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Page 17 Three INEC commissioners, 11 RECs for Kogi election From Itodo Daniel Sule, Lokoja The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) yesterday said it will…

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Three INEC commissioners, 11 RECs for Kogi election

From Itodo Daniel Sule, Lokoja

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) yesterday said it will deploy three of its national commissioners and 11 Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) to monitor the conduct of the November 21 election in Kogi.

INEC chairman, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, who disclosed this in Lokoja at a governorship election stakeholders’ forum, said the deployment was in line with the commission’s resolve to ensure free, fair and credible election in the state.

He said the three national commissioners will be saddled with the duty of monitoring the election in the three senatorial districts of the state namely, Kogi East, West and Central.

He said the commission attaches much importance to the conduct of the Kogi election, especially being the first under his watch, stressing that all necessary arrangements have been put in place to ensure a free, fair and credible poll.

Prof Yakubu noted that the Jega-led INEC had raised the bar of the electoral process in the country and that Nigerians expect nothing short of that.

He said all the non-sensitive materials for the election had been deployed across the state while the sensitive materials are already in safe custody at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in the state, and will be deployed on the eve of election in the presence of all stakeholders.

While assuring of INEC’s neutrality as an electoral umpire in the conduct of the forthcoming election, Prof Mahmood said: “Only people of Kogi can choose who their governor will be and nobody else. Our duty is to deliver free, fair and credible election.”

He restated the commission’s earlier stand on the use of smart card readers and permanent voter cards for the Kogi election, stressing that those without PVCs will not be allowed to vote. He called on prospective voters who are yet to collect their PVCs to do so in order not to be disenfranchised.

The forum had in attendance, the Inspector General of Police, Solomon Arase, all the five INEC National Commissioners, the AIG in charge of Zone 8, representatives of political parties and their candidates, civil society organisations and representatives of the various security and paramilitary agencies in the state.

In a related development, the Inspector General of Police has urged Kogi electorate to come out en masse and exercise their voting rights on November 21 without fear of molestation.

He said the police high command has deployed adequate personnel for effective security before, during and after the election.

The IGP said 21 units of mobile policemen have been deployed to Kogi to ensure security in each of the 21 local government areas of the state in collaboration with the 6,000 policemen already on ground in the state.

He warned those allegedly sewing police uniforms as part of efforts to commit electoral malpractice to steer clear.

Ayade to announce 700 political appointees

From Eyo Charles, Calabar

Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River State will announce the names of political appointees next week, according to a statement released by his chief press secretary, Mr Christian Ita.

Reaffirming his commitment to complete all political appointments before the end of November, Ita said: “Once all appointments have been made, Governor Ayade would have brought additional 700 people into the state’s payroll.”

The statement further explained that the intention of bringing so many people into government was borne out of the governor’s desire to expand government as a way of reducing poverty, increasing democratic participation and improving the value of service delivery.

Wakili, Marafa in war of words over Senate c’ttees

By Ismail Mudashir

Senator Kabiru Ibrahim Marafa (APC, Zamfara Central) and Senator Mallam Ali Wakili (APC, Bauchi South), yesterday exchanged hot words over the composition of the Senate Standing and Special committees.

Trouble started when Sen Wakili trailed Sen Marafa to the press centre where latter visited to address newsmen after the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, ruled him out of order.

While on the floor of the Senate, Marafa had expressed reservations on the section of the Senate legislative agenda that talked about the standing committees.

At the press centre, Wakili told Marafa: “You have come here to disgrace the Senate again. Is this what you want to do for the next four years?

And Marafa retorted “I will, I will…because I am not working for you.”

Wakili fired back saying, “You cannot sit down there and fight the Senate.”

On his part, Marafa said, “I am representing Nigeria and representing my people. And let me tell you, even the nonsense thing they are saying about suspension, nobody can suspend a senator.”

Most reporters at the press centre were visibly shaken as Wakili continued: “You are playing to the gallery. You are playing your script. Who has ever spoken about your suspension?”

The verbal exchange between the two senators continued and at the end of it, the press conference could not hold.

Wakili is said to be a staunch supporter of the Senate president while Marafa is said to be close to Sen Ahmad, the preferred candidate of the APC for the Senate leadership.

Only rigging can stop Audu’s victory -APC chieftain

By Muideen Olaniyi

A chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief Sam Nkire, has said that only ‘a well planned rigging’ can stop Prince Abubakar Audu from winning Saturday’s governorship election in Kogi State.

Chief Nkire, who was in Lokoja on Monday, said with Prince Audu’s popularity rating today in the state, there was no way the APC candidate would not record a landslide victory over PDP’s Idris Wada.

The member of the APC Board of Trustees (BoT) said the level of poverty and infrastructural decay seen in Kogi State was unparalleled and only typical of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governed states, adding that he could not see the people of Kogi voting for a party and government which had raped them.

He appealed to the Kogi State Police Commissioner and the Resident Electoral Commissioner to ensure that no party is favoured, and that rigging and thuggery are not allowed to take place in the election.

Chief Nkire, therefore, called on the people of Kogi not to only come out and vote for the APC but to wait and ensure that their votes counted.

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