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PDP BoT meets as plot to sack Secondus thickens

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An emergency meeting of the Board of Trustees (BoT) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has been slated for Thursday, August 5.

The meeting will address internal crisis rocking the opposition party, including calls for the resignation of the party’s National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus.

The resignation of seven national officers of the party on Tuesday following a sour relationship with Secondus, has ignited a fresh crisis.

The party has been battling with a gale of defections of its top shots including three Governors; David Umahi (Ebonyi), Ben Ayade (Cross River) and Bello Matawalle (Zamfara) who joined the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC). Also Wednesday, a BoT member of the party joined APC.

While tendering their resignations, Deputy National Financial Secretary, Gerald Irona; Deputy National Organising Secretary, Hassan Yakubu; Deputy National Legal Adviser, Ahmed Liman, Deputy National Publicity Secretary, Diran Odeyemi and three others said they quit following the poor management of the party by Secondus.

there have been relentless plots by some stakeholders to sack Secondus as part of efforts to grab the soul of the party ahead of 2023 politicking.

However, controversy is raging over the forces behind the fresh crisis rocking the PDP.

Previously, the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike had been fingered as the chief promoter of Secondus removal.

However, some PDP leaders have alleged that the APC is responsible for the current crisis in the opposition party to distract the party from giving the ruling party serious opposition.

There were also speculations that APC leaders had commenced talks with the national officers of the PDP who resigned on Tuesday.

Contacted, the Chairman of the BoT, Senator Walid Jibrin said their today’s meeting was convened to review issues affecting the party and map out strategies to restore it to the path of progress. Jibrin, said the gale of defection rocking the party would also be discussed.

“The BOT is holding a meeting tomorrow (today) to map out strategies on how the party will be on the right track and explore actions to take. The meeting will discuss the issue of the seven deputy secretaries that resigned.

“Nigerians should have complete confidence with the BOT with the view to taking decisions in the interest of the party and Nigerians. Crisis can occur at any time but looking at the crisis, our own is 100 per cent better than the crisis in the APC.  We are going to overcome all our problems by this week,” he said.

On Secondus, he said, “It is very normal for people to call on leaders to resign if they see something wrong about the person’s leadership. We are going to discuss the matter and we will act accordingly”.

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POLITICS

INEC says Nigeria ready for electronic voting

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INEC insists APGA won’t participate in Anambra guber poll

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has insisted on electronic transmission of election results for future general election in Nigeria.

It also disclosed that 93 per cent of the Polling Units in the country have internet and GSM facilities to cover the remaining seven per cent.

The electoral commission further revealed that the result of a 10-year diverse pilot programmes it conducted since 2011 and the discussions it held with the Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) and the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) showed that the national infrastructure is adequate to support the electronic transmission of results.

In its position paper on the desirability of electronic voting and transmission of results in real-time, signed by the INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, the electoral body said it had developed adequate structures and processes to successfully transmit election results electronically.
The commission sought a clear legal mandate for the implementation of the electronic transmission of election results with the Electoral Act amendment.

INEC argued in the position paper dated ‘September 13, 2021,’ that the “electronic transmission of results will improve the quality of election result management and that our engagement with stakeholders shows that the Nigerian public supports it.”

In the paper titled: ‘INEC Position Paper No.1 2021: Electronic Transmission of Results,’ the commission stated that the technology and national infrastructure to support the electronic transmission of election results in Nigeria are adequate.

“Consequently, if the choice was up to INEC, the commission prefers to transmit election results electronically once the necessary legal framework is provided,” it said, adding that “the transmission of election results electronically is both desirable and doable”.

The commission argued that the recent debates in Nigeria over the provision of Clause 52 (3) of the Electoral Bill 2021 regarding the electronic transmission of election results “have been marked by entrenched partisan positions, incomplete information, unsubstantiated fears, groundless conspiracy theories, and profound misconceptions.”

It further stated that it was curious that its perspectives on this very important issue of election management remain either completely absent in the debates or at best misconceived.

INEC explained that in the course of the National Assembly seeking to amend or repeal and re-enact the Electoral Act 2010, a national debate has arisen over the commission’s readiness and the capacity of national infrastructure for transmitting election results electronically.

“It is worthy of note that none of the sides in this controversy appears to substantially question the desirability of electronic transmission of election results. It seems that only the preparedness of INEC and the capacity of national infrastructure are questioned,” it added.

INEC noted that many Nigerians had called on it to make its position on the issue public.
The commission disclosed that its positions on the issue were informed by a decade of its technical field experience, piloting, and engagement with critical stakeholders, particularly the Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) on electronic transmission of election results.

It argued that a decade was not a short time for it to determine whether it was ready.
INEC stressed that its intervention in these debates, particularly through its position paper, should not be misconstrued as denuding the powers of any other agency or authority to perform its functions or to hold views on the issues in question that are contrary to those of the commission.

INEC stated that the answer to the question of the desirability of electronic transmission of election results in Nigeria today may be summed up in three words – trust, efficiency, and safety.
The electoral body disclosed that the verdict of Nigerians was that a progressive application of technology to election management increases trust in the electoral process.

“When the commission introduced the biometric register, chip-based voters’ card, and Smart Card Reader (SCR), they were widely acclaimed to be behind major improvements in the quality of elections, particularly in 2011 and 2015. Since then, Nigerians have pushed for more and more reduction in a human intervention that could alter the wishes of voters in elections,” it explained.

The commission said in line with the aspiration of Nigerians, it has continued to work tirelessly to introduce appropriate, targeted, and safe technology to electoral activities, adding that the most recent was the introduction of online pre-registration for the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR).
INEC also said the health and safety of people must be paramount in all electoral activities, including elections.

INEC said the conclusion it drew from the “diverse pilots conducted since 2011 is that the country is ready for electronic transmission of results. The national ICT infrastructure is also adequate for the electronic transmission of results. This is underscored by all the discussions we held with the Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) and the regulator, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), over the ten years of these pilots, but especially between 2018 and 2019. It is important to share the outcome of those discussions to underscore the commission’s conviction about the readiness of the country for electronic transmission of election results”.

On its engagement with NCC and MNOs, the position paper noted that “INEC has had a longstanding partnership with both MNOs and NCC.”

“Over the years, they have partnered INEC in sending bulk SMS, providing shortcodes, assigning e-lines, as well as mapping networks for the use of Smart Card Readers, all of which have been invaluable to the work of the commission. This partnership has continued with the discussion on electronic transmission of results,” INEC added.

INEC noted that on January 30, 2018, its chairman, Yakubu had paid a visit to the NCC and asked for partnership on the commission’s task of conducting free, fair, and credible elections, particularly as it concerns telephony and data transmission support for the electoral process, ahead of the 2019 general election.

“Subsequently, the two commissions established the INEC/NCC Joint Technical Committee on Electronic Transmission of Election Results, which was co-chaired by Mr. Ubale Maska, the NCC Commissioner for Technical Services, and Dr. Mustapha Lecky, an INEC National Electoral Commissioner,” it said.
According to INEC, the Joint Technical Committee included all the major MNOs.

It further disclosed that the final report of the committee signed by the Co-Chairmen and presented August 9, 2018, had noted that mobile networks adequately covered 93 per cent of INEC Polling Units with the capacity to cover the outstanding seven per cent.

“The committee went on to allocate Polling Units to the four major mobile network operators – Airtel, Glo, 9Mobile and MTN – to transmit election results,” adding that a total cost implication of N395,123,000 was worked out for the services covering the cost of SIM, system configuration and integration, system support and data bundle with one-year validity.

It said the Joint Committee also made other technical recommendations, including the allocation of one terabyte (1TB) of data bucket per 10,000 SIMs per annum by the network operators and configuration of one Access Point Name (APN) and Virtual Private Network (VPN) “by all operators towards INEC platform to enhance security”.

The committee disclosed that the detailed work and recommendations involving the major MNOs and the NCC as the regulator of telecommunications in Nigeria, profoundly convinced it that electronic transmission of election results was possible for the 2019 general election.
“INEC expected to receive a clear legal mandate for electronic transmission of election results with the Electoral Act amendment that was ongoing at the time to commence implementation. Unfortunately, that did not happen,” the position paper added.

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POLITICS

Ekiti 2022: Segun Oni picks PDP gov’ship nomination form

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Segun Oni

A former governor of Ekiti State, Chief Segun Oni, has picked his governorship nomination of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) ahead of the 2022 election in the state.

The Director-General of Oni’s campaign organization, Yemi Arokodare, bought the form yesterday in Abuja on behalf of his preferred personality for the PDP sole ticket.

Arokodare, while speaking immediately after the purchase of the form, said the people of Ekiti were waiting for the return of Segun.

He said the message of Ekiti people to the PDP is very loud and clear, ‘Segun Oni we know, Segun Oni we want, give us Segun Oni as your candidate and we will do the rest’.

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POLITICS

2023: Jega, Bugaje, Abdulfatah, Utomi, Adeniran, others form political group

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National Assembly notorious for bribery –Jega

Ahead of the 2023 general election, some Nigerians of diverse professional background converged on Abuja, Tuesday, to express lack of confidence in the nation’s two popular political parties, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

They said the quest to rescue Nigeria from imminent danger informed the idea to form a coalition, which would serve as a platform to galvanise Nigerians across political spectrum to free the country from its current woes and give it a fresh lease of life.

At the national caucus Meeting of Rescue Nigeria Project (RNP), where a proposal for the Rescue Nigeria agenda was unveiled, participants at the event took their turn to express dissatisfaction with the current state of the nation and leadership under the present administration, saying the country could not afford to continue in the same direction of selecting its political leaders.

Those in attendance included a former member of the House of Representatives, Hon Usman Bugaje; former governor of Kwara State, Abdulfatah Ahmed; ex-Chairman of Independent Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Attahiru Jega; renowned Economist, Professor Pat Utomi; former Minister of Education, Prof Tunde Adeniran and two members of staff of the United Nations, Prof Terhemba Shija and Dr. Rose Indi Dalandi, among others.

According to them, The Rescue Nigeria Project, was founded on the premise that the problems of Nigeria emanated from poor leadership, adding that the deepening crises in the leading political parties were all the more the reason the re-calibration was necessary.

They noted further that any attempt to rescue Nigeria from its troubles must first rescue it from the current leadership recruitment mechanism that seemed to leverage on money and connection or ethnic sentiments and no premium on knowledge or competence.

In his welcome address, the National Coordinator of the group, Usman Bugaje, described the current leadership recruitment mechanism in Nigeria as a threat to national development.

His words: “We have been unable to exit the leadership conundrum precisely, because the leadership recruitment mechanism in our political parties is so flawed that, except for accidents, they are incapable of producing competent leaders with the requisite knowledge, discipline and commitment to make a difference. We are living with, or better still, groaning under the consequences of this folly.

“The challenge is how to introduce a set of criteria or better still re-calibrate the recruitment mechanism in our political parties to prioritize knowledge, competence and character.”

Ahmed, former Kwara governor, said the various separatists agitations in the country were fueled by the level of divisiveness at witnessed today.

He said: “A new platform should be put in place to take us out of the current quagmire if we must survive as a country. We are starting with a Rescue Nigeria Project, which we ultimately hope to drive into a strong coalition. And we to see this generating ideas and new ways of doing new things.”

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