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41 INEC offices attacked in 14 states, says chairman

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The Chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, yesterday said 41 INEC offices were destroyed in 14 states since 2019.

Prof Mahmood Yakubu made this known during an emergency meeting of the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) at the commission’s headquarters in Abuja.

He said a preliminary assessment indicates that 1,105 ballot boxes, 694 voting cubicles, 429 electric generating sets and 13 utility vehicles (Toyota Hilux) were lost in the attacks.

Yakubu said: “In the last two years, the Commission has recorded a total of 41 incidents involving deliberate attacks on the Commission’s facilities.

“Nine of these incidents happened in 2019 and 21 cases in 2020. In the last four weeks, 11 offices of the Commission were either set ablaze or vandalised.

“Two of these incidents were caused by Boko Haram and bandit attacks while 10 resulted from thuggery during the election and post-election violence.

“However, the majority of the attacks (29 out of 41) were unrelated to election or electoral activities. In fact, 18 of them occurred during the EndSARS protests in October last year while 11 attacks were organised by ‘unknown gunmen’ and ‘hoodlums’.

“Although the Commission is assessing loss of materials during recent attacks, our preliminary assessment so far indicates that we lost 1,105 ballot boxes, 694 voting cubicles, 429 electric generating sets and 13 utility vehicles (Toyota Hilux).

“By working together with the security agencies, we can stop these attacks and the wanton destruction of critical electoral assets.”

Yakubu reiterated his warning that the attacks could threaten future elections if not checked.

He said: “These attacks, which initially appeared as isolated and occasional actions, have now become more frequent and systematic targeted at demobilising and dismantling critical electoral infrastructure in the country.

“This will not only undermine the Commission’s capacity to organise elections and other electoral activities but will also damage the nation’s electoral process and democracy.

“Indeed, these attacks on the Commission’s facilities should now be treated as a national security emergency.”

Yakubu said an outcome of the meeting should be “an all-year-round, end-to-end protection of electoral facilities under the auspices of ICCES”.

According to the INEC chairman, since the conclusion of the 2019 general election, the commission has conducted four end-of-tenure governorship elections and 28 of 32 bye-elections.

Read Also: INEC moves sensitive materials from attack-prone areas

He said: “In the next nine months, two major elections will be conducted. The Anambra State Governorship election is scheduled to hold on 6th November 2021 to be followed by the end-of-tenure elections for 68 Area Council constituencies in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) holding on 12th February 2022.

“These major elections will be followed by the Ekiti and Osun State Governorship elections ahead of the 2023 General Election which is just 632 days away.

“In addition to elections, the Commission is also preparing for the resumption of the nationwide Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) exercise on 28th June 2021 to enable Nigerians who have attained the age 18 years and those who did not register previously to do so.

“Similarly, registered voters who wish to change their voting locations and those who wish to correct their names and other details on their Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) can do so.

“We plan to create 2,673 registration centres and deploy 5,346 officials for the exercise along with expensive voter enrollment machines. All these activities require security, thereby adding to the urgency and importance of this meeting.”

National Security Adviser and Co-Chairman of ICEES, Major General Babagana Monguno (rtd), mandated security and government agencies to deal with non-state actors plotting to disrupt the electoral process.

He said democracy would be sustained despite attempts by divisive elements to torpedo it.

“We (ONSA) are at hand to make sure that the people’s will, will be sustained, regardless of whatever happens,” he stated.

The Senator representing Enugu East Zone, Chimaroke Nnamani, described the attacks on INEC offices as worrisome.

The former Enugu State governor said in a statement: ”This trend is capable of alienating us from the rest of Nigeria. What we require is a society or nation of equal opportunities where no one is segregated upon or discriminated against on account of his ethnic or religious leaning.

“Justice and equity are what we should agitate for not violence. We can only achieve this in an atmosphere of peace and harmony.

“Burning police or INEC facilities cannot be a solution. The world is already a global village. We need each other. Those behind these acts must sheathe their swords and embrace dialogue”.

He reminded aggrieved Nigerians that there are many channels, including the courts or even the National Assembly to address any injustices or misgivings instead of resorting to violence.

“Violence will only lead to anarchy. It is certainly not one of the ways to resolve issues,” Nnamani stressed.

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Politics

Oyetola To Aregbesola: We’re Proud Of You, You Performed Well As Gov, You’re Doing Well As Minister; Those Calling For Nigeria Break-up Ignorant, Says Aregbe 

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The Governor of Osun State, Adegboyega Oyetola has stated that the state is proud of its former Governor and Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola. 

 

Oyetola spoke in Ilesa on Saturday, 5 June, 2021 at an event marking the 64th birthday celebration of the Minister.

 

He noted that the former Governor of the state performed very well while ruling the state and still performing as the Minister Of Interior.

 

Oyetola who was represented at the event by the state Commissioner for Political Affairs and Inter-governmental Relations, Mr Taiwo Akeju, said: “You performed very well in the State of Osun and you are performing well as the Minister of Interior. We are very proud of you.”

 

The events celebrating the 64th birthday of the Minister included the presentation of a book titled “The Rauf I Know “, written by a journalist, Mr Dayo Olanipekun. Mr Olanipekun covered him as state house correspondent for the Broadcasting Corporation of Osun State (OSBC) in his two terms as governor.

 

Speaking later, Ogbeni Aregbesola warned that it would take 50 years for Nigeria to recover from another civil war.

 

He therfore warned Nigerians to desist from any act capable of threatening Nigeria’s unity, describing those calling for the separation of the country as ignorant.

 

Ogbeni Aregbesola said: “Those calling for Nigeria’s break-up are ignorant. Every Nigerian should work for Nigeria’s unity and development.

 

“It will take Nigeria 50 years to recover from civil war. Whoever likes women and children should not support, but rather condemn any call of separation and conduct capable of threatening Nigeria’s unity.

 

“Nigeria is a country created by God for us and for the black race.

 

“I am not saying everything that is happening in Nigeria is good. We should treat the problems and challenges facing Nigerians, not calling for her break-up. Decapitation is not the antidote for headache”.

 

Aregbesola also declared support for a new caucus of the All Progressives Congress (APC), The Osun Progressives (TOP), saying that he is in support of any move to consolidate progressives legacies in the State of Osun, strengthen the party from the polling units, wards and local government levels and strengthen internal democracy in the party, which are clearly stated in the objectives and mission of TOP.

 

In his address, the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, Ojaja II, said that Aregbesola’s legacy in the development of the State will forever linger in the sands of time.

 

The Ooni of Ife who spoke via Zoom noted that the State of Osun and its people cannot forget Aregbesola as his achievements are beyond what anyone can rubbish.

 

“We will forever remember him. Your work will never cease to reflect in the sands of time. It is during his tenure that landmark achievements occurred in Osun which we cannot forget.

 

“We can never forget you. Your achievements are beyond what anyone can rubbish. We are proud of you and what you represent.”

 

The Registrar of the Joint Admission Matriculation Board (JAMB), Prof Ishaq Oloyede, who delivered a lecture titled “Power is responsibility” at the event, urged Nigerian political leaders to be responsible with power.

 

Oloyede who was represented by Dr Wahab Oyedokun, tasked politicians to operate with ideology that address people’s yearnings.

 

Speaking at the event, Chief Mrs Tokunbo-Awolowo Dosumu, daughter of the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, said Aregbesola is among the few Nigerian politicians that identify with and promote Awolowo’s legacy.

According to Dosumu, Aregbesola has always been committed to all the activities of Awolowo Foundation, describing him as an exemplary leader.

 

Politicians, traditional rulers, trade union groups and people from all walks of life from the state and across the country graced the occasion, while others spoke via zoom.

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UPDATED: NECO Registrar died of heart failure, not assassinated – says Official

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The Registrar of National Examinations Council (NECO), Prof. Godswill Obioma has been confirmed dead.

The late NECO Registrar reportedly died on Monday night in his sleep in his Minna residence.

The Director, Human resources of the examination body, Abdul Mustapha confirmed the death of the NECO boss, he dismissed viral media reports that Prof. Godswill Obioma was assassinated, says he died in his sleep as a result of heart failure.

Mr. Mustapha disclosed communication from Obioma’s second son, Prince Godswill Obioma, informing him of the death of his father thus:

“Mustapha K. Abdul (Director Human Resource Management, NECO),

“Dear Sir, this is to formally inform you that my father, Prof. Godswill Obioma, the Registrar/Chief Executive of NECO passed to eternal glory yesterday 31/5/2021 after a brief illness.

“We request that you kindly notify the Board, Management and the entire staff of the Council of this development.

“We shall keep you duly informed.

“Prince Godswill Obioma the 2nd, for the family.”

The release of the conversation between the deceased son and Mustapha contradicted some reports in some online and social media platforms alleging that the NECO boss was assassinated in his Minna residence by some unknown gunmen.

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INSECURITY: Arewa Consultative Forum directs Northerners to boycott Southeast

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The Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) has directed Northerners to boycott traveling to Southeast as a result of the level of insecurity in the region.

The warning under the guise of a statement was issued by the National Chairman of ACF, Audu Ogbe, on Monday, May 31. He expressed concern over increasing attacks and killings of northern residents in the southeast or those visiting the zone. He said the travel advisory was issued while taking into cognizance the killings of northern leaders in 1966, which he said triggered the events that led to the civil war.

“ACF issues a very strong advisory to all northerners who may wish to travel to the southeast. Northerners should weigh the importance and necessity of such travels. Unless such trips are absolutely necessary and of compelling nature, like matters of life and death, they should not be made.”the statement in part read

The travel advisory comes barely 24 hours after former presidential aide, Ahmed Gulak, was murdered by IPOB members in Imo state.

 

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