New INEC Chairman Pledges To Hold Credible Elections

Mahmood-Yakubu-InecThe new Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Nigeria, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, has promised to consolidate on the gains of the commission by conducting credible elections.

Speaking in Abuja on Monday shortly after taking over the affairs of the commission from its Acting Chairman, Mrs Amina Zakari, Professor Yakubu assured Nigerians that the commission would be guided by the constitution and the Electoral Act in the conduct of all elections.

“Mr President, we pledge our commitment to the discharge of our responsibilities without fear or favour.

“Free, fair and credible election is at the heart of our nation’s progress and stability. We shall not fail the nation,” he said.

Also speaking at the handing over ceremony, the former Acting Chairman said the commission was already prepared for the conduct of the Kogi and Bayelsa governorship elections.

During the swearing in of Professor Yakubu, President Buhari pledged to respect the independence of the electoral body and promised to give the commission all the support it may need.

The President said that a situation where people hide under technicalities to deny the citizens their rights was unacceptable. He called on state governments to make their electoral bodies work for the benefit of all.

Tambuwal Congratulates Jonathan, Buhari On Successful Polls

 TambuwalThe Speaker of the House of Representatives has congratulated President Goodluck Jonathan and President-elect, General Muhammadu Buhari, on the successful conduct and the outcome of the 2015 presidential election.

Speaking during plenary, Hon. Aminu Tambuwal said that President Jonathan would be remembered for playing a critical role to douse tension in the aftermath of the election.

The Speaker also commended the Chairman and officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for their doggedness in the face of mounting pressures.

The President-elect, General Muhammadu Buhari, has also commended President Jonathan for his show of sportsmanship in the aftermath of the election.

In response to the congratulatory call from the incumbent President, General Buhari said, “President Jonathan was a worthy opponent”.

World leaders have also congratulated Nigeria on the successful conduct of the 2015 presidential election.

Yero Congratulates Buhari, Commends Jonathan

yeroKaduna State Governor, Mukhtar Yero, has congratulated the Presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), General Muhammadu Buhari, over his victory at the just concluded presidential election in Nigeria.

Governor Yero also commended the patriotic courage of President Goodluck Jonathan for displaying uncommon sportsmanship in conceding defeat even before INEC’s official pronouncement of a winner in the election.

In a statement issued by his Spokesman, Ahmed Maiyak, in Kaduna on Monday, Governor Yero called on Nigerians to unite behind the President-elect, Gen Buhari, in order to move the country forward.

The Governor called on people in Kaduna State to remain peaceful and law abiding, irrespective of their political leanings.

Yero also prayed that the Almighty God would grant the incoming President, the wisdom and good health to deliver on his campaign promises to the people of Nigeria.

General Buhari was declared winner of Nigeria’s presidential election, on Wednesday, April 1. He defeated the incumbent, President Goodluck Jonathan by over 2 million votes.

General Muhammadu Buhari of the APC polled a total of 15,424,921 votes to defeat all other candidates, with Dr Goodluck Jonathan of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) polling a total of 12,853,162 votes to place second.

Manual Accreditation Evidence Of Card Reader Failure – PDP

PDPThe Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has said that the poor working condition of the card readers in Saturday’s Presidential and National Assembly elections across the country could have been avoided, if the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had listened to advice from well meaning Nigerians and organizations, including the PDP, regarding the use of the card readers.

National Publicity Secretary of PDP, Olisa Metuh, in a statement on Saturday, said the last minute resort to manual accreditation by INEC clearly shows the failure of the system.

“The unfortunate development is a vindication of our earlier position that as good as the idea of card readers is, it was too virgin to be successfully used in a general election without proper testing especially in an environment as ours that is not entirely digitally proficient,” the statement said.

The PDP also described the accreditation problems experienced by President Goodluck Jonathan as a ‘’huge national embarrassment.’’

Governor Jonah Jang, of Plateau, James Ngilari of Adamawa, Isa Yuguda of Buachi among others, have also reacted to the problems of accreditation, seeking explanation from INEC.

The PDP also reacted to reported cases of accreditation of under-aged persons in some states, especially in the northern part of the country, calling on INEC to ensure that such unqualified persons are not allowed to vote, and also to prosecute its officials involved in the crime.

The ruling party said it is seriously concerned about the developments given the avowed commitment of the President Goodluck Jonathan-led PDP administration to hitch-free, fair and credible electoral process.

The PDP charged the electoral body to take urgent steps within the law, to ensure that no willing and qualified voter is disenfranchised, while urging Nigerians to remain calm in the overall interest of the nation.

Jega Confident Logistic Challenges Will Be Cut Off During Polls

jegaThe Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Attahiru Jega, has expressed confidence that the decentralisation of distribution of election materials for the 2015 elections would cut off logistic challenges at the forthcoming polls.

Professor Jega said this at a meeting with the former President of Liberia and head of the AU delegation, Professor Amos Sawyer.

Professor Jega told the African Union (AU) election observers in Abuja that this method was not used during the 2011 general elections, hence the late commencement of accreditation and voting at polling units across the country.

The issue of logistics had always posed a major challenge at the polls.

Professor Jega admitted that there were challenges in the methodology of distribution which spiraled into widespread agitations from the electorate.

He added that the electoral body was still growing and would plug all loop holes in future elections.

Jega also urged election officials to ensure that counting of ballot papers after the voting process is done transparently in the presence of local and international observers. He has also warned security personnel against any form of intimidation.

Professor Jega received a letter from the Chairperson of the AU Commission, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, who promised full support to the nation at this time.

INEC has almost concluded the distribution process nationwide less than 48hours to the polls.

Kano Police Deploy Troops For Election

troopsMore than 5,000 security personnel were deployed ahead of Saturday’s presidential and National Assembly elections in Kano State, north-west Nigeria.

Addressing the troops, the State Police Commissioner, Mr. Ibrahim Idris, said that no chances would be taken in ensuring violence-free elections across the state.

The troops comprise operatives from the Nigerian Police, the Nigerian Army, Nigerian Air Force, Civil Defense, and all other paramilitary agencies.

Ibrahim Idris said that the officers are expected to ensure violence free elections at their respective Polling Units.

Meanwhile, INEC in Kano has also commenced the distribution of both sensitive and non-sensitive electoral materials across the 44 Local Government Areas of the state.

YDP Tasks INEC Over New Ballot Papers

ydpMembers of the Young Democratic Party (YDP) are insisting that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) should re-print ballot papers that will include the party in the forthcoming elections or reschedule the date for the polls.

The YDP secured a court victory over INEC on Wednesday when a Federal High Court in Abuja ordered the inclusion of the party in the general elections.

YDP is a political party with young people forming the majority of its members.

The party was not listed among parties contesting in the 2015 general elections until the Federal High Court in Abuja ordered INEC to issue a certificate.

Following the judgement of the court, the leadership of the party is insisting that INEC must print new ballot papers, to include its name and candidacy or shift the election date further.

Meanwhile, the Democratic Peoples Party has also clarified allegations that it is among those calling for the sack of Prof. Attahiru Jega.

Members of the DPP have said that they have confidence in the electoral body and the introduction of the card readers during the polls.

The DPP has no presidential candidate in the forthcoming elections, rather it has adopted the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Politicians In Abia State Sign Peace Accord

peace accordPolitical Parties in abia State have signed a peace accord, promising to abide by the rule of the game and avoid any act that can truncate the democratic process.

It is seen as an effort to ensure a peaceful society in the state before, during and after the 2015 elections.

The event which was put together by the Police Command headquarters, Zone 9, Umuahia, took place at the Police Officers Mess, in the presence of other security operatives and tailored towards eliminating rancor, fighting, violence and reducing tension and overheating of the political terrain during the 2015 democratic election.

Six political parties (PDP,APC,ACPC, APGA, PPA, ACPN) made up of their chairmen, and their candidates for the 2015 election, security operatives and representative of the Independent National Electoral Commission were at the venue where the peace accord was signed. It is aimed at achieving a credible playing ground for the conduct of free and fair election.

The Police AIG Zone 9, Gwary Usman, called on the political parties to conduct their affairs in accordance with the provision of the rule of law, reminding them of the need to allow peace to reign. He assured them that the Police would do their part in securing the area during elections.

One after the other, the candidates of different political parties present at the event signed the peace accord and gave their word to abide by the rule.

This Peace Accord is symbolic because, it is a reminder that political parties should behave themselves well to put National interest above personal and party interest .

PVC Collection: Low Turnout In Edo State

pvcFollowing the postponement of the general elections and the extension of voter card collection deadline by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, the daily turn out of residents at the various Permanent Voter Card (PVC) collection centres is still low in Edo State.

INEC recently disclosed it is recording daily success in the distribution of PVCs in the state, having distributed over 1.1 million cards.

However, some residents who spoke to Channels Television at some of the PVC collection centres want INEC to urgently address the challenges they are facing in order to enable them get their cards and vote in the rescheduled elections.

So far, INEC has recorded a 76 per cent distribution of PVCs across the country. The umpire body has also guaranteed that there would be free, fair and credible elections, come May 28 and April 11.

INEC had extended the deadline of the collection of Permanent Voter Cards (PVC) following the postponement of the 2015 general elections.

The commission in a statement signed by its Secretary, Mrs. Augusta Ogakwu, said following the rescheduling of the 2015 general elections, collection of the cards would continue for four more weeks until March 8th, 2015.

“The Commission hopes that this extension will finally avail every registered person yet to collect his/her PVC the opportunity to do so in readiness for the general elections,” Ogakwu said.

The electoral body had announced a shift in the general elections dates to March 28 and April 11.

INEC Begins Distribution Of Non-Sensitive Materials In Kaduna

INECThe Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has commenced distribution of non-sensitive materials for the February 14 polls across the 23 Local Government Areas in Kaduna State.

The Kaduna State Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), who was represented by the Head of Voter Education and Publicity, Abdullahi Gujungu, disclosed this.

He said that the commission has received about 6,000 smart card readers, ballot boxes, posters and other non-sensitive materials.

INEC staff, according to him, have started configuring the 6,000 smart card readers, in order to make accreditation easier and faster during the 2015 general elections.

They have also commenced the conveyance of the ballot boxes to the 23 Local Government Areas of the state to ensure promptness.

The commission also said that about 2.8 million PVCs out of the 3.1million registered voters have been distributed across the state.

This figure, according to the commission, represents about 95% of the total registered voters.

In addition to these, Mr Gujungu also told Channels Television that over 33,000 AdHoc staff were being trained for the election.

Peace and Security

The preparedness of INEC to conduct a hitch free election with few days left has been a major issue for many Nigerians but with INEC in Kaduna already finalizing arrangements towards ensuring a hitch free exercise, the commission says it is fully prepared for the elections.

However, another issue of concern to stakeholders is the maintenance of peace and security before, during and after the election.

The Director of the National Orientation Agency (NOA) in Kaduna State, Elisha Meck Sabo, urged the residents of the state to be security conscious and be politically alert ahead of the polls.

He disclosed that the agency has deployed staff to all the 255 wards of Kaduna to enlighten the public on the need to maintain law and order during the election.

Kaduna residents on their part have also expressed satisfaction with the progress made so far in the distribution of PVCs. Some of them also told Channels Television that they were ready to vote for their choice candidates.

With the level of preparation by INEC and the commission’s assurance to conduct a hitch free election, residents expressed optimism about the forthcoming elections.

According to them, they would be holding the commission accountable to its promise.

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.

INEC Trains Staff On Voter Education

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) election management body organised a voter education training for electoral officers, registration area officers and national orientation officers on the procedures of mobilising voters.

This according to election conducting agency will improve the conduct of elections in the country.

A vital aspect of INEC is to create public interest in the electoral process and their involvement in the process of electing political leaders through voter education by the staff of the commission.

The electoral body has been concerned by the poor voting pattern in past elections which most times result in high invalidated votes and riots often break out.

INEC staff at the grassroots level were gathered for training to create public interest to a specific level, the election management body also has plans to restore public confidence in the electoral process and encourage active public participation in the process.

This training programme is targeted at making participants recognise their role in the voters exercise and imbibe it into their behaviours to enable a free and fair elections.

International foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) and National Orientation Agency officials were available as facilitators of the training programme.