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Imo, Kogi, Bayelsa polls: Uzodinma, Ododo win as Diri maintains lead



The Independent National Electoral Commission yesterday announced Governor Hope Uzodinma of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as the winner of Saturday’s gubernatorial election in Imo State.

The INEC also declared Usman Ododo of the APC as winner of the governorship election in Kogi State.

Uzodinma polled 540,308 votes to defeat Senator Samuel Anyanwu of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Labour Party’s Athan Achonu, who polled 71,503 and 64,081 votes respectively. The 15 other candidates got less than 10,000 votes each.

Ododo polled 446,237 followed by his closest rival, Murtala Ajaka of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) who polled 259,052 votes; Dino Melaye of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), 46,362 and Leke Abejide of the African Democratic Party (ADP), 21,819 votes.

The Kogi State Returning Officer for the election, Prof. Johnson Urama, said the number of cancelled votes in the areas where election did not hold was 16, 247 and could not substantially affect the outcome of the result.

Candidates of the major opposition parties in both elections rejected the outcome, describing it as a charade and mockery of the electoral process.

They alleged that elections were not held in the majority of the polling units but results were “manufactured” and uploaded on INEC’s Results Viewing (IReV) portal.

They also alleged that where elections were held, the results announced by INEC were at variance with what was uploaded on IReV.

The Publicity Secretary of PDP in Imo, Dr Ikenna Onuoha, said the party rejected the results declared by INEC in its entirety and would be challenging them in court.

“You know there was no election yesterday (Saturday), the purported election was a sham. We have rejected the election in its entirety. PDP won in over 200 polling units and was criminally cancelled. We’re going to court to seek redress and recover our mandate,” he said in a telephone interview with our correspondent.

His sentiment was shared by the spokesperson of the LP, Bright Ofurum, who described the election as a devastation of democracy.

“We will make our position known on the devastation and brutality we went through in various local government councils of Imo State. We will put them together and I will get back to you,” he told one of our correspondents on the phone.

Melaye, Ajaka reject results, demand cancelation

The candidate of the PDP for Kogi State gubernatorial election, Dino Melaye, rejected the election, calling for its cancellation. He described the election as a sham.

“There was no election, accreditation was done manually, BVAS not used, prepared result sheets were available before election.”

“INEC must cancel the election. We have evidence to back up. INEC has manifested gross incompetence; it cannot be trusted, it is biased and compromised,” he said.

The Social Democratic Party also called for the stoppage of the collation of the ongoing results until its investigation about the situation in Ogori-Magongo and other areas in Kogi Central is concluded.

In Bayelsa, Governor Duoye Diri of the PDP was ahead of APC’s Timipre Sylva and LP’s Udengs Eradiri in the results announced before the INEC adjourned the collation to today’s noon with two more local government areas being expected. Results in six out of the eight local government areas of the have already been collated and announced. The remaining two local governments are Brass and Southern Ijaw where Sylva and his running mate, Joshua Maciver, hail from.

Opposition candidates and parties in Kogi called for suspension of the collation exercise and the outright cancellation of the entire election held in Kogi Central where Ododo and the incumbent governor, Yahaya Bello, hail from. They alleged that the results “stand logic on its held”.

Daily Trust reports that the violence that characterised the Saturday polls extended to the collation period on Sunday when a middle-aged man, George Sibo, identified as a supporter of the PDP was attacked and killed at the collation centre in Twon-Brass, Brass Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.

Also, the LP’s agent, Calistus Ihejiagwa, was beaten and bundled out of the Imo State Collation Centre in Owerri.

The agent had rejected the results collated from some local government areas, claiming they were at variance with what was on the IReV.

The INEC Returning Officer, Prof. Abayomi Fasina, rejected his pleas to submit a petition before he was subsequently beaten and bundled out of the collation centre at 5:00am by some party agents despite the presence of security operatives while collation continued.

Meanwhile, INEC has said that fresh elections will be held on Saturday in the affected polling units in Kogi where election was suspended.

Some staff of the commission were reportedly caught with completed results sheets while election was still ongoing, which led to the suspension of election in the affected PUs.

INEC National Commissioner and Member, Information and Voter Education Committee, Mohammed Kudu Haruna, in a statement on Sunday, said the resolution of the commission was in line with Section 24(3) of the Electoral Act 2022 and Clause 59 of INEC Regulations and Guidelines on the Conduct of Elections 2022.

He noted that the decision to hold fresh elections was subject to the Returning Officer’s determination of the application of the Margin of Lead Principle.

“Further to our statement yesterday, we have received an update from our Kogi State office regarding the suspension of election in some locations in the state where result sheets were completed before the commencement of voting. The most critical incident occurred in nine out of 10 Wards in Ogori/Magongo Local Government Area (LGA).

“We received reports of similar and other incidents in Adavi (5 Polling Units in Okunchi/Ozuri/Onieka Ward), Ajaokuta (5 Polling Units in Adogo Ward), Okehi (1 Polling Unit in Eika/Ohizenyi Ward) and Okene (5 Polling Units in Obehira Uvete Ward). Results from the affected Polling Units have been accounted for in Form EC40G for the four LGAs.

“However, in the case of Ogori/Magongo LGA, only the result of Oshobane Ward II with eight Polling Units and 2,264 registered voters has been collated. Elections in the other nine Wards (Eni, Okibo, Okesi, Ileteju, Aiyeromi, Ugugu, Obinoyin, Obatgben and Oturu) involving 59 Polling Units and 15,136 registered voters remain suspended. In line with Section 24(3) of the Electoral Act 2022 and Clause 59 of INEC Regulations and Guidelines on the Conduct of Elections 2022, fresh election will be held on Saturday 18thNovember 2023 in the affected Polling Units,” Haruna said.

He also said that this decision was without prejudice to INECs commitment to follow the audit trail of personnel and materials to ascertain those who might have been complicit in undermining the process and apply appropriate sanctions where necessary.

INEC officials held hostage, PDP, APC protest at Bayelsa collation centre

In Bayelsa, INEC said its officials were held hostage in Brass Local Government Area of the state. The commission announced this on Sunday, calling on security agencies to facilitate their release.

“Unfolding situation in Brass Local Government Area, the commission is closely watching the situation in Brass LGA of Bayelsa State where our officials are held hostage.”

This is even as supporters of both the PDP and APC held parallel protests across the streets of Yenagoa and the collation centre where they camped for hours before the INEC suspended collation of the results to today’s noon.

Jubilation in Owerri as Akpabio, Sanwo-Olu, others congratulate Uzodinma

Some residents of Owerri Municipal Council and its environs yesterday jubilated over the victory of Uzodinma; while others were going about their normal businesses.

A resident, John Amadi, said there was nothing to celebrate as Imo just like other states in the country was battling with economic hardship.

A lecturer at the Federal University of Technology, Owerri, Peter Mba, said the people were more interested in good governance than the winner of the poll.

Meanwhile, Senate President Godswill Akpabio and Lagos State governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu have congratulated Governor Uzodinma on his re-election.

In his congratulatory message issued on Sunday in Abuja, Akpabio commended Uzodinma for his resilience and commitment to genuine democratic practices saying that good governance had triumphed over propaganda.

Sanwo-Olu, in a congratulatory message issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Gboyega Akosile, said Uzodinma’s success in the election was a validation of people’s acceptance of his administration, having impacted positively in the lives of the citizens during his first term in office.

Sanwo-Olu said Uzodinma’s victory was a clear manifestation that the APC remained the party of choice for Nigerians, stressing that the party would continue to work in the best interest of Nigerians in line with the Renewed Hope Agenda of President Bola Tinubu.


Coups: Niger, Mali, Burkina Faso alliance won’t weaken ECOWAS resolve for democracy — Tinubu



President Bola Tinubu on Sunday said the Sahel Alliance by Niger, Mali, and Burkina Faso which are under military dictatorship would not lessen the resolve of the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, to uphold its primary objective.

President Tinubu also said that the regional bloc will re-engage member countries under military rule based on realistic and short transition plans that would deliver democracy and good governance.

He said the new approach will help to achieve a quicker return to constitutional democracy in some of the West African Countries.

Speaking in his opening address at the 64th Ordinary Session of the Authority of Heads of State and Government at the Old Banquet Hall, Presidential Villa, Abuja, the Nigerian President, who said that there is no place for military rule in Africa, explained that the objective of the ECOWAS in insisting for democracy is to prioritise good governance for West Africans, as it catalyzes socioeconomic transformation and development.

He told heads of state that, “It is important that we also review some development in our sub-region, including the move by some of our members under Military rule to float an Alliance of Sahel States.

“This phantom, push back-alliance appears intended to divert attention from our mutual quest for democracy and good governance that will impact the life of our people.

“We refuse to be detracted from pursuing the collective dreams, aspirations and the noble path of ECOWAS integration as laid out in our institutional and legal frameworks.”

Recall that in September 2023, Mali’s Assimi Goita, who seized power in a military coup in 2020, explained that the “Liptako-Gourma Charter” forms the building block for an “Alliance of Sahel States to establish a collective defence and mutual assistance framework for our populations.”

This is coming on the heels of months of diplomatic row in the wake of the coup d’état in Niger that overthrew the Mohamed Bazoum-led government in Republic of Niger that attracted anger, sanctions and even the threat of military intervention from the ECOWAS.

But in his address at the Extraordinary Session in Abuja, the regional body Chairman maintained that the sanctions on the countries that overthrew the democratically elected leaders were meant to protect the fundamental liberties of the citizens.

According to him, “While the imposition of punitive sanctions may pose challenges, it is important to underscore that the struggle to protect the fundamental liberties of our Community Citizens must be upheld and respected.

“To this end, I would like to reiterate the imperative of re-engaging with the countries under military rule on the basis of realistic and short transition plans that can deliver democracy and good governance.

“On our part, we should be prepared to provide them with technical and material support to ensure the achievement of these strategic goals.

“We must pay attention to protect the institution and protect democracy I wish to underscore the fact that we stand against the unconstitutional change of government in our sub-region and we will continue to do so.”

He reiterated that Military rule is an aberration that subverts the popular will of the people hence it no longer has a place in Africa.

He said, “The message must go out loud and clear military rule has become an aberration that subverts the popular will of the people. It no longer has any place in Africa.

“Our people must be allowed to exercise their freedom of choice without let or hindrance. For democracy to endure in our sub-region, we must improve on good government and respect human rights and the rule of law.”

However, he said member states must “improve on good government and respect human rights and the rule of law” for democracy to endure in the sub-region.

Tinubu also commended his Liberian counterpart, George Weah, for conceding defeat at the just-concluded presidential elections and laying the groundwork for a smooth transition of power.

“By conceding defeat and congratulating his opponent, President Weah has left a legacy to be emulated by politicians in our region and beyond.

“On behalf of Members of the Authority, I express gratitude for his significant contributions to the Organization and wish him the very best in all his future endeavours,” said the President.

He assured the Sierra Leonean President, Julius Bio and Guinea Bissau’s Umaro Embalo of the bloc’s support in preserving democracy.

Tinubu said, “On the recent disturbances in Sierra Leone and Guinea Bissau, let me express my solidarity with the People and Government of Sierra Leone and Guinea Bissau.

“I wish also to underscore our unequivocal stance against any form of unconstitutional change of government in our sub-region.

“I therefore urge all of us to stand strong and united in solidarity with the People and Governments of Sierra Leone and Guinea Bissau in the face of these unfortunate incidents.”

On his part, the President of the ECOWAS Commission, Dr Omar Touray, lamented that while the Niger Junta continues to hold Bazoum and his family hostage, they are also interfering with the flow of humanitarian support to vulnerable populations.

“The military authorities have unfortunately shown little remorse as they hold onto their untenable positions, holding not only Mohamed Bazoum, his family and members of his government hostage but also the people of Niger.

“And in line with the provisions of our community texts, they granted humanitarian access to medical and humanitarian goods for the sake of the people

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2024 Budget: Group asks FG to increase budget to education sector



The Executive Director of the FlexiSAF, Amina Abubakar, has called on the federal government and the National Assembly to increase the budgetary allocation to the education sector and implement it’s policy of free basic education for all.

She made the call after embarking on a walk tagged “Walk for Education 3.0” to draw the attention of critical stakeholders to the need to improve education in the country.

According to her, despite the United Nations’ goal for education, Nigeria remains one of the countries with the highest number of out-of-school children in the world, adding that Nigeria still has more than 10 million children out there who can’t afford education.

” We have more than 10 million children out of school which is one of the highest in the world and UNESCO recommended at least 23% of the budget be set aside for education but right now only 8.2 percent is been set aside and even with that no proper implementation, no teachers in school, poor learning environment.

” If the government promises free and quality education let it be so because in the communities, parents are asked to bring a lot of money they can’t afford so they keep the children out of school the objective is to raise resources to send these children back to school. We want to empower young people.

“We are pushing for the National Assembly to increase the budget for education. Right now the state of education in Nigeria is nothing to write home about, it is a state of emergency, and 2030 is seven years away we have spent 8 years since the declaration by the United Nations in 2015 globally we only made 15% progress so we want the National Assembly to increase so we can achieve the set goal. The federal government must increase the budget.

“So today our target is that we want the government to implement free education for all. The government says education is free, basic education is free. But a lot of children are not in school because it is not free,” she said.

She further stated that the target of the organization was to ensure that at least 600 children get back to school.

“After we achieve that, part of our future plans is to make this work bigger, even more strategic. The more we get embedded into the space, build our capacity, we would make it more and more big,” she said.

She called for support from the government and other relevant stakeholders to achieve their objective.

“I want to reiterate the theme for this year, which is “2030 and the horizon. We are trying to better each and every year. Kindly come to our tables to make a commitment to help children go back to school. As you can see the children you have seen here are from our accelerated learning program. It is a non formal learning programme that helps kids in the community.

“The children don’t have to go to school everyday for long hours so we have community acceptability. Instead of learning for nine years, these over aged children they learn in three years. So you may be wondering what kind of expertise does this FlexiSAF Foundation have that they are giving education meant for nine years in three years. What kind of madness is that? I am telling you, it is not madness. It true. In fact it is a nationally approved accelerated education curriculum. It is also called accelrated basic education. Instead of learning in nine years these children learn in three years.

“What you saw here they learnt in less than 12 months and this girl is speaking English to you and everything. So please do well to encourage FlexiSAF foundation. The Foundation was established in 2018 and so far we have supported more than 5000 children and with your support we can do more.

We even feed this children as you can see them. We don’t believe we can do this work alone. Everybody has to come together. We have together to speak with one voice.

Director General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Dr Kashifu Inuwa, said digital infrastructure was necessary to get quality education.

“So at NITDA we have part of our strategic roadmap and action plan. We have a pillar to include inclusive access to digital infrastructure and services. And for the past four years we have implemented more than 1200 projects in unserved and underserved communities mostly in the education system; secondary schools and higher institutions.

“So we will do more and also we have a target of implementing the national literacy framework to achieve 95% digital literacy by 2030. So, we want to work with foundations like to define our initiative for quality and inclusive access to education through digital infrastructure. From next year we are coming up with the new initiative; learning centres will be deployed three per state. Our target is public schools where they don’t have infrastructure,” he said.

The Special Adviser to the Minister of State for Education Mrs. Claris Ojani urged the legislative arm of Government to and implement that will enable children leave the streets and acquire basic education.

She pledged the support of the Federal Government to the initial by FlexiSAF

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Kwara Gov receives VP Kashim Shettima in Ilorin hails peace harmony in Kwara



Kwara State Governor and Chairman Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq on Saturday received Vice President Kashim Shettima (GCON) in Ilorin, the state capital, amid a rousing welcome by several APC leaders and people of the state.

Vice President Shettima was received by the Governor at the Tunde Idiagbon Airport, joined by Deputy Governor Kayode Alabi; Speaker Kwara House of Assembly Rt Hon Yakubu Salihu Danladi; Sen Salihu Mustapha (Kwara Central); Sen. Sadiq Umar (North); some members of the state executive council; and CEO KAM Holdings Nigeria Alhaji Kamaru Yusuf.

The Vice President touched down at the airport at exactly 3p.m., accompanied by his Special Assistant on Political Matters Dr. Hakeem Baba Ahmed; and top APC chieftain Dr. Isia’q Modibbo Kawu; among others.

Shettima headed to the Al-Hikmah University, Ilorin, where he commissioned the institution’s Nursing Science Complex, which has been named after him.

The Vice President then delivered the university’s 13th convocation lecture that was themed ‘Addressing Nigeria’s Food Security Challenges Through Hi-Tech Approach: The Role of Nigerian Universities’.

Other dignitaries at the occasion included the Inspector General of Police IGP Kayode Egbetokun, who has just received his doctoral degree from the institution; founder of the University Chief AbdulRaheem Oladimeji (OFR); and Vice Chancellor of the University Prof. Noah Yusuf.

Shettima, in his lecture, said Nigeria’s reliance on oil since the early 70s and the neglect of the agricultural sector are responsible for what has today become a national security challenge in the form of food insecurity.

He said the challenge assumed a disturbing proportion as a result of policy inconsistencies, mismanagement of resources, corruption, climate change, insurgencies, and natural disasters, among others.

He said President Bola Ahmed Tinubu understands the nexus between food production and national security, and has declared a state of emergency on food security alongside a policy commitment to improve productivity by injecting more funds in the sector.

Tertiary institutions are playing critical roles in assisting the Federal Government to promote food security in Nigeria through research and the integration of agricultural study in their curriculum, the vice president said.

He said no appreciable progress can be made in agricultural production without mechanization, calling for increased and efficient use of modern technology to maximise yield.

The Vice President described Governor AbdulRazaq as a prudent leader and commended him for various agricultural initiatives the administration has introduced to boost food production in the state.

Speaking about the cultural composition of Ilorin, which he said exemplifies a spirit of brotherhood, Shettima said Nigeria has a lot to learn from the ancient city, calling on all indigenes of Ilorin to continue to be tolerant and supportive of one another.


Rafiu Ajakaye

Chief Press Secretary to the Governor

December 9, 2023

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