Over 30 Fresh Parties Seek Registration With INEC

INEC-Mahmood Yakubu-ElectionsThe Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Nigeria says it has received applications from various associations for registration as political parties.

It said it has received 32 applications so far and that the number was rising.

The Chairman of INEC, Professor Yakubu Mahmood, gave the figure on Tuesday during the second quarterly consultative meeting with the chairmen and secretaries of registered political parties, at the commission’s headquarters.

Professor Yakubu assured political parties that “the commission remains committed to the opening of the democratic space in line with the law and our guidelines”.

According to him, the applications are being processed.

He explained that the meeting was a forum for the commission to brief party leaders on developments in the management of the democratic system.

He addressed the recent revelations of alleged involvement of INEC staff in the subversion of 2015 general elections through cash inducement.

“INEC will also take further administrative action against staff found culpable in this dastardly conduct. We will not hesitate to interdict staff where prima facie cases have been established against them by EFCC and immediately terminate the appointments of those indicted,” he stressed.

Professor Yakubu also disclosed that despite the severe constraints on the commission, with regard to the prosecution of election offenders, as exemplified by the recently held by-election in Minjibir constituency in Kano State, INEC legal team and the police have successfully secured the conviction of 42 suspects.

“This is the highest number of convictions in a single case ever achieved by the commission.”

On the outstanding re-run elections, the INEC chairman explained that out of 80 court ordered re-run elections, the commission had successfully conducted 49 and has 31 elections pending as well as one by-election.

He maintained that except for Anambra and Plateau re-run elections which are sub-judice, the commission has started the processes of consultation leading to the completion of the outstanding elections.

Professor Yakubu also welcomed suggestions and inputs from the political parties on areas of constitutional and legal amendments.

He said: “We welcome suggestions by political parties on areas of amendment you consider important for inclusion in the comprehensive proposal we intend to submit to the National Assembly”.

PDP Asks APC To Explain Links With Jega

Olisa-MetuhThe Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has asked the All Progressives Congress (APC) to explain to Nigerians the links between it and the Chairman of the electoral body, Professor Attahiru Jega, which informs and propels its feverish fixation and huge interest in his stay in office.

The National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Olisa Metuh in a statement on Saturday said it was more than curious that the APC had continued to fabricate stories and show undue interest on Professor Jega.

Mr Metuh said that such undue interest raise a lot of questions for the opposition and the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

“Undoubtedly, the frenzy, hysteria and spate with which the APC has been inventing stories regarding Prof. Jega’s stay in office even when nothing suggests that such was on the table, raise a lot of issues.

“We ask, is there any underlining issue or arrangement between APC and Prof. Jega which the opposition is hell-bent to protect, informing its anxiety and apprehension towards his stay in office?

“While it is noted that the APC is a party of one week, one lie, we in the PDP look beneath the surfaces to the deeper issues propelling the lies. We therefore challenge the APC to come out clean and tell Nigerians the real reason behind their false alarms and uncontrolled nervousness regarding Prof. Jega ahead of the 2015 general elections.

“Finally, we wish to remind the leadership of the INEC that Nigerians are monitoring its activities and series of unfolding political events ahead of the elections, and will not accept anything less than the conduct of credible, free and fair general elections come March 28 and April 11, 2015,” the party said.

KOWA Party Hopeful It Will Change Nigeria

Remi-SonaiyaThe presidential candidate of the KOWA party, Professor Remi Sonaiya, has expressed hopes that the party could change Nigeria and give the oil rich nation a clean break from what has been in existence.

Professor Sonaiya told reporters in Osogbo, the Osun State capital, on Wednesday  that what ‎Nigeria needed at this time was a leader who would change the course of things.

According to her past leaders, who had one time or the other ruled the country, should ordinarily not be given a chance to come to power again, saying, they were responsible ‎for the present status of the country.

Face The Task Of Governance

Professor Sonaiya further stated that Nigeria needed someone who would squarely face the task of governance and move the nation forward from her crawling stage, something she said she could offer.

She described the rescheduling of the elections as a big disappointment, insisting, however, that those kicking against the use of card readers for the elections, would only drag the country’s democracy back.

She said the time had come for Nigerians to rise up and vote change for the betterment of the entire country, maintaining that KOWA party represents the kind of change needed in Nigeria.

PDP Says Buhari’s Belated Choice Of Running Mate Shows Incompetence

Yemi_OsibanjoThe Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has described the choice of Professor Yemi Osinbajo by General Muhammadu Buhari as his running mate in the 2015 presidential election as ‘belated and the height of incompetence’.

Professor Osinbajo was chosen on Wednesday, six days after the emergence of General Buhari as the Presidential candidate, the party pointed out.

The PDP also declared that the eventual choice of Osinbajo was a confirmation of its stand that the All Progressive Congress was the personal project of a cabal commanded by former Lagos State governor, Bola Tinubu, to expand its political and economic frontiers.

In a statement by a PDP spokesman, Olisa Metuh, on Wednesday, the party said: “should power get to this cabal, who is desperate to control the political and economic power centre of the nation, then Nigeria is finished”.

“Whimsical Interference”

“By the choice of Osibajo, a well known acolyte of Tinubu, who served under him as Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, the APC, General Buhari and Tinubu have boldly recreated their well-known notoriety for sectional and personal interests.

“It is particularly worrisome that General Buhari has surrendered his first official responsibility of choosing a running mate, invariably his powers to Tinubu even before he goes to the field to ask for votes.

“This is not surprising of Buhari, who has consistently exhibited a track record of incompetence. This is the same man who as military head of state surrendered all his powers to his second in command. The story of his headship of the Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF) is not different, as he also got lost before the flurry of portfolios of paid consultants.

The statement further stated that the “whimsical interference in the choice of candidates for his party not only muddled up the process but ended up creating an electoral malfeasance and confusion that eased out federal lawmakers elected on the platform of the CPC from his native Katsina state”.

“Our citizens should indeed be concerned about this: that it took the APC, six days to produce its vice presidential candidate and that the founder and funder of the party, Tinubu, as always, had his way. No doubt, this is how Tinubu is going to impose his mercantilist interest on major decisions affecting the entire country.

“This is the problem with the APC, a political party built on the narrow interests of very few individuals. Any political party that subjects its collective will to the whims of an individual, as it is with the APC, is indeed not ready for leadership.

“Fortunately, the PDP offers to all Nigerians a truly national party and a Jonathan/Sambo ticket ready to build a better tomorrow.

“In PDP, the focus remains to ensure that we continue to deliver on our promises and put the interests of Nigerians first in all our party decisions and policies of our government.”

Osun Governorship Election: APC Files Counter Petition

Gov aregbesola campaignThe Osun State Chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has filed a reply to the petition filed by the Governorship Candidate of the Accord Party, Niyi Owolade, seeking the nullification ‎of the result of the Osun governorship election.

The election, held on August 9, was won by the incumbent Governor, Rauf Aregbesola.

But the Accord party is asking the court to look into the result of the election which, according to the petition, was not free and Fair.

Addressing reporters at the state High Court in Osogbo, lead counsel to the APC, Mr Kunle Adegoke said the APC was presenting 30 witnesses to prove that in most parts of the state the election was free and fair.

The Accord Party’s 17-page petition contains only 14 witnesses to prove that the election was rigged in 30 local governments.

Mr Adegoke said the petition lacked the basic requirements that must be met by a petitioner, stressing that the removal of Justice I.M. Bako, the former chairman of the Osun Election Petition Tribunal, ought to have been carried out with recourse to some other parties involved in the petition.

Group Expresses Satisfaction With Electoral Reforms

Osun_Election_Police-BigA coalition of civil society and advocacy groups in Abuja has expressed satisfaction with the recent electoral reforms of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

At the a a meeting with INEC’s officials, the groups said that the recent elections in Ekiti and Osun States showed that the electoral body had the capability to conduct credible elections in 2015.

They commended the electoral commission for steps it had taken in recent times, including the continuous voters’ registration exercise and the issuance of the Permanent Voters Cards for the elections.

They, however, expressed concerns over the conducts of politicians during political rallies and the insecurity in some parts of the country, saying these are the greatest challenge ahead of the 2015 general elections.

Eliminate Rigging

The meeting was held to assess INEC’s issuance of permanent voters cards and the level of citizen’s awareness ahead of the elections in 2015.

Conveners of the meeting hope to adopt strategies that will encourage greater voters awareness and participation during the polls.

During its presentation, the electoral commission demonstrated how the new voter’s card technology would help eliminate rigging during the polls.

According to the commission, electorates who are unable to collect their permanent voters cards from the designated centres could pick them up at their local government head quarters before the 2015 general elections in February.

EDHA Declares Defected Member’s Seat Vacant

edo2 The APC faction of the Edo State House of Assembly, has declared vacant, the seat of Abdulrazaq Momoh, representing Etsako Constituency 2.

Speaker of the House Uyi Igbe who read the decision of the House said the decision is keeping with Section 109 of the   constitution following his defection to the Peoples’ Democratic Party from the All Progressive Congress.

Speaker Igbe also directed that the lawmaker should be evicted from his official quarters and also return his official car.

It was recalled  that the House suspended four lawmakers, on allegations of gross misconduct, about two months ago.

Three of them were those who defected from the APC to the PDP and the fourth suspended lawmaker is the Deputy Speaker of the House who is a member of the APC.

The Majority Leader of the House, Philip Shaibu, had also alleged that the lawmakers were suspended for trying to induce others with 50million Naira each to impeach Governor Adams Oshiomhole and the Speaker, Uyi Igbe.

However, the lawmakers debunked all allegations. A High Court, had ruled that the lawmakers  could be suspended, but that their seats could not be declared vacant.

 

 

APC Maintains A Level Playing Ground – Fashekin

Rotimi FashekinA member of the leading opposition party in Nigeria, the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr Rotimi Fashekin, says there is a level playing file in the party, discrediting claims that the party has leaders that are more superior to other members.

At a National Convention that will hold on Thursday, the political party hopes to resolve some of the issues that arose in some states during the last state congresses .

Some members of the party in some states defected to the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) after controversial leadership issues could not be resolved.

But Mr Fashekin told Channels Television on Tuesday that the crises witnessed in some states during the congress were signs that the party was evolving and good for democracy.

“We have evolved as a nation politically. What is happen in APC is part of the usual things that happen as a political party evolves from stages to stage.

“This party has the capacity to scale through crisis. Nobody gave the party a chance to survive. We have passed different milestones,” he said, insisting that the political party is building its structure to give Nigerians the true change they wanted,” he said.

Mr Fashekin ascribed the crisis to the inability of politicians to wait and see how a political party they belong to could overcome crisis facing it before considering decamping.

He described the stage the political party was going through as a kind of political evolution that emphasises the freedom of individuals to move from one political party to another.

According to him, the political party had created a level playing ground for members of the party to participate fully in every activity of the party.

He said that the party had put strategies in place for live coverage of the convention for Nigerians to see how transparent the party ‘s electoral process was.

“There is a great deal of expectation from the convention because it is the very first and many Nigerians are expecting many things from APC

“The APC constitution is with INEC and nobody is excluded from contesting or voting.

“Zoning is not in the APC constitution. It is important that when you have a political party like this with support from different parts of the nation you make it open for everyone to contest for positions. Zoning can only be adopted if there are signs that members from a particular part of the country is not getting any position,” he explained.

Mr Fashekin, however, expressed fears that there might be a kind of sabotage by the opposition during the convention.

According to him, the party got information that there would be massive searching of those that would be entering Abuja on the day of the convention.

He stressed that as much as such stop and search was to ensure security of lives and property, “it will be wrong when it is for the purpose of truncating APC’s convention”.

“Security agencies are expected to do their work in a way that it will not show they are partisan,” he said.

Anambra Stampede: Ngige Campaign Organisation Speaks

The Ngige Campaign Organisation has described the claims by Governor Peter Obi and the APGA National Chairman, blaming it for the Anambra church stampede as an orchestrated lie.

At a meeting with journalists in Awka, the state capital, on Monday November 4, the organisation dismissed the validity of Governor Obi’s claims and also questioned his credibility in setting up an inquiry into the incident.

The statement by the organisation read, “It is rather most unfortunate that the State Governor and the APGA National Factional Chairman chose to play politics with such a national tragedy in which they were both principal actors.”

“The statement credited to the Anambra State Government that the stampede which killed over 30 persons was caused by the supporters of Dr. Chris Ngige should therefore be disregarded as a tissue of lies that it is, by the good people of Anambra State and Nigerians in general.

“One thing stands out clearly, which can never be dimmed by any desperate campaign; this tragedy could have been avoided if the APGA campaign train did not visit the Adoration Ground at such an ungodly hour to campaign for votes.”

“The Governor should not hold Senator Chris Ngige responsible for his growing unpopularity, and how the people choose to react to him whenever he appears in public.”

The Governor had in his state wide broadcast on Sunday, mentioned the presence of a group of people “located in 3 different spots who started shouting the name of a gubernatorial candidate, Dr Chris Ngige and waving the brooms of All Progressives Congress and pictures of the same candidate” when he was called by the presiding priest to speak to the people.

He also claimed that he left the crusade ground at 3:00am, local time, whereas the incident took place at 5:00am.

APGA Calls For Ngige’s Arrest Over Crusade Stampede

Senator Chris NgigeA political party in Nigeria, the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), has called for the arrest of Senator Chris Ngige, alleging that he masterminded the commotion that led to the death of over 25 persons and dozens injured at the Holy Ghost Adoration Ministry Crusade.

The stampede occurred in Uke, Idemili North Local Government Area of Anambra State on Saturday morning.

The National Chairman of the party, Victor Umeh, called on the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar, to arrest Senator Ngige. He demanded that Ngige should explain what his supporters were doing at the crusade ground with their party symbols of brooms and the governorship candidate’s posters.

He said that “it was a grand plot to cause confusion at the prayer ground.”

Umeh also warned other politicians to desist from politics of confusion.

Senator Ngige is the Senator representing Anambra Central Senatorial District and the All Progressives Congress governorship candidate in the state’s forthcoming gubernatorial election.

The Anambra State government had accused the supporters of Ngige for the unfortunate incident.

Senator Ngige denied the allegations, describing it as an attempt by the state governor and the All Progressives Grand Alliance to tarnish his reputation in the state.

Ngige, accompanied by his wife, was at the hospital where survivors are receiving treatment to commiserate with them.

He called for an unbiased investigation into the cause of the incident.

The gubernatorial election of Anambra State will hold on November 16.

Tinubu wants the Senate scrapped

Former Lagos State Governor and leader of Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Bola Tinubu, has made the call for the upper arm of  legislature to be scrapped.

Mr Tinubu, who disclosed this in Abuja on Tuesday at the 2012 Annual Conference and Awards ceremony of Leadership Newspapers, said that the House of Representatives is better placed at representing the people since its members are  closer to the grass roots.

The opposition leader who is a former Senator, claimed this will go a great deal in addressing the nation’s huge cost of governance and recurrent expenditure.

“We have kept complaining about the cost of governance and the recurrent expenditure, but we have never examined the structural problem of even the constitution that we are operating” he stated.

“Why do we need two Houses of the National Assembly,  whereas  the House of Representatives representing the smaller constituencies is enough in the same number of population.

“Why not get rid of the Senate for a slim and better legislative activity? Let us start examining that” a fiery Mr Tinubu suggested.

Mr Tinubu’s call is coming just as the Senegalese parliament passed a law, last week to scrap its Senate and the office of vice-president, as both are considered too expensive for the West-African nation’s budget.

President Macky Sall last month announced emergency legislation to scrap the Senate and turn over its annual budget of almost $16 million to dealing with the impact of deadly floods that recently inundated the country.

Mr Tinubu also expressed his support for moves by the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Attahiru Jega, to take total full control of the commission by asking that he be allowed to pick the Resident Electoral Commissioners (REC).

Absolute power for Jega

The opposition leader  stated  it was wrong for the RECs to be appointed by the President, who he said, belongs to a political party.

He noted that it was bad for President Goodluck Jonathan, who is a member of the Peoples Democratic Party, a party he said had vowed that it would rule for 60 years or more, to be the one appointing the RECs.

Since Nigerians had given Prof Jega  permission to act on their behalf, he should be allowed to pick his lieutenants.

“Once you say somebody is Chairman/Chief Executive of a corporation, you have given him all the powers and authority to act on behalf of the people” he stated.

“We gave INEC the power and authority to act on our behalf, to be an institution that will be transparent and independent and the commission is being funded directly from source, from allocation, from tax and expenditure from our commonwealth and the wealth of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“Why would we not allow the buck to stop on the table of INEC Chairman so that if he messes up, we have somebody to blame.

“Why will an INEC chairman not be able to appoint those in the branches in the states – the Resident Electoral Commissioners who are representatives of IEC in the states?”

 

 

Nigeria needs a strong opposition party to unseat PDP in 2015 – Ribadu

The presidential candidate of the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, in the 2011 polls and former Chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, has called for a credible opposition to the ruling Peoples Democractic Party, PDP, in 2015.

He made the call in Kaduna on Saturday, during the 7th annual Ramadan lectures organized by the Nigeria Television Authority, NTA, and Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria, FRCN.

Ribadu, who is the Chairman, Presidential Task Force Committee on Petroleum, noted that the nation was in dire need of a credible alternative to the PDP.

“Nigeria is in dire need of a credible alternative to PDP. If the parties come together, chances are that they would be able to have a formidable party that will confront PDP and until that is done, hopefully, it will bring relief to Nigerians” He said.