different name SecuMind Tablet Biometric CX2920.
“Why should the INEC chairman remain in office after wasting 34.51 percent of the total sum of N355 billion budgeted for the 2023 polls on the procurement of biometric devices that never worked?
“In a sane clime, such an official who failed woefully to conduct an acceptable general elections after receiving all he asked for should have long resigned.
“We, therefore, demand the immediate resignation of the INEC chairman within 14 days.
“At the expiration of the ultimatum, all democratic and legal means possible would be deployed to force him to quit the office.
“All the CNPP organs at the state level and the civil society groups under the CNCSOs across the country are being mobilised for appropriate action in event that Prof. Yakubu remains in office after two weeks from today.
“It is on record that the CNPP and the CSOs fully backed INEC in the build up to the 2023 general elections and insisted that all that the commission required should be made available to it since INEC chairman had assured of conducting free, fair and credible elections.
“The same promise to do what is right was made by the INEC chairman at the Chatham House before the elections and today, the world is seeing Nigeria as a mockery among the comity of nations, especially with the testimonies emanating from the election petition courts where INEC staff are indicting the commission under Prof. Yakubu.
“Therefore, if the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, who followed the instructions of former President Muhammadu Buhari to redesign the naira to ensure that illicit funds were not deployed for 2023 elections, could be ordered to step aside from office, why should Prof. Yakubu, who has done more harm to the psyche of Nigerian electorate than any past chairman of the commission in Nigeria’s history, remain in office?
“Prof. Yakubu dashed the hopes of Nigerians in a credible 2023 electoral system, raising voter apathy to the highest level in the country, and for us, it’s time up for Prof. Mahmood Yakubu to quit the stage as INEC chairman. Enough is enough”, the statement concluded.
Osun Pensioners: Governor Adeleke is Committed to Payment of Pensions, Entitlements
The government of Governor Ademola Adeleke has reacted to the rumor of accrued pensions not paid by his government as alleged by opposition in the state, upon which some unscrupulous elements are allegedly planning a protest march.
We want the public to note that the current government has been consistent in paying some of the accrued pensions, owed by previous governments, from inception of his administration
While we have ascertained and confirmed that the rumour of a planned protest is not true,we alert the public to the spreading of the fake news designed to offend and confuse the contributory pensioners who are strong supporters of Governor Adeleke.
We assert that the pensioners and other stakeholders are aware of sustained efforts of the current government to pay up the inherited pensions.
It may also interest stakeholders to note that the Governor has 48 hours ago directed the hosting of an emergency consultative meeting with contributory pensioners to table full data before them and agree on a path to further payments.
Details of the meeting are to be communicated to relevant stakeholders.
Ahead of the meeting, we take liberty to release part of the records with renewed commitment of the administration to accelerate the payment process.
The records according to the Local Government Staff Pension Bureau in the state, shows that the government of Ademola Adeleke has made payment to both the contributory pensioners and old pensioners in the state, with effect from 28th November, 2022 till date.
The breakdown is as follows:
MONTHLY PENSION (Old Pension Scheme) – Three billion naira (N3 billion).
PRIMARY SCHOOL TEACHERS – Two billion, nine hundred and sixteen million, two hundred and twenty-four thousand, three hundred and forty-one naira and thirty kobo (N2,916,224,341: 30).
LOCAL GOVERNMENT STAFF PENSIONERS – One billion, Sixty-two million, Four Hundred and Sixty-nine thousand, Seven hundred and Forty-three naira, Eighty-six Kobo (N1,062,469,743 : 86).
Regarding Death Benefits:
PRIMARY SCHOOL TEACHERS – Three hundred and Twenty-four million, Two hundred and Eighty-nine thousand, Five hundred and Ninety naira, Sixty-two Kobo (N324,289,590: 62).
LOCAL GOVERNMENT STAFF PENSIONERS – Nine-six million, One hundred and Eighty-one thousand, Thirty-two naira, Ninety-two Kobo (N96,181,032: 92).
MONTHLY PENSION (Contributory Pension) Remittances:
PRIMARY SCHOOL – One billion, Eighty-three million,One hundred and Ninety-seven thousand,two hundred and Sixty-five naira, Thirty-six Kobo (N1,083,197,265:36).
LOCAL GOVERNMENT STAFF PENSIONERS – Six hundred and One million, Seven hundred and Seventy-four thousand, Thirty-two naira, Thirty-two kobo (N601,774,032:32).
PRESENTATION OF BOND CERTIFICATES:
PRIMARY SCHOOL – One billion, Nine hundred and Eleven million, Three hundred and Seventy thousand, Two hundred and Eleven naira, Forty-four Kobo (N1,911,370,211:44).
LOCAL GOVT STAFF PENSIONERS – Seven hundred and Eight million, Forty-one thousand, Three hundred and Seventy-eight naira, Ninety-seven Kobo (N708,041,378:97).
The government appreciates the Pensioners and especially the contributory pensioners for their understanding, resilience and appreciation of the high level of commitment already shown by the government and urge them to distance themselves from evil operatives of the previous regime who were responsible for the pension debt in the first place.
As we remind the public and pensioners that Governor Adeleke has workers welfare as a number on his agenda, we affirm that the Governor has the best interest of workers, pensioners and the public at heart and his government will therefore not under any circumstances deny retirees their due rights and privileges.
The government reiterates its commitment to the good people of Osun state, and asked that the lying opposition party be shunned, as they are mischief makers.
Oluomo Kolapo Alimi
Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment
Mohbad: I Disguised To Candlelight, Shameful Things People Did – FPRO
The Force Public Relations Officer, Olumuyiwa Adejobi, has said that he was one of those who attended the candlelight and night of tribe held for Ilerioluwa Aloba, aka Mohbad, in Lagos.
The Assistant Commissioner of Police, however, said the conduct of some of those there did not serve the purpose.
In a tweet on his X handle, Adejobi said inasmuch as candlelight processions are a right, it should be done with decorum.
He tweeted: “None could recognise me, I disguised.
“But I intentionally attended to see things for myself and have an opinion about the whole thing.
“I gathered some intelligence there yesterday.
“Sincerely, many guys are our problem.
“You dey mourn, u con dey smoke, dey hit or attack people, dey drive reckless, etc.
“May his soul rest in peace.
“While I commend the organisers of the lagos procession for their steadfastness and understanding.
“I hope others will emulate them.
“It’s reasonable to end all processions at the latest 7pm.
“Candle light procession is a rite and must be purposeful.”
Ramsdale’s Time At Arsenal Coming To An End —Premier League Legend
Premier League legendary American goalkeeper Brad Friedel has said he is certain that Aaron Ramsdale’s time at Arsenal is coming to an end.
Ramsdale has been overlooked for selection in past two games, with summer signing David Raya getting the nod.
The Spanish goalkeeper joined Arsenal from Brentford on a £3million loan deal with a purchase option of £27m.
Gunners boss Mikel Arteta has insisted to the media that he will pick his goalkeeper based on tactical reasons.
But the fact that Raya has started in both the Premier League and now Champions League has many questioning his statements.
One of those is Friedel, who has the third-most appearances of any goalkeeper in Premier League history.
When asked if it’s over for Ramsdale if Raya starts this weekend’s north London derby against Tottenham, the American replied on talkSPORT: “Absolutely.”
“I thought from the second they signed him they signed him to be the new no.1, I don’t think you pay that much money for someone with one year left on their contract, I know he signed an extra contract and went on loan, but that was for other reasons.
“I think they really liked Raya so when he became available they pushed for him.”
“It’s very harsh on Ramsdale but it’s the coach’s decision,” the former Liverpool and Tottenham keeper said.
“I’m assuming Ramsdale at the end of this season will end up having to do what Matt Turner did at the end of the previous season and find another place to play.
“I know it’s early and people will say you have to see what he does, but I think Raya was brought in as the no.1, you thought maybe they could be swapping if they’d played Ramsdale in the Champions League, but that didn’t happen.
“I think we’ll see Raya in goal and he’ll be the incumbent no.1 this season.”
Ramsdale joined Arsenal in the summer of 2021, leaving Sheffield United in a £30m deal.
Last season the 25-year-old almost helped the Gunners to a first league title in almost two decades, which Friedel thinks will see him join another top club where he can play every match
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