Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Mahmoud Yakubu, has criticised the way security officers were deployed during the 2019 general elections.
Professor Yakubu who spoke during the expanded inter-agency consultative meeting with the committee on elections security in Abuja stressed that a lot of attention was given to numbers rather than setting priorities on strategic deployment.
The special committee formulated by the electoral body, on a regular basis, do an appraisal of the performances of security agencies who participate in the Nation’s Elections.
The meeting had representatives of the Chief of Defence Staff, Chief of Army Staff and Chief of Air staff, as well as men and officers from the paramilitary including Customs, Immigration, Correctional Services as well as the EFCC.
The INEC Chairman in his opening remarks stated that the same approach was adopted during the Kogi and Bayelsa states election, urging the security bosses to rethink the strategies in ensuring a peaceful election period.
On his part the Inspector-General of Police, IGP Mohammed Adamu revealed that anyone who tries to compromise the electoral system during the January 25 re-run Elections in some states will be made a scapegoat.
The Youth Initiative for Advocacy, Growth & Advancement (YIAGA Africa), has presented a report of its observations of the 2019 General Elections.
Presenting the report before officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and other key stakeholders, the group highlighted some of the shortcomings witnessed during the elections and gave some recommendations.
“YIAGA AFRICA noted some lapses in the design, communication and lack of uniformity in the implementation of the guidelines issued by the electoral commission.
“Election results management remains the weakest link in Nigeria’s electoral process,” the group said on Twitter.
It also noted that there is “a budding trend of voter intimidation and assault against unsuspecting individuals, press and civil society during elections”.
“YIAGA AFRICA received verified critical incidents reports of @OfficialAPCNg and @OfficialPDPNig agents or supporters attacking observers, polling staff or voters; snatching ballot boxes; and destroying election materials.
“Political party primaries is not a party affair but a National affair because Nigerians are restricted to the options provided by political parties thus Nigerians should be interested in the credibility of party primaries,” the group further stated.
According to them, if the Nigerian democracy must move forward, party leaders must ensure that they encourage and model peaceful engagement with the electoral process and urge their supporters to act in accordance with the electoral guidelines and the law.
Consequently, it recommended that INEC investigates and disciplines all permanent and ad-hoc staff alleged to have been involved in any malpractice or fraud during and after the elections.
The group also promised to continue to engage with INEC and other stakeholders to ensure the implementation of recommendations for the 2019 elections.
A total of 1,799 journalists from more than 150 domestic media organisations were accredited to cover the 2019 General Elections.
This is according to the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mahmood Yakubu, who spoke at a meeting with the media to review the last general elections on Thursday in Abuja.
He also said that 332 journalists from 52 foreign media organisations from different parts of Africa, the Middle East, Europe, the Americas, Australia and Asia came to cover the elections, describing it as the ‘most extensively’ covered event in Nigeria in 2019.
Mr Yakubu added that the meeting is aimed at addressing salient aspects of the election processes that require improvement.
“The Headquarters of the Commission alone accredited 1,799 journalists from more than 150 domestic Media organisations to cover the 2019 General Election.
“Foreign Media presence was also impressive. We had 332 journalists from 52 foreign Media organisations from different parts of Africa, the Middle East, Europe, the Americas, Australia and Asia to cover the elections. It was, indeed, an engaging experience. The General Election was the most extensively covered event in Nigeria in 2019.
“The purpose of this meeting, therefore, is to discuss all the salient aspects of the process which require improvement. You were accredited to cover all aspects of the processes. The Commission wants to hear from you how processes can be improved upon.”
He assured that all the observations will be considered during the Kogi and Bayelsa Governorship elections scheduled for Saturday 16th November 2019.
“Let me remind you that the Kogi and Bayelsa Governorship elections have been scheduled for Saturday 16th November 2019. I assure you that we will consider all the recommendations arising from this meeting that can be implemented administratively by the Commission before the conduct of the Governorship elections in the two States.”
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says it did not transmit results of the 2019 General Election electronically through its server due to circumstances beyond its control.
INEC National Commissioner in charge of Southwest, Solomon Soyebi, stated this at the post-election review meeting held at the Commission’s office in Osogbo, the Osun State capital.
“For some reasons, the Commission did not adopt ‘that option’ for 2019 election. It can only tell you that we are not ready for that technology because we were sure it would not be successful,” he said.
According to him, the clarification became necessary because of rising controversies on the transmission of the election results from states to the INEC server.
He further explained that although the process was piloted in Sokoto and tested in the Osun Governorship Election, it was not used for the General Elections.
“We didn’t use it for 2019 elections and I did say again that the 2019 elections were conducted according to law.
“We used the Federal Constitution of the Federal Republic, we used the Electoral Act and we used our own guidelines for 2019.
“If you look at all of them, we did not conduct elections outside these three instruments and you will see that there was no way where the issue of transmission was highlighted there,” he added.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has revealed plans to give automatic employment to some National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) with excellent performance in the 2019 General Elections.
This was made known by the Chairman INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, during the European Union for Democracy Nigeria Donation to Youth Corps Members at the NYSC Orientation Camp in Abuja on Monday.
According to Yakubu, the electoral body has started conducting the 2019 Election Review and the performance of Corps members will give special attention.
I want to appreciate all official NYSC Nigeria here & those not here; presently we are conducting the 2019 Election Review & we promise to reward some Corps members with excellent performance in the Elections with automatic employment.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has announced the withdrawal of 25 Certificates of Return from some winners of the just concluded 2019 General Elections on orders from various courts across the country.
INEC, through its National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education, Mr Festus Okoye, at a forum on Media Coverage of the 2019 General Elections in Enugu on Monday, explained to journalists that the withdrawn certificates have been handed to the rightful winners.
“Just before we left the commission on Friday, we had returned the certificate of return of 25 candidates.”
He added that the withdrawals followed court orders after discovering that some political parties conducted ‘crooked’ primaries and ‘substitution of candidates’.
“Why were these certificates withdrawn? Some of the Political parties took their own party constitution on its head; some of the parties conducted crooked party primaries, engaged in substitution of candidates.”
According to him 20 out of the 25 certificates were withdrawn from candidates of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and given to candidates of the same party.
While two were withdrawn from APC candidates and given to candidates of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
Two were also exchanged between PDP members and one was withdrawn from a candidate of the APC and given to a member of Accord Party.
“20 of those certificates were withdrawn from candidates of the APC and given to other candidates of the APC. One was withdrawn from APC and given to a candidate of Accord Party.
“Two of the certificates were returned from the APC and given to the PDP candidates. Two certificates were withdrawn from the PDP and given to the PDP candidates.”
Mr Okoye also revealed that more certificates of return may be withdrawn as the court is still adjudicating on some cases.
“And the withdrawals will continue because even before I left Abuja, the Federal, State and Appeal courts were still delivering judgments relating to party primary elections and were still giving orders to the commission to withdraw certificates of return and issue to others.”
Former Head of State, retired General Yakubu Gowon, says Nigerians at all levels of society must participate in the 2019 general elections process, just as he called on elders in the country not to be silent regarding the state of the country, with a focus on post-election stability in the country.
According to the elder statesman, it is the role of all citizens to affirm our highest values with honourable and peaceful conduct while rejecting the worst vices being promoted by a tiny group of corrupt Nigerians who seek power at various levels. The former head of state said this at a briefing in Abuja, tagged, ‘The Burden of the Elders at the Dawn of 2019 General Elections’.
He said Nigeria’s journey to true nationhood since independence in 1960 has been slow, but incremental. He gave reasons for the state of affairs.
“The central reason for our unsteady journey is fairly obvious as no nation can take a giant leap on the scale of human progress without true stewardship represented by a leadership that is visionary, honest, open, and patriotic.”
While admitting that the decline in moral standards in the country may have started long before now, he pointed out that “this overwhelming plunge into extreme greed and corruption of recent years has been a heartbreaking experience to us,” a trend he said posed a clear and present danger to the wellbeing of today’s children and generations yet unborn.
Gen. Gowon condemned a situation in which, according to him, elders sit by and watch the degeneration in societal values, stressing that “the violent turn of expressions, deepened economic hardships and increasing desperation of the national polity has to be reversed to keep hope alive.”
He added, “As we soak in all the attendant factors including the toxic political culture of the present hour and the predatory tonality of the ongoing election processes magnified by the fact that the country is still reeling from the shock of the postponed elections, it has become imperative that we must speak up as elders.”
While urging the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and politicians to live up to their responsibilities in the forthcoming elections, he threw a challenge to the elders in the country.
“As we soak in all the attendant factors including the toxic political culture of the present hour and the predatory tonality of the ongoing election processes magnified by the fact that the country is still reeling from the shock of the postponed elections, it has become imperative that we must speak up as elders.”
The former head of state did not stop there but also addressed another issue that constitutes a great to the nation’s development and proffered a solution.
“We recommend that a comprehensive strategy for addressing the cankerworm of corruption should be formulated by taking deliberate and painstaking steps for eliminating the root causes of corruption while developing a more sophisticated and even-handed for the investigation and prosecution of corrupt practices.”
Regarding Saturday’s elections, Gen. Gowon said, “God willing, we are determined to honour the call we started out with as our duty to our fatherland so that the banner we would hand over to future generations should be stainless rather than coloured crimson with the blood of the innocent.”
He appealed to Nigerians to calm down and work towards a sustainable future for the nation.
The National Assembly has slashed the budget of thirty government agencies to fund the 2019 general elections.
The Senate and the House of Representatives had approved that the sum of N242 billion be taken from Service Wide Votes for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and security agencies to conduct the 2019 elections.
With this adjustment, the funds for INEC and security agencies will be taken from the Service Wide Votes as well as the 2018 Budget of 30 ministries and agencies.
Some of the agencies where funds are expected to be vired from include, the Ministry of Agriculture from which N11 billion will be deducted, the Ministry of Education from which N10.2 billion will be deducted and the Ministry of Health from which eight billion Naira will be deducted, among others.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said that it has no plan to postpone the 2019 general elections.
INEC in a statement by its Chief Press Secretary, Rotimi Oyekanmi dismissed reports saying “We May Shift 2019 Polls Over Threat Of Violence – INEC “, he claimed that the chairman of the umpire, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu was quoted wrongly at the Inter-agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) meeting that took place at the Commission’s headquarters on September 11, 2018.
“It is common knowledge that the Osun State governorship election will hold on Saturday 22nd September, while the 2019 General Elections are only 156 days away”.
He explained that the ICCES meeting, which takes place on a regular, quarterly basis, provides an opportunity for INEC and security agencies to evaluate and discuss the country’s security situation, with the aim of putting the necessary measures in place to enable the Commission to carry out its mandate.
Mr Oyekanmi noted that the INEC boss during the meeting told the security chiefs that with the 2019 general elections drawing close, the Committee would need to meet more frequently to constantly assess the security situation across the country and take proactive actions to forestall any unpleasant event before, during and immediately after the elections.
He underscored the fact that elections cannot be conducted under a rancorous atmosphere.
He referred to Section 26 of the Electoral Act which, among others, gives the Commission the power to postpone an election “if there is reason to believe that a serious breach of peace is likely to occur and the election is proceeded with on (the fixed date)”, or as a result of natural disasters or other emergencies”.
According to him, Prof. Yakubu made the reference to the Electoral Act only to emphasise the importance of having peace and order in place before, during and after elections, and the significance of the synergy between the commission and security agencies.
He mentioned that the most important assignment before the Commission was the Osun governorship election, noting that the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) for Osun State, Mr Segun Agbaje and Commissioner of Police for Osun state, Mr Fimihan Adeoye would brief the Committee on the current situation and state of readiness for the governorship poll. (Both Agbaje and Adeoye later briefed the audience).
On vote buying, Prof Yakubu spoke on the need for collaborative effort to decisively tackle the menace and prevent it during the Osun governorship election.
He said a Code of Conduct for security agents would be enforced during the elections and warned that any activity outside the confines of legality/ legitimacy will be viewed seriously.
The INEC boss also seized the opportunity to draw the Committee’s attention to a video clip making the rounds, in which some political actors were seen making inciteful statements that could lead to serious security breaches before, during and after the 2019 general elections.
He called on the relevant security agencies to be vigilant, just as he urged them to take immediate action on the development.
He commended members of the Committee for their cooperation, which makes it possible for INEC to conduct credible elections.
Mr Oyekanmi said “It is thus clear that at no point during his remarks did the INEC Chairman allude to the notion that the Commission may shift 2019 polls over the threat of violence” as reported.
A presidential aspirant of the African Action Congress (AAC), Omoyele Sowore, says the All Progressives Congress (APC) does not deserve a re-election in the 2019 general elections.
He also took a swipe at the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), describing it as dead.
The presidential aspirant made the comments on Wednesday when he made an appearance on Channels Television’s Politics Today.
On whether or not the APC will win with a larger margin as the party recently claimed, Sowore said, “No, I don’t think so.
“I think they are confident in a wrong way. It’s not confidence, it’s arrogance and it’s the same kind of arrogance that the PDP had prior to the 2015 election and the rest as we see today, is history”.
“APC is towing the same path, they are confident because of what they did in Ekiti and got away with, but they should not forget that the PDP did the same thing in Ekiti in 2014 and thought they got away with it but lost the general election in 2015.
“There is no reason they should be confident, their performance across board has been terrible, they haven’t done anything to deserve a re-election.
“In fact, they have not done anything to remain as a political party in Nigeria. The party has been a disaster,” he asserted.
Speaking of the PDP, Sowore said the party’s coalition with over 30 other parties was a desperate move to save itself from dying.
According to him, the party failed in its 16-year rule and is now making all efforts to revive its image to Nigerians.
“The reason why PDP is desperate is because the party is dead and about to bury itself.
“They’ll bury themselves by way of performance, by their very disastrous 16-year rule in Nigeria.
“The PDP was trying very hard to change their name because their name is so bad that they know nobody wants to listen to them,” he said.
Sowore also challenged President Muhammadu Buhari as well as other aspirants to a debate.
He said young and new presidential aspirants should be given the audience and the opportunity to challenge older aspirants.
“If you want to be more serious, you should be bringing these presidential candidates to debate us. Buhari should be brought out. The media should force them out of their hiding. Let them come and debate the future of Nigeria,” he said.