2015 Elections, One Of The Most Rigged In Nigeria – Observer

ElectionA Legal Practitioner and observer during the 2015 elections, Ikechukwu Ikeji, says the just concluded election was one of the most rigged elections he had ever witnessed in Nigeria, despite being considered free and fair.

Speaking on a breakfast show, Sunrise Daily on Channels Television on Monday, Mr Ikeji accused INEC officials of being compromised, stressing further that the politicians themselves were out to rig and those who won simply outwitted those who lost.

“Just about every politicians I came across was in the game of rigging. Nothing can be farther from the truth than that these elections were fair and free.

“In fact I have to be honest, this is one of the most rigged elections I have witnessed. I was in the field and I can tell you that electoral offences were rampant,” Mr Ikeji said.

On card readers, the election observer expressed dissatisfaction. He said that the card readers did not work in many areas he went to.

He said that they (the electorate) had agreed not to use the card readers, revealing that he clearly saw people coming back to vote twice while some voted three times in both national and state elections.

He added also that some polling units were dominated by some political parties, as they were able to buy the minds of voters and the electoral officials.

Mr Ikeji also said that all materials for the election should have been present at the commencement of the voting, including the result sheets, which various political party agents should verify.

He also indicted some election observers saying many of them were compromised and carried out their duties with bias.

He reacted to the statement by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) that it had commenced the compilation of all electoral offences recorded in the 2015 general elections with a view to prosecuting those found wanting.

The legal practitioner said that it was a good statement by INEC that they would prosecute electoral offenders, but noted that the solution does not just lie in advocacy, pronouncement or trying to put technology in place to obviate the need for politicians to rig.

He advised that the attraction in elective and political public positions be reduced to discourage politicians wanting to get to position by all means.

2015 Polls: We‘re Still Compiling List Of Offences For Prosecution – INEC

INECThe Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, says that it has commenced the compilation of all electoral offences recorded in the 2015 general elections with a view to prosecuting those found wanting.

There is a caveat, however, as the electoral umpire notes that the successful prosecution of the offenders would depend on the cooperation of the law enforcement agencies, especially the Police.

INEC adds that it is still expecting the Police, which have the constitutional mandate of arresting perpetrators of electoral violence in the country to inform it of the number of arrests made and progress made in prosecuting those implicated.

Earlier in the week, the Chief Press Secretary to INEC Chairman, Mr Kayode Idowu, in an interview with Channels Television, said that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had started the process of reviewing the just concluded general elections.

He noted that in the review, the commission would be examining areas where it had problems within the general elections and begin to explore alternatives that would facilitate the electoral process.

He maintained an earlier stance that the commission would not fail to prosecute election offenders.

The commission had, in the 2011 general elections, recorded a total of 870,000 electoral offences, out of which 200 offenders were successfully prosecuted.

INEC Begins Post-Mortem Of General Elections

INECThe Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has started the process of reviewing the just concluded general elections.

The Chief Press Secretary to INEC Chairman, Mr Kayode Idowu, in an interview with Channels Television, said in the review, the commission would be examining areas which it had problems with in the general elections and begin to explore alternatives that would facilitate the electoral process.

Speaking on Saturday’s supplementary elections in Taraba, Imo and Abia States, Mr Idowu said the elections went well in the states despite pockets of issues. He also reiterated that the commission would not fail to prosecute election offenders.

INEC Investigating Allegations Against Resident Commissioners

Kayode Idowu on INEC Resident Electoral CommissionerThe Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says it is investigating petitions against several State Resident Electoral Commissioners over the conduct of the Presidential and National Assembly elections.

After the elections of March 28, the commission has received series of petitions against some electoral commissioners, with claims that the electoral process was flawed.

In an interview with Channels Television on Wednesday, the spokesman for the INEC Chairman, Mr Kayode Idowu, said the petitions contained different alleged violations that some political parties believed took place during the elections.

He said the commission would look at the substance in the petitions before it would take a position.

“I am aware that the commission has received a number of petitions from diverse interests, raising one issue or the other about the political process.

“What the commission does with petitions is to interrogate the substance of those petitions,” he said, explaining that the claims must be substantial enough, with adequate prove that the process was scuttled for it to be upheld.

“The job of the commission is to look whether those complains were genuine and proven and how substantial it is to affect the procedure that played out during the elections,” Mr Idowu reiterated.

Akwa Ibom APC Petitions INEC, Demands Removal Of REC

inec-on-APC-rec-emovalThe Akwa Ibom State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has petitioned the Independent National Electoral Commission  (INEC) to remove the state Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Austin Okojie.

The APC, in its petition, stated that INEC should ensure that Austin Okojie does not conduct the April 11 governorship and House of Assembly elections in the state.

Speaking in Abuja, the National Vice Chairman of the party, Mr Hilliard Eta, alleged that cases of rigging, electoral fraud and manipulation of results took place during the presidential and National Assembly elections.

The party also alleged that there was evidence of fabrication of results, no original results sheets for the elections, and inflation of results.

Meanwhile, INEC says that it is investigating the petitions it has received against several state RECs over the conduct of the presidential and National Assembly elections.

The Chief Press Secretary to the INEC Chairman, Kayode Idowu said that the petitions border on different violations political parties believe took place during the elections.

The commission, however, said that it would look at the substance in the petitions and come out with a position.

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.

 

INEC Records 73 Per Cent PVC Distribution

pvcThe Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says it has achieved about seventy-three per cent distribution of the Permanent Voter Cards (PVC) nationwide.

Spokesman for the Chairman of the INEC, Mr Kayode Idowu, told Channels Television on Monday that even though there was steady progress in the distribution, the level of interest shown at the collection centres was dismal.

However, at some of the centres, many residents in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), as well as staff of INEC complained that the commission had failed to reproduce missing PVCs reported to it, since august last year.

Few days before the announcement of the the postponement of the election by the chairman of the INEC, Attahiru Jega, the response at the PVC collection centres had increased. But the enthusiasm had dropped after the election, the electoral body said.

A visits to collection centres in the FCT showed that the number of those who want to collect their PVCs had reduced.

In spite of this, spokesman for the INEC chairman, Mr Idowu, disclosed that the distribution rate recorded last week was over 69 per cent.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had put the current total number of registered voters in Nigeria at 70,383,427 and going by INEC’s claim, about 51. 4 million cards have been collected by registered voters while 19.0 million cards are still uncollected.

The electoral body had said that it would achieve at least 85 per cent  distribution before the elections.

The PVC distribution achieved so far and the outstanding are contained in the chart below.

Olisa Metuh Raises Concerns Over Distribution Of PVC In Lagos

olisaThe Spokesman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Olisa Metuh, has raised concerns over reports that non-indigenes are being prevented from collecting their Permanent Voter Cards in Lagos State and other All Progressives Congress (APC) led states.

Metuh, the National Publicity Secretary to the PDP, who was speaking in Abuja said that the issue was not an issue to be taken with levity and should be addressed as quickly as possible for the success of the general elections.

The party spokesperson said that majority of this group of voters yet to collect their PVC were members of the ruling PDP and they should not be disenfranchised.

“While we restate our commitment to peaceful and credible elections come February 14, 2015, we will not accept any attempt to scheme us out in any state or states controlled by the APC,” Metuh said.

The PDP Spokesman had earlier stated that APC “has been jittery over the increasing popularity of President Goodluck Jonathan and the PDP governorship candidate in the state, Jimi Agbaje and now seeks to compromise the electoral process by manipulating the distribution of the PVCs.”

Stating that INEC has refused to check the trend despite repeated concerns raised by its state chapter and other well meaning Nigerians, PDP said that the onus “now lies on the Chairman of INEC, Prof. Attahiru Jega and the leadership of the commission to prove their innocence by immediately intervening and ensuring that all eligible voters in the state received their PVCs accordingly.”

In its reaction, the INEC Spokesperson, Kayode Idowu, dismissed the allegation raised by Olisa Metuh as unfounded.

INEC Needs To Do More To Ensure Collection Of PVCs – Pearse

Dr_PearseA member of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Dr Tokunbo Pearse, on Tuesday advised the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to do more in sensitizing Nigerians to go to their polling units and collect their Permanent Voter Cards, (PVC) after the electoral body announced a one week extension for the collection of the cards.

Dr Pearce, who commended the Commission for extending the date, however noted that “there are still a lot of challenges facing INEC regarding the distribution of PVCs.

“INEC should have a literature out with the names of people on it, so that they can know there PVCs are ready,” adding that there are a lot of places in Lagos where complaints have soared as a result of the inability to obtain the cards.

He also urged political parties to collaborate with INEC to ensure that the word goes out to those who duly registered and have not collected their votes, even if it takes the use of “town criers”.

He further noted that using the town criers would be better as using party agents would compromise the effort. He explained that some party agents would only tell those with sympathies for their political parties that the cards are ready.

Dr Pearse also expressed his confidence in the ability of INEC to conduct the general elections but warned officials of the commission to be aware of leaders who speak carelessly.

He warned, “If INEC is not independent then we are in trouble.”

He also noted that the challenges being faced by INEC is a reflection of the society.

He expressed the view that “INEC has improved a great deal” but was quick to add that “as far as efficiency (is concerned) they still have a long way to go.”

INEC had announced its decision to extend the deadline for collection of Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) to Sunday, 8th February, ahead of the general elections on Sunday  February, 1 through a statement by the Chief Press Secretary to INEC Chairman, Kayode Idowu  .

Mr Idowu said the decision to extend the deadline for PVC collection “is intended to give registered voters yet to collect their PVCs the opportunity to do so in readiness for the February 2015 general elections.”

The deadline had been scheduled for Saturday, 31st January, however, several challenges including complaints by Nigerians and logistics on the part of the umpire necessitated a shift in the collection deadline.

INEC has now called on “duly registered persons not to delay in going to collect their cards before the expiration of the new deadline”.

“The Commission reaffirms its determination to make the 2015 elections free, fair, credible and peaceful; and urges all stakeholders, including voters, to spare no effort in working towards the same objective,” Idowu noted.

INEC Extends Deadline For PVC Collection

PVCs-Customs-INECThe Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Sunday announced its decision to extend the deadline for collection of Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) to Sunday, 8th February, ahead of the general elections.

According to a statement signed by Chief Press Secretary to INEC Chairman, Kayode Idowu the decision to extend the deadline for PVC collection “is intended to give registered voters yet to collect their PVCs the opportunity to do so in readiness for the February 2015 general elections.”

The deadline had been scheduled for Saturday, 31st January, however, several challenges including complaints by Nigerians and logistics on the part of the umpire necessitated a shift in collection deadline.

INEC has now called on “duly registered persons not to delay in going to collect their cards before the expiration of the new deadline”.

“The Commission reaffirms its determination to make the 2015 elections free, fair, credible and peaceful; and urges all stakeholders, including voters, to spare no effort in working towards the same objective,” Idowu noted.

INEC Considering Various Options To Conduct Elections In N/East

Kayode_IdowuChief Press Secretary to INEC Chairman, Kayode Idowu, on Wednesday said the electoral umpire was prepared to conduct elections everywhere in Nigeria, including the troubled North East, where the war against Boko Haram rages, and it was considering various options to help citizens there cast their votes in the forthcoming elections.

However, he stressed that the electoral umpire was not a security agency and so it was relying on the security agencies to do their work.

“We are ready to conduct elections everywhere in Nigeria”, he insisted, noting that the agency had proven this by assigning REC to the states in the North East, “to take charge of the conduct of elections there”.

“The Commission is ready to go but it is not a security agency and therefore, it has to work with and rely on those who have been constitutionally empowered to provide security to do its work in that area (North East) and every other area,” Idowu said, on Sunrise Daily.

However, Idowu noted that the task force saddled with planning how Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the North East will vote submitted its report which was running through the “decision making processes of the commission”.

According to him, various options were also being considered, including creating a safe haven where as many who live in the troubled regions or outside the country could come to cast their votes.

“One option, for instance, is to designate a safe haven, because the law prescribes constituency and residency voting.

“You can designate a safe area as a particular constituency and invite everybody who belongs to that constituency, wherever they dwell in the country, outside the country presently, to come over to that place and cast their vote.”

Idowu’s disclosure is coming after several bodies and individuals had raised concerns over the threat that many in the North East would not be able to vote.

In response, the umpire through Mr Idowu has said “there are many options that the Commission can work with, but essentially it will still need security cover to do these things”.

2015 Elections: INEC Says Rigging Will Be Difficult

Kayode_IdowuThe Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says measures have been put in place to ensure that Nigeria’s February general elections will be of high integrity and difficult for anyone to manipulate.

A spokesman for the electoral body, Mr Kayode Idowu, gave the assurance on Sunday while making comments about the preparedness of the commission ahead of the general elections.

Mr Idowu said that the INEC would distribute up to 90 per cent of the Permanent Voters Cards in their coffers before the elections begin in February.

The spokesman of the commission told Channels Television that out of the 45 per cent cards yet undistributed, a large number belonged to Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) for whom, he said, a plan of action would be announced this week on how they would be accommodated in the forth coming electoral process.

“Substantial majority of IDPs especially those who are in camps, INEC will look for ways to get them to vote,” he said.

Election campaigns are expected to begin this week and the INEC stressed that appropriate security measures were in place to ensure that the February elections would be of high integrity, with ballot papers and ballot boxes coded to ensure they would used only in particular polling units.

“The tendency of people using other people’s voters cards will not work in 2015. That is why we have the Permanent Voters Card which would be read by a card reader,” he said.

Mr Idowu said it was part of the strategies to ensure that the election could not be rigged.

He assured Nigerians that collection of cards was ongoing, urging them to go and pick their cards at the local government offices of the INEC

The commission advised politicians to abide by the code of conduct they had signed.  The code stipulates how politicians should conduct themselves during campaigns and other electoral processes.