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Group urges political parties to strengthen internal democracy

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By Gabriel Atumeyi, Abuja

A civil society group, Centre for Transparency Advocacy (CTA) has advised political parties to pay more attention to strengthening their internal party democracy.

The group, which made this known at a stakeholders roundtable in Abuja, presented copies of its final report on the 2019 general elections with focus on key high points of the just concluded elections and came up with recommendations for the upcoming elections, especially those of Kogi and Bayelsa which will happen on the 16th of November this year.

Acting Executive Director of the CTA, Faith Nwadishi said: “We engaged political parties and encouraged them to look at their internal democracies, and be able to set for themselves rules that they can abide by.

“Post elections, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has returned over 80 Certificate of Return and more than 90% of those certificates were returned because of the shoddy party primaries that were held.

“We need political parties to continue to have conversations, maybe have an institute where they could be trained on how to select who their flag bearers would be.

“It is also important that they clean up their data base. We want to know who belongs where. Streamline your members and know who they are. What we observed on elections day is that we see somebody wearing a particular party tag (supposedly a party agent), but working against that same party.

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“In India for instance, they have over 3,000 political parties. Not every political party should field a candidate at the national level; if your stronghold is in a particular ward or local government, then you should be seen in that local government. Parties should be seen in their areas of strength, ideologies, and programmes.”

“For us at CTA we issued our report in April and we commended the

Electoral Umpire in areas where they have done very well.

“For instance, looking at the entire electoral cycle starting from Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) till the day of the election, we saw that there were challenges that INEC itself had to overcome and still delivered the election in the way they delivered the election.

“We had issues with the interference by the security. We also had very serious concerns about the political class and the role that they play in the election. In our opinion, we feel that the political class being the overall beneficiary of an electoral process, should actually be the one at the forefront of making our elections better.

The chairman of INEC’s Information and Voter Education Committee, Mr. Festus Okoye said: “There are lessons that we have already learnt from the 2019 general elections. Those lessons have been warehoused and we also going to key in those

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lessons with the Kogi and Bayelsa elections. We also going to begin the distribution of Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) the moment we are through with the review of the 2019 general elections.

“You know that Kogi and Bayelsa have had history of electoral violence; based on that we are going to begin to talk to the key stakeholders in the electoral process in these two states.

“We are also going to speak with religious leaders, traditional rulers, members of labour movements, students’ movements, and all key stakeholders to make sure that at the end of the day we have a good election.

“We’ve had very good interactions with the security agencies, and they have assured us that we are going to have a new framework and engagement process that will ensure that every person who has been registered to vote goes to the polling unit to vote in an atmosphere of tranquility without any violence whatsoever.

“We are looking at all the recommendations; and those ones with administrative flavours, we are going to implement them and have a good election in Kogi and Bayelsa states.”

Security agencies like the Nigerian Army, Navy, Police, NSCDC, FRSC, and the US Embassy pledged their commitment and continuous support to enhancing the electoral process with all it is tasked to do within the ambit of the law. Issues deliberated on at the event includes – security, internal political party democracy, citizen’s participation and vote trading, electoral violence, the role of judiciary, and the role of INEC.

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CRIME

Troops arrest 10 Robbers, rescue 3 Victims in Kaduna 

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By Gom Mirian, Abuja 

The military high command, yesterday said its troops deployed on internal operations in Kaduna state has arrested ten armed robbery suspects at Kafanchan town in Jema’a local government area of the state. 

A statement issued by the Director, Defence Media Operations, Major General Bernard Onyeuko stated the names of the arrested suspects as: Messrs Manga Ismail, a 22 – year-old, Idris Haruna (Ban Sambo), 20- year-old, Sani Bali, 19- year-old.

 

Others are Shamsudeen Ladan, 25 – year-old, Abdulmajid Yau (Sele), 22 – year – old , Abubakar Hassan, 23 – year-old, Abbas Aliyu, 15 – year-old, Mohammed Umar (Jazuli), 17 – year – old, Jonathan Vincent (Bamai), 19 – year-old and Stephen Joseph, 25 – year-old.

According to him, items recovered from the criminals include: TV, DVD, gas cookers, Mattresses, woofer, phones, scissors, among others.

 

Gen. Onyeuko also said on the same day, troops acting on intelligence reports, conducted a cordon search operation at Fanock Village, Jema’a Local Government Area of Kaduna State and found a Toyota Corolla car with registration number ABUJA KUJ 452 AZ with no occupant. 

Onyeuko explained that Troops conducted search operations in the surrounding bush and rescued 3 kidnaped civilians comprising two females and a male. 

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Speaking further, he said :”Troops of Operation SAFE HAVEN in a sustained effort to eliminate criminals elements in their Area of operation on 28 June 2022 based credible intelligence conducted clearance operation in conjunction with vigilantes at Kan Duniya Village, Barkin Ladi Local Government Area, Plateau State, neutralized notorious bandit and kidnapper.

“Similarly, on the same day, troops on fighting patrol sighted 2 x suspected kidnappers around Sara High Ground Mangu Local Government Area Plateau State on a motor cycle, suspects abandoned their motor cycle on sighting troops and fled.

” Troop exploited area and recovered 2 AK47 rifles, 101 rounds of 7.62mm special, 5 magazines, 1 motor cycle, 1 iron digger and 2 black jackets amongst others”, he said. 

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Foreign News

Husband of Slain Kenyan Runner Tirop Seeks Plea Bargain

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The husband of slain Kenyan distance runner Agnes Tirop is seeking a plea bargain after initially denying a charge of murder, his lawyer said yesterday.

Tirop, a rising star in the world of athletics, was killed last October in her home in Iten, a high-altitude training hub in western Kenya for top runners.

Emmanuel Ibrahim Rotich was arrested after a dramatic late-night chase the day after Tirop’s body was found with stab wounds, and has been in custody ever since.

The 41-year-old denied a charge of murder at a November court appearance.

But in the latest twist in the legal saga, his lawyer Ngigi Mbugua told the Eldoret High Court that Rotich was willing to plead guilty to a lesser charge in the hope of attracting a more lenient sentence.

The prosecution said it was not against the idea of a plea bargain but wanted Tirop’s family to be involved in the process.

A hearing on Rotich’s request will take place on 22 September.

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NEWS

HEDA Petitions ICPC over Allegations against Ex-CJN

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The Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA Resource Centre) has petitioned the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) over the allegations against the immediate past Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Tanko Muhammad.

This is contained in a statement issued by the Chairman, HEDA, Mr Olanrewaju Suraju, yesterday in Lagos.

Suraju, in a letter to the Chairman of ICPC, Professor Bolaji Owasanoye, urged the commission to stand tall over the allegations of corruption, maladministration and incompetence leveled against Muhammad.

“As a leading anti-corruption organisation in Nigeria and non-partisan human rights and development league, we call on the ICPC to commence investigation into the budgetary allocation, utilisation and development process of the judiciary with a view to sanitisation of that critical arm of government,” he said.

Suraju said it was widely reported that the immediate past CJN responded to the allegations brought against him by 14 Justices on the aforementioned allegations.

“It is unarguable that the judiciary is the last hope of the helpless and its judges are only meant to be heard and not seen.

“However, these allegations made by fellow Justices of the apex court against the CJN cannot be overlooked as it is weighty and must be diligently investigated by the commission in order to protect that vital institution.

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“If the Supreme Court of Nigeria is infested with corrupt persons, then our democracy is doomed, ICPC and others relevant bodies should rise and act fast to redeem the temple of justice from possible collapse,” HEDA said. (NAN)

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