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Video/Photos: Gambari resumes as Chief of Staff, attends FEC virtual meeting

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Professor Ibrahim Gambari on Wednesday resumes as the Chief of Staff to the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.).

Gambari’s appointment was announced by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, at the Federal Executive Council virtual meeting on Wednesday.

Gambari, an indigene of Kwara State, was part of the meeting.

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He replaces Abba Kyari who died on April 17 from coronavirus-related complications.

Pic 6. From left: New Chief of Staff to the President,Prof Ibrahim Gambari; Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha; Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and President Muhammadu Buhari during a virtual meeting of the Federal Executive Council at the Presidential Villa in Abuja on Wednesday (13/5/20)
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Pic 5. From left: New Chief of Staff to the President,Prof Ibrahim Gambari; Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha; Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and President Muhammadu Buhari during a virtual meeting of the Federal Executive Council at the Presidential Villa in Abuja on Wednesday (13/5/20)
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Pic 3. President Muhammadu Buhari during a virtual meeting of the Federal Executive Council at the Presidential Villa in Abuja on Wednesday (13/5/20)
02492/13/5/2020/SH/Callistus Ewelike/NAN

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INEC seeks CSOs’ inputs on new policy to guarantee voters’ safety

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has sought the contributions of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) to its new policy on conducting elections during the COVID-19 pandemic, in a way that would guarantee safety and security of voters.

The Chairman of the commission, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, made the request at his first virtual consultative meeting with CSOs on Tuesday.

Yakubu described the document recently released by the commission as a living document that required the input of stakeholders for its effective implementation.

“I urge CSOs to consider this policy as a living document, hence the decision to engage with you on how we can strengthen it in a manner that will further engender public confidence.

“On how to encourage greater citizens’ participation in the electoral process and, most importantly, guarantee the safety and security of voters in the process of exercising their democratic right to vote.

” Your comments and contributions to the 10 items listed in the policy document and consequential amendments to the 2019 Regulations and Guidelines for the Conduct of Elections are critical.

” I wish to reassure you that they will be taken into consideration in reviewing the policy as well as the regulations where necessary.

“In addition, we also welcome your input into the implementation of the policy before, during, and after the election,” he said.

Yakubu said the engagement with civil society organizations remained at the core of the commission’s electoral process, assuring that the commission would continue to deepen such engagement.

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Speaking on INEC’s preparations for Edo governorship election, the chairman disclosed that as usual, CSOs would be accredited to observe the Edo and Ondo governorship elections, as well as the upcoming by-elections

“However, in the spirit of deepening the use of technology in our electoral process and also in line with the new reality of conducting electoral activities under the COVID-19 pandemic, accreditation of observers will be done online.

“A dedicated portal has been created by the commission for this purpose and you will be briefed at this meeting on the new procedure.

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SDP denies dissolution of Ondo State Executive

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The National Executive Committee of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) has denied rumors that it has dissolved the Ondo State Executive Committee of the party.

Mr. Alfa Mohammed, the National Publicity Secretary of the party, said this in a statement on Tuesday in Abuja.
Mohammed, while calling for peace and calmness in the party, noted that the malicious social media trending rumor was the work of usurpers and should not be paid any attention.

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He said that for the avoidance of doubt, the NEC of the party had not dissolved any elected state organ of the party neither in Ondo State nor anywhere else across the country.

“We urge the leaders and members of the party in the state to ignore any directive from usurpers who hold no position but are purporting to exercise powers which they do not have to dissolve any organ of the party.

“We are yet to receive any official notification of the resignation of the erstwhile elected state chairman of Ondo State, Chief Korede Duyile.

“It is within the powers of the state Executive Committee of the party to appoint one of its elected members to occupy any vacant position and notify the National Secretariat of such an event.

“However, particulars of the successor who will assume the position in an acting capacity would be forwarded to the national headquarters for ratification or otherwise,” he said.

Mohammed urged party faithful in the state to cooperate with the leaders of the party represented by the elected executives; including the current member of the House of Representatives, Mr. Tajudeen Adefisoye.

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He said that members’ support would ensure the peace and solidarity that had existed in the party since its last state congress was maintained.

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Stop harassing Adesina, Reps tell AfDB board

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Adesina: I’m still AfDB’s president

The House of Representatives has accused the board of African Development Bank of harassing President of the continental financial institution, Dr Akinwumi Adesina.

The House made the allegation at the plenary on Tuesday based on a motion moved by the Minority Leader, Ndudi Elumelu, entitled, ‘Attempts to Tarnish the Image and Hard-Earned Reputation of Dr Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank on Trumped-Up Allegations.’

While unanimously adopting the motion, the House “urge the board of AfDB to halt further harassing of the president of AfDB.”

The House also mandated the Economic Community of West African States Parliament and pan-African parliament to “investigate the matter and resolve same, and thereafter report to the House within a reasonable time.”

In addition, the House urged the Federal Government of Nigeria to also call on all African leaders to intervene in the matter.

Moving the motion, Elumelu recalled that at a conference convened by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa in Khartoum, Sudan, in August of 1963, an agreement was reached establishing the AfDB and the agreement was co-signed by 23 African governments, including Nigeria.

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He further recalled that in 1964, the agreement came into force with a mission of fighting poverty and standard of living on the African continent, as well as promoting the investment of public and private capital through the implementation of projects and programs that are likely to contribute to the economic and social development of the African region.

Elumelu also recalled that on May 8, 2015, Adesina, was elected the presumptive President of the AfDB, being the first Nigerian to hold such office.

According to him, the AfDB, under Adesina’s leadership, has been very remarkable in steering the organisation, and its presence highly visible and impactful in less than five years of his headship.

The lawmaker, however, said,

“The House is concerned that recently, a group of whistle-blowers petitioned Dr Adesina, accusing him of 16 breaches of the bank’s code of conduct, some of which include private gains, impediments to efficiency, preferential treatment and involvement in political activities, which Adesina has continued to deny.

“The House is further concerned that on investigation by the ethics committee of the board of directors, the allegations were found to be frivolous, unsubstantiated, lack merit and, therefore, exonerated Adesina on all 16 allegations.

“The chairman (of the) board of governors, being satisfied that the committee had done a thorough job, having followed all known rules and procedures of the bank in handling such cases, declared Adesina exonerated.

“The House is worried that though the ethics committee of the board of directors followed the established law governing AfDB in arriving at their decision in absolving Adesina of the allegations, the United States’ Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, in a letter to the Chairperson of the bank, Niale Koba, rejected the verdict of the committee and called for an independent investigation into the allegations against Adesina, whose tenure is due for renewal, given the fact that he is the only contender to the office.”

Elumelu added that the House was disturbed that the interference portends grave danger to the independence and laws governing the establishment of the AfDB. He stressed that if the issue was not addressed, it would be tantamount to “undermining the hard-earned reputation of the bank.”

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According to him, the House is troubled that “this action may be an attempt to discredit Adesina from seeking another term at the helm of Africa’s largest multilateral lender.

Elumelu noted that former African leaders, led by former President Olusegun Obasanjo (of Nigeria) and 11 others, in their wisdom, issued a press statement showing the grave danger it portends to disregard the laws governing an institution such as the AfDB, as well stating in clear terms that no nation, no matter how powerful, has veto power over the bank.

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The lawmaker said,

“The House is further troubled that if this sort of witch-hunt and unnecessary harassment is not put to check and discouraged, it may become a recurring decimal, thereby destabilising the stability the bank has enjoyed for decades and the intended results on a steady decrease.”

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