Protesters Demand Issuance Of Certificate To Imo North District Senator-Elect

 

Protesters under the umbrella of Concerned Citizens of Imo North are asking the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to issue a Certificate of Return to Mr Benjamin Uwajumogu.

Mr Uwajumogu, won the Imo North senatorial district election on the All Progressives Congress (APC) platform.

Meanwhile, INEC has yet to issue Mr Uwajumogu a certificate of return over allegations of misconduct that played out in the election which held on February 23, 2019.

The electoral body in April 2019, set up of a Committee to investigate the veracity of allegations of misconduct in the election.

However, a Federal High Court in Abuja ordered INEC to ‘stay action’ on the Imo North Senatorial election, following a report submitted by its probe panel.

The protesters, led by the Director-General of the Ben Uwajumogu Campaign Organization, Mr Mathew Omegara, took their grievance to the headquarters of the Independent National Electoral Commission in Abuja.

READ ALSO: Reps Not In Position To Order Edo Assembly Shutdown – Edwin Clark

According to Mr Omegara the electoral body had obeyed court orders but is yet to honour that of the senatorial district.

“The law in Nigeria is sufficient for everybody, INEC is an unbiased umpire, and it is not their business what the party does to themselves.

“The losing and winning party all proceed to the election petitions tribunal, whatever is left will be decided there.

“The court has said so since July 4, INEC has complied with virtually every other court other we know like in the case of Zamfara. This has been served for almost three weeks now, they are silent, and why are they particular about this one?

He asked that INEC should obey court orders, it was set up by the law, and they should obey the law.

INEC Identifies 1,224 Names Of Deceased Persons On Adamawa Voters’ Register

File photo of electorates checking their names on a voters list

 

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says it has identified the names of 1,224 deceased persons in its 2019 general elections voters register in Adamawa State.

Adamawa State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Kassim Gaidam disclosed this on Friday during the opening of a two-day workshop for North East Zonal implementers on election monitoring and support in Yola, the Adamawa State capital.

READ ALSO: Imo Gov Race: Okorocha Raises Alarm Over Alleged Fake Court Order

Gaidam said the statistic was uncovered following the recent display of voters’ register for claims and objections conducted by the Commission which he describes as successful.

“In Adamawa State, the exercise was successful and had the following outcome. We registered 2,113 claims and also 1,588 objections out of which 1,224 were names of deceased persons that are supposed to be removed from the voters’ register.

“We also recorded a modest improvement in the collection of permanent voters’ card.”

The workshop is part of preparations for the 2019 general elections developed by INEC to ensure that all activities are implemented as a single coordinated plan.

Also at the event is Mr Fadare representing European Centre For Electoral Support (ECES) said the EU is proudly supporting INEC’s laudable initiative which aims to ensure a free, fair and smooth conduct of elections in the country.

Kano ‘Underage Voters’ Not On Our Register, Says INEC

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says the commission had no connection with the voters register used in the Kano local government elections in which underage voters allegedly participated.

The chairman of the Commission, Mahmood Yakubu on Friday told journalists in Abuja that the register produced by INEC was not used by Kano State Independent Electoral Commission (KANSIEC) in the election.

“Kano State Independent Electoral Commission requested for and received from INEC the Kano State Register of Voters for the election. The Register was produced for use for the elections.

“However, the Register was only sighted in a few polling units. In other words, the Register was not used in most of the polling units. In fact, accreditation using the Permanent Voter’s Card (PVC) largely did not take place,” he said.

He added this was discovered after the investigation committee had National Commissioner Abubakar Nahuche as Chairman, another National Commissioner, May Agbamuche-Mbu, two Resident Electoral Commissioners (Mike Igini and Kassim Geidam) as well as some Directors and staff of the Commission, who are experts in ICT, as members.

The INEC Boss added that if underaged voting occurred in Kano as claimed by some reports INEC Register was not used.

“Given that the Register was substantially not used to accredit voters before voting, it is logical to conclude that if underaged voting occurred in the election, it was NOT due to any presence of underaged registrants on the Register of Voters.

“However, after examining some of the images in circulation, the Committee found that they have been available long before the Kano Local Government Elections. The few images and video clips from Kano show no accreditation of voters or any relationship with the Register of Voters,” he said.

He emphasised further that INEC was not in any way involved in organising the Kano State Local Government election beyond the legal requirement that the register of voters compiled by INEC should be used in all Local Government elections nationwide.

“The conduct of that election was entirely the responsibility of KANSIEC,” Yakubu said.

The investigation committee according to the INEC Chairman has since submitted its Report.

We Are Determined To Make 2019 Election The Best Ever – INEC Chairman

INEC Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu.

Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mahmood Yakubu has assured that the commission is determined to make the 2019 election the best election ever conducted in the country.

Mahmood, who was one of the speakers on Wednesday at the 69th General Assembly of the Broadcasting Organisation of Nigerian (B.O.N.). He said INEC officials are already in election mood to ensure that this is vision is achieved.

“We in INEC are already in election mood and we have been reminding ourselves of the timeframe we have until the 2019 general elections.

“We are determined to make the 2019 general elections the best ever in Nigeria. We cannot do it alone as INEC, we need the full support of all stakeholder. Only by working together can we continue to deepen our democracy. Our commitment to the Nigerian people is that only the votes cast in any election will determine the outcome. Nothing more, nothing less,” he said.

READ ALSO: BON Chairman Challenges Broadcasters To Be Balanced, Objective And Fair

The INEC boss also reeled out figures of the number of voters registered so far and the number of political parties registered under INEC.

“The first election will hold on Saturday, February 16, followed two weeks later by the second set of elections on the March 14. This means that from now to the opening of polling units at 8:00 am on Saturday, February 16, 2019, it is exactly 289 days away.

“The total number of registered voters is projected at because we are still registering under the continuous voters’ registration exercise, 80 million for the next general elections. Right now, we have 68 registered political parties.”

Mahmood said conducting the 2019 elections is going to be a huge task. He, however, expressed preparedness and awareness for the huge task.

“It is going to be a huge exercise, very tasking and very challenging. We are fully aware of the enormity of responsibilities on our shoulders when conducting elections,” he added.

INEC Seeks Stakeholders Support In Continuous Voters Registration Exercise

Presidency Sends 27 REC Nominees For Senate ConfirmationThe Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has solicited support of stakeholders towards ensuring success of the continuous voters registration.

The Administrative Secretary of the Commission in Osun state, Mr Samuel Ademusire stated this during a stakeholders meeting held at the INEC Office in Osogbo, the Osun state capital.

Mr Ademusire said the support of the stakeholders in mobilizing their people for the registration could not be underestimated, saying INEC could not do it alone.

“Traditional rulers, religious leaders, political party leaders, are the people that have more influence on people in the society and we will like to solicit their help”.

He said the voters registration would hold at every INEC office in the local governments between nine o’clock in the morning and three o’clock in the afternoon everyday.

“Within the period of registration, we will ensure our technical officers are on ground to address technical faults on the machines”.

The Administrative Secretary also warned against multiple registration by people saying this could lead to arresting such a person or group of people.

Representatives of political parties and religious leaders promised to support the Commission by circulating the information among their people.

In attendance were the Representatives of the Nigerian Army, Nigeria Police, other paramilitary organisations, traditional rulers, religious leaders, political parties, civil societies, National Orientation Agency and the media.

Electoral Fraud: INEC Partners EFCC To Prosecute Erring Staff

Electoral Fraud: INEC Partners EFCC To Prosecute Erring StaffThe Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has urged the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to prosecute any of its staff member found to have committed any offence related to its mandate.

INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, made the appeal during a meeting with the EFCC Chairman, Ibrahim Magu, at the anti-corruption agency’s headquarters in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

The called followed the suspension of 205 members of staff of the electoral body, for their alleged involvement in fraud during the 2015 general elections.

Professor Yakubu said it took the INEC about four months to thoroughly investigate all the allegations contained in the interim report it received from the anti-graft agency, before a final decision could be reached.

He asked the EFCC to commence the prosecution of any staff without waiting for the conclusion of INEC’s internal investigation, if it has sufficient evidence to do so.

“If we get our elections right, we will get our democracy right; and if we get our democracy right, we will attain real development as a nation,” he told Mr Magu.

He assured the EFCC of INEC readiness to join it in creating more awareness on the consequences of corruption as a preventive measure.

According to the INEC Chairman, sensitisation is a cheaper way of fighting corruption, since it is capable of discouraging potential offenders from taking dangerous risks.

“We shall look at ways of partnering with the EFCC on this,” he said in statement issued by his spokesman, Rotimi Oyekanmi.

In his response, Mr Magu said the EFCC regards corruption as “a crime against humanity”, lauding Professor Yakubu for cooperating with the anti-graft agency in the cases involving some INEC staff.

“We are already prosecuting some INEC staff in Lagos, Port Harcourt, Kano and Gombe states. In the future, before we take any such case to court, we will inform INEC and share details of the Charge Sheet with you.

“And if you have anybody in your Legal Department that wants to join our prosecution team, such persons are welcome. This will add value to work,” he noted.

The EFCC boss also commended the INEC management for its decisive action on the allegation, saying: “When you take actions like these, you are reducing our work and as far as the fight against corruption is concerned, we (EFCC and INEC) are on the same page”.

INEC Suspends 205 Staff Over Bribery Allegation

INEC Suspends 205 Staff Over Bribery AllegationTwo hundred and five members of staff at the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) have been suspended and placed on half salary.

The suspension was announced on Tuesday in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory.

The decision follows a meeting which considers the report of the Commission’s committee set up to look into an interim report by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), accusing some of its officials of fraud during the 2015 general elections.

A statement signed by INEC National Commissioner, Mr Mohammed Haruna, read :”Based on their level of involvement, two hundred and five (205) serving INEC staff will be immediately placed on interdiction, which entails suspension from duties and being placed on half salary, pending the final determination of the cases they have with the EFCC.

“Seventy staff (70), about whom there was insufficient information regarding their involvement, will be referred back to EFCC for further investigation and possible prosecution.

“Out of over 23 billion Naira which the EFCC report said was used to influence the elections, the Committee established that 3,046,829,000 Naira was received by INEC staff in 16 states.

INEC noted that it will continue to take stern action against its officials who compromise its core values of integrity, transparency and impartiality in the conduct of elections.

Wike Challenges Judiciary On Sustainable Democracy

As the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), begins preparations towards the 2019 general elections, the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has challenged the judiciary to play the role required of it to sustain democracy in Nigeria.

The governor said this when he received the Governing and the Executive Councils of the West African Bar Association in the Government House in Port Harcourt.

“What we are seeing in Nigeria today, is a situation where this man is not likely to play by our rules therefore, let us accuse him of corruption and when people hear that oh this man is corrupt, the public would be against the person.

“At the time the Judiciary is supposed to be strong, at the time the Nigerian Judiciary needed the NBA to give them the backing to be strong and independent, they withdrew,” he stated.

According to the African Bar Association, strengthening democratic institutions and the electioneering in Africa and Nigeria in particular, will form part of the discuss during the Bar’s annual general meeting.

FG vs INEC Officials: Court To Rule On Jurisdiction May 12

FG vs INEC Officials: Court To Rule On Jurisdiction May 12Justice John Tsoho of the Federal High Court, Abuja has fixed May 12 to rule on the application to strike out the charge by the Federal Government against 23 officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The officials were accused of allegedly receiving 360 million Naira as bribe from the Rivers State Government, to manipulate the outcome of the legislative polls in the state in December 2016.

The defendants, in a motion, asked the court to either strike out the case or alternatively transfer the case to Port Harcourt, on the basis that the alleged offences took place there.

They also argued that the prosecution’s submission that the trail cannot take place due to security concerns was unfounded, saying the offences in question are currently being tried in various courts in Rivers State.

The prosecution, however, opposed the application and called for its dismissal for lack of merit.

Speaking to reporters, Counsel to the defendants, Ukpai Ukairo, said: “All the elements of this offence happened in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

“We are saying that it is appropriate and that’s the position of the law that it should be tried in Rivers State. The prosecution says that there are security challenges in Port Harcourt, but our contention is that those security challenges will not inhibit the trial of this case in Port Harcourt.

“They’ve completed investigations into this matter and there is nothing before the court showing that there will be a breach of security if the defendants are tried in Port Harcourt”.

On his part, the prosecution counsel, Alilu Kayode, noted that it was up to the court to decide where the trial would take place.

“The argument is already placed before the court, it is for the court to now determine whether by the submissions of all parties, the court has territorial jurisdiction or not.

“If it has, we will continue here; if it does not have, we will await the court determination of the application,” Mr Kayode said.

INEC Launches Election Management Plan

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), says it will establish a prosecution unit, with staff trained in the dynamics of electoral offence cases in order to combat electoral malpractices in Nigeria.

INEC said this is one of the many innovations brought into the commission’s work as it implements a new five-year strategic action plan from 2017 to 2021.

The new line of focus guiding Nigeria’s electoral umpire through the next election, was unveiled during the launch of the five-year strategic plan of action in Abuja.

Speaking at the event, INEC’s Chairman, Mr Mahmoud Yakubu, stated the importance of the innovation, noting that good process leads to good results.

“This approach builds confidence between INEC and election stakeholders by creating a stable system of expectations. Through forward planning, everybody knows what to expect, making it easy to track the attainment of goals and objectives,” he said.

The commission also highlighted the fact that grassroot voter education is critical in countering ‘money for votes’ politics, hence the need for maximum voter education ahead of the coming elections.

Senate Suspends Screening Of INEC RECs

Senate Spokesman Confirms Receipt Of Letter From BuhariThe Nigerian Senate on Tuesday stood down the confirmation of nominees for positions of Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs).

This appears to be the Senate’s way of expressing misgivings about President Muhammadu Buhari’s alleged refusal to sack Mr Ibrahim Magu as acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), despite his repeated rejection by the lawmakers.

The Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, however, urged the lawmakers to apply some moderation to allow the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, convey their feelings to President Buhari on the issue of the appointment.

He also advised the Upper Chamber to stand down the confirmation of REC nominees for about two weeks.

“Those who drafted this constitution are not stupid, we didn’t draft it ourselves. We are here to protect the law which we all swore to.

“We said we are going to defend our constitution and defend the laws of this country and we must be seen to be doing that.

“But in doing this, I want to appeal that we apply some moderation to allow Mr President (Senator Saraki) to convey our feelings to the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on this issue of appointment.

“I just want to appeal that we leave it for one week or at most by two weeks,” the Deputy Senate President said.

The Senators also accused some appointees of the President of disrespecting the National Assembly.

This comes barely a week after Dr. Saraki read a letter seeking the confirmation of 27 nominees for the position of RECs in the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The letter was dated February 27, 2017, and signed by the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, while acting as Nigeria’s President.

The list, which asked the lawmakers to consider the nominees for the positions, had eight former RECs who were reappointed and 19 new appointees.

Presidency Sends 27 REC Nominees For Senate Confirmation

Presidency Sends 27 REC Nominees For Senate ConfirmationThe Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, on Thursday read a letter seeking the confirmation of 27 nominees for the position of Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) in the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The letter was dated February 27, 2017, and signed by the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, while acting as Nigeria’s President.

The list, which asked the lawmakers to consider the nominees for the positions, has eight former RECs who were reappointed and 19 new appointees.

Some of the nominees are: Mr Mike Igini who earlier served as the REC in Edo and Cross Rivers states; Mr Halilu Pai who also served as the REC in Ondo State; Dr. Akeju, a former REC in Kogi and Ondo states; and Mr Sam Olumekun who served in Edo State.

The tenure of 33 RECs had expired weeks ago, leaving openings for the highest positions in the state leadership of INEC.