‘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.

Buhari’s Speech: Implementation More Important Than What Was Said, Says Jega

 

A former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Attahiru Jega wants President Muhammadu Buhari’s 60th Independence speech to go beyond talk to implementation.

The former INEC boss spoke on Thursday during a special edition of Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily to mark Nigeria’s 60th Independence anniversary.

“What is clear is that the speech carries quite a lot of the right things to be said on a day like this. But for me, the critical thing is not what is said but how it is followed up,” Professor Jega noted.

“I think it is important to reflect on the issue of what government needs to do to ensure that when you call upon Nigerians to take pride in Nigeria, there are certain things that encourage and help them to be able to do that.”

While admitting that Nigeria has come a long way in the past six decades, the former lecturer called for caution, insisting that the 60th Independence anniversary should serve as a time for reflection.

‘A Long Way’

“And also, there is no doubt that Nigeria has come a long way in the last 60 years but is also important not to be in a celebratory mood but more to use this period as a period of reflection and contemplation as to what we really want Nigeria to be in the next 60 years,” Jega explained.

Jega said although the country is facing several challenges, Buhari’s Independence speech should trigger those in governance to act upon what was said to inspire confidence in the citizens.

“The key challenge for the government and governance is how to act upon all those things that have been said in order to give people the confidence that really, we are prepared to make the journey of the next 60 years as a united country that we can all take pride in and we can all be happy that our fundamental needs and aspirations would be addressed and satisfied through the process of governance,” the former INEC boss, added.

 

 

Former INEC Chairman, Jega Joins PRP

inec

 

 

Former National Chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Attahiru Jega has joined the Peoples Redemption Party (PRP).

In a statement signed by the PRP National Publicity Secretary , Abdul Gombe, says Professor Jega is to chair the Strength, Weakness, Opportunities and Threat (SWOT) analysis committee of the party in order to reposition it for a more nationalistic outlook ahead of the 2023 general elections.

According to the Statement, the SWOT analysis committee will critically examine the strength of PRP, looking at its weaknesses and the opportunities available to the party as well as threats to its existence and well-being.

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It further said, “The PRP at its 62nd National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting held on June 22nd in Kaduna decided to set up three (3) committees to review the performance of the party in the 2019 general election with with a view to repositioning the Party for better performance in facing the new challenges of Nigerian politics .

“On the basis of a critical analysis of these, the committee made up of some of the best intellectuals in Nigeria will recommend to the party , strategies to adopt for its survival and growth.

“The three Committee are; The SWOT Analysis Committee ; Mobilisation Committee , Finance and Funding Committee Membership and mobilisation committee is to be chaired by a person who has been in the PRP for 4 years, as to examine and advise the party on how best to grow its membership using the best Ava methods bearing in current voters demography in Nigeria.

Other persons that made up the three committees include, publisher and chairman of the Trust newspapers, Malam Kabiru A. Yusuf, Prof. Momodu Kashim Momodu, Dr. George Kwanashie, Comrade Ayo Sando, Dr. Obi Osisiogwu, and Prof. Nathaniel Abraham.

Youths Employment: Nigeria Sitting On Keg Of Gunpowder – Jega

The Former Head of Nigeria’s electoral umpire, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has given out some useful information ahead of the 2019 elections explaining why increased youth unemployment might lead to crisis in governance processes. 

Professor Attahiru Jega, who was a guest speaker at an event at the University of Lagos (UNILAG) on Thursday delivered a lecture on the need for volunteers in Nigeria’s electoral process and warned that the unemployment situation in the country needs to be tackled fast.

He said the nation sits on a keg of gunpowder if it does not creatively divert the energy of her idle youthful population.

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“It’s important that we find ways and the means of constructively engaging youths in politics, the electoral process, governance process, otherwise, rather than the youths being potentially used for development, it can turn into a nemesis and create more crisis,” he said.

He explained that the younger generation, if not constructively engaged may fall victim to those who will employ them to carry out negative activities which might develop into a greater in elections and governance.

“We are beginning to see it, in many African countries, even here in Nigeria, the many unemployed youths are being utilised negatively in politics and during elections.

“They are increasingly frustrated by unemployment. Whether they are secondary school graduates or university graduates. That frustration is a keg of gunpowder and if it is not properly managed it is possible governance processes will obviously explode,” he said.

Jega Seeks Broadcast Media Independence

JegaThe former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC) Professor Attahiru Jega has called on the  federal government to allow broadcast companies discharge their duties without interference.

Professor Jega who was speaking at a lecture organized by the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) with the theme “Broadcasting, democracy and the challenge of the new Nigeria” said the broadcast media has been characterized by lack of fairness, balance and hate campaigns in recent times.

To change this situation however, Professor Jega recommended structural and behavioral change to deepen the nations nascent democracy.

Amosun Tasks Electorates On April 11 Polls

amosunOgun State Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun has called on the electorate in the state to repeat their performance in last Saturday’s Presidential elections, come April 11 when they would be voting for House of Assembly members and the state governorship candidates.

Senator Amosun in a statewide broadcast, praised voters in the state for showing good character at the polls.

The governor is urging the electorates to vote candidates of the All Progressive Congress (APC), to consolidate on the development and transformation currently being recorded in the state.

The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has promised to improve the electoral process, as the Governorship and state House of Assembly elections is due to hold on April 11.

Meanwhile, the people of Ogun have demanded the re-fertilization of the economy and especially the anti-corruption crusade, to put the country on the path of growth and progress.

NPC Commends Nigerian Police On Conduct During Polls

Police The National Peace Committee (NPC) has commended the Nigerian Police for its conduct during the 2015 presidential and National Assembly elections.

The commendation was made at the Nigerian Police Headquarters in Abuja, the nation’s capital as members of the committee led by its Chairman, General Abdulsalam Abubakar (rtd), embarked on a ‘thank you visit’ to key actors in the just concluded presidential and parliamentary elections.

The committee noted that the Police remained neutral even in the face of the tension before and after the elections.

The committee further urged the Police to ensure that the conduct is replicated during the governorship and House of Assembly elections.

Similarly, General Abdulsalam urged Nigerians to support the Police in the next round of polls.

The Inspector-General of Police, Suleiman Abba, who expressed gratitude for the commendation, however, promised that the same conduct would be replicated during the governorship polls and beyond.

The Police have received several commendations from not only Nigerians, but the international community for its conduct during the polls.

They have been commended particularly for their arrest of some persons in possession of registration materials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Ona Ara Local Government Area of Oyo State.

They have also been lauded for the deployment of over 6,000 police officers to monitor Saturday’s presidential elections across the 27 Local Government Areas in Imo State.

The Police in different states across the country had, prior to Saturday’s election, given assurances of their readiness for the election.

The Imo State Police Command Headquarters in Owerri, said that the command was fully ready and prepared for the elections, urging residents not to panic as they go about their lawful duties.

The Zamfara State Police Command also assured indigenes of the readiness of the Nigeria Police and other relevant security agencies, to provide effective security and ensure smooth and orderly conduct of the election.

Extended Elections Hold In Isolated Areas In Nigeria

INEC-staff-corps-members-nyscNigerians in some polling units across the country are voting on Sunday in extended elections after card readers and irregularities made the electoral body adjust its election guideline on Saturday.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) announced the extension on Saturday after some technical glitches were reported in some states during the presidential and National Assembly elections.

According to the electoral body, the extended elections will only hold at restricted and isolated areas.

A spokesman for the INEC chairman, Mr Kayode Idowu, told Channels Television on Sunday that there were places where elections did not take place such as Taraba State and Niger State.

Mr Idowu pointed out that there were no inconclusive election, but extension in places where elections did not hold at all.

He stated that he was not aware of polling units that didn’t have officials present at all on Saturday as claimed by some voters, saying he would verify the claims.

Speaking on movement restrictions, Mr Idowu said that INEC could not give a definite statement on that, emphasising that only the security officials or the Inspector General of Police that could give a definite information about it.

Mr Idowu cleared the air on claims about shortage of INEC’s materials in some polling units, saying that the commission had reached out to the states that had shortages. He said that Jigawa could not go ahead with the accreditation and voting because of the technical glitch.

According to him, “if the material is not available the commission will not be able to go on with the process”.

He also condemned the actions of persons that insisted on seeing result sheets, explaining that it was not the prerogative of the voter to ask for the result sheet before voting.

 

Card Reader Performance A Disaster In Anambra – Obiano

obianoAnambra State Governor, Willie Obiano has called the overall performance of the card reader device in the State ‘a disaster’, noting that his fingerprints could not be captured despite several attempts.

“Well, it was in my opinion a disaster at the early stages”, Obiano said during an interview on Channels Television’s special election programme, Nigeria 2015.

He went further to explain that as at 10:30 on Saturday morning, INEC officials were absent at his Polling Unit,  while the queue was more than a quarter of a mile long.

According to the governor, INEC officials arrived at noon following a call to the REC, however, the card reader was not working.

“But before then, substantially everywhere, the comment I was getting was that the card reader wasn’t working. As a matter of fact, I received so many calls that I got so worried,” he said.

“I had to now call Professor Jega to say – Prof, this card is not working anywhere in Anambra. Prof said it is not true”, Obiano said, noting that the INEC Chairman disagreed with his report, afterwhich he (Obiano) called President Goodluck Jonathan to “show my displeasure at what is going on”.

However, the card readers eventually worked at about 2:00pm, Obiano disclosed, adding that his 10 fingerprints were not accepted by the device.

“We did it about three to four times, 10 fingers, it didn’t go through. They now used the register”, he said, also noting that he was not given an incidence form.

The governor also listed other issues recorded in the State including non availability of result sheets at some polling units as well as cases of thuggery.

Manual accreditation was eventually applied in the State.

Commenting on the extension of voting exercise till Sunday, Obiano advised the umpire body to learn from mistakes made to get more organised and ensure prompt arrival at polling units and better performance of the card readers.

Police Arrest Man With INEC Registration Materials In Oyo

ArrestPolice have arrested some persons in possession of registration materials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Ona Ara Local Government Area of Oyo State.

The Oyo State Police Commissioner, Mohammed Katsina, said that the arrests were made following some intelligent tip-off.

Mr Katsina said that the arrest would serve as a stern warning that the command meant business and would not hesitate to bring any culprit to book.

The suspect, an elderly man, was caught with in possession of the INEC Permanent Voter Cards and registers.

He was arrested around Olorunsogo area in Ona Ara Local Government.

The suspect admitted that the registers were given to him on Friday morning by a party member.

The Oyo State Police boss said investigations would continue into the matter.

Meanwhile sensitive and non-sensitive materials have been distributed by the INEC to all the 33 Local Government Areas of the state, while accreditation for all election monitors and observers have been concluded.

Over 700 observers have arrived the state for Saturday’s election.

The Oyo State Governor, Abiola Ajimobi, said that he was satisfied with the level of preparedness with INEC and state of security in the state even as the police read riot acts to transport unions in the state.

Governor Ajimobi expressed satisfaction at the level of Permanent Voters Card distribution and expressed confidence in the joint effort of security chiefs to ensure violence-free and credible elections.

After a meeting with youth across the state on the need for credible polls and zero violence, Governor Ajimobi expressed satisfaction at the level of preparedness and security in the state.

The Oyo State Police Commissioner had earlier held a crucial meeting with members of the Nigerian Union of Road Transport Workers on the need for peace to reign.

At the meeting the Police boss listed the rules of engagement in the elections.

The transport union on their part also assured the Police of their commitment to violence-free polls.

Jega Says Voters’ Presence After Voting Makes Process Transparent

Professor Attahiru Jega on Voters presence The electoral body in Nigeria says voters can wait after casting their votes, saying voters presence makes the process more transparent.

The Independent National Electoral Commissions’ statement is contrary to an advice by the Nigeria Police, which said voters should go home after voting.

Addressing reporters on Friday, the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Professor Attahiru Jega, said the commission believed that the electoral process would be more transparent if voters stayed behind after voting.

Professor Jega also said the commission had not received any indication that the security for the card readers had been compromised.

The Inspector General of Police, Suleiman Abba, on Tuesday advised voters not to remain at the polling centers after casting their votes on Saturday.

Mr Abba told a gathering in Abuja, in very clear terms, that the security operatives expect everyone to vote and go.

The IGP made the pronouncement during the Independent Electoral Commission, INEC stakeholders’ meeting.