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Senate to Pass 2020 Budget Before Xmas

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The Senate President Ahmad Lawan on Friday in Katsina assured Nigerians that the 2020 national budget will be passed before this year’s Christmas

Lawan who made the disclosure in an interview with newsmen shortly after visiting Katsina State governor, Aminu Bello Masari, at Government House, said the National Assembly is expecting the budget from the executive by September and hoped to deliberate and pass it within two months.

He said: “The process would return Nigeria to the annual budget of between January and December and guarantee fiscal discipline.”

He assured that the Ninth Assembly would also pass the Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB, to ensure the oil and Gas sector are given the desired reform.

Alhaji Lawan further expressed the resolve of the two wings of the National Assembly to work harmoniously for the rapid reformation of education, agriculture and other sub-sectors of the economy.

He was accompanied by some members of the leadership of the Senate as well as senators representing Katsina South, Mallam Bello Mandiya, and that of Katsina North, Senator Ahmad Babba Kaita.

The Senate President and his delegation had earlier paid Salah homage to President Buhari in Daura.

The delegation later joined Governor Masari, his deputy and Secretary to the Government of Katsina State, Dr Mustapha Muhammad Inuwa, for Jumma’at prayer at Modoji Mosque.

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Edo Poll: We Must Be Neutral At All Times, INEC Tells Electoral Officials

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Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, has rallied officials of the commission to remain steadfast to its ideals in conducting the Edo governorship election.

“Nigerians and the international community expect so much from us. They are watching. It is important that we all remain above board in the performance of our respective duties,” Professor Yakubu said in a message to the staff of the commission on the eve of the election.

“We must ensure that no political party or candidate is accorded any advantage over the other. We must be neutral at all times and stick strictly to our Code of Conduct and Oath of Neutrality to which we have all subscribed.”

By playing their parts and delivering a free, fair, and credible election, the INEC boss believes the commission would have helped to better the country.

“For, at the end of the day, we would have all contributed to the sustenance of democracy and a strong electoral process that all Nigerians can trust,” he said.

Professor Yakubu, who said all is set for the much-anticipated poll, promised his colleagues and other officials of the commission that their welfare and condition of service will be given priority during the election.

He is also confident that they will rise to the occasion.

“I have no doubt that our staff members will rise to the occasion. We have done it several times before and we can do it again,” he said.

“The Commission deeply appreciates the never-ending sacrifices made by our staff at all times, often beyond the call of duty, to ensure that we carry out our mandate. The management will continue to improve the welfare and conditions of service of staff within the available resources.”

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The INEC National Commissioner for Voter Education and Publicity, Mr Festus Okoye, has said that as long as a registered voter comes to the Polling Unit before 2:30 pm they will be allowed to vote regardless of how long the process takes.

Okoye said this statement on Friday while explaining what steps the umpire has put in place to ensure a smooth run for the Edo governorship election which is set to hold Saturday.

“No registered voter who comes to the Polling Unit Tomorrow will be disenfranchised,” the INEC boss said.

This is the first major election organised by the Independent National Electoral Commission in the COVID-19 era and it is also the first time that a peace accord is being signed ahead of a governorship election.

“We are looking forward to tomorrow with cautious optimism,” Okoye said, adding: “we are confident that our message relating to voting in safety has permeated the nooks and crannies of Edo State.

According to him, the umpire has created sufficient awareness for the COVID-19 guidelines in the weeks leading up the election and anyone who does otherwise, will not be allowed to participate.

“We are confident that so many of the voters are already aware of the fact that if they come to the Polling Unit without a face mask or covering, they will not be allowed to vote.

“We have emphasized this over and over. “The first thing our voters are going to do is to apply the infrared thermometers that have been supplied to every Polling Unit on election day. Every voter will undergo that particular procedure of the use of infrared thermometers to check people’s temperature,” he said.

The exercise is expected to start for 8:30 am and according to Okoye, enough time will be given to allow everyone who arrives at the Polling Unit before 2:30 pm to vote.
“Polling will start at 8:30 in the morning. Why we have said this, is to enable our officials prepare well.

“Prior to this particular period, we didn’t have to pack hand sanitizers, methylated spirits and we didn’t have to pack facemasks for our officials but now we are going to be doing this and giving them some level of refresher course.

“Any voter who is on the outer queue by 2:30 pm will be allowed to vote even if the voting takes up to 5:00 pm but any voter who comes to the polling unit after 2:30 pm will not be allowed into the queue but those who are already there will be allowed to vote even if the voting takes up to 6:00 pm,”.

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Edo Elections: PDP Protests Siege on Governors By Security Agents

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The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) protests the clampdown on its governors by security agents in Benin City, Edo state capital, ahead of Saturday’s governorship election.

The national leadership of the party, in a press conference addressed by the PDP National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, alerted the nation and the international community of the security siege on PDP governors in their lodging in Benin City.

The party expressed shock that security agents were detailed to surround the lodging of our governors to harass and intimidate them, whereas APC governors, including the governor of Kano state, Abdullahi Ganduje, his Imo state counterpart, Hope Uzodimma as well as the Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, are left free in the comfort of the residence of the sacked national chairman of the APC, Adams Oshiomhole in GRA, Benin City.

Our party considers this siege as provocative and completely unacceptable as there cannot be two sets of laws for the citizens of our nation. In as much as the APC governors are given the liberty to stay in Benin City, our governors must not be harassed or stampeded to leave the state.

At any rate, we are confident that our governors will not allow themselves to be stampeded.

The PDP calls on all stakeholders in the Edo governorship election, particularly the security agencies, to work towards a peaceful, credible, transparent, free and fair election on Saturday.

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