The first Executive Governor of Osun State, Isiaka Adeleke, has officially dumped the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to pitch tent with the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state.
The defection of Senator Adeleke who was also on the governorship race for the PDP ticket few months back is seen as a major boost for the re-election bid of Governor Rauf Aregbesola.
Welcoming Isiaka Adeleke into the APC fold in Osogbo the state capital, the Interim National Chairman of the Party, Adebisi Akande, Governors of Ekiti and Osun States all describe the APC as a party of positive thinkers, hence the defection of prominent members of the PDP to the Party.
They expressed optimism that with the people oriented programmes of Governor Aregbesola’s administration in Osun State more PDP stalwarts will still defect to the APC.
Former Governor Adeleke, who came along to the APC with the State PDP Deputy Chairman, Bashir Salam, some local government officials and House of Representatives members in the past PDP administration, described his defection as homecoming.
He promised to work for the victory of the APC in the August 9 Governorship election.
A Consultant System Engineer, Benjamin Shemola, has warned Nigerians that technology is just a tool and its introduction into the electoral process is no guarantee of success, as the people using the tool still determine its eventual output.
In an interview on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily, he admitted that indeed technology could be used for monitoring, communication and verification, towards making elections in Nigeria more credible, but that the Nigerian system did not seem like one willing to allow such credibility.
Speaking on the readiness of the electoral commission, INEC, to embrace technology, he berated the current process whereby voter registration has been done electronically with as much as the voters’ biometrics data captured and yet electorates would still have to go and verify their names printed on papers.
He asked, “How can I be sure the data captured will not be muddled up?”
He lectured that if indeed INEC was ready, then the introduction of electronic verification was the first step to start with, if the dream of bringing technology into the voting system would ever be a reality.
Mr. Shemola also noted that there were still challenges in Nigeria that reduces the country’s capacity to handle such upgrade in its voting system. He cited data storage challenges as one of the major challenges militating against the realistic use of technology during elections.
Asked if technology could ensure that votes are cast without the need to guard or protect the ballot boxes, Shemola revealed that this was possible, but Nigeria was not ripe for it. He explained that this mechanism would make cheating very difficult and by what is widely seen in the media, he did not see the Government initiating it.
Using Ekiti State as an example, he said that if really a new system would be introduced with a mission to make it work, then pilot exercises should have started to prepare for its successful use during the election.
He also added that factors like how upgradable the gadgets being acquired are and the budget for acquiring them were among issues that should be considered before acquiring technology for any venture, and these are challenges in Nigeria. He berated the Nigerian system whereby laptops and other gadgets used during similar exercises in the past are no more useful.
“We spend so much to raise so little” he protested.
Speaking on the issue of permanent voters cards, and condemning the re-registering of voters during every election, he said: “It is only in Nigeria that we have temporary cards for everything – driver license, voter cards, if it’s going to be temporary then the solution is not absolute.”
For Shemola to take the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC serious, he said “I want to verify my data this time around, with my finger print, with that I will have confidence in the system.”
Shemola insisted that Nigeria has the manpower to create and deploy the required technology, owing to how many Nigerians are behind such systems overseas, but the major problem with Nigeria was the political will to allow a transparent electoral system which technology would ensure.
He also warned that technology could also be used for fraud and Nigerians would need to be careful about their clamour for it, making reference to allegations buy a political party that the spreadsheet (Microsoft Excel) formula used for collation during an election was configured to favour a particular party while deducting from opponents’ votes.
He concluded that what Nigeria needed was not a magical solution, but a gradual and consistent process, starting with an electronic voter verification process, whereby eligibility of voters would be confirmed via fingerprints.
He said that this would avoid cases similar to those witnessed during the Anambra State governorship election, where underage voters were alleged to have been found listed in the register.
Osun State Police Command has again assured residents in the state of its resolve to intensify efforts on crime control strategies and tackle the issue of security with vigour, to restore full confidence of the people in the Nigerian Police.
The new Commissioner of Police, CP Ibrahim Maishanu, gave this assurance while addressing the press at the force headquarters in Osogbo the state capital. It was the maiden address of CP Maishanu who had just replaced former CP, Dorothy Gimba.
The Commissioner of Police said that in spite of the fact that crime rate in Osun State was relatively low, compared to some other states, the command under his leadership would buckle up to maintain the tempo and improve on the current situation to ensure the safety of lives and property.
On the forth coming August 9 Governorship Election in the state, CP Maishanu assured that in partnership with sister security agencies, the command would not tolerate anything that could breach public peace, law and order.
The Osun State Police Command also paraded some highway armed robbery suspects, including 21 year old Olamide Darosa, a student of Computer Science from Osun State Polytechnic, Iree, who specialise in snatching cars and other valuable items from victims.
Exhibits recovered from the suspects range from cash, cutlasses, guns, phones, wristwatches and others.
The State Criminal Investigating Department, said that the suspects would be arraigned in court at the conclusion of the investigation.
As part of the effort to ensure free and credible elections in the country, INEC says it is introducing permanent voter’s cards.
This disclosure was made by the Resident Electoral Commissioner of Cross River State, Mr Mike Igini, who said that voters card can only be used once at any polling unit.
Mr Igini was a guest on Channels Television’s Saturday breakfast programme, Sunrise, where he spoke about the preparations of the Independent national Electoral Commission, INEC, towards the 2015 general elections.
“We are trying to institutionalise our processes and our procedures and for every election, talking about electoral contexts and peculiarities, we come up with something new to raise the bar.
“Therefore is it very important to have as many resident electoral commissioners as possible in those places where elections will take place, so that they take the benefits of the new ideas being introduced,” he said.
Speaking about the Permanent Voter’s Card, PVC, Igini explained, “What we have done simply is that, this card reader is configured to 1 PU, it’s not transferable. You can only use your (voter) card like your ATM card.
“So when you approach the presiding officer on that very day, unlike a situation when we may have to wait till 12 o’clock, once you come to the polling unit, you approach the presiding officer, and they will swipe this in, your picture clearly will show.”
He explained that this is to ensure that there is no form of manipulation or double voting during elections.
In preparation for the forthcoming governorship polls, the Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi has appointed Mr. Bimbo Daramola as the Director-General of Fayemi Campaign Organization.
Dr Fayemi in a press statement said that the appointment was after a wide consultation from the party leaders and other members, so as to get things planned properly and also to help communicate to the grassroots as well as to the entire people of the state.
Daramola, who is currently representing the Ekiti North Federal Constituency 2 at the House of Representatives, while briefing newsmen in Ado Ekiti, said that the eight members at federal level are closely working together, including Ekiti sons and daughters who have committed themselves to ensure Ekiti does not retrogress.
He also stated some reasons why a governor who has done tremendously well in the state and had made poverty a history should be elected into office for a second term.
One of the opposition Parties in Osun state, the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), has endorsed the incumbent Governor, Rauf Aregbesola for a re-run in the 2014 gubernatorial election.
Speaking at the Osun CPC awareness Programme organised by the state chapter of the party in collaboration with De Raufs, a volunteer Group in Osogbo, the state capital, all the speakers agreed that the empowerment programmes of Governor Aregbesola has earned him the people’s mandate.
Moving the motion for the adoption of Governor Rauf Aregbesola for a second term in Office, Barrister Segun Olawale and other speakers maintained that the administration’s commitment to creating a conducive environment aimed at making the state an investment destination, the poverty alleviation measures, good road network, social security and the total turnaround of the state is an indication that he can still do better when re-elected for a second term.
The Cross River State gubernatorial election which is the last of the five rescheduled elections has ended, an election which was as a result of the recent Supreme Court decision which sacked the governors of Kogi, Adamawa, Bayelsa and Sokoto and Cross River states.
With Cross River being the last state, expectations are high, especially on the part of the people who are bent on witnessing effective governance in the state.
Polls opened in the south south Nigerian State as our correspondent Henry Ogunjimi covering the poll reports that accreditation started late in most of the polling centres he visited owing to the late distribution of electoral material to INEC officials.
The exercise did not start until midday.
12 candidates contested for the number one office including the Former Governor Liyel Imoke of the Popeles’ Democratic Party who is gunning for second term.
There were doubts about the elections taking place today owing to a suit seeking to postpone it till March 19, 2012,it was however dismissed by the Chairman of INEC that a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja had stopped the governorship election insisting that it is proceeding with the poll as scheduled.
There were reports that low turnouts of voters were witnessed in most polling centres and election did not take place in some parts of the state.
In a Channels Television phone interview with the Former Presidential Adviser on NASS Matters; Florence Ita-Giwa said that people at the Bakassi peninsula were disenfranchised which she felt was a deliberate act and expressed her unhappiness over the displacement of the Bakassi people who presently are roaming around 10 years after the government promised to get them resettled in a proper location.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Tuesday denied reports that a Court has issued a ruling that stopped the Cross River state governorship elections from holding this weekend.
In a press release signed by Kayode Idowu, the Chief Press Secretary to the INEC Chairman, the Commission said “contrary to a widely circulated report that a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has stopped the Cross River State Governorship Election scheduled for Saturday February 25, 2012, from going ahead, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) hereby affirms that there is no such order.”
According to Mr Idowu, the Commission makes the clarification “against the background of the report that the Court restrained INEC from going ahead with the Governorship Election through an order issued in Abuja on Monday, February 20, 2012.
“For avoidance of doubt, INEC has not been served with the purported Court order. The Commission indeed took the pain to check with the Court today February 21, 2012, whether there was such an order. The Court categorically denied issuing the said order. Actually, neither has the Court summoned INEC for defence on any date, as was widely reported,” he said.
Some local newspaper had on Monday reported that A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja had restrained INEC from conducting Saturday’s governorship election in Cross River State.
According to the news reports Justice Abdul Kafarati had issued the order following an exparte application filed and argued by Nmerengwa Alozie, counsel to the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) and its governorship candidate, Obol Patrick Okomiso.
INEC was purportedly ordered to appear in court on Thursday for its defence.
The plaintiffs according to the newspapers argued that conducting the election on Saturday instead of the April 14 earlier fixed is illegal and unconstitutional.
According to them, the new date is in conflict with the mandatory timetable set by the Electoral Act for submission of names and addresses of party candidates for the election.
They argued that INEC had no legal justification whatsoever to bring forward the date of the said election.