Kogi, Bayelsa Elections: IPAC Warns Political Parties Against Hate Speeches

 

The Inter-Party Advisory Council has warned political parties in Kogi and Bayelsa against misinformation, hate speech, and all forms of deliberate dissemination ahead of the November 16 governorship election in the states.

Addressing journalists in Abuja, the national president of IPAC, Peter Ameh explains that hate speech, deliberate misinformation, and dissemination of fake news were some of the factors which affect the fairness of the electioneering process.

Mr. Ameh enjoins the political parties, candidates, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), civil society groups, election observer groups, the media, and the electorate to ensure that there is a level playing ground for all parties involved in the exercise.

He also called for the autonomy of the local government system in the country.

Read Full Statement Below: 

Rising from the second Executive Meeting of the the 9th National Executive Committee of the Inter-Party Advisory Council of Nigeria (IPAC), we recognize a strong need to intervene and educate the polity on the need to avoid misinformation, hate speech, and all forms of deliberate dissemination of fake news to prosecute the forthcoming gubernatorial elections in Bayelsa and Kogi States.

The political parties, candidates, INEC, civil society groups, election observer groups, the media, the electorate and other stakeholders directly involved in the elections scheduled to hold on 16th November, 2019 are advised of their responsibility to ensure that all participants from all political parties are given a level playing ground to exercise their franchise. Each group is reminded of their responsibility to disseminate the correct information at all times.

IPAC through its recently reviewed code of conduct requires political parties to comply with all electoral laws, rules, and regulations as well as INEC guidelines on electioneering processes in Nigeria to ensure free, fair and credible elections.

HATE SPEECH DELIBERATE MISINFORMATION AND DISSEMINATION OF FAKE NEWS are some of the factors which affect the fairness of our electioneering processes in Nigeria.

IPAC condemns in strong terms all forms of hate speech and dissemination of fake information during and after campaigns, and even after the elections are held. It is expedient to note that the damage caused by hate speech affects our political system and our National unity adversely affecting our continued peaceful co-existence in our country.

IPAC, has always been on the frontline of campaign against hate speech in all elections in Nigeria, recall that in the last election, we did rallies and campaign across the 6 geopolitical zones establishing to Nigerians and stakeholders that hate speech and disinformation does not add any positive value to our electoral and political systems or to our existence as a united people.

We will continue to work closely with INEC, the media agencies, civil society groups, all political parties and stakeholders in the coming elections. We will foster adequate compliance of political parties, candidates and their supporters to ensure that campaign statements that can cause violence, disintegration and electoral disinformation are not made while campaigning.

We are working with the media to make sure that our campaign and re-orientation programmes against hate speech and disinformation reach as many people of Kogi and Bayelsa states respectively. We believe that the more committed we are to the cause of seeing our democracy devoid of hate speech and disinformation, the more peaceful, free and fair and credible election will have in Nigeria.

We shall not rest until we have succeeded in making sure that Nigerians in every state of the federation see elections as not a do or die affair but the only platform to produce managers of state resources through good governance.

It will be better for all of us to focus on the messages of the commitment of political parties and their candidates through the commitment of political parties and their manifestos. Nigerians need to understand the political dynamics through truthful information and not false information that can lead to provocations and ends in violence.

Hate speech isn’t free speech, hate speech attacks a person or a group on the basis of protected attributes such as religion, ethnic group, sex, gender identity or disability.

It involves hostility, it rips people to shreds and destroys society lets everybody come together in the interest of the state and peacefully continues our lives within the context of the economy of the states and be expectant of good governance that will make the lives of all in Kogi and Bayelsa better.

IPAC says NO to hate speech, disinformation and all forms of social and electoral vices in Kogi state and Bayelsa state as all stakeholders prepare for the governorship election.

High Chief Peter Ameh
President
Inter- Party Advisory Council of Nigeria (IPAC)

Anambra Central Re-Run: IPAC Distances Itself From December Judgement Acceptance

The Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC) has rejected a Federal High Court Judgment on the disputed Anambra Central Senatorial re-run.

IPAC comprises of twenty-one registered political parties in the state with chairmen heading the various parties.

They described the claim of having accepted the court verdict as being frivolous and totally in bad taste.

Justice John Tsoho of the Abuja High Court had declared Mr. Obiora Okonkwo winner of the election.

He ruled that ruled that Okonkwo was the validly nominated candidate of the party in the 2015 general election and should be sworn in as the senator representing Anambra Central Senatorial district immediately.

But addressing journalists in Awka, the state capital, the political parties’ chairmen accused their state Chairman of creating confusion.

They, however, insisted that they hadn’t met; neither had a meeting being after the verdict of the court in that respect.

The coordinator of the chairmen, Mr. Samuel Oraegbunam said, “We are gathered as concerned and senior members of IPAC in Anambra state to refute the fact that we never as a group met.

“Since after the governorship election in Anambra state, there has never been any IPAC meeting in Anambra state.

“There’s no resolution whatsoever in the Central Senatorial Zone election that is outstanding of which all of us are eager to see it conducted.

“We now resolve in our meeting to disclaim whatever Bartho Igwedibia, the state Chairman of IPAC, has written and circulated as a press release by IPAC Anambra state.”

IPAC Advocates Amendment Of Electoral Act

IPAC Advocates Amendment Of Electoral ActThe Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC) has advocated the need for amendment of the 2010 Electoral Act ahead of the 2019 general elections.

The National Chairman of IPAC, Mr Mohammed Nalabo, said this on Wednesday while addressing a news conference at the end of the Council’s general assembly meeting in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

Mr Nalabo noted that an amendment of the act would reduce the spate of inconclusive elections by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

“IPAC is working assiduously with INEC to strengthen the capacity of political parties through voter education, sensitisation of members and the general public, to completely minimise inconclusive elections and promote level playing ground for all political parties.

“We commend INEC in its recent step to discipline erring staff that were allegedly involved in corrupt electoral malpractices.

“IPAC is calling on the constitutional and electoral committee to work assiduously with the National Assembly to ensure effective and prompt amendments of 2010 Electoral Act before the 2019 general elections.

“IPAC urges political parties to imbibe internal democracy in carrying out their activities; we are worried about the increasing leadership disagreement in some political parties.

“We urge leaders of the affected political parties to embrace dialogue and political solution to resolve their differences,” said the IPAC Chairman.

Seven Parties To Participate In Yobe LG Election – IPAC

IPAC, Yobe LG ElectionThe Inter Party Advisory Council (IPAC) in Yobe State says seven political parties will participate in the Local Government (LG) election slated for February 11, 2017.

The State Chairman of IPAC, Mr Umar Kukuri, made the disclosure during an interview with reporters in Damaturu, Yobe State’s capital, in northeast Nigeria.

Mr Kukuri said: “The seven political parties have already conducted their various primary elections in which their respective candidates have emerged, submitted to the State Independent Electoral Commission (SIEC) and screened by the electoral commission”.

The seven parties are PDC, SDP, CPP, ACD, APC, NCP and MPPP.

The IPAC Chairman hinted that campaigns had commenced across the state with political parties canvasing for support ahead of the poll.

He asked SIEC to ensure a free and fair election that would be accepted by all the political parties and observers nationally.

Kukuri also appealed to the political parties to conduct themselves according to the rules of the game and avoid issues that could breach peace in the state before, during and after the election.

He praised security operatives in the state for ensuring peace in the previous elections and urged them to maintain the same tempo during the imminent poll.

Hitch Free Election

The chairman further commended the Yobe State government for conducting the election despite the security threat poised by the Boko Haram insurgents.

“The council wishes to appreciate the Yobe State government for promoting democracy throughout the conduct of the local government election.

taraba

“It is noteworthy that the Yobe State government had consistently conducted LG elections in spite of security challenges faced by the state. While states without such challenges failed to conduct LG elections, the council elections are being conducted in Yobe.

“As democrats and proud citizens of the state, it is to the credit of the state government that the council elections of 2015 encouraged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct the 2015 general elections in the northeast region that was bedevilled by serious security challenges,” he said.

Mr Kukuri assured the people of the state that IPAC would work with all the participating political parties to ensure a hitch-free election.

The last time Yobe State held an LG election was in 2014 at the heat of the Boko Haram insurgency.

Yobe Governor Set To Conduct LG Polls In February

Ibrahim-GaidamThe Yobe state Governor Ibrahim Gaidam, has reiterate his commitment to hold Local Government elections in the state in February 2017.

During a meeting with the National Leadership of Inter Party Advisory Council of Nigeria (IPAC), at the Government House Damaturu, the Governor assured them that his administration would hold election on February 11, in conformity with the tenets of democracy.

The council, is in the state to create awareness on the need to ensure regular conduct of LG elections across the 36 states of the country and Abuja.

According to Gaidam, since he assumed office as the Governor of the state, he had conducted LG elections on two occasions, while the February election would be the third.

With the improved peace, the Governor said he can do more to ensure the growth and development of democracy, adding that it remains the best system of Government known to man.

According to him, the insurgency has never deterred him from developing the state as he continues to construct roads, schools, houses among others.

The National Chairman of Inter Party Advisory Council of Nigeria, Mohammed Lawal, then expressed appreciation for the Governor’s efforts in ensuring democracy at the grassroots and urged other governors across the country to emulate him.

He also praised the efforts of the president as well as security operatives for the restoration of peace in the northeast, while calling for its sustenance.

Party Advisory Council Calls For Postponement Of Abia Election

Party Advisory Council Calls For Postponement Of Abia ElectionThe Inter Party Advisory Council (IPAC) in Abia state, has called on the State Independent Electoral Commission (ABSIEC), to shift the date of the December 17, 2106 election to a later date to enable the parties prepare well.

The body is made up of stakeholders and representatives of all the political parties in the state, with one agenda to beckon on the chairman of ABSIEC to shift the local government election date, as a result of numerous complaints from all quarters.

Furthermore, it is expected to call for a round table discussion and harmonize the complaints so as to allow for a peaceful conduct of the election.

At a briefing in Umuahia, on Monday, the Chairman of IPAC, Emeka Okafor, said that the parties did not have enough time to discuss with the State Electoral umpire on the issues of high fees and stringent time table, that are conflicting with the preparation, as it offers limited time for party candidates to campaign.

According to him, the parties should be allowed to have enough time to play their own internal democracy in order to produce a credible candidate for the election.

He therefore urged ABSIEC to do the needful in ensuring a peaceful conduct of local government polls.

“We are gathered here today to let the world know that the body of all political parties in Abia State, known as IPAC, for want of equity and level playing ground for all the political parties and candidates contesting in the December 17, 2016 election, has resolved to ask the ABSIEC chairman to move this election date pending the preparations of the political parties and their candidates.

He stressed that “the reason behind this demand is because of the numerous complaints from the candidates contesting this elections, ranging from high fees as well as inadequate time for parties to prepare.

“This election is a grass root election, an election that involves our old men and women in the village, an election that interprets a lot in our democracy.

“So, if we cannot give our villagers what they want, if we cannot give them the right candidate, it will mess up the entire democracy of the state and the country, that is why we are demanding for more time for the candidates to campaign and hence we are calling for the postponement of the election, Mr Okafor stressed.

These issues are coming barely some weeks after the body, met with the state government to discuss the way forward but apparently the promises made may not have been kept leading to a vote of no confidence on the commission and the fear that Abians may not get a free and fair LG polls.

According to the Chairman, All Progressive Congress Abia State, Donatus Nwankpa, “the issue is that a lot of things have arisen in the course of this preparation and move towards the election.

“ABSIEC on her own has violated all the designated time and dates in their time table and as such we cannot be held responsible that we are the cause of this shift.

“This shift has become necessary in view of their lackadaisity, urseriousness and incompetence as most of their programs are not in tandem with that of the political parties,

“I must tell you that the members of IPAC are interested in this election ,we cannot be against the election at the local government level after all, the ruling party appoints their persons at the local government system it has been operating.

“So I believe this is the chance for all to contest and having looked at all the reasons before us, we cannot be guaranteed of a free and fair election because we want circumstances that would give us justice and give the people and candidates the desired confidence that this election would not be stage managed. that is the issue on ground,” Nwankpa said.

The ruling party in the state has however kicked off their campaign for the local government election, while the decision of the Abia electoral body to yield to the demand of the stakeholders, would be determine in the days ahead.

LG Polls: Abia Gov. Meets With Inter-Party Advisory Council

okezie ikpeazu LG Polls: Abia Gov. Meets With Inter-Party Advisory CouncilThe Abia State Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu has challenged members of the Abia State chapter of the Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC) to join forces with his government to develop the state.

Ikpeazu made request at the Government House, Umuahia, when he received members of the Inter-Party Advisory Council.

The Governor expressed shock that IPAC has not been getting on well with the Abia State Independent Electoral Commission (ABSIEC) and promised to engage the chairman of the commission to carry them along in their activities.

Ikpeazu promised to provide subvention to all the parties involved in the December local government polls as well as encourage women to participate in the elections.

He regretted that the desperation of some politicians has adversely affected the ideals of democracy in the state.

“My view on the use of transition committee chairmen in running the local governments is that it is definitely playing a negative role in deepening democracy in the country.

“And Abia State has lost a lot in terms of experience in the last 10 years that elections have not been conducted into the councils. Therefore, the decision to embark on local government election is the right thing to do.

“As stakeholders you have a lot to contribute towards the development of the state, which will lag behind except there is peaceful coexistence.

“I appreciate this delegation for the sentiments towards the development of the state and in my capacity as your governor I promised to assist you. This is because this administration’s policy is to engage strategic and critical stakeholders from time to time,” the Governor said.

Meanwhile, the chairman, Inter-Party Advisory Council, Emeka Okafor, pleaded with the Governor to prevail on the chairman of Abia State Electoral Commission to drastically reduce the fees payable by the political party aspirants to enable them participate actively in the December 17, 2016, local government elections.

He said: “We are here to identify with you, our governor on the good works you are doing in the state.

“The duty of the Inter-Party Advisory Council is to work with the Abia State Independent Electoral Commission to enthrone fairness, objectivity in the electoral process.

“We are optimistic that the desire of all Abians to ensure their votes count during the LG Polls would be a reality.”

On his part, state chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Donatus Nwankpa, promised the Governor that APC in the state would ensue peace and nonviolent polls.

“Abia State is our own. All we need is credibility on the part of the electoral umpire in the conduct of the local government election.

“We thank you, Governor Ikpeazu, for the promise to urge the ABSIEC Chairman to reduce the fees payable by parties, it would go a long way to resolve a lot of issues,” he said.

APC Wins All 57 Chairmanship Seats In Ogun LG Election

APC, ImpeachmentThe Ogun state All Progressives Congress, APC has won all the 57 chairmanship seats in the election into 20 local government areas held on Saturday  and 37 local council development areas. 

As announced by the Ogun State Independent National Electoral Commission (OGSIEC), the party also won 346 of the 349 councilor seats while the Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN) won two councilor seats and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) settled for one seat.

Meanwhile the results of the election have been met with mixed reactions, as the Peoples Democratic Party has called for the total cancellation of the election

The PDP said that the results are not a true reflection of the wishes and aspirations of the electorates who came out to cast their vote for the representatives of their choice.

The Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC) has, however, said that this was far from what happened at the polls.

INEC Reconsiders Yobe By-Election Timetable

INEC-Materials-Bayelsa-electionThe Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Yobe State, northeast Nigeria, is taking a second look at the by-election timetable earlier released for the Damaturu, Gujba, Gulani, and Tarmuwa Federal Constituency.

The Inter-party Advisory Council (IPAC) in Yobe State had last week disagree with the timetable released by the electoral body for the propose by-election.

The seat at the lower chamber of the National Assembly became vacant sequel to the vacuum created by the appointment of Hon Khadija Bukar Abba Ibrahim of the House of Representatives as ministerial nominee from the state.

INEC had fixed the February 27, 2016, as the date for the by-election to fill the vacuum created by the exit of Khadija Bukar Abba Ibrahim who is now the Minister of State Foreign Affairs.

IPAC in Yobe state had unanimously rejected the propose date saying “the three weeks given to political parties for the conduct of the exercise was inadequate”.

Making the decision of the INEC known to reporter, the Public Relations Officer (PRO) of INEC in Yobe state said that Yobe IPAC had contacted INEC headquarters on the need to extend the election timetable.

“INEC is now deciding on the complaint forwarded to it.

“The decision will be made known by tomorrow God willing,” he said, appealing to the people to exercise patients, as the election umpire will take a suitable decision for the conduct of the exercise.

The by-election will be conducted in Gujba, Gulani, Damaturu and Tarmuwa Federal Constituency of Yobe East Senatorial zone.

Yobe IPAC Disagree With INEC Over By-Election Timetable

Voter-register-INEC-2015-electionThe Inter Party Advisory Council (IPAC) in Yobe State has expressed displeasure with the timetable released by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for a planned by-election into a vacant National Assembly Office in the northeast Nigerian State.

The vacant office is sequel to the nomination of Hon Khadija Bukar Abba Ibrahim of the House of Representatives to serve in the cabinet of President Muhammadu Buhari.

INEC had scheduled the by-election to hold on February 27 to fill the vacuum created by the exit of Mr Ibrahim who is now the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs.

While addressing reporters on Wednesday in Damaturu the capital of the State, the Chairman of IPAC in the state, Umar Kukuri, said the three weeks given for political parties to prepare for the conduct of the election was inadequate.

They sought for an extension.

“The council wishes to note with concern the timing of the election is inadequate for us to mobilise our electorate to participate in the election.

“In view of this therefore, we wish to appeal to INEC to extend the time by two months for adequate preparation on their part and our part as political parties,” Mr Ibrahim stressed.

The party emphasised that some electorate in the state were in faraway Gombe, Bauch, Kano and Kaduna States and needed sufficient time to mobilise them for effective participation.

Some politicians in an interview at the media briefing called for more time, as the constituency that the election would be held was worse hit by the current insecurity problem bedevilling the state.

They pointed out that an extension would afford the political parties more time to mobilise their members for credible and acceptable polls.

The spokesman for INEC in Yobe State, Mr Bagudu Nna, in response to the request of IPAC, said INEC had taken its stand on the issue, as they were already implementing the decision of the National secretariat.

He urged Yobe IPAC to channel its grievances to electoral body’s national headquarters.

The election will be conducted in Gujba, Gulani, Damaturu and Tarmuwa Federal Constituency located in Yobe East Senatorial Zone of the state.

IPAC Removes Secretary, Deputy, To Fill Vacant Positions Nov 19

IPACThe Inter-Party Advisory Council of Nigeria, IPAC has removed its Secretary, Mr Godson Okoye and Deputy Secretary, Mr Rasaq Eyiowuawi for violations of the Council’s Code of Conduct.

This was the outcome of the meeting of its General Assembly on November 11 and 12, 2015, according to a statement by IPAC Publicity Secretary, Ogbuehi Dike.

The meeting which had 21 political parties and the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC in attendance, had received a report from a Committee set up earlier to determine cases of violations of Political Parties Code of Conduct 2013 brought by the Executive Committee against Mr Godson Okoye and Mr. Rasaq Eyiowuawi.

“A Committee set up by the General Assembly of IPAC and chaired by the National Chairman of Hope Democratic Party, Chief Ambrose Albert Owuru had, after investigating the charges of misconduct against Messrs Okoye and Eyiowuawi, presented a report to the Council’s General Assembly on 12th November 2015 on violations of Articles 5 and 10 of the Political Parties Code of Conduct against the two national officers and recommended their removal.

“The two officers were invited to defend themselves but they declined, without giving reasons for doing so. In his reply to the invitation by the Chairman of the investigation committee, the Deputy Secretary wrote, ‘Don’t ever in your life send me these messages again’,” the statement read.

The IPAC also listed the parties that voted for the removal of the two national officers. They include Accord, Action Alliance, Advance Congress of Democrats, African Democratic Congress, Alliance for Democracy, African Political Alliance, All Progressive Congress, Citizen Popular Party, Democratic Peoples Party and Fresh Democratic Party.

Others are Hope Democratic Party, Independent Democrats, KOWA Party, Mega Progressive Peoples Party, New Nigeria Peoples Party, Peoples Democratic Movement, Peoples Party of Nigeria, Social Democratic Party, Unity Party of Nigeria and United Peoples Party.

The Inter-Party Advisory Council, IPAC, has also set up an Election Committee to conduct a by-election into the vacant positions of Secretary and Deputy Secretary. The Election Committee, which has three members, is chaired by the National Chairman of United Peoples Party, Chekwas Okorie, with the National Chairman of DPP, Mr Benson Gashon, as Member and National Secretary of UPN, Abubakar Sokoto, as Secretary.

The IPAC Election Committee has requested political parties interested in contesting any of the two positions to send in their nomination on or before Wednesday, November 18, 2015. INEC is required to supervise elections into the IPAC Executive Committee.

IPAC had conducted an election into its Executive Committee on July 24, 2015 in which the National Chairman of Peoples Democratic Movement, Bashir Yusuf Ibrahim emerged as Chairman of the Council to defeat his opponent Mr Peter Ameh of Progressive Peoples Alliance.

Mr. Ameh had since approached the Abuja Federal High Court to challenge the election.

The Political Parties Code of Conduct 2013 was written and adopted by Nigeria’s registered political parties on July 16, 2013 to regulate their conduct. It also doubles as the governing regulation of the Inter-Party Advisory Council.

IPAC Election:Two Factions Lay Claim To Leadership

IPAC-Card-ReaderA deep gulf has emerged within the Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC), with two factions laying claim to the leadership of the body.

The Chairman of one of the factions, Bashir Ibrahim was inaugurated by the Acting National Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Amina Zakari.

However, the outgoing National Secretary of the body, Mr Peter Ameh, claimed he was elected at another election held on Tuesday, August 25.

Mrs Zakari said the election followed due process, hence the inauguration of the executives led by Mr Ibrahim.

But Mr Ameh explained that the previous election was disputed and claimed he won the election conducted on Tuesday.