Fire Guts INEC Warehouse In Abuja  

inecThe Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said that the fire that gutted some parts of its storage facilities in Abuja will not affect the upcoming general elections.

The Commissioner in charge of Electoral Operations and Logistics, Mohammed Hamanga, said that the affected materials, which were in the process of being destroyed, were obsolete.

According to an official of the commission, the fire outbreak was as a result of a surge in electricity after three days of power cut.

It was gathered that the fire which started at 11:00 PM was contained by 2:00AM due to the quick response of officials of INEC and the Federal Fire Service, who forced their way into the warehouse.

The Commissioner in charge, who inspected the affected areas of the warehouse, allayed fears that the fire would affect the reschedule elections.

INEC have faced lots of challenges on the road to the 2015 general elections, but the commission has reinstated its commitment to deliver a free and fair election, despite its challenges.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was established by the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to, among other things, organize elections into various political offices in the country.

PDP Group Passes Vote Of No Confidence On Jega

groupThe Peoples Democratic Party Vanguard, a pressure group of the ruling party says it has no confidence in the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC), Professor Atahiru Jega, to conduct the forthcoming elections.

According to the group, events in the last three weeks of postponement had revealed that INEC was unprepared to conduct credible elections.

Briefing Journalists in Abuja on Monday, the group questioned the process of the distribution of the Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs), as well as the introduction of the incident form by the INEC, ahead of the elections.

The PDP pressure group further insisted that the activities in the last two weeks had exposed INEC’s level of preparedness for the polls.

The group also opposed the introduction of the Incident Form by INEC which the commission intends to use as a back up for the card readers.

INEC had explained the reason for introducing the Incident Form, saying it will allow ‎persons who might not be able to vote due to some technical faults from the card readers machine to report what had happened.

Court Refuses To Make Interim Order Against Use Of Card Readers

card readersA Federal High Court in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja, has refused an application brought by four registered political parties, seeking to restrain the electoral commission from using Smart Card Readers in the conduct of the general elections.

The United Democratic Party, Action Alliance, Allied Congress Party of Nigeria and Alliance for Democracy filed the suit.

The parties, through their counsel Alex Iziyon, told the court that the proposed use of the readers was contrary to the provisions of the constitution, as well as the amended 2010 Electoral Act.

In the suit, the political parties challenged the powers of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to introduce a process not specifically provided for in the constitution, as it prepares for the rescheduled polls.

Mr Iziyon told the court that the Electoral Act, in section 52(1), prohibited electronic voting, but that the electoral body had gone ahead to introduce electronic voter’s card reader.

The counsel urged the court to temporarily restrain the INEC from implementing the use of the card reader machine in the forthcoming elections, pending the determination of the suit.

He further urged the court to bridge the time within which INEC would be allowed to file a response, in view of the nature of the case which according to him had a robust electoral jurisprudence.

In his ruling on the exparte motion, the trial judge, Justice Adeniyi Ademola, noted that the political parties had shown that they had legal rights, showing that the case is triable, but observed that the parties would not suffer any irreparable harm if the electoral body is given the opportunity to be heard before the interim orders being sought could be granted.

Consequently, the court declined to make any interim orders against INEC on the proposed use of the Smart Card Readers.

However, it abridged the time for INEC to file its response to four days, after receiving court papers on the matter.

Hearing on the substantive motion on notice was thereafter adjourned until Tuesday, Mar 10.

INEC To Test Card reader

In a statement on Monday, the INEC said it will conduct a field testing of the functionality of the Smart Card Readers to be deployed for the accreditation of voters on Election Day. The General Elections was re-scheduled for March 28 and April 11.

According to the Commission’s Decision Extract issued on February 26 and signed by the Director of the Commission’s Secretariat, Ishiaku Gali, the field testing will take place in two states of each of the six geopolitical zones of the federation.

He said the testing would take place simultaneously on Saturday, March 7.

The states selected for the exercise are: Ekiti and Lagos, South West; Anambra and Ebonyi, South East; Delta and Rivers, South South; Kano and Kebbi, North West; Bauchi and Taraba, North East; Niger and Nasarawa, North Central.



PDP, APC Oppose Suit Against Use Of PVC

Tineche Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives Congress (APC) have opposed a suit challenging the decision by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on the use of the electronic Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) in the general elections.

The suit was filed by the Society for Advancement and Protection of Public Rights (SAPPR) and it came up for mention at the Federal High Court in Abuja, on Monday.

It is challenging the power of the INEC to use of the electronic voting system without legislation by the National Assembly.

According to the group, the electoral umpire cannot evoke an administrative fiat. It said the electoral body’s actions were illegal, null and void.

The suit filed by the SAPPR seeks to restrain the INEC from using the PVC and card readers for the forthcoming polls, on the grounds that they were likely to lead to the disenfranchisement of eligible voters.

However, the PDP, APC, General Muhammadu Buhari and the Incorporated Trustees of Physical and Civil Rights Enlightenment Foundation sought to be joined as co-defendants with INEC, to oppose the suit.

Lawyer to the litigants, who did not oppose their applications for joinder, however, wondered what injuries the suit would cause the various parties challenging the suit.

The judge adjourned the suit till March 18 for mention.

The general elections have been rescheduled to hold on March 28 and April 11 from an earlier date of February 14 and 28 and the INEC has insisted that only voters with the Permanent Voters Cards would be allowed to vote.

February Elections Will Hold As Scheduled – INEC

ElectionsThe Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said that it is working towards making sure that the general elections fixed for February 14 and 28 hold as scheduled.

The National Chairman of the commission, speaking in Abuja, however, refused to react to comments credited to the National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki, asking the commission to delay the elections to allow for adequate distribution of Permanent Voter Cards.

The NSA had on Thursday advised the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to delay the elections scheduled for February in order to allow for proper preparations.

He gave the advice during a discourse at London think-tank, Chatham House, where he stated that it would be advantageous if the upcoming elections were postponed.

The INEC Chairman has, however, assured Nigerians that the commission had not participated in any communication about a postponement.

While maintaining that the commission had no intention of postponing the forthcoming elections, he said that they were prepared to distribute the voters card till February 13 if it becomes necessary as it remained mandatory for electorates to vote with their PVCs.

He maintained that the card would ensure that those who snatch ballot boxes find them useless.

He also absolved INEC of blame in the slow distribution of the PVCs.

He alleged that citizens were not coming out to collect their PVCs, but were blaming INEC for not meeting up with challenges of distributing them.