The Lagos State Government on Saturday announced a total ban on the operations of cart pushers and wheelbarrow operators in the State, saying that their activities were inimical to the environmental cleanliness in the State.
In a statement signed by the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Mr. Tunji Bello, the State Government said that with the flag off of the Cleaner Lagos Initiative (CLI), the continuous activities of cart pushers will pose a threat to the success of the initiative.
Bello said that investigations had also revealed that the cart pushers are responsible for most of the illegal dumping of waste in canals and road medians at night which causes flooding, adding that aside constituting an environmental nuisance, they were also traces of security threats.
“What the State Government has discovered is that these set of people use the night to perpetrate all sorts of dastardly acts. They dump refuse indiscriminately on the median of major roads and highways. They also pose serious security threats because they use those carts to hide arms and ammunitions and hide under the guise of carrying refuse to rob unsuspecting residents”, the SSG said.
He said the State Government has finalised plans to ensure that the CLI would cover every area of the State and ensure that refuse are well packed and collected, urging residents to desist from patronising them or risk prosecution.
“The State Government has declared zero tolerance for the activities of cart pushers and wheel barrow operators. Security agencies in the State have been directed to ensure that those found still operating are arrested and prosecuted according to the State Environmental Laws.”
“The law also applies to residents who patronise cart pushers. It is an offence and the State Government would not hesitate to enforce the law to put a stop to such practice,” Bello said.
If Buhari re-contests, Nigeria will sink –Primate Ayodele
Founder and spiritual leader of INRI Evangelical Spiritual Church, Primate Elijah Ayodele, has warned that the much anticipated second term bid of President Muhammadu Buhari in next year’s general election will not be favourable to the country, especially should he win.
Primate Elijah Ayodele subsequently appealed to him to do away with such an ambition and rather urged Buhari to step down for the Senate President, Bukola Saraki to contest the presidential election under All Progressives Congress (APC).
According to the Primate: “President Muhammadu Buhari’s time is over in 2019. If Buhari re-contests, Nigeria will sink and there will be problems which may even result in bloodshed. In order to avoid such, we have three options: we either operate a regional system of government; we separate, or Buhari steps down for Senate President, Bukola Saraki, for peace and security in the country.
“A lot of things have gone wrong under Buhari in the present administration. If the All Progressives Congress (APC) presents Buhari as its presidential candidate, he will fail. He is no longer Nigeria’s ‘Messiah.’ There is trouble ahead of 2019 if clerics and Nigerians do not seek divine intervention. We need prayers to sustain Nigeria beyond 2019.”
Primate Ayodele made these prophecies during the church’s Annual Yearly Appreciation Week which ended with a big celebration on Valentine’s Day where gift items of various kinds, ranging from food items to cash gifts to start businesses, were shared out to the less privileged in the society – both Christians and Muslims.
He also spoke on the expectations of the recently launched Coalition for Nigeria Movement (CNM), as well as issues affecting the polity, economy, forthcoming elections in Ekiti and Osun States and state police among others.
“Yes, it is true that Nigeria needs state police but the country is not matured yet for such else there will be serious cracks in the system of our government.
“I also believe Chief Olusegun Obasanjo’s coalition force is just going to be an ordinary discussion of the day. This is because Obasanjo is playing his last politics and he has to be very careful with the kind of politics he is trying to play or else people will no longer take him serious. For the Coalition for Nigeria Movement (CNM), it will be tough. I see a kind of amalgamation of some parties coming together.
“There will be trouble in Buhari’s cabinet. Unemployment will be a tough issue for the present administration, despite attempts to improve the situation. The government should also guard against the outbreak of cholera in some states, I see that coming soon. Only if the APC picks the right person, can they win in Ekiti State. APC in Osun State must embrace unity,” he prophesised.
While stating that he had nothing personal against President Buhari, he noted that: “Buhari will take various steps to balance all the accusations against him, but the point is that his government is weak and a ‘cabal’ has held his government to ransom.”
Twenty-four govs endorse Buhari’s re-election
The National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, (APC), Chief John Odigie- Oyegun, has said that the coming of President Muhammadu Buhari liberated the country from an impending economic doom. This came just as Kogi State Governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, yesterday endorsed Buhari for President in 2019, stating that all the 24 APC governors will give him full and unalloyed support to ensure his re-election. Speaking while receiving some defectors into the APC in Lokoja yesterday, Chief Oyegun said: “Today, Nigeria under Buhari no longer depends on oil to survive.
Today, Nigeria under Buhari has taken the lead in agricultural production.
Today, Nigeria under Buhari is operating on a stable economic progression. So let those who are saying the Buhari-led government has failed go back to their holes and keep quiet while we continue in delivering dividends of democracy to Nigerians.”
Chief Oyegun, who led some of the national officers of the party, including the National Secretary, Mala Buni, itemized Buhari’s success in fighting Boko Haram, also commended Governor Bello for his efforts in attracting more members into the party. According to him, the large turnout of people at the rally is an indication that the APC is sure of victory come 2019 elections.
“With what I have seen here today, Kogi State APC will continue to be victorious in 2019 and future elections. I will go back to Abuja and tell them that Kogi APC is very much in charge and ready to maintain its position as the most acceptable party.
“Kogi State will be among the first states that will endorse President Muhammadu Buhari after he has declared for reelection next year. Kogi people, I want to congratulate you for having an energetic governor in Yahaya Bello. This is a governor that is a good organiser at any time the party needs him. He is always restless, energetic and full of ideas. I can feel a new energy in Kogi State,” he said.
The ancient city of Lokoja, the state capital came back to life at the gathering described as “Mother of all Rallies” to usher in thousands of defectors from the opposition of Peoples Democratic party (PDP), to its fold.
The ceremony which attracted several party supporters across the 21 local government areas of the state was held at the main bowl of the Confluence Stadium Lokoja.
Governor Bello said APC is the only viable and strongest party in Kogi State, as PDP is no more on the state’s political map. The governor stressed that all the PDP members that matter have all decamped to the APC, because they have seen the light and realized that APC has a better programme for the people of the state and Nigeria in general.
Meanwhile, the crisis rocking the APC in Kogi has assumed a new dimension as Governor Bello on yesterday announced the constitution of a new state executive to pilot the affairs of the party in the state.
This follows the dissolution of the state executive last Thursday by the North Central Zonal Exco which allegedly found the Hady Ametuo-led executive culpable of the anti-party activities accusations leveled by the governor.
However, in a statement issued on Saturday announcing the constitution of a new state executive council, the Director General Media and Publicity, Kingsley Fanwo, stated that Ahovi Salam Ibrahim is the State Acting Chairman while Abdulrahman Ibrahim, the Acting Deputy Chairman and Mr. Bola Oshe is the State Acting Treasurer.
2019: Unease over spread of PVCs
There are palpable reservations in some parts of the country over the distribution of the number of registered voters in the on-going continuous voter registration (CVR) exercise being carried out by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). Figures released by INEC show that 73,944,312 people have so far registered across the country, with the North-West, North-East and North-Central having 18,505, 984, 9,929,015 and 10,586,965 respectively, an indication that about 39 million have registered for the elections in the North.
Conversely, in the South- West, South-South and South-East, the figures of registered voters are 14,626,800, 11,101,093 and 8,293,093 respectively, totalling about 35 million.
Lagos State alone has over six million registered voters. INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, is, however, optimistic that the number of registered voters would hit 80 million mark before Nigerians go to the polls in February next year to elect their leaders.
Prof. Yakubu said INEC disclosed that out of a total of 68, 833, 476 persons that registered before the 2015 election only 56, 431, 255 collected their Permanent Voter’s Card (PVC).
Also, only a total of 31, 756, 490 registered voters were at the polling stations across the country to cast their votes during the last presidential election. However, the latest figures coupled with the appearance of photographs of some under-age persons who allegedly participated in last weekend’s local government election in Kano State and the constraints being experienced by many prospective electorates to get their PVCs in the South have made many people to allege that the PVC collection is skewed in favour of the North.
The Commission is further accused of conniving with politicians from a particular section of the country to deny eligible voters, registration, as well as sending few and non-functional registration machines to attend to intending voters who besiege registration centres on a daily basis.
The General Overseer of City of Refuge Ministries, Bishop Oscar Ossai, did not mince words when he accused INEC of robbing eligible voters in the southern part of the country of their fundamental right to register and be able to vote in the forthcoming 2019 general elections. Bishop Ossai said: “What we are seeing is that this same government is frustrating people who want to register.
For instance, between Epe and Lekki Phase One, in fact the whole of Lekki, in Lagos, Marwar Primary School is the only registration centre. And if you go there, they say they only register 30 people in a day. So this and other instances show that they want to prevent us from registering in the Southern part of the country.
“I went there to register, there was a large crowd but you could not even see the register, because of the large crowd. So what they do is to make everybody to take a number and come back three days later for their turn. Knowing that we have suddenly woken up and we are willing to let our votes count so they are trying to frustrate us by making our people not to register,” he added. Vice Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party in the South-West, Chief Eddy Olafeso, said if the picture of under-age voters in the Kano election and allegation of favouritism of the North is true, then it means that “INEC has been overtly biased and the whole incident makes a huge joke of President Buhari’s victory in 2015 and portends great danger for the nation in 2019.”
Olafeso, who acknowledged that INEC has commenced investigation into the pictures and allegation, said “it is not only very ridiculous to see under-age people having PVCs and voting, that singular act is a great embarrassment to our democracy.” Deputy National Chairman of the National Rescue Movement (NRM), one of the recently registered parties, Mr. Niyi Dada, not only decried the allegation, but also called on the Kano State Independent Electoral Commission (KNSIEC) to cancel the results of penultimate Saturday’s local government elections because the exercise was fraught with irregularities, including alleged under-age voting.
“NRM believes that a faction of the All Progressives Congress-led government that participated in the election could not have garnered over 2.6 million votes to clinch all the election in the 44 local governments which is a touchstone for future elections,” he said. The main opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), recently told the visiting United Nations (UN) delegations that the party does not have confidence in INEC to conduct free and fair elections in 2019.
PDP National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, told the delegation led by Mr. Serge G. Kubwimana that the 2019 general election would make or mar the country. “We have had our fears since APC came on board, if an election is not in their favour there is a rerun….
There is a great fear whether INEC will be able to conduct free and fair elections. Free and fair elections will guarantee the unity of this country, and we are afraid if INEC will conduct free and fair election,” Secondus stated. And last week, Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State, also alleged plans by the Commission to rig the Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Delta State governorship elections in favour of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The governor also alleged that the mass registration of new political parties was a deliberate plan by INEC to manipulate elections in the three states. But Chief Press Secretary to INEC Chairman, Rotimi Oyekanmi, expressed surprise that people were coming up with such insinuations. “Nobody is tele-guiding INEC on how to register voters. People are free to go to registration centres close to them where they are sure to vote in 2019 and register.
“Since April 2017 when the Commission rolled out the continuous voter registration exercise, we have registered over four million people.
Of course, we appreciate the fact that probably because of the confidence people have in INEC, many more people have turned up to register, and that has created hiccups… but then, we are addressing the challenges as much as we can,” Oyekanmi stated.
He denied the allegation that the Commission was registering more people from one region than others, adding: “This should be a continuous exercise, there is no closing, except, of course, we will close, 60 days to the 2019 general elections because the law says we should produce the voters’ register and distribute to all the registered political parties. After the conclusion of 2019 elections, we will still continue to register more voters.”
Again, INEC assured that it would not engage in any election rigging, telling Governor Wike that if he is entertaining any fear that he would be rigged out, “such fears should not be located in the INEC’s conduct of elections.” INEC Chairman, Prof. Yakubu also disclosed that about eight million PVCs were yet to be collected by their respective owners but said the Commission was making arrangements with the states to ensure they were collected. Some state governors have, however, made presentation of PVCs as condition for payment of workers’ salary.
Also, former Education Minister and Leader of the Red Cap Movement, Dr. Oby Ezekwesile has taken to her twitter handle and media interviews, calling Nigerians of voting age to ensure they obtain their PVCs in order to vote out the current government in 2019. However, a PDP chieftain in Lagos, who pleaded anonymity, said there has been tremendous awareness ahead of the 2019 elections and many Nigerians are clamouring to change the change.
“Many religious leaders like Pastor Enoch Adeboye, Tunde Bakare and Bishop David Oyedepo have been calling on Nigerians to obtain their PVC ahead of the elections. “There has been massive registration of voters in many parts of the country in recent times. We have been motivating our people and hundreds of thousands of Nigerians have joined the clarion call in order to ensure that they go beyond being arm chair critics to being active participants. They know their vote is their power,” he said.
Afenifere Spokesman, Yinka Odumakin, said: “With the great consciousness of 2019 gaining ground now, it is incumbent on all churches and other religious institutions, community leaders and Non-Governmental Organisations to enlighten the people to register en-mass for the next elections. “Already, we are aware of the desperation to register under-age people in some parts of the country, but all eligible ones should register first while deliberate efforts must be taken by INEC and law enforcement agencies to stop ineligible voters.”
Last week, two staff of a local government in Enugu State died in an accident while going home to pick their PVCs, which the council said was a condition for payment of last month salary. Despite assurances of free and fair polls, some politicians still doubt the sincerity of INEC to conduct free and credible elections in 2019. Olafeso said PDP has continued to sensitise the people not only to register but to collect their PVC and come out to vote on election day.
“It is part of the strategic plan of the National Working Committee that powers are devolved to state local government and ward executives. In line with this, they are also mandated to mobilise people to register as party members and also at INEC to collect their PVCs.
“The PVC is the electorate’s power to effect change, not only in 2019, but to also contribute to national electoral process and governance. Leadership of the party at all levels must pay special attention to the on-going registration and mobilise people for it.
“The South-West is of strategic importance not only to our party but also because of the central role it plays in elections. It is a fact of history that it determines the direction of the elections and who wins. So the current figures from INEC are challenging and it means that we must continue to mobilise our people not only to collect their PVC but also come out and vote in the elections,” he said.
On her part, the Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Enugu State, Mrs. Kate Offor, called for the creation of more registration centres in the South-East geopolitical zone of the country for easy registration and collection of Permanent Voters Cards (PVC) by the people.
Mrs. Offor while reacting to the low registration and collection of PVCs in the zone, told Sunday Telegraph in Enugu, at the weekend, that there were few centres in the zone, and even then, they were located far in between. The APC spokesperson said a situation where some people had to travel to such centres constitute a great disincentive to the people to do so.
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