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How BVAS deceived me – Ikpeazu *Dismisses device as monumental fraud!



Okezie Ikpeazu, has very few good words to spare for the Bimodal Voters Accreditation System (BVAS) machine, employed by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for the conduct of this year’s general elections, saying it is nothing but, “a monumental fraud.”

Ikpeazu, a two-term, eight-year governor, who came into power in 2015, not only lost his bid to continue his political career at the Senate, but his Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), which has been in power in the state for the last 24 year’s except for the few months the Progressives Peoples Alliance (PPA), which took over in 2007, almost attributed the two political misfortunes to the innovative model of INEC.

He said in an interview that he made a mistake to have trusted that the system would work as the electoral commission had promised, only for it to be used to manipulate the system and give victory to the wrong people.

Hear him: “If I want to be frank with you. I’m one of the people that the BVAS deceived. I’m one of the people who believed the stories around BVAS. No two elections are the same and this particular season of the election was difficult. I give you an example, at some point, more than 102 polling units with more than 100,000 registered voters could not vote in one of the LGAs in our senatorial district.

“The margin of lead for the first three candidates was not up to 30,000. Ordinarily, when the margin of lead is not up to what’s outstanding the right thing should be done. Again, same election was declared inconclusive at some point by the same INEC returning officer who later came back to say she was now ready to declare the results as directed from “above.” That is obviously neither here nor there.

“The Nigerian system creates victims and creates scenarios of varying victory, but I said to myself, that I needed to teach Nigerians that, though an incumbent, if you try an election and it doesn’t work, you can move on. Especially if you really think that it is a call to serve.”

The governor, who maintained that he was not overly bemoaning the development, reasoned that instead, having always been on the move with a lot of activities, he would always find other things to do.

Hear him: “As governor, even with the very very tight schedules of a Governor, I was able to write a book in Biochemistry. So I’m certainly not a man of combat. I can get busy doing other things and I have callings in other spheres of human endeavour. I think I have given my eight years, no vacation, and never slept anytime earlier than 2am. My family needs me too and I need to take a break, so, I have moved on.”

Stressing on the failure of the BVAS, however, he cautioned Nigerians to always ask questions about everything they were offered, adding that if INEC had been properly scrutinised, the hiccups and failure of the device, would have been detected early enough.

He said: “With all the advertisements about the BVAS, the human element and interferences in the entire process is still above 90 per cent. We thought it was a Super Technology, but it’s nothing. They’ve taken it to a point where somebody sits back to say I feel like I should look at the BVAS but under a different circumstance, the same person will say I don’t feel like looking at the BVAS now or the results are still uploading. So, if you look at the scenarios you see opportunities for people to be mischievous. Unfortunately, also characters within INEC advised some of the ad-hoc staff not to bother about the BVAS.

“So, some of us believe that there was something like that. From our situation room, what we get and the tumbling results that eventually manifested on the result sheets do not tally. It’s a monumental fraud.

“What I expected, especially from our young ones, is that a deeper interrogation of the shortcomings of BVAS would have been brought to the fore. I’m not a very strong person in terms of ICT, but those who know it would have just walked up to us to say, this thing cannot do what they’re saying it will do and we take it up from there. Nigerians going forward should henceforth interrogate some of the stories they sell to us.

Expectations were very high and people thought we had it covered end to end but you can now see that it’s not so. I don’t know how we can pick up from here. I encourage Nigerians to remain resolute. If we had interrogated properly and asked the right questions, we’ll not be here. That’s why particularly I advised those who can bear to bear and those who can’t bear should follow the law to ventilate it. I said so because if I could not ask questions and I trusted, it’s a risk I brought upon myself, otherwise, why should you trust them? If you took the risk, then bear the brunt.”


Speak now! Catholic priests want Kaduna gov’s reaction to El-Rufai’s Islamisation comments



Uba Sani, must either officially distance himself or affirm the declaration of his predecessor Nasir El-Rufai that Muslim-Muslim executive branch leadership, have come to stay or stand up to denounce it immediately.

These were the demands from Catholic priests in parts of the North, who as they expressed disgust at the statement, which showed the former governor captured in a video, which went viral last week, practically celebrating the continuation of an arrangement, which he first introduced in 2019, and which has now been sustained with the new governor having a Muslim deputy.

Clerics from Kaduna, Kafanchan and Zaria chapters of the Nigerian Catholic Diocesan Priests Association (NCDPA), in a public letter to Sani, urged him to declare his position on what they described as political supremacism in Kaduna state and Nigeria, as part of their reactions to the video, which has raised a lot of dust.

El-Rufai, who in his speech to Muslim clerics in the state, had recounted how after instituting an all-Muslim executive in the state himself and made it permanent in the state, the arrangement was pushed through at the national level with the election of Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Kashim Shettima, as President and Vice President, respectively on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Informing that while Nigerians were actually believed that religion was not the issue in pushing through with the ticket, when it was in fact the case, the former Governor, who spoke in Hausa, declared that the arrangement had come to stay and would last for the next 20 years at the initial stage after Tinubu, adding that the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), had been defeated by the outcome.

But an apparently thoroughly upset Catholic priests, in an open letter on Thursday, said: “Having soberly considered the contents and implications of such communication by a former state governor who is known to be your close ally, we feel compelled to write you, to know where you stand with regard to the commotions Mallam El-Rufai intends to propagate and perpetuate in our state,” the letter reads.

“We write you today because we are responsible stakeholders in the affairs of our beloved state with our own congregations and followers. Mr governor, we do not intend to conclude that you are in agreement with all the content of the former governor’s utterances, as you have given no explicit reason to suggest so (yet), even though you were present at the occasion! We therefore earnestly expect your direct official reaction to the utterances of your predecessor in office.”

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Buhari spent more than $19billion on revamping four refineries without result – Nasarawa gov



Barely two weeks after his exit, the records of former President Muhammadu Buhari, have come to to the fore with one of them indicating a damning verdict, as he was said to have sunk a whopping $19billion in trying to rehabilitate the nation’s four refineries, without anything to show for it.

Abdullahi Sule, Governor of Nassarawa State, who used the former President abysmal failure to make a case for supporting the removal on petroleum products, compared the huge wastage to the amount Dangote refinery, cost to give Nigeria a facility with the single chain production in the world.

None of Nigeria’s four refineries, located in Kaduna, Port Harcourt, and Warri is currently operational despite the huge amount sunk to resuscitate them, most of the funds borrowed from foreign lending agencies, the latest being the securing of $1.5million loan for that of Port Harcourt.

Bemoaning the situation, the governor, said: “Look at how much the President Buhari administration spent on fixing the refineries. In the eight years, he spent more money than the $19 billion that Dangote spent in building a refinery. That is one and a half times the size of our three refineries combined.”

A guest on Sunrise Daily, a breakfast programm of Channels Television on Thursday, Sule, pinned the payments of subsidy on Nigeria’s non-functional refineries, adding: “From the government side, I think we didn’t do a good job. When the (former) President (Buhari) came in in 2015, prices of crude oil dropped by less than 30 dollars. At that time, there was zero subsidy.

“Our three refineries in Nigeria today have a total of 450,000 barrels per day, Dangote is 650,000. He spent $19 billion on building it. We spent, not building a new one, but in maintaining these refineries; more than $19 billion in eight years, yet they have not been maintained.”

The Dangote Refinery, Africa’s biggest oil refinery, which took off in 2017, drew Nigerians and global personalities in different fields of life, including four African Presidents at its commissioning on May 22, 2023 by Buhari.

Sule, who also lamented the complexity of maintaining the refineries due to their diverse components, added: “The refinery is actually a component for water, crude, and diesel, about five or six different components that constitute a refinery. The moment the government says we are going to spend $2 billion this year on the refinery. The $2 billion is spent and as far as the President is concerned, they have given $2 billion.

“Now when it goes to the three refineries that we have in Port Harcourt, Warri, and Kaduna. Then they say, you now take $700 million, you now take $800 million – by the time they take that, it goes to fix maybe only one component out of the four components that are all bad. The ideal resolve would have been to allocate the major funds to one of the refining states to fix it totally before allocating the remainder to the other states.

“So, zero work is done. These are the true realities of what is happening, and that is why none of the refineries is working. These are truly the problem, we have not really managed this thing well.”

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Japan goes tough on asylum seekers, enacts new law to check abuse



Despite desperate attempts to block it, including a ruckus, which broke out in parliament Japan went ahead on Friday to enact an immigration law that would see the government deporting failed asylum seekers, even with members of civil society, joining in the pushback.

The law gives refugees only three chances to try after which they would face deportation, unlike before when applicants could stay in Japan during the decision process, regardless of the number of attempts they made to secure refugee status, reports, say.

The revised law will “protect those who must be protected while strictly dealing with people who have violated rules. There are many people who misuse the application system to avoid deportation,” Justice Minister Ken Saito, was quoted as saying, adding that this had persisted even when such people were not fleeing danger or persecution.

Last year, Japan accepted just 202 refugees out of some 12,500 applicants, and separately allowed 1,760 people to remain in the country due to “humanitarian considerations,” including more than 2,400 evacuees from Ukraine under a different framework.

Activists staged rallies against the revised law, but a protest from the opposition bloc in parliament was voted down by the ruling coalition, which holds a commanding majority.

“It is intolerable to deport people, even if they have criminal records, to countries that may violate their human rights” and where “their life and freedom would be in danger”, the Tokyo Bar Association said this week.

The ruling Liberal Democratic Party says the revisions will bring better access to medical care and accommodation options for people whose asylum applications are pending.

Japan’s immigration detention conditions have been under scrutiny since the 2021 death of Wishma Sandamali, a 33-year-old Sri Lankan woman.

Sandamali was not an asylum seeker but had been held for overstaying her visa after seeking police protection, reportedly to escape an abusive relationship.

Her family are seeking compensation of more than $1 million from the government over her death.

Sandamali reportedly complained repeatedly of stomach pain and other symptoms, and campaigners allege she received inadequate medical care.

Controversy and political pressure over the incident led ruling lawmakers to drop a push to enact similar legal changes to immigration rules two years ago.

Shoichi Ibusuki, a lawyer for Sandamali’s family, told AFP on Thursday that the revised bill was “equivalent to having a button to execute those who seek refuge by deporting them”.

“Japan’s refugee recognition system is not working,” he said, with officials turning down applications quickly, sometimes without face-to-face interviews.

Amnesty International also said in March that Japan should scrap the proposed revision to immigration laws, calling the country’s detention policies “harsh” and “repressive.”

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