2023 Elections: ECOWAS Pledges Collaboration to Curb Violence
By Adedapo Adesanya
The ECOWAS Commission has pledged sustained collaboration with Nigerian political actors and stakeholders towards holding a violence-free and credible general election in February and March 2023.
In a statement, it was disclosed that the pledge was made by the ECOWAS Director of Political Affairs, Dr Aderemi Ajibewa, at the start of a 4-day dialogue and mediation training and interactive workshop organised for members of the Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC) and other political stakeholders from the north-west and north-east geo-political zones in Kano State, Nigeria on Tuesday.
Represented by a Principal Programme Officer, Mr Ebenezer Asiedu, Mr Ajibewa urged participants to pay attention to the use of dialogue and mediation in addressing election-related disputes as the 2023 general elections fast approach.
He noted that, “The sustenance and enhancement of ECOWAS’ strategic engagement with the electoral process in Nigeria is an indication of our commitment and preference towards using dialogue and mediation in resolving electoral disputes and violence”. This, among others, is well espoused in its 2001 supplementary protocol on democracy and good governance and the 2008 ECOWAS Conflict Prevention Framework (ECPF).
Lamenting that electoral disputes have become a major source of conflicts in West Africa, with violence often triggered or heightened by political patronage and communal and sectarian tensions, he further stressed the need to work together to forestall attendant electoral violence.
He explained that the major task before the participants was brainstorming and collaboratively identifying contending issues around the forthcoming general elections and working out strategies to mitigate potential electoral violence before, during and after the exercise.
The IPAC national chairman, Mr Yabagi Sani, took special notice of the timing of the workshop while opining that the stakeholders are the “custodians of today’s democracy in Nigeria”.
He observed that for significant reasons, the current electioneering processes in Nigeria had attracted the genuine attention of key stakeholders of the electoral process more than at any other time in history.
The opening ceremony was enriched by goodwill messages given by the Kano state Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Daniel Itse Amah, who assured of adequate security provision and detailed intelligence gathering efforts aimed at ensuring violence-free elections.
The representative of the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC), Mr Sulaiman Alkali, deplored the winner-takes-it-all syndrome and disclosed that the Commission is currently saddled with more than 600 electoral-related litigations.
In his goodwill message, the Head of the liaison office of the United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS), Dr James Aji, restated the strategic importance for ECOWAS and UNOWAS to work collaboratively to promote peace and enhance the stability of the region.
The training and interactive engagement workshop are being facilitated by Dr Willie Eselebor, an independent conflict resolution expert, supported by Dr Brown Odigie and backstopped by a team from the Directorate of Political Affairs, ECOWAS Commission.
The workshop will, among others, provide opportunities for reflections on ECOWAS electoral assistance, management of electoral disputes and interventions, as well as practical techniques and skills for dialogue and mediation while also featuring simulation exercises, role-plays and the unearthing of IPAC’s place in the monitoring of the Nigerian Peace Accord.
We Will Fulfil Paris Agreement on Climate Change—FG
By Adedapo Adesanya
The federal government of Nigeria has assured that it is ready to fulfil the Paris Agreement on Climate Change to ensure effective gender inclusion.
This was disclosed by Mr Chris Ngige, the Minister of Labour and Employment, during the inauguration and inception workshop of the project in Abuja tagged The Nigeria Initiative for Climate Action Transparency (ICAT), Just and Gender Inclusive Transition (JGIT) Project.
The project is aimed at helping countries to better assess the impacts of their climate policies and actions and fulfil their transparency commitments.
Mr Ngige said the objective of the inception meeting was to launch the ICAT Just Transition project and increase awareness among the national stakeholders for a better understanding of its implementation.
He said that ICAT, an International multi-stakeholder partnership of the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS), was supporting Nigeria in setting up Monitoring, Reporting, and Verification (MRV) of a Just and Gender Inclusive Transition(JGIT).
The minister, represented by Ms Daju Kachollom, Permanent Secretary in the ministry, said Nigeria had signed a Project Cooperation Agreement (PCA) with the UNOPS, represented by the ICAT management.
According to him, the PCA is to firm up the process leading to the take-off and implementation of the project over a 12 months period.
“The objectives of the project, among others, include developing JGIT monitoring and MRV and ensuring it links with the sectoral MRV system.
“Another objective is to Enhance Transparency Framework (ETF) implemented by the Federal Ministry of Environment to achieve synergy, institutional memory, and stakeholder inclusion and cooperation.
“It will further enable a tripartite cooperation between government, labour, and employer associations to achieve a Just and Gender Inclusive Transition going forward with the implementation of the Paris agreement,” he said.
The minister said that the ICAT project would be implemented by a team of national experts and international ICAT consultants under the supervision of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment.
On his part, Dr Yerima Tarfa, ICAT, JGIT Project Team Lead, said the initiative would help to increase the overall transparency capacities of countries and assess the contribution of policies and development objectives.
According to him, this is by providing appropriate methodological information and tools to support evidence–based policymaking.
Dr Tarfa noted that Nigeria was the largest economy and leading oil producer, and most populous in Africa.
“It faces the unique challenge of having to diversify its economy away from fossil fuels (petroleum, natural gas, and increasingly, coal) while responding to the unmet energy needs of its growing population.
“Nonetheless, Nigeria is turning this challenge into an opportunity by increasing the use of renewable energy, reducing its carbon footprints, and eliminating gas flaring.
“Nigeria’s National Determined Contributions (NDCs) is committed to a 20 per cent emission reduction by 2030 unconditionally and 45 per cent conditional, with focus on power and electricity, oil and gas,” he said.
The team lead said the highlights of the NDCs include ending gas flaring by 2030 and a 30 per cent energy efficiency level by 2030.
He said the inauguration of the inception workshop would provide the opportunity to create awareness and build a national cross-knowledge sharing that would provide a platform for key stakeholders to facilitate the implementation of the Nigeria ICAT JGIT Project.
He added that this would further set up an MRV of Just and Gender Inclusive Transition and its Roadmap for implementation in Nigeria.
Appeal Court Restores Adeleke as Osun Governor
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
An appeal court sitting in Abuja on Friday upturned the judgment of the Osun governorship election tribunal, which removed Mr Ademola Adeleke as Governor of Osun State.
In January, the tribunal declared the former Governor of the state, Mr Gboyega Oyetola, as the authentic winner of the 2022 governorship election in the state.
While Mr Adeleke contested for the position under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr Oyetola flew the flag of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Mr Adeleke was declared winner of the poll by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), but Mr Oyetola, who contested as a sitting governor, approached the tribunal to dislodge the winner.
He argued that Mr Adeleke won through an electoral fraud, over-voting and his prayers were answered, as the tribunal upturned INEC’s decision and declared him the winner.
However, Governor Adeleke appealed the judgement and today, a three-member panel of justices held that the election tribunal erred when it ruled that Mr Oyetola and the APC proved their allegation of over-voting.
The appellate court held that Mr Adeleke was validly elected as the governor of Osun State and restored his mandate.
NDDC Seeks Partnerships to Reduce Dependency on IOCs, FG for Funding
By Adedapo Adesanya
The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) has disclosed plans not to rely on oil multinationals and the federal government to raise funds for development projects in the region but instead pursue Public-Private Partnerships arrangements to drive development in the Niger Delta region.
According to the NDDC Managing Director, Mr Samuel Ogbuku, this PPP model would ease the financial burden of the central government.
Mr Ogbuku, speaking during an Executive Management and staff meeting at the commission’s headquarters in Port Harcourt, announced that a summit was in the offing to enable stakeholders to explore opportunities for collaboration.
He stated the NDDC would not relent in its PPP campaign to bring sustainable development to the Niger Delta region.
“We intend to leverage our PPP initiative during the summit, which will take place in April. It will help us to showcase what we can offer and show the world the future of NDDC.
“We cannot continue to rely on international oil companies and the federal government to raise funds for development projects. We intend to show the world that NDDC has been rebranded.
“We will take the campaign to all relevant organisations. Last week, we were at the meeting of the Oil Producers Trade Section, OPTS, of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Lagos. Henceforth, NDDC will be attending the OPTS quarterly meetings.”
The NDDC boss further stated that the commission would also focus on capacity building for youths in the region.
“We are going to focus on youth development programmes; we have come up with a new concept of working with the Niger Delta Chamber of Commerce in the training of our youths and young entrepreneurs.
“We will show the world that we have young entrepreneurs. The various Chambers of Commerce will help us to make the programme sustainable. We will focus on empowering young people because the government cannot employ everybody.”
On NDDC’s commitment to its contractors, Mr Ogbuku affirmed that the Commission was engaging them to arrive at practicable ways of liquidating the debts saying, “We have been meeting with the contractors, and gradually, all legitimate debts will be defrayed.”
The NDDC boss said there was a need for reform within the Commission in order to bring it in line with the NDDC Establishment Act. For instance, he said, “we are reorganising the directorates to bring the number to only 13 provided for in the Act.”
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