“It is still very likely that even with the unfortunate postponement we had in 2015 and the one that we had this year; in the future, it is still possible that we are going to have that kind of problem,” the lawyer added.
He, however, called on the government to rise up to its responsibility and address the many challenges facing threatening the conduct of elections.
Ogunye proposed the adoption of a digital system to conduct elections, stressing that this would serve as a quick fix to some of the problems.
According to him, going digital will immediately eliminate the issue of ballot box snatching and make the conduct of elections cheaper and less cumbersome.
The lawyer said, “The point is that from what we can see, we will have to keep fit with the possibility of digitising our electoral system to solve many of the problems that we encounter while conducting an election.”
He listed some of the challenges to include logistics, violence, electoral malpractices and sharp practices by electoral officials and politicians among others.
An Appeal Court in Abuja has reversed the judgment of a Federal Hight Court disqualifying the Deputy-Governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo from participating in the Bayelsa State governorship election on November 16.
This comes as Senator Degi-Eremienyo who is now the deputy governor-elect challenged the High Court verdict that restrained him from taking part in the recently concluded poll.
Justice Iyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court in Abuja had on November 12 disqualified the lawmaker for allegedly supplying false information to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as part of requirement for the governorship poll.
In a judgment, Justice Ekwo said Senator Degi-Eremienyo gave false information in relation to his educational qualifications and went ahead to depose to an affidavit to correct the discrepancies.
The judge held that all his documents bore different names.
But in his ruling on Monday, a three-man panel chaired by Justice Stephen Adah held that the High Court erred in law and in breach of the appellant’s right to a fair hearing.
According to him, the case which was brought under Section 36 of the Electoral Act is criminal in nature and the respondents in the case ought to prove beyond reasonable doubt that Senator Degi-Eremienyo gave false information in his form C001 submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as part of his qualifications to contest the election.
The Appellant Court held that more so the lawmaker submitted an affidavit sworn to court to prove that the names Adeyi-Eremienyo on his school-leaving certificate is one and the same as Degi-Eremienyo on his GCE certificate and newspaper cuttings announcing to the whole world a change in name and same was not challenged by the respondents in the lower court as such the findings of the lower court are erroneous.
The trial judge concluded by saying that “I agree with the appellant that the owner of the school leaving certificate and the GCE certificate are one and the same and I therefore set aside the judgment of the court below.”
Algerians awaited the outcome Friday of a widely unpopular presidential election marred by attacks on polling stations and the lowest turnout in the country’s history.
The election had been championed by the army as a way of restoring stability almost 10 months into a protest movement that in April ousted president Abdelaziz Bouteflika, 82, after two decades in office.
But on polling day Thursday, protesters defied a heavy police presence to hold a mass rally in the heart of the capital Algiers and smaller demonstrations in provincial cities.
The electoral authority said its chairman Mohamed Charfi would release the results at 11 am (1000 GMT), an announcement that could prompt tens of thousands of election opponents to pour out onto the streets in new protests.
All five of the candidates in Thursday’s vote were widely rejected by protesters as “children of the regime”.
Among them are two of the ousted leader’s former prime ministers — Abdelmajid Tebboune, 74, and Ali Benflis, 75 — and a former minister, Azzedine Mihoubi.
If none of the five hopefuls wins a majority, Algerians will be asked to return to the polls on a date still to be set between December 31 and January 9 for a second-round runoff that could trigger further unrest.
No exit polls were published but a spokesman for Tebboune said his candidate had won an outright majority.
Turnout at record low
On Thursday, a record six in 10 Algerians abstained, Charfi said, the highest rate for a multi-party election since independence from France in 1962.
Tens of thousands rallied in central Algiers, where police with water cannon and helicopters tried to disperse protesters.
“The people want independence,” demonstrators chanted after breaking through a police cordon and filling the streets outside the Central Post Office, their rallying point through more than 40 weeks of protest.
AFP reporters saw a group storming a polling station in the capital, suspending voting there for about half an hour before police pushed them out again.
Late in the afternoon, an AFP reporter saw police using baton charges to disperse remaining protesters.
After dark, witnesses reported ongoing scuffles between police and protesters in the Belouizdad neighbourhood close to the city centre.
In the mountain region of Kabylie, home to much of the country’s Berber minority and historically opposed to the central government, protesters ransacked polling stations and clashed with police, residents said.
In the city of Bejaia, two polling stations were attacked. In Tizi Ouzou, security forces fired teargas to disperse a crowd who had surrounded a government building, triggering a standoff into the night in which several people were wounded.
‘Mired in crisis’
In central Algiers, young protesters slammed those casting their ballots as “traitors of the nation”.
That earned a sharp rebuke from one man in his 80s: “I fought for the right to vote, so I’m voting for my country.”
Other voters said they had turned out because after nearly a year of turmoil it was time for a return to stability.
“I am voting because I am afraid that the country will get mired in the crisis,” said Karim, a 28-year-old civil servant.
Sid Ali, a 48-year-old merchant in Algiers, said: “I support the Hirak (protest) movement but it needs to end. I lost 70 percent of my turnover and many traders are in my situation.”
‘No to the system’
Whoever wins will struggle to be accepted by the electorate in the North African country, where many citizens see the government as inept, corrupt and unable to manage the flagging economy.
The “Hirak” street movement kicked off when Bouteflika announced in February that he would seek a fifth term in office.
Protesters have stayed on the streets ever since, demanding the total dismantling of the system that has ruled Algeria since independence.
The military high command, which long wielded power from the shadows, has been forced to take a more visible role and has pushed for the election as a way to withdraw behind the scenes again.
Demonstrators have vented their anger at army chief Ahmed Gaid Salah, who has emerged as Algeria’s de facto strongman since Bouteflika stepped down.
A previous poll set for July was scrapped for lack of viable candidates and interim president Abdelkader Bensalah’s term technically ended five months ago.
President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, has congratulated the All Progressives Congress (APC) and its candidates on their victory in the governorship elections in Kogi and Bayelsa States.
Lawan particularly rejoiced with the Kogi State Governor Yahaya Bello on his reelection and David Lyon for making history as the first governor Bayelsa has elected on a platform different from the outgoing ruling party in the state.
The Senate President praised President Muhammadu Buhari for ensuring a level playing field that enabled the people to assert their sovereignty and choose their leaders.
“The impressive turnout of voters in the two states is a ringing endorsement of democracy by Nigerians as their preferred system, notwithstanding its current challenges,” Lawan said in a statement signed by his Special Adviser (Media), Ola Awoniyi.
Lawan also thanked the security personnel for their sacrifices for peace and order in the face of great difficulties.
The Senate President enjoined the winners to be magnanimous in victory by accommodating all sections of the state in their governments and development agenda.
Lawan also admonished the electoral umpire, the Independent National Electoral Commission, to learn from the challenges experienced in the two states with a view to constantly improving its institutional performance and the electoral process.
The Senate President called on the relevant agencies to ensure thorough prosecution of the electoral offenders in the two states to serve as deterrence to others.
Meanwhile, the Speaker of the House of Representatives Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila, has also congratulated the winners.
In a message signed by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Lanre Lasisi, Gbajabiamila said the victory recorded by the APC candidates in the two states was an indication of the wide acceptance that the party enjoys.
The Speaker said Bayelsa State, in particular, has now joined the Next Level train, having seen the massive change driven by the APC-led government at the federal level.
“It is gladdening to know that our party, the APC, came out victorious in the governorship elections in Kogi and Bayelsa states. This is a testimony that Nigerians across the length and breadth of the country are beginning to realise what the APC means for the country.
“This victory is not for the party or its members alone, but for the entirety of Nigerians.
“May I call on the two governors-elect to be magnanimous in victory. The APC stands for the good of Nigerians, and I know the two governors-elect are part of the journey to make Nigeria better,” the Speaker said.
He called on the people of the two states, including members of the opposition parties, to join hands with the governors-elect to make their states great.
It was a tough day in Kogi and Bayelsa States where INEC conducted elections on Saturday last week as the exercise recorded loss of lives, attack on polling units by suspected thugs, and ballot box snatching among other unfortunate incidents.
While residents of both states headed to various polling units in their respective local governments to cast their votes, the people of Kogi West senatorial district had an extra duty to perform.
The electorate in the senatorial zone also voted in the rerun election to choose who would represent them in the Senate chamber of the National Assembly between Senator Dino Melaye of the PDP and APC’s Senator Smart Adeyemi.
Although the poll favoured Senator Adeyemi who scored 80,118 votes as against the 59,548 votes garnered by Senator Melaye, the election was declared inconclusive.
The returning officer for the election, Professor Olayinde Lawal, explained that the margin of 20,570 votes between both candidates was lower than the 43,127 registered voters in 53 polling units of 20 registration areas in the zone where elections were cancelled.
He informed party agents and others present at the collation centre that he was constrained by the law to declare a winner in such a situation.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has resumed the collation of results of the governorship election in Kogi State.
This comes barely one day after the commission postponed the exercise till Monday, following the collation of results from 19 out of the 21 local government areas of the state.
INEC’s Returning Officer for the election and Vice-Chancellor of Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, Professor Ibrahim Umar, had informed party agents and others at the collation centre on Sunday that the exercise would continue by 9am.
The tweets came before and after the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) returned the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Bayelsa as the winner of the election.
The candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr David Lyon, has won the November 16 governorship election in Bayelsa State.
The Returning Officer of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Benin, Professor Faraday Orunmuwese, announced this on Monday morning.
Professor Orunmuwese returned Lyon as the winner of the keenly contested election after scoring the highest number of votes in the poll.
The APC candidate polled a total of 352,552 votes to defeat his closest rival and candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr Duoye Diri, who scored 143,172 votes.
Six Of Eight
Residents of Bayelsa had taken to various polling units in their respective wards to cast their ballots in a bid to elect a new governor to succeed Mr Seriake Dickson who is about to complete his second term as governor of the state.
Governor Dickson had supported Mr Diri to succeed him in his bid to ensure the PDP continues to rule in Bayelsa, following the exit of the state’s former governor and present Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, from office in 2012.
He was, however, unable to achieve this as Diri suffered defeat to his APC rival with a difference of over 180,000 votes.
Meanwhile, the election was characterised with reports of violence and ballot snatching in some areas while some wards were merged together as a result of flooding.
The collation of results of the election across the eight local government areas of the state began on Sunday afternoon and lasted until the early hours of Monday.
Of the first six LGAs whose results were collated, Lyon dominated the election with a difference of over 80,000 votes and extended the lead by an additional 100,000 votes after the results of the remaining two local governments were collated.
The Governor-elect won in six LGAs while his PDP rival claimed the remaining two LGAs.
Lyon won in Brass, Ekeremor, Nembe, Ogbia, Southern Ijaw, and Yenagoa LGAs while Diri won in Kolokuma/Opokuma and Sagbama LGAs.
Declaring the APC candidate as the winner, Professor Orunmuwese explained that a total of 505,884 votes were cast, out of which 499,551 were counted as valid votes.
He added that a total of 922,562 voters registered for the election but 517,883 voters were accredited.
The candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr Duoye Diri, has faulted the outcome of the governorship election in Bayelsa State.
Diri, who addressed a news conference on Sunday, accused the Nigerian Army of intimidating agents and supporters of the PDP in Ogbia Local Government Area (LGA) of the state.
“The Nigerian Army is in Ogbia chasing away all PDP agents and all PDP key stakeholders from Ogbia, arresting most of our stakeholders; arresting all key stakeholders in Ogbia and as we speak, the Nigerian Army is there in Ogbia,” he told reporters while the collation of results from the eight LGAs in the state was ongoing at the office of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Yenagoa.
The PDP candidate added, “We want to use this opportunity to call on the soldiers who are in Ogbia to immediately withdraw from Ogbia Local Government Area.”
Mr Lyon took the lead with about 352,552 votes as against Diri who has about 143,172, with a difference of over 180,000 votes.
He won in Brass, Ekeremor, Nembe, Ogbia, Southern Ijaw, and Yenagoa LGAs while his PDP rival won in Kolokuma/Opokuma and Sagbama LGAs.
However, the Returning Officer of the election and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Benin, Professor Faraday Orunmuwese, will announce the winner of the election after all processes have been concluded.
A day after the residents of Bayelsa and Kogi States cast their ballots in the governorship elections in both states, voters are awaiting the results to know who will govern them for the next four years.
Results from the elections which held on Saturday have started trickling in at the collation centre of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the two states.