65% PVC Collection Rate Recorded In Lagos – REC

pvcAbout 3.67 million people in Lagos have collected their Permanent Voter Cards ahead of the general elections in March and April, the Resident Electoral Commissioner, Akin Orebiyi on Friday told Sunrise Daily.

The agency now has an outstanding of about 1.8 million cards which members of the electorate are yet to collect, while 430,000 are still being expected from Abuja.

“I think, by next week we should have them”, Orebiyi said, assuring residents that they were working to ensure that the cards would be ready before the set deadline for collection, March 8th.

Giving updates on the collection, the REC noted that officials would be stationed at the polling units for the next two weekends, to enable residents have easy access, while collection will hold at their Local Government office on weekdays.

While on the programme, Mr Orebiyi made an attempt to allay fears of possible foul play on election days, by demonstrating how the card readers work with the PVCs, adding that all card readers are configured to work in their assigned polling units.

“It cannot work elsewhere” he said, noting that no one can use any card that does not belong to them.

While explaining how the device works, Orebiyi pointed out that the thumb is the key to accreditation as a card holder will also need his thumb to further verify the ownership of the card.

Ondo Re-Run Poll: Police Call For Synergy Amongst Political Parties

Police IGOndo State Commissioner of Police, Mr Isaac Eke, says the state police command is spearheading a synergy between security agencies and the stakeholders towards ensuring an orderly and violence free conduct during the forthcoming rerun election in the Ilaje/Ese-Odo Federal Constituency in the State.

The state police boss stated this while addressing the representatives of the seven political parties taking part in the election at an interactive forum at the Police Officers’ Mess in Akure, the state capital.

The session, called by Mr Eke, had the leaders of the seven political parties participating in the Ilaje/Ese-Odo Federal Constituency rerun election.

The election is meant to fill the vacant position of a representative for the Constituency in the House of Representatives, following the demise of Hon. Raphael Nomiye late last year.

Mr Eke emphasised that the police will exhibit a high level of professionalism, fairness and integrity during the conduct of the election.

He equally advised all political parties not to resort to the use of inflammatory language and provocative actions during campaigns and the election.

The State Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mr. Akin Orebiyi, who was represented by the Administrative Secretary, used the opportunity to further sensitize the representatives of the political parties on the election procedures.

Some of the leaders of the political parties present at the session expressed their readiness to participate in the election.

Meanwhile, the police has requested all political parties taking part in the rerun election to submit the details of their public rallies or meetings in any particular area to enable the police provide adequate security.

The election has been slated for Saturday, 5th April 2014.

Court sacks House of Rep. member over party defection

A Federal High Court sitting in Akure has sacked a member of the House of Representatives, Mr. Ifedayo Abegunde representing Akure North/Akure South Federal Constituency,  for defecting from the party from which he was elected.

Abegunde was elected into the House of Representative on the platform of the Labour Party (LP) during  the April 2011 general elections, but defected to the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) after a few months.

He had approached the court for judicial protection against his recall by the Ondo State House of Assembly and the Labour Party.

Joined in the suit are the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal and Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

Abegunde’ s counsel, Chief Adekola Olawoye had argued that by the provisions of Section 68(1) (G)) of the 1999 Constitution and the imbroglio, division and factionalization in LP, he is entitled to dump the party.

The defence counsel led by the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Ondo state, Mr. Eyitayo Jegede (SAN) with the state’s Director of Civil Litigation, Rotimi Olamide submitted that since Abegunde had dumped LP and has not proved any division within party, he has automatically vacated his seat as a federal lawmaker.

The defendants also prayed that the electoral body should conduct by-election to fill the vacant seat.

In her judgment, presiding judge, Justice Gloria Okeke noted that without a political party, no candidate can contest an election since there is no provision for independent candidacy in Nigerian elections.

Citing a Supreme Court decision in Amaechi vs INEC (2008) 5 NWLR Pt. 1080, she added that “if it is only a party that canvasses for votes, it follows that it is a party that wins an election. A good or bad candidate may enhance or diminish the prospect of his party in winning, but at the end of the day it is the party that wins or loses an election.

Okeke held further that Abegunde could not prove the alleged division and crisis in LP by the virtue of the letter signed by the State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mr. Akin Orebiyi that “we are not aware of any crisis or issue concerning dispute in LP.

“We were also present at the Congress that produced the elected and recognized State Chairman of the party. As far as INEC was concerned, there was no crisis or factionalization in LP in Ondo State.

According to her, the issue raised by Abegunde was not a dispute that should warrant his defection to the ACN, adding that it is a constitutional matter that a parliamentarian who defects in this manner “shall (mandatory and not a mere directive, not a matter of opinion) vacate his seat”.

“Since it is the 9th defendant, Labour Party that sponsored the plaintiff (Abegunde) in the election into the House of Representatives to represent Akure North/Akure South Federal Constituency and defected on account of unproven imbroglio, crisis, dispute and factionalization in the party, the plaintiff has lost the seat and should therefore vacate the seat and I so hold” Okeke ruled.

While Jegede hailed the judgment as a landmark in the annals of the Nigerian legal history, the plaintiff’s counsel, Olawoye, who described the judgment as unacceptable, said his client will appeal against the judgment.

This is a noble ruling in the nation’s political history, as a number of elected officer such as governors and Senators have decamped from the political parties which they won their election to another party without any legal tussle.