Nigerians With Disabilities Seek Inclusion In Electoral Process

-Some Nigerians with disabilities have asked political parties to keep their promises of inclusiveness in the political process before and after the elections.

At a forum organised by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for political parties and persons with disabilities, participants with disabilities complained that political parties had made promises in the past elections which were forgotten soon after the polls.

However, the Electoral body had promised to ensure that they were not disenfranchised during the polls, with the chairman of INEC saying the electoral body had made adequate arrangements for them to participate.

As part of activities leading to the 2015 general elections, the INEC had been organising forums to sensitise Nigerians on the polls.

This time it was a meeting between political parties and persons with disabilities to discuss their participation in political activities.

Political parties, one after the other reeled out laudable programmes, indicating how had carried persons with disabilities along.

The National Chairman of the Progressive Peoples Alliance, peter ameh and a representative of the chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Danimoh Salihu, were some of the persons that spoke to the persons with disabilities at the  meeting.

For the persons with disabilities, all seem to be talk and no action. They said it was a normal tactics employed by political parties during elections and would be forgotten after the polls.

The National President of National Union of Persons with Disabilities, Nasir Argungu and  the National President, Joint National Union of Persons with Disabilities, Ekaette Umoh, emphasised the need for the political parties to keep their promises after they had been elected into offices, saying they would hold the politicians and INEC to their words, with the hope that it would be matched with actions.

It is expected that the meeting would ensure that Nigerians with disabilities are not disenfranchised in next month’s polls and subsequent elections.

APC Rejects Call For Postponement Of Elections

APCThe All Progressives Congress (APC) has rejected the call by the National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (Rtd), for the postponement of the February general elections warning that under no circumstance must the elections be scuttled.

Sambo had given the advice during an event at the Chatham House in London on Thursday, citing the need to give INEC more time to distribute all Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs).

In a statement issued in Abuja on Thursday by its National Publicity Secretary, Lai Mohammed, the APC said that the call by Col. Dasuki, had exposed the hitherto clandestine plot by the Jonathan Administration to push for the postponement of the polls, using all sorts of “cheap tricks”.

”Now that we have found the smoking gun, we are urging the international community, in particular, to urgently extract a commitment from President Goodluck Jonathan that the elections will hold as scheduled next month, and that he would respect the outcome, just as we have said,” it said.

The party also called on Nigerians to reject what it termed an ongoing orchestrated plot by President Jonathan’s administration to postpone the elections, saying the constitutional crisis that would be triggered by such postponement could undermine the nation’s democracy.

APC said that the importance of elections cannot be over-emphasized, “Election is the lifeblood of democracy, the mechanism by which modern representative democracy operates.

“It is the only way for the citizenry to renew and refresh the governing process so they can get the most benefits out of democracy. Therefore, anyone that tries to sabotage this mechanism is aiming a dagger straight to the heart of democracy.

“We ask them to look at the State Governor placing a newspaper advert wishing our presidential candidate dead. The possible repercussions of this kind of provocative act are better imagined, had our party not been a peaceful party.

”In view of the above, we have decided to take our case to Nigerians and indeed the global community so they can prevail on President Jonathan to allow the elections to hold as scheduled and to make a commitment to respect the outcome.”

Presidential Election Holds In Zambia

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Zambians queue to cast their ballots for the Zambian Presidential elections at Kanyama primary in Lusaka on January 20, 2015. AFP PHOTO / GIANLUIGI GUERCIA

Voting began on Tuesday for the next president of Zambia, one of Africa’s most promising frontier markets, in what shaped up as a tight race between a populist lawyer and a wealthy economist.

Edgar Lungu, leader of the ruling Patriotic Front (PF), is seen having a slight edge over main rival, Hakainde Hichilema, a businessman whose United Party for National Development (UPND) has won over the middle-class and investors.

The two candidates had promised to improve the economy and create jobs in the country.

The winner would serve out the remaining 18 months of Michael Sata’s term as Zambia is due to hold a general election in 2016.

Former President, Michael Sata, passed away in October 2014 and Vice President Guy Scott became acting President of Zambia.

Observers have said that the election has been largely peaceful.

Counting of the ballots would begin shortly after polls close with results due to be announced within 48 hours.

Zambia is Africa’s biggest copper producer after Democratic Republic of Congo. Its mining sector had experienced a boom in recent years with the economy averaging a 6 to 7 percent growth.

It however slowed to to 5.5 percent in 2014 from being one of the world’s best performing economies.

TMG Introduces Quick Count Method For 2015 Elections

inec_ballot_box 1A civil society organisation, Transition Monitoring Group (TMG) has launched a Quick Count methodology ahead of the 2015 general elections in February.

According to the Group, the method will help election observers send reports via coded text messages as they happen in polling stations across Nigeria.

The method is also expected to prevent  multiple voting and post-elections violence during the 2015 general elections.

Speaking during inauguration ceremony in Abuja on Tuesday, the Chairman of the Group, Mr Ibrahim Zikirullahi, said apart from striving to prevent fraud and build confidence in the citizenry, the Quick Count, would help to “determine whether election processes are genuinely democratic”.

He added that “through the TMG Quick Count, non-partisan citizen observers will deploy to a random representative sample of polling units across the country to report on the opening, accreditation, voting and counting processes during election day, as well as collect voting results and voter turnout figures.

“The heart of Quick Count rests on establishing a representative, random sample of polling units. This means that observers will deploy to LGAs in the same proportion as there are polling units located in each LGA”.

The integrity of the process is, however, based on the neutrality and objectivity of observers in the field. While percentage of error in past trial of the method was minimal, officials, said they are working hard not to compromise the process.

Mr Zikirullahi, who said the method employs Information Communication Technology in its operation, added that “during the Quick Count, observers watch the accreditation, voting and counting processes as well as the conduct of electoral stakeholders such as Independent National Electoral Commission’s officials, political party agents and the security forces.

“The observers record this information on standardised forms and report their findings to evaluate the overall quality of the election day process.

“The observers send in the reports via coded text messages at various intervals during the day, which allows TMG to rapidly collate and analyse in real time the quality of the election as it unfolds,” he said.

At the event on Tuesday, the 37 state coordinators and 111 deputy coordinators selected from various senatorial districts across the country, who would coordinate the project at their various domains, also pledged to be neutral and objective while carrying out their tasks.

Meanwhile, the electoral body said it would monitor activities of independent observers during the elections to avoid feeding the public with inaccurate reports.

A representative of the election monitoring body, who was at the launch of the Quick Count, said: “We have observed that not all observer groups have the financial muscle to train all its field workers, so what the commission has done in partnership with IFES is to undertake a training of trainers. We train their own trainers before they deploy their observers to the field. This we will do to all observer cost at no cost to all observer groups”, he said.

 

Political Ideology And Internal Democracy Will Ensure Better Elections- Group

ToINEC LOGO4wards a successful conduct of the 2015 general elections in Ogun state, South West Nigeria, the Committee for the Defense of Human Rights (CDHR) has challenged political parties to embrace internal democracy and strong ideological base to ensure free and fair elections in the state.

At a stakeholders forum held at the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) secretariat, in Abeokuta, the Ogun state capital, participants agreed that democracy must be sustained in the country and all actors must be more responsible and responsive to the course.

The forum had in attendance representatives of political parties, members of the civil society, security agencies, religious leaders brainstorming and cross fertilizing ideas towards the success of the 2015 general elections in the state and Nigeria at large.

They noted that the conduct of a successful elections has continued to elude the country as a result of the failure of political parties and political actors to ensure strong ideological base and internal democracy.

The occasion afforded members of the political parties to seek clarification on some issues bothering on voters registration among other issues from the state Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) official.

The success or otherwise of the 2015 general elections depends largely on how best politicians and political parties play the game in the build up to the general elections.

Osun Election: APC Dismisses PDP’s Allegation Of Imported Voters

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The All progressive Congress (APC) has debunked claims of the Peoples Democratic Party that the APC plans to import people from all parts of the country for election fraud in the Osun governorship election that will hold on Saturday.

The Commissioner for Information in Osun State, Sunday Akere, told Channels Television in Osogbo, the state’s capital, that the PDP’s claim was what the PDP was capable of doing.

According to him, the APC has worked so hard and delivered on its promises to the people,which to him is an indication of victory.

“Why should we rely on importing people when Osun electorates are in support of the continuation of Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesolas Administration? ” He questioned.

The APC has also been linked with the Boko Haram terrorist group by the ruling PDP, but Mr Akere also dismissed the claims, saying “it is left for God and time to reveal the true identity of the sponsors of the sect”.

To ensure that the governorship election is credible, free and fair, the electoral commission has requested for huge presence of security officials in Osun State, but the decision did not go down well with the APC.

Mr Akere bemoaned the heavy presence of security personnel, but stressed that it had no intimidation on any one, as the electorates would come out to vote and decide who governs the state on August 9, 2014.

Party Defection Affects Representation Of Electorate – Umeh

xxzxAhead of the 2015 general elections, the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) has criticized the conduct of politicians who defect from one party to another saying it does not augur well for effective representation of the electorate.

Addressing a news conference in Abuja at the end of the National Working Committee meeting of the party, the National Chairman of the party, Victor Umeh, said the defection amounts to transferring the mandate of the electorate without their consent.

Mr. Umeh, who announced the dissolution of the party’s caretaker committee in Imo state for failing to galvanize and unite party members in the state, applauded the federal government for the peaceful conduct of the governorship election in Ekiti state.

Orji Warns Against Pasting Campaign Posters

Theodore OrjiThe Abia state government has warned individuals and groups that have been placing the campaign posters and billboards of Governor Theodore Orji  around Umuahia and Aba for the Abia Central Senatorial seat ahead of 2015 elections without due authorization.

Governor Orji denied having any involvement in the act and also denounced it.

In a statement issued by the state government, Orji described the act as improper and called on all those engaged in the indiscriminate pasting of such posters and billboards to stop the act forthwith and wait for the appropriate time.

More Of Lavish Yanukovich Properties Revealed In Ukraine

Local Ukrainian media reported on several more properties owned by ousted president, Viktor Yanukovich, on Monday (February 24) including a massive country residence under construction in Sevastopol, in the Crimean penninsula.

There is frenzy and fascination in the Ukrainian media about where all the country’s money has gone as the economy is in dire straits. Reporters have flocked to Yanukovich’s properties looking for any information they can on what the ousted president – now wanted for mass murder – wasted state money on.

Overlooking the Black Sea the huge residence has also angered locals because they say the construction company destroyed valuable and endangered trees.

“I am in complete shock about the trees. They are on the endangered species list and it takes many lifetimes to grow them and sometimes they can be completely eradicated,” said a local man, Dmytro Vorobyov.

“This shows a total disregard for nature, law and human beings; to build a five-storey house that is three times bigger than the local youth hall,” said a local woman, Olena Prokhina.

This comes just two days after the private residence of disgraced president, whose whereabouts are still unknown, was opened to visitors near Kiev.

The sprawling forested estate of graceful waterways and summer houses on land half the size of Monaco stands as a symbol of the folly of Ukraine’s fugitive president.

And yet it appeared it was not enough for him as it appeared he also planned to enjoy a giant holiday home in the beautiful and wooded Sevastopol hills.

His hunting lodge was also on display in Sukholesye.

Ukrainians are rapidly finding out about Yanukovich’s outstanding wealth and want to know how he financed these properties.

Anger has welled up as Ukrainians whose average salary is 500 U.S. dollars a month find out their taxes appear to have been squandered on Yanukovich’s entertainment.

This as the EU is discussing emergency financial aid for Ukraine to raise short-term funding as the country needs 35 billion U.S. dollars to survive 2014 and 2015.

Ukraine: President Yanukovych Agrees To A Presidential Election

As part of a peace deal, the Ukrainian President, Viktor Yanukovych, has agreed to hold a presidential election before the end of the year.

The President has also agreed to a national unity government and to make constitutional changes which will ultimately reduce the power of the President.

This development came after hours of talks with the opposition leaders.

The opposition has not spoken about the deal and it remains unclear whether protesters would back it.

The German and Polish foreign ministers, who mediated the talks in Kiev, were reported to be on their way to talk to protesters in Kiev’s independence square.

Ukrainian broadcaster, ICTV, confirmed that it had seen a copy of the deal, and it had been signed by all parties.

Local Govt Election Holds Peacefully In Kwara

Local Government election was held peacefully today across the remaining 15 Local Government Areas of Kwara State with only three political parties taking part in the exercise.

The exercise, saw people trooping out in large numbers to exercise their franchise, while adequate security was provided to guard against breakdown of law and order.

As early as 8 o’clock, people had started trooping into various polling booths for accreditation. While others went back home to come back for proper voting, others waited at the polling stations to exercise their civic right.

In most of the centres at Ilorin West, South and East, the voters, mostly women queued up peacefully with no crisis recorded as major roads were deserted due to the election.

In Ajikobi ward and Jimba ward both in Ilorin West; the voters expressed appreciation to the umpire for quick arrival of voting materials and for prompt commencement of the voting exercise after the accreditation.

The situation was the same in other polling units as people turned out in large numbers

While the PDP chairmanship candidate gave kudos to the umpire and the voters for being peaceful, describing the election as most peaceful, the state secretary of the Labour Party lamented that voting materials were in short supply in some wards in Ekiti Local Government Area. He also commended the peaceful nature of the election.

The State Chairman of Independent Electoral Commission, Uthman Ajidagba while monitoring the election in Afon, the headquarters of Asa Local Government, expressed satisfaction with the turnout of people which he described as impressive.

He appealed to the electorate to continue to remain calm and await the announcement of the result later, after the collation at each local government secretariat.

The State Governor, Abdulfattah Ahmed while casting his vote at his ward in Share, the headquarters of Ifelodun Local Government, lauded the electorate for being peaceful and assured of the determination of government to continue to maintain peace in the state.