Rivers Police Intensifies Security As INEC Commences Collation Of Results

INEC To Resume Collation, Announcement Of Rivers Results In April

 

The Rivers State Police Command has said that security has been beefed up in the State as INEC commences the collation of the Gubernatorial and House of Assembly Election Results, scheduled to begin tomorrow 2nd April 2019.

The State Commissioner of Police and the Chairman of the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES), CP Usman .A. Belel, after a meeting of the Agency and other bodies superintending over the Elections, agreed to put in place adequate security measures, to ensure that the entire process is transparent and seamlessly carried out.

Part of the security measures put in place, as agreed by the Agencies, include:

“Massive deployments of Police Personnel and other Sister Security Agencies to the venue and the outer perimeter of the Collation Centre.

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“Total closure of the PH/Aba Express Road, the stretch from the Waterlines to the GRA junctions, both in and outwards of the roads. Diversions only, to Olu Obasanjo and Polo Club Roads.

“The Commissioner of Police has noted with concern, the temporary hardship the closure will occasion and hereby appeals to the public to show understanding and bear with us, as the closure is done in the overall interest of the public and intended to provide a conducive atmosphere for the Collation Exercise.

“Politicians, Candidates and indeed unauthorized persons are seriously warned to stay clear from the Collation Centre, as any person or group whose act or omission undermines the process will be arrested and prosecuted in accordance with the Electoral Act”.

The CP reiterated the Command’s avowed determination to provide adequate security for the resumed Collation Exercise and ensure that the process is open, credible and stands the test of time.

He also solicited the unalloyed cooperation and support of the people as the prosecution of the last lap of the collation gets executed.

Electoral Act Amendment: Wike Accuses Presidency Of Plot To Rig 2019 Elections

Wike Labels Amended Electoral Act Bill Veto As Plot To Rig Elections
(File) Rivers State Governor Nyesome Wike addresses a conference at the Government House in Port Harcourt.

 

Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, says the refusal of President Muhammadu Buhari to sign the amended Electoral Act bill into law is part of a plot to rig the 2019 general elections.

The governor made the allegation in an interview at the Government House in Port Harcourt, rejecting the reasons given by the Presidency for the refusal to sign the bill into law.

“All they are prepared for is to write the results and let heaven fall,” he claimed.

The governor questioned, “Why has the President not signed the Electoral Act? What is the fear? What do you mean by mistakes? Oh my God, what is a mistake? Errors you didn’t see by one month’s time? Errors for the first time, the second time, the third time. Does it not tell Nigerians these people are not prepared for election?”

READ ALSOWhy Buhari Declined Assent To Electoral Amendment Bill – Presidency

Five months to the 2019 general elections, Governor Wike believes that recent developments show that the All Progressives Congress-led Federal Government is not ready for the elections.

He accused the government of planning to “write results”, contrary to the wish of the electorate.

He called on the international community to take proactive action to prevent electoral fraud, including the revocation of visas issued to government officials who he claimed were working against the nation’s democracy.

“They should revoke all the visas of those in government who are opposed to democratic rule, principles, (and) rule of law,” Wike said.

“Let me tell you, whether you like it or not, this government is bent on eliminating the key opposition.”

Governor Wike also blamed the Federal Government for the cancellation of the Port Harcourt State Constituency III election, alleging that security operatives were used to disrupt the exercise.

Court Fixes April 25 For Judgement In Case Against Electoral Act Amendment

Court Jails Three Men For Fraud
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A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has fixed April 25, 2018, for the judgement of the case filed by the Accord Party against the National Assembly.

The Party is challenging the powers of the National Assembly to amend the Electoral Act.

President Buhari had on March 13, 2018, written to the National Assembly to withhold assent to the amendment of the 2010 Electoral Act.

He said he was declining assent to the amendment of the Electoral Act because the amendment to the sequence of the election in section 25 of the Principal Act may infringe on the constitutionally guaranteed discretion of INEC to organise, undertake and supervise all elections provided in section 16(a) of the constitution.

He noted that the amendment to section 138 of the Principal Act to delete two crucial grounds upon which an election may be challenged by candidates unduly limits the right of candidates to a free and fair electoral review process.

President Buhari further stated that the amendment to section 152 (325) of the Principal Act may raise constitutional issues over the competence of the National Assembly to legislate over local government elections.

“Pursuant to Section 58 (4) of Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), I hereby convey to the Senate, my decision on (3rd March, 2018) to decline presidential assent to the Electoral (Ammendment) Bill 2018 recently passed by the National Assembly.

“Some of my reasons for withholding assent to the Bill include the following:

“The amendment to the sequence of the elections in section 25 of the Principal Act may infringe upon the constitutionally guaranteed discretion of the Independent National Electoral Commission to organize, undertake and supervise all elections provided in section 15 (a) of the third schedule of the constitution.

“The amendment to Section (138) of the Principal Act to delete two crucial grounds upon which an election may be challenged by candidates unduly limits the rights of candidates in elections to a free and fair electoral review process and the amendments to section 152 (3)-(5) of the Principal Act, may raise constitutional issues over the competence of the National Assembly to legislate over Local Government elections.

However, Justice Ahmed Mohammed fixed the judgement date after all the parties had adopted their written addresses.

15-Year-Old Nigerians Should Be Allowed To Vote – Data Analyst

Data Analyst, Mr Babajide Ogunsanwo

 

A Data Analyst, Mr Babajide Ogunsanwo has called for the amendment of Section 12 of the nation’s Electoral Act in order to encourage the young population to vote as practicable in some advanced countries.

Ogunsanwo said this when he appeared as a guest on Channels Television’s News At 10. He claimed most Nigerian youths are not engaged in national discourse.

“We should be looking at the need to review Section 12 of the Electoral Act,” he said while lamenting over the yet-to-be-collected Permanent Voter’s Card (PVCs).

“Section 12 is that section that says you must be 18 years old to register. In the United States, you don’t have to be 18 years old. You just have to be 18 years old before election day.”

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Ogunsanwo wondered why a 15-year-old Nigerian would be prevented from voting during elections when such a child can be allowed to work, get married and even be taxed by the government.

Depriving such from participating at elections, he explained, would mean depriving them of engaging in national issues that would benefit them.

“A 15-year-old Nigerian can get a job, a 15-year-old Nigerian can get married, the government will collect tax (from) a 15-year-old Nigerian that has a job.

So, does it really make sense that on one hand, the government can hold the small palms from a 15-year-old and collect his money but then you do not allow a 15-year-old whom you have collected his money to have a say in the policies of this country,” Ogunsanwo added.

The data analyst also wants the government to do everything possible to encourage voters to get their PVCs and turnout for the forthcoming elections.

To him, most citizens would rather prefer an Automated Teller Machine (ATM) over the national passport or even the voters’ cards.

Drawing a statistics, Ogunsanwo explained that Lagos State with a workable population of over five million people records over one million uncollected PVCs, the highest in the country.

Oyo State, on the other hand, follows next with a workable population of about three million workforce and over 700,000 that are yet to collect their PVCs.

With the record, according to Ogunsanwo, there is a great need for the government to reach out to the workable population so as not to deny them of their rights, ahead of next year’s general elections.

With the general elections that is a year away from now, various non-governmental organisation have called on Nigerians to collect their PVCs to enable them to exercise their franchise as bonafide citizens.

Lawmakers Disagree As Senate Adopts Change In Election Sequence

Lawmakers Disagree As Senate Adopts Change In Election Timetable
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The Senate was divided on Wednesday over the submission of the conference committee report on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Act 2010 (Amendment) Bill.

The senator representing Bauchi North Suleiman Nazif made the submission at today’s plenary in Abuja while Senator Jeremiah Useni (Plateau South) seconded that the upper house receives and consider the report.

The report, which sets the sequence for the general elections, was consequently adopted by the Senate.

However, it was not smooth sailing for the amendment to be passed as three lawmakers rose against the amendment of section 25(c) of the Electoral Act.

One of the senators, Abdullahi Adamu (Nasarawa West) believes the amendment is partisan and pre-determined by members of a political party threatened by President Muhammadu Buhari.

The presidential and National Assembly elections have always been conducted first on the same day, followed by that of the governorship and State Houses of Assembly.

However, the Senate adopted a new sequence such that the National Assembly polls would be conducted first, followed by the state lawmakers, and the governors while the presidential election should take place last.

Similarly, at the lower chamber, the House of Representatives had on January 23 voted for the change of the order of elections in the country.

The lawmakers voted in support of the change during a plenary presided by the Deputy Speaker of the House, Yussuff Lasun, while considering the report on a bill to further amend the Electoral Act 2010.

But in line with its preparation for the general elections in 2019, INEC highlighted the schedule of activities for the polls in a timetable released on January 9.

The presidential and National Assembly elections were fixed for February 16, 2019, with the governorship, state legislative and area council polls in the Federal Capital Territory set for March 2, 2019.

According to the electoral body, presidential and National Assembly primaries will commence on August 18 while campaigns will start on November 18, 2018, and campaigns for the governorship and state assemblies are scheduled to commence on December 1, 2018.

Lawmakers Meet To Amend Electoral Act

The Joint Committees of the National Assembly have agreed on some of the amendments to the Electoral Act.

The amendment of the electoral act has facilitated the collaboration between the joint committees.

Both the Senate and House of Representatives have agreed to the earlier amendment by the House of Representatives that the National Assembly election will come first, followed by governorship and state houses of assembly and finally the Presidential election which will now come last.

Meanwhile, President Buhari has withheld assent to three bills passed by the National Assembly over issues of inconsistency and conflict with the constitution.

The President, in a letter to the Senate President, is declining assent in the Police Procurement Fund Establishment Bill, Charted Institute of Public Management of Nigeria Bill and Nigerian Council for Social Work Establishment Bill.

He explained that he declined assent on the Police Procurement Fund Establishment Bill because of a lack of clarity regarding the disbursement of funds as well as constitutional issues regarding the powers of the National Assembly to appropriate funds allocated to state and local governments which conflict with Sections 80-82 and 120-122 of the 1999 Constitution.

Supreme Court Affirms Bello As Niger State Governor

Niger State, Abubakar Bello,The Supreme Court on Friday in Abuja upheld the election of Niger State Governor, Abubakar Bello.

The court declared that the case by a governorship aspirant of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mustapha Babangida, lacked merit.

In the judgement delivered by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, the appellant did not participate in the election, even though he is an APC card-carrying member.

Mr Babangida had asked the apex court to nullify the election of Governor Bello and called for a fresh election.

He earlier dragged the APC to the Federal High Court in Minna, claiming among other reliefs that the party was biased and that the governor’s emergence as the APC flag bearer was null and void.

Ruling on the case with Suit No. FHC/Minna/255/2015 and dated February 3, 2016, Justice Onnoghen said after considering the issues, citing the case of Audu and Nyako and Section 87 sub-section 9 of the Electoral Act, 2010, the appellant did not participate, neither did he fail in the elections.

The CJN prepared the lead judgement and mandated the presiding judge, Justice Kumai Bayang Akaahs, to read the judgement, saying the appellant had no right to take the matter to court.

Counsel to the appellant, Mohammed Mohammed, called for an amendment of Section 87 of the Electoral Act which denied his client the right to sue, while counsel to the respondent, Yunus Usman, hailed the ruling of the apex court.

Briefing journalists on the judgement, the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Nasara Danmallam, said the legal battle is over.

The commissioner further called on Mr Babangida to join Governor Bello in moving Niger State forward.

Senate Continues Amendment Of Electoral Act

Senate Continues Amendment Of Electoral ActThe Nigerian Senate has moved to correct the lacuna in the Electoral Act which came to the fore in the Kogi governorship election on November 2015 where the governorship candidate Abubakar Audu died after the election but before the result was announced.

To address this controversy, the upper chamber is recommending that in the event a governorship or presidential candidate dies after an election but before the result is announced, the party shall conduct a fresh primary within 14 days to get a new candidate.

The Senate approved the recommendation as part of its amended electoral bill which also provides that INEC shall suspend the conduct of a new election for 21 days when the death of a candidate is recorded after the commencement of an election and before the announcement of result.

The Senate is also amending clause 10 of the bill, which seeks to amend the Electoral Act on the use of card readers.

The amendment insists on the use of card readers but makes allowances for likely failure of card readers.

The Senate is also amending the Electoral Act prescribing a five-year jail sentence for any presiding officer who intentionally tampers with election records.

Reps Challenge INEC On Delimitation Of Constituencies

House of Representatives, Reps, INEC, ConstituenciesThe House of Representatives has questioned the failure of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to carry out proper delineation of 66 electoral constituencies across Nigeria.

The House considered a motion on the matter put forward on Thursday by a member representing Rivers State, Kingsley Chinda.

Mr Chinda informed the lawmakers that INEC’s action had denied people of the 19 affected states of their constitutionally guaranteed right to adequate representation in the state houses of assembly.

The House has urged the electoral commission to immediately outline the said constituencies in line with the provision of Section 91 of the constitution and the 2006 population figures.

The legislators also resolved to forward a copy of the resolution to the Senate for concurrence.

Lawmakers Threaten To Suspend Sittings

The query comes barely a day after the Senate threatened to suspend its sittings if INEC does not conduct the re-run senatorial election in Rivers State by December 10.

The sponsor of the motion and Deputy Senate President, Mr Ike Ekweremadu, called the attention of the Upper House to the pending elections and the failure of INEC to act accordingly.

He was worried that the commission was breaching the Electoral Act, adding that the act had led to the absence of representatives from Rivers State in the Senate after the election was declared inconclusive.

Edo Governorship Election: Sultan Of Sokoto Calls For Peaceful Conduct

Sultan of Sokoto, Sa'ad Abubakar, Edo governorship electionThe Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar, has emphasised the need for a violence free exercise in the coming Edo State governorship election.

The Sultan, who is also the President-General of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, made the call during the council’s visit to Edo State Government House in Benin City, the state capital in south-south Nigeria.

In his remarks, Governor Adams Oshiomhole commended the monarch’s visit and supported his call.

He noted that an individual’s conscience and not religion has a more important role to play in the decision concerning whom to vote for in any election.

The visit came a day after the presentation of the Register of Voters for the September 10 governorship election to the various political parties by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The presentation of the register, which is a key criterion for the conduct of the upcoming poll, is also in line with section 20 of the Electoral Act.

Edo Election: INEC Presents Voters Register To Parties

INEC, Edo StateThe Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has presented the Register of Voters for the September 10 governorship election in Edo State in southern Nigeria to the various political parties.

The presentation of the register is a key criterion for the conduct of the upcoming election.

It is also in line with section 20 of the Electoral Act.

Meanwhile, security agencies in the state said they were prepared for the task of providing adequate security for the conduct of the forthcoming governorship election.

The Edo State Commissioner of Police, Mr Chris Ezike, gave the assurance on behalf of other sister security agencies in the state.

Campaigns are already ongoing, with the political parties making efforts to woo voters.

INEC To Conclude Pending Elections Soon – Mahmood Yakubu

INEC-Mahmood Yakubu-ElectionsThe Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says the unresolved elections in some states in Nigeria will be concluded soon.

The INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, gave the assurance on Sunday in an exclusive interview with Channels Television’s political correspondent, Seun Okinbaloye.

He explained the reasons for the delay in concluding some of the hanging elections in Rivers, Kogi, Anambra and Plateau states.

Professor Yakubu also disclosed the efforts of the commission in addressing grey areas in the Electoral Act ahead of the 2019 elections.

He told Channels Television that the card reader device and other very important areas of the law would be looked at with the aim of amendment for a better electoral system in Nigeria.