The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says it has developed a timetable of activities with timelines for the re-run and supplementary elections in Imo scheduled for Jan. 25.
Prof. Francis Ezeonu, the state Resident Electoral Commissioner, made this known at a meeting of the commission with stakeholders in Owerri.
He said that an Appeal Court sitting in Owerri had ordered a re-run election for the Okigwe/Onuimo/Isiala Mbano Federal Constituency as well as supplementary elections in 18 polling units of Orlu/Orsu/Oru East Federal Constituency and 12 polling units of Njaba state constituencies.
He said that all the polling units designed for supplementary elections in Orlu/Orsu/Oru East Federal constituency were in Orlu Local Government area, adding that the commission had scheduled Saturday, Jan.25, for the re-run and supplementary elections.
Ezeonu said that the commission would retain all the arrangements made during the general elections as it was concluding arrangements for the election as scheduled.
“We will also activate and use all the super Residential Area Centers (RAC) and RACs in Okigwe, Onuimo and Isiala Mbano LGAs, respectively, for camping on eve of the election on Jan. 24 for easy deployment of materials to the polling units on election day,” he said.
He said that the materials would be deployed in both Orlu and Njaba LGA directly from the INEC LGA offices, saying that the polling units where supplementary elections would hold were within reach.
The REC, therefore, appealed to stakeholders and communities where the centres are located to help maintain the sanctity and security of the centres as well as ensure a free and flawless elections.
According to him, “we will be fair and transparent in all we do.”
Ezeonu also reminded them about the rules guiding elections and election activities with restriction of movement in all the constituencies where elections would be held on that day.
He said that the exercise would be restricted to only political parties that participated in the earlier elections.
Mr Victor Nwokoabia, the Head of Department, Election and Party Monitoring Department, INEC in Owerri, urged the chairmen of political parties to submit list of their polling agents, one for each party, on or before Jan. 18.
He advised politicians and political parties not to bring in observers except those that would be cleared from the INEC headquarters.
Mr Ben Duru, the State Chairman of Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC), said that most of the political parties submitted the list of their party agents late in the last election and urged them to turn a new leaf.
Duru, who expressed confidence on the ability of INEC to conduct a free, fair and credible election, urged the security agents to release more staff for the election as well as work amicably with party agents.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the affected R/As and polling units(P/Us) for Orlu/Orsu/Oru East Federal Constituency Supplementary Election are Ohafor/Okporo/Umutanze, Ohaeke Okporo, Umuna, Ihitte Owerre, Amaifeke and Eziachi/Amaike, aside others.
The affected R/As and P/Us for the supplementary election in Njaba State Constituency are Atta1, Atta 111, Nkume, Okwudor, Umuaka 1, Umuaka 11 and Umuaka 111.
NAN also reports that some of the stakeholders comprising town union presidents, chairmen of political parties, traditional rulers, heads of security agencies, the media and leaders of community-based organisations who attended the meeting commended INEC for doing its best in the last election.
Mr Chinedu Ukadike of the Peoples Party of Nigeria commended both the INEC and security agents for what he termed a work well done in the last election.
He urged the security agents to respect other stakeholders with identity cards during the elections.
Mr Anthony Ohaneku, the State Chairman of Action Alliance, demanded that party agents be allowed to make inputs before election results would be announced and for a credible election and fair treatment to all political parties.
Igbo Leadership Now In The Hands Of Orji Kalu And Myself — Okorocha
The Senator representing Imo West, Senator Rochas Okorocha, says that leadership of the Igbo nation has fallen on the shoulders of Senate Chief Whip, Sen. Orji Uzor Kalu and himself.
He said that this followed the demise of previous leaders like Chukwuemeka Ojukwu and inactivity of others like Senator Arthur Nzeribe and Jim Nwobodo.
Okorocha, who is a former Imo State Governor and current Chairman of Senate Committee on Culture and Tourism, disclosed this in a Thursday statement.
The statement itself followed a meeting with Kalu at the Abuja home of First Vice National Chairman of All Progressives Congress (APC) South East, Dr Julius Anyim Nyerere.
Okorocha said, “Dim Chukwuemeka Ojukwu is late, politicians like Jim Nwobodo, Arthur Nzeribe and many others are no longer active as they use to be. Many other great leaders are no more and that vacuum must be filled up. So the responsibilities have fallen on other people’s shoulders, and that shoulder is that of Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu and myself. So it is important that we gather as brothers and discuss issues that will help the entire Igbo people. Because if a child knows what killed his father, he wouldn’t allow himself to die same way.
“I am using this opportunity to tell my brother, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu that the dance we are dancing now is not for ourselves but to entertain the public and know if they will be happy. If I dance for you to give me money, that means something is wrong. So the dance now is not for us but to see if there will be a better future for Igbo people. We have decided to work together. We are learning on the job on how to work together. We have to make a shift from the normalcy.
“The political ideology inherited from our predecessors and political forefathers are not really the best. We were taught to maintain political enemies for the rest of your life. That is why the likes of Jim Nwobodo and Alex Ekwueme never agreed until death, Mbakwe and Arthur Nzeribe never agreed until death and so we must carve out a niche so we don’t transfer this to subsequent generation of “Ndigbo”, that is why people like Orji Uzor Kalu and myself must profess love amongst ourselves and not only within us but within our enclave.
“We should never allow division among ourselves. We must distinguish ourselves in character and at the same time know when to extend our hands of fellowship to our brothers who are not on the same political stand with us. This will help us to know when political war will end and when brotherhood will start. Because in life you need to know when to start and when to stop. We need to come together to make sure that Igbo people are no longer used as political spare tyres. I saw a protest yesterday in Abuja and Lagos and that protest is a pointer. We need to dramatize our love and peace so that subsequent generations can key in to it.”
In a reaction, Kalu said, “I am happy because Owelle (Okorocha) has spoken so well. I want peace to return to APC in the Southeast. I am the highest politically-elected officeholder in the Southeast by virtue of my office as the Chief Whip.
“In the Senate, I am ranked number four and I have never taken it for granted. The only problem I am facing is resolving the issue between the Governor of Imo State (Hope Uzodinma) and the former Governor (Rochas Okorocha); for them to be on the same page. I will be fulfilled politically any day both of them decide to work together. My dream is to have a roundtable discussion with Governor Uzodinma, yourself (Okorocha), Senator Ken Nnamani, Hon Minister Ogbonnaya Onu, Senator Chris Ngige and Minister Geoffrey Onyeama and others. Once we achieve that, the sky will be our starting point. If we are unable to resolve the political issues in Imo State it will be difficult for us to move forward.”
He said his concern was not limited to the South-East but for the whole Nigeria to live in unity and prosperity.
“I want to see a larger Nigeria where every citizen will be comfortable, where Igbos will be reintegrated into the socio-economic and political fabric of our nation, where our people will be more respected.
“There are two basic factors in democracy; the software and the hardware of democracy, but people are always focused on the hardware and pay less attention to the software, the software talks about strict compliance to the rule of law governing the society.
“People think democracy is only about building infrastructure but it is also about managing people I am talking about participatory democracy, where we create room for dialogue,” Kalu said.
The former Abia state governor advised governors and other stakeholders in the South-East to learn to resolve their differences amicably in private quarters instead of watching their dirty linens in public.
Drama In Edo Assembly As New Speaker Emerges
There was drama on Thursday at the Edo Assembly complex with forces for and against Governor Godwin Obaseki reeling out different narratives.
There was indication that trouble was brewing in the morning when Police operatives stormed the complex.
Their mission was unknown but the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) alleged the police were there to provide security for those out to effect a regime change in the Assembly.
Obaseki and his deputy Phillip Shuaibu moved promptly to the complex with PDP supporters also mobilised.
Obaseki and the Speaker loyal to him Frank Okiye later addressed PDP supporters at the complex.
They alleged there were plans by All Progressives Congress (APC) forces to take over the complex and impeach Okiye.
Obaseki vowed he would do anything within his powers to forestall forceful takeover of the complex.
It was alleged that 14 lawmakers opposed to the Governor had been seen around the complex reportedly to move against Okiye.
Three other lawmakers earlier with Obaseki later joined forces with them.
To prevent this, sources said the Governor allegedly ordered the heaping of sand at the front of the Assembly complex, claiming it was undergoing immediate renovation.
Several artisans were also seen removing the roof of the complex around 3pm.
But anti-Obaseki lawmakers later met at an undisclosed venue where they impeached Okiye and his Deputy, Roland Asoro.
They elected Victor Edoror of Esan Central constituency as new Speaker at an emergency plenary session attended by 17 of the 24-member Assembly
Representative of Akoko Edo constituency II, Emmanuel Agbaje, was elected as Deputy Speaker while the 14 members-elect were also inaugurated at the sitting in Benin.
Edoror assured the 7th Assembly would focus on its legislative duties and never pursue removal of any member of the executives.
He called for unity while declaring that there was no victor, no vanquished.
Edoror also directed security chiefs to eject vandals that invaded the Assembly complex for rancor-free plenary sessions from Friday.
The 17 lawmakers are backing APC governorship candidate for the September 19 poll, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu while seven are with Obaseki.
Fani-Kayode Reacts As US Alerts Nigeria Of Al-Qaeda Infiltration
Femi Fani-Kayode, a former Minister of Aviation, has reacted to claims by the United States
that the Al-Qaeda terrorist group has started penetrating Nigeria through the north-western region.
It was reported that the US on Wednesday alerted the Nigerian authorities that the Al-Qaeda terrorist group has started penetrating the country.
The Commander of the U.S. Special Operations Command, Africa, Dagvin Anderson, disclosed this during a press briefing.
According to him, the dreaded terrorist group is also expanding to other parts of West Africa.
He was quoted as saying, “We have engaged with Nigeria and continue to engage with them in intel sharing and in understanding what these violent extremists are doing. And that has been absolutely critical to their engagements in Borno State and into an emerging area of North-West Nigeria that we’re seeing al-Qaida starting to make some inroads in.”
Reacting, Fani-Kayode described the security alert as ‘alarming.’
He stated that if the claims were true, the south will soon experience barbarity and savagery
He said, “The claim by the U.S. that Al Qaeda & ISIS are planning to infiltrate the south is alarming.
“If true, the south will soon experience the barbarity & savagery that the north has been subjected to by these two terrorist organisations over the years. We must UNITE to save Nigeria.”
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