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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has expressed worry that the ongoing strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) will impact negatively on its preparations for next year’s general elections.
Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee of INEC, Festus Okoye, who disclosed this on Thursday in Abuja during a one-day seminar explained that the electoral body draws over 70 per cent of the staff need from students of federal tertiary institutions, noted that it is near impossible for members of the National Youth Service Corp (NYSC) to provide all the ad-hoc staff requirements of the commission.
“For the 2019 elections, INEC will recruit and deploy over 1 million ad-hoc staff made up of lecturers and students in federal tertiary institutions and corps members. This category of staff will serve as returning officers, collation officers, supervisory presiding officers and assistant presiding officers. So, it is important and imperative that they are in school a month before the election,” he said.
Following President Muhammadu Buhari’s statement on Wednesday that a “high powered technical committee” would be set up to device ways of ensuring that the implementation of the new wage did not lead to an increase in the level of borrowing, organised labour on Thursday gave the Federal Government up to Dec. 31 to send the tripartite committee report on N30,000 minimum wage to the National Assembly.
Addressing newsmen in Lagos at a joint meeting of three labour centres—the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC) and the United Labour Congress (ULC), NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, said that the organised labour cannot guarantee industrial peace and harmony in the country if the wage report was not passed for implementation on or before Dec. 31.
“We reject in its entirety the plan to set up another `high powered technical committee’ on the minimum wage. It is diversionary and a delay tactics. The national minimum wage committee was both technical and all-encompassing in its compositions and plan to set up a technical committee is alien to the tripartite process,’’ he said.
The Senate and the House of Representatives on Thursday passed a resolution asking the Federal Government to investigate the circumstances surrounding the assassination of former Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh (retd).
In a motion sponsored in the Senate by Senators Binta Masi Garba (Adamawa North) and Bala Ibn Na’Alla (Kebbi South), the upper chamber also urged security agencies to search and rescue Badeh’s personal staff abducted and held hostage by his assailants.
In same vein, The House urged the Inspector General of Police (IGP) and Director General (DG) of Department of State Services (DSS) to investigate and uncover those behind the killing of the former Defence Chief.
Meanwhile, the Senate on Thursday confirmed the nomination of Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye and eight others as chairman and members of the Board of the Independent Corrupt Practises and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC).
The other confirmed nominees, whose nominations were sent to the Senate by are Yahaya Dauda (North-central); Abdullahi Saidu (North-central); Hannatu Muhammed (North-west); Justice Adamu Bello (rtd) (North-west); Dr Grace Chinda (South-south); Okolo Titus (South-east), Obiora Igwedebia (South-east) and Mrs Olubukola Balogun (South-west).
It subsequently adjourned plenary to Wednesday, January 16.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, has described critics of the ongoing Trader Moni programme being implemented by the Federal Government and the Bank of Industry to empower petty traders as absurd; stressing that the programme that has affected millions of lives.
The Vice President who was speaking at the Command Centre of the Trader Moni programme located at the BOI headquarters in Abuja, said the programme is not a vote-buying measure employed by President Muhammadu Buhari ahead of the 2019 general elections and could not have been set up primarily to secure votes as alleged.
“In any case, it was approved by the senate and the entire National Assembly. If a programme is duly approved by the National Assembly and we are going out and implementing that programme and doing it as vigorously as possible, I don’t understand where anyone will get that kind of notion from, it’s a very weird notion,” he said.
Temidayo Taiwo-Sidiq is a Political Journalist, Analyst and Social Change Advocate with major interest in Nigerian Politics, Governance and Sports.