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Election postponement national embarrassment, set-back

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The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) receives the news of the postponement of the nationwide elections of Saturday 16th February and March 2, 2019 with rude shock and describes it as a national embarrassment. It first came like fake news that was totally far from the truth thinking that the Independent Electoral Commission(INEC) got enough time to prepare for these elections, got the needed fund released to it early enough and had assured Nigerians that elections would go on as scheduled without any issue.

It is most embarrassing and shameful that a nation as big as Nigeria with many highly qualified professionals to organize elections will be postponing elections in the early morning of that election. It was never this bad for us before.

This unexplainable postponement is reprehensible, condemnable and unacceptable when smaller nations are doing better. With the 2015 election, the whole world is expecting a better electoral process but it seems the INEC is not ready to build on the 2015 foundation. What a pity!
Economically, this shocking postponement has led to the loss of billions of Naira in-terms of movement of election materials nationwide and the closure of our borders, seaports and airports. Many local and international observers have already come and would either be forced to go back and come again next week or stay for one week at extra cost. Electorates who travelled to their home towns to vote have to go back to their places of work now and come back in a week’s time. There is great question on the credibility of the elections now because of doubt on safe-keeping  of these election materials where they were sent to. How are we sure the ballot papers, card readers and other materials will not get into wrong hands for election manipulation?
No excuse is strong and good enough to justify its postponement in the early morning of an election. This development has led us almost loosing confidence in INEC and its chairman. INEC has disappointed Nigerians and the international community. We hope we would not hear of another postponement again after this.
From all indications, INEC unilaterally postponed the elections without any input from other stakeholders such as the leading Presidential candidates, their parties, the National Council of States and others. We recalled that when it happened in 2015 for “security reasons”, the National Council of State was carried along.
How can you justify the ‘logistics issues’ excuse that came when all stakeholders were already in the fields. Although the Presidency has condemned the Commission but we recalled a controversial letter purportedly written by the Attorney General and Minister of Justice to INEC asking the Commission to postpone the election with a view to accommodating Zamfara chapter of the ruling party. Is this postponement not a compliance with that request?
This kind of disappointment can cause voters apathy for so many reasons because it has raised serious question on the credibility and integrity of the Commission. In his address to the nation, the INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu even failed to tender unreserved apology to the nation for failing at the most crucial hour, taking the entire nation for granted! This is unacceptable, to say the least.
We urge all Nigerians to remain prayerful and focused. We believe with the prayers we had already offered, all would work out well for our nation in the name of Jesus. We urge you to remain calm and maintain peace where you are. Do not be discouraged but be determined to decide who presides over the affairs of this nation.

Signed

Barr Samuel Kwankur
Director of Legal and Public Affairs
Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN).
16 February, 2019

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Ayade orders recruitment into Cross River civil service

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Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River has ordered immediate recruitment into the state civil service to fill the vacuum that may occur due to workers’ retirements.

The new Head of Service (HoS), Mr Timothy Akwaji, disclosed this on Wednesday during his maiden meeting with permanent secretaries on Wednesday in Calabar.

Akwaji said the creation of Akwa Ibom from Cross River in 1987 caused a mass exodus of civil servants to the new state, leading to mass recruitment by the state government to fill the attendant vacant positions.

“Most of these workers will be exiting the service, having completed their mandatory 35 years in service and this may create a bureaucratic vacuum if there is no mentoring of those who may be left behind to keep the service running.

“The governor has, therefore, given approval for the recruitment of workers to cushion the effect of the impending mass retirement from the state civil service.” NAN quoted him as saying.

The Head of Service stressed the need for the permanent secretaries to mentor their subordinates, as directors and for other civil servants to look up to them as role models.

He said mentorship in the service has become necessary to enable civil servants discharge their responsibilities effectively.

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Buhari assures Nigerians price of rice, other food Items to crash soons

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President Muhammadu Buhari has assured Nigerians that prices of food items, especially rice will soon come down.

The president, who gave the assurance on Tuesday, during the official unveiling of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)/Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) Rice Paddy Pyramids in Abuja, urged Nigerians to exercise some patience, saying the growing food production in the country, especially expansion in rice farming would eventually bring down prices of food, making it more affordable for all.

This was just as the Governor of the CBN, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, revealed that following the successes recorded in the implementation of the CBN-led Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP), the country had been able to significantly reduce rice importation from Thailand by over 99.83 per cent within the past seven years.

But reacting to yesterday’s unveiling, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Tuesday mocked the APC and its governments, describing it as another shameless media stunt to again beguile Nigerians ahead of 2023 elections.

According to the leading opposition political party, the unveiling of bogus rice pyramids in Abuja, was nothing but, “pyramids of lies.”

However, Buhari’s assurance to Nigerians on cheaper food items came on a day he personally presented awards to Emefiele and five other state governors for their contributions to the development of agriculture in the country.

The state chief executives included Governors of Ekiti, Mr. Kayode Fayemi; Kebbi, Alhaji Atiku Bagudu; Cross River, Prof. Ben Ayade; Ebonyi, Mr. David Umahi, and Jigawa, Alhaji Abubakar Badaru.

The president said: “Today rice production in Nigeria has increased to over 7.5 million metric tons annually. Prior to the introduction of APB, the average production in Nigeria between 1999 to 2015 was less than four metric tons annually.

“I am aware that the bags of paddy will be moving straight from here to rice milling plants across Nigeria, which lead to the release of processed rice to the markets by the rice millers. The measure will aid our efforts at reducing the price of rice in Nigeria.

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Mompha released on N200m bail

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Justice Mojisola Dada of the Ikeja Special Offences Court has granted Instagram celebrity, Ismaila Mustapha, popularly known as Mompha, bail of N200 million.

Mompha was rearrested last week Monday by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and was first re-arraigned in court last Wednesday, January 14.

While granting his bail application today January 18, the court requested he provides two sureties, one of which must own a property valued at N100 million within its jurisdiction.

Mompha and his company, Ismalob Global Investment Limited, are standing trial on an amended 22-count charge bordering on cyber fraud and money laundering to the tune of N32.9bn brought against him by the EFCC.

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