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.

INEC Fixes Nov 16 For Anambra Governorship Election

Rivers Rerun: INEC Replies Wike, Says Adhoc Staff Are Non-PartisanThe Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has fixed November 16, 2017 for the governorship elections in Anambra State.

The INEC National Commissioner, Mr Solomon Soyebi, made the announcement on Thursday in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

Mr Soyebi noted that political parties are expected to start conducting their primaries between July 22 and September 2.

He also hinted that INEC would work with the police in prosecuting the 25 staff indicted for the role they played in the legislative rerun polls of 2016 in Rivers State.

Electoral Institute Urges Continuous Use Of Card Readers

Elections, Card Readers, Electoral InstituteAn organ of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) responsible for research and training for electoral officers, the Electoral Institute (EI), has urged the commission to sustain the use of smart card readers in future elections.

The Director of the institute, Professor Abubakar Momoh, made the appeal at a forum in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory.

Professor Momoh explained that the meeting was convened to discuss the gains and challenges of the use of smart card readers in the 2015 elections.

“The whole idea of this round-table is to have a conversation around what went wrong with the card readers in the 2015 general election (and) what were the unintended consequences and backlash from the use of the card readers.”

The EI boss described the use of the card readers in the 2015 elections as a game changer.

He stated that the innovation of the technology had helped to reduce instances of over-bloated voters register.

A former INEC National Commissioner, Mr Nuhu Yakubu, also appealed to INEC to sustain the use of the card readers in future elections.

Mr Yakubu was of the belief that the technology had set a new standard for elections in Nigeria.

“The use of the smart cards and the companion card readers had become the minimum standard for the conduct of elections by the commission.

“This must not only be sustained but be improved upon in future elections,” he said.

Other resource persons at the event highlighted some of the challenges experienced with the use of card readers during the last general polls which include rejection of cards, poor battery issues and inability to capture fingerprints among others.

Civil Society Group Faults Credibility Of Edo Governorship Elections

Edo-Elections-ACEThe Alliance for Credible Elections, (ACE), a civil society organisation, has expressed its dissatisfaction with the conduct of the September 28 governorship election which took place in Edo state.

The group claimed that the election was far from being free, fair and credible.

Addressing a press conference in Abuja on Monday, the acting General Secretary of the organisation, Mrs Mma Odi, said that there was generally no secrecy in voting, as people voted in the full glare of party agents despite the presence of security agents.

Mrs Odi, while presenting the report of the observation of the election by the Alliance for Democracy, added that there was a form of subtle intimidation of voters aided by open sale of votes for cash.

The group also criticised the delay in the collation of votes which commenced late in the evening despite elections being concluded by 2:00 p.m. local time in most of the polling units across the state.

Smooth Elections

The concerns pointed out by the General Secretary of the group, however, contradict initial comments by several observers who stated that the polls went on smoothly.

INEC National Commissioner, Mrs Amina Zakari, had said that the electoral process went on as expected while INEC officials and security agents worked professionally to ensure it was hitch free.

Furthermore, a poll on the performance of INEC in the election initiated by Channels Television on Twitter had over 5,000 Twitter users participating.

Thirty per cent of the people rated INEC’S performance in the election as excellent while another 30 per cent said it was fair.

Twenty-six per cent rated it poor and another 14% were indifferent.

The election finally came to a close with INEC announcing Godwin Obaseki as the governor-elect of Edo state to take over from Governor Adams Oshiomhole who has ruled the state for nearly eight-year.

After the result was announced, however, aggrieved members of the People’s Democratic Party, (PDP) alleged inducement of voters and collaboration of INEC and the state government to doctor the results in favour of the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

The PDP has said it would go to Tribunal to challenge the outcome of the election, but the APC denied inducing voters and said the PDP was a bad loser.

Edo Governorship Election: Polls Going On Smoothly – INEC

INEC-on-Edo-governorship-electionThe Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says polls have been going on smoothly so far in the Edo State governorship election.

INEC National Commissioner, Mrs Amina Zakari, said the electoral process was going on as expected while the INEC officials and security agents were working professionally.

Mrs Zakari made the observation in an interview with Channels Television on Wednesday at one of the polling centres in Benin City, the state’s capital in south-south Nigeria.

“It (the electoral process) has gone based on our expectation.

“The ad-hoc staff are working professionally (and) the security agents are doing their work (while) the people of Edo State are actually doing what we expect of them.

“They are behaving adequately, they are lined up neatly and everything is going smoothly,” she said.

Card Readers Shorten Period Of Elections

The INEC official noted that the innovation where the electorates vote immediately after accreditation was yielding result compared to the old system.

She explained that as voting and accreditation take place simultaneously, more voters have been able to exercise their franchise, enabling the commission save time it spends to conduct elections.

“It allows more voters to come out (and) it reduces apathy because most elites did not like the old system but they can now come and vote peacefully and go back to their homes.

“It is something we should continue with the cooperation of all stakeholders, especially the voters and the card readers have actually shortened the period of elections,” she said.

Mrs Zakari further expressed pleasure with the usage of the card readers, saying it has also contributed greatly to the progress of the elections.

Although there were hitches with card readers at some polling points, she was happy that the technical support team deployed by INEC were able to manage the situation.

“Yes they (the card readers) are working, but you must expect some hitches here and there. We have deployed about 200 technical support.

“We have one technical support for each registration area (that is 192) and we have 36 senior technical support (two per local government).

“We’ve had hitches here and there and they are being replaced or repaired and we have continued voting”, she added.

Jega Ends Tenure As INEC Chairman, Hands Over To Wali

Jega Resigns As INEC Chairman, Hands Over To WaliProfessor Attahiru Jega’s tenure as the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has come to an end.

The former INEC boss, who took over from Professor Maurice Iwu, assumed office on June 8, 2010 during the former President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration.

Professor Jega officially handed over leadership to the commission’s National Commissioner, Ambassador Mohammad Wali, on Tuesday.

Under his tenure, the electoral body conducted the election that brought former President Goodluck Jonathan in and the March and April 2015 general elections that brought President Muhammadu Buhari in.

During his tenure, the INEC made remarkable input in the growth of Nigeria’s democracy, as both the general elections of 2011 and 2015 were adjudged credible by observers.

He will be remembered for his introduction of the Permanent Voters Card and the use of card readers for accreditation of voters during the last elections.

Not much has been heard about the Chairman of INEC since the successful conduct of the general elections two months ago.

At a forum organised by university Vice Chancellors last week, Professor Jega, spoke on his next move after his tenure.

He also told journalists what informed the choice of Professors as returning officers during elections.

“We know that anybody who has risen in the system and developed a career and became a Vice Chancellor will not for anything damage his or her reputation by pandering to the wishes of politicians. That is why we decided to make them returning officers and we are very pleased that they have done this country proud.

“I am looking forward to taking a leave and resting and then going back to my job in the university -Teaching, research and community service,” Professor Jega stated.

His successor, Ambassador Wali hails from Sanyima town in Tambuwal Local Government Area of Sokoto State, north-west Nigeria.

Before his appointment as INEC National Commissioner, Ambassador Wali was an Associate Professor at the Department of Political Science, Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto and Chief Executive Officer, Development Strategies International (DSI).

He is a member of various committees of INEC and the Chairman of the Tenders Board.

However, he would be acting as the INEC Chairman till the end of his tenure in August 11, 2015.