Politicians Sponsoring Thuggery Pose Threat To Nigeria’s Democracy – INEC REC

 

An official of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mr Mike Igini, has taken a swipe at politicians sponsoring thuggery in the country.

Igini, who is the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in charge of Akwa Ibom State, stated this on Tuesday during an interview on Sunrise Daily.

He believes such persons pose a serious threat to the nation’s democracy and asked them to stop the practice of engaging thugs and renting crowds for campaigns.

“Beyond having people who rent crowds for some of these campaigns you see around, we also have an association of thugs in Nigeria,” said the INEC official during the Channels Television breakfast programme. “They are also engaged for inter-state thuggery services.

“In 2019, quite a number of them were brought from Edo State to Akwa Ibom State. You see one or two parties having campaigns simultaneously in different areas of a state at different times; the same set of people you will find there will go to the other area.

“In the same vein, you also have thugs across the country, this is the problem introduced by politicians, many of whom never raised a finger when the journey of Nigeria and the prospect of democracy was less certain, but today are beneficiaries and also the greatest threat to our democracy.”

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According to the REC, sponsoring thuggery is just one aspect of security threats to electoral officials and the electorate during elections.

He stated that there were different dimensions to security challenges, and it was important to address them, especially as the country prepares for the 2023 general polls.

Mr Mike Igini is the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in charge of Akwa Ibom State.

 

Security Neutrality

Igini decried what he termed as unfairness in a situation where some political players get security protection while others were left out when parties prepare to conduct primaries.

Such practice, according to him, should be discouraged and ruled out of the system as it adds to the security problems in the country.

“As we are going for the 2023 elections, particularly with just about five days left for political parties to conduct their primaries that will end by June, the call for all stakeholders with respect to the aspect of security, is that we call for absolute security neutrality,” the INEC official said.

“It will be unfair that aspirants – who are seeking the ticket of their respective political parties – that one candidate or group of candidates will be given security, direction, and control over others. That will poison the path to the 2023 elections.

“That is wrong, it should be ruled out. So, security is a very serious issue as we go for 2023 elections but beyond that are far more serious issues that we need to focus on.”

LG Elections In Nigeria Are Nothing But Organised Crime – Igini

INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner for Akwa Ibom State, Mike Igini speaks during an interview on Channels Television’s Politics Today on November 25, 2020.

 

The Resident Electoral Commissioner for Akwa-Ibom State, Mike Igini on Wednesday said local government elections in Nigeria are nothing but organised crime.

Igini who disclosed this during his appearance on Channels Television’s Politics Today, accused state governors of interfering in the conduct of the polls at the grassroots.

“Local government elections are nothing but organised crime. They should not be calling them elections at all,” he said.

“Look at the Local Government system in Nigeria. We have lost 774 local governments in Nigeria to every sitting governor of the 36 states in Nigeria.

“What constitutes free, fair and credible elections with respect to INEC-conducted election is different from the local government.”

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Igini also reiterated the commitment of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to deploy more technology and innovation to further enhance the transparency of the electoral process.

According to him, the use of its public viewing portal during the governorship elections in Edo and Ondo States eradicated possible electoral fraud as Nigerians saw the results of each polling unit online almost immediately after casting their ballots.

“I can confirm that INEC has made tremendous progress. The INEC of today is no longer the INEC of before because, since 2011, the kind of elections that we have conducted had a remarkable departure from where we used to be even though we are not where we are supposed to be.

“The INEC public viewing portal is a new innovation to deal with the recurring issues of vote changes at the level of collation and that was why it was introduced to ensure that at the polling unit, once the result is published, it should be sent to the viewing portals so that Nigerians can see it,” Igini added.

Akwa Ibom REC Uncovers 23 Polling Units In Politicians’ Compounds

We Won’t Argue Sub Judice Petitions, INEC Tells PDP

 

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says it has uncovered 23 polling units at private homes in Akwa Ibom State.

INEC’s Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Mr Mike Igini, disclosed this during his appearance on Sunrise Daily.

He explained that the discovery was made after he was transferred to the state from neighbouring Cross River State.

“I set up a committee to identify the location of polling units on account of records that I have from within the system found; I discovered 23 polling units were in private homes – the compounds of politicians,” Igini told Channels Television on Tuesday.

He added, “Consequently, 23 polling units were relocated to public places and by the time we are done with the report at the commission, we will be addressing stakeholders again,” he said.

Mr Mike Igini speaks during an interview on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on January 28, 2020.

 

According to the REC, elections do not hold in the entirety of the state, especially as it relates to the 2015 and 2019 general elections.

He stressed that the days of not conducting elections were gone and promised that the electoral system in Akwa Ibom State would witness a major turnaround.

Igini hinted that he had informed stakeholders in the state after he assumed office that it would no longer be business as usual.

He also reacted to the allegation of bias preferred against him by some political groups, saying they were only making attempts to secure undue advantages.

Igini also took a swipe at the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state.

He said, “APC in Akwa Ibom and PDP; they are the same people tied together in a single garment of one destiny.

“They’ve always been together before, forget about all this mutation. It is not whether you agree with me but it’s about the fact on the ground.”

In Akwa Ibom, They Don’t Hold Elections But Write Results – Mike Igini

Mr Mike Igini speaks during an interview on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on January 28, 2020.

 

Mr Mike Igini has indicted his predecessors in Akwa Ibom, saying elections do not hold in the entirety of the state.

Igini is the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) of the (INEC) Independent National Electoral Commission in the south-southern state.

He stressed that he has evidence to support his claims, especially as it relates to the 2015 and 2019 general elections.

“In that same 2015 in Akwa Ibom, they ‘allocated’ five percent (of votes) to the current President,” the REC alleged during his appearance on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on Tuesday.

He was, however, asked to be mindful of his choice of words and he insisted, “Yes, allocated! Because in Akwa Ibom they don’t do election, they write results.”

 

Igini added, “I have the records, you go there; because when I arrived in Akwa Ibom State, leaders – traditional rulers, religious leaders; all groups came to me but that is not new to me, I was the commissioner in neighbouring Cross River State.”

 

Noah In The Bible

He said the days of not conducting elections were gone and promised that the electoral system in Akwa Ibom State would witness a major turnaround.

The INEC official revealed that he had informed stakeholders in the state after he assumed office that it would no longer be business as usual.

He also reacted to the allegation of bias preferred against him by some political groups, saying they were only making attempts to secure undue advantages.

Igini noted that the political actors and the leaders in the state ignored his warning but treated him like the Proverbial  Noah in the bible.

He said, “Noah told the children of God that there will be a great flood, but they didn’t take that seriously.

“I told them that under my watch in Akwa Ibom State, it is the will of the people that will govern.”

44 Political Parties Pass Vote Of Confidence On Igini

INEC REC in Akwa-Ibom, Mike Igini

 

Forty-four political parties in Akwa Ibom state have passed a vote of confidence on Resident Electoral Commissioner in the state, Mr. Mike Igini.

The parties under the aegis of Inter-party Advisory Council (IPAC) described Igini as a man of integrity who has continued to stand upright in the face of provocations, intimidation, and inducement.

In a statement by IPAC’s legal adviser, Mr. Mfon Peters, the political parties alleged that several attempts were made to lure the REC against the will of the people during the presidential and senatorial elections.

They, however, praised Igini, stressing that the REC “chose his integrity instead”.

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“We have noticed that after the Presidential and National Assembly elections in our State, the ‘Igini Must Go’ assemblage which had receded has been rekindled. The reason is not far- fetched.

“We applaud the unbending noble character of the Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mike Igini, in the test offered by the scenario that played out at Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District elections,” the statement read in part.

IPAC alleged that some politicians tried inducing Igini with lucrative monetary offers to compromise the elections in the state.

“Despite monetary inducement, connection, influence and power play, Igini was uncompromising. He insisted that only the valid votes cast at the polling units and collated by the designated officers will count.

“This did not go down well with some political gladiators who hitherto thought that what money cannot do, more money can do,” IPAC added.

How Political Parties, Court Cases Contributed To Postponement Of Elections — INEC REC

 

Mr Mike Igini has revealed that the failures of political parties to stick to INEC’s timetables and a plethora of petitions against the commission with regards to primaries, played a major role in the postponement of the elections originally scheduled for February 16. 

Igini, the INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Akwa Ibom, made this known when he appeared as a guest on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics.

“Today within this period we are talking about, we have had a total of 640 cases joining INEC, and a total of 14 court orders either asking INEC to add or remove a name,” Igini stated.

He noted that one of the major grounds upon which elections are challenged in Nigeria is the issue of exclusion from the ballot, stressing that the commission had to contend with that.

The REC said the issues stemming from various party primaries caused a delay in the printing of ballot boxes which indirectly added to the rescheduling of the elections.

He said despite the fact that the commission issued a timetable and detailed schedule of electoral activities, political parties failed to stick to the deadlines, hence mounting more pressure on the electoral umpire.

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Mr Igini noted that in failing to stick to the commission’s scale of activities and  not holding primaries as at when due, INEC’s operations were derailed.

He said the commission was left with just one month to produce ballot papers due to the way the parties handled their primaries.

Speaking about the logistics involved, Igini said over 400million ballot papers were printed containing 91 political parties and 73 slots for presidential candidates.

Igini said so much went into the production of the ballots especially within the limited time. He added that following the production of the ballot papers, the commission was then faced with the issue of moving the heavy pallets across the country by air and by road.

He said the commission tried to explore every means possible to get the ballot boxes to their various required destinations across the country but the time was not enough due; a situation which he said was largely brought about by the inconsistencies of primaries organized by various political parties.

Igini said the decision to reschedule the elections was a painful one, especially on account of the fact that just as INEC had been working round the clock, so also had Nigerians shoved aside their engagements to partake of the elections.

He said the decision was taken in the best interest of the country and the democratic process, particularly with regards to the fact that the nation has crossed very critical democratic thresholds which the commission has no intention to reverse.

The REC stressed that if the commission had proceeded with the exercise, the country would have had a situation where many Nigerians will be disenfranchised.

Amina Zakari Is Not In Charge Of Electoral Operations And Logistics – Akwa Ibom REC

 

The Resident Electoral Commissioner in Akwa Ibom State, Mr Mike Igini, has called for an end to criticism and complaints targeted at Mrs Amina Zakari following the postponement of Nigeria’s general elections on account of logistic challenges.

Mrs Zakari, one of the Independent National Electoral Commission’s National Commissioners, had been blamed for the logistic challenges the led the commission to shift the elections by a week with critics claiming that she oversees electoral operations and logistics.

However, Mr Igini, who was a guest on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics, said she was being wrongly targeted and called on citizens to make more effort in verifying claims.

“I want to appeal to Nigerians that, this time, let us not just be name-calling without fact-checking some of the things people talk about. Amina Zakari is no longer the Chairperson of electoral operations,” he said.

According to the Akwa Ibom REC, contrary to the reports making the round in some circles, a different national commissioner is in charge of electoral operations and logistics.

“The person in charge of electoral operations today is Professor (Okechukwu) Ibeanu,” he said stressing that issues concerning arrangements for NYSC, and the welfare of ad hoc staff fell under him.

PDP Asks Zakari To Be ‘Decent’, Recuse Herself From Appointment
Zakari

 

Mrs Zakari, who is the Chairman of the INEC Committee on Collation Centre for the general elections, has been the subject of controversy before now with the opposition alleging that she is related to President Muhammadu Buhari and some calling for her resignation.

She and the commission have rejected the allegations and defended her professionalism.

In an interview with the BBC in January, she said she was not related to the President and argued that she had always done her job professionally and that she had never been found wanting in the discharge of her duties.

INEC Set To Conduct Inconclusive State Assembly Election

inecThe Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says it is set for the conduct of the inconclusive state assembly election in Orhiomwom constituency 2.

The election would hold on Saturday, April 18 in Edo State.

The elections in the constituency was declared inconclusive by the Returning Officer because the margin of lead between the two leading candidates in the poll was 1,421 while the number of registered candidates in the four affected wards was 4,813

The Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Mike Igini, while briefing staff of the commission selected for the exercise, said INEC has put everything in place to ensure a smooth conduct of the remaining polls in the area.

Edo: INEC Declares Election In Orhionmwon II Inconclusive

-The Independent National Electoral Commission has declared the Edo State House of Assembly elections for Orhionmwon Constituency II inconclusive on account of alleged violence during the polls.

The Resident Electoral Commissioner of INEC in the State, Mike Igini who announced this on Monday said elections in 12 polling units were cancelled.

These units accounted for over 4,000 votes, a number in excess of the margin by which one of the candidates was leading in the polls.

Mr Igini also said the Commission will conduct elections there on or before Saturday, the 18th of April, 2015.

Of the 24 constituencies in the state, APC candidates have been declared winners in 20, while PDP led in three.

Electoral Officers Found Guilty Will Be Dealt With – Igini

iginiThe Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in charge of Edo State, Mike Igini, says all the electoral officers found to have compromised in the March 28 presidential election will be dealt with according to the law.

Addressing the opening session of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) management meeting in Benin City, the Edo State capital, Mr. Igini warned that any official of the commission who decides to aid malpractice of any kind in the House of Assembly election in Edo State would have him or herself to blame.

The REC wondered why result sheets would be absent from some polling units even after same was distributed by him to the electoral officers.

Mr. Igini added that the card readers would be strictly applied in the Saturday election saying that the observed anomalies from the last polls were being addressed.

2015 Elections: INEC To Commence PVC Distribution In August 15

Mike-Igini2Ahead of the 2015 elections, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says it will begin the distribution of Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) and Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) in Cross River State from August 15 to 25 across the 18 Local Government Areas.

At a stakeholder’s forum on CVR and PVC distribution held at the INEC office in Calabar, the Cross River State capital, the Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mike Igini, said that the forum was meant to sensitise stakeholders who will in turn educate the masses on the importance of the exercise.

Representative of different political parties, religious and traditional organisations, security agencies, media representatives and the civil society are all represented in the gathering to get first-hand knowledge of the Permanent Voters Cards and the Continuous Voter Registration.

Addressing the gathering, the INEC boss averred that, the PVCs would be distributed across all the polling units in the state, starting from Friday, August 15 to 17, while the CVR would commence on the 20 to 25 of August.

“The CVR is an exercise for Nigerians who have attained the age of 18, those who did not register in 2011 and those whose names are not on the Electronic Register and not issued PVCs after the distribution exercise.

“The masses are at the registration centres expected to present birth certificate, national identity card, passport or any credible document to prove identity, age and nationality of self, an old Temporary Voters Card and the thumbprint would be taken again as evidence of collection,” Mr Igini  explained.

Some stakeholders pledged their support in ensuring a hitch free exercise. The Bakassi representatives also urged INEC to reconcile issues that may hinder them in exercising their franchise in the coming elections.

The commission reminded the participants that offenders caught for selling or buying PVCs as well as denying the holder the right to vote would be liable to two years imprisonment.

2015 Elections: Igini Assures Of Credible Process

As part of the effort to ensure free and credible elections in the country, INEC says it is introducing permanent voter’s cards.

This disclosure was made by the Resident Electoral Commissioner of Cross River State, Mr Mike Igini, who said that voters card can only be used once at any polling unit.

Mr Igini was a guest on Channels Television’s Saturday breakfast programme, Sunrise, where he spoke about the preparations of the Independent national Electoral Commission, INEC, towards the 2015 general elections.

“We are trying to institutionalise our processes and our procedures and for every election, talking about electoral contexts and peculiarities, we come up with something new to raise the bar.

“Therefore is it very important to have as many resident electoral commissioners as possible in those places where elections will take place, so that they take the benefits of the new ideas being introduced,” he said.

Speaking about the Permanent Voter’s Card, PVC, Igini explained, “What we have done simply is that, this card reader is configured to 1 PU, it’s not transferable. You can only use your (voter) card like your ATM card.

“So when you approach the presiding officer on that very day, unlike a situation when we may have to wait till 12 o’clock, once you come to the polling unit, you approach the presiding officer, and they will swipe this in, your picture clearly will show.”

He explained that this is to ensure that there is no form of manipulation or double voting during elections.