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I’m crazy and mad, Okorocha declares

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Imo Okorocha

Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State on Wednesday declared that he is ‘crazy’ and ‘mad’.

He, however, added that his madness has nothing to do with his mental health but on his passion to make Imo better than he met it.

Okorocha said this during the inauguration of the New Imo State High Court Complex in Owerri, the state capital.

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According to Okorocha, his crazy style of governance has produced results which can be seen in the area of infrastructure.

He said:

“I’m crazy and mad not because something has affected my medulla oblongata but because of my vision for Imo State. When I came in, I was baptized with the name OkoroHausa because I did not school in this part of the world.

“I broke protocols and bent rules because such is allowed to get to wherever you want to get to.

“I came here with a mandate to make Imo better. I came to practice an unusual style and I apologize for my style of getting to where I want.

“My crazy system has worked for me, it has produced results.”

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Coronavirus has affected his eyesight, Boris Johnson says

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Boris Johnson

The UK prime minister Boris Johnson has revealed his eyesight has been affected by the Coronavirus disease.

Johnson contracted Coronavirus and was hospitalized in April, and spent several nights in intensive care battling the disease.

Johnson told the daily Downing Street press briefing on Monday that he was “having to wear glasses for the first time in years” after suffering coronavirus.

“I’m finding that I have to wear spectacles for the first time in years – because I think of the likely effects of this thing – so I’m inclined to think there’s some … I think that’s very, very plausible that eyesight can be a problem associated with coronavirus,” he said.

Johnson’s comments come after top adviser Dominic Cummings said he made a 60 mile round trip from London to Barnard Castle in Durham to check if his eyes were good enough to drive back to London.

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Cummings made the statement in defence of his controversial decision to disobey lockdown rules and leave London to travel to Durham when his wife became unwell.

He said he had fallen ill with ‘COVID symptoms’ of a headache and fever the day after arriving in Durham.

After recovering, Mr Cummings said he got expert medical advice and was told he could go back to work but decided to drive with his wife because the virus had affected his eyesight.

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Cummings said his wife did not want to risk the drive back to London and they agreed they should go for a short drive.

Mr Cummings said:

“My wife was very worried, particularly as my eyesight seemed to have been affected by the disease.

“She did not want to risk a nearly 300-mile drive with our child given how ill I had been.

“We agreed that we should go for a short drive to see if I could drive safely, we drove for roughly half an hour and ended up on the outskirts of Barnard Castle town.

“We did not visit the castle, we did not walk around the town. ‘We parked by a river. My wife and I discussed the situation, we agreed that I could drive safely, we should turn around and go home.”

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My eight-day detention was horrible, wife of journalist arrested because husband criticised Lai Mohammed

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Mrs Dorcas Jolayemi, the wife of a journalist detained for criticising Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has accused the operatives of the Kwara State Police Command of bugging her phone and raining insults on her.

Mrs. Dorcas further said the police detained her for eight days, adding that during that period she was rendered incommunicado without access to a lawyer nor communication with her son.

WuzupNigeria reports that Mrs Dorcas’ husband, Rotimi Jolayemi, had written a poem and recited the same on social media in criticism of Mr Lai Mohammed. Angered by the poem, the minister had allegedly ordered Rotimi’s arrest.

In a bid to nab Mr Rotimi, the police in Kwara went on an arrest spree, taking Mrs Dorcas into custody and keeping her for eight days. The police also arrested Mr Rotimi’s younger brother, one Mr Joseph Jolayemi, on April 28. His phone too had allegedly been bugged. One John Jolayemi, an elder brother to Mr Rotimi, was also arrested.

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The trio would be released when Mr Rotimi, accompanied by a lawyer, presented himself at the police station a week later.

After their release, Mrs Dorcas said they were hospitalised for almost a week with bouts of malaria.

Narrating her ordeal in a The Punch Newspaper interview, Mrs Dorcas said:

“On April 29, 2020, policemen came to my house in Ilorin, Kwara State, but I was not at home. I had gone to visit my brother-in-law. I was told that when they realised I was not at home, they came to my brother-in-law’s house in a Hilux van. They were about four policemen altogether. They said they had come to arrest me and I stood up. They kept asking me where my phone was and I told them it was with my son.

“They said I must follow them to their station with my phone. Eventually, I got the phone and we left. On getting to the State Criminal Investigation Department, they began to interrogate me. They asked why I obstructed the arrest of my husband. I asked them what they meant by that.

“They asked me when last I spoke with my husband and I told them I spoke with him in the morning. They said they wanted to arrest my husband and he fled to Maro in Kwara State. They said I was the one who advised him to run away and switch off his phone. They played a recording of my phone conversation with my husband.

“Apparently, they had bugged my phone and that of my husband. I admitted that, indeed, I told my husband to run away, but it wasn’t a crime because I didn’t harbour him. I only asked him not to come home, which is what a typical wife would do. I heard the police wanted to arrest him and I didn’t know the reason why they wanted to arrest him. I told him to run away because I wanted him to be safe. They said for that, I would pay for it. I was brought before their boss and the man insulted me, calling me a stupid woman. He said I shouldn’t have advised my husband to run away. The man said I would pay for it and they took my statement. I was there from April 29 to May 6.”

She added,

My husband’s younger brother, Mr Joseph Jolayemi, was arrested on April 28. He was arrested because of my husband. At the time of his arrest, he was accused of possessing a stolen cell phone. However, on getting to the SCID, he was interrogated. The police asked him questions about my husband. They subsequently played a phone conversation he had with my husband. It was obvious that his phone had also been bugged. My brother’s older brother, John Jolayemi, was also arrested.

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INEC begins electronic voting in 2021

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INEC

ELECTRONIC Voting Machine (EVM) will be used for future elections in the country beginning from next year, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has indicated.

But, the forthcoming governorship elections in Edo and Ondo states will run on the existing order, the agency added.

It said its decision on e-voting is in line with the demands by Nigerians to deepen the use of technology to conduct elections.

The agency has suspended Continuous Registration of Voters (CVR) to prevent the health risks associated with it as a result of COVID-19.

According to the details of the conduct of elections and voting in line with the guidelines for the management of Coronavirus Disease as released yesterday, polling unit layout shall be redesigned with e periodic disinfection of chairs, tables and work areas, as well as adequate ventilation.

It said the threshold for Voting Points shall be increased from 500/750 to 1,000/1,250.

It also clarified that any voter who does not wear a face mask will be disenfranchised.

The commission also unveiled as part of “Policy on Conducting Elections in the Context of the COVID-19 Pandemic,” uploaded on its website that:

“The Commission recognises the critical role that ICT will play in an electoral process that is being vastly reshaped by the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the growing demands by Nigerians for the deepening of the use of technology in our elections.

“Consequently, the Commission shall:

  • Continue to apply relevant, value-for-money technology in all aspects of the electoral process and election management.
  • Regularly validate and clean up the biometric Register of Voters by removing multiple registrants and deceased persons.
  • Suspend the Continuous Registration of Voters (CVR) for the time being to prevent the health risks associated with it in the context of COVID-19.
  • Continue to make available its electronic channels for voters to check their registration status.
  • Pilot the use of Electronic Voting Machines at the earliest possible time (not Edo and Ondo), but work towards the full introduction of electronic voting in major elections starting from 2021.
  • Although the commission was not specific on whether it will seek constitutional backing for EVM, it said it acted in line with Section 160 (1) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and Section 153 of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended),
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It said:

“Section 160 (1) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) empowers the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to by rules or otherwise, regulate its own procedure or confer powers and impose duties on any officer or authority for the purpose of discharging its functions. The Commission is also empowered by Section 153 of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) to issue regulations, guidelines and manuals for the purpose of giving effect to the provisions of the Act.”

On the governorship elections in Edo and Ondo states, it said:

“As already announced by the Commission, the dates for the Governorship elections in Edo and Ondo states remain 19th September 2020 and 10th October 2020 respectively.

“Dates for the four postponed by-elections in Bayelsa, Imo and Plateau States, as well as other by-elections that become due during the COVID-19 pandemic will be announced by the Commission following its established procedures.

“The Commission will engage with the legislature and other stakeholders to explore ways of responding to the rising cost of conducting frequent by-elections, especially in consideration of the Supreme Court position that votes belong primarily to political parties, as well as the Commission’s records, which show that only in 10% of all by-elections since 2015 did the party that won originally lose the election.

“The Commission will engage relevant authorities, including the legislature, to designate election as an essential service to enable the Commission function effectively in times of national emergency.”

“Conducting elections in a pandemic such as COVID-19 is yet uncharted waters. Only very few jurisdictions have any experience with this.

“That notwithstanding, the Commission is committed to conducting all elections that are due within the extant legal framework. However, in so doing it will put a premium on public safety and mitigation of health risks from COVID-19. Citizens must be assured that they will be safe while participating as voters, candidates and officials.”

On the conduct of election during the COVID-19 pandemic, INEC said it will enforce a no face mask, no voting measure.

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It also said Methylated Spirit and cotton wool will be provided for the disinfection of the Smart Card Readers (SCRs).

It said:

“The most immediate challenge that COVID-19 poses to the electoral process is health-related. In order to protect voters, election officials and other stakeholders in the electoral process, the Commission shall implement the following: Infrared thermometers will be supplied and used at the Registration Area Collation Centres, the Local Government Area Collation Centres and the State Collation Centres.

The use of face masks is mandatory for all involved in the election process and must be worn at all election locations. The Commission shall provide face masks for all election officials.

“Alcohol-based hand sanitizers will be provided for election officials at the polling units. Methylated Spirit and cotton wool will be provided for the disinfection of the Smart Card Readers (SCRs) after the fingerprint of each voter is read.

“The rules of physical distancing shall be enforced at all election activities, including stakeholder engagements, training, queuing at Polling Units, etc.

“All protocols issued by the NCDC, Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, State Committees on COVID-19 and other relevant health authorities shall be observed by election officials and all stakeholders.

“The Commission shall work with the PTF and health authorities to have in place a system of voluntary COVID-19 testing for INEC staff before and after deploying for elections. “

As for voters and Election Officials showing symptoms of COVID – 19, the policy said:

“The Commission shall work with the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 and health authorities in the states having elections to develop a protocol for dealing with persons who show symptoms of COVID-19 at election venues.

“Where an election official, a voter or any other person present at an election venue shows symptoms of COVID-19, the prevailing protocol shall be observed; the person must be isolated; from other persons at the venue; the attention of the security personnel should be drawn; the dedicated number for COVID – 19 emergencies shall be called; and if the affected person is an election official, the Commission must be notified through the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC).”

INEC also came up with a long list of protocols for the conduct of elections and voting.

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It added:

“All ad hoc staff databases in the commission will be harmonized for better management. To reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19, the Commission shall reduce to a minimum interstate movement of staff, including ad hoc staff, for off-season and bye elections.

“The rule shall be that only shortfalls requested by the States are filled from outside the state. As much as possible, all election staff will be sourced in-state. d. Transportation of election staff shall comply with COVID-19 containment protocols.

“Consequently, there shall be a reduction in the number of passengers per vehicle on election day from 14 to 7 for buses, and from 12 to 6 for boats. Motorcycles and tricycles must be used sparingly with one passenger per motorcycle and two per tricycle. All passengers and drivers must wear face masks and it shall be mandatory and the responsibility of vehicle owners to provide hand sanitizers for occupants of their vehicles.

“In the establishment of Voting Points, in order to reduce the number of points in a Polling Unit to be monitored and controlled for COVID-19 compliance, the threshold for Voting Points shall be increased from 500/750 to 1,000/1,250.

“In the light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Polling Unit layout shall be redesigned by the Commission to ensure substantial compliance with the protocols established by health authorities. Among other things, social distancing, general hygienic conduct and enforcement of COVID-19 prevention protocols shall be emphasized in the redesign.

“There shall be a two-tier queuing system at the Polling Unit – one outside and the other in the voting area. Voters will be brought into the voting area periodically to prevent overcrowding. Tags and twines may be used to ensure crowd control and maintenance of social distance.”

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