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Gov. AbdulRazaq’s female nominees wow Kwara Assembly

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Screening for Kwara State commissioner-nominees entered day two on Wednesday, with the cabinet picks wowing the lawmakers with their eloquence and clear roadmaps of how they thought the government could deliver basic amenities and reposition the state for greater heights.

The nominees discussed various strategies to tackle the menace of teachers resisting deployment to villages or quackery, local government administration and grassroots development, tax and revenue generation, provision of water, and raising funds to build durable infrastructure and attract investments.

The six nominees who appeared on Wednesday were Murtala Olarewaju (Oyun); Aremu Abosede Deborah (Irepodun); Aisha Ahman Pategi (Pategi); Florence Olasumbo Oyeyemi; Lafia Aliyu Sabi (Baruten); and Ahmad Fatimoh Bisola (Ilorin West).

Sabi, whose huge contributions to the Otoge struggle and humility were hailed by all the lawmakers, was asked to bow and go — a rare exception to the rule of the 9th Assembly which had earlier ruled out the practice.

Commending his magnanimity and contributions to community development, most of the lawmakers said there was no point drilling a man who not only conceded the party ticket to a rival but also supported him during the election. 

Speaker Yakubu Danladi explained the role Sabi played in his own life as a young man and his contributions to smoothening the victory of the ruling All Progressives Congress. Both men sobbed as Danladi extolled the qualities of Sabi, leading to minutes of silence in the chamber.

Sabi, 49, is an administrator and former chairman of Baruten Local Government. 

Speaking at the confirmation screening, Ms Ahman-Pategi, said she would consider widening the tax net of the state through wealth creation and more investments instead of raising the tax rate which may worsen poverty level.

“I believe job creation is the (answer) to security challenges in our nation,” she said, adding that one major reason donor agencies hardly give money is because of lack of trust that such funds would be properly utilised.

She said the government must get its priorities right and ensure that funds are committed for what they are meant for — a key strategy she said would earn the trust of donors and hasten development in the state. 

Oyeyemi, a teacher, called for the establishment of a teachers’ training institute in Kwara to develop the capacity of teachers. She however said self-motivation and proper welfare package would be required to drive interest in the profession. She also called for investment in educational infrastructure which she said was lacking in public schools.

“Motivation goes beyond just paying the teachers. They need the right environment, training and retraining, they need to be told that we care for them,” she said, adding that a deliberate policy is in place to end a culture of teachers staying away from rural communities.

Olarewaju, a local government administrator and retired teacher, blamed the crisis of development at the grassroots on nepotism, lack of enough qualified manpower and low commitment to place public interest above other agenda.

He also said anyone without teaching certificate has no business in the classroom.

“If you can’t allow a non-medical doctor to treat a patient, it is unfair to ask anyone not trained to teach to be in the classroom,” he said, responding to the arguments over whether government should retain holders of Ordinary National Diploma or Higher National Diploma as teachers in the state.

He urged those affected in the recent screening of teachers to acquire relevant training permitted by the Teachers’ Registration Council of Nigeria, saying such persons may then be reabsorbed into the system.

Bisola, another teacher, was also asked to bow and go — the second time since the screening began on Tuesday.

The last batch of the nominees would appear before the lawmakers on Thursday.

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Xenophobia: South African Police detain 180 foreign nationals

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180 foreign nationals have been detained by the South African police for storming the UN refugee agency in Pretoria where they staged a sit-in protest. 

The protesters whose protest centered on their demand to be relocated to another country after a spate of xenophobic violence in South Africa in September, stormed the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) on Thursday November 14 after they were informed of a court order giving them three days to vacate the site.

“One hundred and eighty two men and one woman were taken into custody by the police at different police stations,” said provincial police spokeswoman Mathapelo Peters in a statement.

AFP reported that Peters said the sit-in was cleared and hundreds of women and children were bussed to a repatriation centre on the outskirts of Johannesburg as “temporary accommodation”. 

The protesters who were held on trespassing charges and expected to appear before the Pretoria Magistrate Court on Monday November 18, reportedly threw rocks and other objects when being dispersed with water cannons by security operatives. 

“One hundred and eighty two men and one woman were taken into custody by the police at different police stations,” said provincial police spokeswoman Mathapelo Peters in a statement.

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Boat Conveying Journalists Covering Bayelsa Election Capsizes

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A boat conveying journalists across flooded parts of Sampou community in Kolokuma Opokuma Local Government Area of Bayelsa State on Saturday capsized and threw the four occupants into the water.

According to the News Agency of Nigeria, the boat was carrying four journalists covering the governorship elections, including its correspondent.

The journalists were returning from a polling station when the incident happened and left the victims submerged.

However, the timely intervention of sympathisers saved the journalists whose mobile phones, cameras and recorders were drenched.

Flood had submerged many parts of Amasoma, Yenagoa and parts of Sagbama, a development that displaced polling stations.

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Armed men invade INEC office in Kogi community, chase officials, observers into hiding

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The atmosphere was tense Saturday night at about 10 p.m. in Ugwolawo community, Ofu local government of Kogi State, as thugs who claimed to be from Zamfara State invaded the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) office.

Collation of results was ongoing when the armed men arrived.

For more than an hour, the armed men shot sporadically into the air and are believed to have engaged a police team that arrived later in a shootout.

When they shot sporadically, they shouted on top of their voice for residents of the area to remain indoors and not come out to continue the collation exercise at the INEC office.

Our reporter, among other observers who were caught up in the fracas, had to run into a house and lie down for over an hour.

Residents and election observers were still in hiding at the time of this report.

Efforts to contact the INEC spokesperson and the police spokesperson in Kogi State were unsuccessful as both did not respond to calls and text messages.

Premium Times earlier reported how thugs allegedly loyal to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) invaded Dekina community in Dekina local government of Kogi State in an attempt to hijack results sheets for the Dekina Ward.

The PDP collation agent for the ward, Obaka James, said the results were already collated and being signed by agents, when gunshot sounds rented the air.

Mr Obaka said; “We know the attackers, they had already operated in the morning and their leader was arrested. But we don’t know how he was released again. Now you can see the problems he is causing. But they don’t know that I have collated result with me.”

He said across eight other local governments in the senatorial districts, collation had been done in most wards.”So, why is ours different? Every time, there must be crisis claiming lives in this place. Is election war?”

Earlier, at about 1:13 a.m. on Saturday, thugs had invaded the registration centre for ward 2 in the local government, which is located at Odu Ofomu community and attacked the electoral officers.

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