2019: Atiku promises to take Nigeria to higher level if elected president

Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, on Saturday in Lafia, promised to take Nigeria to a higher level if elected president in 2019.

Atiku, who is a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential aspirant, stated this while addressing the Nasarawa State Working Committee and delegates of PDP.

According to him, insecurity, poverty, and hunger are some of the factors militating against the progress of Nigeria.

Atiku said that it was improper to describe Nigerian youths as  lazy people who only needed free money.

According to him, available records have proved Nigerian youths to be excellent sportsmen and women, astute businessmen and women,  among other things.

“If elected President of Nigeria , I will restructure Nigeria by empowering the youths, eradicate hunger and poverty, as well as fight insecurity,” he stated.

The former vice president also promised to develop all states sharing boundaries with the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

This, according to him, is because most of the people working in FCT reside in communities located in the neighbouring states.

He called on the delegates to vote for him given his experience, high net-worth and resourcefulness.

Responding, Francis Orugu, the Nasarawa State PDP Chairman, commended Atiku for the visit.

He promised that delegates from the state would vote for a credible aspirant that would be able to represent the party in the 2019 presidential election. (NAN)

– Sept. 22, 2018 @ 13:25 GMT |

Osun election: INEC’s secret balloting curbed open vote buying – CSOs

Two Civil Society Organisations monitoring the Osun governorship election on Saturday said the Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC’s) secret balloting had so far made it impossible for people to openly buy and sell votes.

The Executive Director of YIAGA Africa, Mr Samson Itodo, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the group was monitoring the election in 250 polling units.

Itodo said that so far,it was obvious that INEC took deliberate steps to ensure that the secrecy of balloting was not compromised .

“There were two things INEC assured the stakeholders of, first was the reconsideration of the polling units, the ballot box and the cubicle would be placed closer to each other.

.“The polling officials were carrying out voter education in the morning, especially on how to roll their ballot papers according to the election guidelines provided by INEC guidelines.

“So, INEC kept to its promise of secret balloting,.however ,there were still some instances where voters intentionally exposed their ballot, in fact one actually happened before me.’’

Itodo encouraged voters to stop doing that, because it would undermine the integrity of the entire electoral process .

He said that at the moment ,the group had not observed any vote buying or selling activity though it was still very premature to state anything .

The National Coordinator, Election Monitor, Mr Abiodun Ajijola, said that he had so far not witnessed nor heard of vote buying during the election .

Ajijola said that things were moving as planned except for one or two issues on card readers where it was not authenticating properly.

He said that a request was made and something was being done about it.

The groups, therefore, commended INEC for the conduct of the exercise, so far.

NAN reports that there are 3,010 Polling Units and 755 Polling Points spread across the three senatorial districts and 30 local governments areas of the state.

NAN also reports that although 48 parties are participating in the election, the frontline candidates are Gboyega Oyetola of the All Progressives Congress (APC); Ademola Adeleke of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Iyiola Omisore of the Social Democratic (SDP). (NAN)

– Sept. 22, 2018 @ 13:22 GMT |

Osun poll: CSOs laud security agencies’ professionalism

Some Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) monitoring the ongoing Osun governorship election has commended the high level of professionalism displayed by security personnel deployed for the poll.

In a telephone interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja, the Executive Director, Women Arise for Change Initiative, Mrs Joe Okei-Odumakin,  said the security agencies had so far displayed the highest level of professionalism in their coverage of the exercise.

Okei-Odumakin also commended the turnout of voters during the poll, describing it as “ massive”.

“It was a massive turnout of voters. It is relatively calm. The election started early. The security agencies have so far displayed highest level of professionalism and we still want them to remain transparent,” she said.

Okei-Odumakin, who also told NAN that the organisation had deployed 100 observers across the 30 local government areas of the state, said that 20 roving observers were also on ground to monitor the poll.

‘’I have also personally gone to Ede, Modakeke, Iragbiji and I am in Ife now,” she said.

According to her, the poll has so far been peaceful and the voters have conducted themselves well.

She said none of the observers had brought any report on shortages of election materials as at the time of the interview.

Also in a telephone interview with NAN, Esther Uzoma, a member of the Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room, commended the police and other security agencies deployed for the election for their good conduct.

Uzoma also noted the massive turnout of voters in the places she had visited, so far.

‘’We have covered Osun South and Ede and right now, we are going to Ikire. The election has been peaceful, the security agencies are conducting themselves well,” she said.

NAN reports that there are 3,010 Polling Units and 755 Polling Points spread across the three senatorial districts and 30 local governments areas of the state.

Although INEC registered a total of 1,682,495 voters, some 400,000 Permanent Voters Cards remained uncollected as at Friday.

NAN also reports that 48 parties are participating in the election, but the frontline candidates are: Gboyega Oyetola of the All Progressives Congress (APC); Ademola Adeleke of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Iyiola Omisore of the Social Democratic Party (SDP). (NAN)

– Sept. 22, 2018 @ 13:15 GMT |

NAPTIP calls for implementation of Child Rights Act in states

The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) has called on state governments to implement the Child Rights Act in tackling child trafficking in the country.

The NAPTIP’s Director of Investigation and Monitoring, Mr Josiah Emerole, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Saturday.

Emerole said there is the urgent need for stakeholders to push the 24 states which had domesticated the Act to ensure its full implementation.

He appealed to the states yet to domesticate the Act to do so and prepare a better future for the Nigerian child.

He also urged the media to play a key role in the advocacy programmes of the agency towards ensuring its full implementation at the state and federal levels.

According to him, the Director-General of NAPTIP, Ms Julie Okah-Donli, has done much in creating awareness against child and other forms of human trafficking in the country.

“Public awareness is being created in all parts of this country to address this challenge of human trafficking.

“NAPTIP cannot do it alone hence the need for the general public to give us relevant information to arrest the menace of human trafficking in the society,” he said. (NAN)

– Sept. 22, 2018 @ 12:59 GMT |

Osun poll: Aregbesola, Omisore disagree on conduct of exercise

Gov. Rauf Aregbesola of Osun has commended the large turnout of voters for Saturday’s governorship election in the state.

Aregbesola, who spoke after casting his vote at 11:50 am at his  Ifofin Ward 8, Unit 1 Polling Unit in Ilesa, also commended the Independent Electoral Commission(INEC) for the smooth conduct of the exercise.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN)  reports that Aregbesola arrived at the polling unit with his wife, Sherifat,  at 11:38 am.

The governor said the large turnout of voters and their peaceful conduct was a signal to their desire to elect a leader of their choice.

”  I must commend the voters for conducting themselves in a peaceful manner and for coming out in their large numbers.

” This is the beauty of democracy,’’ he said.

The governor also used the opportunity to dismiss the speculation that the payment of workers’ full salary before the election was for political reasons.

But Sen. Iyiola Omisore, the governorship candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) lamented what he called irregularities in the conduct of the exercise.

Omisore, who spoke shortly after voting at his Moore Ward 1, 003 Polling Unit at 11:25 am,  alleged that there were insufficient electoral materials in some polling units in Osogbo.

He also claimed that the card readers were malfunctioning in some polling units in Ile-Ife.

Omisore, however,  urged the voters to exercise their civic responsibility by trooping out to vote.

He also urged the electorate to refrain from vote-selling, saying they would be mortgaging their future.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN)  reports that there are 3,010 Polling Units and 755 Polling Points spread across the three senatorial districts and 30 local governments areas of the state.

Although there are a total of  1,682,495 registered voters, over 400,000 Permanent Voters Cards remained uncollected as at Friday.

NAN also reports that while 48 parties are participating in the election,  Gboyega Oyetola of the All Progressives Congress, Ademola Adeleke of the Peoples Democratic Party and  Omisore of the SDP are the frontline candidates.  (NAN)

– Sept. 22, 2018 @ 13:05 GMT |

Authority spends N368m on office complex, solar power projects – MD

The Managing Director, Upper Niger River Basin Development Authority, Prof. Mohammed Ali, said the sum of N368 million was spent on construction, furnishing and powering of the authority’s headquarters office complex in Minna.

Ali, who disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Minna on Saturday, said the projects consisted the purchase of solar power generating sets, street lights and boreholes.

He said the building, with 36 offices and a conference hall was initiated to provide additional offices to enhance efficiency and productivity among its workforce.

“We are currently spending about N200 million for the construction of the additional office complex to accommodate our entire workforce for effective administration,” he said.

He stated that the work had reached about 70 per cent completion, expressing satisfaction with the level and quality of work done so far.

He said that the authority embarked on the project because of its desire to provide conducive working atmosphere for its staff for smooth implementation of its programmes.

He said that the about N120 million was also spent on the purchase of 100KVA solar plant and 40 solar street lights at the headquarters premises.

He said that the provision of the solar powered lights had reduced the challenge of lack of power supply in the implementation of the authority’s programmes of action.

Ali said that N48million was spent on the construction of 6 solar powered boreholes in different parts of the headquarters for staff and neighbouring communities.

The Managing Director added that the aim was to provide good drinking water for members of the public which plays host to the authourity.

He promised that the authority would continue to implement laudable policies and programmes towards motivating its workforce. (NAN)

– Sept. 22, 2018 @ 12:57 GMT |

Nigeria assures international community of credible, peaceful 2019 polls

Nigeria has assured the international community that the 2019 general election will be credible and peaceful.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama, gave the assuarance at a press briefing in New York ahead of the high level general assembly debate next week.

Onyeama explained that President Muhammadu Buhari had assured the international community that under his watch, there would be credible election because he had been a victim and had challenged election malpractices up to the Supreme Court.

He said Buhari had experienced how a political party in power organised elections to favour themselves and would not perpetrate same.

According to him, the president is a good believer in the electoral process adding, “we can be certain that he would ensure credible and peaceful election come 2019”.

“A good example is (Ademola) Adeleke (PDP gubernatorial candidate for Osun) who is contesting election and the security agency invited him but he (Buhari) said he has to conclude the election before he is invited.

“We also saw recently when the National Assembly was invaded and the head of the agency that carried out the invasion lost his job. So he has zero tolerance for the abuse of the rights of Nigerians.

“We went to The Gambia to ensure that democracy was sustained when the former president refused to leave power. So it will be an irony if he (Buhari) does that.

“So you can be sure that he would do everything possible to ensure a smooth general election. But he has also put security measures in place to ensure a peaceful process,” Onyeama said. (NAN)

– Sept. 22, 2018 @ 12:49 GMT |

Osun elections: CSO commends high voter turnout

Ezenwa Nwagwu, Chairman, Partners for Electoral Reforms, a Civil Society Organisation, has commended the high turnout of voters in the ongoing governorship election in Osun state.

Nwagwu, who is monitoring the election in the state, made the commendation in a telephone interview with the News Agency of Nigeria  in Abuja on Saturday.

He said that between 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 a.m. accreditation and voting had already commenced as people trooped out in orderly manner to exercise their franchise.

“We are coming out from Ife now, accreditation and voting is ongoing. The punctuality is pretty nice in the areas that we have observed between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 a.m.

“But generally, people are coming out to vote and the climate is calm and relatively peaceful,’’ he said.

The chairman also commended the relative peaceful atmosphere under which the process is going on.

He, therefore, expressed the need to encourage the people of the state to continue to maintain the maturity they put in during the campaigns and the poll and remain peaceful.

He expressed optimism that the outcome of the election would reflect the will and aspirations of a greater percentage of the people.

“It is good to continue to encourage the people of Osun to maintain the maturity that they put in during the campaigns and ensure that they remain peaceful.

“We hope that the outcome of the election reflects the will and aspirations of a greater percentage of Osun state people,’’he said.

NAN reports that a heavy security cordon was thrown on the state with massive deployment of policemen and other security personnel including soldiers who were sighted on the outskirts of the state capital.

NAN also reports that there are 3,010 Polling Units and 755 Polling Points spread across the three senatorial districts and 30 local governments areas of the state.

Although INEC registered a total of 1,682,495 voters, some 400,000 Permanent Voters Cards remained uncollected as at Friday.

NAN also reports that although 48 parties are participating in the election, the frontline candidates are Gboyega Oyetola of the All Progressives Congress, Ademola Adeleke of the Peoples, Democratic Party and Iyiola Omisore of the Social Democratic. (NAN)

– Sept. 22, 2018 @ 12:45 GMT |

Osun election: Party agent alleges widespread vote-buying in Ede, Osun

An All Progressives Congress party agent, who preferred to be anonymous confided in our correspondent that almost all the parties were involved in vote-buying in Ede.

He told our correspondent that the African Democratic Party in a door-to-door ‘evangelism’ distributed between N1,000 and N2,000 last night while the Peoples Democratic Party and the All Progressives Congress gave out their cash this morning.

Likewise, the ADP, the PDP and the APC have been giving out money to voters in Asunmo ward, Unit 1, Talafia area, Ede.

He said, “As a party agent, I have over N100,000 with me and I will give it out to those that vote for the APC.” – Punch

– Sept. 22, 2018 @ 12:42 GMT |

Osun elections: Security agents monitor use of smart phones at polling units

Security agents attached to polling units in Saturday’s governorship election in Osun state are monitoring the use of smartphones by voters,  the News Agency of Nigeria reports.

In some of the polling units visited in Ilesa and Ile-Ife, majority of the voters came to the polling units with their smartphones although security agents did not allow them to take them inside the cubicles to vote.

A security personnel, who spoke with NAN on the condition of anonymity,  said the measure was to check vote-buying.

He expressed the belief that the move had so far checked the incidence of  vote-buying at polling units.

Mr Jimmy George,  an election observer,  commended security agents for preventing voters from using their phones inside the cubicles.

George , who is the National Secretary of the National Committee of Patriots,  said the action of the security agents would minimise vote-buying in the election.

Meanwhile,  accreditation and voting in  the election continued  on a peaceful note in many polling units across the state.

At Unit 12A,  Ward 05 in Ile-Ife,  voters were seen on the queue peacefully with INEC ad hoc staff attending to them.

It was also observed that the card reader machines were  also working perfectly at the polling unit visited by  NAN.

Mr Lukman Adedini,  the Social Democratic Party,  agent confirmed that the election had been peaceful.

Adedini also commended INEC ad hoc staff  for arriving on time.

Also at Ward 6, Remo Unit 2 in Ile-Ife, many voters  were seen on the queue.

Mrs Victoria Komolafe, the Presiding Officer, who  said the election had been orderly and peaceful, also commended the large turnout of voters.

Mr Olayade Abiola, the SDP party agent at the polling unit, commended  INEC for the prompt arrival of materials. (NAN)

– Sept. 22, 2018 @ 12:42 GMT |

Osun governorship election: Card readers functioning well, says ex-Speaker

The immediate past speaker of Osun State House of Assembly, Hon Adejare Bello, has applauded the electorate for their conduct in the ongoing governorship election in the state.

Speaking with newsmen at Ward 3, unit 4, Ede North, where he voted, Bello said the card readers have been functioning well.

He expressed confidence in winning his polling unit for his party, the APC

However, a candidate in the ongoing election, Iyiola Omisore of the Social Democratic Party, has expressed his dissatisfaction with the process.

Omisore, a former deputy governor in the state, said the reports he received was that the card readers were too slow. – Punch

– Sept. 22, 2018 @ 12:35 GMT |

Osun election: I’ve laboured so hard, I’m going to win, says Oyetola

The All Progressives Congress candidate in the Osun State governorship election, Mr Gboyega Oyetola, said he believed he would win the election because he had laboured so hard.

Oyetola said this shortly after casting his vote at Ward 1, Unit 2 in Iragbiji, Boripe Local Government Area of the state.

He had arrived, alongside his wife and children, at 10.07am and finished casting his vote five minutes later.

Speaking to journalists after voting, the 64-year-old said he was satisfied with the conduct of the voters and security agents.

He said, “I believe the security agents are doing their job very well. It’s been so far so good because everybody realises there must be a free and fair election.

“On the allegation of vote-buying, I don’t know about people buying votes. They may be doing so somewhere else, but not in my ward.

I believe strongly that I’m going to win this election; I’ve laboured so hard. Apart from that, the current administration has worked very well in a lot of areas, including health care, commerce, education, infrastructural development, and agriculture.

“I’m going to make sure I continue with those projects, especially in providing security for the people. Everyone is looking forward to seeing who leads them in the next four years.” – Punch

– Sept. 22, 2018 @ 12:32 GMT |

Osun election: ADC candidate, Akinbade votes

The candidate of the African Democratic Congress in the Osun governorship election, Fatai Akinbade, has voted.

He voted at 10:35am at Ward 3, Unit 123, Ogbagba, Ola-Oluwa Local Government Area in Osun State.

Akinbade is contesting the governorship seat alongside candidates like Ademola Adeleke of the Peoples Democratic Party, Iyiola Omisore of the Social Democratic Party, Gboyega Oyetola of the All Progressives Congress, and Adeoti Moshood of Action Democratic Party. – Punch

– Sept. 22, 2018 @ 12:29 GMT |

We have no reason to fear in Ejigbo – OSHA Speaker

The Speaker, Osun State House of Assembly, Mr. Najeem Salam, who voted at 9:58am in the state’s governorship election has stressed that his party, the All Progressive Congress have nothing to fear in Ejigbo as party faithful have been educated prior to the election.

Speaking with newsmen after casting his vote, Salam said, “So far, there is no security challenge, everything is going on smoothly.

“We’ve educated our voters and we are confident that we would win.”

Salam also encouraged other party faithful to conduct themselves in a good manner, stressing that the development of the state should be the people’s priority.

Meanwhile, a security operative of the NSCDC who preferred to be anonymous complained to our correspondent that the much-publicised allowance of N50,000 due to them has been slashed to N15,000 by INEC

He said, “The original plan was that we were supposed to be given between N50,000 and N150,000, depending on our level. But as things stand now, some got N15,000, some N8,000 while some got N4,500,” he said. – Punch

– Sept. 22, 2018 @ 12:21 GMT |

Osun election: PDP agent arrested for alleged vote-buying

A People’s Democratic Party agent has been arrested by security operatives for allegedly attempting to buy votes in the ongoing Osun State governorship election.

According to our correspondent, the agent had attempted to distribute money to voters at the Obada area of Ede in Ede Local Government Area.

The PUNCH reports that the PDP candidate, Ademola Adeleke, is from Ede town. Adeleke is contesting the seat currently occupied by Governor Rauf Aregbesola alongside the All Progressives Congress’ candidate, Isiaka Oyetola; Iyiola Omisore of the Social Democratic Party, Fatai Akinbade of the African Democratic Congress, and Adeoti Moshood of Action Democratic Party.

In an interview after he voted, the 58-year-old said he was optimistic of victory in the poll. – Punch

– Sept. 22, 2018 @ 12:21 GMT |