EU Observers, Civil Groups Seek Probe Of Alleged Electoral Manipulation

Osun_Election_2014_360x320The European Union Observation Mission and some civil society groups have expressed concern over the severe cases of violence and alleged manipulation in some states in Saturday’s governorship and House of Assembly elections.

In its 2nd preliminary statement on the 2015 general elections, the EU Observer Mission urged the Independent National Electoral Commission to launch investigations into these cases.

The EU Chief Observer, Mr. Santiago Fisas said despite lack of evidence of centralised systematic fraud at the elections, some attempts at manipulations were observed which necessitates further investigations by the electoral body.

Mr. Fisas, however, noted that the overall process during the April 11 elections was more efficient compared to the presidential and parliamentary elections but lamented the rise in violence and attempted manipulation of the process in some states.

The spokesman for the Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room, Mr. Clement Nwankwo said multiple cases of electoral misconduct in Abia State, violence in Rivers State and partisan interference in Akwa Ibom State call for scrutiny of final collated results from the three states.

The groups also condemned the involvement of prominent public office holders, politicians and INEC officials in what they termed ‘organised misconduct and disorderly behaviours’ in the April 11 elections.

They noted that steps must be taken to investigate all such cases and prosecution of those found culpable.

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.

Federal Legislator To Pursue Nasarawa Peace Deal

nasarawa-3The Senator-elect of Nasarawa south senatorial district, Mr Salihu Egyegbola, has been speaking on how to ensure the full resettlement of his people as a result of last year’s communal crisis in the state.

Senator Egyegbola advocated the option of peaceful dialogue in resolving the impasse, given that the two tribes of Eggon and Alago have lived side-by-side in all the five local government areas of the senatorial zone.

He called for Federal Government’s support of the state governor, Tanko Al-Makura’s resettlement initiative aimed at addressing the rebuilding of the communities destroyed in the course of the crisis.

On the issue of grazing areas for herdsmen which has posed persistent threat to farmers in the state, the senator says he is optimistic that the All Progressives Congress (APC)- led Federal Government would address the matter once and for all.

Women and children fled from last year’s communal crisis in Nasarawa State as their men were left in the battle front to defend their homes.

Meanwhile, some of the displaced persons have continued to count their losses, as others now live in fear of attack should they return home to pick up the pieces of their lives.

However, some Nasarawa political leaders have given the assurance that they would end the carnage.

 

Ihiala People Say No To Election Violence

IhialaIhiala, a peaceful Local Government Area in the south senatorial zone of Anambra State has not been the same after the presidential and National Assembly election violence on  March 28.

Asides thousands of Ihiala people demonstrating anger over the violence that occurred in the March 28 elections, they have also raised their voices against a repeat.

In a solidarity visit to the home of one of the victims of the March 28 election violence, Mr Ernest Azudialor Obiejesi, Ihiala people have also declared a death wish for whoever attempts to rig the April 11 governorship election.

Mr Obiejesi was a victim whom they thought had been killed during the fracas that broke out on the election day but survived.

Narrating the violent incident which left two policemen and several community members fatally injured, Obiejesi urged the people to stand up and defend the truth at all times.

The election at Ihiala turned violent when some political thugs invaded the collation center at the Local Government Area and shot sporadically which led to two policemen and several community members being fatally wounded.

Ogun State Government Announces Payment Of Deducted Salary

Ogun-StateThe Ogun State Government has announced the payment of salary deductions and cooperative dues, with 1.5 billion Naira released on Friday.

The payment covers deductions of salaries affecting both State and Local Government workers.

In a statement by the State  Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Yusuph Olaniyonu, the state government said the payment was in fulfillment of the agreement reached between the Governor of Ogun State, Sen Ibikunle Amosun and the workers during an interactive session held last month in Abeokuta, the State’s capital.

Prior to the downturn in Federal Allocation and the general economy, the State Government had been remitting salary deductions as and when due and had also cleared arrears inherited from the past administration.

However, the suddenness of downturn adversely affected both the Federal Allocation and Internally Generated Revenue, thereby creating fresh arrears.

The State Government said that the release of salary reduction demonstrates that it has successfully adjusted to the new financial reality and was confident that it would be able to clear the balance of arrears expediently.

Ogun State Government further assured the workers that the government would always protect their interests at all times and restated the fact that it had no plan to sack any worker.

The financial adjustment, the State Government stated, was achieved through increased spending inefficiencies and enhanced focus on Internally Generated Revenue.

The State Government further expressed gratitude to the workers for their patience, understanding and co-operation since the administration assumed office, particularly when the economic downturn led to delay in the remittance of the deductions and co-operative dues.

Amaechi Calls For Vigilance Ahead Of April 11 Election

Governor Amaechi speaks on election The Governor of Rivers State, Chibuike Amaechi has called on residents in the State to be resilient and vigilant, as they head to the April 11 polls.

The Governor made the remark in a speech about the lessons to learn from the March 28 presidential elections.

In the wake of the announcement of the presidential election results, Governor Amaechi urged the people to learn from the leadership qualities displayed by President Goodluck Jonathan and the President elect, General Mohamadu Buhari.

According to Governor Amaechi, the people should not allow the gains of democracy in the State to be eroded by desperate politicians.

Governor Amaechi had on March 28 asked supporters of the All Progressives Congress in Rivers State not to vote in the election, claiming there was a plan to manipulate the process.

He had asked an official of the electoral body to show him the result sheet before he would go for his accreditation. When the electoral body’s official could not provide the document, he ordered the party’s supporters to boycott the election.

After the elections were held, the supporters of the APC in the state, staged a protest, calling for the cancellation of the election. They said “no election was held in Rivers State”.

However, the Independent National Electoral Commission, after looking at the issues raised by the party’s supporters, said it found no reason to cancel the election in the state.

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.

#Nigeria2015: Vote With Your Head, Not Your Heart – Aliyu

Umar AliyuSecurity Consultant, Captain Umar Aliyu (Rtd) on Friday called on Nigerians to vote logically and not emotionally as doing otherwise will put them at risk of falling for political propaganda.

Captain Aliyu who was a guest on Channels Television’s special 2015 election programme, Nigeria 2015, said “Go and vote with your head, not with your heart”, he warned, adding that “If you vote with your heart, you will be vulnerable to those things the politicians harp on – sentiments, emotion and what have you”.

“If you vote with your head, you’re actually going to be logical, cautious and (let me say) security conscious”.

According to him “people should understand that whichever way, whatever way, the elections are going to take a position – one of two possible outcomes and I think what parties should do is to begin to prepare their followers for the other outcome.”

Captain Aliyu also noted that most politicians across different political parties were particular about a win-win outcome, which was not possible.

“Parties would do well to begin to prepare followers for the ‘just in case it goes the other way’”.

The consultant also gave security tips to the electorate to help them stay safe while participating in the elections.

Pre-election, Aliyu advised people “to begin to pay a little more attention to their itinerary. People should begin to pay more attention to their utterances.

“People should also begin to look at trying as much as possible to put one or two things out of the way. Like posters, stickers on your vehicles. Don’t go about wearing a T shirt that is pro or anti any group, before or during the elections.

Aliyu stressed that only one candidate would emerge winner at the forthcoming Presidential election and the results may not be received well.

He also warned that although the security agencies have been deployed, citizens must take some steps to protect themselves.

Full Text: Buhari’s Last Message To Nigerians Before Election Day

Muhammadu Buhari APC Presidential candidate2The Presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, General Muhammadu Buhari, in his last message to Nigerians before the elections on Saturday, has called on them to give him the chance to lead the mission to re-build the country.

“Give me the chance to lead you in rebuilding a Nigeria that all of us can be proud of once again”, he said in a statement made available to Channels Television.

Buhari, who faulted the current administration on several accounts including corruption, poverty and insecurity, noted that “At no other time in our history is Nigeria in such an urgent need of strong and competent leadership. Sadly, at no other time is this leadership so sorely absent in our country”.

According to him, “No matter how much resources we have, if not properly utilized, it would only create a few billionaires and leave majority of our people in poverty. Under the current administration, corruption has enjoyed unprecedented prosperity and this has been at the heart of most of our government failings, including insecurity, broken infrastructure and growing inequality in our country”.

The former Head of State, in his message titled “Time For Nigeria To Be Great Once Again”, urged citizens to realise that they were united in their fears and struggles for a secure nation and better economy.

“Invariably, our fears are the same; our dreams are the same; and our problems are the same. Regardless of the language we speak, or the way we understand and worship God, what affects anyone of us, affects everyone of us.”

 

The full text of Buhari’s message here:

Time For Nigeria To Be Great Once Again

I want to take this last opportunity, before we go to the polls on Saturday March 28 and April 11 respectively, to thank everyone who has supported our campaigns. I am humbled and grateful to have had the opportunity to meet so many of my fellow Nigerians who have helped to carry the message of change across our great country.

This is the fourth time that I would be standing for election as the President of Nigeria. All these years, I have been driven by a keen awareness of the potential greatness of our country and the desire to provide the true leadership that will unleash this huge potential.

I believe that a stable and prosperous Nigeria is not only important to Nigerians. It is also important to Africa and the rest of the world. The evidence of this is the unprecedented attention that our country will receive this weekend. On Saturday, the whole world would wait with baited breath for the greatest black nation on earth to take charge of its destiny. We must therefore not miss the significance of this moment. We must not let ourselves and our country down.

At no other time in our history is Nigeria in such an urgent need of strong and competent leadership. Sadly, at no other time is this leadership so sorely absent in our country. We live in a time of great opportunities and great peril. It is only a leader that understands these in equal measure that can find the rightful place for Nigeria among the great Nations of the world.

I have travelled extensively around Nigeria in the last three months. In the course of my travels, I encountered directly, what I have always believed: that a Hausa man’s desire for security is not different from the Ijaw woman’s desire to feel secured in any part of our country.

An Igbo woman’s desire for her children to get quality education and find employment is not different from the Yoruba man’s dream for his children to become a useful member of our society. A wife’s desperate need for affordable and quality healthcare for her husband diagnosed with prostate cancer in Enugu is not different from a husband’s desire to save the life of his wife diagnosed with ovarian cancer in Lagos.

Invariably, our fears are the same; our dreams are the same; and our problems are the same. Regardless of the language we speak, or the way we understand and worship God, what affects anyone of us, affects everyone of us.

Our economy is celebrated as the largest in Africa, yet our country is home to the continent’s highest number of people living in extreme poverty. Our youth population is larger than the combined population of many of our neighbours, yet our failure to plan and create opportunities for them is turning them to a social time bomb rather than economic catalysts.

A band of ragtag terrorist group has threatened our territorial integrity, killed thousands of Nigerians, displaced our people and abducted our children. The almost 60, 000 Nigerians who have become refugees in neighbouring countries represent a budding threat to sub-regional stability.

However, even in the face of these daunting challenges, I see a great opportunity for change. We have to start by rebuilding the trust and confidence of Nigerians in their government. No citizen will respect a government under whose watch more than 200 girls were abducted.

This singular act can only portray the government as insensitive, incompetent or both. When I become president, reuniting these children with their families will, without doubts, be a top priority. Rebuilding the army and other security agencies will also be a top priority of my government. I will ensure that never again will terrorists find a safe haven in Nigeria.

Recent fall in international price of crude leaves us badly exposed and vulnerable. Dwindling oil revenue also means that we are going to face serious financial challenges in the months ahead. However, even as daunting as this appears, it also provides us with great opportunity to diversify our economy and finally give meaning to the widely held belief that our prosperity as a nation would not continue to depend on the resources buried under our feet, but on the productive capacity of our people.

No matter how much resources we have, if not properly utilized, it would only create a few billionaires and leave majority of our people in poverty. Under the current administration, corruption has enjoyed unprecedented prosperity and this has been at the heart of most of our government failings, including insecurity, broken infrastructure and growing inequality in our country.

My government will have a zero tolerance for corruption. I will set a personal example and run a government that truly serves the people rather than serve themselves and a privileged few. Like I have repeatedly maintained that if Nigeria does not kill corruption, corruption will kill Nigeria.

We must not allow Nigeria to die. Therefore, we must do all that is necessary to root out this evil that has reduced our great country to a laughing stock of the world. We must begin to rebuild the social fabrics of our society and teach a different experience to our youth in the values of hard work, discipline, integrity and service.

The change that I seek therefore; is a change from the current regime of mindless of corruption and profligacy; a change from fear and insecurity to peace and stability; a change from religious and ethnic divisiveness to unity, equity and justice. This is the change that my party stands for. This is the change that I am committed to bringing about as President. Give me the chance to lead you in rebuilding a Nigeria that all of us can be proud of once again.

As we come out to vote on Saturday, I appeal to all Nigerians to shun violence in whatever form. It is the right of every adult Nigerian to vote and expect that their votes would count in a free, fair and credible election. However, we also have a responsibility to respect the choice of others and grant them the same treatment that we expect.

I also want to call on all our men and women in uniform, the Judiciary, and all others who have constitutional responsibility to safeguard our democracy, to remember that their responsibility is primarily to Nigerians and the survival of Nigeria. They must therefore not allow anyone to use them to subvert the will of the Nigerian people. I believe that their dreams and aspirations are not different from those of other Nigerians.

I have no doubt that with God being on our side; together we can make our country great once again.

Gen. Muhammadu BUHARI, GCFR

Jonathan, Buhari Sign Another Peace Accord

Peace AccordThe top contenders in the forthcoming March 28 Presidential election, President Goodluck Jonathan of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and General Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC), have signed another peace accord in Abuja, Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

In what has been called a peace meeting, the two candidates met and signed another agreement, following the peace pact they both signed alongside other presidential candidates in January.

The meeting was brokered by the National Peace Committee for the 2015 General Elections, led by retired Gen. Abdusalami Abdusalami, and is aimed at extracting commitment from the leading candidates that the forthcoming elections would be violence-free.

They were accompanied to the meeting by the national chairmen of their parties.

The presidential candidates of all the political parties in Nigeria had signed a peace accord to prevent electoral violence before, during and after the February 14 elections, later shifted to March 28.

The previous peace meeting had in attendance President Goodluck Jonathan of the PDP, General Muhammadu Buhari of the APC and Professor Oluremi Sonaiya of the KOWA Party, amongst others.

A former Secretary General of the United Nations, Dr. Kofi Annan, was also at the January 14 event.

Peace Accord

Card Reader Test: Exercise Good So Far In Lagos, Delta

Card Readers For Election in NigeriaThe card reader test conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Lagos State “has been good so far”, Channels Television’s correspondent, Seun Okinbaloye reported on Saturday morning.

Our correspondent in Ward 4, Azagba Primary School, Ezenei, Asaba, Delta State capital, South-south Nigeria, also reported that the exercise which started exactly at 8am, saw a good number of Delta residents coming out with their Permanent Voter Cards (PVC) for the mock accreditation exercise.

According to our correspondent, it was a smooth ride for some, with only a few minutes and they are done, pointing that it took a little while for others before their thumb print could be recognised by the card reader.

He added that some other persons from other wards came out to check if they could be accredited but the card reader rejected the cards with an “OPC message which means Other Polling Cards”.

Some voters in an interview with Channels Television, lauded the exercise while others pointed out a few challenges that should be looked into by INEC.

In Lagos, south-west Nigeria, Seun Okinbaloye reported that the exercise took place at Ikeja Primary School in the GRA, on Fajuyi road, one of the 30 Polling Units in Onigbongbo Ward, Ikeja Local Government Area of the State.

Okinbaloye noted that as people were trickling in, INEC officials used the opportunity to map out the process, accompanied by State Security operatives.

He also said the time frame for the testing of the card readers ranged from about 5 seconds to a minute, adding that the issue of cloned cards had not been recorded, even as those whose cards had been tested still hung around to observe the exercise.