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,”.
Group Backs Call For EFCC, ICPC’s Probe Of Kogi Gov
A socio-political group in Kogi State under the auspices of Progressives Mandate Movement (PMM) has expressed support for the call by the Anti-Corruption Network (ACN) to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC), for the investigation of allegations of financial mismanagement and corruption against Kogi State governor, Yahaya Bello.
It would be recalled that a former Kogi West Senator, Dino Melaye, had earlier in the week on behalf of the ACN petitioned the EFCC, ICPC, Transparency International, US Ambassador to Nigeria and the British High Commissioner to Nigeria over “financial recklessness, corruption, money laundering and fraudulent application of Kogi State’s resources” by Governor Bello and his cronies.
The group, however, alleged that Governor Bello had received over of N300 billion from the Federation Account in the last five years without reasonable or tangible achievement to show for it.
In a statement issued by the PMM chairman, Comrade Musa Enejo Stephens, in Lokoja on Thursday, the group urged the EFCC to expedite action on the investigation into the alleged financial management in Kogi State government under Governor Bello administration even as he said Bello has committed financial crimes against the people of the State.
According to him, “Yahaya Bello’s government has blindfolded the people of the State with series of lies since all this while on the allocation accrued to the State from Federation Account and as well mismanaged the huge resources accrued to the State which is against the spirit of openness, fairness, justice and accountability promised the people by All Progressives Congress APC led administration of President Muhammadu Buhari government.
“Governor Bello has plunged Kogi State into debt regime which the State may not recover from, in the next 10 years and Mr. Governor failed to give tangible explanations on how funds from federation account like; State allocation, Local Government, Allocation, Paris Refund, Bailouts Funds and Internally Generated Revenue accrued to the State and other,” he added.
Stephens, therefore, charged the newly appointed EFCC chairman, Abdulrasheed Bawa, to prove himself to Nigerians by commencing and expediting action by prosecuting those involved in the crimes detailed by the ACN petition.
He threatened that if the anti-graft agencies failed in their duty to act and do justice on behalf of Kogi people, the group will have no other option than to mobilise the people from the 21 local government areas of the State to the headquarters of the commission in Abuja and stage a protest.
He said Kogi State is now the new ATM for political jobbers of all sorts, saying all manner of characters troop to the state in number to declare support for governor Bello’s delusional ambition to become president in 2023.
He pointed out that presently, the state meagre resources were now being spent on Governor Bello’s presidential ambition on media advertorial including print media, electronics, outdoor billboards across the country even though it’s illegal to do such now as it contravenes the Electoral Act.
The PMM chairman commended the Minister of FCT Abuja and Kano State governor for ordering the removal of such billboards in their domains.
Group Berates Ayeni Over Calumny Campaign Against Okunbo
A group, National Youth Alliance of Nigeria (NYAN), has berated businessman, Dr. Olatunde Ayeni, over what it called his “campaign of calumny” against the chairman of Ocean Marine Solutions Limited (OMS), Capt. Idahosa Wells Okunbo.
NYAN said Ayeni, a former director and shareholder of OMS, contacted the group for a hatchet job against the person and business interests of Capt. Okunbo, especially the OMS.
National President of NYAN, Lucky Igbamodi, told journalists at a press conference that the group was hired to launch scathing campaigns against Capt. Okunbo in order to malign him through fictitious petitions and peddling of outright falsehoods.
Igbamodi said NYAN subsequently carried out its own investigation and found out that all allegations against Capt. Okunbo and OMS were untrue as they were fabricated for sinister motives by Ayeni.
“Making our stand public becomes necessary now lest the unsuspecting members of the public be misled about the real issues. Dr. Olatunde Ayeni mistook our group for agents of destruction for hire and we listened to him and carried our own investigations to ascertain the truth.
“We found out several things which point to a documented fact and established truth – that Dr. Olatunde Ayeni has since 2018 left the Board of OMS and as well sold his shares to Capt. Idahosa Wells Okunbo but only returns to launch a campaign of calumny against the latter just because Capt. Okunbo has a health challenge.
“Nigerians and non-governmental organisations should be wary of Dr. Olatunde Ayeni’s antics, which are all in bad faith and unbecoming of a businessman he claims to be,” Igbamodi added.
While wishing Capt. Okunbo quick recovery, the group admonished the Board of OMS to continue to support Okunbo and always stand by the truth as it has demonstrated so far.
Apologise To Abia Gov Or Face Recall, Kogi West Youths Tell Adeyemi
A group called Concerned Kogi West Youths has called on the Senator representing Kogi West, Smart Adeyemi, to immediately apologise to Abia State governor, Victor Ikpeazu, over his uncomplimentary comment on the latter or face recall from the Senate.
A statement issued by the group and signed Mr Michael Oluwaseun Bolorunduro on Monday said Senator Adeyemi must apologise to the Abia governor and the people of Abia State within seven days or be ready for the consequence.
The youths, however, apologised on behalf of the Kogi West people to Governor Ikpeazu for the “behaviour” of Senator Adeyemi on the floor of the Senate during a debate on the Safe School Initiative agaisnt the backdrop of incessant attacks on schools by bandits in the North last week.
“We the concerned Kogi West Youth are writing to apologise for the behaviour of the Senator representing Kogi West Senatorial District, Senator Smart Adeyemi, recently on the floor of the Hallowed Chamber.
“It took us this long to react or respond to his ungentlemanly attitude because the character trait that he displayed is alien to our culture in Kogi West. We tried to know reasons for such reactions and alas, we couldn’t find any justifiable and sensible reason for such.
“We, too, were personally shocked and offended by his actions and utterances which were a direct contravention of the values of dignity and good mannerism that we teach in our locality.
“We all know that emotions can get heated, but it does not excuse the language and behavior of our representative,” the group said.
They added that they as “wise constituents” have decided “to right the wrong of the malady and public show of shame as displayed by Senator Smart Adeyemi” to apologise and as well demand apology from Adeyemi.
“It is on this note that we demand that Senator Smart Adeyemi within seven days apologise at the same Hallowed Chamber of the Senate for his uncontrollable utterances against the governor and people of Abia State or face recal,” Bolorunduro declared.
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