17 Political Parties In Kogi State Sign Peace Accord

kogi state17 political parties have signed peace accord in Kogi State ahead of the forth coming general elections across the nation and in the bid to ensure violence free and credible election in the State.

The peace pact which, was organized by the State chapter of the Inter Party Accord Committee (IPAC), in collaboration with the Kogi State Police Command was to ensure a hitch free elections in Kogi State.

The State Chairman of the Inter Security Agencies and the Commissioner of Police, Mr Adeyemi Ogunjemilusi explained the essence of the gathering, as he warned those planning to subvert the electoral process in the State to favour them to desist from it in there own interest.

Speaking also at the occasion was the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) for Kogi State, Hussain Halilu Pai, who assured the political parties that the electoral umpire was ready to conduct a credible election.

According to him, the introduction of Smart Card Readers (SCR) and Permanent Voter Cards (PVC) is an improvement on the 2011 election.

The Chairman of the Inter-Party Advisory, Hon. Ibrahim Itodo also admonished political parties representatives.

Evidence Does Not Support INEC’s Claims Of Readiness – Prof. Otunbanjo

Femi_OtunbanjoA 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.”

The INEC had on February 7 announced a shift in the general elections dates to March 28 and April 11.

The new schedule was announced by the Chairman of the commission, Professor Attahiru Jega, after meetings with political stakeholders.

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.

Amosun Kicks Against Election Postponement

amosunThe Governor of Ogun State, Ibikunle Amosun, has kicked against calls for the postponement of the February polls, insisting that any postponement would make electorates lose confidence in the electoral process.

Addressing supporters at the end of a two-day campaign tour to Obafemi Owode ‎Local Government Area, where he sought their support for his re-election, Senator Amosun stressed that any attempt to reschedule the elections will be unfair on the electorate.

Governor Amosun, however, suggested that necessary steps should be taken to ensure the elections hold as scheduled. he said that his administration would declare a public holiday to allow citizens of the state collect their Permanent Voter Cards as soon as the electoral body bring in the last batch of the cards.

There have been series of report on the plot to postpone the elections, but officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission has assured registered Nigerians that they  were doing their best to make sure the election will hold as scheduled.

REC Laments Low Turnout For PVC Collection In Niger

PVCThe Niger State Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Nasiru Ayilara, has lamented the poor turnout of the electorate for the collection of the Permanent Voters Card (PVC) across the state.

The new Resident Electoral Commissioner, during an interview, noted that only 28% of eligible voters across the state has collected their Permanent Voters Card (PVC).

“Eleven Local Governments have finished their own distributions at the PU (Polling Unit) level, (while) its still ongoing at the Local Government level.

“For the 11 Local Governments that have finished, reliably we have recorded 28% but for the 14 Local Governments still ongoing, we are still awaiting the figures from the field,” he said.

He added that the situation might require more awareness from the electoral body; “We might take another proactive measure locally by going back to our various wards again…just as to ensure that our people have their cards before February.”

He appealed to residents of the state to endeavour to collect their cards at the commission’s offices across the state, as that remained the only way they would be able to participate in the forthcoming general elections.

 

We Have Prosecuted Over 200 Electoral Offenders Since 2011 – Jega

The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Attahiru Jega on Monday said that the commission has investigated and prosecuted over 200 persons who allegedly breached the electoral laws.

Mr Jega, who was a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, accused Nigerian politicians of always seeking to ‘jump the gun’ during elections. He said INEC has done its best in checking this trend.

“I want to say categorically, we have done or best. We have prosecuted over 200 people successfully,” he said.

He said some of the electoral offenders, including members of the National Youth Service Corp (NYSC) and INEC staff have been fined or jailed.
“Before our commission was inaugurated, there was no record of a single successful prosecution of electoral offences,” Mr Jega said.

He said though the number represents a drop in the ocean, the commission had reasons to prosecute about one million people over multiple registrations.

“On registration alone, we do have evidence to prosecute close to a million people for clear cases of multiple registrations,” he said.
He said the commission lacks the resources and personnel to prosecute all these offenders.

Mr Jega said INEC is currently working on how to relinquish the responsibility of prosecuting electoral offenders to another agency.

He said, “We are partnering with the NBA (Nigerian Bar Association), in fact, we have been discussing this partnership and now we are taking it a level higher and our hope is that before we commence the process of continuous voters’ registration, which we hope will commence by the third quarters which is July – September God willing, we also want to make example of those who have done multiple registration.

“We will do it, but it is very challenging. The best thing is to have another agency that can actually handle prosecution of electoral offenders.”

Logistic problems

Mr Jega said managing logistics during elections is a major problem that INEC have been contending with for a long time insisting that the commission has done its best to minimise this challenge.

He said, “I want to assure you that globally, there’s no country where you can say it is 100 percent free of this challenge of late arrival of materials.”

He said since he assumed office, the commission has been partnering with the security agencies to hasten the deployment of materials to areas with troubling terrain.

“Where it is necessary to move material by aircraft or helicopter, the navy helped us during the 2011 elections. Where it was to move it in the riverine areas the navy helped us and even provided security to minimise challenges arising from the activities of militants groups,” the INEC boss said.

He said INEC devised a strategy of deploying materials to areas far from the city centre before deploying to closer areas but that this, as it happened in the recent Edo Council polls, has its own challenges.

He said the commission has reduced the incidences of late arrival of material to election venue by about 60 percent since 2011.

Staggered Elections

Mr Jega maintained that staggered elections are not the best for Nigeria, saying that the series of staggered elections in the country resulted from court judgments which affected tenures of some governors.

He said, “Certainly, some staggering helps the process. The kind of staggering we have now in terms of saying this kind of elections should take place now and then you sequence it; that kind of sequencing of major elections, I think has been helpful, it helps us to focus and it helps us to poll resources together and to deploy them appropriately.

He said, “But if you take staggering to a staggering extent, if I can put it that way, really it will also have its own challenges. It means for example if we have to every election state by state in all the 36 states and the FCT it will take us three years.

“If you are doing Presidential election for example, you have to do it nationally and in every place because the results have to be announced for a candidate to be returned.”

Mr Jega said conducting staggered election has its limitation and insisted that what is important is for INEC to have the independence of deciding when to conduct a holistic or staggered election.

“If you legalise it by saying do elections state by state or do election region by region, you will create additional problems which are not presently anticipated,” he said.

Electronic voting

The INEC chairman said the commission at the moment does not have any legal bottleneck and is not hindered from seeking innovative methods of conducting its operation even with the use of technology.

“The only clear categorical hindrance is in electronic voting. The law says categorically that electronic voting is prohibited and until that prohibition is lifted we even have challenges in terms of experimenting and piloting or getting some machines and beginning to see which are the best that can be used for electronic voting are,” he said.

He said the commission had sent a recommendation to the National Assembly that as they review the 1999 constitution to “look at that provision and perhaps remove that prohibition. So that once it is removed we may not be able to do it in 2015 but we can begin to experiment and identify which models are suitable to Nigeria.”

Permanent Voter Card

Mr Jega said before the 2015 general elections, INEC will distribute permanent voters’ card to all registered voters in Nigeria.

The voter cards are to replace the temporary ones issued at the end of the voters’ registration in 2011. The cards are valid for 10 years.

Last year, the Federal Government approved N2.6 billion for the printing of 40 million out of the 75 million permanent voter cards in the first phase of the project.

The government has approved additional N33.5 million for the project’s second phase.

Mr Jega said “the permanent voter cards are chip-based carrying all our biometrics that was captured during the registration.

“We intend on election day to use a card reader to verify and to authenticate who is the true owner of that card. We believe that once we are able to do this successfully, then all these phenomenon of politicians purchasing voter cards and giving it to other people to come and vote with it on Election Day will be eliminated.”

Relocating voters

The INEC chairman said all registered voters must vote at the point where they have registered.

Mr Jega disclosed this in response to a question tweeted-in by a lady who was watching the live programme on Channels Television from Abuja.

However, when a voter relocates, Mr Jega said “the electoral act clearly specifies what to do. You can change or transfer your registration status. All she needs to do in her case is to apply to the Resident Electoral Commissioner in the FCT giving all the necessary information why she has moved, what were the details of her previous registration, what was her polling unit and where is she now located.

“Once she does that application and it is verified, her details will be transferred to her new place and then we will issue her a permanent voter card in the new place.”