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Political parties may cause problems in 2019 election

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The Independent National Electoral Commission says the growing number of political parties may pose challenges for the commission in the 2019 general elections.

The Chief Technical Adviser to the INEC Chairman, Prof. Bolade Eyinla, said this in Abuja on Monday at a retreat organised by the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru.

While delivering a keynote address at the event, which was titled, ‘The Dynamics of Managing Political Parties Professionally,’ Eyinla said so far, 68 political parties had been registered.

Eyinla, who represented INEC, said with over 100 political associations seeking registration, the number might increase before the elections which could cause logistical problems, including the production of ballot papers.

The INEC official said if 68 parties participated in the elections, it could also mean that a total of 68 party agents would be at each polling unit, which could cause the elections to be rowdy.

“Currently there are 68 registered political parties in Nigeria. As of today, there are more than100 associations that have applied to INEC to register as political parties. This raises a number of questions which we want this retreat to address,” he said.

Eyinla further stated that he did not know whether INEC would be able to monitor the congresses, conventions and primaries of all parties contesting over 1,000 elective positions each across the nation.

He added, “We are also going to be challenged if these 68 political parties and counting continue this way. We are just a commission. I cannot begin to imagine even as the technical adviser, how we will divide ourselves to monitor party conventions and primaries of 68 political parties across the length and breadth of this country.

“Already we have envisaged some of these challenges and we are coming up with strategies to deal with them in our election project plan.

“Ancillary to this is the fact that political party agents will also increase. I can imagine 68 political party agents in a polling unit. I think these are issues that we have to manage; but most importantly, how do we manage the ballot for 68 political parties?”

Eyinla said if any registered political party is mistakenly omitted from the ballot paper, it could lead to the total cancellation of the exercise.

The INEC official said, “I think perhaps one of the largest ballots that I have seen is that of Afghanistan where the ballot paper is nearly the size of a prayer mat.

“Given our level of literacy, I think that is going to be a major challenge and as we know, the question of exclusion is a major issue in the electoral process.

“The chairman was literally sleeping and waking with the ballot for Anambra State election to ensure that no party was excluded; to ensure that the names and logo of the parties were correct because any slip could nullify the election. So, I think there is a challenge with managing the ballot that will come with the increasing number of political parties.”

The INEC official called on the National Assembly to make necessary changes to the electoral legal framework before July, saying doing so less than six months to the elections would be in contravention of ECOWAS protocol on democracy.

In his address, however, the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, said the multiplicity of political parties was good for democracy.

Saraki, who was represented by Senator Abdullahi Sabi, called on political parties to ensure that neglected groups, including women and persons living with disabilities, were integrated into party structures.

In his remarks, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, said there was a need for parties to have ideologies as this would strengthen democracy and engender good governance.

Source: ( Punch Newspaper )

National News

2020 Finance Bill Exempts Minimum Wage Earners From Tax: Buhari

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President Muhammadu Buhari has revealed that the recently proposed 2020 Finance Bill will exempt workers earning the minimum wage from paying tax.

Buhari disclosed this on Monday in a speech delivered virtually by Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo at the opening session of the 26th Nigerian Economic Summit Group Conference themed: “Building Partnerships for Resilience.”

Also Read: Recession: Nigeria’s Economy On Way To Recovery, Says Osinbajo’s Aide

“We are proposing in the new Finance Act that those who earn minimum wage should be exempted from paying income tax,” he was quoted as saying in a statement issued by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Laolu Akande.

“These provisions which complement the tax breaks given to small businesses last year will not only further stimulate the economy but are also a fulfilment of promises made to take steps to help reduce the cost of transportation and the impact of inflation on ordinary Nigerians.”

 

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Nigeria Will Exit Recession By First Quarter Of 2021 – Finance Minister

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Nigeria Will Exit Recession By First Quarter Of 2021 – Finance Minister

Zainab Ahmed

Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed has revealed that Nigeria would emerge from recession in the fourth quarter of this year or by the first quarter of 2021.

Recall that on Saturday, Nigeria officially went into recession for the second time under President Muhammadu Buhari‘s administration.

Speaking on Monday at the ongoing 26th Nigerian Economic Summit organized by the Nigerian Economic Summit Group and the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget, and National Planning, Zainab said the current recession would be short-lived.

Also Read: Recession: Nigeria’s Economy On Way To Recovery, Says Osinbajo’s Aide

She blamed COVID-19 for the current recession, saying it followed the pattern across the world where many countries had entered an economic recession.

“Nigeria is not alone in this, but I will say that Nigeria has outperformed all of these economies in terms of the record of a negative growth,” Ahmed said.

 

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Court Remands Nigerian Senator, Ali Ndume, In Prison

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Court Remands Nigerian Senator, Ali Ndume, In Prison

Ali Ndume

Senator Ali Ndume, the lawmaker representing Borno South Senatorial district has been ordered on Monday by a federal high court to be sent to prison.

The order follows his inability to produce Abdulrasheed Maina, the former Chairman of the defunct Pension Task Team, whom he stood as surety for in his corruption and money laundering trial.

The high court, sitting in Abuja was presided over by Justice Okon Abang and ordered Senator Ndume to be remanded in Kuje correctional centre.

Also Read: Alleged Money Laundering: Court Orders Arrest Of Abdulrasheed Maina

Justice Abang, however, gave three conditions upon which Ndume can regain his freedom namely payment of N500m bail bond into the Federation Account of the Federal Government and present evidence of such payment in court or the FG sells the property situated in Asokoro, Abuja which Ndume pledge as security for the bond and present evidence of sale and payment of the N500m realised into the Federation Account or he (Ndume) produces Maina, who is believed to have now jumped bail, in court.

Shortly after the pronouncement by the Judge, Senator Ndume was led away from the courtroom by security operatives.

 

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