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Buhari: “I’m Not Desperate”, Over The Electoral Act Controversy |RN

… As Olu of Warri marks 3 years on the throne

Ben Dunno, Warri

 

Amid the controversies trailing President Muhamadu Buhari’s decline to assent to the amended Electoral Act, he has allay fears that his refusal was not to encourage manipulation of the electoral process, insisting that he is not in any way desperate to remain in power against the wish of the people.

President Buhari made this clarification in a goodwill message delivered on his behalf by the Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, at the 3rd coronation anniversary of the Olu of Warri, Ogiamme Ikenwoli, held in Warri. He reaffirmed his commitment to a peaceful and transparent process in which every Nigerian would be free to exercise their voting rights.

Dr. Kachikwu noted that the president never sees next year’s elections as a ‘do or die,’describing him as a man who is more than ever committed to good governance and peaceful coexistence of the nation.

“The President as a peace-loving man who strongly believes in the corporate existence of the nation, has assured severally (that he would)  accept the outcome of the 2019 general elections based on his conviction that leadership position is a call to serve the people in whatever capacity one is being elected.”

He urged all Nigerians to be rest assured of a transparent democratic process that would ensure a free, fair and credible process in the build up to the 2019 general elections.

In his remarks, the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar III, expressed the need to reach out to other ethnic groups in the country in order to foster unity, love and peaceful coexistence among the Nigerian people.

He admonished the political class on the significance of peace and good governance as twin factors that must complement each other if it is truly sincere about delivering the dividends of democracy to the electorate.

While applauding the rich-cultural heritage of the various ethnic groups in the country, especially the colorful dresses and dance of the Itsekiri people, the Sultan noted that these had become our strength as they further unite Nigerians as one people rather than divide them.

On the 2019 general elections, the Sultan urged the electorate to be weary of politicians who would come out to make empty promises they could never keep and counseled the people to use their votes wisely to elect leaders who would better their lots as a people.

He condemned the act of vote-buying during elections and advised the electorate not to mortgage their conscience for the token they would be given to sell their votes on election days, stating that by so doing they will also mortgage the future of their children.

He called for prayers for the leaders for God to guide and lead them right in making critical decisions about the future of the nation as Nigeria is the only country Nigerians have as a people.

He also decried the poor state of development of Warri and urged Governor Ifeanyi Okowa who was present on the occasion, and Dr. Kachikwu to convey to the Federal government, the need to develop the area.

In his speech, Dr Okowa, extolled the peaceful disposition of the Olu of Warri, Ogiamme Ikenwoli, which he noted had helped in sustaining peaceful coexistence in the area and its environs.

He said that his administration has laudable programmes and expected to complete some major road projects within Warri and its environs as captured in the state’s 2019 budget.

Earlier in his address, the host, Ikenwoli, drew the attention of both the state and Federal governments to some very critical projects that needed to be carried out in his domain, to further boost the nation’s GDP, job creation, gas exploitation and utilisation, foreign exchange earnings and other economic benefits.    (The Sun)

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2019: Yakasai Implicitly Endorses Atiku For President |The Republican News

 

Okwe Obi, Abuja 

A founding member of Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) and elder statesman, Tanko Yakasai, has tacitly endorsed the candidature of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, and his running mate, Mr Peter Obi, ahead of 2091 presidential election.

The 92-year-old politician spoke in Abuja, at the launch of a book entitled ‘The Coming Revolution: A Manifesto for National Greatness,” authored by Prof. Iyorwuese Hagher.

Yakasai, who did not mention Atiku and Obi names, said it would be an opportunity for the North East and South East to have a taste of the proverbial national cake.

“2019 would be a very important election in our history. It would afford a very good section of the country an opportunity to have its own share of the national cake. I’m talking about our brethren from the south eastern part of Nigeria.

“There is also a section in the North that has never produced a president; that is the North East. It has produced a prime minister once. That was under a different constitution. The South East and North East have never produced a president for Nigeria.

“If it happens that the running mate of Buhari is able to win the election after him, and if God grants him the wish of ruling for eight years, it may likely come back to the North East. If you add it up it would come to 20 years.

“And it would go back to the South and anybody can win because it would be open to South East, South West and South-South. If by whatever reason power stays in the North, after the South West has ruled for eight years it would be 20.

“It would go to the South and stay there for 8 years. If it is the wish of God for the South East to get it, that is how long they will wait for it,” he added.

He lamented the constant change of political parties by politicians connotes the lack of integrity.   (The Sun)

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2019: Only God Can Stop Buhari From Winning – Bature |The Republican News

“Only God can stop Buhari from winning the 2019 presidential election. You will remember this day… only God will stop Buhari and not Atiku Abubakar.”

Gyang Bere, Jos

 

Rufus Bature, a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and candidate for Plateau North Senatorial District, believes that only God can stop President Muhammadu Buhari from winning his election and not PDP’s presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar. He said it is a taboo for his people in Northern Plateau to be refugees and enslaved in their own land.

What are your fears about President Muhammadu Buhari’s re-election bid?

Honestly, I do not have any fear. Only God can stop Buhari from winning the 2019 presidential election. You will remember this day that I said only God will stop Buhari and not Atiku Abubakar. Buhari will win his election without any obstruction. I am not a Prophet but from what I see, and what I hear, Buhari will win the election. I have the confidence that Buhari will get more votes in Plateau and in all parts of the country than he got in 2015, because different groups are mobilising for massive votes for him and the APC in 2019. I have not seen anybody that will thwart his re-election, not even Atiku Abubakar.

APC is swimming in trouble waters following the outcome of its party primaries where some governors have insisted that the national chairman must resign, don’t you think that it is a sign of defeat for the party ahead of the 2019 general elections?

You should expect that everybody will want to belong to a house that is very busy and if that is so, you will expect these intrigues, squabbles and blabbing in the APC. But at the end of the day, I am assuring you that APC will come out stronger and victorious in 2019.

With this crisis, don’t you think your National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole should resign?

Why should he resign? Unless they have found him wanting with clear cases of mismanagement, clear cases of corruption or cases of ineptitude. If he is not found wanting in any of these why should he resign? One thing with him is that as a Labour man, he has been so combative to an extent that people are not comfortable with him but I believe that he should give a little ear to whoever has a complaint. Like thepresident said, he should not bar people from going to court, if you genuinely feel that you are aggrieved, you can seek for redress in the court of law because that is what our constitution says. The Constitution of APC cannot be above the Constitution of Nigeria; therefore, I agree with Mr. President that whoever feels aggrieved should seek redress in any court of law.

Lalong came into power in 2015 on the basis of protest votes, do you still believe that he will win in 2019?

I am very optimistic that APC will form the government in Plateau State, it will form the government at the national level and I am optimistic that I will be part of the government that will be formed at the national level. We are all human beings, nobody is 100 percent right, we have our weaknesses; we are looking at these weaknesses and trying to make amend. But I believe rational thinking people and people who are objective on the Plateau, considering the circumstances that we met when we came on board and looking at what this government has done, will treat us fairly, we need to be looked at from our performance and not from any sentimental issue or bias point of view.

Most Plateau people and the Beroms who are the majority in the Northern zone are affected by killer herdsmen attacks and they appear not too comfortable with the APC government, how will your party win election when the people appear angry with APC?

We started APC on the Plateau together with the current governor, I know how many people voted APC from my own constituency, despite that and to be magnanimous in victory, Governor Lalong appointed me as Secretary to the Government, if it was just because of the vote that my people gave, I wouldn’t have been the Secretary to the Government. One of the first thing we did together was to look at this issue of crisis, and the first person that the governor consulted was the Gbong Gwom Jos. The second Group of people was the Fulani, we started a meeting, which culminated into a committee that was set up; it sat for months and brought up a very germane recommendations and the government started implementing some of the recommendations, which brought peace until the recent carnage.

What happened in the state is like a baby that is sucking breast and all of a sudden he was pull off the breast, you will certainly hear a striking cry, that is what happened. My other folks who were predominantly in PDP never believed that any government can emerge outside PDP, they were not ready for anything call hand-over, they were not ready to believe that it was not a PDP person that was going to emerge, therefore whatever that this government is doing that is good, they have never seen the good in it. If the government that I served were not magnanimous in victory, we would not have the appointment that we have. I have the record because I was the Secretary to the Government, all the political appointments that were made; even though they might not be quality but quantity wise, no single tribe on the Plateau has up to half of the appointments that the Berom people have, I stand to be corrected.

The governor was magnanimous enough in the Northern zone to allow me to nominate people into positions of Special Adviser, Senior Special Assistants, Board members, commissioners and so on. Infact, in Berom land, 95 percent of the appointees were nominated by me. We have built roads that are spread all over the local government areas that did not even vote for him. The governor said we are all Plateau people and therefore, they should benefit. Sometimes I feel so sad when people say this government has not done anything for Berom people, it is very glaring that this government is an all inclusive one. Lalong’s government is not anti-Berom.

At what point will you say this issue of land grabbing started in your home, Barkin-Ladi?

It has been there since 2001, there are many communities that were sacked and the people never went back to their land. So it is not today, it did not start under this government; if you go to Riyom Local Government area, you will see the same thing. This thing started right from the onset and because it was not nip in the bud, it continued unabated. When you go to Gashish you will see what I am talking about, I wept the day I went there. It was not in 2015 that this land grabbing started, it has been there for a very long time.

But do you believe that the Military are colluding with the Fulani herdsmen to attack your people just like Gen. TY Danjuma (Rtd) alleged in Taraba?

I have heard people saying that but I don’t have any incontrovertible evidence to prove that the Military is colluding, I don’t have any evidence. People might have their own evidence but I as a person don’t have any evidence.

What do you suggest the Federal Government under President Muhammadu Buhari should do to the people of the area before 2019?

I appeal to him to do what he has said through the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo when he came to sympathise with the victims of the crisis and the president repeated it when he came to Jos recently. He said nobody who has been chased out of his community that will not go back unless he does not want; he is making every effort to make sure that people go back to their communities. One thing I want to emphasise, is that we must learn to respect, tolerate and understand one another, it is very important. When the lands were grabbed the other time, nobody made any effort to reclaim and take the people back to their communities.

You mean the PDP government did not make effort to take displaced persons back to their homes in the state?

Yes, of course. Nobody made any effort; today President Buhari is trying to take these people back to their communities even those who left since 2001 but some people are being very critical about it. It is unfortunate that some are saying is it only now that the government is concerned about the people; we are aware that things have happened, what did the leaders do during that time that the people were first displaced? I don’t want to start making comparison, all I want is that the people should be treated fairly, we should do justice, whether there was justice or no justice, we will be accountable for our own period. Whatever happened during the PDP period, is for them and will be judge by what they did, but as far as we are concern, we are doing what we believe is right, we are doing what we believe is just.

Plateau North Senatorial Zone is predominantly PDP, how do you intend to emerge APC Senator from the zone?

I want to contest that presumption that the Northern zone is predominantly PDP. If you look at the combination of members of the House of Assembly, about four of them are APC and four of them are PDP; for House of Representatives, out of the three of them, two are APC, while the senator is PDP and the governor is APC. APC is the home of Plateau North as far as I know. PDP was the government in power during the 2015 elections and the governor was from the Northern zone that was why some people thought that PDP was strong in the zone. But with what is on ground now, APC is in total control of the zone and the 2019 election result will show clearly that Northern zone is predominantly APC.

You resigned your position as Secretary to Government of Plateau State, to run for the senate. What is the motivation?

As a human being, everybody should have an ambition; I have had the opportunity of serving Plateau State in the House of Assembly for eight year, representing my constituency, Barkin-Ladi. My performances at the House of Assembly then are there for people to talk about; and having served in that capacity and not just a member of the House but as a leader of the minority in the House, I did my utmost best. We were the Guinea pigs that came in, in 1999 after a lonely political arena in Nigeria; with robust workshops and seminars held within and outside Nigeria, to give us a good start. I feel that the knowledge I acquired then while in the House is still with me and therefore I feel I should deploy the knowledge at a higher level. The experience which I had while in the House of Assembly for eight years and having been out of government for another eight years and returning to serve as Secretary of Government now in a ruling government; were the things that propelled me to seek for the position of Senator to represent Northern Zone of Plateau State.   (The Sun)

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APC Has No Governorship, Other Candidates In Rivers, Appeal Court Rules |RN

On October 10, 2018, a High Court in Port Harcourt nullified the nomination of Mr Tonye Cole as the APC governorship candidate in Rivers

Tony John, Port Harcourt

The Court of Appeal, Port Harcourt Division, on Wednesday confirmed that the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State will not field any candidates during the 2019 General elections when it dismissed the appeal filed by the factional Rivers State APC Governorship Candidate Mr Tonye Cole.

The Court of Appeal, Port Harcourt Division also confirmed the judgment of Justice Chinwendu Nwogu that Rivers State has no ward executives, local government executives and State Executives as it dismissed the appeal filed by Sacked Rivers State APC State Chairman, Mr Ojukaye Flag-Amachree.

The Court of Appeal Port Harcourt Division Special Panel Chaired by Justice Abubakar Yahaya dismissed the two appeals for lack of merit.

The third appeal which centred on the judgement by Justice Chinwendu Nwogu was dismissed because it was filed out of time and therefore statute barred. Delivering his judgement Justice Yahaya, said the appeal against the Justice Chinwendu Nwogu High Court judgement on the party Congress crisis lacks merit, adding that the application for joinder failed to observed the 14 days rules of Appeal.

Delivering judgement on the substantive appeal number CA/PH/198 which bordered on Justice Nwogu’s judgement, the panel ruled that the Ojukaye faction failed to seek leave of court before appealing against the judgement.

Justice Yahaya ruled that the judgement delivered at the lower court was a consent judgement, adding that Ojukaye faction should have done the needful legally before approaching the court. Counsel to Ibrahim Umar and 22 others, Mr Patrick Luke said that the rulings of the Court of Appeal confirm that the judgement by Justice Chinwendu Nwogu remains valid and is still subsisting. Counsel to Ojukaye Flag-Amachree, Emenike Ebete noted that the court heard the three matters and in her wisdom arrived at the rulings confirming the judgment of Justice Chinwendu Nwogu.

He said: “Arguments were taken but the Court in its infinite wisdom held that in appeal 461, that is the substantive appeal, that the consent judgement of the High Court of Rivers state and by provision of the constitution, we ought to have sought leave of court to appeal against that consent judgement. That is their own decision and they struck it out.

“The one for the candidates and the party state executives, we were dismissed on the ground that it was a pre-election matter, that we did not bring the application within 14 days after decision was delivered on October 10. What that means is that, we will approach the Supreme court to contest the judgment.”

On October 10, 2018, a High Court in Port Harcourt nullified the nomination of Mr Tonye Cole as the APC governorship candidate in Rivers; on the ground that his nomination is a function of illegality and unconstitutional acts.

The court also nullified the state’s APC senatorial, House of Representatives and House of Assembly primaries conducted on the premise of the illegal ward congresses.

The High Court further nullified all the elections of Rivers APC Ward Executives, Local Government Executives and State Executive Committee that arose from the illegal ward congresses.

In a judgment delivered by Justice Chiwendu Nwogu, in a suit filed by Ibrahim Imah and 22 others, against the APC, the court declared that the ward congresses of Rivers APC were illegal because they were not conducted in line with the APC Guidelines and Constitution.  (The Sun)

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Ezekwesili To Buhari: Sign The Electoral Bill |The Republican News

                                           Ezekwesili and Buhari.

The presidential candidate of the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria, Mrs. Obiageli Ezekwesili, has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to sign the Electoral Act Amendment Bill 2018.

Ezekwesili, who made call at a news conference in Abuja on Monday, said signing of the bill was for the development of democracy in Nigeria.

She said the constitutional will of Nigerians had been expressed through elections since 1999, and therefore the chain should not be broken in the 2019 General Elections.

According to her, without a democratic and electoral system that enables quality candidates to participate, it will be impossible to get competent leaders into elective offices across the country.

“The 1999 transition to civil rule and the election that ushered in our latest experience of democracy was the beginning of the longest ever and unbroken cycle.

“This democratic turn of event may not mean much seeing that it has not translated to good governance and improvement in quality of life to citizens.

“The 2019 elections are looked upon as the moment Nigeria must entrench electoral integrity and level playing field for all contestants.

“I have called this press conference to demand that President Buhari signs the Electoral Act Amendment Bill transmitted by the National Assembly into law,” she said.

The Bring Back Our Girls convener added that failure to sign the electoral bill would undermine transparent and democratic growth of the country.

“The President should immediately request the National Assembly to re-transmit the amendment bill for his swift assent.

“The President must be reminded to avoid all actions that will mar the genuineness of the 2019 elections,”she said.

(NAN)

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Guber Elections: Okorocha, Amosun’s Threat A Concern To APC |RN

     National Chairman, All Progressives Congress, Adams Oshiomhole

Kamorudeen Ogundele, Abuja

 

The All Progressives Congress is worried by the decision of some aggrieved members, including the Ogun State Governor, Senator Ibukunle Amosun, and his Imo State counterpart, Rochas Okorocha, to shun the APC governorship candidates in their states,  The PUNCH has learnt.

Some members, who were aggrieved by the party’s primaries, had vowed to work against the APC candidates in their states.

Besides the two governors, some lawmakers, who could not secure the party’s tickets have also vowed to work against the party’s candidates, except the President.

The APC National Chairman, Mr. Adams Oshiomhole, had earlier on Wednesday said the party could win the governorship elections in Imo and Ogun without the support of Okorocha and Amosun.

It was, however, learnt that despite the statement of Oshiomhole, the party leaders were concerned that some aggrieved members could spoil the chances of the APC.

This, a source said, informed the decision of the party to convene a consultative forum with governorship candidates, state chairmen and secretaries at the national secretariat of the party in Abuja on Thursday.

The source stated, “The party is disturbed by the tales from some states and decided to tackle the issues head-on so as not to play into the hands of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party.

“We know the party is waiting in the wings and looking for those who will be spoilers among us, so we have decided to be ahead of them.”

Another chieftain of the party, who would not want his name revealed because of the sensitive nature of the issue, cited Imo, Ogun and Zamfara states as places with high number of dissenters.

Okorocha, Amosun and the Zamfara State Governor, Abdul-Azeez Yari, are aggrieved that their preferred candidates did not get the tickets of the party.

The source said, “In Imo, Governor Rochas Okorocha has allowed his son-in-law, Uche Nwosu, to pick the nomination form of another party while he remains in the APC to contest the senatorial seat. We see this as handwriting that the governor will work against the party in the governorship election.

“His position and body language is sending wrong signals to our members, so we need to quickly move in to motivate our members in order to heal many wounds as may be possible. Many of them think the crisis must be handled fast to avoid a gale of defections.

“Also in Ogun, the governor has said he is working towards the re-election of President Buhari but said he would work against the party’s governorship candidate.”

Plateau Governor, Simon Lalong, confirmed this fear in his opening remark at the consultative meeting.

Lalong said, “We have started to hear people say that they will campaign for the president, not the governor. The party structure is one and if they are not going to campaign for the governor, don’t campaign with us.

“Raise another structure in Abuja and remain in Abuja because if you come you are likely to dilute the message of the APC.”

Lalong urged the APC to release the campaign council so as to start working for the party.

“That is why I am also of the opinion that the earlier you release the campaign council, the better. Some of the items we intend to build into our campaign slogan are also for the president,” he added.

According to a communiqué signed by the APC National Publicity Secretary, Mallam Issa Lanre-Onilu, the consultative meeting resolved that party leaders must campaign for all candidates of the party (presidential, governorship and legislative positions).

“A situation where leaders engage in selective support by picking and choosing candidates to campaign for and support is anti-party.

“The Enugu State Chairman, Ben Nwoye, distanced the state chapter from the condemnable actions and utterances of a senatorial aspirant in the state, Mr Osita Okechukwu,” the communiqué stated.

The meeting also called on governorship candidates to run an issue-based campaign centred on the unprecedented achievements of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration which is evident in all the states of the federation.

It urged the party’s governorship candidates to run an inclusive campaign by bringing onboard former aspirants.

The communiqué added, “The party’s governorship and other stakeholders were also encouraged to domesticate ongoing peace and reconciliation efforts by the National Working Committee.

“The consultative meeting passed a vote of confidence in the NWC led by the National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole. The NWC was urged to continue its effort to protect the best interest of the party and pursue efforts to achieve peace and reconciliation in the party.”

Speaking earlier at the opening, Oshiomhole said the consultative meeting was called to get feelers from states and to chart a way forward for the party’s victory in the 2019 general elections.

He lamented that there were some aggrieved members working with governors in states ruled by the opposition to ensure the APC did not have candidates.

“I am aware that we have some instances where some people have to go to court. And they are in two parts. There are some who are asking the court to declare them as the winner…where people are going to court to claim that there were no primaries such persons are not looking for solutions. Such persons are more or less agents of the opposition because if the court were to uphold their prayers, it means our party would have no candidate in such states. And the implication is that opposition will win such states.”

Oshiomhole said members had the responsibility to work wholeheartedly to deliver our candidates in their respective states.

“To be honest, l think that each and every one of you has one important role to play. Your actions could help the process of reconciliation and it could also deepen division. It would be helpful. No matter what anybody from outside who is helping you to reconcile with those who contested with you, your action would be far more potent in the process.”

Oshiomhole urged the candidates to woo over those who contested the party’s tickets against them.

“For example, in constituting your campaign organisation, if you find that there were those who wanted to be governors like you and who indeed have what it takes to be governors but the system can only produce one candidate, l think it would be best for you to identify such persons and bring them close and integrate them into your campaign organisation or if possible ask them to head the campaign.”

Also speaking, the Niger State Governor, Mohammed Bello, stressed the need to bring back aggrieved members.

“What we should do is to extend hands of fellowship to them and like the national chairman said, make them part of your campaign council. It will help to douse tension and give them a sense of belonging so that by God’s grace when we win in 2019, we must carry them along.

“The reconciliation committee is a good effort but we should set up similar committees at the state level. What we are doing in Niger State which we feel can help in other states is to refund the money they used in buying the forms. It will help douse a lot of tension. It is good that we are one united APC and together on one platform.”   (Punch)

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Don’t Boycott 2019 Elections, House Committee Warns South-East Residents |RN

The House of Representatives Committee on Electoral and Political Matters has advised residents of the South-East to shun agitations by pro-Biafra activists for the boycott of 2019 general election.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Dr. Chukwuemeka Ujam led a four-man team of the committee on an oversight visit to the Independent National Electoral Commission in Enugu State on Thursday.

Ujam, who represents Nkanu East/Nkanu West Federal Constituency, spoke in reaction to calls by some pro-Biafra groups for residents to boycott the election.

He urged the people residing in the South-East to participate actively in the election as a measure of enthroning good governance through which they can demand for redress on their perceived marginalisation.

He said the activities of the pro-Biafra groups were major setbacks in the various political efforts to let South-East residents vote massively in previous elections, so that their votes could count.

Ujam called on the people to “exhibit total sense of maturity by ignoring such calls’’.
The lawmaker urged the people to relay the message of mass participation in their respective constituencies.

He said such problems which hinged on voters’ apathy would be tackled head on this time around across the zone through sensitisation and enlightenment campaigns.

Ujam, said that the visit was to ascertain INEC level of preparedness ahead of the 2019 elections, assuring that the committee would tackle all issues raised by principal staff of the commission in the state.

Earlier, INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Enugu State, Dr Emeka Ononamadu, appraised the result of the just-concluded Continuous Voter Registration in the state as very encouraging.

Ononamadu noted that INEC registered over 549,326 new voters during the exercise, but harped on the cancerous problem of `voters’ apathy’ in the South-East based on Biafra sentiments as a source of worry.

He also narrated the internal problems of lack of water and inconsistent power supply as some of the major problems confronting INEC offices in the state.      (NAN)

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