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Tension in Ondo as gunshots rock polling unit, boat capsized

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Sporadic shootings have been reported at a polling unit in the Oke Ijebu area of Akure at the ongoing governorship election in Ondo State.

Ondo police spokesman, Tee-Lee Ikoro, confirmed the incident, adding that mobile police personnel had been promptly drafted to the area.

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said on Twitter that those shooting were thugs from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

The opposition party said the plan was to scare away voters from the polling unit.

Also, a boat conveying electoral materials and officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to the Ilaje Local Government Area of Ondo State capsized this morning.

The boat was said to have capsized on its way to deliver voting materials to polling units in the Ilaje area.

No death was recorded as all the passengers were reportedly put on life jackets while onboard.

The Police Public Relations Officer, Tee-Leo Ikoro, who confirmed the incident, however, said the development would not affect the election.

He added that the materials were not affected either.

The Deputy Inspector General leading the police team for the election, Leye Oyebade, said on Friday that adequate measures had been put in place to ensure maximum safety during the poll.

He said tactical squads had been deployed in strategic areas apart from police manning the polling booths.

Oyebade said, “We have been able to put a robust mechanism on ground that is going to work; a mechanism that it is going to give us the desired result, which is safety.

“We have deployed to the riverine areas at least three per unit. We have deployed men to all the collation centres and given adequate protection to INEC officials, and materials in all the necessary areas that are meant to be covered.

“Our preparation has been ongoing before now behind the scene. We have been able to crime map the state and noted the threat analysis.

“We will not be distracted. We have enough personnel to address the issues of banditry, kidnapping and all of that. We have our technical platform to track and do the needful.

“We have adequate number to address the supervision of this election; personnel are sound technically. We are good to go. We have been able to structure the terrain, the waterways, land and air, all entry and exit points. We have been able to get adequate personnel lectured, trained and tutored to be professional.

“So, with the personnel we have on ground, appropriate logistics and with the mindset to sacrifice, because this is a major event to celebrate our democracy, the police officers’ morale is very high. We know that the police and other security agencies are ready to protect lives and property.

“We have been able to support in terms of protection of INEC officials and transportation of INEC materials that has begun for some days now and has been going on without any issue.”

He also said, “We have a code of conduct guiding the personnel that have been deployed. They have been given a tag with their names and pictures on it to identify them in the places they are posted to. “Their names and mobile phone numbers are also with the officials at the various places they are posted. That is how we will curb fake or illegal policemen.

“We have also sent out dedicated mobile numbers- 07049960674 and 09152784339. These two numbers are for members of the public to have access to us through calls and text messages.

“If they think there is an urgent matter going on, they can send a message, pictures or videos to us through WhatsApp on this number: 07049936417.”

But the Transition Monitoring Group (TMG), a coalition of over 400 civil society organisations, on Friday condemned what it described as an invasion of the state by some governors.

The Chairman, Transition Monitoring Group, Dr Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi, said at a press briefing this constituted a threat to the peaceful and credible conduct of the election.

Also, the Independent National Electoral Commission has denied the allegation by the PDP that it appointed a townsman of Governor Rotimi Akeredolu as its chief returning officer for the election.

National Commission and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, gave the clarification in a statement on Friday.

The PDP had on Thursday alleged that the electoral umpire had appointed the Vice-Chancellor of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Prof. Eyitope Ogunbodede, as the chief returning officer for the governorship election.

The Chairman of the PDP National Campaign Council and Governor of Oyo State, Seyi Makinde said Ogunbodede is a known crony of Governor Akeredolu of the All Progressives Congress and hails from Owo, the same hometown as the candidate.

Makinde said Ogunbodede could not be a fair party in the proceedings by virtue of his association with the governor and as such, would not guarantee a free and fair election.

But in dismissing the report, Okoye said the returning officer for the election was not from Ondo State and not from the OAU.

“The attention of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has been drawn to a press conference addressed by the Chairman of the PDP National Campaign Council and Governor of Oyo State, Mr Seyi Makinde, on Thursday, October 8, 2020 to the effect that the Commission has appointed the Vice-Chancellor of Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Professor Eyitope Ogungbenro Ogunbodede, as the returning officer for the Ondo governorship election taking place on October 10, 2020.

“While the commission will not be drawn into speculations relating to the performance of its constitutional and statutory functions, it is imperative to set the records straight for the benefit of the people of Ondo State and the integrity of the electoral process.

“It is the sole responsibility of the commission to appoint a returning officer for the Ondo governorship election and does not share this responsibility with any individual, group, or political party.”

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Lady offers to donate kidney to Ekweremmadu’s daughter

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A lady identified as Martha Uche has offered to donate her kidney to Sonia, daughter of Ike Ekweremmadu, former deputy senate president.

Ekweremadu and his wife, Beatrice, were arrested and charged to court for allegedly bringing a child to the UK for organ harvesting.

The couple were subsequently remanded in custody in the UK while investigations are ongoing.

In a video making the rounds online, Martha said she had a dream where she was instructed to save Sonia’s life.

She said, “I want to do that because I need to help the girl, she is dying. They have already showed me in my dream that I should help the girl.

“I’ve already seen her a long time ago. Even this morning I still had the same dream so I need to do it fast.”

When asked what her demands were for offering to donate her kidney, Martha said, “I do not have any demands for now. I just need to save the girl’s life; that is the most important thing for now.”

The former deputy senate president had written to the UK high commission to support a visa application of a “donor” listed as Ukpo Nwamini David.

In the letter, Ekweremadu said Ukpo was undergoing “medical investigations for a kidney donation to Ms Sonia Ekweremadu”.

Although the police had said the donor was 15, data from his international passport indicate that he is 21 years old.

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Attackers bomb police station in Kogi, kill inspector

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A police inspector has been killed by gunmen in an attack on a police station in Kogi.

The attack was on the Eika-Ohizenyi area of Okehi LGA, Kogi State.

The gunmen were said to have attacked the station with explosives in the early hours of Friday.

The Kogi police spokesperson, William Aya, confirmed the attack in a statement.

He stated that Edward Egbuka, Kogi police commissioner, had visited the scene of the incident, adding that more operational assets had been deployed in the area.

“Meanwhile, part of the area command office was razed by dynamite used by the attackers,” the police spokesperson said.

“Sadly, a police inspector died in the exchange of fire with the hoodlums, before the area commander and a detachment of military in the area reinforced the scene of the incident and the attackers fled.”

Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello, has directed the deployment of security personnel in the area.

A statement by the state Commissioner of Information, Kingsley Fanwo, said, “The executive governor of Kogi State has directed the office of the state security adviser to mobilize adequate security personnel and equipment to the affected area to ensure watertight security and restore confidence in the citizens as the state government implements an effective action plan to avert reoccurrence, while also working closely with the security chiefs in the state as well as the people in the affected area.

“We wish to appeal to residents of Okehi to cooperate with security agencies as necessary measures will be put in place to curb violent crimes in the area and also flush out the criminal elements bent on denting the security credentials of our dear state which is comparatively the safest in the country today.

“All the broadcast stations of the state have been directed to publicise the curfew for public enlightenment.”

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INEC Gives Atiku, Tinubu, Others One Week To Present Running Mates

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INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has asked the presidential and governorship candidates of the 18 registered political parties to pick and submit the lists of their running mates in the next eight days.

INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, said this on Thursday in Abuja at a meeting with the Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs).

This means that the presidential candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar; All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu; and New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), Engr. Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, and others have about a week more to nominate their vice presidential candidates to the commission.

According to him, while the conventions and primaries of candidates by political parties for the 2023 general elections end on Thursday, the nomination of the candidates and their running mates commenced on Friday and ends a week later.

“For the next one week from tomorrow, 10th June, all political parties are required to submit their list of candidates for national elections (presidential/vice presidential, senatorial and house of representatives) latest by Friday, 17th June.

“For state elections (governorship/deputy governorship and state houses of assembly), the list of candidates shall be uploaded from 1st to 15th July as already provided in the Timetable and Schedule of Activities for the 2023 General Election already released by the Commission,” Yakubu said.

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He also said that all political parties are required to upload the details of their candidates for each constituency to the INEC Candidate Nomination Portal (ICNP).

The INEC boss said that to achieve this objective, four officials recommended by each of the 18 political parties were trained in the procedure for uploading the nomination forms to the dedicated web portal.

“Confidential Access Codes to the portal have already been given to each Political Party to facilitate the uploading of its nominations.

“For emphasis, the commission wishes to remind Political Parties that only the names of candidates that emerged from democratic primaries as provided by Sec. 84 of the Electoral Act 2022 shall be submitted to the commission,” he said.

He added that the list of all presidential and governorship candidates must be accompanied by the names of their running mates (that is vice presidential and deputy governorship candidates) without which the nomination is invalid, warning that all nominations must be uploaded to the portal on/or before the deadlines.

He said, “All nominations must be uploaded to the portal on/or before the deadlines. The portal will automatically shut down at 6.00pm (1800hrs) on Friday, 17th June 2022 for national elections and 6.00pm (1800hrs) on Friday 15th July 2022 for state elections.

“With this innovation, the commission has eliminated the physical interface between party officials and INEC staff for the purpose of submitting the list of candidates for the 2023 general election.”

Yakubu said that a nomination centre has been set up at the commission’s headquarters to receive and process all nominations by political parties, including dedicated telephone lines to serve as help desk for any party that may need assistance.

Journalists later visited the nomination centre, where the INEC boss said that each of the 18 registered political parties were expected to submit 1,520 nominees or 27,360 total for all the parties.

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