The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has postponed the governorship and state assemblies elections earlier scheduled for Saturday to March 11.
The commission took the decision at its management meeting in Abuja, which was convened on Wednesday after the Court of Appeal gave it the go-ahead to reconfigure Bimodal Voter Accreditation machines.
The meeting, which started at 7pm and ended at 10pm, was presided over by its National Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu.
In a statement by its National Commissioner and Chairman Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye on Wednesday night, INEC said it could not go ahead with the governorship poll as earlier scheduled because it needed time to reconfigure BIVAS machines, which were used for the presidential election on February 25.
The Court of Appeal had earlier on Wednesday granted permission to INEC to reconfigure BIVAS used for the presidential election.
The appellate court panel held that allowing the objections of the Labour Party and its presidential candidate, Peter Obi, would amount to “tying the hands of the respondent, INEC.”
In the wake of the declaration of the All Progressives Congress candidate, Bola Tinubu as the president-elect, Obi had approached the appellate court where he secured an order restraining the commission from reconfiguring the BVAS used for the election.
The court handed down the order in the ruling it gave on Friday granting permission to Obi and his Peoples Democratic Party counterpart, Atiku Abubakar to inspect the sensitive materials used for the conduct of the election.
But the electoral body in an application asked the court to vary its order restraining it from tampering with the BVAS machines, which it argued, had to be reconfigured for the governorship and state assembly polls.
Delivering its ruling during proceedings on Wednesday which was attended by the LP standard bearer and a retinue of party bigwigs, the panel presided over by Justice Joseph Ikyegh, dismissed the objections by Obi and his party and held that the backup files on the server could not be lost.
Delivering the lead ruling, Justice Haruna Tsammani, said restraining INEC would affect next Saturday’s governorship election.
He also chided the applicants for repeating their request to be allowed to scan and make copies of the electoral materials in INEC’s possession, stating that it amounted to an abuse of the court process.
Tsammani noted that INEC had in an affidavit filed before the court assured that the accreditation data contained in the BVAS could not be tampered with or lost.
The jurist further stated that neither Obi nor LP filed a counter-affidavit to challenge the argument in INEC’s affidavit.
Tsammani said, “constraining or restricting the respondent (INEC) from the use of the BVAS machines for any other purpose, and particularly considering the governorship and Houses of Assembly elections coming up on the 11th of March 2013.”
Justice James Abundaga who delivered the lead ruling in the motion by INEC for the variation of the Presidential Election Tribunal’s earlier orders struck it out for being unmeritorious.
Abundaga said the apprehension expressed in the motion by INEC was unnecessary because the tribunal never granted any order for any applicant to scientifically access the electoral body’s database.
He said, “We made the orders of 3rd March 2023 which are sought to be varied by this application. The court did not in any of those orders authorise the applicants to access the database of the applicant (INEC).
“Therefore, the fear that the orders we made, if not varied, will expose the identities of the voters and who they cast their votes for is not genuine.
“We made the orders, very conscious of the court’s power to do so pursuant to the Electoral Act, particularly, Section 74 of the Act to enable the respondent herein (Obi and LP) to have simple access to electoral materials for the purpose of instituting and maintaining their petition if they ever wish to file any.
“We take judicial notice that similar applications to access electoral materials for the purpose of instituting petitions were made by other applicants.
“The respondents are hereby reminded, in case of any misapprehension by any of them, that the court did not, in any of those orders granted, authorise the applicants therein, the permission to electronically open the applicant’s database.”
Before the court gave INEC the go-ahead on BVAS reconfiguration the commission had yet to start the distribution of election materials in many states.
The commission had told the court on Tuesday that reconfiguration of BVAS would take two or three days.
But in the statement on Wednesday night, INEC recalled that on March 3, Presidential Election Petition Tribunal gave an ex-parte order for some political parties to inspect materials used for the presidential election, including the forensic inspection of over 176,000 BVAS used in the election.
INEC added that it approached the tribunal to reconsider the order, given that the BVAS systems were to be deployed for the Governorship and State Assembly elections and that the lack of a clearly defined timeframe for the inspection could disrupt the commission’s ability to conduct the outstanding elections.
“For instance, the BVAS can only be activated on the specific date and time of an election. Having been used for the Presidential and National Assembly elections on 25th February 2023, it is necessary to reconfigure the BVAS for activation on the date of the Governorship and State Assembly elections,” it added.
Tourism icon, Otunba Wanle Akinboboye rolls out Hope Unity Rebirth Prosperity (HURP) as No 9 tourism product
In line with the Renewed Hope agenda of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s administration, tourism icon, Otunba Wanle Akinboboye, is encouraging the tourism sector to look inward for the much needed prosperity.
So, Hope Unity Rebirth Prosperity (HURP) he says, is the tourism product for this week. The 9th, in the proposed 52 products targeted within 365 days!
Otunba Wanle Akinboboye affirmed the need to develop our domestic tourism market as a forerunner for international tourism.
In his opinion, Nigeria can and should develop domestic tourism before focusing on international tourism, as this will provide an opportunity to fine tune its tourism offerings before subjecting them to the scrutiny of international tourists. It will also generate income, albeit in Naira, as domestic tourists will still be spending money in the various tourism locations.
He noted that during the second quarter of 2023, UK residents (domestic tourists) spent £6.7 billion on short stay holidays within the UK. This translated to over N7 trillion in a 3 month period using current CBN official exchange rates.
Otunba Akinboboye said that the devaluation of the Naira and the rising cost of traveling abroad for holidays has created the perfect opportunity for the development of a domestic tourism market.
According to him, such domestic tourism market should not be confined to the elites or middle class, but should also extend to ordinary Nigerians, who live in villages and towns in the various states of Nigeria and who currently do not travel widely within the country.
Otunba Akinboboye stated further that, by creating an active domestic tourism sector, Nigerians will have the opportunity to learn more about the country and develop a sense of belonging and pride in not just their village, local government or state, but in the nation as a whole.
Government he said, should make concerted effort to promote domestic tourism at all levels, to simultaneously stimulate the much needed feeling of unity that will transform the people that live within the geographical area that Flora Shaw referred to as the ‘Niger area.
“Domestic tourism will create hope and foster unity, which in turn will lead to a rebirth of our nation and prosperity. As part of domestic tourism, we should offer tourism products that generate hope and unity amongst our people, that leads to the rebirth and prosperity of Nigeria.”
The Tourism Icon, coined the acronym HURP (Hope Unity Rebirth Prosperity) to refer to the domestic tourism product that he believes can be used to achieve these goals. HURP will educate people in all 774 local governments of Nigeria about the wonderful and diverse country in which we live, by engendering pride in the nation as a whole, encouraging people to identify with it.
“It is my believe that the best way to achieve such education is via a domestic tourism product that targets interaction between ordinary people from different parts of the country. This can be achieved by a village exchange programme where, for example, villagers from Koton Karfe in Kogi State will visit an Ijaw village and see first hand what life beside the creeks and ocean really entails. Subsequently the Ijaw villagers can visit the Koton Karfe village. This exchange programme will encourage friendships and most importantly understanding of those with whom we share a common national border. They will also begin to better understand the complex nation that is Nigeria and their role in its journey towards prosperity.
“The problem of Nigeria for so long has been the feeling that our unity should be an automatic feeling. However, in reality, there must be a concerted effort to generate a feeling of unity and a common purpose among the approximately 371 tribes and 250 ethnic groups in Nigeria . It is only when we do this that we can jump start the rebirth process that is required for the prosperity of our nation. It is envisaged that the village exchange programmes will be financed by government or the corporate sector as part of their CSR and nation building efforts.
“We must create a renewed hope in Nigeria and jump start a rebirth process. We must build a platform for tomorrow’s people, as our lack of unity has hindered our development as a nation,” Otunba Wanle Akinboboye added.
‘I will die on a Sunday after a good meal of pounded yam’ – Pastor Adeboye
The General overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Pastor E. A Adeboye has said if rapture fails to take place soon, he would die on a Sunday after eating pounded yam.
The Man of God, who made the assertion at the ongoing Holy Ghost Congress of the church in Ogun State, said he would die the way one of his uncles died after church service.
Recounting how the uncle died, Adeboye said he was in the house after dancing during a church service and gave up the ghost without being sick.
He said the uncle died inside a toilet while the wife was preparing his meal.
“After she finished pounding the yam, she knocked at the door of the toilet, when they opened the door, my uncle was gone; no sickness, no ache, no pain.
“I know somebody will say if we are never sick, how are we going to die and go to heaven? You don’t need to be sick to go to heaven”.
“If the Lord tarries His coming, I will go on a Sunday after a good meal of pounded yam,” he said.
Good Morning! Here Are Some Major News Headlines In The Newspapers Today: Cost of living: Nigerians angry with govt officials, Shettima admits
1. Vice-President Kashim Shettima, on Saturday, said average Nigerians are angry with government officials and other members of the elite class, following the high cost of living. The vice president stated this during the graduation ceremony of the Executive Intelligence Management Course, organised by the National Institute for Security Studies.
2. The Department of State Services (DSS) says plans are underway to commence the production of its Unmanned Ariel Vehicles, UAVs, also known as drones, AK-47s, and other weapons that would be used by the service and possibly sell to other agencies.
3. The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC and the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, will commence the prosecution of electoral offenders in January. The electoral offences include culpable homicide and unlawful possession of firearms, snatching and destroying of INEC items, misconduct at polling units and stealing of results, among others.
4. The Bauchi State Police Command has said its detectives arrested a 35-year-old man in the Bauchi metropolis, who allegedly tried to kill his wife with a pestle. The police claimed the suspect had intended to kill his wife, sell off the television set in their home and use the proceeds to furnish his shop.
5. No fewer than three small-scale miners have died while 11 others were injured when a mining pit collapsed in Dan Kamfani, Anka Local Government of Zamfara State. An eyewitness who works around the area said, on Saturday, that the incident occurred around 4pm on Thursday. He said the number of casualties cannot be confirmed due to the depth of the mining pit, which is 275 metres deep.
6. The abducted parish priest of Saint Michael’s Catholic Church in the Umuekebi community in the Isiala Mbano Local Government Area of Imo State, Reverend Fr Kingsley Eze, also known as Father Ichie, and his driver, Uchenna Newman, have regained freedom. Gunmen had on Thursday last week kidnapped the cleric and his driver when they alighted from a Volvo jeep to purchase something at Orieama junction around 8 pm.
7. The National Chairman of the Labour Party, Julius Abure, on Saturday, said the controversy that trailed the huge delegation Nigeria took to the Climate Change Conference in the United Arab Emirates has shown that President Bola Tinubu is not ready to learn from the mistakes of the previous administration. Abure raised the concern while receiving an award of excellence from the Benin chapter of the Nigerian Bar Association.
8. The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP in Sokoto State has accused Governor Ahmed Aliyu of the All Progressives Congress of reckless spending. The party in a press statement made available to newsmen in the state, by its Publicity Secretary, Hassan Sayinnawal, on Saturday, accused the APC-led administration in the state of handling public funds recklessly through what it describes as grossly inflated contracts.
9. Lawyers representing the Concerned Northern Forum have threatened to take legal action against the federal government if it fails to provide adequate compensation for the victims of Tudun Biri, which was bombed by military aircraft in Kaduna State. Over 80 villagers were killed during an unintended attack while they were celebrating Maulud, last Sunday night.
10. The US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Molly Phee, has visited Nigeria to mediate in the political situation in Niger Republic, which has been under military rule since July 26. This was disclosed in a statement on the website of the US Secretary of State.
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