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In Bissau, Buhari Pledges Promotion Of Democracy In Africa

President Muhammadu Buhari has reaffirmed the commitment of Nigeria to work with Guinea Bissau and other countries towards sustaining and strengthening democracy and good governance in the entire African continent.

Malam Garba Shehu, the President’s spokesman in a statement, said President Buhari gave the assurance in the course of a one-day State Visit to the embattled West African country, Guinea Bissau, on Wednesday.

The Nigerian leader also gave words of encouragement to the people of the country for standing with the democratically chosen administration of President Umaro Sissoco Embaló against threats by undemocratic forces.

The president welcomed the conferment of the country’s highest national honour, the Amilcar Cabral Award upon him and the naming of a major street in Bissau, the capital city, after him.

He said: “In the course of this one-day official visit to Bissau today, we had an opportunity to review the state of our bilateral relations, and to share concerns on the challenges facing us in the region.

”I very much appreciate the naming of two roads in my honour, as well as being conferred with the highest honour of Guinea Bissau.

“I am personally grateful to you, your government and the people of this fine country.

”I believe all of these were possible because of the persevering stand of Nigeria in ensuring that Guinea Bissau remains on the side of Democratic Governance.

“Nigeria’s strong stand through the ECOWAS, in insisting and pushing for the full implementation of the Conakry Peace Agreement by imposing sanctions on nineteen (19) individuals who impeded the implementation of the Conakry Agreement helped to restore peace that now prevails in Guinea Bissau.”

According to him, Guinea Bissau and Nigeria have come a long way, and the cordial relations between the two nations dated back to Guinea Bissau’s liberation struggle from Portugal when Nigeria supported the African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde.

“Nigeria has on its own, as well as through ECOWAS, intervened at critical periods in the life of this country, making immense direct contributions as well as, by supporting international efforts on the peace process in Guinea Bissau.

”This fact has further reinforced our relations, enhanced understanding and trust between our two countries,” he added.

The president then congratulated the people of Guinea Bissau for rallying around Abhay , a name he fondly calls “the energetic and visionary President Embalo.’’

He encouraged the people of Bissau-Guineans to support the entrenchment of democratic values in their country, saying

‘‘You should always ensure that the electoral process is conducted in free and fair conditions.”

Buhari concluded his address by assuring President Embalo of the continued disposition of Nigeria towards reinforcing cooperation with Guinea Bissau both at bilateral and multilateral levels.

On his part, the President of Guinea Bissau praised Nigeria for always standing with them in their 20 years of instability.

“You have assisted us with our elections. You have assisted in stabilizing Guinea Bissau.

”I assure that your support for democracy in this country and the entire subregion is much appreciated by the people, who as you have seen trooped to greet you.”

Embalo assured President Buhari that he will follow in his footsteps in ensuring free and fair elections in his country and leaving on time when his tenure ends.

He also thanked the president for assisting the country with 70 doctors who perform the dual duties of training the Guineans and performing surgeries in the country without their citizens having to travel to Portugal.

On the “Amilcar Cabral Award” conferred on the president and the major street named as Muhammadu Buhari Boulevard, Embalo said the two events reflected the most solemn moment of the country.

According to him, it is also a recognition of the stabilizing role President Buhari is playing in the life of his country, as well as the his defence of democracy and its values throughout the subregion.

Embalo promised to re-invite President Buhari to commission the new Presidential Villa, now under construction even after leaving office, and the edifice is to be named Muhammadu Buhari Villa.

Nigerian officials that received the country’s merit award include: Geoffrey Onyeama, Minister of Foreign Affairs, retired Maj-Gen. Babagana Monguno, the National Security Adviser,

Others are: the Chief of Staff to the President, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari and Ambassador Ahmed Rufai, the Director General of the National Intelligence Agency.

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Domestic Matters, Sarki Abba and the State Chief of Protocol, Amb. Lawal Kazaure also received the awards.

”The President landed in Katsina and is now in Daura, his hometown,” the presidential aide further stated.

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INEC To Conduct Mock Accreditation Of Voters In February 4

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has announced its plan to carry out mock accreditation of voters on February 4.

The commission said the exercise will take place at 436 polling units across the country.

Mahmood Yakubu, INEC chairman, spoke on Friday at a meeting with the resident electoral commissioners (RECs) at the INEC headquarters, Abuja.

Yakubu said INEC is ready to conduct field tests with actual voters, having delivered and tested the bimodal voter accreditation system (BVAS) machines.

“For this reason, and in readiness for nationwide deployment, the commission is conducting a mock accreditation of voters similar to what was done ahead of the recent Ekiti and Osun State governorship elections,” he said.

“The mock accreditation will hold on Saturday 4th February 2023 in 436 polling units nationwide. Twelve polling units have been designated in each state of the federation and four in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) on the equality of the country’s 109 Senatorial Districts for the exercise.

“A comprehensive list of the polling units, including their names and PU Code numbers, as well as their distribution by state, senatorial district, local government and registration area (Ward) will be uploaded to the commission’s website shortly.”

Yakubu, therefore, appealed to registered voters in the affected polling units to appear on the scheduled date with their PVCs for the mock exercise.

“Doing so will help to reassure the public of the robustness of our system and to strengthen our processes ahead of the general election,” he said.

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IGP Recommends New Police Commissioners For Lagos, Ogun

The inspector general of police (IGP), Alkali Baba has recommended the redeployment of two commissioners of police.

The affected commissioners are Frank Mba and Idowu Owohunwa.

In a letter dated January 24, 2023, and signed by Hafiz Inuwa, assistant inspector general of police to the Police Service Commission (PSC), they were recommended for posting to Ogun and Lagos states.

While Owohunwa would be replacing Abiodun Alabi in Lagos, Mba is expected to take over from Lanre Bankole in Ogun.

The proposed redeployment comes less than a month before the elections.

Ikechukwu Ani, spokesperson of the PSC, revealed that the IGP made a recommendation on the matter to the commission.

Ani said the commission is expected to consider the recommendation.

“The Inspector-general of police is deploying the under-mentioned commissioners of police to strengthen the strategic and operational control of the commands”, the statement read in part.

Mba, prior to his posting to Ogun, was the commissioner of police in charge of the border patrol force, Force Headquarters, Abuja.

Owohunwa was the principal staff officer of the IGP.

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Tribunal Sacks Adeleke As Osun Governor

An Election Petition Tribunal chaired by Justice Tertse Kume has sacked Ademola Adeleke as Governor of Osun State.

The tribunal sacked Adeleke following claims of overvoting in some polling units across the State.

In the majority judgement issued by two judges against one, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) ordered that the Certificate of Return issued to Adeleke be withdrawn and issued to Adegboyega Oyetola.

The majority judgement which was read by the Chairman, Justice Tertse Kume said Oyetola scored the majority lawful votes of 314,931 against Adeleke’s 219,666.

 

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