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NECO to make its exams compulsory nationwide

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From Fred Ezeh, Abuja

National Examination Council (NECO) said on Tuesday, that it’s pushing for the support of stakeholders to make its examinations compulsory for all public secondary schools in Nigeria.

It said that lobbying and consultations have commenced across the country, confirming that there has been impressive response from all states and other stakeholders.

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NECO Registrar, Prof. Dantani Ibrahim Wushishi, in a statement released in Abuja by NECO spokesman, Sani Azeez, indicated that some state governors have made executive pronouncements on the matter and had even followed it up with actions.

He said: “Few weeks ago, Ebonyi State governor, Dave Umahi, made a pronouncement on the matter, directing that NECO examination be made compulsory for students in all public secondary schools.

“On Tuesday, we secured the approval of the Cross River State Government to make all public examinations conducted by NECO compulsory for all public schools in the state, and more would be secured soon.

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“The examinations involved are the National Common Entrance Examination (NCEE), Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) and the Senior School Certificate Examination (SSCE) in all their schools.”

He said that Cross River State Governor, Prof. Ben Ayade, gave the approval following a request made to that effect by the Registrar/Chief Executive of NECO during a courtesy visit to the governor in Calabar.

He said the governor commended NECO for playing an important role in the educational development of the country, and assured the Council that the State Government will continue to support NECO to enable her deliver on it’s mandate.

The Governor, Azeez added, expressed satisfaction with the performance of Cross River Indigenes in NECO SSCE in the last five years, and stated that there was the need for the state to key-in into all NECO conducted examinations.

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The NECO Registrar, Prof. Wushishi had earlier commended the state government for its positive disposition to the Council, and explained that NECO, being the only national indigenous examination body in the country deserves the support of all Nigerians.

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Only a credible primary will make APC retain power in Ekiti – Ojudu

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From Priscilla Ediare, Ado Ekiti

The Presidential Adviser on Political Matters, Babafemi Ojudu, has appealed to members and leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ekiti State to ensure a peaceful primary that is devoid of violence and bloodshed, stressing that it is the only way the party can help itself to retain power in the state.

Ojudu also called on the Governor Mai Mala Buni-led National Caretaker executive to conduct a free, fair, credible primary that can produce the right candidate that will be able to confront candidates from other parties and win the June 18 governorship poll.

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Ojudu made the appeal on Saturday in Ado-Ekiti, when he was interacting with newsmen on the APC primary to hold on January 27.

“I want to appeal to party men to be civil and peaceful. The only glory we can record in our party is to be peaceful and for our leaders from Abuja to conduct a primary we can all be proud of. Don’t let us be violent just because of the internal election.

“Primary of any party should be a day of celebration of democracy and not a day of bloodshed. We should be able to do this election without rancour. I am of the belief that politicians who want to use money to hire thugs to win elections should rather use such money for the development of our unemployed youths.

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“Our party officials should be fair and transparent. They should also be efficient with the process.

“I commend Governor Buni-led executive for allowing direct primary for this election, so that every member of the party, either rich or poor, high or low can participate. This will enable us to produce a candidate that can face the candidates of other parties.

“If by any means we impose someone or throw up someone who uses money to induce the people, or relying on federal might, we will have a candidate that cannot win or that wouldn’t be acceptable to the party people.

“Let me clarify that this government of President Muhammadu Buhari doesn’t believe in using federal might to win elections, you have to go through the people to get votes.”

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On the aspirant he is supporting in the party for the primary, Ojudu said: “For now, I am not in support of anybody. I want to remain neutral so that I will be able to call all aspirants together and settle their differences after the primary.

“Losing an election is hurting, so we need an arbiter to be able to hold the party together and that is the role I intend to play.

“President Muhammadu Buhari lost election three times. Nobody thought he would ever be President again, but when the time God assigned to him came, he won and it was glorious for him. There is no point bringing guns to win elections.”

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The presidential aide warned aspirants against the use of thugs to beat anyone, saying everyone in the party is useful in winning the June poll.

“The aspirants shouldn’t bring thugs to bash and beat the people. Whoever is causing trouble should be exposed, because Ekiti must be in peace. All of us in APC must be able to come together and work to win in June. This is one election that we can’t afford to lose.”

Ojudu told aspirants to shun vote-buying saying leaders who emerge through such means care less about the people.

“When any leader buys votes to win elections, such leader wouldn’t care about the people, because he would have the impression that he had paid for the votes cast for him by the electorate.”

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He also urged security agencies to be neutral and not work for any of the aspirants.

“The security agencies should also be neutral. They must not work for any aspirant. They should owe their allegiance to the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and their code of conduct as officers of the law. Through this, whoever wins will be that democracy has won.”

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Atiku laments rising insecurity

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From Tunde Omolehin, Sokoto

Former Vice President Alhaji Atiku Abubakar has condemned the preponderance of violence and insecurity across the northern states of the federation.

Abubakar remarked this while in Sokoto, the state Capital to condole Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal over the death of his elder brother who died week.

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The former Vice President wondered why the situation has remained unabated under the present government.

“The unnecessary loss of lives and brigandage that has cascaded into Sokoto state from the North East, where we have been under the siege of terrorists for more than a decade.”

He however extended his condolence to the government and people of the state for the recent killings of some citizens by bandits in the state.

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“Our purpose for visiting you today is two-fold. One is to condole you over the death of your elder brother.

“The second reason is to condole the people and government of Sokoto over the unnecessary loss of lives and brigandage that has cascaded into Sokoto state from the North East, where we have been under the siege of terrorists for more than a decade.

“Now, it has spread to almost all parts of the North.

He prayed that God gives the country a good leader that will spearhead the eradication of the menace.

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In his condolence message, the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan who was accompanied by Governor Mai Mala Buni of Yobe state, three Senators; Barau Jibrin, Bello Mandiya and Ahmed Babba Kaita, extended the condolences of the entire National Assembly to the Governor.

“We have come to commiserate with you, your family and government and the people of Sokoto State on the demise of your brother.

“We have come to condole you. As Muslims, we know that every life must taste death. We pray, especially, for the repose of the soul of our brother.

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“I want to take this opportunity to condole you on behalf of all other members of the National Assembly,” he stressed.

He further remarked: “Your Excellency, you are one of us on loan, having reached the zenith of the House of Representatives where you served longer than you are serving here.”

He said: “the two chambers have asked me to convey their message of condolence to you.”

The Senate President also prayed that God should repose the soul of the deceased.

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Others on the condolence visit to Governor Tambuwal included the Emirs of Anka and Maradun in Zamfara state, Alhaji Attahiru Ahmad Muhammad and Alhaji Bello Muhammad Barmo respectively.

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