APGA Holds First NEC Meeting To Strengthen Party Democracy

apga-2The All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) has made resolutions to ensure the strengthening of the internal democracy and maintenance of discipline in the party.

Other issues relating to the development of the nation, were equally discussed during the party’s first National Executive Committee meeting at the Professor Dora Akunyili Women Development Center, Awka, the Anambra state capital.

In a massively attended meeting by almost all the members of the National Working committee, the board of trustee members, and members of the National Executive Committee, the National Chairman, Victor Oye, outlined in his address, that the progress APGA had made as a party, the challenges it faced and the way forward for a stronger and united party, were key aspects of the meeting.

The National Secretary, Mr Labaran Maku, briefing newsmen on the proceedings of the party, stated that the meeting touched on so many issues such as:

“Expansion of party membership base through registration in all the states, reconciliation efforts made in Lagos and Imo states, strengthening the internal democracy of the party through enforcement of discipline with the suspension of seven members of the NWC including Mr Campbell Umenzekwe and Ozo Nwabueze from the party.”

Other issues included: the funding of the party for stability, the need for support for Governor Willie Obiano ahead of the 2017 governorship election, the appeal to the judiciary to end the lingering litigations, which has been withholding the representation of Anambra Central Senatorial zone in the senate, as well as passing a vote of confidence on Mr Oye.

According to Mr Maku, “the meeting exhaustively discussed very important issues relating to the development of our country and the progress of the All Progressives Grand Alliance and we took quite a number of decisions which will define the motion of our party in the coming months and years.

“We also discussed extensively the transformation of Anambra state under the able leadership of our National Party leader, Governor Obiano, since inception in March, 2014.

“We discussed the revolutionary programme of development in Anambra state which cuts across different sectors of the state’s economy and social life, he added.

Furthermore, Maku stated that “the NEC rose with unanimous confidence that going forward, APGA remains the most visionary option for the country in terms of its policies, in terms of its vision, in terms of its programme and its slogan to be our brothers and sisters keepers at this time in our country”.

Why Increasing Rate Of Electoral Violence Worries INEC

INEC, Mahmood Yakubu, Electoral ViolenceThe Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has expressed concern over the increasing cases of electoral violence in Nigeria.

Chairman of the commission, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, said the trend portends danger for the nation’s democracy.

He blamed the level of violence on the lack of enforcement of relevant laws relating to electoral violence.

Professor Yakubu, at a forum on elections organised by the Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room, announced plans by INEC to test-run some new initiatives in 2017 ahead of the 2019 general elections.

He revealed on Monday in Abuja that at least 100 staff of the commission in 17 states were being investigated for their roles in the 2015 general elections and the parliamentary re-run election in Rivers State.

A New Vigour

INEC’s Chairman further recommended an attitudinal change in order to reduce the increasing cases of electoral violence in Nigeria.

“INEC is not without their own share of blame. There were instances of electoral officials subverting the process, usually as a result of financial inducement resulting in obviously compromised processes, leading to the nullification of elections by the court.

“I wish to assure you that this will be addressed with a new vigour because such electoral officials should have no place in the management of a sacred trust called election,” he said.

The Chairman of the Senate Committee on INEC, Senator Abubakar Kyari, also announced plans by the National Assembly to pass a bill on electoral offences commission.

“There are bills presently on the current legislative refining in two Houses of (the) National Assembly.

“The bills have been holistically approached and there are most of the prevailing challenges in our electoral process,” he said.

Macabre Dance Of Shame

Another speaker at the forum and Coordinator of Open Society Initiative for West Africa, Mr Udo Jude Ilo, condemned the heightened tension that characterised elections in Nigeria and Africa in general.

“We need to wake up to the reality that Nigerians are tired. I am tired and frustrated and that our continued macabre dance of shame around elections is destroying our collective psyche and faith in democratic process,” he stated.

The convener of the forum, Clement Nwankwo, also criticised the violent electoral process in the country, saying: “We do have a civil society concern regarding some of the challenges that have recently reared (their) heads and it is coming from events that took place in this recent elections and the Rivers State elections”.

INEC Says Rivers Re-run Will Be Free, Fair And Transparent

FCT election -INEC.Amosun. Ogun poolsThe Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says it will ensure that the concluding part of legislative election in Rivers State, is conducted in a free, fair and transparent manner.

Giving the assurance on Sunday, the electoral body said violence that erupted during the earlier held legislative re-run election of March 19, 2016, forced the INEC to suspend the exercise.

It pointed out that at the time the elections were suspended, voting had ended in certain constituencies with the winners declared while voting had been concluded in some areas but collation of results had not been completed.

A statement by the electoral body on its commitment to conducting the polls read: “Besides, certain unauthorised persons had put the Commission’s officials under duress to declare results at some locations, while balloting did not take place at all in others.

“In an effort to conclude the elections, the Commission held a Stakeholders’ Forum in Abuja on 30th June, 2016, where it was agreed that the elections be held on 30th July, 2016.

“However, following persistent inflammatory comments by political actors in the state, an arson attack on the Commission’s office at Khana Local Government Area on 22nd July 2016 by unknown persons and credible security reports, it became impossible to hold the elections as planned”.

INEC further pointed out that the recent Edo and Ondo governorship elections “eloquently speak of the feat that can be achieved if all stakeholders do the needful”.

Governor Nyesom Wike has raised fears that there is a plan to rig the election in favour of the APC

The Commission, however, condemned the relentless false allegations, provocative and dangerous comments being made by some political actors, especially the Governor of River State, Mr Nyesom Wike, against the Commission, which it insisted were capable of inciting people to commit violent acts that could derail the election.

“We appeal to stakeholders to henceforth refrain from making pronouncements that could either overheat the state or instigate their followers to violence.

“We also appeal to all the political parties and their supporters to abide by all the extant laws governing the electoral process,” INEC added, promising to remain impartial and committed to conducting credible, fair and transparent elections at all times.

Governor Wike had few days ago berated the leadership of INEC, for allegedly releasing an All Progressives Congress (APC) dominated list of ad-hoc staff, for the December 10 rerun elections.

According to him, INEC had included APC Ward Chairmen and Ward Secretaries as Assistant Presiding Officers (APO’s).

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.

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.