Buhari Bags Leadership Award, Restates Commitment To Democracy

Muhammadu Buhari, Leadership Award, DemocracyPresident Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday called on the political class to build on the outcome of the 2015 presidential elections to nurture Nigeria’s democratic process.

The President made the call at a ceremony in Abuja, where he received the “Leadership 2015 Man of the Year Award” organised by the Leadership Group.

Former President Goodluck Jonathan and the former Chairman of INEC, Professor Attahiru Jega, were among other awardees at the event.

President Buhari asked the award winners to remain committed to good behaviour in their endeavours.

He said that this would enable them justify their recognition, which he said should serve as an inspiration to other Nigerians.

The award was as a result of the phone call made by Dr. Jonathan, conceding defeat to President Buhari in the 2015 general elections.

The poll was the first in the history of Nigeria where an incumbent president would be defeated in a keenly contested election.

On his part, former President Abdulsalam Abubakar said it could not have been easy if the major players had resisted the outcome of the poll.

In separate remarks, the Chairman of the Leadership Group, Sam Nda-Isaiah and the Akwa Ibom State Governor, Udom Emmanuel, paid tribute to the major players.

INEC Proposes Dates To Conduct Re-Run Elections

INEC-Mahmood-Yakubu-ElectionsThe Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has proposed July 23 and 30 to conduct the re-run elections into the National Assembly for Kano, Kogi, Imo and Rivers States.

The Chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, made this known on Thursday at a meeting with security officers, INEC Commissioners and political parties’ representatives from the affected states in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

According to Prof. Yakubu, the elections in those affected constituencies were declared inconclusive because of the violence that erupted during the polls.

He appealed to politicians and the electorates in the affected states to cooperate with the commission for the conduct of the re-run elections.

A Commissioner of Police, Habila Joshak, who spoke on behalf of the acting Inspector General of Police assured the gathering that the polls would be peaceful.

On his part, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Electoral Matters, Senator Abubakar Kyari, expressed concern over the vacuum the inconclusive polls was having on the National Assembly, one year after the general elections.

Although INEC has proposed the new date for the re-run elections, the commission says the success will depend mainly on the security situations in the affected states.

Over 30 Fresh Parties Seek Registration With INEC

INEC-Mahmood Yakubu-ElectionsThe Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Nigeria says it has received applications from various associations for registration as political parties.

It said it has received 32 applications so far and that the number was rising.

The Chairman of INEC, Professor Yakubu Mahmood, gave the figure on Tuesday during the second quarterly consultative meeting with the chairmen and secretaries of registered political parties, at the commission’s headquarters.

Professor Yakubu assured political parties that “the commission remains committed to the opening of the democratic space in line with the law and our guidelines”.

According to him, the applications are being processed.

He explained that the meeting was a forum for the commission to brief party leaders on developments in the management of the democratic system.

He addressed the recent revelations of alleged involvement of INEC staff in the subversion of 2015 general elections through cash inducement.

“INEC will also take further administrative action against staff found culpable in this dastardly conduct. We will not hesitate to interdict staff where prima facie cases have been established against them by EFCC and immediately terminate the appointments of those indicted,” he stressed.

Professor Yakubu also disclosed that despite the severe constraints on the commission, with regard to the prosecution of election offenders, as exemplified by the recently held by-election in Minjibir constituency in Kano State, INEC legal team and the police have successfully secured the conviction of 42 suspects.

“This is the highest number of convictions in a single case ever achieved by the commission.”

On the outstanding re-run elections, the INEC chairman explained that out of 80 court ordered re-run elections, the commission had successfully conducted 49 and has 31 elections pending as well as one by-election.

He maintained that except for Anambra and Plateau re-run elections which are sub-judice, the commission has started the processes of consultation leading to the completion of the outstanding elections.

Professor Yakubu also welcomed suggestions and inputs from the political parties on areas of constitutional and legal amendments.

He said: “We welcome suggestions by political parties on areas of amendment you consider important for inclusion in the comprehensive proposal we intend to submit to the National Assembly”.

Controversy Over Anambra Federal Seats Continues

High court on Anambra federal seatsThe controversy over the federal seats in Anambra State continues, as the contest on who the rightful occupants are intensifies.

A Federal High Court in Abuja on Wednesday issued a court order asking the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and its Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, to obey the directions contained in an earlier judgement.

The judgement was given on issues relating to the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Anambra State in respect of some legislative seats for the 2015 general election.

The order is putting the commission and the chairman on notice for it to obey or be seen to be in contempt of court.

“Take further notice that if the Independent National Electoral Commission continues to disobey this order, you, Professor Mahommd Yakubu, the chairman of INEC, will be held in contempt of court and liable to imprisonment.

The commission has, however, told Channels Television, that it was studying the order of court and would take necessary legal action, as it was a law abiding institution in Nigeria.

INEC Renews Call For Election Offences Tribunal

INECNigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has restated the need for the establishment of an Election Offences Tribunal, as a means of checking the growing spate of electoral violence.

The Chairman of INEC, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, on Tuesday, reiterated the Commission’s position at a discussion on elections in Nigeria organised by some civil society groups in Abuja.

Professor Yakubu outlined some reforms needed and also touched on the need to urgently address the issue of electoral violence.

In his address, the Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, said the present administration intended to carry out a comprehensive legal reform to address challenges posed by outdated electoral laws.

One of the organisers, Clement Nwankwo, however, agreed that Nigeria must take concrete steps to address the electoral violence.

The Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Electoral Matters, Aisha Dukku, said that the legislature would ensure that the proposed amendments were carried out on time.

The discussion is expected to be transformed into a document that would suggest other ways to improve the political and electoral process in Nigeria.

INEC Cautions Electoral Commissioners Ahead Of Elections

inecThe Acting Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mrs Amina Zakari, has asked all Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) to work cautiously, not minding the challenges the commission is experiencing at the election petition tribunals.

The INEC boss made this call at a second meeting with RECs, to consolidate on the gains of the 2015 general elections and to develop strategies for future elections.

She noted that in spite of the various cases at the tribunals, INEC would take the security of its materials very seriously ahead of the upcoming Kogi and Bayelsa elections in November and December.

She added that all electoral commissioners, directors and staff must strive to uphold the integrity of the commission.

Mrs Amina Zakari was appointed as the Chairman of INEC, following former Chairman, Professor Attahiru Jega’s conclusion of term of office.

Professor Attahiru Jega’s tenure as the Chairman of INEC came to an end on Tuesday, June 30.

Al-Makura Attributes APC Victory In Election To High Level Of Performance

al-makura-on-election-victoryThe Nasarawa State Governor has attributed the victory of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the 2015 presidential election to the high level of performance of the party.

Governor Tanko Al-Makura disclosed this in Lafia, the state capital, when he visited to oversight the completion process of the Lafia School for the Disabled project.

The Governor said that the APC  has a social contract with the people of Nigeria, as they are of the belief that electioneering campaign and the provision of basic infrastructure is synonymous, since every administration must be judged by its performance in office.

While admitting that he must campaign to ensure his re-election, Governor Al-makura said that his administration was expanding the scope of the Lafia School for the Disabled project as he emphasized his resolve to add value to the lives of ordinary citizens in the state.

Members of the APC in the state have also gathered to celebrate victory at the polls, following the outcome of the result of the presidential election.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared the candidate of the APC, General Muhammadu Buhari, winner of Nigeria’s presidential election, defeating the incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan.

The announcement was made by the Chairman of INEC, Professor Attahiru Jega, in the early hours of Wednesday, April 1, after the completion of the collation and announcement of results at the collation centre in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

General Muhammadu Buhari of the APC,  polled a total of 15,424,921 votes to defeat all other candidates, with Dr Goodluck Jonathan of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), polling a total of 12,853,162 votes to place second.

In Nasarawa State, the APC scored 236,838 votes while the PDP scored 273,460.

INEC Promises Improvement In April 11 Polls

JegaAhead of the April 11 Governorship and House of Assembly elections, the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Attahiru Jega has promised to address the hiccups experienced during the March 28 Presidential and National Assembly elections.

Professor Jega, who made the promise at a meeting with the Senate and House of Representatives Committees on INEC in Abuja, explained that the commission was working hard to deliver an election that would be better than the just-concluded elections.

The INEC boss admitted the flop in the deployment of the card readers saying, about 450 of the 150,000 card readers were faulty.

The INEC boss also commended Nigerians for their role in ensuring a peaceful conduct of the election, hoping that they would exhibit greater maturity and patience during and after the April 11 elections.

APC Calls For Cancellation Of Imo North Senatorial Election

ondoThe All Progressives Congress (APC) in Imo State is seeking the cancellation of the Imo north senatorial election, claiming that it was marred by series of rigging and electoral malpractice.

They claimed that the malpractice  was masterminded by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state.

Speaking to reporters in Owerri, the Imo State capital, the speaker of the Imo State House of Assembly and the candidate for Imo north senatorial district, Ben Uwajimogu, requested that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) should cancel the elections due to the irregularities during the election.

Mr Uwajimogu accused the PDP in the state of colluding with security operatives and INEC to write fake results even in places where there was no election.

However, the state collation officer for the APC, Mr Alfred Ononugbo, refused to sign the collated result at the INEC office during the declaration of the final result.

The tension caused by the claimed irregularities was, however, doused by the announcement of the presidential election result.

Jubilation erupted across the streets of Owerri, the Imo State capital, following the emergence of the presidential candidate of the APC, General Muhammodu Buhari, as the winner of the March 28 Presidential elections.

The announcement was made by the Chairman of INEC, Professor Attahiru Jega, in the early hours of Wednesday, April 1, after the completion of the collation and announcement of results which started at the collation centre in Abuja, the nation’s capital, on Monday and ended on Tuesday, March 31.

General Muhammadu Buhari of the APC polled a total of 15,424,921 votes to defeat all other candidates, with Dr Goodluck Jonathan of the PDP polling a total of 12,853,162 votes to place second.

Meanwhile, the coordinator of President Goodluck Jonathan Campaign Organisation in Imo State and a PDP chieftain, former Governor Achike Udenwa, described all the allegations by the APC as untrue and baseless.

Mr Udenwa maintained that in the National Assembly and presidential elections in the state, the PDP won with a far margin on merit without any form of rigging or electoral malpractice.

The former Governor of Imo State, also argued that no security operatives or INEC official worked to favour the PDP.

Jega Says Only Two States Have Finished Collating Results

JegaThe Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Attahiru Jega has said only two states have finished collating their results.

Giving an update on the general elections in the INEC Situation Room in Abuja, Professor Jega said that “as I speak to you, no original results have arrived here yet.
Very few states have collated results, I know that election results in Ekiti are collated.”

He advised Nigerians to be careful about making candidates winners because it is only INEC that can announce the winner.

Answering questions about INEC ad hoc staff not being paid because they are on contract, Prof Jega said advance payments were made and the balance would be paid after the election.

Collation of Results

Professor Jega promised that the commission would not commence collation unless the media is there to witness the exercise.

He said further: “We are doing our best but there would be lapses, every laps we identify is a lesson; inadequacies of materials, late commencement of election would not occur in other subsequent elections.”

Speaking further on the challenges INEC has had to contend with in this election, Prof. Jega said: “Crowd control is a challenge because a lot of voters came en mass to cast their votes. We would prepare for that in the subsequent elections.”

On the performance of INEC so far, Prof. Jega explained: “In general, there have been a remarkable improvement in the 2015 presidential election to the elections conducted in 2011.”

He also dismissed the hue and cry over the failure of the card reader, saying that it is insignificant given that only 1.25 per cent failure rate has been recorded out of 152, 000 of the device used.

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.

PDP Pained By Election Postponement – Fani-Kayode

Femi-fani-kayodeThe Director of Media for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Presidential Campaign Organisation, Femi Fani-Kayode, says the election postponement was a painful news for the party, but commended the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for taking the right step.

Addressing reporters in Abuja on Sunday, Mr Fani-Kayode said the extra six weeks provided by the shift in election date would enable the commission solve some of the challenges still confronting the commission.

“It was very clear to us that there were issues and those issues have not been fully addressed and one of the them is the Permanent Voter Cards (PVC) issue.

“We listed some of them in the text here.

“There were all kinds of issues and clearly, the INEC still has quite a lot to do to get its house in order to ensure that it can conduct a free and fair election on that day,” Mr Fani-Kayode.

‘Wide-reaching Consultations’

The campaign spokesman said that the PVCs issues and the security challenges in the north-eastern part of the oil rich nation needed to be resolved before the elections.

“When you marry the PVC issues to the security concerns that our security agencies have, to postpone the election by six weeks was the right and proper thing to do.

“Even though it is painful for all of us, we wanted to go on February 14. It would have been a day of love and a day of voting for Goodluck Jonathan. Unfortunately we have been denied that ,” he said.

Mr Fani-Kayode further said that the campaign office and the party was ready to continue with its campaign and would also help in increasing advocacy on the collection of PVCs.

The chairman of the INEC, Professor Attahiru Jega, said that the electoral body was not forced into prostponing the elections

Addressing reporters on Saturday, the INEC chairman, professor Attahiru Jega, said that the election was postponed after ‘wide-reaching consultations’.

Professor Jega said that security operatives had advised the commission to postpone the election for six weeks, as they could not guaranty the security of lives and property in the volatile north-east during the elections.

The leading opposition party, the All Progressives Congress, had accused the PDP administration of coercing the INEC into postponing the election.

However, a spokesman for President Goodluck Jonathan, Dr Doyin Okupe, said the government had no right to force the electoral body to change the date of the election, addressing insinuations that the presidency was pushing for the postponement of the elections.

“The Federal Government is not exerting pressure on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to shift the election dates,” he said.

According to him, the government was only asking the electoral umpire to ensure that all eligible voters got their Permanent Voters Cards (PVC) before the election.

Dr. Okupe said that the President could not in good conscience endorse an electoral arrangement where people from a section of the country would be excluded from the electoral process due to no fault of theirs or by virtue of just being unfortunate residents of an area under siege of terrorism.