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ECOWAS Leaders Adopt Jonathan’s Recommendations on Way Forward in Mali




 Leaders of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) have adopted the recommendations of its mediator in Mali and Nigeria’s former President, Dr Goodluck Jonathan, concerning the lifting of economic sanctions on the country.

in a document obtained by the News mem, in Abuja, Jonathan’s six-point recommendations was adopted after his presentation to ECOWAS leaders at the 61st Ordinary Summit in Accra Ghana on Monday.

Jonathan’s recommendations were expected to pave the way for the implementation of a new 24 month transition period and the final resolution of Mali’s protracted sociopolitical crisis.

Jonathan had in a briefing last weekend recommended to the authority of Heads of State and Government to lift the economic and financial sanctions imposed on Mali.

This came after Mali’s military rulers proposed a 24-month transition to democracy to terminate in March 2024 and enacted a new law for its implementation.

In adopting the mediator’s six-point recommendations on the way forward in Mali the ECOWAS leaders in the communique issued in Accra after the 61st Ordinary Summit pronounced that the sanctions would be lifted immediately.

The outgoing ECOWAS Commission President Jean Claude Kassi Brou told a news conference in Accra that following the directive for the lifting of the sanctions, borders with Mali would be reopened and regional diplomats would return to Bamako.

Brou, however, stated that the heads of state decided to maintain individual sanctions, which targeted members of the ruling junta and the transitional council as well as the suspension of Mali from ECOWAS institutions, until the return to constitutional rule.

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According to Brou, Malian authorities have taken steps in passing the electoral accord and in setting up a monitoring mechanism for transition.

He said that the authorities had also taken steps to prepare a new constitution for the country.

Jonathan who was appointment in 2020 as mediator in Mali has made frequent trips to Bamako to engage the military authorities and encourage them to initiate and successfully complete a programme of transition to democratic rule.

Just before the summit Jonathan visited the country to hold further consultations with the authorities and assess the measures already taken and their commitment to resolutely advance the process of returning the country to constitutional rule.

Some of the mediator’s six recommendations which were adopted by the leaders include recognising the steps taken by Mali towards the restoration of constitutional rule and lifting the financial and economic sanctions reimposed in January 2022.

Others include working with the international community and Mali’s development partners to extend technical, material and financial support necessary for the successful completion of the electoral process as well as welcome the steps

Johnathan, speaking at the ECOWAS 61ST ordinary summit of the authority of heads of state and government Accra, GHANA on Monday, recalled that after ECOWAS Extraordinary Summit held on 4 June, said there were clearly reflective of Mali’s commitment to decisively move forward the process of returning the country to constitutional rule with the support of ECOWAS and other partners.

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Jonathan, who said that he had remained in close contact with the ECOWAS-mandated Transition Local Follow-up Committee, said that the Mali authorities briefed him on the steps they had taken since the Summit to pave the way for the organization of elections.

This according to him followed the proposal and plea that the Transition would be brought to an end by March 2024, at the latest.

“Subsequent to these consultations, additional measures were taken that consolidated the progress made.

“In this respect, I would like to highlight the adoption of the draft electoral law by the National Transitional Council (CNT) on June 17 and its promulgation on 24 June.

“It establishes the Independent Authority for the Management of Elections (AIGE), whose membership will also include representatives of political parties and civil society.

“The process for the appointment of members and operationalization of its structures at national and local levels is expected to be completed by early August.”

Jonathan disclosed that the electoral law, which is a central piece of legislation for holding elections, was widely welcomed by both the political class and the signatory movements to the 2015 Peace and Reconciliation Agreement.

“This is significant given the level of polarization that has characterized Mali’s political landscape in recent months,” Jonathan said.

He added that further legal work was planned, including on the country’s administrative reorganization, the political parties’ charter, and on equal access to the media and on the redistribution of the seats at the National Assembly.

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Jonathan said that throughout the discussions, both the Transition President and the Ministers emphasized their commitment to ensure full return to constitutional rule by March 2024.

“They also expressed their expectation that, once an agreement is reached with ECOWAS, the sanctions imposed on Jan. 9, 2022 will be lifted,” Jonathan said.

He, therefore, recommended that the Summit: welcome the steps taken by Mali towards the restoration of constitutional rule and urge the Transition authorities to stay the course, keeping in mind that the Transition shall in no way extend beyond March 2024;

He also recommended the Summit agree with the proposed robust monitoring mechanism as supplemented by regular visits of the Mediator and the reactivation of the Transition Monitoring and Support Group;

“Consider lifting the financial and economic sanctions imposed on 9 January 2022, while the subsequent lifting of Mali’s suspension from ECOWAS and of the individual sanctions would be contingent upon further progress against the electoral chronogram;

“Urge the Malian authorities, building on initial steps taken, to promote consensus and inclusivity throughout the electoral and reform process and create conditions conducive to credible and transparent elections;

“Call on all of Mali’s Development Partners to extend the technical, material and financial support necessary for the successful completion of the electoral process, and request African countries from within and outside the region to contribute to the funding of the electoral process in the spirit of African solidarity;” among others(NAN)


PDP Congratulates IBB at 81




The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has congratulated former Military President, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida, on his 81st birthday.

The party, in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr Debo Ologunagba, in Abuja on Wednesday, described Babangida as a courageous leader.

It also described him as a statesman and nationalist, who remained exceptionally loyal and committed to national unity, stability and economic development.

“He is an undiminished quintessence of development-oriented leadership, whose government laid solid foundation for infrastructural and policy development in key sectors of our economy.

“He remains a Pan-Nigerian leader and the PDP recognises and deeply appreciates his continuing role towards the growth and stability of our great Party and the nation at large, even in his retirement,” it read.

Ologunagba said the PDP celebrated Babangida on the auspicious occasion, and prayed to God to bless him with more years in good health.

He said that this would enable the nation to continue to benefit from his wealth of experience and wise counsel.

The spokesman said this was also important in the party’s mission to rescue, redirect and rebuild the nation..(NAN)

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Lagos Govt to Create Fit-for-purpose Education Model – Commissioner




The Lagos State Commissioner for Education, Mrs Folasade Adefisayo, says the government is creating a fit-for-purpose education model for learners in the state.

Adefisayo said this on Wednesday in Ikeja, during a news briefing on 2022 Lagos State Education Summit.

She said that Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s administration had shown efforts and implemented various initiatives across the education sector to make available high-quality education accessible to all.

According to her, these strides can be scaled up with re-energised synergy between all stakeholders in the education sector.

She said that the summit was part of the strategies to harness resources as well as the best brains from across the world and deliver the desired quality education to learners.

The commissioner said that the summit, slated for Aug. 30 and Aug. 31, would explore ways to ensure sustainability in quality education in the state.

The theme of the summit is, ‘Creating a Sustainable Fit-For-Purpose Education Model’ while the sub-theme is ‘Prioritising Education in the T.H.E.M.E.S Agenda and the 30-Year Lagos Development Plan’.

She said that participants, numbering about 5,300, would be expected to engage and co-create new ideas and solutions for the development of education in Lagos State and the country at large.

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”The summit seeks to explore a holistic approach toward education and lifelong learning from early childhood to higher education that is necessary for developing, re-skilling and enhancing an active population.

”We are expecting all stakeholders in the public and private education sectors in Lagos State.

“They include educators, school owners and administrators, parents, students, education researchers, NGOs, education consultants and private sector development partners.

”The summit will also afford the Federal Ministry of Education, other federal education agencies and state commissioners of education across the country an opportunity to co-share ideas for the development of education,” Adefisayo said.

She said that in order to allow for robust participation of all stakeholders, the summit would be hybrid allowing physical and online participation.

The commissioner said that all participants would register via the link which had been provided on

She said that the on-sight arrangement would accommodate about 300 participants in-person, while over 5,000 would participate online.

According to her, the summit aims for discussion that will lead to change in paradigm in teaching and learning.

She said that such was important as recent studies had reflected challenges relating to productive value of young people coming out of education institutions.

In her remarks, the Chairman, Teaching Service Commission, Lagos State, Mrs Elizabeth Ariyo, said that having examined the present situation in the state, the need for a paradigm shift was pertinent.

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Ariyo said that a change could not be expected by sticking to the prevailing teaching and learning orientation. (NAN)

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2023: Observations from Kenyan Election Show INEC needs to Review Voting Hours-CODE




Connected Development (CODE),a Civil Society Organisation says observations from the just concluded Kenya election have revealed the need for the Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC) to adjust its voting hours for 2023 poll.

Mr Emmanuel Njoku, Director, Democracy and Governance, CODE said this at the official launch of CODE’s annual report that detailed its various interventions and effort to institutionalise accountability and transparency in governance across Africa.

Njoku said that INEC’s review of voting hours was recommended because if not done, more than 30 million citizens could be disenfranchised in the 2023 General Elections .

He said that this was because Kenya used the same Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) device and also transmitted its results electronically just like Nigeria and the process was practically the same as the only difference was in the numbers.

He added that CODE was in Kenya to observe the election and to also see how the device would work so as to prepare for Nigeria’s election in 2023.

“Kenya’s voter register is just 22.1 million and the voter turnout was 65 per cent, which was about 14 million votes, in Nigeria we are expecting around 45 per cent voter turnout which is close to 40 million people.

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“Yet Kenyan polls open as early as 6am and close by 5pm that is 11 hours for a voter register of just under 2.1 million what that means is that everybody gets to vote.

“ However, people in Nigeria with higher voters’ polls open for just six hours from 8:30 and closes by 2:30pm that is just six hours for a voter register of 95 million people.

“With the BVAS, it takes a person two minutes to accredit and voting , mathematically, if it takes one person two minutes to go through the process to vote, it means in an hour, it will take just about 30 persons to vote,” he said.
Njoku added: “This is because if we go ahead with what we have, which is just six hours for 95 million persons to be able to get to vote, we may end up seeing close to 30 million Nigerians being disenfranchised in the 2023.
“Going forward, if Kenya with a voter register of 22 million persons allows 11 hours for citizens to vote, INEC needs also to expand its voting time.”
Mr Hamzat Lawal, the Chief Executive Officer, CODE, said that the report launched revealed CODE’s activities of holding public officials accountable and demanding that they keep their promises to their constituents by expediting timely interventions.

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Lawal said that in 2021, with support from Ford Foundation, CODE supported local leaders in Rivers grassroots in a campaign borne out of the need to combat pervasive corruption, poor accountability, and the negligence of community development.

He said that this have been amounting to years of under-development, exposure to hazardous health risks due to oil substance leakages into water supplies and the sheer impact of these on livelihoods and the quality of life.

He said that CODE visited 19 project sites in 10 communities in nine LGAs and as a result ,so many abandoned projects were completed.

Lawal added that the World Bank has approved a 150million dollar credit for the Adolescent Girls Initiative for Learning and Empowerment (AGILE), to improve secondary education opportunities in the country.

He said that the AGILE project which was being carried out in 7 states would be implemented by the Ministry of Health in collaboration with Connected Development CODE, a Non-Governmental Organisation.

He said that the seven states were Kano, Kebbi, Kaduna, Kastina, Borno, Plateau and Ekiti State.

He stated that the AGILE PROJECT was expected to be a platform for girls health education, gender based violence awareness, and prevention as well as life skills, for a period of 5 years

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“We also tracked N1.167 billion worth of constituency projects in 30 communities across 3 senatorial zones of Kaduna State under Deepening Citizens’ Interest in Government Spending and Addressing Accompanying Corrupt Practices ( DESPAAC).

“We trained 53 students in Anti-Corruption, Transparency, and Accountability under the Power Of Voices Partnership Fair For All Project In Oil Regions.

“CODE also initiated and revived integrity and anti-corruption clubs in 30 schools across FCT, Cross River, Delta, and Rivers states,” he said.

Lawal said that CODE assessed the readiness of 90 Primary Health Centres(PHCs) to receive, store and effectively administer vaccines with the purpose of equally driving quality standardisation of PHCs across the six geopolitical via follow the money project among others .

Also speaking ,Mr Ani Nwachukwu ,Research and Policy, CODE, said that there was need to address the security situation in the country especially at the grassroots otherwise it would affect the 2023 General Elections.

Nwachikwu said that CODE was implementing a national security watch projects that looked at analysing security breakdowns across the federation.
“We are unveiling the first edition for the monthly security dossier,” he said. (NAN)

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