Electoral Act: Ijaw Youths Hail Buhari, Demand Substantive NDDC Board – – The Tide

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The Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) has commended President Muhammadu Buhari for signing the reworked Electoral Act Amendment Bill, 2022, into law.
The council described the presidential assent as laudable and a show of Buhari’s commitment to ensure credible elections in 2023, adding that it is the “finest legacy” his administration would bequeath to the country.
The IYC, in a statement, yesterday, signed by its spokesperson, Ebilade Ekerefe, said the new electoral law would strengthen the nation’s democracy and electioneering process.
He, however, urged the president to demonstrate the same commitment to other areas of governance, particularly issues concerning the Niger Delta.
Ekerefe said the issues include the appointment of a substantive board for the Niger Delta Development Commission Board, publishing of the NDDC forensic audit report, investigation of the commission’s accounts between October, 2021 and February, 2022, and the completion of the East-West Road.
He said, “The decision of President Muhammadu Buhari to sign the Electoral Act Amendment Bill 2022 is commendable and remains the finest legacy his government will leave behind in view of the outcry by Nigerians for our electoral process to be strengthened.
“This has also shown that all hope is not yet lost as the Niger forensic audit report, and probe of the NDDC accounts between October, 2021 and February, 2022.Delta people will continue to demand the immediate setting up of the NDDC substantive board, publishing of the forensic audit report, and probe of the NDDC accounts between October, 2021 and February, 2022.
“Another germane issue that requires president’s intervention is the East-West Road which serves as the economic nexus of the Niger Delta region.”
He called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to leverage the amended electoral law to conduct free, fair, and generally acceptable polls to guarantee constitutional democracy.
The IYC also pointed out that all hands must be on the deck to ensure full implementation of the Electoral Amendment Act, 2022 before, during, and after the general election next year.
“We must ensure that it is not just the transmission of election results alone, but the transmission of accredited results. There should be two transmissions. The first stage of the battle has been won, and we must now prepare for stage two,” it stated.
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Former President, Dr Goodluck Jonathan has said that politics should be a vehicle for development, not a platform for politicians to unleash violence.
He stated this while inaugurating the Nembe Unity Bridge linking Ogbolomabiri and Bassambiri communities in the Nembe Local Government Area of Bayelsa State, last Monday.
Jonathan also inaugurated the Elebele Bridge, which serves as a gateway to the Nembe and Brass local government areas in Bayelsa East Senatorial District.
He commended Bayelsa State Governor, Senator DouyeDiri for completing the Nembe Unity Bridge, and also constructing the Elebele Bridge, stressing that the unity bridge would help cement the peace and unity between Ogbolomabiri and Bassambiri.The former president urged the people of Nembe to learn to resolve their differences amicably, especially during elections rather than play politics of brigandage and violence.
He gave Diri a passmark, saying he had performed exceptionally well in infrastructure development within two years in office.
Jonathan while speaking at Nembe said, “Politics should be a platform to bring development to our people, and not to kill and chase them away from their communities. With the commissioning of this bridge, we pray that that brand of politics would also come to an end.
“The importance of this bridge cannot be overemphasised. From what I have seen, this bridge is expensive, well-built and solid. And I hope it will solidify the unity between the people of the two communities.”
He emphasised that with the construction of the Elebele Bridge, the governor had demonstrated to the multinational oil companies (IOCs) that Niger Delta states were capable of helping themselves.
He said Elebele had been host to Shell for decades but the oil company failed to build a solid bridge for the community.
According to him, the successful construction was proof that it was possible to build a strong bridge instead of the temporary ones that the multinational previously constructed.
He applauded Diri for embarking on the project, which he said,was of economic importance not only to the Ogbia people but also the people of Nembe.
In his remarks, the Beylsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri said the Nembe Bridge had been on the drawing board since the days of Eastern Nigeria but that a former governor, who is now the Minister of State for Petroleum, Chief Timipre Sylva, started some construction work but the project was left till his administration took it over and completed it.
Diri described the bridge as historic, adding that the project was one that would heal wounds and engender peace and unity among the people of Nembe.
The Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure, Hon Moses Teibowei, explained that the Nembe Unity Bridge was started by Sylva in 2009 but was abandoned until Diri awarded it in 2021 and completed it within one year.
He also said that the Elebele Bridge, which collapsed in 2019, was also built within 12 months.
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The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, yesterday, briefed President Muhammadu Buhari on the lingering Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) strike, saying everything was on course to resolve the crisis.
Ngige, in an interview with State House Correspondents, after the meeting, said that as part of the implementation of the 2020 December agreement reached with ASUU, the Federal Government has so far paid over N92billion as earned allowances and revitalisation fees to Federal Government-owned universities across the country.
“Why I said that the 2020 December agreement we had with ASUU is on course in terms of implementation, is that in that agreement, there is a line that says the federal government should pay N40billion for (Earned Academic Allowances (EAA) for ASUU and other unions, that has been paid,” he said.
“N30billion was also budgeted or was to be paid for revitalisation that also was paid late last year. N22.127billion was agreed also in that December agreement, to be paid from the supplementary budget as Earned Allowances for 2021, that money was also paid last year; it was put in the supplementary budget which was passed around June-July and the money was remitted. So, the government has done that.”
He explained that the controversial issue of introducing the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) payment platform as preferred by university lecturers instead of the government’s Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) is being looked at.
“UTAS, which the universities developed has been subjected to test by the body responsible for that, Nigeria Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), which ran a user acceptance test also called integrity and vulnerability test, but in their report, they pointed out to ASUU, the areas of lapses in that platform, which will not make it usable as presently configured. But ASUU has written back to NITDA to say that some of those observations were not correct,” he said.
Ngige said arrangements have now been concluded for the technical teams of NITDA and ASUU to meet and jointly conduct or repeat the test on the UTAS platform, so as to find a solution to the impasse.1
University lecturers in Nigeria have been on a warning strike since February 14, to press home their demands, one of which is for government to accept UTAS as the platform for payment of their salaries but the government prefers to use the IPPIS platform, currently being used for the payment of salaries of all public workers.
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The Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), has said its members would not lift products for depot owners selling Petroleum Motor Spirit (PMS) above official depot price of N148.77.
NUPENG’s Secretary General, Comrade Afolabi Olawale stated this in an interview with newsmen, yesterday, in Lagos.
“One of the lines of action we are going to take is any depot that is not selling at the official rate, our members will not carry their products,” he said.
The union on February 26, issued a 24-hour Ultimatum with effect from midnight, February 27 to marketers to revert to the official rate of N148.77.
The union had accused the marketers of exploiting Nigerians by selling PMS from the depots at prices far above the official rate.
Olawale said: “Depot owners are not the ones directly importing the products and are taking products from NNPC.
“Nobody has given official statements that PMS is no longer under subsidy regime and in that wise, the general public cannot be buying products at N250, N220, N180, from the depot.
“We are asking all these depot owners to stop exploiting the general public and sell at official rate,” he said.
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