2023 Polls: INEC Should Determine When To Use Electoral Transmission Of Results – Fayemi

File photo of Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi, during an interview on Channels Television’s Hard Copy.

 

Ahead of the 2023 general elections, Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi has said the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) should determine when to use the electoral transmission of results.

“Personally, I feel we should leave the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to handle and decide when or where to utilise the electronic transmission, not the principle of it,” he said during an interview on Channels Television’s Newsnight which aired on Monday.

The National Assembly had on July 15 deliberated extensively on the Electoral Amendment Bill with the House of Representatives passing the bill moments after opposition lawmakers walked out of the heated session.

While the House passed the majority of the 158 clauses of the bill intact including Clause 52 (2), the Senate only approved the conditional electronic transmission of electoral results and voted publicly along party lines over section 52(3) of the electoral act amendment bill, which deals with electronic transmission of poll results.

READ ALSO

Reps Pass Electoral Act Amendment Bill After Opposition Lawmakers Walk Out

Senate Approves Conditional Electronic Transmission Of Electoral Results

Fayemi, who is also the Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, said the drama that trailed the passage of the bill before the parliament was unnecessary.

“I feel that the hullabaloo around this could have been avoided partly because I feel it is something that we must not over-regulate, particularly the activities of an independent commission.

“If I have the opportunity to have been asked, I would have actually argued strongly that we leave this matter for the electoral commission to handle rather than micro-manage the commission or bringing the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) as the final arbitral on what happens to the electoral commission,” the former Mines Minister added.

 

We Have Capacity For Electronic Transmission In Remote Areas – INEC

 

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Saturday suggested it has the capacity to transmit election results electronically from remote areas across the country.

Lawmakers in both chambers of the National Assembly had been at loggerheads over electronic transmission of results earlier in the week.

The House was thrown into disarray on Thursday as members debated section 52(2) of the electoral amendment act bill, which deals with electronic transmission.

Also on Thursday, APC Senators forced through a version of the bill at the Senate that constrained INEC to seek permission from the Nigerian Communications Commission and the National Assembly before employing electronic voting in any part of the country.

According to the lawmakers opposed to sacrosanct electronic transmission of results, some parts of the country do not have the required network coverage.

An Executive Commissioner at the Nigerian Communications Commission, Adeleke Adewolu, told lawmakers at the House of Representatives on Friday that only 50 percent of the country has the 3G coverage required for transmission.

But speaking on Channels Television breakfast show on Saturday, INEC’s National Chairman and Commissioner for Information and Voter Education, Mr Festus Okoye said the Commission’s position was clear.

“We have uploaded results from very remote areas, even from areas where you have to use human carriers to access,” he said.

“So, we have made our own position very clear, that we have the capacity and we have the will to deepen the use of technology in the electoral process.

“But our powers are given by the constitution and the law, and we will continue to remain within the ambit and confines of the power granted to the commission by the constitution and the law.”

Anambra Poll: INEC Omits Soludo, PDP From Candidates’ List 

 

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has omitted former Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor, Charles Soludo, as well as the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) from the candidates’ list for the Anambra Governorship poll. 

Nigeria’s electoral body released the list of candidates for the November 6 poll on Friday. It instead listed a member of the House of Representatives from another faction of the All Progressives Congress (APGA), Chukwuma Umeoji as the flagbearer for Soludo’s party.

“The Commission also considered and took cognizance of the Judgments/Court Orders served on it in relation to the primaries of the political parties and other processes leading to the election,” INEC’s National Commissioner and Chairman Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, said in a statement as he assured of the body’s continued obedience to the country’s laws.

“In line with section 31(3) of the Electoral Act, 2010(as amended) the personal particulars of the candidates will be published in the Commissions Notice Board in Awka, Anambra State while the names of the candidates, their gender, party, age, qualification and the Commissions decision/ remarks are herein attached.”

Before the primary poll, Anambra’s ruling party had suffered a series of crises, leading to the emergence of two factions.

Although the Victor Oye-led group had done the primary which was won by Soludo, another poll conducted by the Jude Okeke faction saw Umeoji coasting home to victory.

A preview of the list showed that 18 candidates were cleared to contest for the election in the southeast. Andy Uba was equally listed as the flagbearer of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

FULL LIST: ANAMBRA GUBER POLL

Below is the full list of candidates for the November 2021 Anambra election as released by INEC:

Alleged Electoral Fraud: Court To Decide On Legal Representation On July 19

A file photo of a court gavel.

 

The Akwa Ibom State High Court (4) sitting in the state capital, Uyo has adjourned a case of alleged electoral fraud instituted by the Independent National Commission (INEC) against Prof Ignatius Uduk.

The court says INEC is expected to respond to its decision to withdraw the letter introducing Clement Onwenwunor as the principal counsel representing the Commission.

Counsel to the accused, Abasiodiong Ekpenyong had opposed the replacement of Kpoobari Sigalo with Clement Onwenwunor, who had in a previous sitting presented a letter to the court introducing himself as the lead counsel for INEC.

Thereafter, the Presiding Judge, Justice Archibong Archibong, on Thursday adjourned the case to July 19, to enable INEC respond on point of law to its decision.

Ekpenyong argued that the document filed by the prosecution was not done as known to law and provided for, by the Akwa Ibom State criminal law.

He stated that the fiat was authorized by the Attorney General of the State instead of the Federal Government, saying INEC was a Federal agency.

He further argued that since the Attorney General of the State issued the fiat for the prosecution, he usurped the powers of the Attorney General of the Federation, and as such, there was no charge before the court, and asked that the case be dismissed.

In his response, Counsel to INEC, Clement Onwenwunor told the court to adopt the rejoinder filed on July 12, in respect to the objection, adding that counsel to the accused did not cite the law that was breeched.

He said that since the objection to his fiat was presented verbally, he also responded verbally, and that if the court considered the submissions of the accused, it should also consider his own.

He further stated that the objection to the effect that the fiat must be obtained from the Attorney General of the Federation was not correct, adding that the powers of the AG of the Federation according to the 1999 constitution as amended, can be exercised at any time.

He argued that he does not need a fiat from the AG of the Federation as the State can authorise a private practitioner.

After submissions from both Counsels, the court accepted the fiat sent in by INEC’s counsel but the counsel to the accused opposed the acceptance, on the premise that the name of the practitioner was not stated in the letter.

To this end, Counsel to INEC sought for the withdrawal of the letter for proper filing, and the court granted the request.

Electoral Act Amendment: Senate Committee Presents Report On Bill

File Photo of the Senate

 

The Senate committee on INEC has laid the report of the highly anticipated Electoral Act Amendment bill before the Senate at Wednesday’s legislative proceedings.

The Senate is expected to debate the report on Thursday before it proceeds on its annual recess.

Ahead of the presentation and debate of the report, Senate President Ahmad Lawan, noted that there are various insinuations that the leadership of the Senate or leadership of the National Assembly has tampered with the report of the committee on INEC of both chambers.

However, he says some of those accusing the leadership of the National Assembly are misinformed and innocent while some others are simply mischievous and rabble-rousers.

Senator Lawan maintained that this is the first time the report on the Electoral Act Amendment bill would be laid before the senate and the recommendations in the report are the decisions of the committee on INEC.

He further noted that whatever will be discussed or considered concerning the bill, will be on the basis of what has been presented to the Senate.

The Senate leader advised anyone who feels very strongly about any aspect of the bill to lobby senators to canvass for their positions.

The bill has also been laid before the House of Representatives and is expected to be considered and passed on Thursday.

Why We Rejected Lauretta Onochie As INEC Commissioner – Senators

A photo combination of Lauretta Onochie and a file image of Senators in the red chamber.
A photo combination of Lauretta Onochie and a file image of Senators in the red chamber.

 

The Senate on Tuesday explained why it rejected Lauretta Onochie as an INEC Commissioner for Delta State.

President Muhammadu Buhari had nominated Ms Onochie in October 2020 but many Nigerians criticised the move.

According to critics, Ms Onochie was a member of the All Progressives Congress and an aide to President Buhari.

In its decision to reject Onochie’s nomination, the Senators said it had received several petitions against Onochie.

Also, nominating her would contravene the Federal Character Principle, the Senators said, according to a statement signed by Ezrel Tabiowo, a spokesperson to the Senate President.

Meanwhile, the Senate confirmed five other nominees as INEC Commissioners.

Those confirmed include Professor Abdullahi Abdu Zuru (North-West), Prof. Muhammad Sani Kallah (Katsina), Prof. Kunle Cornelius Ajayi (Ekiti), Dr. Baba Bila (North-East), and Saidu Babura Ahmad (Jigawa).

Senate Rejects Onochie As INEC Commissioner

 

The Senate has rejected the nomination of Lauretta Onochie as an Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) National Commissioner.

Presenting a report on the screening of the nominees during Tuesday’s plenary session, the chairman of the committee on INEC, Senator Kabiru Gaya, said Onochie’s nomination was rejected because there is a serving INEC commissioner representing Delta state.

The rejection also followed the massive outcry that has trailed her nomination, especially from members of the opposition and civil society organisations who claim she is a card-carrying member of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

Former INEC Chairman, Attahiru Jega, is among those who had kicked against the nomination.

“This kind of controversy is really avoidable. Any person who generated such a controversy, the appointing authorities should be careful because you don’t want to appoint anybody that can raise suspicions or doubts or can lead to a loss of trust of the electoral management body,” he said on Monday on Channels Television’s Politics Today.

 

 

President Muhammadu Buhari had written to the Senate in October 2020, to confirm the appointment of Onochie who is currently his media aide on Social Media, and three others as Commissioners of INEC.

Read Also: ‘Avoid Controversy,’ Jega Advises Buhari To Withdraw Onochie’s Nomination

In her introductory remarks during her screening last Thursday, Onochie, however, insisted she is not partisan.

While noting that she had seen the petitions against her which were not only from the opposition but also from people in the APC, she said it was because she is known to be non-partisan and someone who insists on due process.

Onochie, however, insisted that since President Buhari won his second term, she has removed herself from all things political.

According to her, from 2019 till date she has not had anything to do with any political organisation and did not partake in APC’s recent validation exercise.

Meanwhile, the Senate also set aside the confirmation of Professor Sani Adam as INEC Commissioner from North-Central.

Professor Sani Adams was dropped because of petitions written against him.

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[VIDEO] I Am Not A Member Of Any Political Party, Onochie Tells Senate

‘Avoid Controversy,’ Jega Advises Buhari To Withdraw Onochie’s Nomination

Special Assistant to the President on Social Media, Lauretta Onochie.

 

Former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Attahiru Jega has advised against the appointment of Lauretta Onochie as a commissioner of the electoral body.

Jega during an interview on Channels Television’s Politics Today reacting to the appointment of the presidential aide, Lauretta Onochie as INEC National Commissioner, Jega said the controversy trailing her nomination by President Muhammadu Buhari should have been avoided.

He called on the lawmakers to apply the laws regarding the issue, in order to avoid a situation whereby elections she participates in may be viewed as being bias.

READ ALSO: PDP Leaders Storm NASS To Protest Onochie’s Nomination As INEC Commissioner

“This kind of controversy is really avoidable. Any person who generated such a controversy, the appointing authorities should be careful because you don’t want to appoint anybody that can raise suspicions or doubts or can lead to a loss of trust of the electoral management body.

“I’m sorry to say that from some of the documents that I have been privileged to see, both about her British citizenship and the very active participation in a political party up until 2019, you will try to avoid appointing such people into an electoral commission — because it can generate controversy.

“To be honest, the president can also withdraw that nomination. After all, there are so many women with credibility, with capacity, competence in both Delta and across Rivers, so why bring someone that can generate controversy and raise suspicions about the intention of the appointment,” Jega said.

The nomination of Lauretta Onochie who currently serves as Senior Special Assistant on New Media to President Buhari had elicited public criticism from the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and civil society organizations who are against her nomination on the grounds that she is an alleged card-carrying member of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and is not proper to be appointed as an election officer.

However, during her screening for the position before the Senate, Onochie said she is not partisan. She admitted that she had seen the petitions against her which are not only from the opposition but also from people in the APC. She said the opposition to her candidacy is because she is known to be non-partisan and someone who insists on due process and the right thing to be done.

Electronic Voting Without Transmission Of Result Counterproductive, Says Jega

A file photo of Professor Attahiru Jega

 

The former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has commended the National Assembly for taking steps to review the Electoral Amendment Act (2010) as amended but faulted the exclusion of electronic transfer of results. 

Jega who spoke as a guest during an interview on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics lamented that the decision of the 9th Assembly to allow INEC to use electronic voting without the electronic transmission of results is counterproductive.

“You can’t permit INEC on one hand to use electronic voting and not use electronic transmission of results because usually, they go as a package,” he said.

“Once there is a robust software and hardware for doing so, it now brings efficiency, transparency and real time ability to see the result as they are transmitted from the polling unit to a National Collation Centre.”

When asked if politicians feel uncomfortable over the electronic transmission of results, Jega replied in the affirmative.

The former INEC boss however explained that “not all politicians are fraudulent and want to win by hook or by crook.”

Jega asked the National Assembly to diligently work to ensure that the Electoral Amendment Bill (2021) is appropriately amended before being passed.

On whether Nigeria is ready for a fully digitised electoral system, he replied saying: “I will urge that we make haste slowly. There is no doubt that if electronic voting is done appropriately, it will go a long way in improving the integrity of our elections.

“There are so many challenges in our country. For one to be able to do effective, thorough electronic voting, you need the infrastructure, software and associated support infrastructure. For example, stability of electricity, extensive network coverage and robust internet facilities.”

Reacting to the appointment of the presidential aide, Lauretta Onochie as INEC National Commissioner, Jega said the controversy trailing her nomination by President Muhammadu Buhari should have been avoided.

He called on the lawmakers to apply the laws regarding the issue, in order to avoid a situation whereby elections she participate in may be viewed as being biased.

Two Ex-INEC Staff Bag One Year Jail Term, Forfeit Properties to FG

South African Pastor Sentenced Over Gay Slurs
File Photo

 

The Lagos zonal office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC), has secured the conviction and sentencing of two former staff of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), before Justice Mahmoud Abdul-Gafar of the Kwara State High Court sitting in Ilorin, Kwara State.

According to a statement issued on Tuesday by the Head, Media & Publicity, (EFCC) Wilson Uwujaren, the convicts, Christian Nwosu and Tijani Inda Bashir, were arraigned on seven counts bordering on criminal misappropriation and criminal breach of trust while they were in the employ of INEC.

The defendants pleaded not guilty to the charges preferred against them, thereby leading to their full trial.

During the trial, the prosecution led by Rotimi Oyedepo called witnesses and tendered several documents that were admitted in evidence by the court.

In the face of the overwhelming evidence against them, the convicts, thereafter, opted for a plea bargain with the prosecution and also changed their pleas to “guilty”.

Consequently, the prosecution reviewed the facts before the court and prayed that the defendants be convicted accordingly.

Delivering his judgment, Justice Abdul-Gafar found them guilty of the offense and sentenced them to one-year imprisonment each.

The Judge also ordered the final forfeiture of two landed properties valued at N25 million at Okpanam, Asaba in Delta State recovered from the first convict, Nwosu, as well as a N5 million bank draft raised by him in favour of the Commission to the Federal Government.

Justice Abdul-Gafar also ordered the final forfeiture of a four-bedroom flat worth N27m at No. 60 Umme Street, Wuse Abuja recovered from the second convict, Inda-Bashir, to the Federal Government.

Benue Electoral Commission Chairman, Others Arraigned For N500m Fraud

 

The Makurdi Zonal Office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission EFCC, on Tuesday, June 29, 2021, arraigned the Chairman, Benue State Independent Electoral Commission (BSIEC), Look Tersoo Joseph; the Secretary, Serki Mtomba Manaseh; the Treasurer, Akange Akula, and 5 other members/Commissioners: Abe Aboyi Augustine, Donald Kertyo, Agber Aondona Emmanuel, Sunday Agbaji, and Ekoja Daniel before Justice Abdu Dogo of the Federal High Court sitting in Makurdi, Benue State.

The defendants were docked on a 23-count charge bordering on conspiracy, criminal breach of trust, misappropriation, forgery and money laundering to the tune of N500,000,000 (Five Hundred Million Naira only),
Count one of the charge reads:

“That you Hon. Look Tersoo Joseph, the Chairman of Benue State Independent Electoral Commission (BSIEC), Hon. Serki Mtomga Manasseh, the Secretary of BSIEC, Hon. Akange Akula, the Chief Accountant of BSIEC, Hon. Abe Aboyi Augustine, the Commissioner for Planning, Research & Documentation of BSIEC, Hon. Barr. Donald Kertyo, the Commissioner for Operations of BSIEC, Hon. Agber Aondona Emmanuel, the Commissioner for Works & Transport of BSIEC, Hon. Sunday Agbaji, the Commissioner for Information & Public Affairs of BSIEC, Hon. Ekoja Daniel, the Commissioner for Finance of BSIEC, sometime between February to June, 2020, in Makurdi, Benue State, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, did conspire amongst yourselves to commit felony to wit: money laundering and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 18(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 (As Amended) and punishable under Section 16(2)(b) of the same Act”.

Count three reads:

“That you Hon. Look Tersoo Joseph, the Chairman of Benue State Independent Electoral Commission (BSIEC), on or about the 28th day of May, 2020, in Makurdi, Benue within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, did accept cash payment of One Hundred Million Naira (N100,000,000.00) through one of your Administrative Officer, Aungwa Dominic, which sum exceeded the cash payable to an individual and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 1(a) and 16(1)(d) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 (As Amended) and punishable under Section 16(2)(b) of the same Act”.

Count four reads: “That you Hon. Serki Mtomga Manasseh, the Secretary of Benue State Independent Electoral Commission (BSIEC), on or about the 16th day of March, 2020, in Makurdi, Benue State, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, did accept cash payment of Thirty-Two Million Naira (32,000,000.00) through your Confidential Secretary, Tsetim Christiana, which sum exceeded the cash payable to an individual and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 1(a) and 16(1)(d) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 (As Amended) and punishable under Section 16(2)(b) of the same Act.”

The defendants pleaded ‘not guilty’ to the charges preferred against them.
Based on their pleas, prosecution counsel, Ramiah Ikhanaede asked for a trial date and that all the defendants be remanded in a Correctional Facility.

However, counsel to the defendants, B. A. Iorhegh, presented an oral application, asking the court to admit the defendants to bail on self-recognizance or in the alternative, grant them bail on liberal terms.

Justice Dogo admitted the defendants to bail in the sum of N10 million each with one surety in like sum.

The surety must have a fully developed landed property worth N50 million and must be working in Benue State. He must also submit two recent passports photographs and original letters of appointment.

All defendants are banned from travelling outside Nigeria without the knowledge of the Court. The case was adjourned till September 28, 2021, for the commencement of trial

INEC Commences Online Registration For Voters

A man displays his voter's card on September 19, 2020. Photo credit: Sodiq Adelakun/Channels Television.
A man displays his voter’s card on September 19, 2020. Photo credit: Sodiq Adelakun/Channels Television.

 

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has commenced the online continuous voter registration exercise where intending voters can register before they complete the process at a designated centre.

On the INEC portal new voters, as of Monday, can pre-register while those who have registered in the past can access the platform to review their voter registration status.

Some of the features on the portal includes the ability to update personal information or transfer voter registration to another polling unit.

Registered voters can also request for replacement of damaged or defaced Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVC) on the portal.

Meanwhile, new voters are only required to fill the forms on the portal with their biodata and required documents, after which they are expected to visit an INEC state or local government office.

At the INEC offices, which they can visit from July 19, they will be requested to provide fingerprints to complete the registration.