Electoral War Is Worse Than Boko Haram – Soetan

Sunrise -  SoetanThe National Coordinator of Democracy Vanguard, Adeola Soetan, is calling on Nigerian electorates to wake up the potency of their voting powers, as Nigeria prepares for the 2015 general election.

The former Chairman of the National Conscience Party, NCP, was the guest of Channels Television, appearing on the breakfast programme, ‘Sunrise Daily’.

He preached that there was need to educate the Nigerian electorates about the power of their votes, with emphasis on telling them: “Don’t vote for those you think can win, vote for those who can perform.”

He warned that although Nigeria was truly going through tough times with the state of insecurity, it would however be worse if the country failed to address the issue of electoral fairness in the country. He noted “Boko Haram is bad but the electoral war is worse.”

He explained that the politics that involves electorates being bribed with food items and money affects their view of the election, as an impression is created that whoever failed to do same would not win, a situation that leaves even the elites with an impression that even the better candidate would not win.

He explained that despite being the Chairman of the party, he did not vote for the governorship candidate of his party the NCP in Ogun State during an election because he did not feel convinced about his ability to perform. He noted that the candidate might have emerged from his party because the majority believed in him, but that did not affect his personal conviction about the candidate, a stance only possible due to his understanding of his right as an electorate.

His advice was that that there is need for candidates vying for political positions to make their plans known, so that the people can be able to hold them responsible for something when they are voted for.

In order to ensure this, he said that what his organisation was doing was an intervention in the electoral process, displaying the Nigerian Voters’ Handbook which he said was printed by his organisation.

On how to reach over 70 million electorates, Soetan said that after their launch of the book in a press conference on Monday, they would be going to different parts of the country to engage electorates in series of interaction, starting from Ekiti State.

Speaking further on the Nigerian Voters Handbook which has been printed in English language, Mr. Soetan promised that the book would be translated in other Nigerian languages to enable them reach out to more people at the grassroots.

He added that the handbook was a product of research carried out by the Democracy Vanguard, and it corrects many misconceptions, addresses many issues that tend towards educating the people about their rights and creating in them the right perception of the concept of voting.

Labour Party, NCP, Two Others Form Alliance For 2015 Elections

Four Nigerian political parties have declared that they are coming together to form a working political alliance as the country prepares for the 2015 general elections.

Announcing their alliance at the emergency national executive meeting of the National Conscience Party, the National Chairman of the party, Yunusa Tanko, said that the Advance Congress of Democrats, the Social Democratic Party and the Labour Party are joining forces to give Nigerians an alternative ahead of the elections.

“We are pained that up till now, the Nigerian people are yet to count their blessings without making unpleasant reference to how they are being governed. That is why we resolved as a political party, not to be part of any merger but in a working alliance with other like-minded political parties.”

The group also asked President Goodluck Jonathan to address some of the issues raised in the letter written by former president, Olusegun Obasanjo.

“It is instructive to note that President Goodluck Jonathan should address the nation as a matter of urgency and answer most of the damning allegations which was leveled by the former president, which has placed this country in an unsecured situation.”

This is yet another alliance that has emerged in the country outside the All Progressives Congress, APC which was announced in February 2013, and wrestling power from Nigeria’s ruling party, the People’s Democratic Party, PDP has been the major motive behind these alliances, as declared by the parties involved.

The National Chairman of the Advance Congress of Democrats, Yusuf Buba, while justifying this recent alliance, referred to the parties on ground, as “a mix-up of strange bed fellows with different ideas and ideologies” which they claim is an opposite of their alliance that is built on the similarities in their ideas and ideologies.

The parties also said that details of their alliance would be made available to the public in 2014, as the 3rd alternative for the people, ahead of the 2015 elections.

NCP Nat’l Chairman Reacts To INEC’s Decision To Appeal Judgement

It appears Nigeria’s election regulatory body, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is not ready to rest on its oars over the issue of party deregistration as it has vowed to see its end despite court’s ruling on the matter after a court judgement overturned its decision to deregister some political parties in the country.

On Politics Today, our political programme, the host, Seun Okinbaloye hosted the National Chairman of the National Conscience Party (NCP) Yunisa Tanko who reacted to the resolution of the INEC after it hinted that plans are in the pipeline to appeal the court judgment.

Watch complete interview for more details.

Ogun NCP Elects Executive Council Ahead Of 2015 Election

The Ogun state chapter of the national conscience party, NCP has elected new state executive council to man the affairs of the party in the state in a bid to reposition itself for more relevance in the build-up to the 2015 general elections.

The state congress was held at the Iwe Irohin in Abeokuta, the state capital, and was witnessed by its National Chairman, Mallam Yunnusa Tanko and other officials.

The delegates to the state congress were drawn from the 20 local government areas of the state as part of the on-going repositioning and the national officers of the party were at hand to give their support with the chairman of the party that prides itself as the conscience of the nation, asking Nigerians to take their destinies in their hands.

Commenting on the state of the nation, the National Chairman bemoaned the challenge of insecurity and impunity, especially the rationale behind the clean bill of health given to Major Al Mustapha, the party however called for the change in the nation’s criminal justice system.

Delivering his keynote address at the occasion, human rights crusader, Mr Femi Aborishade challenged Nigerians to continue to ask questions about injustice, bad governance, insecurity and impunity, and especially the killers of the late Kudirat Abiola. He also commented on the on-going privatization of the power sector, a process he said is characterized by monumental fraud and inconsistencies.

After the election, which was an open ballot type of election, Mr Bankole Solomon emerged as the chairman, while Yusuf Babatunde emerged the director of publicity and publication.

Politician Rules Out Option Of Two Party System In Nigeria

The Chairman, National Conscience Party (NCP), Yinusa Tanko, on Friday ruled out the option of Nigeria operating a two-party system, stating it will not give Nigerians the freedom to choose which ideologies benefit them the most.

Speaking on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, Mr Tanko said that countries such as the United States of America, where democracy has found its footing, do not operate a two-party system, adding that Nigeria needs to continue a multi-party system in order to cater for diversity of opinions.

He described democracy as ‘popular choice’ based on ideas, ideologies and issue based politics and added that a two-party system will be ‘treacherous’ as it would restrict popular views of the 141 million populated nation.

He warned that the system would encourage politicians who usually cross-carpet, thereby impeding a clear distinction between political ideologies.

He said parties like ACN, Labour, NCP now exist as a result of the broadening of the political sphere.

He also said most Nigerian rulers have been ‘recycled’ over the years, discouraging young leaders who have been canvassing for opportunities to take their turn at the helm of affairs of the nation.

14 Bidders Pay $559.44 Million For Power Companies

The Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) on Thursday confirmed the receipt of the sum of $559,445,573.96 from 14 bidders for 15 Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) successor companies.

The confirmation, which was contained in a statement issued by the BPE, came ahead of Thursday’s deadline for preferred bidders for the successor companies to make the mandatory 25 percent payment of the offer value of their bids.

The statement reads, “The BPE, on March 21, 2013, received $31million from 4Power Consortium; being the mandatory 25 percent of the bid value for Port-Harcourt Distribution Company; $31.5 million from Interstate Electrics Limited; being the mandatory 25 percent of the bid value for Enugu Distribution Company; and $27,913,633.50 from North-South Power Company; being the mandatory 25 percent of the bid value for Shiroro Power Plc.

“Earlier, Vigeo Consortium, the preferred bidder for Benin Distribution Company, had paid USD $32.25million; Transcorp/Woodrock Consortium, the preferred bidder for Ughelli Power Plc, paid $75 million; CMEC/EUAFRIC Energy JV, the preferred bidder for Sapele Power Plc, paid $50,249,965; Kann Consortium, the preferred bidder for Abuja Distribution Company, paid $41 million; Aura Energy, the preferred bidder for Jos Distribution Company, paid $20,464,968.15; Mainstream Energy Ltd, the preferred bidder for Kainji Power Plc, paid $59,467,500; and Sahelian Power SPV, the preferred bidder for Kano Distribution Company, paid $34.25million.

“Other bidders are: Amperion Power Company Limited, the preferred bidder for Geregu Power Plc, which paid USD$33 million; Integrated Energy Distribution & Marketing Company, the preferred bidder for Ibadan and Yola Distribution Companies, which paid USD$42.25 million and USD$14.75 million for Ibadan and Yola Discos respectively; NEDC/KEPCO, the preferred bidder for Ikeja Distribution Company, which paid USD$ 32.75 million; and West Power & Gas, the preferred bidder for Eko Distribution Company, which paid USD$33.75 million.”

Recall that the final approval of the preferred bidders by the National Council on Privatisation, NCP, and its announcement for the successor companies was done on October 23, 2012.
The Nigerian electricity industry has been unbundled into generation and distribution companies and a single transmission company with a view to encouraging private sector participation and attracting foreign and local investment into the Nigerian power sector to ensure economic and reliable electricity supply.

BPE Reverses Sale Of ALSCON

The Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) has cancelled the sale of the Aluminium Smelter Company of Nigeria (ALSCON) to US-based BFI Group Corporation.

In a statement by its head, public communications, Chigbo Anichebe, BPE said the directive to terminate the offer to BFI Group Corporation for the purchase of 77.5 per cent of ALSCON is from the National Council on Privatisation (NCP)

The statement explained that the decision followed BFIG’s inability to pay the agreed 10 per cent of the offer price within the stipulated 15 working days of the execution of the share/sales purchase agreement as directed by the supreme court of Nigeria.

However BFIG’s chairman, Reuben Jaja, reportedly said that the cancellation of the sale was a violation of the July 6, 2012 order of the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court had granted perpetual injunction restraining any act by any agency of government against the contract until all the issues that resulted in the crisis are resolved.


NCP Appeals Ruling On INEC’s Right To De-register Political Parties

The National Conscience Party (NCP) has filed an appeal against the judgment upholding the power of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to de-register political parties.

The party filed a one-ground notice of appeal at the Court of Appeal on Thursday in Lagos.

On Wednesday, Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court in Lagos, affirmed the constitutionality of section 78(7)(ii) of Electoral Act 2010 which empowers INEC to de-register any political party for failure to win presidential, governorship election, or a seat in the National Assembly or state Houses of Assembly.

Justice Abang, had in his judgment also said the provisions of the law were not in conflict with the provisions of the Constitution and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Right Enforcement and Ratification Act as contended by the plaintiffs.

However, counsel to the party, Mr. Marcus Eyarhono, in the one-ground notice of appeal, urged the appellate court to allow the appeal and set aside the whole judgment.

Mr. Eyarhono submitted that the trial judge erred in law for refusing to invalidate section 78(7)(ii) of Electoral Act 2010.

“The court erred in law when it held that the provisions of  Section 78(7)(ii) of Electoral Act 2010 is consistent with the provisions of section 40 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended and Article 10 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act,” Eyarhono said.

The lawyer added that by virtue of the provisions of section 1(1) and (3) of the constitution, the constitution was supreme and “any other law that is inconsistent with the provisions of the constitution is to the extent of its inconsistency null and void.”

Eyarhono insisted that section 78(7)(ii) of the Electoral Act contravenes the provisions of Section 40 of the constitution and Article 10 of the African Charter.

He pointed out that Section 40 of the Constitution which guarantees freedom of association and peaceful assembly is sacrosanct, inviolable and inalienable save as provided by constitution.

Court Affirms INEC’s Power To De-register Political Parties

A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has held that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has the power to de-register political parties in Nigeria.

Justice Okon Abang delivered the judgment on Wednesday, in a suit brought by the National Conscience Party (NCP) challenging INEC’s power to de-register political parties.

The NCP specifically challenged the provisions of Section 78(7)(ii) of the Electoral Act 2010 which empowers INEC ”to deregister political parties for failure to win presidential or governorship election or a seat in the National Assembly or State House of Assembly”.

In his judgment, Justice Abang held that the suit which was instituted on the 14th of September 2011 by one Mr. Tunde Agunbiade, a member of the NCP lacked merit, as it did not infringe on the constitutional rights of the plaintiffs to associate freely.

The development followed the decision of INEC to deregister 28 parties’ political parties last year.

The de-registered parties did not include the NCP as the same court had restrained INEC from de-registering NCP pending the hearing and final determination of the suit.

The court also lifted an earlier order it made restraining INEC from deregistering NCP pending the determination of the case.

Justice Abang awarded against NCP the cost of N15,000 each to be paid in favour of INEC and the National Assembly.

PHCN Privatization Bid: Governors had more than one avenue to protest

Looking at the privatization of the power sector, the radar was on the Benin PHCN distribution companies as it faced serious criticisms from governors Oshiomhole, Fayemi and Uduaghan all echoed their dissatisfaction as the entire process was not transparent, an allegation the technical committee chairman of the National  Council on Privatization; Peterside Atedo was quick to respond to.

Olubunmi Ajayi; a specialist in infrastructure planning and financing said the governors had other avenues where they can air their grievances and they didn’t take to the other options like speaking to the President Goodluck Jonathan before taking to the newspapers.

Watch interview for more details.

Don’t deregister National Conscience Party, court orders INEC

A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos on Wednesday restrained the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from deregistering the National Conscience Party (NCP).

Justice Okon Abang, gave the order while ruling on the NCP’s application for interlocutory injunction to restrain INEC from deregistering any political party pending the determination of the suit challenging the power of the INEC to do so.

The judge, who said the other political parties who are not parties in the suit cannot benefit from the order, ruled that the order of injunction will subsist until the final determination of the said suit.

“The order of the court is only binding on the parties before it,” he said.

He also said the order must be endorsed with Form 48 (Notice of consequence of disobedience of court order) and should be “served personally” on the INEC Chairman, Attahiru Jega.

The court’s order followed an undertaking by the INEC’s counsel, Adeniyi Lawal, that NCP will not be deregistered pending the determination of the suit.

The judge said the ruling based on consent of INEC “is equivalent to not opposing the application for the interlocutory injunction.”

He said, “Based on the consent of all parties, an order of court is hereby made restraining the third defendant (INEC), its agents or privies from deregistering the first plaintiff pending the determination of the substantive suit.”

The Counsel for the National Assembly, Wahab Shittu, had earlier withdrawn his preliminary objection to the suit and his opposition to the granting of the interlocutory injunction.

He said his move was to protect the integrity of the court.

INEC’s lawyer had asked for an adjournment to enable him file the commission’s response, an application which counsel for the NCP, Eyarhono, opposed on the grounds that INEC had not taken the matter serious since it was served with the processes of the suit in October 2011.
The judge acknowledged that INEC “had not shown any interest in prosecuting the case” having failed to file any defence since the processes of the suit were served on it in October 11, 2011.

He agreed to adjourn the case upon undertaking that the NCP, in particular, would not be deregistered until the final determination of the suit.

The Attorney-General of the Federation, the second defendant in the suit, had not filed any defence in the suit.

The matter was adjourned till November 27 for hearing.

Judge warns INEC against de-registration of parties

Justice Okon Abang of a Federal High Court in Lagos has warned the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) over an alleged plan to de-register some political parties before a suit challenging the legality of such action is determined.

Abang gave the warning on Tuesday in a suit filed by the National Conscience Party (NCP) and a member of the party, Mr. Agunbiade Tunde.

The judge said the court would nullify any action taken by the electoral body contravening the prayers of the plaintiffs in an application seeking an injunction against the electoral body.

NCP had through its counsel, Mr Marcus Eyarhono, challenging the powers of the electoral body to de-register any political party.

The party subsequently filed an application on July 3, 2012, seeking an injunction to restrain INEC from deregistering any party while the suit was pending.

However, the judge refused Eyarhono’s request for the application to be heard on Tuesday.

But he assured the lawyer that no action taken in contravention of the prayers in the application would stand.

Joined as the first and second defendants in the suit are the National Assembly and the Attorney General of the Federation, Mr. Mohammed Adoke.

Only the National Assembly was however represented by a counsel, Mr. Abayomi Apata, at the Tuesday’s proceedings.

The judge said Order 26 Rule 5 of the Federal High Court Rules gave seven days and as such the application was yet to be ripe for hearing because the defendants were only served on July 6, 2012.

He however adjourned the matter till July 16.