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INEC’s integrity sinks further with controversial Nov 11 elections in Kogi, Imo

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Off-cycle gubernatorial elections took place on November 11, 2023, across three states in the country. The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had assured the public of an improved, seamless, and transparent process leading up to the elections. However, the aftermath of the polls in Bayelsa, Imo, and Kogi states mirrored the disappointments experienced during the February 25 Presidential Election, where promises made by INEC turned out to be unfulfilled.

The year 2023 had already been marred by electoral challenges, with the Presidential and National Assembly elections on February 25 marked by disruptions, impunity, and criticisms from both local and international observers. Despite high expectations and trust in INEC, the general election was considered one of the worst in the country’s history.

Before the off-cycle elections, INEC, under the leadership of Professor Mahmood Yakubu, had implemented measures such as the Electoral Act Amendment Bill, the use of technological devices to prevent rigging, and the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS). The enthusiasm of the youth population led to a significant increase in voter registration.

However, the positive anticipation was shattered as INEC failed to transmit the election results as promised, leading to a series of legal challenges. Despite INEC’s post-election promises to improve conduct, enhance transparency, and learn from past mistakes, the off-cycle elections on November 11 were marred by controversies, allegations of pre-written results, disruptions, and security agencies aiding ballot box snatching.

Various political parties, including the Action Alliance (AA), PDP, and SDP, rejected the election results in Kogi and Imo states, citing fraud, ballot box snatching, and irregularities. Despite widespread criticism and allegations of compromised elections, INEC declared the winners in favor of the APC candidates in both states.

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Public confidence in INEC eroded further, with observers and political analysts expressing disappointment in the conduct of the off-cycle elections. The incidents of pre-filled result sheets, alleged manipulation, and the absence of electronic transmission of results raised concerns about the effectiveness of INEC in delivering free and fair elections.

As the nation grapples with the fallout from the November 11 elections, calls for electoral reform, a shift from the winner-takes-all system, and a move towards proportional representation have been suggested as potential solutions to address the persisting challenges in the electoral process.

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‘Some people have turned into monitoring spirits because of Tinubu’ – Joe Igbokwe

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Joe Igbokwe, a prominent member of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Lagos State, raised concerns on Saturday about the constant monitoring of President Bola Tinubu. Igbokwe claimed that some individuals have resorted to witchcraft and “monitoring spirits” to keep an eye on Tinubu.

He explained that these individuals are observing Tinubu closely to catch any mistakes or mishaps, wherever he goes. Posting on his Facebook page, Igbokwe predicted that this scrutiny will persist for the next eight years.

He wrote: “Some people have turned to monitoring spirits. They follow PBAT anywhere he goes to see if he will make mistakes, if he will fall down, or if he will be received very well in any country he goes to. This is witchcraft and they will do this for 8 years. Mark this.”

Tinubu had a slip during the Democracy Day celebration at Eagles Square on June 12. Addressing the incident later at a Democracy Day dinner at the Presidential Villa, the President commented: “Early this morning, I had a swagger and it’s on social media. They’re confused about whether I was doing bugger or babariga.

“But it is a day to celebrate democracy. Why doing dobale on the day? I’m a traditional Yoruba boy. I did my dobale.”

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‘We’re still owed salaries in Abia State University’ – ASUU

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The Abia State University chapter of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has claimed that many of its members did not receive their April and May salaries, and those who were paid had deductions from their salaries. ASUU Chairperson Chidi Mbah and Secretary Victor Obisike stated that despite announcements from the Abia government and social media reports indicating that salaries had been settled, only a few staff members with accounts at commercial banks received their April salaries, and even fewer received their May salaries.

The ASUU leaders highlighted that this inconsistency in salary payments and deductions has caused financial difficulties, anxiety, and uncertainty among the affected staff. They noted that staff members who did receive their April or May salaries experienced unexplained deductions ranging from N8,000 to N53,000.

This irregular payment system has made it difficult for the unions within the university to determine the status of their check-off dues, which are usually deducted at the source. Additionally, ASUU emphasized that 11 months of outstanding salary arrears remain unpaid, despite repeated assurances from the government.

ASUU expressed its support for Governor Alex Otti’s efforts to improve Abia State University but urged government officials to avoid politicizing the salary payment issue. They appealed to the state government to promptly address the concerns raised and ensure that all outstanding salaries, including the arrears, are paid in full to alleviate the financial hardships faced by the university staff.

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Sanusi: Ado Bayero was never Emir of Kano – Gov Yusuf’s spokesman

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Sanusi Bature, the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Abba Yusuf of Kano State, has asserted that Aminu Ado Bayero was never the Emir of Kano. According to Bature, former Governor Abdullahi Ganduje appointed Bayero as the Emir of the eight metropolitan local governments of Kano city.

During an appearance on Arise Television, Bature explained that Ganduje’s appointment of Bayero as emir was part of a political maneuver that compromised the integrity of the historic Kano Emirate, which predates Nigeria and its constitution by over a thousand years.

Bature stated: “The governor’s action was intended to protect the emirate’s integrity as an institution. The Emirate of Kano has a history that predates Nigeria, with people living under a single Emir for over a thousand years. Ganduje’s administration politicized this history, which Yusuf promised to rectify during his campaign to restore the emirate’s lost glory.”

He further remarked, “This is not the first time an Emir has been deposed; Ganduje did it, and Sanusi left Kano for peace to prevail. Now Sanusi has returned to Kano after the law was repealed.”

Clarifying Bayero’s status, Bature said, “Aminu Ado Bayero was never the Emir of Kano. He was appointed as the Emir of the eight metropolitan local governments of Kano city. With the revision of the law under a unified Kano, the emirate Bayero served no longer exists. He was the Emir of the Kano city emirate, not the entire 44 local governments of Kano, a status created by Ganduje’s 2019 Emirate law.”

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Governor Yusuf deposed Ado Bayero and reinstated Muhammed Sanusi as the Emir of Kano. Despite this, Ado Bayero has refused to leave his Nassarawa palace and has challenged the state government’s action in court.

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