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Electoral Act Amendments: Buhari Writes INEC, Seeks Advice On Direct Primaries

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Muhammadu Buhari signed the Petroleum Industry Bill 2021 into law.

The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), has signed the Petroleum Industry Bill 2021 into law.

The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), has written a letter to the Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof. Mahmoud Yakubu, seeking comments from INEC over the Electoral Act amendment bill which was passed by the National Assembly on November 9, 2021.

Buhari, who received the bill on November 19, has until December 19 to sign it or communicate to the National Assembly his feelings and comments about the bill.

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But if after 30 days, the President refuses to sign the bill and the National Assembly is not in support of the President’s amendments, the Senate and the House of Representatives can recall the bill and pass it.

If the bill is passed in the form it was sent to the President by two-thirds majority votes in both chambers, the bill automatically becomes a law even without the signature of the President.

However, top sources told The PUNCH on Monday that so far, the President saw no problem with the bill but was seeking advice from INEC and the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN).

A top INEC source said, “We received a letter from the President last week regarding INEC’s position on the Electoral Act amendment especially as regards the controversial direct primaries which many governors have kicked against. We are supposed to respond within seven days. I know that a response will be sent to the President anytime from now.”

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When asked if INEC would endorse the direct primaries, the source said the commission would only indicate its position on the merits and demerits of the bill and let the President decide.

Another INEC official told The PUNCH that the National Assembly never discussed the issue of direct primaries with the commission but only electronic transmission of results and other issues.

“During the amendment of the Electoral Act, we met with the National Assembly but the issue of direct primary was never discussed. We discussed electronic transmission of results, electronic voting, Diaspora voting and other issues. It was at the point of the adoption of the report that the direct primary was added to the bill.

“So, INEC was never given a chance to present its position. What the President has done now is to get our position on the matter. The truth is that if INEC cannot undertake the direct primaries, it will make the law useless,” he said.

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When contacted on Monday, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, said the President would continue to consult with relevant stakeholders on the matter before the bill is signed.

On whom the President would meet as part of consultations on the bill, Shehu said, “The President will consult with those who he believes are important to his decision and who can advise him on the Electoral Act. And he will meet them. But I cannot draw boundaries or name specifics and say this is who the President might meet. He ultimately decides.”

INEC National Commissioner, Festus Okoye, did not respond to calls on Monday.

However, Okoye had said earlier in the month that the direct primary method would be far more expensive because of the huge personnel that would be needed to undertake the primaries.

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Okoye had said the commission would also need about two officials to supervise the poll in each of the 8,809 wards in the country, bringing the total number of staff to 17, 600. He further told The PUNCH that the commission may need to use National Youth Service Corps members to undertake the direct primaries because INEC doesn’t have the manpower.

The PUNCH had also reported that going by the rate of inflation, exchange rate and the need to buy more equipment in the wake of the burning of INEC offices especially in the South-East, the 2023 elections may cost over N350bn.

The Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN), had also stated that the President would take cost and security into consideration before signing or rejecting the bill. The PUNCH had reported that some of the governors who are members of the All Progressives Congress had begun lobbying Malami to advise the President against signing the bill.

When asked if the President had also written to Malami, the AGF’s Spokesman, Umar Gwandu, said, “I am not aware.”

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However, the National Assembly had said no amount of money was too much in the quest for credible and fair elections.

Many of the governors have rejected the compulsory adoption of the direct primary. Some even argued that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it may be inappropriate to encourage mass gatherings in the name of direct primaries.

Although many civil society organisations have endorsed the direct primary method based on the argument that it would deepen democracy, the Inter-Party Advisory Council which comprises all political parties in the country have kicked against it, saying many smaller parties do not have the funds to carry out direct primaries.

Meanwhile, the Nigeria Labour Congress has called on the President, Major to sign the Electoral Act Amendment Bill passed by the National Assembly.

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The NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, in a letter to the President, described the bill as one of the most progressive bills and a product of thoughtfulness from the National Assembly in recent times.

He urged Buhari not to yield to the pressure from state governors and other groups, describing their opposition to the mode of primary contained in the bill as ‘a classic case of greed for political power, inordinate ambition, a ruthless quest for command and control in a democracy and mindless expansionist tendencies’.

The letter dated November 23, 2021, titled ‘Please assent the Electoral Bill’, reads, “We are not unaware of the tremendous pressure being brought to bear on you by state governors across party lines and other selfish interest groups and individuals to do otherwise.

“This pressure, we are afraid to say, represents a classic case of greed for political power, inordinate ambition, a ruthless quest for command and control in a democracy, mindless expansionist tendencies and further proof of the iron cast will of a few persons among us to erode time-tested democratic values and to subvert our democratic institutions.

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“At the moment, it is trite knowledge that governors, against all decent norms, control the state legislatures, judiciary, SIEC (State Independent Electoral Commission) and local governments; in spite of your heroic effort to free them.

“Given their stranglehold on SIEC and their intolerance for the opposition, bestowing upon them the power to determine who goes to the National Assembly will amount to taking undue chances with our democracy.”

The congress called on Buhari to demonstrate courage, leadership as well as protect our democracy

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Olori Kafayat Adeyemi Dies In The US, 2months After Alaafin’s Death

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One of the wife’s of the late Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi has joined her ancestors.

The Oyo palace was thrown into mourning following the announcement of Olori Kafayat Adeyemi.

The queen was said to have died on Friday, July 1st, in the United States, barely two months after her husband, the Alaafin died in April.

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Though details of her death is still sketchy as of the time of this report, sources confirm that she died on Friday night.

The Director of Media and Publicity at the Alaafin’s Palace, Mr. Bode Durojaye, confirmed the incident on Saturday morning. He said:

”She died in the United States of America. I will give you the details later.”

Olori Kafayat Adeyemi was the fourth wife of the late Oba Adeyemi III. She was the mother of Prince Adebayo Adeyemi (D’Gov), who is the chairman of the Oyo State Local Government Pensions Board.

Before her demise, she was known as Iya Aguo or Iya Ibeji in Oyo Kingdom.

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Recall, the monarch, Alaafin of Oyo, Lamidi Adeyemi was announced dead on April 23rd, 2022.

According to the Premium Times, Alaafin Adeyemi, the third from the Alowodu Ruling House, died in the late hours of Friday, April 23rd at the Afe Babalola University Teaching Hospital, Ado Ekiti.

The remains of the top Yoruba traditional ruler were brought to Oyo in the early hours of Saturday, April 24 and traditional rites began.

He was 83 years old and the longest reigning Alaafin ever, having ruled for 52 years.

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Nigerian Couple Welcome Twins After 14 Years Of Waiting

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A Nigerian couple identified as Samuel and Joy Olorunfemi have been blessed with a set of twins, a boy and girl, in June, 2022, after waiting 14 years for the fruit of the womb.

Joy’s brother, Ohimai Abraham took to his social media page to share the good news and also share photos of the proud parents.

He captioned the post;

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“IT’S LIKE A DREAM. Where do I even start from? “This woman you see here is my immediate elder sister. She was married and trusting God for the fruit of the womb since 2008.”

It has been 14 solid years of trials, temptations, mockery, disappointment, weeping, crying and dispair.

Men thought they had the final say throughout these 14 years. But Yahweh who rememberd Sarah has proven to men that Him and Him alone have the final say. He proved Himself in our lives by settling my darling sister with a balanced set of twins (a boy and a girl).

Since the news of her delivery got to me since Sunday last week I have been so overjoyed that i couldn’t even think of what to write and post. Now, I fully understand the meaning of Psalm 126:1-3:

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“When the LORD turned again the captivity of Zion, we were like them that dream. Then was our mouth filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing: then said they among the heathen, The LORD hath done great things for them. The LORD hath done great things for us; whereof we are glad.”

Indeed, what God can not do does not and can not exist. I beg make una join shout two solid Hallelujah to Jesus Christ our Lord.

Double Congratulations to my personal people Mr & Mrs Joy Olorunfemi Samuel Olorunfemi aka Papa & Mama Twins.

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Chinese Father Breaks Down In Tears After Son He Tutored Daily For 1 Year Scored 6/100 On A Math Exam

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A Chinese father was reduced to tears after the son he tutored daily for one year scored 6 out of 100 on a math exam.

The father who resides in Zhengzhou, Henan Province, received his son’s exam result on Thursday, June 23, and was filled with disappointment after seeing his math score.

A video trending in the Chinese cyberspace shows the father weeping uncontrollably upon seeing that his son scored only six points out of 100 in Math.

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He could be seen crying in a bedroom and wiping his tears while his wife could be heard laughing in the background.

“I don’t care anymore, my efforts are wasted, let him struggle by himself!” the father was quoted as saying.

According to the child’s mother, her husband taught their son math for hours every single day for the past one year and his result really broke his heart.

She said he was mainly disappointed because their son has been failing consistently in school and has been scoring between 40-50 points in previous examinations.

In other news, a heartbreaking video circulating online shows the moment a businesswoman broke down in tears after opening a bale she bought and discovered that it was filled with rags.

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In the video, the distraught woman who sells second-hand clothes also known as Okrika, could be seen crying uncontrollably as she checked the clothes in the bale.

According to her, she borrowed the money used in buying the bale and now she’s left with nothing because she can’t sell the rags.

She is heard saying, “God wetin I go do? I no get husband, children dey for school, God where are you”.

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Man Stripped Down To His Underwear After He Entered RCCG Church Disguised As A Woman

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A man was stripped down to his underwear after he was caught disguised as a woman at a branch of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) in Lagos.

It was gathered that the suspected criminal went to the RCCG Solid Rock Chapel in the Ojodu area of Lagos state, in the early hours of Thursday, June 30, dressed as a woman.

A security guard became suspicious of him and moved to confront and search him as part of the security protocols of the church.

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While being searched, the security guard discovered that he was a man disguised as a woman and found three phones in his possession.

An eyewitness who gave an account of the incident said;

“He came to church this morning as a woman but our guard suspected him.

“After much talk, they suspected he is not what he claimed to be. The church guard had to undress him before we discovered that he is a man but dressed to church like a woman.

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“We don’t know his mission yet but he been handed over to the police.

“We found three phones with him and a lot of things. He also said he is a Yahoo guy and that he has a Facebook account where he deceives people as he disguises as woman.”

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