The 2023 election timetable announced by Prof. Mahmoud Yakubu, Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Thursday, has begun to generate serious controversies across all sectors, particularly in political and economic segments.
The economic implications of the pronouncement have been of great concern, considering the current position of the economy which is on the precipice.
President Muhammadu too is said to be under pressure over the announcement as it came to him suddenly.
Political analysts are worried that the timetable could heighten the tempo of politicking, backroom dealing and horse-trading while actual governance may take the backstage.
They are also of the opinion that an order in which the presidential election comes first may confer an undue advantage on the incumbent party and upset the outcome of future elections.
Yakubu, on Thursday, said Nigeria was 855 days away from the 2023 general elections.
Yakubu, at the inauguration of the House of Representatives Committee on Constitution Review, urged the National Assembly to work fast on the exercise, ahead of the polls, saying the 2023 presidential election is scheduled to hold on February 18, 2023.
Timetable Curious, Says Teniola
A veteran journalist, Mr. Eric Teniola, said the announcement was curious, pointing out that it was the first time Nigerians have been given 855 days’ notice for a presidential election.
He added that the declaration came 26 days before Yakubu’s tenure as Chairman of INEC terminates.
Teniola, a retired director from the presidency, explained further that “One would have expected that the INEC Chairman announce the dates for the gubernatorial elections in Anambra, Ekiti and Osun States slated for next year and 2022. I am a bit prying and nosy at the timing of the announcement of the date of the presidential election. I am sure critics of Professor Yakubu will think that the announcement is a campaign alert of his readiness to be given an opportunity to be reappointed and that he is flying a kite having been intoxicated by INEC’s so called success in Edo and Ondo gubernatorial elections.”
According to him “It’s like the Bauchi born Professor is throwing bits of bait into the waters for the attention of President Muhammadu Buhari. No doubt he is qualified for reappointment, he is fifty-eight. He has served as the Executive Secretary at the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) (2007-2012) and also served as the Assistant Secretary of Finance and Administration of the 2014 National Conference of President Goodluck Jonathan.
“If you push your luck too far, you may risk losing the good favour and the good fortune you have garnered thus far. That is the simple lesson about life.
“It is the constitutional responsibility of President Muhammadu Buhari, to consult the National Council of State before submitting a name to the Senate for confirmation as Chairman of INEC. The President may choose to nominate any other person entirely. It is up to President Buhari. I am sure the President will be under pressure on this issue now. Whoever the President chooses is expected to conduct the Anambra, Osun and Ekiti States gubernatorial elections and the 2023 presidential election of February 18, 2023.”
PDP Yet To Take Decision – Ologbondiyan
Although Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, National Publicity Secretary of the opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP), told Sunday Independent that the party was still studying the situation, Mr. Fatai Adams, chairman of the PDP in Ondo State, argued that he doesn’t believe the early release of the 2023 election schedule would undermine governance.
He said “I don’t believe the early announcement of the election schedule would cause distraction. It’s not everybody in public office that would be contesting election. Even in advanced countries, there are situations you know the date of the election four years before the election.
“It only gives room for enough preparation. INEC would not have any excuse of not having enough time to prepare for the election. All participating political parties would have enough time to prepare themselves for the election.
“It is a welcome development and if managed very well, it would enhance our democracy.”
Speaking on the Justice Uwais Panel’s recommendation that all the elections should hold same day, the PDP state chairman declared that he would not subscribe to the recommendation.
He said: “As far as I am concerned, I don’t support such recommendation. It does not allow the electorate to assess the integrity, capability and competence of other candidates. You will just realise that it’s a matter of this is my presidential candidate and they will vote along that line which is not supposed to be.
“So, let everybody contest based on his integrity, competence, capability and manifesto.”
On whether APC has a hidden agenda by allowing INEC release the election schedule so early and Mr. President nominating his aide as INEC commissioner, Adams said it ran afoul of the dictate of the constitution which says an INEC commissioner must be an apolitical personality.
He said: “The issue of Mr. President nominating one of his aides as INEC commissioner is unacceptable. If you look at the rules and regulations that guide the appointment of electoral commissioners, he must be an apolitical person. Someone who does not belong to any political party.
“As far as the issue of announcing timetable, I don’t see anything wrong in it. What matters most is for the INEC to behave as unbiased umpire, remain neutral and prepare level playing field for everybody so that they are not dictated to by anybody. Once they do that, it is good for our democracy.”
Let’s Wait And See – Experts
Wale Ogunade, a legal practitioner, also commended INEC for rolling out its timetable, saying it is a good thing. “I don’t see anything bad in it. Rather than castigating it, I think we should applaud them. Informing us that the election will hold on February 18, 2023 means that all those who would be interested should start their work.
“Even before the INEC roll out the time table several notable people have been politicking, they are busy going round and some are saying the presidency should go to the South, some are saying it should remain in the North, some are saying it should go to the Middle Belt. Apart from that there is a lot going on and we can be sure that it is good for democracy because everybody will be busy in one way or the other in the electoral process.
“I don’t think the timetable coming out now falls in favour of any political party not APC, not PDP. It would rather let them know that they have a lot to do. Telling us that the timetable is early and is in the favour of the APC, rather than that, it is even against them because they know that their days are numbered.”
On the conduct of all elections in a day, Ogunade stressed that “If it is done one day it will cause confusion and stress, so I prefer the way it is staggered. It is better we stagger it so that there won’t be confusion or disturbance on the day.”
Goddy Uwazurike, another Barrister said “Prof. Yakubu was just trying to show that INEC is hardworking. INEC is notoriously known for tardy preparation. So we can at best take this to be a tentative date. Our impression from the last presidential election is that INEC has learnt nothing and forgotten nothing. During the election INEC regaled us with how election savvy it was but during the court trial all that was presented was PROVE IT. The recent presentation can only be met with a wait and see attitude.”
He added that the Uwais report was begging for attention, saying “One of the most important recommendations is a one-day election for all positions. INEC does not need a legislation to do the needful. The constitution gives INEC the power to determine the mode and day of election. I find it strange that President Muhammadu Buhari has not signed the Electoral Act into law but is anxious to railroad the Water Bill into law.”
Another lagos-based legal practitioner, Onyeisi Chiemeke, pointed out that since Nigeria started operating the presidential system of government, it has never operated a one-day election calendar, but clarified that the law empowers it with the supervision and organisation of elections.
“If the system is progressive the order of elections may not matter much. For example the United States of America does have the mid-term election system for the legislative branch and it has not impacted on the outcome of such election.
“I don’t know about anything being too early with the question of power. Politicians constantly plan for the acquisition of power. Even as we speak some Republicans have started warming up for the presidential election of 2024.
On his part, Ezenwa Nwagwu, chairman, Partners for Electoral Reforms in Nigeria said “Whether or not a date is fixed, there’s not a lot governance going on, the politicians virtually collapsed everything and are face electioneering. So it’s important to have some certainty because INEC needs to put all stakeholders on notice, appropriation, logistics preparation require time.
“I do not worry about whether it is staggered or not, my premium is the integrity of the process, increasing the confidence of voters and citizens that votes will count. If our elections hold in a day and it’s not credible, free and fair there would be issues. Let’s continue to work to improve election by more infusion of technology.”
“The disclosure by the INEC boss pertaining to the date for the 2023 Presidential elections is most unfortunate and a big distraction, especially when it is still two and half years away.
“Nigeria is presently at a cross road over the insecurity issues that have taken the front burner of national discuss and making such an announcement at this critical time will negatively impact on governance because, many of the presidential aides and even politicians will begin to roll out their programmes and as such, cause about a huge distraction.”
These were the words of Mukhtar Aliyu, a public affairs analyst while speaking with Sunday Independent in Kaduna on Friday.
“Although the INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmoud Yakubu did not speak on the elections for the National Assembly, State Governorship and State Assemblies, this will cause aspirants to begin mobilizing their foot soldiers and it will impact negatively on governance at all spheres. It will jump start the electoral process and heighten the political tempo in the country.
“Nigerians have since developed this skepticism on the insincerity of the ruling APC and its desperation to hold on to power even in the face of its colossal failure across all sectors”.
“The All Progressive Congress, under the Buhari presidency is not interested in true democracy or governance but simply contented with power. Power to do what, nobody knows. However, it should tread carefully as Nigerians, especially the youths, have now shown interest in governance and how the country should be run.
“As for perceived partisanship of the APC, it is very glaring that the party is more than prepared to give all it takes to retain power beyond 2023. The nomination of the aide of the President, Ms. Lauretta Onochie as INEC Commissioner nominee is a clear signal of things to come.
“The Justice Uwais Panel on electoral reforms are just designed to hoodwink gullible Nigerians as the Buhari administration has not genuinely showed signs of implementing whatever reforms that will be required to reposition this country”.
Aliyu rued the waste involved in the staggered elections in Nigeria saying “A one-off election nationwide into all elective positions in Nigeria would save this nation the billions of naira needed for huge infrastructural growth and development in this country. Sadly, INEC and all those benefiting from the wasteful exercise do not seem to want to key into such reforms.”
Another respondent, Kabiru Umar, ‘Dan Auta’ agrees that, an order in which the presidential election comes first, would confer an undue advantage on the incumbent party and upset the outcome of the elections, because, once the candidate of the incumbent party is successfully announced as a winner, virtually all other elections would be swayed towards that direction.
Umar therefore opined that all elections be conducted simultaneously in all the states with every aspirant/contender would be focusing on his/her own election.
Comrade Bitrus Ayuba, a political commentator however disagrees with those rooting for a one-off elections saying it provides for a consolidated rigging process if caution is not applied.
According to Ayuba, “Nigeria and Nigerians are not prepared to organize such an electoral exercise that will see elections hold in one day. We must not be in a hurry to do things that we would later on regret.
“In my opinion, we can instead consider electronic voting which will be less expensive, less cumbersome but more transparent and cost effective. We have the capacity to do this successfully if we adopt the Automated Teller Machine system where all cards are chipped and each voter identified through his/her Bank Verification Number.”
He said INEC will do Nigerians a great deal of service by organizing all elections on February 18, 2023, as he revealed that those benefiting from the huge sleaze that accompanies all elections would kick against this process.
Abdullaziz Abdalla said the process of organizing a one-day electoral exercise is achievable if Nigeria wants to do so.
“We have both capital and human resources to achieve it if we so desire,” he added.
1. The Polling-units Results are recorded inside the Form-EC8A at the end of the election at each polling-unit.
2. At the Wards Collation Centres, the results of all the Polling-units are Collated inside the Form-EC8B, and the final Ward Results are Calculated at the bottom of the Form-EC8B.
3. At the Local Government Collation Centres, the results of the Wards are Collated inside the Form-EC8C, and the final Local Government Area Results are Calculated at the bottom of the Form-EC8C.
4. At the State Collation Centre, the results of the Local Governments are Collated inside the Form-EC8D, and the final State Results are Calculated at the bottom of the Form-EC8D.
5. After the completion of the Form-EC8D at the State level, the results are being transferred into the Form-EC8E, and handed over to the Returning Officer, who now declares the results using the information contained in the Form-EC8E.
The source of the photos is in the link below:
The First Photo is the Form-EC8D.
The Second Photo is the Form-EC8E.
MCI had on Sunday reported how Obaseki, candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, secured 307,955 votes to defeat Osagie Ize-Iyamu, the APC candidate, who got 223, 619 votes.
In a statement forwarded to MCI, Sunday, the APC alleged foul play in election, but called on party members to stay calm “while party leaders study the result and decide what is next.”
In the statement signed by the Chairman of the APC Media Campaign Council, Mr. John Mayaki, rejecting the result, the APC cited alleged strong arm tactics.
“Our people were arbitrarily arrested, many of the figures were fabricated,” said the terse statement, which the party said was only a preliminary reaction.
It further alleged illicit tampering with results, to shore up PDP numbers and mark down APC’s.
“Areas where we won, they cancelled them. They decreased the votes in areas we had advantage,” the party further claimed. “They rejected our results and jerked up theirs.”
Meanwhile, the party also claimed there was arbitrary arrest of local party members, who could have resisted the outrage, while Governor Godwin Obaseki was busy diverting attention with false alarm.
“Obaseki shouted that he was being rigged out and blamed INEC at the initial stage but that was to divert attention from the evil going on in the field”, the statement said.
The party, however, told its members to stay calm, thanking them for their support, and adding that party leaders were studying the result and would announce their decision and course of action as soon as possible.
Governor Godwin Obaseki took to his Twitter page to announce that he has received the result sheet of the 2020 Edo gubernatorial election from INEC.
“I have just received the results sheet of the Edo governorship election from @inecnigeria, which provides details of the polls cast on Saturday. I appreciate Edo people for their support and unflinching resolve to reward our hard work.
Congratulations to all of us once more!”
MCI reports that Obaseki of the PDP polled a total number of 307,955 votes to defeat his main challenger, Ize-Iyamu of the APC, who scored 223,619 votes. Governor Obaseki was returned elected after polling the highest number of votes in the election.
PRESIDENT BUHARI COMMENDS ELECTION PROCESS IN EDO STATE, REITERATES COMMITMENT TO FREE AND FAIR ELECTIONS
President Muhammadu Buhari has commended the election process in Edo State which led to the victory of Governor Godwin Obaseki as declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The President congratulated the winner and urged him to show grace and humility in victory.
In his reaction to the outcome of the election as announced by INEC, President Buhari said:
“My commitment to free and fair elections is firm, because without free and fair elections, the foundation of our political and moral authority will be weak.”
The President added:
“I have consistently advocated for free and fair elections in the country because it is the bedrock of true democratic order.
“Democracy will mean nothing if the votes of the people don’t count or if their mandate is fraudulently tampered with.”
He commended the people of Edo State, the parties, candidates and security agencies for conducting themselves responsibly.
Senior Special Assistant to the President
(Media & Publicity)
September 20, 2020
Godwin Obaseki of People’s Democratic Party has been declared winner of the Edo State governorship election held on Saturday.
Obaseki polled a total of 307, 955 votes to defeat All Progressives Congress’s Osagie Ize-Iyamu, Iyamu who got 223, 619 votes.
HAPPENING NOW: INEC’s Collation Committee announces the official results of the election from all local governments. Party agents are also present at the meeting.
Channels TV covers the exercise.
Official results of the Edo state governorship election
1 Igueben LG (as announced by INEC)
APC – 5199
PDP – 7870
2 Esan North-East (as announced by INEC)
APC – 6,556
PDP – 13,579
3 Esan Central (as announced by INEC)
APC – 6,719
PDP – 10,694
Esan Central (as corrected by the INEC officer)
4 Ikpoba Okha (as announced by INEC)
APC – 18,218
PDP – 41,030
5 Uhunmwonde (as announced by INEC)
APC – 5,972
PDP – 10,022
6 Egor (as announced by INEC)
APC – 10,202
PDP – 27,621
7 Owan East (as announced by INEC)
APC – 19,295
PDP – 14,762
8 Owan West (as announced by INEC)
APC – 11,193
PDP – 11,485
9 Ovia North-East (as announced by INEC)
APC – 9,907
PDP – 16,987
10 Etsako West (as announced by INEC)
APC – 26,140
PDP – 17,959
11 Esan South-East (as announced by INEC)
APC – 9,237
PDP – 10,563
12 Oredo (as announced by INEC)
APC – 18,365
PDP – 43,498
13 Esan West (as announced by INEC)
APC – 7,189
PDP – 17,434
14 Akoko Edo (as announced by INEC)
15 Etsako East (as announced by INEC)
16 Etsako Central (as announced by INEC)
APC – 8,359
PDP – 7,478
17 Orhionmwon (as announced by INEC)
APC – 10,458
PDP – 13,445
18 Ovia South-West (as announced by INEC)
APC – 10,636
PDP – 12,659
Final Results (Official)
Obaseki – 307,955
Ize-Iyamu – 223,619
A former Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomhole, has lamented that card readers are not working at some polling units in Saturday’s Edo governorship election.
He said this after casting his vote at polling unit 01, Ward 10 in Uzairue northeast, Etsako West Local Government Area.
The former National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, however, warned the Independent National Electoral Commission not to compromise.
Addressing journalists, he said, “Since 1999, this is the highest turnout that I have seen. Elderly women and men turned out impressively.
“The turnout showed that people have shown that they are ready for democracy. My only disappointment so far is that the machine is not working.
“The INEC officials have reported but they have not brought a new machine.
“This exercise is supposed to have a closing time. If they are doing this in my ward, it means that somebody wants to remove the number of voters here. But I have told them (voters) to stay here, they have a right to vote.
“Nobody should come here and be unable to vote because of INEC’s failure.
“I cannot believe that this is an ordinary error because before bringing the machine here, you should have tested it. I pray that INEC should be able to regularise them (the machines).”
At least 12 out of the 18 local government areas of Edo State will play a decisive role in Saturday’s (today) governorship poll as incumbent Governor Godwin Obaseki, who is the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, clashes with the leading opposition All Progressives Congress governorship candidate, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said those plotting to buy votes in tomorrow’s governorship election in Edo state won’t succeed as it has put put stringent measures in place to checkmate their activities.
Speaking in a chat with Daily Independent, Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee of INEC , Barr. Festus Okoye, said the commission was ready to conduct a free and fair election, devoid of any form of malpractice.
He said the Commission has redesigned polling units to protect the secrecy of the votes while plain clothes security personnel will also move around polling units to monitor the activities of those who want to circumvent the electoral process.
“We have redesigned our polling units to protect the secrecy of the vote. No person is allowed into the voting compartment with a camera. Plain clothes security personnel will move round the polling units to check vote buying and selling” he said.
The Independent National Electoral Commission has commenced the arraignment of electoral officials indicted in the just concluded general elections in Akwa Ibom state.
Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Akwa Ibom State, Barr. Mike Igini, had vowed that all officials, including INEC staff, lecturers and other categories of Adhoc staff involved in any form of sharp practice to circumvent the will of the people of the state, would be brought to book.
A release issued by the an official of the commission, Odaro Aisien on Tuesday, revealed that the electoral body has “dismissed three (3) members of staff of the Commission in Akwa Ibom State office who were fingered in misconduct during the elections.
The 2019 elections in Akwa Ibom had been generally peaceful, except for some parts of Essien Udim where the electoral umpires admitted abduction, hijack of materials and other sharp practices, leading to the rerun in the area in February 2020.
Top on the list of those being arraigned are University lecturers indicted in the act of malpractice when they were engaged as Collation and Returning Officers during the elections.
According to the release, they were reported to have manipulated and falsified election results to produce outcomes contrary to the will of the people as expressed through the ballot.
“Following a formal request by the Commission, the authorities of the affected institutions released the lecturers to appear before an Investigative Panel set up by INEC Headquarters on the 12th and 26th August, 2020.
“The Panel subsequently established a prima facie documentary evidence of deliberate criminal manipulation of election results against the Collation/Returning Officers…who will be “arraigned in Court accordingly”.
Similarly, the staff who were suspended “had appeared before the Appointment, Promotion and Disciplinary Committee (APDC) of the Commission that found them culpable of acts of gross misconduct and accordingly dismissed them in line with extant rules”.
It would be recalled the State REC had warned politicians in Akwa Ibom to desist from bribing electoral officials, and had promised to bring all agents of electoral violence and malpractice to book before, during and after the 2019 general elections, in tandem with his policy of zero tolerance for corruption.
The release points that State REC had assured that every wrongful act that violates and threatens the sanctity of the ballot will be punished to serve as a deterrent to others.
“This should be a lesson and a clear message to all ad hoc Staff, particularly those that would be engaged as Supervising Presiding Officers (SPOs) and Collation/Returning Officers in future elections in this State as well as other places where the Commission would be conducting elections in the days and months ahead.
“Poll Officials must observe the highest principles of ethical standards required of them”, the release advised.
“It would be recalled that prior to the 2019 general elections, the Resident Electoral Commissioner for Akwa Ibom State, Mike Igini Esq, had repeatedly warned all electoral personnel, both permanent and ad hoc, to shun acts likely to compromise the electoral process and undermine the efforts of the Commission and the confidence of the electorate”.
“He had stressed on several occasion that the Commission, under his watch, would take all administrative and legal actions against any and all who deviate from established electoral guidelines and principles”.
The Independent National Electoral Commission has revealed that over 5000 card reader machines were destroyed in the fire that razed down its office in Akure, Ondo state’s capital on the evening of Thursday September 10.
Speaking to journalists at the scene of the incident, INEC Commissioner in charge of Information and Voters Education, Festus Okoye said the Information and Communication Technology section of the commission was affected by the fire.
According to Okoye, 1000 card readers delivered to INEC from Osun State were burnt in the fire while over 4000 card readers belonging to INEC in the state were also burnt.
Admitting that the incident was a setback, the INEC commissioner stated that it will not affect the governorship election.
Fire gutted the Ondo State Office of the Independent National Electoral Commission on Thursday, destroying Smart Card Readers.
This came barely one month to the governorship election in the state.
The cause of the inferno was unknown as of the time of filing this report.
The PUNCH gathered that the fire also destroyed some items in a section of the office.
When one of our correspondents visited the scene, security operatives cordoned off the premises.
The Chief Press Secretary to the INEC chairman, Rotimi Oyekanmi, confirmed the incident in a short statement titled ‘Fire at INEC office in Akure’.
He noted that the commission would commence an immediate investigation into the cause of the fire.
He said, “Fire broke out today (Thursday) September 10, 2020, at the Ondo State Head Office of the Independent National Electoral Commission in Akure.
“The inferno, which gutted the container housing Smart Card Readers, started at 7.30 pm. Men of the Fire Service are however currently containing the fire.
“INEC National Commissioner and Chairman of its Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, who is in Ondo State in connection with preparations for the Ondo State Governorship election scheduled for October 10, 2020, rushed to the office about 8 pm.
“The Administrative Secretary of the State, Mr. Popoola, and some staff of the commission are also there.
“Okoye said an investigation into the cause of the fire will commence promptly after the fire has been contained.”
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has denied rumours that it is planning to shift the September 19 governorship election in Edo state by two weeks due to logistics issues associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Already, there is anxiety in Edo as the residents are unsure if the much-anticipated election believed to be a straight fight between the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and All Progressives Congress (APC) will proceed as scheduled.
It will be recalled that in 2016, INEC was forced to postpone the governorship election in Edo State by two weeks citing security issues and threat to peaceful conduct of the poll.
However, Rotimi Oyekanmi, Chief Press Secretary to the INEC chairman in a chat with Daily Independent said there is no iota of truth in the report, saying the September 19 date remains sacrosanct.
He also said all other arrangements for the election such as the stakeholders meeting and the signing of peace accord scheduled to hold next week remains unchanged.
“No, we are not shifting the date. We are, in fact, going to Benin for the Stakeholders’ meeting and the signing of the Peace Accord next week. The election will hold as scheduled on 19th September 2020″ .
The Bauchi state assembly has declared Musa Mante’s seat vacant after he was murdered by unknown gunmen at his residence on August 13.
Speaker of the House, Rt Honourable Abubakar Sulaiman who made the announcement on Tuesday September 2, said the Independent National Electoral Commission have been notified about the lawmaker representing Dass Constituency’s vacant seat.
Sulaiman further directed the clerk of the House to write the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to formally inform the commission that Dass Constituency seat in the Assembly is vacant to enable it start the process for conducting bye-election in the constituency.
The Chairman, Information and Voters Education Committee, Independent Electoral Commission, Festus Okoye, has assured the people of Edo and Ondo states of INEC’s determination to conduct peaceful and credible elections noting that anything to the contrary would create a constitutional logjam crisis.
Okoye spoke at a sensitisation forum for the media in Benin, on Thursday.
He said “Political Parties and all the critical stakeholders in the electoral process must see the conduct of these elections as a national project that must be executed in strict compliance with all the safety protocols.
There is no alternative to the peaceful conduct of these elections as the alternative will leave the people of the two states with a constitutional logjam that may be difficult to resolve.
“On our part, we are determined and resolved to proceed with the conduct of the Edo and Ondo Governorship elections and all the outstanding bye-elections. In doing so, the Commission will not compromise the safety and welfare of its staff, ad-hoc staff as well as the voters. We will work closely with the security agencies to arrest threats and degrade acts of violence.”
The Edo State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Dr Johnson Sinikiem, said the September 19 governorship election would be the first to be conducted under the Covid-19 pandemic, noting that it has become imperative for journalists to be conversant with the new realities.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says it may respond to some of the issues raised by the Bayelsa State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal when it is availed of the full judgment of the case.
The INEC National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Mr Festus Okoye, stated this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Abuja.
The commission was reacting to the nullification of the state’s governorship election which produced Governor Duoye Diri.
Mr Okoye, however, noted that the Advanced Nigeria Democratic Party (ANDP) nomination for the election was invalid while the party did not exercise its right guaranteed in the Fourth Alteration to the constitution by filing its suit within 14 days of the accrual of the said right.
Mr Okoye recalled that the ANDP was one of the political parties that signified its intention to contest the November 16, 2019 Bayelsa governorship election.
He said the party conducted party primaries and submitted the name of one Peter David as its deputy governorship candidate.
“As at the time of the submission of the name of the said candidate, he was 34 years-old, contrary to Section 177(b) of the constitution that makes it mandatory for a candidate for such office to attain the age of 35 years to be eligible to contest the election.
“In the candidate’s statutory declaration of age and affidavit attached to his form, the party stated that he was born on February 10, 1985.
“On Sept. 13, 2019, the commission wrote to the party drawing their attention to the constitutional age requirement of 35 years for Governorship/Deputy Governorship candidates as stipulated in Section 177(b) of the constitution.
“The commission also informed them of the invalidity of their nomination for the November 16, 2019 governorship election in Bayelsa State,” he said.
Mr Okoye also recalled that on September 21, 2019 and in response to the letter of the commission dated September 13, 2019, the ANDP wrote the commission acknowledging the invalidity of its nomination and forwarding the name of one Inowei Janeth as their new deputy governorship candidate.
“On Sept. 27, 2019, the commission informed the party that the deadline for the submission of nominations as provided for in the Timetable and Schedule of Activities released by the commission on May 16, 2019 was Sept. 9, 2019.
“The commission also informed the party that since they did not submit a valid nomination, they couldn’t validly substitute any candidate.
“Consequently the name and logo of the party did not appear and was not reflected in the ballot paper.
“It is pertinent to note that the party did not exercise its right guaranteed in the Fourth Alteration to the constitution by filing its suit within 14 days of the accrual of the said right as the issues canvassed are pre-election issues.
“The commission may respond to some of the issues raised in the judgment of the tribunal when we are availed of the full judgement and the reasons for the judgement,” Mr Okoye said.
The Bayelsa State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja had on Monday nullified the election of Mr Diri.
The Justice Ibrahim Sirajo-led panel voided the outcome of the gubernatorial election that held in the state on November 16, 2019, over the exclusion of ANDP in the exercise.
ANDP had in a petition it lodged before the tribunal contended that it was unlawfully excluded from participating in the election by INEC in spite of the fact that it fulfilled all the statutory requirements.
The tribunal said it found merit in the petition and consequently nullified the election and ordered INEC to conduct a bye-election in the state within 90 days.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has slated the Bayelsa Central and West Senatorial Districts and Imo North Senatorial District bye-elections for 31 October.
Other bye-elections scheduled to hold in the same date include Nganzai State Constituency Borno; Bayo State Constituency Borno; Cross River North Senatorial District; Obudu State Constituency; Cross River State and Lagos East Senatorial District.
Others are Kosofe II State Constituency Lagos; Plateau South Senatorial District; Bakura State Constituency as well as Zamfara State and Ibaji State Constituency, Kogi State.
A statement by National Commissioner and Chairman Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, said: “The Commission met today 11th August 2020 and reviewed preparations for Edo and Ondo States Governorship elections, the conduct of the Nasarawa Central State Constituency election held on Saturday 8th August as well as all outstanding bye-elections”.
It added: “Several vacancies have occurred in both Federal and State Legislative Houses as a result of resignation or death of members, affecting 12 constituencies across 8 States of the Federation.
“As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Commission decided earlier to suspend the conduct of all bye-elections until it is satisfied that the elections can be conducted in a safe and conducive environment.
“Since then, the Commission has developed its Policy on Conducting Elections in the Context of the COVID-19 Pandemic, revised its Regulations and Guidelines and engaged with health authorities and stakeholders on conducting elections in an environment that guarantees both credibility and public safety.
“The Commission has also successfully conducted the bye-election to fill the vacancy in the Nasarawa Central State Constituency and is going ahead with the conduct of governorship elections in Edo and Ondo States on the 19th September and 10th October respectively. Consequently, the Commission is now in a position to schedule the following bye-elections:
“Bayelsa Central Senatorial District, Bayelsa West Senatorial District, Nganzai State Constituency, Borno State, Bayo State Constituency, Borno State, Cross River North Senatorial District, Obudu State Constituency, Cross River State, Imo North Senatorial District, Lagos East Senatorial District, Kosofe II State Constituency, Lagos State, Plateau South Senatorial District, Bakura State Constituency, Zamfara State, Ibaji State Constituency, Kogi State
“The Commission has scheduled all the pending bye-elections for Saturday 31st October 2020.
“By the harmonized Timetable, the Commission will give the Notice of Election on 17th August 2020 while Political Parties will conduct their primaries to nominate candidates between 24th August and 8th September 2020. Submission of Forms and Personal Particulars of Candidates will commence on 9th September and close at 6pm on 13th September 2020. The Timetable and Schedule of Activities for the bye-elections has been uploaded on the Commission’s website and social media platforms.
“Furthermore, the attention of the Commission has been drawn to the existence of vacancies in the following state constituencies: Isi-Uzo State Constituency in Enugu State and Bakori State Constituency in Katsina State.
“However, vacancies have not been formally declared by the Speakers of the affected State Assemblies.
“The Commission implores concerned stakeholders, particularly political parties to take note of the timelines in the schedule and strictly adhere to them”.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says it will proceed to the supreme court for a final judgement on whether it has the powers to deregister political parties.
INEC said it will seek the verdict of the apex court over a judgement of the court of appeal that voided its deregisteration of 22 political parties.
Though the court upheld the power of INEC to deregister parties in line with section 225 of the constitution, it held that INEC needed to prove that it complied with the procedure outlined.
About two weeks ago, the same court had in the case of National Unity Party upheld and validated the power of INEC to deregister the parties.
In a statement issued by Festus Okoye, its spokesman, the commission said it will seek the verdict of the supreme court on the two conflicting judgements.
“The Commission is faced with two conflicting judgements from the Court of Appeal; one affirming the powers of the Commission to deregister political parties and the other setting aside the deregistration of ACD & 22 others,” he said.
“Faced with two conflicting judgements from the same Court, the Commission is not in a position to pick and choose which one of them to obey.
“Consequently, the Commission will approach the Supreme Court for a final resolution of the issues raised in the two conflicting judgements.”
INEC further said it is focused on preparations for the conduct of the Edo and Ondo governorship elections scheduled to hold on September 19 and October 10 respectively.
There are concerns the elections are being threatened as the 22 deregistered political parties were not included as those to participate in the polls.
The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja has overturned a ruling by a lower court affirming the de-registration of 74 political parties by the Independent National Electoral Commission.
The appellate court held that INEC failed to follow due process while deregistering the parties.
The court therefore declared that the deregistration was illegal and ordered INEC to relist the 74 parties.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has threatened to suspend the governorship elections in Edo and Ondo if the violence allegedly ongoing in the states continues.
INEC’s Spokesperson, Festus Okoye who issued a statement after a meeting on Thursday August 5 said the elections will be suspended if the political actors threaten law and order before or during the polls.
Okoye added that the commission is deeply concerned by the “escalating levels of violent actions and incendiary statements” by parties, candidates and their supporters in the two states.
The statement read;
“Consequently, parties and candidates must on no account underestimate the resolve of the Commission to enforce the rules and regulations and apply appropriate sanctions against those who choose to break them. The Commission remains determined to conduct peaceful elections in the two States and in the outstanding National and State Assembly bye-elections.
“Political Parties must realize that Edo and Ondo Governorship elections are taking place at a time of a global pandemic and the Commission is working assiduously to observe and comply with all health and safety protocols issued by the Commission and health authorities.
“Political Parties must remember that Edo and Ondo Governorship Elections have strict constitutional and statutory timelines and threats of violence or actual violence can disrupt those timelines and create a constitutional crisis.
“The Commission wishes to reassure the people of Edo and Ondo States of its determination to conduct credible and safe elections in the two states. The Commission shall not hesitate to discontinue the process should the actions of political actors lead to cogent and verifiable threat and/or breakdown of law and order before or during the elections.”
Giadom claims that the party has not inaugurated any committee for the elections. He advised the electoral body not to offer any form of support to the factional primaries committee under the leadership of Imo state governor, Hope Uzodinma.
MCI has a copy of the letter. Read Below;
Edo State All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship primary will hold today in the 192 wards across the 18 local government areas.
Two aspirants – Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu and Dr. Pius Odubu – are participating in the direct primary election, which a Court of Appeal in Benin on Thursday technically cleared to hold.
Ize-Iyamu, the 2016 governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) defected to APC in December and was on May 21, cleared by the ruling party’s National Working Committee (NWC) to contest the shadow election.
Odubu served as deputy governor in Adams Oshiomhole administration.
Chairman of the seven-member Governorship Primary Election Committee, Imo State Governor Hope Uzodimma, said on Sunday that not more than 18 persons would be allowed into the voting centre at a time.
Uzodimma explained that the novel idea was to prevent violation of the state government’s COVID-19 regulations, especially the part that bars a gathering of more than 20 persons at a point.
He also promised a free and fair contest.
He spoke through his Commissioner for Information Declan Emelumba.
Secretary of the Primary Organising Committee Senator Ajibola Basiru said in Benin, the Edo State capital: “Voting will commence simultaneously at 8 a.m. at the 192 wards in Edo State. Not more than 18 persons will be allowed to gather at the same time from the commencement of voting to the end of the exercise, when the results will be announced.
“We are strictly complying with Edo State’s extant law prohibiting gathering of more than 20 persons. Not more than 18 persons, including presiding officers and observers of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), shall be at each of the wards’ voting centres at any point in time.
“There shall be simultaneous accreditation and voting in batches, until all eligible members of APC have cast their votes, without violation of Edo State’s COVID-19 regulations.
“Not more than 18 persons shall also be in attendance for the announcement of results at all wards’ centres and collation of results at all levels, including the state collation.
“All members of APC and members of the public are enjoined to be peaceful and comply fully with Edo State’s COVID-19 regulations.”
Ize-Iaymu and Odubu were upbeat on Sunday of emerging the APC torchbearer at the end of the exercise.
While Ize-Iyamu said his acceptability by APC members across the three senatorial districts of the state was his ace, Odubu, who last week said he would not to step after another cleared aspirant, Osaro Obazee, stepped down, believes his grassroots support would guarantee his emergence.
Already, the police and the Department of State Services (DSS) have beefed up security at the 192 wards.
It was also learnt that the Edo State Commissioner of Police Babatunde Kokumo and the Director of DSS in the state, Waziri Mohammed, on Sunday night met members of the Uzodimma-led committee on how to ensure a hitch-free exercise.
Basiru added: “We are ready to go ahead with the primary election. Apart from sending a deputy commissioner of police to receive our team at the airport, both the Police and the DSS have deployed in their officers and men in our facilities.
“All the security agencies have also provided adequate personnel in all the 192 wards where the primary election will hold.
”The Independent National Electoral Commission has sent a monitoring team to assess the conduct of our primary. We do not envisage any crisis in any manner whatsoever.”
Members of the Primary Election Appeal Committee are also on standby for the poll.
The members are Prof. Mustapha Bello (Chairman), Dr. Kayode Ajulo (Secretary), Umar Ahmed, Nasiru Junju and Rasaq Bamu.
Ajulo, said: “We are ready for this assignment if there is going to be any appeal.
“We know all eyes are on us on this Edo primary election but we will ensure equity, fairness and good conscience. We will do everything right.”
The Edo State Government on Sunday reiterated its resolve to enforce the laws and regulations emplaced to prevent the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19). It charged political parties to restrict the conduct of their primary elections within the protocols and provisions of the state’s COVID-19 Quarantine Regulations and Gazette on political gatherings.
The Secretary to the State Government, Osarodion Ogie Esq., in a statement, noted that the state would spare no expense in upholding the law and protecting the lives of the people.
Victor Giadom, a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), has written a letter to the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), introducing himself as the acting national chairman of the ruling party.
The party has been embroiled in a leadership crisis following the appeal court ruling that upheld the suspension of Adams Oshiomhole as national chairman of the party.
While the party announced Abiola Ajimobi, former Oyo governor, as acting chairman, Giadom declared himself as national chairman and also reversed the disqualification of Godwin Obaseki, governor of Edo, from the gubernatorial primary election and ordered a fresh exercise.
But the national working committee of the APC overruled him and appointed Hillard Eta, vice chairman of the party (south-south), to stand in for Ajimobi who was “unavoidably absent”.
However, on Thursday, a high court of the federal capital territory (FCT) reaffirmed Giadom as the acting national chairman of the APC but another high court in Rivers state restrained him from parading himself as such.
In a letter dated June 18, Giadom told INEC to serve all processes and documents concerning APC elections, as well as other correspondences on him.
“I want to respectfully through this medium bring it to your attention that I have been appointed as the acting National Chairman of the APC. A copy of the order of the FCT High Court, Abuja affirming my authority as the acting national chairman of the APC is herewith attached,” the letter read.
“Please note that the earlier of the FCT High Court suspending Comrade Adams Oshiomhole from office on March 4, 2020 as affirmed by the Court of Appeal, Abuja on June 16, 2020. Mr. Oshiomhole’s appeals were dismissed on that date. Copies of the orders of the court in the tow cases are herewith attached for your perusal.
“As the acting national chairman of the party, all processes, documents, and communications including those concerning the conduct of elections meant for the APC are to be served on me.”
The Peoples Democratic Party PDP yesterday was on its way to losing out of the September 19 Governorship Election in Edo state following its decision to reschedule its primary election without recourse to the guidelines released by the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC.
The party had earlier slated its primary election for Saturday 20th June but yesterday decided to shift it to Tuesday 23rd June.
While the Electoral Act requires political parties to give a 21-day notice to INEC for the conduct of their primaries, the election guidelines and regulations released by the electoral umpire requires political parties to give the commission a seven-day notice of their decision to reschedule their primary elections.
They are required to notify INEC stating clearly the reason(s) for the rescheduling as well as the date, venue, and mode of the primary election, at least seven days before the new date.
Vanguard checks revealed that the PDP had written INEC on Thursday to reschedule its primary election in Edo state, ostensibly to be able to accommodate the state Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki who had earlier in the week resigned from the All Progressives Congress APC.
The new date is two days short of the seven days’ notice as stipulated by INEC in its guidelines.
When asked to speak to the guidelines, INEC National Commissioner and Chairman of its Information and Voter Education Committee, Barr. Festus Okoye told Vanguard that; “Political Parties that intend to sponsor candidates for election must give the Commission the mandatory 21 days notice of their intention to conduct party primaries. This accords with the intendment of Section 85 of the Electoral Act.
“Giving of the notice is what is mandatory. However, a political party can adjust or reschedule the conduct of its primaries but must remain within the Timetable and Schedule of Activities released by the Commission which ends on the 27th of June 2020. The Regulations and Guidelines for the Conduct of Party Primaries issued by the Commission provide that the conduct of primaries shall commence at the time and venue provided in the relevant notice communicated to the Commission by a political party.
“Paragraph 7.2 of the Regulation and Guidelines provides that rescheduling of any scheduled primary shall be by written communication to the Commission not later than 7 days to the new date, stating clearly, the reason for rescheduling”, he added.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has told political parties interested in the Edo state governorship election that they have 10 days to conduct their primary election.
The electoral commission’s chairman, Mahmood Yakubu made the announcement during an inter-agency consultative committee on election meeting on Wednesday June 17.
Mahmood stated that INEC will not extend the deadline for political parties that fail to submit the names of their candidates for the election.
All political parties interested in fielding candidates for the election are reminded that they must conclude their primaries for the nomination of candidates in the next ten days,” Yakubu said.
“The deadline is Saturday, 27th June, 2020. I must stress that the date is firm and fixed. There will be no extension of the deadline.
“While the conduct of primaries and nomination of candidates will be the sole responsibility of political parties, our officials will monitor the primaries as required by law.
“Arising from our experience in managing the nomination of candidates for the last two governorship elections in Bayelsa and Kogi states, it is important to draw the attention of political parties to the four mandatory requirements for eligibility of candidates for governorship elections enshrined in Section 177 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended).
“A candidate nominated by a political party must be a Nigerian citizen by birth; must have attained the age of thirty-five (35) years; must be a member of, and sponsored by, a political party; and must be educated up to at least school certificate level or equivalent.
“Adherence to these clear constitutional provisions is compulsory in order to avoid the unnecessary litigation that follow the nomination of candidates, some of which are still pending before the courts.”
Security agencies and other stakeholders were also urged to be proactive to protect those participating in the election.
The INEC Chairman added;
“We must safeguard the process and protect all those involved as voters, INEC officials, observers, the media and even some of the unarmed security personnel deployed to the polling units. Doing so requires our professionalism and neutrality.”
A Federal High Court in Abuja on Thursday dismissed the suit filed by 32 out of the 74 political parties deregistered on February 6 this year by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Justice Anwuli Chikere, in a judgment, held that the plaintiffs failed to prove their claim that INEC acted unlawfully by deregistering them.
Justice Chikere held that INEC has the powers to deregister any political party that fails to meet the requirements under Section 225(a), (b) & (6) of the Constitution as contained in the 4th Alteration to the Constitution, which came into effect in June 2018.
The judge noted that it is a fact that the plaintiffs have contested elections since the constitutional provision took effect, “but they failed to state the seats they have won; they failed to present certificates of return that they have been issued by the 2nd respondent (INEC).
“They failed to provide sufficient evidence to enable the court exercise its discretion in their favour.”
The judge vacated an interim restraining order earlier granted against the respondents – the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and INEC.
Advanced Congress of Democrats (ACD) and 32 other political parties had filed the suit, marked: FHC//ABJ/ CS/444/19, challenging their deregistration.
Although 33 political parties filed the case, two of the parties – Labour Party (LP) and African Democratic Congress (ADC) – were later excluded from the case following information that they were not among the deregistered parties
On June 3 this year, one party, Alliance for New Nigeria (ANN) had its joiner application granted, raising the number of plaintiffs to 32.
Some of the plaintiffs are: 32 political parties are: Advanced Congress of Democrats (ACD) Advanced Nigeria Democratic Party (ANDP) All Blending Party (ABP) All Grand Alliance Party (AGAP) Better Nigeria Progressive Party (BNPP) Democratic People’s Congress (DPC) Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) and Green Party of Nigeria (GPN).
A Federal High Court in Abuja, has dismissed the applications filed by the 32 deregistered political parties against the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
On Thursday, Justice Anwuli Chikere held that the plaintiffs failed to prove their case.
Chikere ruled that INEC has the power and acted lawfully when it deregistered the complainants.
Earlier, Justice Taiwo Taiwo of a Federal High Court, Abuja, ruled in favour of INEC against the National Unity Party (NUP) and Hope Democratic Party (HDP).
In February, INEC deregistered 74 out of Nigeria’s 92 political parties for not satisfying the requirements of the Fourth Alteration to the 1999 Constitution.
In suit number FHC/ABJ/ CS/444/19 between Advanced Congress of Democrats (ACD) and 32 others Vs. Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and INEC (1st and 2nd respondents respectively), the applicants demanded a restraining order.
33 political parties initially filed the matter but two – Labour Party (LP) and African Democratic Congress (ADC) – were later dropped.
On June 3, the Alliance for New Nigeria (ANN) prayed the court to be joined in the suit, making the total number of applicants to be 32.
Mahmood Yakubu, Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has warned politicians against violence during the upcoming governorship elections in Edo and Ondo States.
Yakubu warned that INEC will not declare a winner if the election process is characterised by violence.
Speaking during a virtual workshop organised by the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in partnership with the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) in Abuja, Yakubu disclosed that politicians in both states have been informed.
He said: “Where the election is disrupted and the commission cannot vouch for the integrity of the process, we will not go ahead to make any declaration.
“And this we have told the political parties point-blank; you either behave for the elections to be concluded in a free and fair manner or we do what the law says.”
INEC had scheduled the governorship elections to hold in Edo State on September 19, while Ondo State will be on October 20.
This comes amid the raging crisis rocking the Edo State chapter of the APC over the mode of primary to be used in the conduct of its June 22 governorship primary.
The APC Constitution permits three methods – Direct (involving all registered members of the party voting choice candidate), Indirect (involving accredited delegates) and Consensus (adoption of one candidate by the party).
While the National Party led by Adams Oshiomhole settled for Direct Primary, a faction loyal to the governor is insisting on Indirect Primary. Already, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has backed the decision of Oshiomhole, saying it does not deal with state chapters of political parties.
A letter exclusively obtained on Monday shows that the APC National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, has notified the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of the change.
In the letter he personally signed dated 29th May 2020, and addressed to INEC Chairman, Oshiomhole said the new address of the state party is now 16 Igwiwiyise street, Off Airport Road, Benin City.
He said he had also informed the Edo State Police Commissioner, the Director of State Security Services (DSS) and State Commandant of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC) of the new development.
When contacted of its sudden decision to relocate the party secretariat, an official of the APC in Abuja said the National Party does not recognize the faction operating in the former secretariat.
The official, who craved anonymity, said the Party had uphold the suspension of Anselm Ojezua as state chairman, while recognizing David Imuse as Acting Chairman.
“Yes, it’s true (that the secretariat has been relocated). Don’t forget that Ojezua and his group are no longer recognized by us, so any activities from them are null and void…,” the party official declared.
Towards ensuring that the forthcoming governorship elections in Edo and Ondo are given optimal coverage, Yiaga Africa has disclosed that it will be deploying 500 observers for the polls.
While stating that observers will also be recruited to monitor procedures at the collation centres across all local governments within the two states, the organization said that the aim was to ensure timely and accurate information about the election process to voters and stakeholders.
The Executive Director, Yiaga Africa, Samson Itodo, stated this on Saturday during a virtual meeting held to engaged journalists in the two states on Yiaga Africa’s election project; Watching The Vote, WTV, and its plans for the upcoming elections even as citizens vote amidst COVID-19.
The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, had fixed September 19, 2020 for governorship polls in Edo State while that of Ondo State will be held on October 10, 2020.
According to Itodo, who was also joined by organisation’s Director of Programs, Cynthia Mbamalu and Head of Election, Paul James, he revealed that, ‘Watching The Vote’ (WTV) election project is a comprehensive observation of the electoral process which includes the observation of the political party primaries, pre-election environment in all Local government areas and the election day observation.
He also added that an advanced election day observation methodology known as the Parallel Vote Tabulation, PVT, will be used during the elections.
This according to him will ensure that citizens’ votes count by deterring fraud and manipulation during the conduct of elections and collation of results, thereby building citizens confidence in the process.
He said the recruitment process for governance is subject to credible elections and having an alternative citizens’ voice to speak on the electoral process is very valuable to the electoral process. According to him, engaging the media is strategic to build partnership and collaborations in order to disseminate credible information.
“Yiaga Africa is also engaging the Independent National Electoral Commission’s policies for the conduct of elections amidst COVID-19 to ensure the election is inclusive and meets the test of integrity”, he said.
According to him, the experiences of its observation of previous elections in Kogi, Bayelsa and the 2019 elections will serve as a lesson to improve on the quality of the September and October governorship elections in Edo and Ondo states.
“As an organization that promotes inclusivity, we will be very much inclusive when it comes to involving people with disability and advocate for their rights especially during these elections. The oversight we provide on the electoral process is what account for the minimal level of integrity in the electoral process. We have been involved in fashioning out electoral guidelines and policies. We will continue to advocate that stakeholders should contribute to this process to ensure the process is not manipulated due to COVID-19 realities.”
On her part, the Director of Programs Cynthia Mbamalu revealed that Yiaga Africa will be observing the pre-election environment starting from the political party primaries and government response to COVID-19.
She said “we will be using various methods like physical observation, interviews and desk reviews to provide information on the conduct of political party primaries”
The pre-election observation according to her will also focus on activities of Women, Youth and People with Disability, PWD, and that Yiaga Africa will also be doing extensive violence monitoring using violent indicators while reporting to security agencies to checkmate possible electoral violence.
The Department of State Service (DSS) on Monday June 1, confirmed an alteration in the exemption certificate issued by the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) to the Deputy Governor of Bayelsa State, Senator Lawrence Oborawharievwo Ewhrudjakpo.
This is coming after the candidate of the Liberation Movement (LM) in the November 16, 2019 governorship election in Bayelsa, Vijah Opuama petitioned the tribunal, alleging that Ewhrudjakpo submitted forged exemption certificate and documents that contain false information to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) before the election.
Abdulsalam Ibrahim, DSS Head of Legal Department who represented DSS’ Director General, told the Bayelsa State Governorship Election Tribunal in Abuja that the alteration was uncovered following an order issued by an Abuja court for an investigation into allegation of forgery against the Deputy Governor.
“Based on the foregoing and the relevant documents forwarded to this service, it is evident that the subject altered the spelling of his surname to reflect the letter D as against the letter O in the certificate of exception earlier issued by NYSC.”
However under cross-examination by lawyer to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Emmanuel Enoidem, Ibrahim confirmed that the alteration in the certificate was effected by the NYSC upon the request by Ewhrudjakpo. The DSS Head of Legal Department also agreed that the bearer of a name knows how best to spell his/her name.
When asked to read paragraph 7 of a document marked “P3” (one of the reports the investigation by the DSS), Ibrahim read thus:
“It is based on this recent finding, that we wish to bring to the notice of the DSS that we (the NYSC) corrected the certificate of exemption to read Ewhrudjakpo. Only the last letter A was corrected to read letter O.”
The DSS senior official also identified an attachment to the report as “Annexture 2,” which he explained “is a letter to the NYSC seeking a request for correction, following which the correction was now made.”
Following the conclusion of Ibrahim’s testimony, the petitioner’s lawyer Pius Danbe Pius said his next witness is Ewhrudjakpo who has been subpoenaed to produce the original copy of the certificate of exemption.
The case was adjourned till Tuesday June 2 by the tribunal’s Chairman, Justice Ibrahim Siraj. It is expected that the hearing of a motion by Ewhrudjakpo, challenging his invitation as the petitioner’s witness will be heard on the said date.
The Chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu has assured Nigerians that COVID-19 won’t truncate Nigeria’s democracy and the electoral process.
Yakubu spoke in Abuja at the INEC’s first virtual meeting with the Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) on Saturday.
The INEC Chairman, however, admitted that the virus disrupted INEC’s activities like other national institutions.
He said: “For instance, further engagements with the National Assembly and stakeholders on electoral reform and the conduct of some off-season elections have to be suspended because of the global health emergency.
“Happily, the PTF has issued guidelines on protective measures for the gradual restoration of normalcy nationwide.
”On that basis, the commission recently released its own policy on conducting elections in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The commission is convinced that electoral activities can resume, but in full compliance with the advisory issued by health authorities.
“Consequently, the Governorship elections in Edo and Ondo States scheduled for Sept. 19 and Oct. 10 respectively, will proceed as planned.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) yesterday clarified that there cannot be any electronic voting in Nigeria until the 1999 Constitution as amended is further amended to authorise it.
“What the policy says under “ICT and Voter Registration” (Roman figure v – page 12) is that INEC will pilot the use of electronic voting at the earliest possible time (not Edo and Ondo), but work towards the full introduction of electronic voting in major elections starting from 2021.
“The key words here are pilot, work and towards,” he stated.
He said these connoted a different meaning from the headlines in some media reports yesterday.
A section of the media while reporting the release of guidelines for the Edo and Ondo States’ governorship elections later this year, had said INEC would test run electronic voting for election in 2021.
“As we all know, INEC cannot unilaterally introduce electronic voting because our constitution does not allow/recognise it. That’s why we said we will work towards the full introduction of e-voting,” he added.
The commission said it was unfortunate that some newspapers gave a different interpretation to the particular aspect of the guidelines.
Also, INEC National Commissioner in charge of Voter Education and Public Information, Mr. Festus Okoye, told THISDAY that the COVID-19 pandemic had increased the cost of elections and reduced government revenues.
He said: “No doubt, this pandemic has increased the cost of conducting elections. There are additional costs in terms of responsibilities. During elections, a coaster bus carries up to 40 electoral personnel, but now it has to reduce to seven and this is an additional financial burden. We have to provide protective equipment to election staff and hand sanitisers as well as facial masks. All these mean extra funding.
“But much as we recognise that there is extra funding, we are going to use electronics services; this will reduce some costs. National commissioners go for electoral duties by air; this time around, they may use electronic devices to do some of the works.
“Doing the works electronically could reduce the high cost of the elections. Like in the proposed meetings with stakeholders, the commission could conduct some of the scheduled activities electronically and this would reduce the expected cost of the election.
In the wake of lifestyle changes occasioned by the Covid-19 Pandemic, the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC has said it would be adopting more technological tools in discharging its mandate, disclosing of its resolve to pioneer electronic voting in the country by 2021.
This was as the electoral umpire decried the rising cost of elections in the country, saying it would be liaising with the National Assembly to see how political parties can nominate replacements for dead representatives in line with a Supreme Court judgment that votes belong to the parties and not individuals.
INEC disclosed this in a document released Monday in Abuja which was tagged, “Policy on Conducting Elections in the Context of the Covid-19 Pandemic”, and signed by its Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu.
The commission also added that voters without face masks would be disallowed from voting in the forthcoming governorship elections in Edo and Ondo states.
As contained in their original timetable, the independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has insisted that it would conduct Edo and Ondo gubernatorial election on the 19th September, 10th October 2020 respectively as contained in the timetable and schedule of activities released on 6th February 2020.
In a statement by the National commissioner and chairman Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, the commission said it will on Thursday 21st May 2020 issue a Policy Framework for engagement with stakeholders, the conduct of the two end of tenure governorship elections, outstanding bye elections and future electoral activities.
The statement further read “The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) met today Tuesday 19th May 2020 and deliberated on a wide range of issues including the conduct of the Edo and Ondo Governorship elections, as well as the 9 outstanding bye elections in different parts of the country.
“The Commission deliberated extensively on a Policy Framework that will guide its operations, activities and engagements with critical stakeholders in view of the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the electoral process in Nigeria. Based on this, the Commission will on Thursday 21st May 2020 issue a Policy Framework for engagement with stakeholders, the conduct of the two end of tenure governorship elections, outstanding bye elections and future electoral activities.
“The Commission reiterated its commitment to conduct the Edo and Ondo Governorship elections on 19th September and 10th October 2020 as contained in the Timetable and Schedule of Activities released on 6th February 2020.
“We reassure Nigerians of our resolve and determination to provide the requisite guidance, innovation and leadership in conducting elections in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Commission is committed to fulfilling its constitutional responsibility of conducting elections but without jeopardizing the health and wellbeing of citizens, stakeholders or its valued staff.
“The Commission will accelerate consultations and engagements with political parties, civil society organizations, security agencies and health authorities as soon as its Policy Framework is finalized this week.
“We again urge everyone to remain safe and healthy by complying with all the guidelines and protocols issued by the health authorities. ”
This came as the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, said it would stick to its timetable and schedule of activities regarding the elections in both states.
National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee of INEC, Festus Okoye in a statement on Tuesday night said the commission had met earlier in the day and deliberated on a wide range of issues including the conduct of the Edo and Ondo governorship elections, as well as the nine outstanding bye-elections in different parts of the country.
He said; “The Commission deliberated extensively on a Policy Framework that will guide its operations, activities and engagements with critical stakeholders in view of the COVID-19 Pandemic and its impact on the electoral process in Nigeria. Based on this, the Commission will on Thursday 21st May 2020 issue a Policy Framework for engagement with stakeholders, the conduct of the two ends of tenure governorship elections, outstanding bye-elections and future electoral activities.
“The Commission reiterated its commitment to conduct the Edo and Ondo governorship elections on 19th September and 10th October 2020 as contained in the Timetable and Schedule of Activities released on 6th February 2020.
“We reassure Nigerians of our resolve and determination to provide the requisite guidance, innovation and leadership in conducting elections in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Commission is committed to fulfilling its constitutional responsibility of conducting elections but without jeopardizing the health and wellbeing of citizens, stakeholders or its valued staff.
“The Commission will accelerate consultations and engagements with political parties, civil society organizations, security agencies and health authorities as soon as its Policy Framework is finalized this week.
“We again urge everyone to remain safe and healthy by complying with all the guidelines and protocols issued by the health authorities”, said.
APC in a notice by its National Organizing Secretary, Emma Ibediro fixed the cost of its nomination and expression of interest forms for N22.5 million cumulatively.
While there is no separate charge for running mates, female and physically challenged aspirants were however given a 50 per cent rebate.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said it is set to release fresh modalities for the conduct of the Edo and Ondo governorship elections despite the Coronavirus pandemic.
It, however, said that it would liaise with health authorities and security agencies on resumption of activities in the two states ahead of the polls scheduled for September19 and October 10, 2020.
Rising from a stakeholders’ meeting yesterday, the commission, said that it would work out modalities for the ramping up of activities in the two states as soon as possible.
It, however, kept mum on the senatorial by-elections in Bayelsa and Imo states, as well as other state House of Assembly by-elections.
According to a statement issued at the end of the meeting by Festus Okoye, the national commissioner and chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, INEC will resume engagement with political parties, civil society groups and organisations, the media and other stakeholders in relation to the Edo and Ondo governorship elections.
He said that the “modalities for these engagements will be worked out and considered at its next meeting on May 14.”
At the end of the meeting, according to the statement, “the commission resolved to carry out comprehensive decontamination of its national headquarters, annex at Blantyre Street, the Electoral Institute and its Area 10 office housing its staff clinic.
“To follow the Federal Government guidelines on resumption of protocols and procedure by providing infrared thermometers, soap and water at entrances and installing hand sanitiser dispensers at strategic points in the commission.
“To train its workers, particularly the cleaners and office assistants on cleaning protocols and strict compliance with the Federal Government guidelines as well as its own specific protocols for resumption.
“To issue comprehensive guidelines for the first phase of its resumption in compliance with the directives of the Federal Government and health authorities. These guidelines will be posted on its notice boards and uploaded on the website of the commission on May 11.
“That directors and other designated workers of the departments will resume at the national headquarters on May 13 after the decontamination of the premises and provision of necessary amenities as outlined earlier in this statement”.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has hinted that it might be constrained to adjust the timetable and schedule of activities of the Edo and Ondo states governorship elections due to the crippling challenges coronavirus pandemic posed on the country.
The commission also admitted that with the lockdown of most of the states in Nigeria and the closure of boundaries, the pandemic had impacted and will definitely continue to impact on its preparations and activities for the conduct of the Edo and Ondo governorship elections.
Responding to the inquiry from newsmen in Abuja, National Commissioner and Chairman Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, informed the political parties, civil society groups and organizations that most of the nominations and accreditations shall be done online given the challenges of the deadly virus.
While insisting that post COVID-19 has forced the commission and every other sector to do things differently, he said that INEC will rely on the constitutional empowerment to adjust the electoral timetable and schedule of activities for the two governorship elections within constitutionally permissible window.
“On February 6, 2020, INEC released an adjustable timetable and schedule of activities for the conduct of the Edo and Ondo governorship elections. By the said timetable, the Edo governorship election will take place on September 19, 2020 and that of Ondo State on October 10, 2020.
“As at February 6, 2020 when the Commission released the timetable for both elections, the impact, magnitude and far reaching implications of the COVID-19 pandemic had not really manifested. By section 178(2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) and section 25(7) and (8 of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended) an election to the office of governor of a State shall be held on a date not earlier than 150 days and not later than 30 days before the expiration of the term of office of the last holder of the office.
“Constitutionally, the tenure of the governor of Edo State expires on November 11, 2020 and that of Ondo State expires on February 23, 2021. By necessary constitutional implication, the earliest date for election into the office of governor of Edo, shall be June 15, 2020 and the latest date for the election shall be October 13, 2020. In the same vein, the earliest date for the election into the office of governor, Ondo shall be September 27, 2020 and the latest date shall be January 25, 2021.
As the coronavirus pandemic continues to ravage the country, there is confusion at the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) over the fate of the governorship primaries in Edo and Ondo states as well as the elections, Daily Independent has gathered.
While the governorship elections have been fixed for September 19 in Edo and October 10 in Ondo state, INEC has scheduled June 2 to June 27 for primary elections and nomination of candidates in Edo, while July 2 to July 25 for Ondo.
INEC’s chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, at a meeting with resident electoral commissioners, in Abuja, at the weekend had said the commission will rigorously monitor the primaries and apply sanctions if needed.
He also said given recent experience with some governorship elections, political parties needed to do more to avoid the conduct of acrimonious primaries or failure to observe due diligence in the screening of their candidates, resulting in protracted litigations and eventual determination of the outcome of elections by orders of court.
“I wish to draw the attention of political parties to two critical dates in the timetable released by the commission a few weeks ago. Party primaries for the democratic election and nomination of candidates for the governorship election in Edo State must be held from 2nd to 27th June 2020.
“The date for Ondo State is 2nd to 25th July 2020. The commission will not extend the dates. We will also rigorously monitor the primaries and where necessary, apply sanctions as provided by law.
“At the same time, the personal particulars of all the candidates nominated by political parties for the Edo and Ondo governorship elections, including their academic qualifications, will be displayed in our offices in the two states as required by law. This will enable citizens to scrutinise them and take legal action against any candidate who provides false information to the commission.
“The personal particulars of candidates will be displayed on 6th July, 2020 in Edo State and on 4th August 2020 in Ondo State. I wish to appeal to citizens to note the dates and to seize the opportunity to scrutinise the information provided on oath by the candidates in the interest of our democracy and good governance,” he said.
However, speaking with our correspondent on Monday, a credible source in the commission said though the commission has said the dates for the primaries and election remain unchanged, the electoral body is already having a rethink owing to the coronavirus pandemic in the country.
“Some people are saying the election is in September so it is still far but INEC is already thinking ahead. The INEC chairman and other senior members of the commission are currently in a dilemma because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“The question INEC staff are asking is: ‘What impact will coronavirus have on the forthcoming elections in Edo and Ondo? What if it lingers till then? Except the pandemic is urgently curtailed, there is no way the Edo and Ondo elections will not be jeopardised.
Currently, most organisations are closing down due to the social distancing policy and if the situation continues, INEC being a large organisation that it is may follow suit.
“Also, another issue of concern is the governorship primary, which will begin in June. Don’t forget, there is no mode of primary adopted that will not attract gathering of people.
“Now that gatherings are being outlawed, how will primaries be conducted? INEC will also need to monitor the primaries so the concern is, how will primaries be conducted without jeopardising the lives of the electorate and INEC officials?
“Also worthy of note is the election campaign, stakeholders and sensitisation meeting by INEC and voting on election day. These are issues that are giving INEC a serious concern now, but the coming days will determine how it will go,” he said.
Speaking on the issue, Yinka Odumakin, National Publicity Secretary of Afenifere, said INEC might be forced to adjust its timetable if the coronavirus pandemic lingers till then.
“We pray that coronavirus subsides and goes out completely before then. But if it does not, which we don’t pray, INEC will have no choice but to adjust their timetable.
“They cannot say they want to hold primaries in the midst of all these. When things like this happen, a responsible organisation will have to look at what is on ground and what to do,” he said.
Also on Monday, INEC said it is winding down its regular and non-essential activities at its Abuja headquarters and across the states due to the global coronavirus pandemic.
Recall that governments at federal and state levels have issued preventive and containment measures put in place to curtail spread of the virus in line with the advisory on social distancing from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).
The commission, which had before now cancelled all arrangements for senatorial bye-elections in Imo and Bayelsa states, said it is taking the additional measures to protect its staff, visitors and the general public from the pandemic.
Festus Okoye, a lawyer and INEC National Commissioner who doubles as the Chairman, Information and Voter Education, issued a statement announcing the lull in activities for an initial period of two weeks.
He said effective from Tuesday 24th March 2020, all regular and non-essential activities will be suspended in its headquarters and offices nationwide for 14 days in the first instance.
The regular quarterly meetings with stakeholders, namely: political parties, civil society organisations, the media, security agencies and all other meetings, have been suspended until such a time when normalcy returns.
In addition, the commission will no longer monitor the conventions, congresses, conferences or meetings of political parties until further notice.
The commission, however, emphasised its “commitment to openness, consultation and continued communication with its stakeholders and expects all to understand the emergency situation that informed the suspension of contact engagements stressing that the “health and wellbeing of all our staff, officials and the general public are of paramount importance to us”.
A Court of Appeal in Abuja has reinstated Ifeanyi Ubah as Senator representing Anambra South senatorial district after being sacked by a federal high court.
The judgement was delivered after Senator Ifeanyi Ubah filed an appeal, challenging his sack from the National Assembly. A three-man panel of the court led by Justice Stephen Adah, was unanimous that the judgement delivered by Justice Bello Kawu was a nullity on grounds that the originating process was incompetent having not been signed by a lawyer as required; the judgment was given without jurisdiction.
The panel which also held that Ifeanyi Ubah was denied fair hearing by the FCT High Court, stressed that the Court was without the requisite territorial jurisdiction to have entertained the case.
A perpetual injunction restraining the Clerk of the Senate and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from acting on the April 11, 2019 judgment was issued by the Appeal Court, after it was voided for being a nullity.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) said on Thursday that with the proposed reform of the electoral Act, the 2019 election may be the last “mainly manual” election in Nigeria.
Chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakub said this is achievable with the support of the National Assembly, tasking the lawmakers to expedite action on the amendment of the electoral Act.
He spoke in Lagos during the opening of a two day retreat with the National Assembly Committees on Electoral Matters.
The retreat was declared open by the Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ovie Omo Agege with members of the Senate and House of Representatives Committees on Electoral Matters in attendance.
The Chairman said part of the proposed reform in the electoral system was to deepen the deployment of technology in elections in addition to the existing electronic voters register and accreditation.
He said, “It is time for a new legislation to remove all encumbrances to further deployment of technology in the electoral process, especially in the accreditation of voters and transmission of election results.
“Sections 49 and 67 of the draft Bill deal with these twin issues. These sections will be thoroughly discussed at this retreat. Working with the National Assembly, it is our hope that the 2019 general election will be the last mainly manual election in Nigeria.”
Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad’s Supreme Court will go down in history as easily Nigeria’s most blatant bastion of supreme injustice. In the last one year, it has shaped up to be the graveyard of electoral mandates.
It either sanctifies transparent electoral heists, such as Buhari’s blazing mandate theft, using the most astonishingly illogical arguments or reverses approximations of people’s choices such as in Zamfara, Imo, and Bayelsa. In inflicting legal violence on people’s choices, the Supreme Court appears to have no care for basic consistency.
In what seems like an attempt to compensate for its disastrously indefensible usurpation of the electoral mandate of former Imo State governor Emeka Ihedioha, the Supreme Court on February 13 overturned the mandate of former Bayelsa State governor-elect David Lyon and his deputy governor-elect Biobarakuma Degi-Eremieoyo because some names in the credentials the former deputy governor-elect presented to INEC have changed over time and have inconsistent spellings.
I initially thought Degi-Eremieoyo forged his certificates—like many Nigerian politicians do. But he apparently didn’t. He only changed his names—and the spellings of some—in the course of his life, and supported some of the changes with sworn affidavits. But the Supreme Court was persuaded that those changes were sufficient grounds to invalidate the legitimate votes he and his boss earned from Bayelsa voters.
This is both culturally insensitive and a violation of the sanctity of the vote. I will only discuss the cultural insensitivity of the judgment because it has implications for a whole host of Nigerians. Because there’s a vast disconnect between the colonially inherited orthography we use and the sound systems of our indigenous (and, in some cases, borrowed precolonial) languages, it’s impossible to maintain consistent spellings for all our names.
For instance, my credentials have many variants of the spelling of my first name. In my primary school certificate, my teacher spelled it as “Faruk,” and there’s nothing I can do about that. When I got to secondary school, I realized that the correct orthographic rendition of the name from Arabic is “Farooq,” so I adopted that spelling.
However, when Bayero University issued me my certificate, I saw that my name was spelled as “Farouk” even though I’ve never spelled it that way. Should I be held responsible for this? But it gets worse: my transcript spells my first name as “Farooq.” In other words, my certificate and my transcript have different spellings of the same name.
To make matters even more complicated, a few years after my graduation from the university, I changed my last name from Adamu, which is my father’s first name, to Kperogi, which is my family name that my father, uncles, and cousins, bear (bore in the case of my dad) as their last name. Is the Supreme Court suggesting that I can’t win an election because of the differences in the spellings of my names and because I changed my last name to my family name?
The inconsistencies in the names we bear in Nigeria can sometimes start from our birth certificates. For instance, when I was born in a Baptist missionary hospital in my hometown, a white American nurse by the name of Miss Masters who delivered me and who could speak, read, and write my native Baatonu language, wrote my name as “Imoru Sabi” in my hospital birth certificate.
Apparently, my father told her my name was “Umar Farooq.” But she used her judgment to take only “Umar,” which she chose to write as “Imoru”—exactly the same way an uneducated Borgu person would pronounce Umar—and added “Sabi,” the generic name for every second son in Borgu, as my middle name.
For some reason, she entirely omitted “Farooq” (which she might have spelled as “Faruku” given her penchant for Borgu phonological fidelity) from my name, but that was the name by which I was known and called when I grew older. No one called me Umar or Sabi.
That was why when I came of age and my father handed my birth certificate to me, I told him it wasn’t mine. I knew I was Sabi by default since I am my parent’s second son, but no one ever called me that, and “Imoru” totally threw me off until my dad explained to me what had happened.
Muhammadu Buhari had similar issues. His father was called Adamu Bafale. His primary school certificate probably either lists Adamu or Danbafale as his last name. I say this because his late older brother, Mamman, was formally called Mamman Danbafale (Danbafale means “son of Bafale” in Hausa), so I won’t be surprised if either Adamu or Danbafale appears in Buhari’s primary school certificate.
In any case, Muhammadu and Buhari are his first and middle names. By the way, why doesn’t he bear a surname? Most importantly, though, the British colonial educators who registered Buhari at the Provincial Secondary School in Katsina spelled his name as “Mohamed,” and it’s that variant of his name’s spelling that still appears in his school certificate, which I am now convinced he actually has, contrary to widespread notions that he doesn’t.
However, although the official records of his secondary school spell his first name as “Mohamed,” he prefers to spell it as “Muhammadu.” In spite of the discrepancy between the official spelling of his name in his school certificate, about which he lied under oath that it was with military authorities instead of admitting that he had lost it, the Supreme Court said he was “eminently qualified” to stand for election.
If Buhari was “eminently qualified” in spite of the different spellings of and possible inconsistencies in his name from primary school to now, why should Degi-Eremienyo be disqualified? Why is what is good for Buhari bad for Degi-Eremienyo?
Now the elephant in the room is that Degi-Eremienyo is still a senator. If he was unqualified to be a deputy governor by reason of the inconsistent spellings of and changes to his name, can he be qualified to be a senator? Can his opponent sue to be declared the rightful senator of Bayelsa East Senatorial District even though he lost the election?
This goes to the heart of the doctrine of judicial precedent, which the Oxford Dictionary of Law defines as “judgement or decision of a Court used as an authority for reaching the same decision in subsequent cases.”
Clearly, Tanko’s Supreme Court, as I pointed out in my July 20, 2019 column titled “A‘Technically’ Incompetent Chief Justice of Nigeria,” doesn’t give a thought to precedents. That’s why its judgements are characterized by inconsistencies, and why there’s a spike in the number of lawyers who are asking the Court to review its judgements.
“All over the world, courts rely on precedents to adjudicate current cases,” I wrote in my July 20, 2019 column. “Precedents may be modified, but they are rarely overturned without a compelling reason, certainly not within a few years after they were established. That is what legal scholars call stare decisis, that is, the doctrine that courts should follow precedent.
A Chief Justice that is ignorant about something as basic as ‘technicality’ is unlikely to know what ‘precedent’ means, much less something as rarefied as the doctrine of stare decisis.”
If Nigeria had a real parliament, I would have suggested that the National Assembly pass a law to undo the judicial violence of Tanko’s Supreme Court. Well, this is what you get when every branch of government is an extension of a confused and feuding executive branch.
The party primaries for Edo state will hold from 2nd to 27th June, while that of Ondo State will hold from 2nd to 25th July.
INEC National Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, who made the disclosure during the Commission’s meeting with Resident Electoral Commissioners, warned that the Commission will not shift the dates.
This was also disclosed via INEC official twitter page:
The Independent National Electoral Commission has been restrained from deregistering 31 political parties.
Justice Anwuli Chikere of the Federal High Court who presided over the interlocutory motion with suit number: FHC//ABJ/ CS/444/19 between Advanced Congress of Democratic (ACD) and 2 others Vs. Attorney General of the Federation and another (INEC), stated that the legal rights of the affected political parties has to be protected as the electoral commission failed to oppose the application by the applicants.
Recall that INEC deregistered 74 political parties on February 6, for not meeting the requirements of the Fourth Alteration to the Constitutional Electoral Act 2010 (as amended).
The All Progressives Congress(APC) has rejected the declaration of Senator Duoye Diri as Governor-elect of Bayelsa by the Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC).
Its National Chairman Adams Oshiomhole, in an ongoing chat with reporters, faulted INEC “illegally declaring Diri as Governor-elect”.
He accused INEC of appropriating judicial powers to itself over the Supreme Court ruling that sacked Chief David Lyon as Gov-elect.
He said the party will seek legal redress and go to the court to reclaim its mandate.
The Independent National Electoral Commission on Thursday raised fears that the results and data of the 1999 and 2003 general elections were missing.
The commission, however, said researchers did not find it difficult to trace the 2019 general election results which were already online.
INEC National Commissioner on Election and Party Monitoring, Prof. Anthonia Okosi-Simbina, stated this at a one-day workshop to look at the proposed compendium of the results of 2007, 2011 and 2015 general elections, organised by the Nigerian Institute Of Social And Economic Research in Ibadan, Oyo State.
According to her, the programme focused on preparing a compendium of 2007, 2011 and 2015 general elections results because data of the results of the 1999 and the 2003 general elections were not available.
She said, “We want people to get the statistics of the voters; the women, the men, artisans and the rural dwellers.
“If political parties follow the demographics, they will be able to know their targets during political campaigns. It will also help the government in the provision of essential things. It will also help INEC too.
“It was difficult to get that of 1999 and 2003; much of the data were not made available because it was scattered in various offices but the 2019 data was not like that because we had a better way of storing them and it’s online.
“The recommendation is that the results of elections should be released in a more organized manner.”
Also speaking was a National Commissioner and Chairman, Board of The Electoral Institute, Prince Solomon Soyebi, who said they have interrogated the results of the elections.
He stated that INEC was trying its best to ensure that the results of all the elections from 1999 were available online, adding that lessons learnt in those elections would help in future polls.
“Results of the 2019 general election is on our website. It is separated based on sex, rural setting and other demographics. From the 2019 general election, we can now show the state with the highest votes,” Soyebi said.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said that it would give effect to today’s Supreme Court judgement sacking the All Progressives Congress’ (APC) candidate as the winner of the November 16, 2019 governorship election in the state.
INEC National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee (IVEC), Festus Okoye, told Daily Trust exclusively today in Abuja that the commission would back to its Operation Department to determine the party that meet up the Apex Court ruling.
“The Supreme Court has directed the commission to issue the Certificate of Return (CoR) to the political party that placed second in the Bayelsa governorship election and which also has the geographical spread in the election.
“So, what the commission would do is to go back to its Operation Department and make a determination on which political party came second in the election and which political party got the geographical spread in the election.
“Based on that, we would carry out the judgement of the Supreme Court. We would do that when we get the judgement of the Supreme Court, so that we would know clearly what the Supreme Court want us to do and we would carry it out,” Okoye told Daily Trust.
The Supreme Court earlier today sacked the Bayelsa State governor-elect, David Lyon of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and his running-mate, Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo 24 hours to their inauguration on February 14.
A five-man panel of the apex court led by Justice Mary Peter-Odili ordered INEC to withdraw the Certificate of Return (CoR) issued to the APC candidate as the winners of the November 16, 2019 governorship election in the state.
Accordingly, the apex court in its unanimous judgement delivered by Justice Ejembi Eko, also ordered INEC to issue fresh certificates to the candidates of the party with the next highest votes and with the required constitutional spread of votes in the results of the election.
Lyon was sacked for presenting a running mate with fake qualification.
National Chairman of the Peoples Redemption Party (PRP), Malam Falalu Bello has declared the party’s readiness to relegate the All Progressive Congress (APC), the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and other parties in Nigeria to the background at the 2023 general elections. He stressed that the party is now firmly on track, revived and ready to take off. Malam Falalu gave the assurance in Kaduna on Saturday during a joint meeting of the National Executive Committee (NEC), National Working Committee (NWC) and Board of Trustees (BOT).
According to him: “I will like to use this opportunity to assure all my colleagues in the PRP that the wobbly, weary and weaning years of the Peoples Redemption Party are over for good. Our party, PRP is now firmly on track, reviving up and ready for take off.
“The recent positive health bill declared by even the INEC itself for the party is certainly just one pointer to this fact. Those of us already on board this unstoppable moving train should now close ranks and add to the ongoing momentum. Those presently outside should get on as there is no stopping us now,” he said.
He said that the joint session was organised to primarily receive the reports of the three sub-committees that the party had constituted at the close of the 2019 general elections to carry out a thorough objective and dispassionate x-ray on the party and its place in Nigeria’s political space, with a view to repositioning it for greater performance and relevance. While assuring that the work done by the committees will not be in vain, the PRP Chairman commended the sub-committees for an excellent job saying: “The three sub-committees were: the SWOT Analysis, the Membership Drive and the Funding Committees.” It would be recalled that the immediate past National Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Professor Attairu Jega Chaired the SWOT analysis committee of the party.
The Chairman of the Media Trust Limited, Alhaji Kabiru Yusuf was also a member of the committee whose mandate was to critically examine the strength of PRP, its weaknesses and the opportunities available to the party as well as threats to its existence and wellbeing. Other members of the committee included, Professor Momodu Kassim Momodu. Dr. George Kwanashie, Comrade Ayo Sando, Dr Obi Osisiogwu and professor Nath Abraham.
The committees were constituted at the party’s 62nd National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting which held in Kaduna. The membership mobilisation committee was headed by Alhaji Sule Mohammed with the Group Managing Director of Leadership Newspapers Abdul Gombe as member among others while the National Chairman of the party, Alhaji Falalu Bello was the Chairman for the Finance and Funding committee with other six members. The committees, who were formally inaugurated in Abuja on August, 17, 2019, submitted their reports at the joint meeting of the NEC, NWC and BOT of the party on Saturday.