Fire Guts INEC Office In Abia

The burnt INEC office in Abia State.

 

Fire has gutted the office of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Ohafia Local Government Area of Abia State.

INEC Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, disclosed this via a statement issued on Monday, adding that the commission held a meeting to discuss a wide range of issues, including a disturbing report from the state.

He said INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner (INEC) for the State, Dr. Joseph Iloh, reported that the recently renovated office has been set ablaze.

“The incident occurred late on Sunday night, 9th May 2021. There are no casualties on the part of our staff on guard duty but the building was virtually destroyed,” the statement partly read.

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“Apart from furniture items, all electoral materials and office equipment were destroyed. The matter has been reported to the police for investigation.”

The Abia REC also confirmed the ugly incident to Channels Television, adding that INEC staff with the help of a local vigilante group made efforts to put out the fire.

While noting that no life was lost, the REC appealed to security operatives to up their game and assist in protecting INEC offices.

“I do not know why the attack on the office, last week, Department of State Services(DSS) and security operatives circulate information about pending attacks on Federal government offices,” he said.

“I quickly direct all Electoral officers (EO) to disclose the information to their local government Chairmen to assist to set up a local vigilante group to guide the offices, then on Sunday night, the unknown hoodlum set the INEC prototype office ablaze.

“I am calling in the security operatives to do more and ensure the protection of lives and properties especially the INEC offices.”

The commission lamented that the latest incident in Abia State is one too many, noting that its facility has been attacked in the south-eastern state in recent times.

On December 13, 2020, the INEC office in Aba South was completely burnt down while that of Arochukwu was vandalised and ransacked in October 2020.

While describing the vandalised facilities as national assets, the electoral umpire said they must be protected.

Hence, the Commission said it would be convening an emergency meeting of the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) next week to discuss this disturbing trend.

It also reassured Nigerians that all activities in relation to the ongoing expansion of voter access to Polling Units and preparations for the resumption of Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) as well as all scheduled elections will proceed as planned.

INEC To Hold Jigawa Bye-Election On June 19

A photo combination of Jigawa map and INEC logo

 

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) will conduct a bye-election for the Gwaram Federal Constituency of Jigawa State on June 19.

INEC Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, disclosed this via a statement issued on Friday.

He said the decision to conduct the exercise followed the death of the former holder of the office, Hon. Yuguda Hassan Kila on March 4, in which the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila declared the seat vacant.

“Consequently, the Commission has fixed Saturday 19th June 2021 for the conduct of bye-election to fill the vacant seat for the said Constituency in the House of Representatives,” the statement partly read.

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“The official notification for the election will be published on 17th May 2021. Political parties shall conduct their primaries between 18th and 24th May 2021.

“The Access Code for online submission of nomination forms will be available for collection from 24th May 2021 at the Commission’s headquarters in Abuja while the last day for submission of the list of nominated candidates is 28th May 2021 at 6.00 pm.”

Okoye also directed political parties to submit the names of their polling agents for the election to the INEC Electoral Officer for Gwaram Local Government Area on/or before 1st June 2021, noting that campaigns would end on June 17.

While noting that the detailed Timetable and Schedule of Activities for the bye-election has been uploaded on the Commission’s website and other social media platforms, he asked political parties to abide by Section 87 of the Electoral Act relating to the nomination processes.

He added, “The Commission wishes to reiterate that since work on the expansion of voter access to Polling Units in the country is ongoing, the bye-election will hold in the existing Polling Units and Voting Points across the Constituency covering Gwaram Local Government Area of Jigawa State.

“The Commission enjoins all political parties to strictly adhere to the Timetable and Schedule of Activities and avoid rancorous primaries and violence during the campaigns and throughout the electoral process.”

Supreme Court Upholds Deregistration Of 74 Political Parties

Supreme Court Strikes Out APC's Appeal On Exclusion From Rivers Elections

 

 

The Supreme Court has affirmed the judgement of the Court of Appeal which upheld the deregistration of the National Unity Party and others.

INEC had last year deregistered the parties over failure to win any election during the 2019 general election.

In the judgement, delivered by Justice Adamu Jauro, the apex court said the de-registration of NUP and 73 other parties, was done in line with the law and compliance with the extant provisions of the Constitution and Electoral Act.

In the appeal before the apex court, NUP challenged their deregistration by INEC at the Federal High Court and the Court of Appeal.

The Abuja Division of the Appeal Court had on July 29, 2020, affirmed the powers of the National Independent National Electoral Commission to deregister political parties.

READ ALSO: INEC To Hold Jigawa Bye-Election On June 19

Delivering the lead judgment of a panel of the court, Justice Mohammed Idris, held that INEC did not err in law in the deregistration of the National Unity Party, which filed the appeal.

The court upheld the judgment of Justice Taiwo Taiwo of the Federal High Court in Abuja which had earlier in May 2020 nullified the deregistration of NUP and 73 other political parties for being in breach of section 225(a)of the Nigeria Constitution.

The said constitutional provision spells out the minimum election victory a party must record or percentage of votes it must poll to sustain its status as a registered political party.

INEC, in deregistering the affected 74 political parties in February 2020 stated that they failed to meet the minimum requirement to enable them to remain in existence.

 

Fire Razes INEC Office In Akwa Ibom

The INEC office in Essien Udim Local Government Area was gutted by fire on May 2, 2021.

 

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) office in Essien Udim Local Government Area has been gutted by fire.

INEC Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, confirmed the incident to Channels Television via a statement issued on Sunday.

He said INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner for Akwa Ibom State, Mike Igini, reported that the inferno occurred in the early hours of today.

“Our security guard on duty escaped unhurt but the destruction to the building and properties therein was extensive,” the statement partly read.

“Items destroyed include 345 ballot boxes, 135 voting cubicles, megaphones, water tanks and office furniture.

“The police, which have also been battling with attacks on its facilities and personnel in the area, is aware of the incident and has commenced an investigation.”

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Okoye recalled that on the eve of the 2019 general elections, the newly constructed prototype LGA office in Ibesikpo Asutan was burnt down while two more offices of the Commission in Mkpat Enin and Eastern Obolo LGAs were bombed.

The INEC National Commissioner lamented that the recent attack on the electoral umpire after a recently concluded inventory of material.

He regretted that the ugly incident is coming as the electoral body prepares for the conduct of the 2023 general elections.

Okoye added, “If unchecked, these attacks may constitute a setback on the Commission’s preparations, including the ongoing conversion of Voting Points to Polling Units, the forthcoming Continuous Registration of Voters (CVR) exercise and the conduct of polls.

“Nevertheless, the Commission wishes to assure Nigerians that we will leave no stone unturned to recover from the  incident in Akwa Ibom State as we continue to prepare for all electoral activities.”

INEC Proposes Creation Of Additional 2,424 Polling Units In Rivers

A file photo of an INEC official carrying a bag with electoral materials.

 

 

The Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) has proposed the creation of additional 2,424 polling units in Rivers State.

INEC’s Resident Electoral Commissioner in Rivers State, Obo Effanga stated this during an interactive session with journalists in Port Harcourt on Wednesday.

He said that at least 2,424 voting points in Rivers State are likely to be converted to full-fledged polling units, noting that the state currently has 4,442 polling units across the 23 local government areas.

If the proposal is ratified by the commission, the number of polling units in Rivers State will increase to 6,866.

READ ALSO: INEC Announces Date For 2023 General Elections

He noted that the commission believes the new number of polling units when verified at the end of the fieldwork which started on April 22, will adequately “serve the 3, 215, 273 registered voters in the state.”

Stating the criteria for the expansion, Effanga said already established voting points with a lower threshold of 500 and upper threshold of 750 registered voters are qualified to be converted to polling units.

He added that the electoral umpire will not site polling units in private compounds, royal palaces, residences of government officials, political party buildings, places designated for religious worship, or any building into which a voter may under any circumstance be denied access and buildings or facilities that are in dispute.

According to him, the commission will relocate any existing polling unit that is sited in a place that does not meet the standards in the commission’s guidelines.

Effanga called for the support of all stakeholders in mobilising for the Continuous Voter Registration exercise which he says will begin on June 28 across the country.

Electoral Offences: 125 Cases In Court, 60 Convictions Made In Six Years – INEC

A file photo of a bag containing electoral materials to be deployed for an election.

 

Since the 2015 general elections in the country, 125 cases of electoral offences were filed in various courts out of which 60 convictions have been secured so far, including the most recent one in Akwa Ibom State.

This is according to the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof Mahmood Yakubu, who stated this on Wednesday during a one-day public hearing on the National Electoral Offences Commission (Establishment) Bill 2021, organized by the Senate Committee on INEC.

“Of the numerous responsibilities carried out by the Commission, the prosecution of electoral offenders has been one of the most challenging,” he said.

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“For instance, since the 2015 General Election, 125 cases of electoral offences were filed in various courts out of which 60 convictions have been secured so far, including the most recent one in Akwa Ibom State.”

He also expressed disappointment over the delay in the passage of the Electoral Act amendment bill, saying barely a year and nine months to the 2023 general election, the National Assembly is yet to pass the bill.

According to the INEC boss, the prosecution of electoral offenders has been one of the most challenging tasks for the commission since its establishment.

Yakubu added, “The commission would like to see more successful prosecution of offenders, not just of ballot box snatchers and falsifiers of election results but most importantly their sponsors.

“We look forward to the day when highly placed sponsors of thuggery, including party chieftains and candidates that seek to benefit from violations of the law, are apprehended. We believe that the work of the proposed Commission will help in this regard,” Yakubu said.

INEC Announces Date For 2023 General Elections

APC Excluded As INEC Publishes Names Of Rivers Senatorial Candidates
A file photo of a ballot box.

 

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has announced the date for the 2023 general elections in the country.

INEC Chairman, Prof Mahmood Yakubu made the announcement on Wednesday during a one-day public hearing on the National Electoral Offences Commission (Establishment) Bill 2021, organized by the Senate Committee on INEC.

According to the INEC boss, the 2023 general elections are exactly one year, nine months, two weeks and six days or 660 days from today.

“By the principle established by the Commission, the 2023 General Election will hold on Saturday 18th February 2023 which is exactly one year, nine months, two weeks and six days or 660 days from today,” he said.

“We hope to release the Timetable and Schedule of Activities for the General Election immediately after the Anambra Governorship election scheduled to hold on 6th November 2021.

“In order to do so, there should be clarity and certainty about the electoral legal framework to govern the election. We are confident that the National Assembly will do the needful in earnest.”

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Yakubu noted that one of the numerous responsibilities carried out by the commission is the prosecution of electoral offenders, describing it as the most challenging duty for INEC.

He lamented the delay in the prosecution of electoral offenders has been one of the most challenging tasks for the commission since its establishment.

He added, “For instance, since the 2015 general election, 125 cases of electoral offences were filed in various courts out of which 60 convictions have been secured so far, including the most recent one in Akwa Ibom State.

“The commission would like to see more successful prosecution of offenders, not just of ballot box snatchers and falsifiers of election results but most importantly their sponsors.

“We look forward to the day when highly placed sponsors of thuggery, including party chieftains and candidates that seek to benefit from violations of the law, are apprehended. We believe that the work of the proposed Commission will help in this regard.”

Jigawa To Hold LG Election On June 26

A file photo of a ballot box.

 

 

Jigawa State will be holding its Local Government Election on June 26, 2021.

The Chairman of the electoral board, Mr. Adamu Ibrahim confirmed this at the stakeholders meeting held on Tuesday, in Dutse the state capital.

According to him, the selling of the nomination forms would commence on 12th May, while the verification of candidates would be conducted from 13th to 27th May 2021.

A file photo of a Jigawa map.
A file photo of the map of Jigawa, a state in north-west Nigeria.

“The Commission has concluded the necessary arrangements to conduct the 2021 Local Government Councils elections by its mandates under sections 10 (1) and 64 (1) of JISIEC law Cap.” Mr. Adamu said.

He continued “the selling of the nomination forms would commence on 12th May and ends on the 26th May 2021, while verification of candidates sponsored by Political Parties to contest the elections would be conducted from 13th to 17th May 2021.”

INEC To Blacklist Political Parties Over Violent Congresses

A file photo of an INEC official carrying a bag with electoral materials.

 

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says it will blacklist political parties unable to conduct peaceful congresses and primaries.

INEC in a statement on Monday said it might not acknowledge the result of violent congresses if the trend continues.

The statement titled, ‘Conduct of Acrimonious Congress And Primaries By Political Parties’ was signed by INEC spokesman, Festus Okoye.

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“This Commission will not stand askance and watch party conventions and congresses degenerate into farcical rituals and violent fiascos that threaten lives and destroy property.

“For the avoidance of doubt, INEC will henceforth reconsider its involvement in these events, should they continue to put lives of members of the public and staff of the Commission at risk.

“Henceforth, there will be far-reaching consequences in any situation where party congresses and conventions degenerate into violence and destruction of INEC property. Apart from replacing such destroyed materials, parties may be blacklisted from the receipt of INEC materials for their activities in the future.

“The Commission may also withdraw its staff from monitoring such violent political party meetings, with the resultant non-recognition of their outcomes,” the statement partly reads.

Three INEC Officials Die, Five Others Injured In Borno Road Accident

 

Three officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) have died in a road accident in Borno State.

INEC Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, confirmed the incident on Monday, adding that the victims were travelling on Sunday before they met their untimely death.

He also disclosed that five other officials of the commission were also injured in the auto crash that occurred in the north-eastern state, noting that the injured were receiving treatment at a Specialist Hospital in Maiduguri.

“The Commission has received the sad report of a fatal road accident involving a number of its staff serving in Borno State,” he said.

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“On Sunday, the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) for the state, Mohammed Magaji Ibrahim, informed the Commission that an Electoral Officer and some Assistant Electoral Officers travelling from some local government areas to Maiduguri for a special training ahead of the conversion of voting points into polling units were involved in the accident.”

Okoye identified the deceased officials as Adamu Mohammed, Abubakar Hamma Joda and Suleiman Umar, noting that the Supervising National Commissioner for Borno, Adamawa and Taraba States, AVM Ahmed Tijjani Mu’azu will represent the commission at their funeral.

The INEC boss commiserated with the families of the victims, eulogising them for their dedication and commitment to the electoral body and the country.

Isoko North By-Election: INEC Declares PDP’s Ogbimi Winner

A file photo of an INEC official carrying a bag with electoral materials and the Isoko Constituency winner, Jude Ogbimi

 

 

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has declared the candidate of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP), Jude Ogbimi, winner of the Isoko North Constituency by-election.

During the election which was held on Saturday, Mr Ogbimi polled 29, 421 votes defeating the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Emmanuel Tabuko, who polled 2,543 votes to emerge second.

READ ALSO: PDP Sets Up Committee, Announces Date To Screen Anambra Governorship Aspirants

Isoko North By-Election Jude Ogbimi

 

The Returning Officer for the by-election, Professor Christopher Onosemuode of the Federal University of Petroleum Resources Effurun announced the result, on Sunday morning.

The House of Assembly by-election followed the death of former Majority Leader, Hon. Tim Owhefere who died a few months ago as a result of COVID-19 related complications.

INEC To Resume Continuous Voters Registration On June 28

A file photo of an INEC official carrying a bag with electoral materials.

 

The Continuous Voters Registration (CVR) exercise will resume on June 28 across the country, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said.

INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, announced the date for the resumption of the exercise on Thursday at a press briefing held at the commission’s headquarters in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

He disclosed that the electoral umpire has set aside the Direct Data Capture Machine, and would introduce a new device being developed by its in-house software engineers.

Professor Yakubu explained that the new device – INEC Voter Enrolment Device (IVED) – was developed to be compatible with the android operating system.

He hinted that the engineers were also developing a portal where Nigerians can register for the exercise to reduce the usual rush experienced and avoid breach of the COVID-19 protocols.


Calendar For CVR

May 11, 2021 – Expansion of voter access to polling units

May 15, 2021 – Building and testing the online registration portal

May 31, 2021 – Arrival of the new generation of registration devices – IVED

June 14, 2021 – Recruitment and training of voter enrolment staff

June 28, 2021 – Restart of CVR


A file photo of INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu.

 

While the electoral umpire had promised that it would resume the CVR in the first quarter of 2021, the date announced by the INEC boss indicates that the exercise will commence by the end of the second quarter.

Professor Yakubu, however, attributed the lapse to the inability of INEC to establish new systems that would ensure safer CVR, its determination to expand voter access to polling units, and the decision to introduce new voter registration equipment.

He said the registration would be conducted in one year, adding that emphasis would be on Anambra State where a governorship election has been scheduled to hold in November.

Asked if the National Identity Number (NIN) would be made mandatory for the CVR, the INEC boss said that would not be the case.

He, however, explained that the NIN could be used at the point of registration as part of the means of identification.

Professor Yakubu noted that those qualified for the CVR exercise were Nigerians above 18 years who have never been registered to vote.