Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Mahmood Yakubu, says the Commission is one of the most improved public institutions in Nigeria.
According to him, given the level of improvements recorded in the nation’s electoral system from 1999 to date, the Commission should be rated high when compared with its counterparts in other West Africa countries.
He said this at the 2019 Post-Election Review session with the second batch of Electoral Officers from 18 states, which took place in Abuja on Wednesday.
“Given the size of the voter population, the size of the country, one can very conveniently say, if you look at what happened in our elections from 1999 to date, I have no doubt in my mind that INEC is the most improved public service institution in Nigeria today.
However, we never rest on the understanding that we have done very well. We are convinced that we can do more, therefore, the purpose of this interactive meeting is for us to explore ways and means by which we can improve the system even more,” he said.
But a 3-man panel of the appellate court, led by Justice Abdul Aboki, held that the trial court lacked the jurisdiction to have entertained the suit and that it is an abuse of court process.
Justice Aboki stressed that the suit at the Federal High Court was filed out of time.
According to him, the Electoral Act provides 14 days to institute a suit after the cause of action had arisen, but in this case, the suit was filed 15 days after.
He, therefore, rendered the action incompetent.
The judgment of the Appeal Court comes just hours after the INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, again stressed that the APC in both Zamfara and Rivers States will not field candidates in the forthcoming general elections.
“The position of the Commission remains the position we announced before now, that the parties in question by court order and/by our understanding of the interpretation of the judgments of two courts of co-ordinate jurisdictions delivered same day in the case of Zamfara cannot field candidates in the 2019 general elections for the National Assembly, Governorship and State Assembly elections,” Mr Mahmood said.
Meanwhile, in a recent interview with Channels Television, Yakubu said the Commission had expunged over 1000 fake PVCs identified in the country.
He said, “We have liaised with the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS ) and they have done a fantastic job in confiscating cards where there are PVCs from aliens who registered. Remember the law says it is only Nigerians who are entitled to register and vote in our elections.
“I think now we have well over a thousand cards. The last batch submitted was well over 600 cards of aliens who registered and we have registered those from the register.”
The INEC boss also explained that the commission has established a good relationship with the Immigration to identify foreigners who may want to disguise as citizens to vote during the elections.
Unknown thugs destroyed campaign billboards in Taraba on Thursday ahead of President Muhammadu Buhari visit to the state.
The president’s visit was for the continuation of the presidential campaign of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Residents of Jalingo, the Taraba State capital, reportedly woke up today to find many of the campaign billboards belonging to both the APC and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), damaged by yet-to-be-identified persons.
In response, the IGP said police personnel are fully prepared for a hitch-free exercise.
According to him, they have been trained in various aspects of election security matters, before, during and after the elections.
Later on, she visited the National Peace Committee where she met with the Director of the Kukah Center and head of the National Peace Committee secretariat, (Reverend Father) Atta Barkindo.
Barkindo briefed her on some of the challenges faced by the committee especially the arduous task of brokering peace accords among political parties at the state level particularly in violence-prone areas.
Madam Sirleaf thanked him for the work done by the committee especially the signing of the Peace Accord on December 11, 2018.
She said their commitments are well known across the continent and she would be looking forward to more engagements with the committee.
Elder statesman and former Commonwealth Secretary-General, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, has asked the Federal Government to reconsider its stance on the call for restructuring and return to true federalism.
According to him, the country is under-performing and lacking national cohesion like never before, a situation he believes can only be resolved by restructuring its present governance architecture.
He said, “Judged by all the relevant indices, Nigeria today is clearly underperforming and lacking national cohesion as never before.
“If our country is to succeed on the road to political stability and realisation of its rich development potential, it must, by restructuring its present governance architecture.
“It must return to the true federalism that it practiced in the years before the military intervened in our national politics”.
With the general elections just days away, Chief Anyaoku who was speaking at a symposium to unveil the new logo of The Nigerian Tribune on Tuesday, also called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to ensure a credible exercise.
According to him, the international community is watching to see how far the nation’s Constitution is respected.
He said, “As our country is preparing for the general elections in two weeks time, I have three observations to address the Nigerian government, INEC and others.
“First, Nigeria’s friends and the whole of the international community are watching… watching the behaviour of Federal Government and its agencies, including especially the police, the army and the other law-enforcement instruments, to see how far we respect the country’s Constitution, our Nigerian government, like all other governments over the world, while of course guiding its sovereignty should pay heed to the views of the international community otherwise, the country will return to the pariah status which it happily exited in 1999 when it once more embraced democracy.
“My second observation is that INEC had earned deserved compliments for its commendable handling of the last gubernatorial elections in Ondo and Anambra States.
“But it must be admitted that it attracted criticisms for its conducting subsequent similar elections in both Ekiti and Osun.
“I urge INEC to remain aware of the fact that the credibility of the results of our forthcoming elections will depend on the level of impartiality and transparency it demonstrates in ensuring all aspects of the elections are free and fair, thereby making the results to truly represent the will of the people”.