INEC Promises Improvement In April 11 Polls

JegaAhead of the April 11 Governorship and House of Assembly elections, the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Attahiru Jega has promised to address the hiccups experienced during the March 28 Presidential and National Assembly elections.

Professor Jega, who made the promise at a meeting with the Senate and House of Representatives Committees on INEC in Abuja, explained that the commission was working hard to deliver an election that would be better than the just-concluded elections.

The INEC boss admitted the flop in the deployment of the card readers saying, about 450 of the 150,000 card readers were faulty.

The INEC boss also commended Nigerians for their role in ensuring a peaceful conduct of the election, hoping that they would exhibit greater maturity and patience during and after the April 11 elections.

Jega Confident Logistic Challenges Will Be Cut Off During Polls

jegaThe Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Attahiru Jega, has expressed confidence that the decentralisation of distribution of election materials for the 2015 elections would cut off logistic challenges at the forthcoming polls.

Professor Jega said this at a meeting with the former President of Liberia and head of the AU delegation, Professor Amos Sawyer.

Professor Jega told the African Union (AU) election observers in Abuja that this method was not used during the 2011 general elections, hence the late commencement of accreditation and voting at polling units across the country.

The issue of logistics had always posed a major challenge at the polls.

Professor Jega admitted that there were challenges in the methodology of distribution which spiraled into widespread agitations from the electorate.

He added that the electoral body was still growing and would plug all loop holes in future elections.

Jega also urged election officials to ensure that counting of ballot papers after the voting process is done transparently in the presence of local and international observers. He has also warned security personnel against any form of intimidation.

Professor Jega received a letter from the Chairperson of the AU Commission, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, who promised full support to the nation at this time.

INEC has almost concluded the distribution process nationwide less than 48hours to the polls.

OPC Calls For Jega’s Sack

OPCThe Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC) on Monday stormed the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, demanding the sack of the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Professor Attahiru Jega, before the general elections.

Guns, cutlasses, pocket knifes, among other weapons, were seen on the OPC members who also destroyed some campaign posters of the All Progressives Congress candidates.

The protesters blocked the major highways causing a heavy traffic snarl while harassing pedestrians and motorists.

The protesters took time to distribute leaflets containing seven reasons why the INEC boss should be sacked.

The Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra had also on Friday protested in Abia and some other south-eastern states calling for the immediate removal of Professor Jega.

Obahiagbon Says President Has No Powers To Remove INEC Chairman

ObahiagbonThe Chief of Staff to the Edo State Governor, Patrick Obahiagbon, says the President of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan, does not have the powers to remove the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Attahiru Jega, noting that he is not a civil servant but a public servant.

Obahiagbon said in a chat with Channels Television, Benin, Edo State capital, that any attempt to remove Jega at this period would lead to a constitutional crisis.

Being a Legal Practitioner and a former House of Representatives member, he stated that plans to remove the INEC boss was unconstitutional.

In recent times, there had been controversies surrounding a purported removal of the INEC boss.

The House of Representatives in Nigeria has also warned against the removal of  Professor Attahiru Jega, by any individual or institutions.

The warning came on Tuesday after a motion, seeking to stop any planned removal of Professor Jega was adopted by the House.

The issue was also echoed by the Speaker, Aminu Tambuwal, when he received members of the Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room at the National Assembly.

However, during his Presidential Media Chat in February, President Goodluck Jonathan had said that there were no plans to sack the Chairman of INEC, saying “the rumours belonged to the garbage world”.

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.

APC Sweeps LG Election In Yobe

APC LogoThe All Progressives Congress (APC) has clinched all the available seats in the Local Government elections held on Saturday in Yobe State, as widely predicted by political analysts.

Declaring the results of the LG election, the Chairman of the Yobe State Independent Electoral Commission (YBSIEC), Mohammed Jauro Abdu, said that candidates of the ruling party in the state, the APC won all the chairmanship and councillorship seats contested for.

The YBSIEC Chairman also revealed that of the one million, two hundred and sixty nine thousand and fourteen (1,269, 014) voters, nine hundred and ninety nine thousand seven hundred (999,700) votes were cast, giving a percentage of 78.99 %.

He thanked the media, security agents, electoral officials, observers and Non-Governmental Organisations for their various roles towards the success of the exercise.

The All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) which metamorphosed into the All Progressives Congress has continued to dominate Yobe politics since the return of democracy in 1999.

In the LG election in 1999, the party won all the available seats with the exception of one councillorship seat in Gulani Local Government, which was won by the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA).

The Yobe State Government has fixed Monday, December 30,  2013 for the swearing in ceremony of the elected chairmen.

Ten political parties contested for the just concluded LG election.

Jega reiterates call for the creation of election offences tribunal

The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Prof. Attahiru Jega has renewed calls for election offences tribunal to prosecute electoral offenders.

The chairman said the commission cannot successfully prosecute electoral offenders because it lacks adequate funds and manpower.

The chairman said this at the INEC/ civil society dialogue on plans and progress toward the 2015 elections in Abuja.

Jega warned that if electoral offenders are not prosecuted, it could lead to impunity.

The tribunal, he noted, is in compliance with part of the recommendations of the Justice Muhammed Uwais report.

He identified the need to draw the attention of the National Assembly to the importance of the tribunal for future credible polls.

He admitted that conducting credible elections in Nigeria is a very difficult task.

He called on government to work on the Uwais panel report on electoral reform that recommended that a separate body should be set up to handle electoral offences.