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Guber polls: Fear, anxiety envelope Bayelsa, Kogi, Imo residents

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In anticipation of the gubernatorial elections scheduled for Saturday, November 11, in Imo, Bayelsa, and Kogi states, there is heightened tension, particularly in Imo and Kogi, where the situation appears unfavorable. Concerns are growing as the specter of violence looms large, especially in these two states, echoing a similar scenario during the 2023 general elections.

Indications suggest that residents, while eager to participate in the polls, are apprehensive about the potential loss of lives. There is also skepticism and worry regarding the ability of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to ensure a fair, transparent, and credible election, given the issues experienced in the 2023 general elections. Instances of opposition candidates’ posters being destroyed, physical attacks on party supporters, and malfunctions in BVAS machines have further compounded the concerns.

During the flag handover ceremony at the Aso Rock Villa, President Bola Tinubu urged for free, fair, and transparent elections in the three states, expressing confidence in the party’s success based on hard work, candidates’ records, and the collective efforts of party officials and members.

However, an elite organization in Kogi, Club 582, has called on President Tinubu to investigate recent killings in the state, expressing concerns about rising violence despite the deployment of security forces. In Imo, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is advocating for the redeployment of the Imo State Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), alleging that the people would reject any election result involving the current REC.

Observing the situation in Kogi and Imo, there is a growing fear of unprecedented violence during the upcoming elections, prompting calls for proactive measures by security agencies to protect voters and residents through effective intelligence gathering and response.

In Imo State, reports indicate a lack of visibility of opposition candidates’ posters in Owerri, the state capital, raising concerns about opposition suppression. Similar concerns are echoed in Kogi, where the candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) reports multiple attacks without arrests.

While the situation in Bayelsa appears less tense, a recent threat from the deputy governorship candidate of the APC has added a new dimension. The PDP in Bayelsa alleges that opposition politicians are arming thugs to disrupt the peaceful conduct of the elections.

The Niger Delta Nationalities Forum expresses doubt about INEC’s ability to deliver credible elections, citing previous instances of rule flouting. The need for separating the state from the government is emphasized by Chief Alex Ogbonnia of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, while former NBA Vice President Monday Onyekachi Ubani emphasizes the role of citizens in holding INEC accountable for free and fair elections by raising concerns about any identified defects in the electoral process.

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PHOTO: Gov Makinde Host Nigeria Police Games

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1: Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde (left) and Inspector General of Police, Olukayode Egbetokun, during the opening ceremony of the 14th Biennial Nigeria Police Games, host by Oyo State Government, held at Adamasigba Stadium, Ibadan. PHOTO: Oyo Gov’s Media Unit.

2: From left, Deputy Governor of Oyo State, Barr Bayo Lawal; Governor Seyi Makinde; Inspector General of Police, Olukayode Egbetokun and his wife Elizabeth, during the opening ceremony of the 14th Biennial Nigeria Police Games, host by Oyo State Government, held at Adamasigba Stadium, Ibadan. PHOTO: Oyo Gov’s Media Unit.

3: Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde (left) take a salute from the Police Mascots, during the opening ceremony of the 14th Biennial Nigeria Police Games, host by Oyo State Government, held at Adamasigba Stadium, Ibadan. PHOTO: Oyo Gov’s Media Unit.

CREDIT: Oyo Gov Media 

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Economic crisis: Find more ways to improve your IGR – President Tinubu to universities

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The Nigerian government has called upon universities in the country to broaden their sources of funding amidst economic challenges. President Bola Ahmad Tinubu made this assertion during the 6th & 7th combined convocation ceremony of Federal University, Dutse, which took place on Saturday.

Speaking through Professor Kabir Bala, the Vice-Chancellor of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, who represented him at the event, President Tinubu stressed the government’s dedication to facilitating a conducive environment for universities despite resource limitations.

He urged universities to actively explore alternative funding channels, underlining the significance of self-reliance in the prevailing economic circumstances. The President also encouraged universities to seek international funding opportunities for research, advocating for collaborations and the attraction of funds from global sources.

President Tinubu emphasized that government alone cannot shoulder the financial burden of universities, particularly amid economic challenges and competing demands from various sectors. Nonetheless, he reiterated the administration’s commitment to providing the necessary support within the available resources to ensure universities function as pillars of educational advancement and national development.

He further urged universities to pursue innovative strategies for generating revenue and to tap into international research funding opportunities. He assured that his administration remains dedicated to supporting universities in achieving their objectives as outlined in the Renewed Hope Agenda.

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Contempt threat against NLC, TUC leaders over public protest uncalled for – Femi Falana replies FG

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Human rights advocate and constitutional lawyer, Femi Falana, has clarified that the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) have every right to organize the nationwide public protest scheduled for February 27 and 28, asserting that it does not constitute contempt of court.

As a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Falana emphasized that Nigerian workers are entitled to freedom of assembly and expression as enshrined in the country’s Constitution. He urged the federal government, in a strongly worded letter to the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, to ensure maximum security for the workers and to participate in the protest.

In response to the AGF’s threat of contempt charges against the NLC and TUC leaders, Falana’s letter dated February 24 countered the threat, arguing that it lacked legal basis.

Falana pointed out the history of negotiations between the government and the labor unions following the removal of fuel subsidy in 2023, which resulted in court orders restraining the unions from striking. Despite compliance with these orders, the unions challenged them, and the contempt proceedings initiated by the government were subsequently withdrawn.

He highlighted subsequent legal actions initiated by the government against the unions, noting that these actions were contested by the unions on grounds of abuse of court process and lack of jurisdiction. Falana emphasized that since the contempt proceedings were withdrawn, there is no basis for the government’s threat of contempt charges regarding the planned protest.

He cited legal precedents affirming citizens’ rights to protest on matters of public interest without the need for police permits, emphasizing the democratic importance of freedom of speech and assembly.

Falana urged the government to respect these fundamental rights and directed the Inspector-General of Police to provide adequate security for the protesters in accordance with the Police Establishment Act.

In conclusion, he called on the government to reconsider its stance and assured that the protests would be conducted peacefully.

The federal government had previously warned of invoking relevant laws to charge the NLC leadership with contempt if the protest proceeds, citing it as a breach of agreement and a challenge to the court’s authority. The AGF, Prince Lateef Fagbemi, conveyed this warning in a letter to Falana, urging the NLC to abandon the protest to avoid violating the court’s order.

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