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2023: Election Riggers, Violence Proponents Will Be Barred – U.S Consul General

Election Riggers
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The United States Consular General (Nigeria), Mr. Will Stevens, has said that the United States government would enforce it’s policy to bar election riggers and those who engineer violence during, before and after the 2023 general election.

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Stevens spoke, Friday, in Asaba Delta Capital, in a first in a series of OpenGov Town Hall meeting in the Niger Delta region organised under the auspices of the Niger-Delta Open Observatory (NOGO) cluster supported by the USAID Strengthening Civic Advocacy and Local Engagement (SCALE) project implemented by Palladium during the signing of the Open Government Manifesto by governorship candidates in the state.

Among the governorship candidates that signed the manifesto are Sunny Ofehe of the Young Progressive Party (YPP), PDP candidate, Rt Hon Sheriff Oborevwori (PDP), represented by Director General, Delta PDP Campaign Council, Mr. Funkekeme Solomon, All Progressive Congress candidate and Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege represented by Dr Austin Izagbo, Labour Party candidate, Mr Ken Pela and New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP) Dr Goodnews Agbi.

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Addressing journalists after the event, Stevens said that the U.S government will not approve visas for anyone found culpable of encouraging electoral violence or undermining the process.

Stevens said the U.S has been working with the Nigeria government as partners to support the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) and civil society organizations to enable them hold candidates accountable.

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He said the U.S was only interested in a free, fair and credible election that represents the Nigerian people and doesn’t have any preferred candidate or a particular political party in the 2023 general elections.

Stevens said that the US has provided nearly $50 million in technical assistance to the electoral umpire to strengthen the mechanisms that will allow Nigerians feel comfortable that their votes will count .

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He said his mission to Delta state and the Southeast is pre election monitoring “to look and see how things are developing”.

His words, ” The U.S do not have a preferred candidate, full stop! We are not interested in a particular party or candidate. What we are interested in is free,fair, and credible election that represents the people.

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This elections are important.Nigeria is the fifth largest democracy in the world so when the people of Nigeria come to vote, you are showing the strength of democracy to the rest of the world.”

Stevens expressed happiness with the Electoral Act which he said “has good measures to strengthen voting security, adding that the U.S government will discourage politicians,citizens seeking to undermine the electoral process.

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He described civil society groups as the muscle and sinews of democracy, stressing that ” if civil societies are strong that means democracy is functioning.”

He said, ” We in the United States will discourage any politicians,citizens ,other parties who are encouraging electoral violence or seeking to undermine the electoral process.

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One thing we have done in the past and continue to do is that those who seek to undermine the democratic process can and will be found ineligible for visa to the US.”

He expressed excitement about the forthcoming election, stressing that the consulate is doing all within its powers to understand what is happening and articulate such to US citizens.

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“These elections are so important, Nigeria is the fifth largest democracy in the world. So when the people of Nigeria come to vote, you are showing the strength of democracy to the rest of the world.

“We are really excited about the upcoming elections, we are doing everything we can to make sure we understand what is happening and articulate to the people of US and the rest of the world,” he added.

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The highpoint of the event was the signing of a commitment by some gubernatorial candidates in the Delta governorship race to a social contract with Deltans.

Executive Director of Policy Alert, Tijah Bolton-Akpan had said the project is aimed at strengthening the uptake and implementation of Open Government Partnership (OGP) in Niger Delta states.

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He said the signing of the of the Open Government Manifesto by candidates symbolised their commitment to an open government agenda and their readiness to sustain ongoing governance reforms.

Akpan explained that the town hall was to give citizens a firsthand opportunity to ask questions and demand explicit commitments from governorship candidates on how they plan to implement OGP if elected, adding that similar events would subsequently hold in Akwa-Ibom, Cross River, Imo, Rivers and Bayelsa states.

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Fielding questions from journalists after the event, the YPP governorship candidate, Ofehe, said that signing the OGP document was not enough as his administration when elected would ensure the proactiveness needed to steer civil society in the state so that they can compete with their counterparts at the global level.

He pledged that when elected he would not only implement the OGP manifesto in the state but ensure that civil society formed the integral part of his government and policies as the fourth arms of government besides the press.

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Ofehe said that he would ensure institutionalized funding for civil society organizations so that the dividends of democracy can trickle down to the downtrodden.

In the same vien, NNPP guber candidate, Agbi expressed delight over the outcome of the program, saying the commitment extracted from the governorship candidates would go a long to reassure the people that governance truly belong to them.

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Funkekeme who represented the PDP guber candidate said that Delta as a state was already committed to open governance policy by ensuring accountability and transparency in award of contracts and runnings of the state government are captured in the state website which he said entails everything that would be transfer to incoming administration under the PDP government.

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Speaker Tunis Pledges Support For ECOFEPA

ECOWAS
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By Gloria Ikibah

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Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament, Dr. Sidie Mohammed Tunis, has pledged his unflinching support for the ECOWAS Female Parliamentarians Association Network ECOFEPA in its attempts to increase participation for self-development in politics and entrepreneurship.

Speaker Tunis who stated this at the formal opening of ECOFEPA Women and Youth Leadership symposium, on the sidelines of the Extraordinary Session of the ECOWAS Parliament in Guinea Bissau, with the theme: Unleashing the potentials of Women and Youth in Politics and Entrepreneurship; asserted that the meeting epitomizes the action stage for women’s involvement in decision-making bodies.

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He also commended ECOFEPA for always beaming their search light on issues that affect women and youth in the ECOWAS Sub-region and for firmly reinforcing the need to mentor the next generation of decision makers to bridge existing gaps and bestow sound political and decision-making legacies to them, reaffirming that until they as Members of Parliament replicate ourselves in the younger generation in multiple dimensions to deliver a democratic system that is anchored on good governance and societal growth and development, they cannot credit themselves for success.

Dr. Tunis acknowledged that the event amplifies ECOFEPA’s deliberate resolve to consistently pursue the dreams of its founding Members and recommend for members of Parliament to track generational transfer of knowledge, skills and all it takes to tackle the challenges of the future ahead.

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In her address, the 2nd Vice President of ECOFEPA, Madam Gabriella Fernandes, commended the ECOWAS Commission for its outstanding support in enhancing the activities of the association to achieve its goals for women’s integration and empowerment in politics.

She said that the resources mobilized by the ECOWAS Commission will allow the association to host its upcoming symposium in Togo March 2023.

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Hon. Fernandes reiterated that the symposium will spark the beginning of efforts to launch their projects and synchronize activities in the areas of leadership and entrepreneurship, which have the propensity to boomerang and catapult women’s advancement into decision-making in the ECOWAS region.

Earlier, the Youth Representative for the West Africa Youth Assembly, Mamadu Djalo, said everyone is aware of the social pressure and barriers that women and youth face daily, in trying to climb up to the political power, and employed men in Africa who control the political powers, to ensure that such power is balanced.

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According to Djalo, Women and youth are very isolated for too long, and that there is need for the men to work together with both youth and Women to fill the sense of belonging, as the deliberation cannot be realistic without the participation of the youth and women.

She therefore called for the creation of a youth parliament in order to give them a voice.

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Again, one injured as container crushes bus in Oshodi

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By Francesca Iwambe

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A 20-ft container crushed a commercial bus in the Oshodi area of Lagos State on Wednesday afternoon, injuring a commercial bus driver.

It was gathered that this is the latest container-related accident experienced in the state in the space of three days.

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Eye witnessed confirmed that Wednesday’s accident at Oshodi was caused by a brake failure.

While the passengers in the bus were said to have escaped without an injury, the same could not be said of the bus driver whose degree of injury could not be ascertained as of press time.

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Eight people were crushed to death by a 20-ft container that fell off a truck in the Ojuelegba area of Lagos on Sunday.

This is coming barely 24 hours after the Ojuelegba tragedy, a 40-ft container fell off another truck in the Dopemu area of the state on Monday, causing traffic on the road.

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Breaking: Chairman, MiddleBelt Forum Commodore Dan Suleiman is dead

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Chairman MiddleBelt Forum, Commodore Dan Suleiman is dead.

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A source close to his family revealed to Naijablitznews.com that the Commodore suddenly fainted in his house and passed on.

Details shortly…

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