The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the Director General of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) said adequate arrangements have been made for the safety and welfare of corps members who will serve as adhoc electoral staff for the 2015 elections.
The INEC Chairman appealed to the corps members to handle this national assignment (election) with responsibility and patriotism, and resist undemocratic practices.
The Director Policy Research and Strategy for the All Progressives Congress, (APC) Presidential Campaign, Kayode Fayemi says “if elections are meant to hold today the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is ready”.
Dr. Fayemi, assessing INEC’s preparation’s towards the forth-coming elections, stated that INEC has held series of meetings with stakeholders and have been told where the loopholes are.
Speaking as a guest on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily, Dr. Fayemi commended the commission on its preparations thus far but added that there is still room for more improvement.
He listed out some of the gray areas that the commission has not tackled properly such as the card reader, which is not as perfect as it ought to be and INEC is still working on it.
Dr. Fayemi further stated one of the advantages of the card reader is that a plane PVC cannot be used on it except on a plane card reader.
He also pointed out that there are people cloning card readers in addition to PVCs, while advising that INEC should be given the benefit of doubt, noting that the previous general elections in 2011, “there was no use of card readers, but this is the first time and so there are bound to be hiccups.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said that the fire that gutted some parts of its storage facilities in Abuja will not affect the upcoming general elections.
The Commissioner in charge of Electoral Operations and Logistics, Mohammed Hamanga, said that the affected materials, which were in the process of being destroyed, were obsolete.
According to an official of the commission, the fire outbreak was as a result of a surge in electricity after three days of power cut.
It was gathered that the fire which started at 11:00 PM was contained by 2:00AM due to the quick response of officials of INEC and the Federal Fire Service, who forced their way into the warehouse.
The Commissioner in charge, who inspected the affected areas of the warehouse, allayed fears that the fire would affect the reschedule elections.
INEC have faced lots of challenges on the road to the 2015 general elections, but the commission has reinstated its commitment to deliver a free and fair election, despite its challenges.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was established by the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to, among other things, organize elections into various political offices in the country.
The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, says it has achieved 81.2% distribution of the Permanent Voter Cards, PVCs.
This is according to a document released by the commission in Abuja on Friday. The document, which is a list, contains the data collated from the 36 states in Nigeria including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
As at Friday, March 13, out of a total number 68.8 million registered voters across the country, 55, 904, 272 million PVCs have been distributed.
Chief Press Secretary to the INEC Chairman, Kayode Idowu, said that the commission could not set a particular number of PVCs that must be collected before the elections could hold.
He, however, gave the assurance that INEC would continue to work hard to ensure that more cards are distributed across the country before the election.
While giving an explanation on why the commission would not set a target, he said, “The danger with doing so is that if the threshold is not reached, then we cannot conduct elections.”
At least 555 Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) belonging to dead residents from the 21 Local Government Areas of Ogun State have been discovered by the electoral commission while giving out the cards to voters.
The dead residents were registered in 2011.
The discovery was made known on Monday by the Ogun State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Timothy Ibitoye.
Briefing reporters in his office at the Presidential Boulevard in Abeokuta, the state’s capital, Mr Ibitoye gave a breakdown of the number of PVCs distributed so far and the number of registered voters in the state.
While putting the records straight on the number of registered voters, the INEC commissioner said 1,795,794 voters registered in the state, as against 1,370,340, being quoted in some quarters.
Mr Ibitoye said the commission had distributed 860,076 PVCs, representing 63 per cent of the total registered PVCs while about 425,454 were still being expected from Abuja.
However, the Ogun INEC informed the residents of its readiness for the forthcoming election, saying that elections would be conducted in all the 3,210 polling units across the 236 wards of the 20 Local Government Areas of the state.
The Ogun State governor, Ibikunle Amosun, had earlier appealed to the INEC to speed up the distribution of the PVCs in the state.
The State government had organised a mobilisation and sensitisation forum, with the aim of educating the electorates on the forth coming general elections.
The Independent National Electoral commission (INEC) in Akwa Ibom State in south-south Nigeria on Friday embarked on a one-day market outreach programme, to sensitise traders and the general public on the need to collect their Permanent Voter Cards (PVC) in order to participate in next month’s general elections.
The outreach programme was held at two major markets in the capital – Afaha market and Akpan Andem market.
According to the spokesman of the INEC in Akwa Ibom State and the leader of the outreach team, David Edak, the exercise was organised to encourage the public to collect their PVCs, to vote for candidates of their choice in the upcoming elections
Most people at the market said they had collected their PVCs and were ready for the elections.
A few others, however, said they were yet to get theirs, owing to what they describe as a ‘frustrating process’.
The INEC chairman, Professor Attahiru Jega, has continued to promise Nigeria that the commission would do its best in ensuring free, fair and credible elections, assuring Nigerians that the commission would achieve at least 80 per cent of distribution of the PVCs.
“We are not promising a perfect election in 2015 but we are confident that we will do our best,” Professor Jega told reporters in one of the recent press conferences.
The commission had also started the sensitisation of electorates on how the card reader, which would be used in the election, works.
Following the postponement of the general elections and the extension of voter card collection deadline by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, the daily turn out of residents at the various Permanent Voter Card (PVC) collection centres is still low in Edo State.
INEC recently disclosed it is recording daily success in the distribution of PVCs in the state, having distributed over 1.1 million cards.
However, some residents who spoke to Channels Television at some of the PVC collection centres want INEC to urgently address the challenges they are facing in order to enable them get their cards and vote in the rescheduled elections.
So far, INEC has recorded a 76 per cent distribution of PVCs across the country. The umpire body has also guaranteed that there would be free, fair and credible elections, come May 28 and April 11.
INEC had extended the deadline of the collection of Permanent Voter Cards (PVC) following the postponement of the 2015 general elections.
The commission in a statement signed by its Secretary, Mrs. Augusta Ogakwu, said following the rescheduling of the 2015 general elections, collection of the cards would continue for four more weeks until March 8th, 2015.
“The Commission hopes that this extension will finally avail every registered person yet to collect his/her PVC the opportunity to do so in readiness for the general elections,” Ogakwu said.
The electoral body had announced a shift in the general elections dates to March 28 and April 11.
National Commissioner of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Dr Chris Iyimoga, has appealed to residents of Abuja to come for their Permanent Voter Cards (PVC), before the deadline of March 8, 2015.
The former Director of FCT Council for Arts and Culture, who spoke after an inspection of some collection centres in the Federal Capital Territory, decried the low turn out of residents to collect the cards.
Some residents of Abuja had condemned the ongoing collection of the Permanent Voter Cards (PVC) in the Federal Capital Territory for what they called “inadequate awareness and sensitisation of the public”.
Some of the residents said that they got to know about the exercise when they saw people gathering at Polling Units, while a resident complained that he could not find his name on the collection list.
“The information was not well circulated, the awareness was low and I did not hear about it at all. I was on my way to work when I saw a crowd.
“I decided to check out what was happening and discovered a board has been put up with incomplete names,” he said.
However, Dr Iyimoga has stressed that only seventy-one per cent (71%) of the Permanent Voter Cards had been collected.
He urged the residents of the Federal Capital Territory and its environs to go to their Polling Units to collect their Permanent Voter Cards in order to vote the candidates of their choice in the coming general elections.
The leadership of the Alliance for Democracy (AD) has expressed its support and confidence in the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Attahiru Jega, to conduct free, fair and credible general elections.
The National Vice Chairman of the political party, Mr Muhammed Yakubu, gave the party’s vote of confidence in Abuja while commenting on the recent postponement of the general elections.
Recently the INEC has come under criticism for not being adequately prepared for the 2015 elections.
Professor Jega said that the Presidential Election would hold on March 28 while the Governorship election would hold on April 11.
The Chairman of the commission said that the decision was not influenced by any group or individuals, adding that “We have done wide reaching consultations to enable us have as much input as necessary before taking an informed decision.
The major opposition party in Nigeria, the All Progressives Congress (APC,) has come down hard on the electoral umpire on the decision to postpone the polls.
The APC Chairman, John Oyegun, in a press statement, also stated that the decision was a major setback for Nigerian democracy, saying “This is clearly a major setback for Nigerian democracy, and our party is meeting in emergency session to study its implications and will inform Nigerians of its decisions in the next few days.
A political scientist on Friday said the realities on ground do not support the claims of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) that it was ready for the elections if they were held as earlier scheduled.
Professor Femi Otunbanjo, who is also a member of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, said that the INEC had not been able to manage the distribution of the Permanent Voter Cards (PVC) and other logistics well ahead of the elections.
“The card readers and many other technical issues are in ponderables and we are not sure that they will work.
“The INEC promised that they will conduct the best election using the PVCs and the card readers. They have not been able to manage the logistics to distribute the materials,” he said.
Professor Otunbanjo suggested that the IENC should revert to the old way of voting, with the Temporary Voter Cards (TVC).
“There is a problem, but I think that the solution will be to remove the card readers, save time, pick people as they come and let those who have the TVCs come and vote. Really, we can combine both. There is no reason that they cannot be combined.
“In the circumstance, there is nothing bad with going back to the old way. It is not necessarily retrogressing. If you cannot manage an innovation, then you better stay where you are. If you cannot manage it to create a credible election. Already, INEC has issues with distribution of PVCs,” the political scientist.
He said the INEC had failed against the background of the earlier scheduled date of February 14, insisting that the electoral body was responsible for the shift in the election date.
“INEC was still training and distributing PVCs because they were not ready. When will they distribute efficiently. They were responsible for the shift basically because they were not ready.
“As at this week, they have distributed 57 per cent for the whole of the south, that is average and 87 per cent for the north. When will they distribute to enable everybody participate fairly in the election that is meant to be free and fair.
“You cannot claim to have a credible election with the percentage of distribution. The evidence does not support their claims and the reality is that INEC was not ready.”
Professor Jega said that the Presidential Election would hold on March 28 while the Governorship election would hold on April 11.
At a press briefing after the last meeting for the day between Professor Jega and other top officials of the INEC, Professor Jega said that the commission’s decision was not influenced by any group or individuals.
“We have done wide reaching consultations to enable us have as much input as necessary before taking an informed decision.
“In the series of consultations that we had with stakeholders, the questions constantly posed to them for consideration are; in view of the latest developments, should INEC proceed with the conduct of the general elections as scheduled in spite of the strong advice and if so, what alternative security arrangements are available to be put in place.
“The second is; should INEC take the advice of the security chiefs and adjust the schedules of the general elections within the framework of the constitutional provisions,” Professor Jega said.
The Lagos State Governor, Mr Babatunde Fashola, said on Thursday, that “Lagos is working” because of the change of attitude and dedication to work in its Public Service.
Governor Fashola made the observation at a Pens-Down ceremony held in Alausa, in honour of the retiring Head of Service, Mrs Josephine Oluseyi Williams.
Governor Fashola expressed joy that the State Public Service had removed the word “impossible” from its vocabulary, emphasising that such resolve underscored the fact that the people could change anything that did not work for them.
“Whenever Lagos residents acknowledged the State’s law enforcement agencies, the fire fighting capacity of its Fire Service or the efficiency of its Public Service delivery, I always reminded them that the personnel of the agencies were not changed “but only changed their attitude and renewed their dedication,” he said.
Fashola maintained that with the right attitude and the appropriate dedication to work, nothing would be impossible for any institution in Nigeria.
“When I meet people outside now and they tell me that the face of the Lagos State Public Service is changing for the better, I take that compliment with a lot of inward pride even though I know that the work is not finished,” the Governor added.
This Cup Would Pass
Fashola also noted that the State’s Public Service has earned the support of the public that it serves, reiterating that earning such support was only half of the journey, as keeping it was the real deal.
He explained further that Lagos did not earn such public support by sloganeering, by pronouncing transformation or by a vision that changed every minute.
Governor Fashola, who entitled his address at the ceremony “This Cup Would Pass”, stressed that Nigeria was being forced to drink from a very bitter cup, adding that the cup would eventually pass.
“Even though we gather to celebrate and honour the Public Service, some of the things that we see now raises several questions and the difference between good and bad is becoming very difficult to tell,” he said.
The outgoing Governor also added that governance was not necessarily about building roads and bridges or about proving jobs but also about very high moral authority.
Advising those who regard the appointment of women into leadership positions as their achievement to look beyond their narrow confines, the Governor stated that “when you look at the Permanent Secretaries in Lagos State, the Magistracy, the leadership of parastatals and the Judiciary, you will see that leadership responsibility for women in Lagos is a way of life.
“So if some people think they are doing women a favour and consider it an achievement, they are living in a different world. Here, it is already a way of life.”
In her response, after signing off her personal file in the Public Service and receiving a Certificate of Service from the Governor, Mrs Williams said her choice of the public service was primarily based on the desire to fulfill a dream of touching lives and making some modest contributions to the growth and development of Nigeria.
Urging public servants to remain focused at all times and in all situations, she reminded them that the decisions they made in the course of service would go a long way in shaping the society.
Candidates contesting for different elective positions on the platform of different political parties in Delta State have signed a peace accord to honour the interest of democracy.
The Delta State peace accord meeting was held on Wednesday in Asaba, the state capital.
The peace accord, which was packaged by the Delta State Police Command to ensure peace before, during and after the general elections, was well attended by top security chiefs in the Police, Army, SSS and other sectors at the state capital.
Speaking at the event, the Assistant Inspector-General of Police, Zone 5, Mr Musa Daura, said that it was important for peaceful elections to be achieved, emphasising that “we must all be in the vanguard for a credible and acceptable electoral process.”
Daura also said that the security has resolved to provide an electoral environment free of intimidation, saying politicians should play the game by the rules bearing in mind that they are sportsmen; he urged all to shun criminal and electoral violence before, during and after the elections.
The governor, who presided over the signing described the shift in dates of the elections by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as laudable and in their interest.
The state Commissioner of Police, Mr Alkali Baba Usman in an address said that they must not agree alone, but equally realize the need to be more democratic in the conduct of political activities within the ambit of the law, with a view to ensuring peace, understanding and respect for one another.
Speaking to journalists after the signing, some candidates mentioned that the reason behind this act was for a free and fair elections, void of violence.