Buhari Should Waste No Time To Sign Amended Electoral Bill, Says Fayose

 

Former Governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose, has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to swiftly sign the Electoral Act Amendment Bill.

He made the call on Wednesday during an interview on Channels Television’s Politics Today, about a month after President Buhari declined assent to the bill over the direct primaries clause.

“Now that the National Assembly has done the right thing, he (Buhari) should waste no time at assenting to the bill and let the process have enough time to adjust,” the former governor said.

Following the rejection of the bill by the President and calls by some individuals and groups to do the needful, members of the National Assembly took a decisive step on Wednesday.

While the members of the Senate and the House of Representatives bowed to pressure to include the indirect option as another mode of conducting primaries, lawmakers in the upper chamber went on to add consensus as a third option.

Former Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose speaks during an interview on Channels Television’s Politics Today on January 19, 2022.

 

In his reaction, Fayose believes President Buhari is fond of giving excuses for refusing to sign bills passed by lawmakers.

READ ALSO: Wike Promises Rivers LG Chairmen At Least N20m Each To Fight Oil Bunkering

He recalled how the President first rejected the bill in the build-up to the 2019 general elections and advised him to leave a good legacy behind when he leaves the office.

“It is becoming common of President Muhammadu Buhari to dodge assent. Remember before the 2019 elections, he was supposed to sign this thing to law; he did not, he gave excuses,” Fayose said.

“I am not saying what the National Assembly did is right or wrong, but President Buhari should leave office and leave with a name that people will remember that he turned around the electoral process.”

If President Buhari refuses to sign the document again after the National Assembly re-amends the document, Fayose stated that Nigerians would suspect that there was more to his action.

Away from the electoral bill, Fayose also spoke about the 2023 general elections and the preparations of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the contest.

He is confident that Nigerians will dump the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) for its failure to meet up with their expectations since its victory in 2015.

APC Releases Timetable For By-Elections In Cross River, Imo, Ondo, Plateau

Governors of the All Progressives Congress (APC) meet over the contentious national convention of the party.

 

The All Progressives Congress (APC) has released its timetable and schedule of activities for the conduct of the 2022 concurrent Legislative By-Elections across four states of the Federation.

This is in accordance with the provisions of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) guidelines.

The states are: Cross River State (Ogoja/Yala Federal Constituency and Akpabuyo state Constituency); Imo State (Ngor-Okpala state Constituency); Ondo State (Akure North/Akure South Federal Constituency); Plateau State (Jos North/Bassa Federal Constituency and Pankshin South State Constituency).

Read Also: APC Governors Meet, Insist On Holding Planned Convention In February

The approved timetable/schedule of activities for the concurrent legislative by-elections was signed by the National Secretary, APC Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC), Sen. John James Akpanudoedehe.

According to Akpanudoedehe, the expression of interest and nomination forms for the House of Representatives positions cost N3,850, 000.

For the State House of Assembly positions, the forms cost N850, 000, while female aspirants and physically challenged aspirants are entitled to 50% of the prescribed fees for each position.

Below is the schedule of activities:

*Notice of Election to the State Chapter – Tuesday 18th January, 2022

*Sale of Forms (APC National Secretariat) – Tuesday 18th January, 2022

*Last Day for Submission of Completed Forms and accompanying documents (APC National Secretariat) – Monday 24th January, 2022

*Screening of Aspirants – Wednesday 26th January, 2022

*Publication of claims and objections – Friday 28th January, 2022

*Screening Appeals – Sunday 30th January, 2022

*PRIMARY ELECTION – Tuesday 1st February, 2022

*Election Appeal – Thursday 3rd February, 2022

Governors of the party had met behind closed doors at the Kebbi Governors Lodge in Abuja on Sunday to deliberate on the contentious national convention.

The convention is expected to take place in February but a date is yet to be announced.

“We discussed our upcoming convention which you may recall I had cause to address the press after we visited President Buhari in November 2021 where the President and the party agreed that the convention would take place in February,” Chairman of the forum and Governor of Kebbi State, Abubakar Bagudu, said at the end of the meeting.

“We are one group of stakeholders in the party and our party respects institutions. The appropriate organ of the party that will announce a date for the national convention is the CECPC.”


2023 Elections: Northern Group Backs Osinbajo For President

File photo of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.

 

Ahead of the 2023 general elections, a northern group, Arewa Consensus Assembly, on Thursday canvassed for the micro-zoning of the presidency to the South-Western part of the country in the interest of justice and equity.

The group said that the agitation by some people that the presidency should be retained to the North will further divide the country, adding that the focus should be more on equitable distribution of power.

READ ALSO: 2022 Budget Won’t Fail Because APC Leads National Assembly – Buhari

While addressing a press conference after their meeting in Kaduna, Chairman of the group, Daniel Shawulu, said the real interest of the North is about the vast majority of the people and not the parochial interest of a few politicians, who he said are usually more vocal and claim to speak on behalf of the region.

Chairman of the Arewa Consensus Assembly, Daniel Shawulu, speaks during a press conference in Kaduna State on January 6, 2022.

 

Noting that there need for an urgent responsibility to build and foster confidence between the different ethnicities and geo-political zones of Nigeria, the northern-based group stated that the country at the moment needs someone with requisite insight to consolidate the much-desired results and continuity of the structural programs commenced by the present administration.

He equally endorsed Vice president Yemi Osibanjo as the right candidate to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari.

The decision, according to Shawulu, is based on his competence and knowledge of the current socio-economic and security challenges confronting the country.

“The real solution of maintaining sufficient control relevance in Nigerian national politics is for the north to champion rotation to the South-West.

“The conference admits and recognises that Nigeria is in a delicate situation and our unity is fragile because of security challenges that have been clocked many times in religious and ethnic approach, especially by propagandists.

“The joint conference admits that the acceptable next President of Nigeria must have an appeal that crosses ethnic, religious and demographic lines, especially the youths considering the most recent history and trajectory of Nigeria.

“Such a person must have a demonstrated record of service at the national level and the history of believing in the unity of Nigeria, integrity and a proven record of modesty, energy, experience and conduct that is exemplified and inspired confidence across the entire country and not negotiable.

“The joint conference notes that the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo fits and addresses the question of balance, qualities and attributes expressed and resolved by the joint conference.”

2023: I Don’t Think APC Will Breakup After Buhari’s Tenure – Governor Sule

 

Nasarawa State Governor, Abdullahi Sule, has allayed fears of the All Progressives Congress (APC) breaking up in 2023, saying he doesn’t think the ruling party will fold up after President Muhammadu Buhari’s tenure.

Buhari, 79, was elected under the APC platform in 2015 and would complete his mandatory two-term tenure by next year.

With the general elections in about 14 months time, there has been speculations as to who will succeed the retired general in office.

But speaking during an interview on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics, Sule knocked critics, saying that just as they failed in predicting Nigeria’s disintegration in 2015, their plans of the ruling party going into disarray would not become a reality.

The governor explained that the ruling party has taken cognizance of the need to field a presidential candidate that is acceptable to all Nigerians, including the outgoing President Buhari in 2023.

READ ALSO: Wike Faults Signing Of 2022 Budget, Says Nigeria Made A Mistake Choosing Buhari

Although President Buhari’s name wouldn’t appear on the ballot, Sule noted that he is still part of the process that will produce a credible person that will succeed him in office.

Nasarawa State Governor, Abdullahi Sule.

 

“The same people who have told us that by 2015 Nigeria will break up and there will be no Nigeria, we still have Nigeria. So, this is the same kind of people that are saying this,” he said.

“There are people who just believe in this kind of prophecies. I don’t believe our party will go into pieces. Yes, the absence of Muhammadu Buhari on the ticket is a major thing for us, that is the reason we have to look and make sure that we have also a presidential candidate that is acceptable to all, including Muhammadu Buhari himself.”

According to the governor, the APC wouldn’t have problems emerging victorious at the polls once it fields a candidate that is generally acceptable to all.

When asked if he is backing Vice President Yemi Osinbajo as the APC presidential candidate in the general elections, the governor kept neither confirming nor denying it.

INEC Deploys 17 Voter Enrolment Devices For FCT Council Elections

A file photo of INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu.

 

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has deployed 17 INEC Voter Enrolment Devices (IVEDs) to the registration centres for the FCT Council elections.

INEC Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, said the commission met on Thursday and deliberated on several issues, including the conduct of the Federal Capital Territory Area Council Elections.

He said in pursuant of section 103(1) of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended), INEC fixed Saturday 21st February 2022 for the conduct of elections into the offices of Chairman, Vice Chairman, and members of the Area Councils.

READ ALSO: Ekiti SSG Resigns, Picks Form To Contest 2022 Governorship Election

“By section 103(1) of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended), the Commission is empowered to conduct elections into the offices of Chairman, Vice Chairman, and members of the Area Councils of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT),” Okoye said.

“Pursuant to this power, the Commission met on 30th March 2021 and fixed Saturday 21st February 2022 for the conduct of elections to these positions.

“By section 9(5) of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended), the registration of voters, updating and revision of the register of voters shall stop not later than 60 days before any election covered by the Act. Consequently, the Commission will, in compliance, suspend further registration of voters in the FCT with effect from December 12, 2021.

“To contain the anticipated upsurge as the Continuous Voters’ Registration (CVR) winds down in the FCT, the Commission has deployed additional INEC Voter Enrolment Devices (IVEDs) to the registration centres. A total of 17 IVEDs have been distributed based on 2 per Area Council and 5 at the Registration Centre.”

Electoral Amendment Bill: Buhari Will Do What Is In Nigerians’ Interest – Adesina

 

As Nigerians await President Muhammadu Buhari’s assent to the Electoral Act Amendment Bill, the presidency says he will take action that is in the overall interest of the masses.

The National Assembly had on November 19 transmitted the bill to President Buhari for assent in pursuance of Section 58 (3) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended and the Acts Authentication Act 2004.

However, the President is yet to sign the bill into law, four weeks after the Senate and the House of Representatives passed the Electoral Act Amendment Bill and approved the electronic transmission of results.

Speaking during an interview on Channels Television’s Politics Today, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, said his principal is currently consulting with all stakeholders, including the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) before making his position known on the issue.

READ ALSO: NASS Transmits Electoral Bill To Buhari For Assent

While noting that his principal cannot be preempted, Adesina noted that the President would decide on the pending bill at the appropriate time.

File photo of the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina during an interview on Channels Television’s Politics Today.

 

“The President is consulting, he has to consult with all the stakeholders and then arrive at a position that is best for the country,” he stated.

“Part of that consultation was the communication with INEC and there are other stakeholders that have also been reached for positions and counsel on that. At the end of the day, Mr. President would aggregate all of it and what is best for the country is what he will do.”

Although he didn’t specify a timeframe, the presidential spokesman explained that the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami is being carried along by the President as far as the bill is concerned.

When asked if the President would sign the bill or reject the document, Adesina did not reply in the affirmative or negative.

Rather, he stated that his principal who is there to ensure that processes are enhanced in the country, believes that the new law would boost the nation’s electoral process, hence would look at the bill very critically.

BVAS Is A Vaccine That Deals With Election Rigging, Manipulation – Iginni

 

The INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner in Akwa Ibom State, Mike Iginni, has hailed the deployment of the Bimodal Voters Authentication System (BVAS), saying it will tackle election rigging and manipulation.

BVAS is a device that combines fingerprint and facial recognition for the verification of voters and it replaces the Smart Card Readers used in previous elections.

As part of measures to enhance transparency during elections, the Independent National Electoral Commission used the technological device for the Anambra State governorship election on November 6.

Speaking during an interview on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily, Iginni, assured Nigerians that INEC is committed to election service delivery.

“If you look at all the innovations that we have put in place, the BVAS is the latest electoral sheriff in town. It has been described as a vaccine to deal with election rigging and manipulation in our country,” he said.

READ ALSO: At Least Five Killed As Gas Explosion Hits Ladipo Market

The Akwa Ibom REC also reacted to the glitches associated with BVAS during elections.

The INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner in Akwa Ibom State, Mike Iginni

 

Iginni dispelled rumours that 70 percent of the equipment do not function effectively.

He explained that BVAS worked effectively during the just concluded governorship election in Anambra State.

“Take my words very seriously. What you are talking about BVAS (is not correct). We had recorded 88.5 percent of uploaded results,” he added.

When asked whether political parties should use direct or indirect primaries for primaries, Iginni said the electoral umpire has not taken any decision yet.

Nonetheless, he explained INEC has the responsibility of providing that technical advice on whatever mode parties would decide on.

There has been a heated debate over the mode of primaries to be adopted by political parties as the Senate adopted the position of the House on the direct primaries.

The direct primary election is the mode of the election where registered members of a party vote for who they want to be the candidate of their party.

The indirect primary election is the mode where party members elect delegates who in turn elect the party’s candidates on their behalf.

The adoption of direct primaries by the two chambers of the National Assembly is generating reactions from some quarters, including governors.

APC Tripartite Committee Disagrees On Direct Primaries, Says Buhari Will Make Final Decision

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo chairs the APC Tripartite Committee on November 9, 2021.

 

An enlarged Tripartite Committee set up by President Muhammadu Buhari to resolve differences within the All Progressives Congress (APC) has disagreed on the use of direct primaries by parties to select their candidates.

At the end of an enlarged meeting on Tuesday which held in the State House and chaired by the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, the committee which consists of the Executive, Legislature and the APC, clearly failed to convince members of the National Assembly on the need to provide an alternative for the direct primary option.

This meeting comes hours after the passage of the electoral bill by the National Assembly which has approved direct primaries as sole mode of primaries upon which political parties will pick candidates for general elections.

READ ALSO: Anambra Supplementary Election: INEC Deploy Personnel, Election Materials

Speaking to State House correspondents after the meeting, Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello said that the governors do not have a problem with the provision but argued that it leaves the party with no alternative.

Conversely, members of the National Assembly at the meeting insist that direct primary remains the way to go because it has been working for the electorate.

Governor Bello who does not rule out the option of returning the bill, asserted that the final decision on the matter rests with President who is expected to give assent to the electoral bill.

Libya Conference Seeks Support Ahead Of Key Elections

Participants gather at a hotel in the Libyan capital, Tripoli for an international conference aimed at supporting stability in Libya on October 21, 2021. (Photo by Mahmud TURKIA / AFP)

 

Libya’s fragile unity government hosted an international conference Thursday to drum up support as the war-battered country gears up for a landmark December election.

“Your presence is proof that we are on the road to peace,” said the head of the interim government, Abdelhamid Dbeibah, promising that the vote would be held “on time” and urging “respect for the results”.

Libya and the UN have been striving to turn the page on the violence that has wracked the country since a 2011 NATO-backed uprising toppled and killed dictator Moamer Kadhafi.

A ceasefire between eastern and western factions last year led to the unity government taking office in March with a mandate to take the country to elections.

“Tripoli has recovered. It is the capital of all Libyans,” Dbeibah said in his opening speech at the Conference in Support of the Stability of Libya, the first of its kind to be held in the country for years.

The presidential vote is set to take place on December 24, but legislative polls have been delayed, with a date to be set in the new year, amid wrangling between factions in the country’s east and west.

Foreign powers have backed various sides in Libya’s complex war, and the presence of mercenaries and foreign troops is one of the toughest obstacles to lasting peace.

“There is no stability without full national sovereignty,” said Libyan Foreign Minister Najla al-Mangoush.

 

‘More Precarious’

The UN Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Rosemary DiCarlo, insisted on the importance of the December elections to “complete the transitional phase”.

She called on international organisations to send “special envoys to observe this operation” and to guarantee its transparency.

As Libya faces multiple accusations of mistreatment of irregular migrants, DiCarlo urged authorities to speed up the repatriation of refugees stranded there and to release migrants in detention.

Foreign powers have been pushing hard for the election to be held as scheduled after the date was agreed at UN-led talks last year.

The meeting aims to “gather the necessary support, in a transparent way” for the vote, said Mangoush in a video published by her ministry on Sunday.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian was expected at the conference, along with officials from Italy, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt. The US was to be represented by Yael Lempert, a senior State Department official.

The process toward the elections has been beset by sharp disagreements over the legal basis for the vote, which Libya expert Emadeddin Badi said was “becoming more precarious by the day”.

But, he added, the conference aims to “capitalise on the momentum to see Libya stabilised, because several countries do actually want to see a stable Libya, even if on their own terms”.

 

Foreign fighters

A major focus of the conference was the presence of foreign fighters, said Mangoush, who labelled them “a threat not just to Libya but to the entire region”.

Last December, the UN estimated that 20,000 foreign fighters were present in Libya.

They include Russians sent by the shadowy Kremlin-linked Wagner group, African and Syrian mercenaries, and Turkish soldiers deployed under a deal with a previous unity government at the height of the last round of east-west fighting.

The minimal progress since a January deadline for their departure under a ceasefire deal reflects the complexity of the issue.

Earlier this month, a joint commission of eastern and western military commanders agreed a roadmap for their departure — but it lacked a timeline.

Tripoli has said a “very modest” number of fighters have left.

Also on the list of Libya’s woes is the question of integrating and unifying the country’s armed forces under a single command — forces that as recently as last year were firing at each other.

And while in theory, the country has a unity government, its east is largely controlled by military strongman Khalifa Haftar, widely expected to stand as a presidential candidate but despised by many in Libya’s west.

Political Parties Are Empowered To Conduct Primaries, Says INEC

Mr Festus Okoye was a guest on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily.

 

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Wednesday said political parties are backed by law to conduct primary elections.

INEC Chairman, Information and Voter Committee, Festus Okoye, stated this during an interview on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on Wednesday.

“The conduct of primaries is within the domestic realm of the various political parties,” he said while making reference to Section 87 of the Electoral Act Amendment Bill.

“But the only thing Section 87 makes clear is that in conducting their party primaries, the various political parties must be democratic and also conform to internal democratic principles within their own framework”.

Okoye also reacted to the recent passage of the electronic transmission of election results by the Senate chamber of the National Assembly.

While noting that the issue was in view, the INEC official said the Conference Committee would have to meet before sending the bill to President Muhammadu Buhari for his assent.

READ ALSO: Senate Bows To Pressure, Gives INEC Sole Power On Transmission Of Results

He explained that once the bill has been signed, it becomes binding on the electoral umpire for implementation in future elections.

“When you have direct primaries and you say the commission must monitor all the direct primaries of the political parties, the implication is that if the political parties are organising their primaries in every ward, the commission must deploy to over 8,809 registration areas to go and monitor the primaries of these political parties.

“That is huge resources in terms of the personnel that will be deployed and also in terms of cost involved. But the moment the law is passed, the commission will not have challenges in obeying the law,” Okoye added.

His remarks come a day after the Senate bowed to pressure and gave INEC the sole power to determine the mode of transmission of results.

This followed the reversal of the Senate’s earlier decision that INEC may consider the electronic transmission of results “provided national [network] coverage is adjudged to be adequate and secure” by the Nigerian Communications Commission and approved by the National Assembly.

Under a new amendment of Clause 52 (2) of the Electoral Act Amendment Bill, the Senate resolved that “voting at an election and transmission of results under this Bill shall be in accordance with the procedure determined by the Commission, which may include electronic voting.”

Electronic Transmission Of Results Will Reduce Electoral Fraud, Says Wike

A file photo of Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike.

 

Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike on Tuesday said the electronic transmission of results if adopted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), will reduce electoral fraud.

Speaking during an interview in Port Harcourt, the state capital, Wike commended the National Assembly for empowering INEC to determine the mode of transmission of results.

While describing the parliament’s move as a welcome development, he said the process would be a trust in the nation’s electoral system that would also reduce election litigations.

READ ALSO: Senate Bows To Pressure, Gives INEC Sole Power On Transmission Of Results

He however urged the National Assembly not to not to decide for political parties, the method to be adopted in the conduct of their primary election as been recommended in some clauses in the Electoral Act Repeal and Re-Enactment bill.

“Now that the result will be transmitted electronically, no way for rigging,” he said. “Only those who support rigging are against results to be transmitted electronically.

“If any politician believes that he or she has done well for the people, you will know that that politician will not be afraid and will say ‘whichever way you want to transmit the result, I am available for it but I want it to be transparent.

“I want people to have confidence in the electoral system to help INEC so that nobody goes to attack INEC officials.”

According to him, parties could adopt a procedure in electing who represents them at various levels and not for the National Assembly to say whether it is direct or indirect primary.

While noting that Nigeria practices democracy, the governor said the mode of primary should be at the discretion of political parties.

The National Assembly decision followed the reversal of the Senate’s earlier decision that INEC may consider the electronic transmission of results “provided national [network] coverage is adjudged to be adequate and secure” by the Nigerian Communications Commission and approved by the National Assembly.

Under a new amendment of Clause 52 (2) of the Electoral Act Amendment Bill, the Senate resolved that “voting at an election and transmission of results under this Bill shall be in accordance with the procedure determined by the Commission, which may include electronic voting”.

2023 Elections: Jega Calls For Electronic Transmission Of Results

Former INEC Chairman, Prof Attahiru Jega speaks during a national political summit in Abuja on October 1, 2021.

 

Former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Attahiru Jega, has called for the electronic transmission of election results in the country.

He made the call on Friday during a national political summit in Abuja, ahead of the general elections in 2023.

“Transmission of election results has been one of the key areas in which reckless, unpatriotic, and self-serving politicians have undermined the integrity of the Nigerian electoral process,” Jega said.

“Bringing remarkable integrity to the Nigerian electoral process, therefore, would no doubt require the jettisoning of the traditional obtuse manual transmission of results, and its replacement with using appropriate technology with electronic transmission of results.”

Professor Jega also expressed worries over citizens’ lack of trust in the electoral process and the poor performances by those elected through the process.

READ ALSO: There Is No Excuse Why Nigerians Are Extremely Poor After 61 Years – Atiku

A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mike Ozekhome, on his part blamed the failure of the electoral system on Nigerians who ‘enthrone tyranny during elections for peanuts’.

“Are we practicing democracy? No. We are practicing election-ocracy, that is my new term for it. What do I mean by election-ocracy? Every four years, Nigerians go out to the poll to carry out a ritual of electing their leaders,” he explained.

“They never actually elect them anyway because their leaders select themselves, they are state captors. They have captured the state.”

In his remarks, A political economist, Professor Pat Utomi, proposes a solution – the merger of three political parties aside from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

He said, “To project these desires, the comity of NCFront for Political Parties is proposing the merger of three of the leading political parties outside of the PDP and the APC to merge with a plan to absorb other parties and righteous wings of the APC and the PDP.”

Many of the participants believe that Nigerians must be ready to embrace the right motives of electing those that will lead them via a credible electoral process to ensure good governance in the country.