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INEC Makes U-turn, Admits Ownership of Server

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INEC makes U-turn, admits ownership of server
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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Monday, 17th June, 2019 admitted ownership of a sever,
maintaining however, that the results of the 2019 general elections were not transmitted electronically
to its server but that the Commission only experimented the technology during some staggered
elections held in 2018.

The Commission said that the clarification was necessary because of rising controversies on the
transmission of 2019 Presidential Election results from states to the INEC server.

At the resumed sitting of the Presidential Election tribunal last week, the Peoples’ Democratic Party
(PDP) and its candidate in the presidential election, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, had prayed the tribunal to
give it permission to inspect other electronic gadgets used by INEC in February 23 election.

In their petition before the tribunal, the PDP and Atiku are claiming that they won the presidential
election based on results fed into INEC’s server.

However, speaking during the Post Election Retreat organised by the Commission for its staff and ad hoc
staff engaged for the last general elections in Osun State, INEC National Commissioner, Solomon Soyebi,
said many factors forced the Commission to drop the idea of electronic transmission of the results to a
central server.

Soyebi said INEC experimented with electronic transmission of results during Anambra, Sokoto and Osun
elections held before 2019 elections but the Commission did not sustain the use of the technology
during the 2019 general elections.

He said the late release of INEC’S budget for the 2019 elections and controversies over the Electoral Act,
among others reasons, forced the Commission to jettison the idea of using the technology to transmit
results to the central server.

“We piloted the use of transmission of election results electronically in Sokoto, in Anambra, even in
Osun. What happened was that we were trying to pilot to see the desirability of such technology in our
electoral process.

“First, our budget came out very late, there was also issue (with) the Electoral Act. For these and some
other reasons, the Commission did not adopt that option. 2019 elections were conducted according to
Law.

“We used the Constitution of the Federal Republic; we used the Electoral Act and our guidelines for
2019 elections. If you look at the three instruments carefully, the issue of server was not highlighted.

“Once in a while, you will see an experiment going on but we have to pilot it before we will deploy
wholesale for election. We did not use it because of circumstances beyond the control of the
Commission,” Soyebi said.

Meanwhile, the call for the resignation of the chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu has heightened.
Yesterday, the Concerned Nigerians Group said Yakubu should honourably resign, as the final report of
the European Union(EU) EOM which was made public over the weekend was an indictment on INEC’s
incompetence in handling the 2019 general elections.

Addressing journalists in Abuja on Monday on behalf of the group, Mr. Dare Ariyo, said the Chairman of
the electoral umpire has no moral right to remain in the office having been indicted by the report of the
EU.

Ariyo said: “Since INEC has denied that they have no server in the court of lied on oath and we must
know. That is why I also support the fact that the INEC Chairman should step aside to allow thorough
investigation and we believe if the executive is not willing to do that, we are calling on national assembly
who approved the budget to demand the INEC chairman to step down.”

“The Concerned Nigerians Group is particularly satisfied with the ‘audacious and grand’ final report of the EU EOM which was made public over the weekend and contained 30 recommendations to improve
future electoral processes. The EU EOM has done a good job and we laud its positive impacts on our
elections.

“We believe that the reports by EU EOM, other partners, and our own recommendations should provide
sufficient information to guide the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in developing a
far-reaching framework for fundamental electoral reforms.”

He said the controversy over INEC server has lingered for so long in the public space and is gradually
eroding the confidence of Nigerians in the electoral body as an institution that has sincerity of purpose
in conducting free, fair and credible elections.

Also speaking, a human right activist, Deji Adeyanju, called on President Muhammadu Buhari to
expedite action and sign the electoral act into law to ensuring credibility and transparency of the
electoral process.

The European Union Election Observation Mission on Friday released its report on the just concluded
general elections where the flaws and shortcomings of the process were highlighted.

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Green Economy ‘ll Create Greater Prosperity for Investors – Agama

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By Tony Obiechina, Abuja

Stakeholders, intermediaries, issuers, investors, and regulators have been enjoined to take advantage of the enormous resources and potential of sustainable finance to build a green climate resilient economy in Nigeria and create greater prosperity for investors and Nigerians.

This was stated by Director General of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Dr.
Emomotimi Agama during a capacity building workshop for capital market operators on Green Finance in Lagos yesterday.
The workshop is part of an ongoing capacity building initiative administered by the African Development Bank Group and financed by the Capital Market Development Trust Fund (CMDTF) of the Bank.
The SEC DG represented by Executive Commissioner Operations SEC, Mr. Bola Ajomale, emphasised that the Commission is steadfast in its commitment to champion sustainable finance initiatives as the Rules on Green Bonds have already facilitated a couple of sovereign issues and multiple corporate issues.Agama said, “The Federal Government through the Debt Management Office (DMO) has led the way in Africa in this regard by issuing the first sovereign green bond in December 2017. It has since followed up with another N15bn issuance in June 2019 specifically to fund renewable energy, afforestation and transportation.”The Commission also approved two green bond issues by North South Power Services Ltd and Access Bank Plc worth N8.56bn and N15bn respectively to finance various infrastructural projects in the power, water and agriculture sectors of the Nigerian economy. The onus therefore lies with all of us distinguished ladies and gentlemen to continue to expand these issuances by locating a need and fashioning appropriate sustainable financing products to meet themThe SEC DG disclosed that the Commission continues to strongly support and champion efforts to deliver coordinated and coherent policy advice, capacity building and regulatory support to leverage actions across a broad spectrum of sectors to build the momentum for a green economy, which could bring socially inclusive and environmentally sound economic transformation.Agama said the workshop presents an opportunity to stakeholders in the capital market to enrich the discussion on Green Finance and more importantly, take concerted action on issues relating to climate change and sustainability.According to him, “The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) defines a green economy as low carbon, resource efficient and socially inclusive economy. An economy where growth in employment and income are driven by public and private investment into such economic activities, infrastructure and assets that allow reduced carbon emissions and pollution, enhanced energy resource efficiency, and prevention of loss biodiversity and ecosystem services.”Climate change, as we all know, is one of the major risks threatening the well-being of mankind. Since the Paris Agreement was reached in December 2015, international efforts in combating climate change have gathered enormous momentum. According to the IMF, in the past four decades, we have witnessed the warmest years on record and the number of natural disasters more than doubled in that same time frame.”The SEC DG said embracing green finance remains a critical approach to addressing these challenges adding that it is crucial to involve key stakeholders in conversations that promote green finance.”We are at a pivotal moment where we can shape the future of our investment practices to align with environmental, social, and governance (ESG) principles. Transitioning to a green economy is crucial for the sustainable development of Nigeria.”The primary objective of the workshop is to provide capacity building for capital market operators and stakeholders to enhance knowledge and understanding of green finance, promote collaboration and networking among stakeholders, support regulatory compliance with SEC Rules, and facilitate the funding of innovative, environmentally friendly projects that will drive sustainable economic growth.”He expressed excitement at the promising trend of sustainability-themed funds gaining prominence, especially in developed countries, saying this reflects a growing global adoption of green finance criteria within the investment community, and notably, green finance performance has shown a strong correlation with overall financial performance.

Agama urged stakeholders, intermediaries, issuers, investors, and regulators, to support this transition through their business activities by directing financial flows towards more sustainable and climate-friendly solutions, divesting from unsustainable practices, setting standards and frameworks, and integrating green finance into investment decisions and practices.In his remarks, Executive Director, Climate Transition Limited Mr. Olumide Lala said that Climate change is real adding that the transition to a green economy is essential for Nigeria’s sustainable development, and green finance is a critical component of this transition.”It is not just about the impact on a world that is far from us, it is here with us. The message today is for us to invest in assets, infrastructure assets that are climate efficient.”If you look around today, the impact of climate is upon us, it’s affecting our food security, it’s affecting our way of life. It is even affecting our country’s security as people are moving from place to place in search of a better life” he stated.Lala said the desertification of the Sahara is impeding the world, as people are moving towards the south, water resources is being compromised and there is climate risk associated with the financial investments people make.”There is the need to reduce emission, essentially the message today is change. The regulator is here trying to reassure investors that the governance structure is there to ensure the safety of the money they are investing. The governance structure is constantly being enhanced in line with global values.”We see this as a market development opportunity to educate the market on the benefits as well as the risks. But more importantly, how do you change the risks into opportunities? As the market changes and as we develop more opportunities for those coming behind us,” he added.

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Senate Suspends Rules, Passes N70,000 Minimum Wage Bill to Hasten Implementation

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By Eze Okechukwu, Abuja

The Senate yesterday suspended the relevant sections of its Standing Orders to pass the new minimum wage bill, 2024, saying the move was to fasttrack the implementation of the newly approved N70,000 minimum wage for Nigerian workers.President Bola Tinubu had earlier sent the bill to the two chambers of the National Assembly, and pleaded with them to give expeditious treatment to the proposal to enable him address the minimum wage crisis, which heated up the polity in the last few months.

The Leader of the Senate, Opeyemi Bamidele presented the bill titled: “A Bill for an Act to Amend the National Minimum Wage Act, 2019 to increase the National Minimum Wage and reduce the time for periodic review of the National Minimum Wage from five years to three years and for related matters, 2024 (SB.
550).”According to legislative tradition, the bill passed first, which was the reading out of President Bola Tinubu’s request; then it passed through second, which involved debate on general principles, and went through third reading, which was the final passage, all within one hour.According to Bamidele, the bill sought to raise the country’s minimum wage for the civil servants from N30,000 to N70,000, noting that N70,000 was agreed upon by all the parties after negotiations by the Tripartite Committee on the National Minimum Wage.“This is part of the Federal Government’s short term measure to mitigate the situation in the country,” Bamidele said.Contributing to the debate, the Senate Chief Whip, Senator Tahir Monguno said that there was a need to review the minimum wage to align with economic realities in the country.“The review of the minimum wage used to be after every five years. It is now every three years,” Monguno said.Also passed by the Senate yesterday is a bill, inter alia that sought to reduce the time for periodic review of the National Minimum Wage from five years to three years, and for related matters.The Executive Bill forwarded to the Senate by President Bola Tinubu was presented for the first reading, then scaled second reading and was read the third time and passed.In his lead debate on the general principles of the bill, Senator Bamidele said, “Mr. President, distinguished colleagues, I humbly rise to lead the debate on the general principles of the National Minimum Wage (Amendment) Bill, 2024 (SB. 550).“You will recall, Mr. President, my dear colleagues that in recent times, a plethora of agitations and clamours have been recorded from Organised Labour and another segment of our society, for an increase in the National Minimum Wage given the prevailing economic situation in the country.”In response to the agitations and after a series of negotiations between the Federal Government and the Organised Labour, the current National Minimum Wage of N30,000 only has been reviewed upward to the sum of N70,000 only.”

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Tinubu, Atiku Disagree on Planned Nationwide Protest

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By Johnson Eyiangho, Abuja

As the days of the planned nationwide protest against bad governance near, President Bola Tinubu and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar yesterday expressed divergent positions on the matter.While the president appeals to aggrieved Nigerians especially the youth to shelve the action, the former Vice President warned that the Tinubu-led administration must allow citizens exercise their right to protest.

Atiku said it is ironic that those who seek to stifle the rights to protest the hunger, poverty and insecurity ravaging the country now led protest in 2012 when the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan adjusted upward the price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) or petrol.
Commenting on the planned nationwide protest slated to begin on August 1 on his X account, Atiku said that a responsible government must ensure a safe and secure environment for citizens to exercise their constitutionally guaranteed rights to peaceful protest.He said, “Chasing shadows and contriving purported persons behind the planned protests is an exercise in futility when it is obvious that Nigerians, including supporters of Tinubu and the ruling APC are caught up in the hunger, anger, and hopelessness brought about by the incompetence and cluelessness of this government.”Any attempt to suppress these rights is not only unconstitutional but a direct affront to our democracy.”Atiku stressed that the rights of citizens to protest are enshrined in the Nigerian Constitution and affirmed by the courts, adding, “Section 40 of the 1999 Constitution (as altered) unequivocally guarantees the right to peaceful assembly and association.”The nationwide protest is billed to hold from Aug. 1 to 10.The leadership of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) has thrown its weight behind it.The National Chairman of SDP, Shehu Gabam at a press conference in Abuja last week said the demonstration is in the interest of the masses.However, the Chairman of Progressive Governors’ Forum and Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodimma exonerated Tinubu from the inflation and economic challenge ravaging the country.He argued that the biting hardship is a global phenomenon and not limited to Nigeria.Mr Bayo Onanuga, a presidential aide on Sunday accused supporters of the Labour Party candidate in the 2023 presidential election, Mr Peter Obi of planning the protest.Onanuga who is Special Adviser to President Bola Tinubu on Information and Strategy said that Obi would be held responsible for whatever crisis that may emanate from the action.Yesterday, Tinubu pleaded with youths to shelve the planned action, saying there is no need for it.The Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, conveyed the president’s plea while speaking with State House correspondents after his meeting with Tinubu at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.The minister stated, “We discussed the issue of the country in general and Mr President has asked me to again inform Nigerians that he listens to them, especially the young people that are trying to protest.“Mr president said he listens to them and takes what they say seriously and he is working assiduously to ensure that this country is good not just for today but also for the future.“The issue of the planned protest, Mr President does not see any need for that. He asked them to shelve that plan and he has asked them to await the government’s response to all their pleas.”With Atiku voicing out now, it appears the voices in support of the planned protest are increasing by the day.

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