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Network failure leaves Buhari embarrassed at UN event (Photos)


Poor network connection on Thursday prevented Nigeria’s President, Maj.Gen. (Retd.) Muhammadu Buhari, from addressing a United Nations virtual meeting.

Themed on finance for development, the meeting was convened by at the instance of the UN Secretary General, António Guterres.

Buhari’s connection from Abuja had hitches right from the start as he went on and off for seconds before the video connection went off completely, a report by PUNCH said.

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He briefly highlighted the impact of COVID -19 on African countries and how the situation was making it difficult for Nigeria to fund the 2020 budget before he was disconnected by poor network connection completely.

The organisers quickly called on the Prime Minister of Thailand, Prayut Chan-o-cha, to make his own presentation.

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Edo APC, PDP exchange words over party defections



Edo 2020: Obaseki, Ize-Iyamu, others face screening panel

The Special Adviser on Media and Communication Strategy to Governor Godwin Obaseki, Mr Crusoe Osagie, on Wednesday said the Peoples Democratic Party in the state had run out of membership cards due to the mass defection from the All Progressives Congress.

In a statement entitled, ‘With the mass exodus of Obaseki’s supporters to PDP, we have no reason to harass anyone,’ Osagie said the PDP in Edo State ran out of membership cards a few days ago over the unprecedented demands for the cards by thousands of Governor Godwin Obaseki’s supporters.

Osagie said:

“This mass exodus of people into the PDP was widely reported in the media. So, why would a well-established party like the PDP, with tested structures and verifiable track records for electoral triumphs in Edo State, harass anyone desiring to leave the party?

“The APC is in a dilemma and working hard at deflecting attention away from the credibility crisis it is engulfed in, with the status of Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, who has been jumping from campaign grounds to the court to face his N700m criminal trial.”

But the Chairman of the state Media Campaign Council of the APC, John Mayaki, accused Obaseki of holding his aides and other government officials’ hostage to halt the embarrassing wave of resignations.

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Mayaki said:

“It is a laughable falsehood that paints the complete opposite of what truly obtains in the state. Aides appointed by Governor Godwin Obaseki and other government officials are daily resigning their positions in protest of the governor’s abandonment of governance, something he never took seriously, and a realization of the embarrassing defeat that awaits him on the 19th of September.”

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Shifting Edo, Ondo elections, recipe for constitutional crisis – INEC



Amidst calls for a shift in the dates for elections for the Edo and Ondo States’ governorship elections due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) yesterday insisted that to shift the two elections would be an open invitation to a constitutional crisis.

Rather, the commission said it would ensure strict observation of the COVID-19 guidelines and protocols as there would be no voting without face masks.

The commission said it would be using August 8, 2020, Nasarawa State House of Assembly election to perfect the conditions for the two governorship elections in Edo State and Ondo State scheduled for September 19 and October, respectively.

INEC’s National Commissioner and Chairman of Voter Education and Information, Mr Festus Okoye, said in an interview with newsmen yesterday that any attempt to move the two governorship elections outside the stipulated dates would amount to inviting a constitutional crisis.

Okoye, who described the two states’ elections as “the Rock of Gibraltar,” said it would be legally difficult to shift the polls.
He said the two elections were guaranteed by sections 178 (2) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), stating, that “the two elections must be conducted between 150 and 30 days to the end of the tenure of the sitting governors.

“The provisions of these two elections are cast in stones and are, therefore, unmovable. These elections will just have to go on as planned.”

According to him, constitutionally, there are only two instances that elections can be shifted, but both instances do not apply in the Edo and Ondo States.

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For instance, he said elections can be moved forward if, in line with Section 180 of the 1999 Constitution, Nigeria is invaded or in a state of war.

He added that an election can be shifted as stated in Section 305 of the same constitution, where there is a state of emergency, stating that in both cases, they are out of control of the commission.

He explained that as stated in Section 178(2) of the constitution “these days are unmovable and like the Rock of Gibraltar.”
Okoye said INEC was strictly following the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 guidelines and protocols, adding that in line with security guidelines for elections during the pandemic there shall be a strict observation of ‘no face mask no voting procedures.’

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He said the commission had mapped out plans to test-run its preparedness for the two governorship elections with the Nasarawa State House of Assembly election on August 8.

“This is going to be a stimulus election to the Edo and Ondo States’ governorship elections.

“Everything about the election, from media accreditation, security, voters and all that concern the election would be a trial, test-run for what we will do in the two governorship elections,” he stated.

He said the commission would deploy members of the National Youth Service (NYSC) as ad hoc staff for the two elections, while the assistant presiding officers 1, 2 and 3 would also come from students of tertiary institutions.

“Basically, the NYSC would provide the bulk of the ad hoc staff,” he said, adding that there is already a data basis of the NYSC in both states.

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On the voting processes and procedures during the elections, Okoye said there would be level of queues, consisting of the inner queue and the outer queue and that the voters must wear their face masks.

He reiterated that at the collation centres that usually witness a huge crowd, that there would be only an agent of political parties and expressed optimism that there would be full compliance.

For the Edo State governorship election, there will be 15 political parties on the ballot papers although only 14 political parties fielded candidates in line with the guidelines.

On Ondo State, Okoye said 17 political parties would participate in the governorship election.

Okoye said, all things being equal, the Anambra State governorship election in 2021 might be conducted electronically.

According to him, almost all processes of the Edo and Ondo States governorship elections were conducted electronically, starting from nominations of candidates, media accreditation and meetings with security and civil society groups.

He advised political parties to conduct issue-based campaigns, stressing that “election is not war.”

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Okonjo-Iweala Urges WTO to elect a credible candidate for the position of Director-General



Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala on Wednesday in Geneva stressed the need for the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to elect a credible candidate based on merit for the position of Director-General.

Okonjo-Iweala who is among the eight candidates vying for the position, stated this while answering questions from newsmen at a press conference held shortly after her presentation to the WTO General Council.

“Choosing a Director-General for WTO should be on merit. The best person should be chosen to lead an institution that’s having challenges.

“If it happens to be a woman, great. If it happens to be an African its also great. It should be based on merit,” she said while extolling the qualities which make her well suited for the job.

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“The WTO needs leadership and I’m someone with a strong managerial capability with the ability to forge consensus and reforms.

“These bundles of qualities in addition to my leadership quality is what I’m bringing to the WTO,” she added.

Okonjo-Iweala also spoke on various issues ranging from trade implication of COVID-19, challenges to micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMSE) as well as e-commerce.

According to her, e-commerce and the digital economy are vital forms of trade, especially in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

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However, she said, there was a need to address the challenge of the digital divide in developing and least-developed nations – where infrastructure remained a major impediment to such a form of trade.

Similarly, she emphasized the need to strengthen MSMSE – a vital part of the global economy which was adversely affected by the pandemic.

In the same vein, the former finance minister, also said that in tackling COVID-19, if elected as director-general, she would ensure that vaccines are accessible to poorer countries.

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“When vaccines become available, there will be allocation criteria that will ensure that it’s accessible to all,” she said while noting that she will bring her experience as Chair of GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance board to bear.

Other issues addressed by Okonjo-Iweala include fostering relations among member countries to rebuild trust in restoring consensus decision making- in other to strengthen the WTO.

Alongside Okonjo-Iweala are candidates from Mexico, Egypt, Moldova, Republic of Korea, Kenya, UK, and Saudi Arabia vying for the WTO Director-General position.

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