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INEC Denies Secret Meeting with Adamawa Officials

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The Independent National Electoral Commission has denied meeting with Adamawa government officials to rig the supplementary governorship election in the state.

The denial came following a report that INEC officials deployed to supervise the Adamawa State supplementary governorship election paid a nocturnal visit to the state Government House ostensibly to rig the polls for Governor Ahmadu Fintiri.

The National Commissioner and Chairman of  Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, made the denial in a statement on Thursday.

Okoye said, “The attention of the commission has been drawn to a press statement by a candidate in the recently concluded Adamawa State governorship election in which officials deployed for legitimate duty in the state were alleged to have undermined the electoral process after a discreet ‘nocturnal’ visit to the Government House and ostensibly met with one of the candidates in the election who gave them a list of ‘collation and returning officers’ deployed for the election.

“Ordinarily, the commission does not take issues with partisan actors, particularly where no evidence has been provided.

“To set the record straight, no such visit or meeting took place let alone the compilation of any purported list of collation and returning officers. Such a meeting would have been contrary to the oath of neutrality that we all swore to.

“Moreover, every conscientious observer would have noticed that the commission appointed and retained only one Returning Officer for the governorship election who also doubled as the state Collation Officer for the presidential election. Like all Returning Officers nationwide, he was issued with a letter of appointment by the commission and the Resident Electoral Commissioner in Adamawa State was duly informed.

“The list of Collation Officers was also forwarded to the state with every page of the list personally endorsed by the chairman of the commission well ahead of the arrival of the National Commissioners.”

The National Commissioner further said the same press statement created the impression that the national headquarters of the commission specifically targeted Adamawa State in its deployment of National Commissioners and other officials with the sole intention of influencing the outcome of the supplementary election held on Saturday, April 25 and sidelining the REC.

He added, “Nothing can be further from the truth. For the record, it has been the standard policy and practice of the commission to deploy National Commissioners, RECs and other staff from the headquarters or neighbouring states for supplementary or off-cycle elections where doing so is considered necessary.”

“In the case of Adamawa State where supplementary governorship election was held in 69 polling units, two National Commissioners were deployed while for Kebbi State, involving 142 polling units, three National Commissioners were deployed. Similarly, one National Commissioner each was deployed to Sokoto, Zamfara, Imo, Rivers, Ekiti and Ogun states.

“This has been the standard practice of the commission of which all RECs are informed in advance. Therefore, Adamawa State was not specifically targeted. In all other states, the RECs worked cooperatively with the National Commissioners except in Adamawa State for reasons that are now obvious to all.

“The public is advised to discountenance these insinuations as nothing more than a claptrap. We also advise those behind the mischief to desist forthwith as such fabrications have endangered the lives of our officials (both ad hoc and regular) engaged in legitimate election duties. We expect well-meaning citizens to act within the bounds of propriety and decency.”

The Punch

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Gunmen Abduct Channels TV Reporter in Rivers, Demand N30m

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Gunmen have kidnapped a journalist and reporter with Channels Television, Mr Joshua Rogers, at his residence in Rumuosi in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State on Thursday night.

Rogers, who covers the Rivers State Government House for his organisation, was reportedly trailed after he closed from work to his residence.

The miscreants accosted him before he alighted from his car, pointed a gun at him and whisked him along with his vehicle off to an unknown destination at about 9 pm.

A source who said he doesn’t want his name mentioned said the reporter had earlier covered an event in Ndoni in the Ogba-Egbema-Ndoni Local Government Area of the state where Governor Siminalayi Fubara, inaugurated a Primary Healthcare Centre.

The facility was built and donated to the state by the PAMO Educational Foundation, founded by former Rivers governor, Dr Peter Odili, on Thursday.

The source said, “Yes, he was kidnapped last night at his residence in Rumuosi and taken away in his car by some unknown gunmen.

“We are appealing to the kidnappers to release him immediately and unhurt. He is just a journalist doing his job and not a moneybags. So I don’t know the purpose of his kidnap.”

It was also gathered that the hoodlums had contacted his wife and demanded N30m as ransom before releasing him.

Efforts to reach the spokesperson for the State Police Command, Grace Iringe-Koko, for confirmation, were unsuccessful as she did not pick up several calls put across to her by The Punch.

Iringe-Koko has also yet to reply to a text message sent to her as of publication on Friday morning.

The Punch

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Bobrisky Goes to Jail! Sentenced to Six months Term, with No Fine Option

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Cross-dresser, Idris Olanrewaju Okuneye popularly known as Bobrisky, has been sentenced to six months imprisonment without any option fine for abusing the Nigeria currency – naira. 

Justice Abimbola Awogboro of the Federal High Court, Lagos, in her sentence, said the judgment will serve as a deterrent to others who are fond of abusing and mutilating the naira.

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Odili Endorses Fubara As Rivers Political Leader

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A former Governor of Rivers State, Dr Peter Odili, has endorsed Governor Siminalayi Fubara as the political leader of the State, praising him for defending the interests of the people.

Odili, who served between 1999 and 2007, stated that Fubara, having secured his electoral victory both through the ballot and the courts, is now the political leader of the State.

Odili spoke on Thursday at the unveiling of a Primary Healthcare Centre donated by his PAMO Foundation in Ndoni, his hometown in the Ogba-Egbema-Ndoni Local Government Area.

He emphasised the strategic importance of Rivers State, warning that if it sneezes, the entire nation catches cold. He urged Governor Fubara to act with this awareness in all his decisions.

Assessing Fubara’s performance in the last 10 months in office, Odili commended him for making significant strides in critical sectors within his first year in office, particularly focusing on the well-being of the people.

He noted that Fubara’s administration is in alignment with President Bola Tinubu’s agenda, especially in the health sector, following the recent launch of the Primary Healthcare Fellows scheme by the Federal Government.

Odili encouraged the governor to maintain this alignment with the President and his policies to attract Federal government attention and support to the State.

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