2019 Elections: Court Orders Arrest Of Professor Over Electoral Fraud

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

 

A High Court sitting in Akwa Ibom State has issued a Bench Warrant for the arrest of a Professor of the University of Uyo, Akwa Ibom State over his alleged involvement in electoral fraud during the 2019 general elections.

Professor Ignatius Uduk is accused of trying to rig the 2019 Akwa Ibom North-West Senatorial District election.

The HOD Voter Education, Odaro Aisien made this known in a statement signed on Monday.

READ ALSO: Lagos To Auction 44 Cars Seized From Traffic Violators

“The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) after several unsuccessful attempts to serve the Professor with the summons to appear before the Court in Charge No.HU/240C/2020, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had filed a motion for substituted service which was granted on November 16, 2020.

“The order was said to have been served on the office of the Vice-Chancellor, University of Uyo, on November 17, 2020, directing the defendant to appear before the Court on November 18. However, when the accused did not appear before the Court, the matter was adjourned to Monday, 23rd of November, 2020,” the statement read in part.

The Bench Warrant for the arrest of Professor Uduk was issued upon the application of the Counsel to INEC, Kpoobari  Sigalo.

The Presiding Judge, Honourable Justice A. E. Archibong, frowned at the refusal of the Professor to obey the order of the Court.

He also adjourned the matter to December 9, 2020, when the police is expected to produce the defendant in Court.

The Commission had last week arraigned another Professor Peter Ogban, of the Department of Soil Science, University of Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, who was similarly accused of involvement in electoral fraud during the 2019 general elections in the state.

INEC Arraigns Professor, Dismisses Three Officials Over Electoral Offences

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

 

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has arraigned a university professor who served as a collation/returning officer in the 2019 general elections in Akwa Ibom State.

Professor Peter Ogban of the University of Uyo in the state capital was the collation/returning officer for Akwa Ibom North-West National Assembly election.

He was arraigned on Tuesday on two counts of manipulation and falsification of results before a State High Court in Ikot Ekpene Division by INEC.

The don was arraigned for allegedly manipulating the scores of two political parties, as well as falsifying and announcing fake results in Etim Ekpo and Oruk Anam Local Government Areas of the state.

According to INEC, the offences are punishable under Sections 1 and 123, Subsection 4 of the Electoral Act, as amended.

When the matter came up for hearing, counsel to the defendant, Anthony Ekpe, made an oral application for bail on liberal terms for his client.

The prosecution counsel, Kpoobari Sigalo, did not oppose the application.

The presiding judge, Justice Augustine Odokwo, granted the defendant bail in the sum of N300,000 and a surety in like sum.

The judge held that the surety must show evidence of tax payment in the last three years and adjourned the hearing of the case until December 15.

In his reaction, the Resident Electoral Commissioner in Akwa Ibom, Mike Igini, said the arraignment was in line with INEC’s commitment to ensuring the credibility of elections.

He added that three members of staff of the commission have also been dismissed for electoral offences, and four others were being investigated.

INEC Sets Dec 5 To Conduct Lagos East Bye-Election, Others

A file photo of Acting INEC Chairman, Ahmed Muazu, and other top officials of the electioral body at the commission’s headquarters in Abuja.

 

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says all the 15 pending bye-elections in the 11 states will be conducted on Saturday, December 5, 2020.

INEC’s National Commissioner and Chairman of Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, made the announcement in a statement on Friday.

He explained that the decision to conduct the polls on the set date was taken at the commission’s meeting which held at its headquarters in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

The meeting was convened to review the outcome of INEC’s quarterly engagements and consultations with critical stakeholders in the electoral process and to further review the security situation and other challenges regarding the pending bye-elections.

“The Commission acknowledges the support, understanding, and cooperation of political parties, the security agencies, the media, civil society organisations and the general public as it considers the scheduling of the bye-elections and in its overall efforts to reposition the electoral process and give meaning and value to the votes of the people.

“We appeal to voters and stakeholders in the States with pending bye-elections to continue to cooperate with the commission in its efforts to deliver credible elections under a safe environment,” the statement said.

According to Okoye, INEC met with Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) on October 22 to deliberate on the bye-elections earlier scheduled to hold on October 31 but postponed on account of the security situation and other environmental challenges in the country.

He stated that the Commission met again on Thursday last week and reviewed the situation and noted the extensive damage to and vandalisation of its local government offices and facilities, which affected some areas where the bye-elections are scheduled to hold.

The INEC spokesman explained that the commission later decided to consult critical stakeholders in the electoral process before deciding on a definite date for the conduct of the bye-elections.

He added that the commission consulted with political parties and civil society organisations on Tuesday, as well as the media and the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) on Wednesday, before finally meeting with all RECs on Thursday.

“Based on these consultations, the Commission believes that security in the affected States has improved while the environmental challenges have reasonably abated.

“Consequently, the Commission has decided to hold all the pending bye-elections on Saturday, December 5, 2020,” he said.

The areas where the bye-elections will hold include Bayelsa Central senatorial district, Bayelsa West senatorial district, Nganzai State Constituency in Borno, Bayo State Constituency in Borno, and Cross River North senatorial district.

Others are Obudu State Constituency in Cross River, Imo North senatorial district, Lagos East senatorial district, Kosofe II State Constituency in Lagos, Plateau South senatorial district, Bakura State Constituency in Zamfara, and Ibaji State Constituency in Kogi.

Acting INEC Chairman, Others Meet Over Postponed Bye-Elections

Acting INEC Chairman, Ahmed Muazu, at the commission’s headquarters in Abuja on November 9, 2020. Photo: Channels TV/ Sodiq Adelakun.

 

The Acting Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Ahmed Muazu on Tuesday met with chairmen of a political party over the 15 bye-elections postponed across the country.

The meeting holds one day after Professor Mahmood Yakubu handed over to Muazu, the mantle of leadership of the electoral body.

Yakubu stepped down on Monday, pending the confirmation of his reappointment by President Muhammadu Buhari.

READ ALSO: Staying In Office Beyond Monday Will Be Inappropriate, Says INEC Chairman

Muazu during the meeting on Monday said political parties leaders will be able to review the conduct of the Edo and Ondo state governorship election and make recommendations on how to improve the quality of elections

INEC had earlier scheduled the conduct of bye-elections for October 31 but later postponed the exercise due to security challenges arising from the nationwide EndSARS protests.

Staying In Office Beyond Monday Will Be Inappropriate, Says INEC Chairman

Professor Mahmood Yakubu hands over the leadership mantle to acting INEC Chairman, Ahmed Muazu, at the commission’s headquarters in Abuja on November 9, 2020. Photo: Channels TV/ Sodiq Adelakun.

 

Professor Mahmood Yakubu has explained why he handed over his duties as the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), despite his reappointment by President Muhammadu Buhari.

He stressed the importance of vacating the office at a hand-over ceremony held on Monday at the INEC headquarters in Abuja.

“It will be inappropriate for me to remain in office beyond today, 9th November 2020, without confirmation by the Senate and swearing to another oath of office as provided by law,” said Professor Yakubu who handed over the leadership mantle to an INEC National Commissioner, Air Vice Marshal Muazu Ahmed (rtd).

He added, “As you are already aware, the renewal of my tenure as chairman of the commission has been announced, subject to confirmation by the Senate.

“Our work as election managers requires us to enforce the law, regulations, and guidelines. In doing so, we must demonstrate strict respect for, and compliance with, the constitution of Nigeria and subsidiary laws.”

According to Professor Yakubu, the current INEC was inaugurated in three batches and he was sworn-in along with five national commissioners on November 9, 2015.

He stated that six more national commissioners were inaugurated on December 7, 2016, and another one on July 21, 2018.

The INEC chief described the commission as a constitutional body whose members were appointed for five years which may be renewed for a second and final term.

He noted that as of Monday, his tenure and that of the first set of five commissioners have ended.

“Pending the conclusion of the statutory process, the remaining national commissioners have resolved that AVM Ahmed Mu’azu (rtd) will oversee the affairs of the Commission.

“It is, therefore, my pleasure to hand over to him in the interim. We have worked as a team for the last four years. Therefore, there is nothing new to any one of them,” Professor Yakubu stated.

Since the appointment of Professor Yakubu who took over from Professor Attahiru Jega, INEC has conducted many elections, including the 2019 polls which saw the President extending his stay in office for another four years, as well as some governorship elections in the country.

Highpoints of the event are captured in the pictures below:

Yakubu Hands Over INEC Leadership, Awaits Senate Confirmation For Reappointment

Professor Mahmood Yakubu hands over INEC leadership to Air Vice Marshal Muazu Ahmed (rtd) at the headquarters of the electoral umpire in Abuja on November 9, 2020. Photo: Channels TV/ Sodiq Adelakun.

 

Professor Mahmood Yakubu has handed over his duties as chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

He passed on the leadership mantle to an INEC National Commissioner, Air Vice Marshal Ahmed Muazu (rtd), on Monday at an event held at the headquarters of the electoral umpire in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

Ahmed will act in that capacity pending when the Senate confirms the reappointment of Professor Yakubu as INEC chairman by President Muhammadu Buhari.

In his remarks, Professor Yakubu informed those present at the event that the current INEC was inaugurated in three batches, in which he was sworn-in along with five national commissioners on November 9, 2015.

He noted that six more national commissioners were inaugurated on December 7, 2016, and another one on July 21, 2018.

The outgoing INEC chief described the commission as a constitutional body whose members were appointed for five years, and which may be renewed for a second and final term.

“This means that my tenure and that of the first set of five commissioners ends today,” he said.

Professor Yakubu added, “As you are already aware, the renewal of my tenure as chairman of the commission has been announced, subject to confirmation by the Senate. Our work as election managers requires us to enforce the law, regulations and guidelines.

“In doing so, we must demonstrate strict respect for, and compliance with, the constitution of Nigeria and subsidiary laws. Consequently, it will be inappropriate for me to remain in office beyond today, 9th November 2020, without confirmation by the Senate and swearing to another oath of office as provided by law.”

The outgoing described INEC boss stated that pending the conclusion of the statutory process, the remaining national commissioners resolved that Muazu would oversee the affairs of the electoral body.

“It is therefore my pleasure to hand over to him in the interim. We have worked as a team for the last four years. Therefore, there is nothing new to any one of them,” he said.

Professor Yakubu thanked the staff of the commission and the Resident Electoral Commissioners for their support during his first term as INEC chairman.

The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, announced the INEC chairman’s reappointment in a statement dated October 27, 2020.

Highpoints of the event are captured in the pictures below:

INEC Presents Report Of 2019 General Elections

INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, presents the report of the 2019 general elections at the commission’s headquarters in Abuja on November 6, 2020.

 

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Friday presented the report of the 2019 general elections.

INEC Chairman, Professor Mamood Yakubu, made the presentation while briefing journalists at the commission’s headquarters in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

He began with an explanation that the document contained two reports – the Report of the Stakeholders’ Retreat of the 2019 General Elections and the Report of the Election itself by the commission.

Professor Yakubu gave a breakdown of the reports to include preparations, conducts, and post-election events.

He noted that the reports contained 180 recommendations, adding that some of the recommendations that required administrative actions by the commission were already being implemented.

According to the INEC chief, the implementation of the recommendations led to the improvements in the Edo and Ondo governorship elections.

He, however, stated that other recommendations in the reports would require legislative backings by the National Assembly to be implemented.

 

Professor Yakubu believes the two reports will help to strengthen the commission to deliver free, fair, and credible elections in the country.

He informed journalists at the briefing that hard copies of the reports would be widely distributed, while soft copies would be made available on INEC’s website by Monday.

Shortly before Professor Yakubu made the presentation, an INEC National Commissioner, Professor Okechukwu Ibeanu, gave the welcome address.

He highlighted the importance of the document presented by the INEC chairman, which was about five hundred pages.

The reports, according to Professor Ibeanu, represent INEC’s own narratives of its activities and a sense of accountability, especially as it relates to the 2019 general elections.

He stated that some of the lessons contained therein included the fact that elections in Nigeria have been too serious, adding that they should not be left only in the hands of INEC.

The INEC National Commissioner also believes the introduction of technology in elections is inevitable, but it must be done along with trust.

Read the full text of the INEC chairman’s briefing below:

REMARKS BY THE HONOURABLE CHAIRMAN, INDEPENDENT NATIONAL ELECTORAL COMMISSION (INEC), PROFESSOR MAHMOOD YAKUBU, AT THE VIRTUAL PRESENTATION OF THE REPORT OF THE 2019 GENERAL ELECTION AND THE REPORT OF COMMISSION’S RETREATS AND STAKEHOLDER ENGAGEMENTS ON THE REVIEW OF THE 2019 GENERAL ELECTION TO ELECTORAL STAKEHOLDERS, FRIDAY 6TH NOVEMBER 2020

Let me join the Chairman of the Electoral Operations and Logistics Committee (EOLC) of the Commission, Professor Okechukwu Ibeanu, to warmly welcome you all to this meeting for the presentation of two important documents.

First, is the Report of the 2019 General Election and, secondly, the Report of the Commission’s Retreats and Stakeholder Engagements on the Review of the 2019 General Election.

It will be recalled that INEC conducted the 2019 General Election comprising the Presidential and National Assembly elections on 23rd February 2019 and the Governorship, State Houses of Assembly and FCT Area Council elections on 9th March 2019.

The election, which was the sixth successive General Election since the transition to democracy on 29th May 1999, was the largest electoral exercise so far undertaken in the history of elections in Nigeria.

It was contested by 24,353 candidates nominated by 91 political parties for 1,558 constituencies and with a voter population of 84,004,084 spread across 119,973 polling units and 57,023 voting points across the country.

On personnel, a total of 821,686 ad-hoc staff were engaged for the election. The Commission also accredited 71,256 domestic and international observers, as well as 11,250 domestic and international journalists for the election.

Following the conclusion of the election, the Commission constituted two Committees each headed by a National Commissioner.

The first Committee led by Barrister Festus Okoye, the Chairman of the Information and Voter Education Committee (IVEC), was saddled with the responsibility of producing the official account of the conduct of the 2019 General Election.

The second Committee chaired by Dr Muhammed Lecky, Chairman of the Planning, Monitoring and Strategy Committee (PMSC), was charged with the responsibility of producing a report on the review of the election based on the outcome of the Commission’s Retreats and Stakeholder Engagements held from 28th May to 12th July 2019.

On behalf of the Commission, let me thank the two Committees most sincerely for their efforts, the products of which we are today presenting to our stakeholders and the general public.

The Report of the 2019 General Election is presented in 13 Chapters covering the major issues associated with the conduct of the election.

These include the vision, mission, opportunities and challenges of the Commission upon its inauguration on 9th November 2015, the lessons learnt from the conduct of over 170 off-cycle governorship elections and bye-elections, the review of the 2012-2016 Strategic Plan (SP) and Strategic Programme of Action (SPA), the 2015 Election Project Plan (EPP) and the design, formulation and implementation of the 2017-2021 Strategic Plan, Strategic Programme of Action and the 2019 Election Project Plan.

Against this background, the report examines in detail the key activities, preparations and challenges associated with the conduct of the 2019 General Election ranging from registration of new political parties, conduct of continuous voter registration, monitoring of party primaries, candidate nomination process and party campaigns, the recruitment and training of ad-hoc staff and the accreditation of election observers and party agents.

The report also discussed the processes and procedures for the conduct of the General Election, including the deployment of personnel and materials, the operation of the Situation Room and Collation Centres and the organisation and management of the Counting, Collation and Declaration of results at National, State, LGA and Registration Area levels.

It also deals with pre-election and post-election litigations. The last section of the report focuses on the preparation and delivery of the election in the 36 States of the Federation and the FCT.

The concluding part of the report dwells on the critical issues and challenges associated with the preparation and conduct of the election, lessons learnt and specific recommendations for addressing them.

The Second report we are presenting today is the Review of the 2019 General Election based on the outcome of the Commission’s Retreats and Stakeholder Engagements.

It covers the outcome of internal debriefing meetings and external engagements with electoral stakeholders held from 28th May to 12th July 2019. The aim was to evaluate the Commission’s actions, processes, and procedures before, during and after the election.

While the internal review involved the Commission’s debriefing sessions with its Electoral Officers, Administrative Secretaries, Directing Staff and Resident Electoral Commissioners to critically appraise its performance in the conduct of the election, the engagement with external stakeholders involved meetings with leaders of political parties, members of the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES), Civil Society Organisations and the Media.

Consisting of a total of 12 engagements in six separate internal and external meetings, the review exercise enabled the Commission to listen to its officials, receive feedbacks from relevant stakeholders and learn vital lessons in the continuing effort to improve the conduct of elections in Nigeria.

Presented in 16 Chapters, the Report identifies the main issues discussed in the review exercise and provides a detailed assessment on the opportunities and challenges associated with each of the issues as well as actionable proposals for resolving them.

Although the Commission has undertaken such a review in the past, this is the first time that the report is published and disseminated with the public. It contains 180 recommendations that either require administrative action by the Commission or amendments to strengthen the existing electoral legal framework by the National Assembly.

Some of the recommendations that require administrative action by INEC are already being implemented resulting in improved management of the electoral process as seen in the recent off-cycle Governorship elections in Edo and Ondo States.

We are similarly engaging with the National Assembly on aspects of the recommendations that require legislative action.

The activities and engagements leading to the publication of the two reports would not have been possible without the full participation and continuous support of political parties, civil society organisations, the media and security agencies.

I wish to reassure you that such strategic engagement will be sustained. The Commission will also continue to work with all our partners to encourage inclusivity for marginalised groups such as Persons With Disability (PWDs), youths and women in the electoral process.

The Commission similarly appreciates the partnership of the European Centre for Electoral Support (ECES) and the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) for supporting the review of the 2019 General Election as well as the printing of the reports.

The two organisations, along with Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES), have also supported the Commission in other ways, including the printing of the Commission’s Policy on Conducting Elections in the Context of the COVID-19 Pandemic (2020), Voter Code of Conduct (2020) and Code of Conduct and Rules of Engagement for Security Personnel on Electoral Duty (2020) all of which have already been publicly disseminated.

The strength of any public institution lies in its ability to ask critical questions, review its processes, strengthen its procedures for better service delivery and engage with stakeholders.

It is my fervent hope that making the two reports public will promote a better understanding of the issues and challenges associated with the conduct of the 2019 General Election and serve as important resource materials for research and the promotion of a broader national discourse on the necessary reforms required for the continued delivery of peaceful, free, fair, credible, inclusive and safe elections in Nigeria.

I want to assure all Nigerians that the hard copies of the two reports will be widely disseminated while soft copies will be uploaded on our website on Monday next week.

I thank you all and God bless.

Violence: We Suffered Extensive Damage Of Our LG Offices, Facilities – INEC

Reps Challenge INEC On Inconclusive Elections, As Senators Reject Move To Debate Issue
A file photo of INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmoud Yakubu, at a briefing in Abuja. Photo: ChannelsTV/ Sodiq Adelaqun.

 

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has suffered extensive damage after some of its local government offices and facilities were vandalised during the violence recorded in parts of the country.

INEC’s National Commissioner and Chairman of Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, disclosed this in a statement on Thursday.

He confirmed that the vandalisation of properties also affected areas where pending bye-elections were scheduled to hold.

Okoye explained that the electoral body held a meeting on Thursday where it further reviewed the situation.

Following the destruction of properties, he said the commission noted the importance of consulting all the critical stakeholders in the electoral process before deciding on a definite date for the conduct of the bye-elections.

“Consequently, the Commission will consult with political parties and civil society organisations on Tuesday 10th November 2020 and then with the media and Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) on Wednesday 11th November 2020.

“The Commission will thereafter meet again with the Resident Electoral Commissioners on Thursday, 12th November 2020 to decide on a date for the conduct of the bye-elections,” the statement said.

The INEC spokesperson appealed to all stakeholders to continue to cooperate with the commission in its efforts to conduct credible elections in a safe and conducive environment.

He stated that Thursday’s meeting followed an engagement with Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) on October 22, to deliberate on the 15 outstanding bye-elections in 11 states of the Federation earlier scheduled for October 31.

Some of the areas where bye-elections would be conducted include Bayelsa Central senatorial district, Bayelsa West senatorial district, Nganzai State Constituency in Borno, Bayo State Constituency in Borno, and Cross River North senatorial district.

The poll would also hold in Obudu State Constituency in Cross River, Imo North senatorial district, Lagos East senatorial district, Kosofe II State Constituency in Lagos, Plateau South senatorial district, Bakura State Constituency in Zamfara, and Ibaji State Constituency in Kogi, among others.

Electronic Voting May Be Introduced For Anambra Election Next Year, Says INEC Chairman

 

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says electronic voting might be introduced in the Anambra State election come 2021.

This was disclosed by Chairman of the Electoral body, Professor Mahmood Yakubu after a budget defence session with the House of Reps Committee on INEC.

After a closed door session with the legislators, Professor Yakubu said the electoral umpire is looking at better ways to conduct free and fair elections in the country.

READ ALSO: Drama As Reps Committee Members Disagree With INEC Chairman Over Budget

At an earlier meeting with the Senate Committee on INEC, Professor Yakubu announced that the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) exercise will commence in the first quarter of 2021 ahead of the 2023 general election.

He also stated that the sum of N1billion has been earmarked by INEC for the exercise.

Professor Yakubu during the session said he is in support of diaspora voting and called on the National Assembly to amend the Electoral Act to accommodate diaspora and early voting.

The INEC boss also urged the Senate approve the spending of N5.2 billion from the special INEC fund to make up for the shortfall in the 2020 budget which was reduced due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Drama As Reps Committee Members Disagree With INEC Chairman Over Budget

 

The budget defence session of the House of Representatives took a dramatic turn on Wednesday, as members of the Committee on Electoral Matters disagreed with their chairman on the modality she employed in engaging the Chairman of the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmud Yakubu concerning the performance of his commissions 2020 budget.

The committee also curiously asked out all National Commissioners of INEC on the entourage their Chairman, Prof. Yakubu, as it opted to meet with only the Chairman in a closed-door session.

Chairperson of the committee, Rep. Aishatu Jibril Dukku had after making her opening remarks called on Yakubu to give an appraisal of the Commission’s 2020 budget performance, as well as make a presentation of the 2021 estimates, but was immediately challenged by one of her colleagues, Hon. Solomon Bob from Rivers State, to the effect that “the committee did not carry out any oversight on the commission in the year, but here are we, being called upon to superintendent over another budget”.

READ ALSO: Electronic Voting May Be Introduced For Anambra Election Next Year, Says INEC Chairman

Repeated attempts by Dukku to explain that 2020 was ruptured by the lockdown occasioned by the outbreak of the Covid-19 could not stop Bob, who insisted that he must be allowed to land. “Honourable colleague, I rule you out of order”, a visibly angry Dukku told the man and hit the gavel, urging Yakubu to commence his presentation.

As a result, the committee was forced to move into a closed-door session, after the INEC Chairman ended his appraisal of the Commission’s 2020 budget performance, following a suggestion to that effect on the 2020 budget by Hon. Uzoma Nkem-Abonta, (PDP, Abia), which was immediately supported by Hon. Tajudeen Yusuf, (PDP, Kogi).

“The executive session is very important because 2020 is where the issues are. The budget has been implemented so that we don’t have to be asking the Chairman (Yakubu) subjective questions on the issue raised”, Yusuf said.

One of the National Commissioners who were asked to stay outside, Mr. Festus Okoye, however, told journalists that there was nothing strange about the committee opting to meet with only Yakubu behind closed doors.

“They have their own rules, they set their own rules so we have to comply. They can invite only the chairman for a meeting, so there is nothing strange in what is happening now”, he said.

The INEC boss earlier informed the panel that the Commission had to revert to its special fund, created under section three of the Electoral Act, in order to meet its mandates, due to a drastic reduction of its budget after the review.

According to him, its initial budget of N40 billion was reduced to N36 billion, when the Commission was already in the middle of implementation, and so had to draw N5.2 billion from the INEC Fund in order to deliver on its mandate.

2023 Election: INEC Announces Resumption Of Voter Registration, Earmarks N1billion

A file photo of INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu.

 

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has announced that the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) exercise will commence in the first quarter of 2021 ahead of the 2023 general election.

The sum of N1billion has also been earmarked by INEC for the exercise.

This announcement was made on Wednesday by Chairman of the Electoral body, Professor Mahmood Yakubu during a budget defence session with the Senate Committee on INEC.

READ ALSO: Senate Queries Lai Mohammed Over N250m Project, N19m Travel Expenses

Professor Yakubu during the session said he is in support of diaspora voting and called on the National Assembly to amend the Electoral Act to accommodate diaspora and early voting.

The INEC boss is also seeking approval of the Senate to spend N5.2 billion from the special INEC fund to make up for the shortfall in the 2020 budget which was cut because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

INEC had earlier in October said the COVID-19 pandemic delayed the voter registration exercise.

The Chief Press Secretary to the commission said the virus was still very much in the community and CVR is a national exercise that requires the mobilisation of a lot of equipment, materials, and personnel.

Situation Room Asks Senate To Approve INEC Chairman’s Reappointment

A file photo of INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu.

 

The Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room has called on the Senate to confirm Professor Mahmood Yakubu as Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), for a second tenure.

In a statement on Wednesday in Abuja, the convener of the group, Clement Nwankwo, commended Professor Yakubu’s nomination by President Muhammadu Buhari.

According to him, forwarding the INEC chairman’s name to the Senate for approval provides an opportunity for lessons learnt from the 2019 general elections and recent off-cycle elections to be taken and long-lasting improvements made to the nation’s electoral process.

READ ALSO: Buhari Reappoints INEC Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu For Another Term

“Situation Room calls on the Senate to confirm his appointment and calls on the National Assembly to expedite efforts to pass into law the Electoral Act (Repeal and Re-enactment Bill 2020).

“Situation Room also calls on the President to make nominations of credible persons to the Senate to fill existing vacant positions in INEC,” Nwankwo said.

The group is made up of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) working in support of credible and transparent elections in Nigeria.

They include Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre (PLAC), CLEEN Foundation, Action Aid Nigeria, Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD), Proactive Gender Initiative (PGI), Centre for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD), and Nigerian Women Trust Fund (NWTF).

Also among the CSOs are African Centre for Leadership, Strategy and Development (Centre LSD), CITAD, Enough is Enough Nigeria, WANGONET, Partners for Electoral Reform, JDPC, New Initiative for Social Development, and Youth Initiative for Advocacy, Growth and Advancement AFRICA (YIAGA Africa), among others.

President Buhari reappointed Professor Mahmood Yakubu as INEC Chairman for another five-year term on Tuesday.

He was first appointed as chairman of the electoral body in November 2015, six months after the President assumed office.

Professor Yakubu who took over from Professor Attahiru Jega, has led INEC to conduct many elections, including the 2019 general polls and some off-cycle elections which held recently.