EFCC To Cleanse Electoral System, Arriagns 100 INEC Officials

efccIn efforts to cleanse the electoral system, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC), has begun the arraignment of over 100 electoral officials.

According to reports, the commission is set to charge officials who had received bribes from the $115 million, allegedly disbursed by Diezani-Madueke, a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, during the countdown to the 2015 general elections.

The acting Chairman of the EFCC, Mr Ibrahim Magu and the Chairman of the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Mahmoud Yakubu, would be meeting in Abuja to finalize the charges that would be filed against the suspects.

This was revealed through a statement by the Media Coordinator, Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders, (CACOL), Wale Salami.

In reaction to the trial, CACOL has asserted that electoral crimes serve as precursors for corruption in governance.

Executive Chairman of the Coalition, Mr Debo Adeniran, commented on the happenings saying, “from these reports, it can be easily deduced that Nigeria’s democracy is regularly put up for auction to the highest bidder”.

He added that, “any electoral official that perpetrates political corruption, which usually leads to the throwing up of corrupt government are culpable in helping looters to the corridors of power.

“They easily put up the mandate of the people up for sale. For years, Nigerians have remained victims of bad leadership which has a strong linkage to failures and corrupt practices perpetrated by electoral officials mostly during elections.

“We commend the EFCC for not leaving any stone unturned in their investigations, while also calling for the prosecution of Diezani-Madueke, and every other electoral officials that took the bribe.

“In the same vein, we are urging the INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, to begin a review of the electoral commission in order to come up with ingenious protocols to forestall or eradicate any corrupt tendencies in subsequent elections.

“If we do not cleanse our government and electoral process from corrupt elements, then our government would inevitably become a den for thieves.”

He concluded by stating that: “the anti-graft agency and the electoral commission should continue to publish the names of all officials who received bribes so that Nigerians can identify them as the dishonest lot who sold the peoples’ mandate to the highest bidder.

“We call on the government to cleanse the electoral system to forestall corruption in governance,” Adeniran said.

LG Polls: Abia APGA Members Protest Substitution Of Candidate

apga-2Members and supporters of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), from Aba South Local Government Area of Abia state, have stormed the office of the State Independent Electoral Commission (ABSIEC), to protest the removal of their candidate for the December 17, local government election.

The protesters numbering about 100, were seen carrying placards with different inscriptions including “ABSIEC stop meddling in APGA affairs, “Akomas leave APGA alone,” “Ujoumunna is our sole candidate for Aba South LGA”, amongst others.

They accused the electoral commission of meddling into the affairs of the party and called on the Chairman of the Commission, Justice Akomas, to do the needful by restoring the name of Ujoumunna, as the rightful chairmanship candidate of APGA for Aba south local government area.

Speaking on behalf of the protesters, the party’s legal adviser in the council, Mr Emma Eke Okorie, vowed that Iwuanyawu would never be the chairman of the local government area, and appealed to the commission to address the issue.

He also threatened legal action if the commission failed to restore the name of Ujoumunna as the chairmanship candidate of the party.

“The name of our candidate, who won the party’s primary election, is Elder Ujoumunna.

“We are surprised to see that it has been allegedly and illegally substituted with the name of one Mr Iwuanyawu Charles, who came second at the party’s primary election in Aba South Local Government Area.

“We call on the Chairman of the Commission, Justice Akomas to do the needful and immediately restore the name of elder ujoumunna as the rightful chairmanship candidate of APGA for Aba south local government area.”

Addressing the protesting APGA members, the Director Of Administration at the commission, Mr Kingsley Nwokoro, assured the protesters that their problem would be looked into, stating that it was not the fault of the commission.

“The commission acted based on the information given to them by political parties.

“It is not our fault but we will look into the matter passionately, I urge you to go back to your party leadership to ratify the issue and report back to the commission,” he said.

Meanwhile, the State Chairman of the party, Rev. Austin Ehiemere, has exonerated the party from the matter and commended the protesters for their peaceful conduct.

Kano LG Rerun: Ganduje Lauds APC Victory, Commends Electoral Conduct

Abdullahi-Ganduje-Kano-APCKano State Governor, Abdullahi Ganduje, has commended the State Independent Electoral Commission for conducting a successful rerun election for the chairmanship seat in Minjibir Local Government Area of the state.

Receiving the result of the election in Kano State in northwest Nigeria, Governor Ganduje says that he is particularly happy that no violence was reported during the election held on Saturday.

Hundreds of party supporters, politicians, top government officials as well as independent and government observers were present at the Government House in Kano, to attend the official presentation of the result to the Governor.

The APC candidate, Tasi’u Ibrahim, scored 21, 970 votes to defeat his opponent from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr Auwalu Minjibir.

The Chief Whip of the House of Representative, Representative Alhassan Doguwa, also expressed delight at the election result.

He told reporters that despite the internal crisis of the party involving the Kwankwaso-led faction, Governor Ganduje is still the leader of APC in the state and would continue to execute the party’s manifesto.

INEC Commits To Credible Elections In Edo State

INEC, Edo StateThe Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has reiterated its commitment to conducting credible elections in Edo State.

The Resident Electoral Commissioner in Edo State, Sam Olumekun, made the statement on Monday during a visit to the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camp, Uhogua.

In preparation for the coming governorship poll in the state in southern Nigeria, Mr Olumekun promised the residents that INEC would ensure a free and fair election.

He hinted that he was on a tour of the IDPs camp to identify eligible voters, in order to ensure everyone was given equal opportunity to exercise their franchise.

The Coordinator of the camp, Solomon Folorunsho, expressed concern over the safety of the IDPs, should INEC site a polling unit on the camp.

Abia Re-run Elections: INEC Fixes March 5

AbiaThe Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has fixed March 5, 2016 as the substantive date for the re-run elections in Abia State.

According to the Resident Electoral Commissioner, Sylvester Ezeani, the re-run election would take place in seven state constituency and one senatorial district-  Arochukwu, Ikwuano, Isialangwa South, Aba North, Osisioma and Umunneochi.

On Thursday, Mr Ezeani hinted that all the rules and guidelines on conduct of the election, still stands except that accreditation and voting would be done simultaneously.

Mr Ezeani said that card readers and incidence form would be used during the voting exercise.

He, however, called on the political party agents to conduct themselves properly during the exercise.

Candidates contesting in the re-run election had advocated for a free and fair polls as the electoral umpire prepares for the re-run.

The Chairman of the Peoples Democratic party (PDP), Senator Emma Nwaka, said that the party is not resting on its oars to ensure that all the PDP candidates in the re-run emerge victorious.

He noted that the party does not believe in violence, but in working hard to convince the Abia electorates on the need to vote for them.

Mr Nwaka said that PDP is for Abia because the party already has six federal legislators and two Senators.

He, however, cautioned anyone that intends to ferment trouble to desist from such act because the security operatives are on red alert to forestall such.

INEC Assures Of Credible Re-run Elections In Kogi

inec-BayelsaThe Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Kogi State says it is ready to conduct a free fair and credible re-run election which will be coming up on Saturday.

The Residence Electoral Commissioner (REC) Mallam Halilu Pai disclosed this while addressing stake holders ahead of the election in Okene Local Government Area of the state, were he also informed them that the commission will be conducting a simultaneous accreditation and voting.

Addressing the people of the area on the political parties that are eligible to participate in Saturday’s election, Halilu Pai said the Commission is working on the directive of the court which does not permit any party to field in a new flag bearer or a new political party.

The Area Commander in Okene while lending his voice at the meeting said despite how volatile the area use to be during elections, the police will ensure that law and order is maintained during and after the election, but also advised the judiciary to be speedy with election cases to help the electoral process.

INEC said 339,475 people registered for the election, while about 780 polling units would be used, in the Central Senatorial Districts.

PDP Youths Endorse Wada For Second Term In Kogi

PDP Youths Endorse Wada For Second Term In KogiThe youths of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Kogi State have endorsed the State Governor, Idris Wada, to contest for a second term in office.

Leading the PDP youths on Monday from the 21 Local Government Areas to the Government House in Lokoja, the Kogi State’s capital, north-central Nigeria, the Leader of the youths, Engineer Steve Onoji, said they supported Governor Wada because of his human development stride.

Onoji thanked the Governor for making it possible for some of the youths at the grass root to enjoy the dividend of democracy.

He added that the youth came under one umbrella after the last congress, reiterating that Wada was the best and marketable option for the party.

The Majority Leader of the Kogi State House of Assembly, Honourable Friday Makama, also congratulated the Governor for a successful congress.

He said the last congress held in the state was the best ever, stressing that the youths had no alternative to his candidacy.

Governor Wada said he was awaiting the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) to lift up barn before he would declare his intention on whether to contest or not, for a second term.

He thanked the youth for their endorsement and urged them to be law abiding by staying out of trouble.

The Governor then assured the people of the state that he would ensure that a free, fair and credible election would be conducted on November 21, 2015.

Yobe Govt. Declares 2-Day Holiday For PVC Collection

PVCThe Yobe State Government has declared February 5 and 6 as public holidays to enable workers across the state to collect their Permanent Voter Card (PVC) from offices of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in their respective areas.

A statement issued by the Special Adviser to the Governor on Press Affairs and Information, Abdullahi Bego “urges all workers and people across the state who have not yet collected their PVCs to use the period to collect their cards as a step towards exercising their civic duty to vote during the forthcoming elections”.

The statement, however, calls on banks and other financial institutions operating in the state to remain open for business during the period.

It further stressed that “all business and commercial activities will continue throughout the state during the two-day PVC-collection holiday”.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Yobe State has, through its media aide, revealed that 80% of registered voters in the state have collected their Permanent Voter Cards ahead of the 2015 general election.

Voter Registration: Oshiomhole Urges INEC To Check Influx Of Mercenaries

Gov OshiomoleThe Governor of Edo State, Adams Oshiomhole has asked the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) to investigate what he called the importation of mercenaries into the state to partake in the ongoing continuous voter registration exercise.

Governor Oshiomhole said this during a visit to one of the registration centres in  Iyamo, Estako West Local Government Area of Edo state.

Governor Oshiomhole also reiterated the need for residents of the state to go out and register, insisting that “that is the only way they will be eligible to vote for candidates of their choice in next year’s elections”.

The former NLC President had disagreed with former President Olusegun Obasanjo on the same faith presidential ticket for political parties during an exclusive interview with Channels Television and urged Nigerian politicians to stop using primordial sentiments as cover up.

He kicked against the criticism that greeted a supposed Muslim/Muslim presidential ticket by the All Progressives Congress (APC), insisting that “Nigeria is not defined by religion”.

“What is the meaning of Muslim/Muslim Nigeria” he asked, insisting that Nigeria is not defined by religion.

He further noted that we have a lot of ‘idle people’ who want to use religion as an instrument to evade accountability, insisting that “that has been the problem of Africa.

“When leaders are bereft of ideas, they fall back on primordial sentiments in order to shield the,selves from accountability”, maintaining that “the problem of Nigeria is not religion”.

Mr Oshiomhole urged Nigerians to start to think of ways to better the country “where every young man can go to school and acquire quality education in a world that is knowledge driven; in a digital world”.

Lawyer Criticises INEC’s Decision To Add More Polling Units

law2A Legal Practitioner, Chima Nnaji, has criticised the proposed increase of polling units in Nigeria  by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The INEC had proposed addition 30,000 polling units, with 15 per cent of the total units to be share among the state equally and 85 per cent to be shared based on the number of registered voters in each state..

Mr Nnaji questioned the decision of the INEC and called on the chairman of the commission to answer questions asked by Nigerians.

Speaking as a guest on Channels Television’s programme, Sunrise Daily, Mr Nnaji said that the development gave room for rigging of elections. “The answer is no and there is no formula that can be used to explain this,” he said.

The lawyer advised the INEC to stick with the population of voters in the country and not on the population of Nigerians from 2006 till date. “INEC should leave census population for the National Population Board. The addition of more polling units has cost implication and the political system is already boiling. Why bring up something to stir it up?” he questioned.

He, however, said that the decision of the electoral commission was noble but too much in a hurry.

“Nigerians are not happy with this decision, INEC should have brought out the decision much later”.

Speaking on the forth coming general elections, the Legal Practitioner noted that such decision will affect the 2015 elections.

“The decision is controversial now and will cause more problems during the elections,” he said, emphasising that there was no time for the creation of the additional polling units.

He said that the development would leave electorates stranded due to lack of mobility to vote.

 

Ekiti Election: Why Fayose Won – Nwanyanwu

Dan Nwanyanwu- Labour-Party-ChairmanThe national chairman of the Labour Party, Dan Nwanyanwu, has described the governorship election held on Saturday in Ekiti State as the most credible election in recent times in Nigeria, saying Mr Ayodele Fayose’s closeness to the people gave him an advantage over other candidates.   

Mr Nwanyanwu said that the election was transparent and devoid of electoral malpractices, praising the the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the security agencies for their commitments to ensuring that the election was free and fair.

On channels Television’s programme, Sunrise Daily, the Labour Party leader stressed that the election had left several lessons for Nigerian politicians and even the outside world.

According to him, his party’s candidate, Honourable Opeyemi Bamidele, tried his best to win the hearts of the people of Ekiti with a very robust campaign.

“Our governorship candidate did his best.  We canvassed for vote, but the election has come and gone. Fayose has won the election and this is a lesson we must learn as politicians and as political party in future election that will be coming.

“From Monday, Tuesday, it became very clear as to where the pendulum will go. We tried very well to see if it could be upturned. You may not know the position of the voters. All the voters attended all political parties’ rallies,” the Labour Party chairman said.

Fayose’s Advantage

He pointed out that majority of the people who were in different political parties could not vote because they had no permanent voter’s card.

Mr Nwanyanwu further said some electorates had thought they could use thuggery to upturn and distort the process, but “the presence of security agents made it difficult for them”.

He explained that Fayose had an advantage over some of the other candidates due to his ‘down-to-earth’ nature and closeness to the people of the state.

“He was a candidate of the Labour Party when he wanted to return to the Senate.

“He is somebody that is down to earth and relates with the people as if it does not matter the position he occupies. And that differentiates him from the incumbent governor, Kayode Fayemi, who is an elitist both in conduct and character and most Ekiti people saw him as a governor that has alienated himself from the people.

“As a governor, you must make the people see you as part of them. They must see that you care and have given them a line of understanding,” he emphasised.

On the chances that some political parties could go to court to contest the result, Mr Nwanyanwu  said that it was difficult for anybody to waste time saying they will upturn the election, insisting that the election was the most credible in recent times.

“It is transparent, free and fair and that is why the incumbent had conceded defeat. There were no recorded incidents of violence or thuggery.

“The message that came out from the incumbent governor sent a positive signal to politicians and the entire world that a credible election can come out of Nigeria and that candidates that lose elections must take it in good faith and not seek litigation, Mr Nwanyanwu pointed out.

However, he urged Mr Fayose to learn from his past experience as the governor of the state and guard against a repeat of the incidents that led to his exit.

“Giving good governance and making sure that there is rule of law should be what he should be looking at now.

“Fayose is a man of the people who makes himself accessible. As a leader, you must make yourself accessible. The people around the governor have a way of blocking the governor from reaching the people or to even listen to the truth. Except the governor is experienced, he may be thinking that all is well whereas his popularity is going down by the day. When you have an appointee becoming stronger than the appointor, then you have a situation where the governor is shielded from knowing what is happening around him.

“As a leader you must always find a way of reaching your old friends. The new friends you have made will move on when another person comes into office and leave you alone.

“Somebody like Fayose will sit down with a market woman frying Akara (beans cake) and eat her Akara and she will be happy even if the presence of the governor added no value to her business. The joy she feels that the governor associates with her has a role to play in what happens tomorrow,” he further explained.

Building On The Achievement

The Labour Party leader also stressed that “politics is about human being and not about an individual or his family”, insisting that appointees derail most leaders when they become so powerful.

He commended the police and the military for the peaceful conduct of the election, stressing that their presence made it impossible for thugs to operate.

Prior to the election, the INEC had pledged to ensure that the election would be credible, free and fair and Mr Nwanyanwu urged the electoral body to build on the achievement by seeking better ways of improving the process.

“INEC’s boss, Professor Attahiru Jega, has put on his thinking cap. He has to maintain what he has achieved without losing them,” he said.

He also recommended electronic voting as the solution to Nigeria’s electoral problem, pointing out that India has used it and that it worked for them. “We must look at using this,” he stressed.

VIDEO: Jega Vows On Credible Election in 2015

It will not be business as usual come 2015 when Nigerians will go to the polls in the general elections. That’s the assurance from the umpire of the Independent Electoral Commission, INEC is giving.

INEC’s chairman, Professor Attahiru Jega, in an exclusive interview with our political correspondent Seun Okinbaloye, says INEC will rely on technology to guard against any form of malpractice or irregularity.