INEC Cancels Rerun In Cross River Ward Over Abduction, Missing Ballot Papers

Chief Imam’s Son, Two Others Kidnapped In Ogun Community
A file photo

 

 

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has canceled the rerun election in eight polling units of Afafanyi/Igonigoni Ward in Cross River State.

In a statement on Saturday, the electoral body explained that it took the decision as a result of the violence recorded in the ward.

“INEC does not reward impunity/violence,” the statement said, noting that one of its officials was abducted by armed men.

It added, “Election was not conducted in eight polling units of the riverine area, Afafanyi/Igonigoni Ward due to kidnap of the Supervisory Presiding Officer (SPO) and hijack of election materials by gunmen.

“The rerun elections into Yakurr/Abi Federal and Abi State Constituencies held across 25 out of the 33 units of the court-ordered rerun elections in Cross River State.”

INEC, however, said the kidnapped victim later regained freedom from his abductors while the gunmen refused to release the sensitive and non-sensitive materials in their possession.

Items stolen by the attackers, according to the electoral umpire, are nine smart card readers, 5,616 ballot papers, and several result sheets among others.

It said some National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) members on election duty were also robbed of their mobile phones and cash.

INEC confirmed that no life was lost during the incident, but a policeman was injured.

“With headcount in the office, all staff deployed to the riverine communities of Afafanyi/Igonigoni have returned safely,” the statement said.

In other parts of the state where the election held, the electoral body revealed that close monitoring and supervision by a team of officials witnessed a large turnout of voters in the various polling units.

The team, however, identified some challenges such as poor network to facilitate the smooth running of the smart card reader and the refusal of voters to adhere to queuing instructions.

Read the full statement below:

INEC Condemns Report Of Ballot Papers In Politicians’ Possession

INEC Condemns Report Of Ballot Papers In Politicians' Possession

 

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has condemned the report that some politicians are in possession of ballot papers to be used in the postponed elections.

In a series of tweets on Saturday night, the electoral body described the claim as false and urged Nigerians to disregard it.

It highlighted the reported case in Kogi State where some politicians were said to be thumb printing ballot papers for their parties ahead of the rescheduled polls.

Contrary to the report, INEC insisted that sensitive materials to be used in the elections were either in its custody or in the vaults of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

READ ALSOThere’s Nothing Wrong With Having Specimen Ballot Papers In Your Possession – INEC

It assured Nigerians that it was committed to conducting free and fair elections, given that the polls have been shifted by one week to allow for adequate preparation.

The electoral body said the only valid ballot papers that would be courted were those duly stamped and dated with the endorsement of its presiding officer.

Read INEC’s reaction below;

INEC’s attention has been drawn to stories that ballot papers have found their way to the hands of politicians who are thumb printing same for their favoured party. Specifically, reference has been made to Kogi Central Senatorial District.

This allegation is not true, as all sensitive materials are in the Commission’s custody or in the Central Bank’s vaults. The stamps in the ballot papers displayed do not represent any of the official stamps to be used in the forthcoming election.

It should be noted that only duly stamped and dated ballot papers with the endorsement of the INEC Presiding Officer’s signature are valid and will be counted.

Obasanjo Raises Concern Over Alleged Thumb-Printed Ballot Papers

Obasanjo Raises Concern Over Alleged Thumb-Printed Ballot Papers
A file photo of former President Olusegun Obasanjo.

 

Former President, Olusegun Obasanjo, has expressed concern over the conduct of Saturday’s Presidential and National Assembly elections following reports of alleged thumb-printing of ballot papers in parts of the country.

Obasanjo told journalists in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital on Friday that the elections were crucial for the future of the country.

He described Saturday as “a red letter day” when Nigeria should be able to say democracy has been firmly established in the country.

READ ALSOThere’s Nothing Wrong Having Specimen Ballot Papers In Your Possession – INEC

The elder statesman said, “Although, for me, I still have apprehension. If the news of already thumb-printed ballot papers in Kano yesterday; I’ve received news in Ondo today; I have received news in Ikorodu today. If these are true, we haven’t had anything like this before.”

He said the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) may have to explain the mystery behind the alleged thumb-printed ballot papers.

While expressing his desire to perform his civic responsibility in the elections, the Obasanjo asked Nigerians to troop out and vote, just as he dismissed social media reports claiming he had jetted out of the country.

Earlier, the Kano Police Command confirmed the arrest of two suspects found with 16 bags of what the police said were specimen ballot papers in Kano.

According to the police, the suspects confessed to have come from Jigawa State, and claimed that the materials were meant for the purposes of sensitisation and orientation.

INEC, in its reaction, explained that specimen ballot papers were distributed for use in voter education and that there was nothing unlawful in being found with specimen ballot papers.

There’s Nothing Wrong With Having Specimen Ballot Papers In Your Possession – INEC

 

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has reacted to the reports of ballot papers found in the possession of some people ahead of the general elections.

INEC Director of Voter Education, Mr Oluwole Osaze-Uzzi, told Channels Television that there was nothing wrong with that, provided they were specimens.

“Yes! we did give political parties a specimen of the ballot paper,” he said during his appearance on The Verdict. “There is nothing wrong with having specimen ballot papers in your possession.”

The INEC director added, “In terms of getting people out, teaching them how to vote correctly such that their ballots are not invalid.

“We even supported the Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC) which is an umbrella body for all political association of all political parties registered in Nigeria.”

READ ALSOPolice Arrest Two With Sacks Of Ballot Papers In Kano

Commenting on the arrest of two persons with ballot papers by the police in Kano State, Mr Osaze-Uzzi noted that the case was subject to an investigation.

He stressed that INEC was waiting for the police to conclude their investigation into the case since they had already confirmed that the ballot papers found were specimens.

The INEC official explained that a specimen is quite different from the original ballot paper as it does not have the security features contained in the real one.

Asked why political parties were given specimen of ballot papers, he said, “They were given specimen so that they will use it to demonstrate how you cast your vote, how you fold the paper, and how you do everything else.”

“I have seen so many (instances) where the political parties themselves, rather than give the blank one that we gave, now put the fingerprint on their logo. They are allowed to do that,” Osaze-Uzzi stated.

He added, “If they try to forge it and look for a surreptitious way to get it on election day into the scheme of things, then that is a crime.

“But for them to replicate it for voter education purpose and put specimen on top of it, there is nothing wrong with that.”

Police Arrest Two With Sacks Of Ballot Papers In Kano

Police Arrest Two With Sacks Of Ballot Papers In Kano

 

The Kano Police Command has confirmed the arrest of two suspects found with 16 bags of what the police said were specimen ballot papers in the state.

The Commissioner of Police in the state, Mr Wakili Mohammed, confirmed this to Channels Television on Friday.

He said the suspects were apprehended on Wednesday by some officers attached to the Metro Police Area Command.

READ ALSOThere’s Nothing Wrong Having Specimen Ballot Papers In Your Possession – INEC

According to the police commissioner, the suspects confessed to have come from Jigawa State, and claimed that the materials were meant for the purposes of sensitisation and orientation.

He said that investigation was still on-going on the matter as the case had been transferred to the state Criminal Investigation Development (CID).

Mr Mohammed said the command was fully prepared to ensure that the elections were conducted peacefully.

He noted that although there were some incidents recorded recently in parts of the state, there has been no significant case of violence.

Osun Bye-Election: PDP Alleges Over 60,000 Ballot Papers Missing

The leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Osun State has raised an alarm over the alleged disappearance of over 68,000 ballot papers meant for the Osun West bye-election.

The PDP challenged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to disclose the whereabouts of the purported missing ballot papers as the electoral umpire begins distribution of sensitive materials ahead of Saturday’s polls.

It said it discovered several discrepancies in the serial number on the boxes containing the ballot papers compared with those on the records provided by INEC, alleging that as many as 68,399 ballot papers may be missing from the packs.

The PDP stated that the discrepancies were noticed in ballot papers meant for several wards in Ayedaade, Ede North, Egbedore and Isokan local governments of the senatorial district.

It further demanded an immediate full disclosure and explanation on the reasons for the discrepancies, in order to maintain the integrity and sanctity of the electoral process as well as retain the confidence of voters in the electoral umpire.

The party also asked INEC to prove beyond doubt that the ballot papers were not missing as claimed and have not been tampered with by any unauthorised persons.

“Security agencies and the general public are hereby notified of the planned illegal movement of certain items in ambulances, refuse disposal vans and some state government vehicles between Friday morning and Saturday evening. Party members and supporters are to remain vigilant ahead of tomorrow’s (July 7) election and report any suspicious activities to the law enforcement agencies and party leaders in their local government,” the PDP said.

Edo APC Aspirants Reject Governorship Primaries Result

APC, Kaduna APC, APC AkidaTwo of the aspirants who contested the Saturday Edo State All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship primary election have called on the national leadership of the APC to conduct a forensic examination of the ballot papers.

Mr Chris Ogiemwonyi and Mr Kenneth Imasuagbon made the call at a joint press briefing in Benin City on Monday.

They alleged that the state government aided the manipulation of the election result.

However, the APC State Chairman insists the process was free and fair.

Akwa Ibom REC Confirms Violence, Rigging Attempts

Akwa IbomThe Resident Electoral commissioner (REC) in Akwa Ibom State, Barr. Austin Okojie, at a media briefing in his office on Saturday evening, shed more light on happenings during the day’s governorship and House of Assembly elections in the state.

Barr Okojie confirmed that there were instances of violence in some Local Government Areas (LGAs) in the state.

Part of the incidents include, Mkpat Enin in Eket Senatorial District where two Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) adhoc staff were injured.

Election materials were snatched in Eket and Ibesikpo Asutan districts where they were later recovered by the Police.

About 10 corps members were found in the residence of a former Director of NYSC, Major General Edet Akpan, thumbprinting on ballot papers in Nsit Atai LGA

The Akwa Ibom REC said that the corps members were arrested alongside the Army Chief, and are currently in detention.

Mr Okojie also said that shooting also occurred in Nsit Ubium LGA.

On the performance of the card reader, the REC said that the machine worked perfectly, except in few areas where failure was experienced and replacement was effected.

Tambuwal Says Election Is Smooth In Sokoto State

Tambuwal on Sokoto Election The Speaker of the House of Representatives and the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Sokoto State, Aminu Tambuwal, says elections in the State were smooth.

Giving his opinion about the governorship and House of Assembly elections in Sokoto State, Mr Tambuwal described the process as an improvement on the Presidential and National Assembly elections held on March 28.

Mr Tambuwal gave his opinion at Kofar Ajiya ward, in Tambuwal Local Government Area.

Elections took place in over 3,000 polling units across the state, but there were some recorded cases of election fraud, with a young man arrested with ballot papers in Sanyan ward.

There was also another case where elections in two polling units were cancelled, as political thugs disrupted the process.

In Rabah Local Government Area, there were two cases of ballot boxes snatching.

The Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in the state, Sadiq Musa observed that results from the 23 Local Government Areas in the state are expected from midnight, while the final result is expected to be announced on Sunday afternoon.

Jega Confident Logistic Challenges Will Be Cut Off During Polls

jegaThe Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Attahiru Jega, has expressed confidence that the decentralisation of distribution of election materials for the 2015 elections would cut off logistic challenges at the forthcoming polls.

Professor Jega said this at a meeting with the former President of Liberia and head of the AU delegation, Professor Amos Sawyer.

Professor Jega told the African Union (AU) election observers in Abuja that this method was not used during the 2011 general elections, hence the late commencement of accreditation and voting at polling units across the country.

The issue of logistics had always posed a major challenge at the polls.

Professor Jega admitted that there were challenges in the methodology of distribution which spiraled into widespread agitations from the electorate.

He added that the electoral body was still growing and would plug all loop holes in future elections.

Jega also urged election officials to ensure that counting of ballot papers after the voting process is done transparently in the presence of local and international observers. He has also warned security personnel against any form of intimidation.

Professor Jega received a letter from the Chairperson of the AU Commission, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, who promised full support to the nation at this time.

INEC has almost concluded the distribution process nationwide less than 48hours to the polls.

INEC Accredits 107 Observers To Monitor Polls

inec-4The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says it has accredited 107 domestic and international observers to monitor the general elections slated for March 28 and April 11, 2015.

Among the observers accredited on Tuesday were embassies of 11 foreign nations of the United States of America, Switzerland, Britain, Germany, France, Japan, Canada, Ireland, Australia, Ghana and the Republic of Korea.

The commission also listed 14 international and regional organisations as part of the accredited observers, while the remaining 82 observers are domestic groups.

The international and regional organisations include: National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, Commonwealth Observers Mission, International Republican Institute, Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, Kenya, Africa Students Association of Ireland, ECOWAS Mission, among others.

Similarly, the 82 domestic observers accredited for the election were: Police Service Commission, Justice Development and Peace Commission (Catholic Caritas Foundation of Nigeria), Centre for Strategic Conflict Management, Election Monitor, Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution, among others.

Going by the plans of the Electoral umpire (INEC), ballot papers for Saturday’s presidential and National Assembly elections are to be moved from the vaults of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Wednesday.

The Chief Press Secretary to the INEC Chairman, Mr Kayode Idowu said all the non-sensitive materials had already been distributed to the appropriate destinations.

The INEC spokesman emphasised, the ballot papers for the different positions and locations had been customised in such a way that it would be difficult to be faked.

However, this is in line with preparations for the forthcoming general elections slated for March 28 and April 11, 2015.

INEC Says Ballot Papers Arrive States On Wednesday

Ballot papersThe Independent national Electoral Commission, INEC, says that ballot papers for Saturday’s presidential and National Assembly elections are to be moved from the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN vaults on Wednesday March 25.

The Chief Press Secretary to the INEC Chairman, Mr. Kayode Idowu, says that that already, all the non-sensitive materials have been distributed while the ballot papers have been kept in the vaults of the Central Bank Of Nigeria (CBN) branches across the country.

The INEC Spokesman added that the ballot papers for the different positions and locations had been customised in such a way that it would be difficult to be faked by anybody.

The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Prof. Attahiru Jega has also revealed that about 56.7 million voter cards had been collected.

Professor Jega, who hosted a stakeholders meeting on Tuesday, said that the voters card collected represents about 82% of the registered electorate by the close of distribution ahead of the March 28 election.