INEC Releases Timetable, Schedule For 2019 General Elections

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has released the timetable and schedules of activities for the 2019 general elections.

INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, said in Abuja that the dates for National Assembly and Presidential elections remain Feb. 16, 2019; while governorship and State House of Assembly elections, will hold on March 2, 2019.

Recall that INEC had earlier released the dates for 2019 general election in March 2017.

Yakubu said that the conduct of party primaries including resolution of disputes arising from primaries for national and state elections has been slated for between Aug. 18 and 2018 to Oct. 7, 2018.

He added that the conduct of parties primaries for the FCT Area Council election has also be scheduled for between Sept. 4 and Oct. 27.

Yakubu said that political campaigns by political parties for Presidential Election and NASS elections would commence on Nov. 18 and end on Jan. 14, 2019; while that of governorship and State Houses of Assembly would start on Dec. 1 and end on Feb. 28, 2019.

He said that notice for elections would be released on Aug. 17, while collection of nomination forms for national and states elections by political parties has been fixed for between Aug 17 and Aug. 24, while that of the FCT is slated from Sept. 3 to Sept 10.

The chairman said that the last date for submission of nomination forms by political parties has also been scheduled for Dec. 3 for president and NASS elections, and state elections Dec. 17.

He also said that the collection of nomination forms for FCT Area Council elections would commence on Nov. 3 to Nov. 10, while the last date for the return of the nomination forms is Dec. 14.

The commission according to Yakubu would on Oct 25 publish the personal particulars of National elections candidates on Oct. 25 and those of the state candidates on Nov. 9.

He also announced Nov. 17 as the last date for the withdrawal or replacement of candidate(s) for president and NASS elections, and Dec. 1 for governorship and state house of assembly elections.

Yakubu said that the INEC would on Jan. 2, 2019 publish notice of the polls, and on Jan. 7, 2019 publish official register of voters for the election.

The chairman said that political parties were also expected to submit names of their agents for the elections on Feb. 1, 2019.

He disclosed that 1,558 constituencies elections made up presidential, 29 governorship elections, out of which seven are staggered would be conducted in 2019.

 

Buhari Sends 9 Names Of INEC RECs For Senate Confirmation

President Muhammadu Buhari has sent nine names to the senate for screening and confirmation as state Resident Electoral Commissioners, RECs, of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.

Senate President, Bukola Saraki on Wednesday read Mr President at the plenary.

The letter reads, “In accordance of the Provisions of section 154 (1) of the 1999 constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria. I write to forward here with the names of 9 of resident electoral commissioners appointed for the INEC for the consideration of the senate of the federal republic of Nigeria.

“The curriculum vitae of the nominees are attached here with while thanking you immensely in anticipation of the early consideration and confirmation of the above appointment by the senate.”

The nominees are; Monday Tom, Akwa-Ibom; Baba Yusuf, Borno; Eric Olawale, Osun; Lukman Ajidaba, Kwara; and Segun Agbaje, Ekiti.

Others are; Cyril Omoruyi, Edo; Yahaya Bello, Nasarawa; Emmanuel Alex, Rivers; and Mohammed Ibrahim, Gombe.

The Senate had on November 23 rejected the nominee of Zamfara State, Ahmad Mahmud, as a Resident Electoral Commissioner.

2019: INEC Registers 21 New Political Parties

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has approved the registration of 21 new political parties, bringing the number of registered parties in the country to 67.

The commission through a statement signed by Mrs May Agbmuche-Mbu, INEC National Commissioner and Member, Information and Voter Education Committee, said the approval wss given at the commission’s weekly meeting on Thursday in Abuja.

The statement said that the associations were registered as political parties, because they had fulfilled the constitutional requirements for registration.

The new political parties are All Blending Party (ABP), All Grassroots Alliance (AGA), Alliance for New Nigeria (ANN), Abundant Nigeria Renewal Party (ANRP), Coalition for Change (C4C) and Freedom and Justice Party (FJP).

Also registered are Grassroots Development Party of Nigeria (GDPN), Justice Must Prevail Party (JMPP), Legacy Party of Nigeria (LPN), Mass Action Joint Alliance (MAJA), Modern Democratic Party (MDP), National Interest Party (NIP), National Rescue Mission (NRM) and New Progressive Mission (NPM).

New Progressive Movement (NPM), Nigeria Democratic Congress Party (NDCP), People’s Alliance for National Development and Liberty (PANDEL), People’s Trust (PT) and Providence People’s Congress (PPC) were also registered.

Also on the list are Re-Build Nigeria Party (RBNP), Restoration Party of Nigeria (RP) and Sustainable National Party (SNP).

The commission also approved immediate and compulsory retirement of a member of staff and the dismissal of two others in Kogi office over act of gross misconduct.

It said that the action was taken against the three members of staff over their involvement in alleged double registration of Gov. Yahaya Bello in the ongoing Continuous Voter Registration (CVR).

“Following reports of the alleged double registration by the Governor of Kogi State in the ongoing Continuous Voter Registration (CVR), the Commission set up a panel of investigation into the involvement of staff in the matter.

“The initial report submitted by the panel was referred to the Appointment, Promotion and Disciplinary Committee, which made recommendations to the Commission.

It added that the decision was taken in respect of its staff while the governor currently enjoys immunity from prosecution.

On the Anambra Central Senatorial re-run election, INEC said it had applied for Certified True Copy of the Federal High Abuja judgment on the election to enable it take a decision.

“It will be recalled that following the judgment of the Court of Appeal, the Commission announced that the outstanding election to fill the vacant seat for the Anambra Central Senatorial District would take place on Jan. 13, 2018.

“However, the attention of the Commission has been drawn to the judgment of the Federal High Abuja on the issue, delivered on Dec. 13, 2017.

“The Commission has applied for Certified True Copy of the judgment to enable us take a decision.”

2019: INEC To Partner Political Parties For Credible Elections

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says it will partnership political parties and other stakeholders in Ebonyi to ensure that the state records credible election in 2019.

The Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in the state, Prof. Godswill Obioma, stated this while briefing newsmen on Wednesday in Abakaliki on the outcome of a meeting between the commission and Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC).

He said that the collaboration would raise the capacity and awareness of political parties’ members, equip them with knowledge of the electoral process.

Obioma said that the synergy would also enhance understanding of provisions of the nation’s Constitution and the 2010 Electoral Act as amended.

“Our focus, our commitment is on 2019 general elections and the desire to get things done right before and during the elections.

“This is a special IPAC meeting and the aim is to achieve two results,” he said.

According to him, it is to raise capacity ahead of 2019 in terms of equipping members with knowledge of IPAC and the electoral umpire with provisions of the Electoral Act.

Obioma said that it was also to sensitize political parties on the need to adhere to provisions of the Act.

“The meeting also highlighted the legal implications of violating the provisions of the Electoral Law and the need for political parties to conduct their activities within the ambits of the law.

“It is through a strategic partnership with the political parties and key stakeholders that our aim of having credible 2019 elections in the state can be achieved,” Obioma said.

He said that IPAC was set up within the structures of INEC to ensure inclusiveness in policy, transparency and probity in election process.

He pointed out that regular meetings were held to address issues that would benefit the members and electorate.
“IPAC is composed of all the registered political parties and meets with INEC from time to time.

“We chart a way forward, look at challenges, create strategies to combat the challenges and of course, make strategic plans in terms of sensitisation and other issues.

“As I have pointed out earlier, today’s meeting is a special one which was convened to address a particular issue.
“The issue is the provision of 2010 Electoral Law (As amended) with particular reference to section 92 (A) and (B) which deals with campaigns.

“The essence is to alert political parties of the provisions of that Act stipulating the guidelines, time limit, when to start campaigns and when to stop.

“They will know what constitutes a campaign and implications of contravening the provisions of the electoral Act,” the REC said.

He disclosed that the meeting deliberated on the need for violence-free polls in the state, saying that election was not a do-or-die affair.

He said that political parties were reminded to caution members, candidates and their supporters to limit their actions within the provisions of the law and avoid acts that could trigger election violence.

“Election is not a do-or-die affair and we were able to highlight the issue in the meeting and this is why we are calling for the strategic partnership to help build and cement our relationship with political parties.

“We encourage political parties and players to abide by the provisions of the Act to abide by guidelines and also to do all it takes to ensure that elections are credible, fair and free, and that people’s votes count,” Obioma added.

He said that INEC remained an unbiased electoral umpire committed to the discharge of its statutory mandate of conducting impartial and credible elections.

“We in INEC want to assure the public that we are unbiased umpires; we shall do our job, we will carry out our work taking into account our statutory responsibility as provided for in the Act.

“We will not add a vote that doesn’t count nor are we going to subtract a vote that counts.

“We are appealing for cooperation so that at the end of the day, everybody would have seen that we have done the job, people will have been happy to see that their votes have counted.”

Election Results From Anambra Gubernatorial Election

POLLING UNITS RESULTS COLLATED

INEC Results Unit 008 Ward 1 Onitsha North
APGA 23
PDP 19
APC 4

Polling unit 18
Nanka ward 1
Orumba north

Lp 1
ADP 1
APC 40
PDP 17
APGA 81
Ppa 3
Upp 1

INEC Results Unit 013 Ward 1 Onitsha North
APGA 96
PDP 35
APC 34

INEC Results Unit 017 Ward 1 Onitsha North
APGA 67
PDP 39
APC 14

Governorship Result For Umuono Hall 2, Nise Ward 2, Awka-South LGA.
APGA – 94
APC – 25
PDP – 8
APDA – 1
LP – 1

Umudala hall
Polling unit no 10
Nanka ward 1
Orumba north
Aa 1
ADP 1
LP 2
PPA 1
APDA 1
UPP 2
APC 21
PDP 40
APGA 99

INEC Results Unit 013 Ward 1 Onitsha North
APGA 96
PDP 35
APC 34

INEC Results Unit 017 Ward 1 Onitsha North
APGA 67
PDP 39
APC 14

Polling booth 11
Nanka ward 1
Part result
APGA 122
PDP 30
APC 16
Ppa 3
ADC 1

Adazi-Nnuwku ward 1. 007
APGA – 42;
APC -7;
PDP – 6;
UPP – 1

polling station 004( Awada playground, Obosi Urban)
PDP 10
APC 11
APGA 62
UPP 6
APDA 2
UDP 1
INVALID 5

CODE 063 MGBUKA OBOSI UGWU AGBA.
APGA 52
APC 11
PDP 8
UPP 4

INEC Results Unit 011 Ward 1 Onitsha North
APGA 113
PDP 27
APC 11

Igbakwu ward 006
APGA 97
APC 8
PDP 1

Polling unit 012
Ward 2 Nanka
Orumba north
APGA 78
APC 27
PDP 22

INEC Results Unit 002 Ward 1 Onitsha North
APGA 71
PDP 17
APC 6

SR

Anambra: Impressive Turnout Of Voters

The Anambra governorship election has witnessed impressive turnout of voters at most of the polling units, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports.

NAN Correspondents who monitored the exercise on Saturday in the three senatorial zones of the state, report that voters were seen in most of the polling units visited as early as 7.30 a.m. waiting to be attended to by the electoral officials.

NAN further reports that security officials were present in all the polling units visited.

At Aguleri in Anambra East Local Government Area, the country home of Gov. Willie Obiano, the governor said he was happy with the massive turnout of voters.

Obiano urged the people yet to come out to do so, noting that effective participation by the people was the only way they could support the advancement of democracy.

The APC governorship candidate, Dr Tony Nwoye, also told newsmen that the turnout was high and impressive.

In Oyi, Orumba North and South, Awka South local government areas as well as Onitsha, NAN correspondents report that the turnout was high in the polling units visited.

However, the turnout in parts of Orumba north and south was poor because of late arrival of materials and officials of INEC.

At Aroma Junction, Agu Oka Polling Unit 004 in Awka South Local Government Area, Mr David Anyamele, a Local Election Observer, described the exercise as peaceful and smooth.

Anyamele, a member of Centre for Citizens with Disabilities, told NAN that he was impressed by the turnout of voters in most of the polling units he visited.

But at Fagge Area of Onitsha, the turnout was not very impressive.

Igwe Nneamaka Achebe, the Obi of Onitsha, told NAN that the unimpressive turnout in Onitsha was because majority of people working and doing business in Onitsha were not residents of the area.

“Most of them live in Nkpor, Obosi, and Idemili areas, but only come to Onitsha to work and do business.

“The Obi in Council had earlier met and directed the town criers to go round the various communities and announce to the people to participate in the election,’’ Achebe said.

He described the conduct of the Nov.18 governorship election as smooth, peaceful and fair.

Meanwhile, a member of the Nigerian Bar Association Election Working Group, told NAN in Onitsha that the poll began on a good note.

The Coordinator of the group, Mr Adewale Ademola, said that the materials arrived and all the materials, including ballot boxes, card readers and results sheets were intact.

Ademola said the card readers were all in good working condition and that the election was smooth.

NAN

Anambra: An open letter to INEC

By Ejike Anyaduba

Dear Professor Mahmood Yakubu, 

I admit of no better time than now to write you this letter. With the November 18 governorship election in Anambra State within days of taking place, it behoves us in the state to ask a few questions. I assume – even without being admitted in knowledge – that you have taken effective care to ensure that Anambra State witnesses a free and fair election. Nothing will be more gratifying than this realization. It is my hope that your coming to the state as an unbiased umpire is to change the perception that election results do not always reflect the wishes of the electorate. I pray the Anambra election will not be a confirmation of this perception. This is because you and I know how diminished a people can be each time their collective aspiration is made of no importance. It vacuums them of hope, and can set them on a path of destruction. To this end, I pray you don’t indulge or pander to any interest that will bring about this situation.

This election offers you a chance to write your name in gold – an opportunity to undo the wrongs of the past. Professor Humphrey Nwosu, you remember him, the erstwhile boss of INEC, is remembered today with fondness by majority of Nigerians not because he plied his pedagogy in the political science department of many a Nigerian university. Not at all! He is remembered because he dared to be different and conducted what has come to be known as the freest and fairest election in Nigeria. The opportunity is here with you.

I urge you to seize it, act in good conscience and allow Heaven to take care of the devil in the detail. May the good Lord speed you! However, there is this rumour that a plan has been hatched to derail the process which I feel you should know. But for constant dropping of the name of your organization, the purveyors of the cheap gossip would merit no consideration at all. But because every society is surfeited with imps enough to cause distractions, including my dear Anambra, I suggest that you take proactive measures to forestall possible derailment.

The threat should not be dismissed with the wave of the hand as these fellows seem determined to stultify genuine efforts to have an equitable election. I haven’t the slightest reason to doubt your good office or to ever imagine it could be in cahoots with any plan to compromise the people. Not at all! Yet, their boast of connections in high places is enough to arouse concern. They speak with definiteness that the result must pan out in their favour. Where otherwise -they boasted – the election will be postponed as was the case in Edo. Ordinarily, no one should pay any heed to such swank as our people can distinguish between the command of God and the threat of man.

They can also tell a psychological war when they are up against one. But I got worried when reference was made to the Edo governorship election. The postponement of that election from September 10, 2016 to September 28, 2016 was seen rightly or otherwise as unnecessary, except as an opportunity for one of the candidates to deal with the odds against his chances. Till date, a lot of people are not enamoured of the conduct and will be loath to have it repeated elsewhere. It may be argued that the election was equitable at least to the extent that the Supreme Court affirmed it and the good people of Edo did not protest the travesty. Neither argument captured the damage done to the psyche of Nigerians who had thought the new leadership of INEC was different from what it had been.   It is our prayer that Anambra State should be spared that type of  election. Not because the people have the capacity to compel a different officiation if the Edo option has been slated. It has to be different for the following reasons. One, because it is the only election within the period, it is less encumbered by pressure.

Both the workforce and material deployment of INEC have enough room for a good job. Two, the state is currently under threat of a shut-down by elements of the Independent Peoples of Biafra (IPOB). That, in itself, is enough trouble however abated it may seem since the Python Dance 11. It will be stretching our luck too far by provoking mass hysteria through avoidable partisanship. Three, and perhaps the greatest of the reasons, is the possible provocation of the fractious youth of the Omambala region.

You may not be aware of this, but the Omambala area is the flashpoint of violence in the state. Because of the rotation arrangement, two of the frontline contenders in the race are from the area.

This area is a veritable ground for recruitment of “militants”, and till date bears the record as having fought the longest fratricidal war in the history of the state. Without sounding an alarmist, another kind of job would be created for the security agents should INEC mismanage the election. As a rule, Anambra is a pleasant state to govern. The people have no great expectations from government. They are sufficient onto themselves and can, on occasion, stand in for government. The state occupies a foremost position in Igbo land because of her unique potentials. It is not without reason that elections in the state are treated with great care.  Anambra voters are sophisticated and do not need encouragement to accept or reject a leader as they deem wise. However, if deprived the right of choice, they can prove most intractable. The state can make noise enough to get the nation worried. We are not unaware of how important a peaceful Anambra State is to Nigeria and vice versa. It will be wrong to task the peace by doing anything untoward during the election. A challenged governorship election in Anambra State may worsen the volatile peace in the country. For this reason, our dear INEC, I decided to write you in the hope that you will resist every attempt to exact your office for the success of any candidate in this election.

It will be a disservice to our people if their effort on November 18 is made of no effect just to satisfy a few interests. Our people appreciate the rat race involved in this election and cannot pretend to be unmindful of efforts by those who boast of their contacts in high places in Abuja to subvert the will of the people. But to achieve that through any connivance with the refeering authority will spell a lot of trouble for everybody. 

You owe the state a duty to resist any temptation and or intimidation by those determined to lead the state against the dictates of her conscience. What happens from November 19, whether there will be a peaceful Anambra or not, derives from how fairly you choose to conduct the election. I shall be content to bother you less with an unnecessarily long letter for I know you must be busy.   Again, may the good Lord speed you! 

Anyaduba writes from  Abatete 

INEC To Give Better Result In 2019 Than 2015 – UN

United Nations (UN) has suggested that the 2019 general elections in Nigeria will be free of violence.

The head of UN office for West Africa Mohammed Ibn Chambers, made this known in a chat with reporters Chambers said:

“Let us not forget that so far there have been some significantly successful elections in this country by the current National Electoral Commission (INEC) leadership gubernatorial elections, senatorial elections, and other by-elections.

‘”So there have been opportunity for INEC to test itself and so far, as we can all attest to, those elections have been credible and peaceful. This is highly commendable.

“It should be acknowledged that 2015 elections were largely violence-free. There are indications that we will see an improvement upon it in 2019.”

He commended the current leadership of EFCC led by Mahmood Yakubu, for its diligence in running the affairs of the commission.

“I can assure you that, from what we have seen so far, we are very, very, confident that Prof Yakubu and his team are on track.

“You do have in Nigeria, an election body that has a good capacity. It was demonstrated in 2015 to the admiration of all of us. So we are confident that in 2019, the current INEC leadership will deliver better results than we saw in 2015 and consolidate on its gains,” he said.

Meanwhile, the former governor of Zamfara state and senator representing Zamfara West senatorial district, Sani Yerima said he would contest the 2019 presidential election on two conditions; if President Buhari declines to seek re-election and if Nigerians endorse him.

He reinstated his commitment to support President Buhari if he decides to contest the 2019 presidential election. Nigerians want PDP back in 2019 – Goodluck Jonathan declares at PDP Caucus Meeting.

INEC Registers 73.2 Million Voters For Elections In 2019

According to The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), 73.2 million voters have been registered for the 2019 general elections while the exercise continues. The commission which gave the figure as what it realised in April this year said it projected to register over 80 million voters for the polls, and promised to ensure that the 2019 general elections are better than those of 2015.

 

INEC also revealed that about eight million Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) are yet to be collected by their owners. Addressing a delegation of European Union Electoral Follow-up Mission to Nigeria, civil society organisations and other stakeholders during a roundtable organised by the European Union Delegation to Nigeria and West Africa, Chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu said the credibility of elections depends on the credibility of the voter register.

 

He said although the commission was facing some challenges, it was tackling them. “We started in April and as at last week, we have registered 3.2 million (Nigerians) on top of the 70 million registered voters for the 2015 general elections that we had before. Our projection is that the voters’ register will probably be over 80 million by 2019.”

 

Top on the agenda was some 30 recommendations handed to INEC by the European Union Election Observation Mission (EU-EOM) after the 2015 general elections, for which the EU had dispatched its Electoral Follow-Up Mission to Nigeria, led by Mr Santiago Fisas to ascertain what has happened since then.

 

Yakubu said: “The most important thing for us as we plan towards 2019 is the effectiveness of our plan. We have a Strategic Plan 2017-2021 and we have along with that, a strategic programme of action. We have just completed the draft Election Project Plan for 2019. Hopefully next week, we will come up with a figure of what it will cost this nation to conduct the 2019 general elections.”

 

He also told the delegation that INEC had benefitted from the numerous elections it had conducted. “We have conducted elections into 172 constituencies since the 2015 general elections. The last election was three weeks ago in Gombe, the next election is in eight days in Sokoto, followed by the Anambra governorship election. We have issued the timetable for Ekiti and Osun (governorship elections).”

 

On simultaneous accreditation and voting, he said: “In Bayelsa in January 2016, we combined accreditation and voting and it was well received. Now, you can only vote at the polling unit where you are registered. You cannot vote elsewhere. It’s going on very well.” On the Anambra governorship election scheduled for November 18, Yakubu said: “We are combining the governorship election with the Idemili North state constituency election. There will be two ballot boxes and voters will receive two ballot papers. All the other arrangements – logistics, staff training, and security are in place. We are killing two birds with one stone. And for the first time in the history of elections in Nigeria, 37 political parties are contesting in the Anambra election. Out of the 14 activities lined up, we have executed nine.”

 

On the fear by some stakeholders that security agencies could postpone the election at the last minute, the chairman observed that although the responsibility of securing the environment before, during and after elections is not within the commission’s jurisdiction, INEC maintains a close relationship with all security agencies through the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES).

 

“That is why we have also decided, as a commission, to issue the timetable and schedule of activities well ahead of all elections. In Anambra, we issued the timetable in February for an election that will take place in November. We have done the same for Ekiti and Osun. We have taken care, in both cases, to avoid party politics, national festivals and students’ examinations. The last (governorship) election in Ekiti took place on June 14.

 

“But June next year is likely to coincide with the fasting period and Salah, and since the law says that we should conduct the election at least 30 days to the end of the tenure (of the incumbent), we shifted it to July when there is no festival or examination. The same for Osun – instead of 4th August, we’ll conduct the election in September. Interestingly in Osun’s case, we have given a one-year notice and we have always made copies of the timetable and schedule of activities available to the security agencies. But we’ll continue to talk to them,” Yakubu said.

 

The INEC chairman also spoke on the low participation of women in politics, explaining that INEC has in recent times intensified engagements with political parties on the need for them to accommodate more women. “But the caveat is the constitutional provision which says that individuals aspiring for political offices must be sponsored by a political party. But we have a gender policy in place.”

 

 

INEC Expects 10m More Voters by 2019

The number of registered voters in Nigeria by year 2019 is expected to increase by abut 1 million more voters, bringing the total to about 80 million voters.

The Chairman of INEC, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, made the prediction at a roundtable organised by the European Union Electoral Follow-up Mission to Nigeria and West Africa, held in Abuja.

Yakubu speaking on the ongoing Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) said that no fewer than 3.2 million Nigerians had been register in addition to the 70 million registered voters for the 2015 general elections.

According to him, “We started in April and as at last week, and we have registered 3.2 million Nigerians on top of the 70 million registered voters for the 2015 general elections that we had before. Our projection is that the Voter Register will probably be over 80 million by 2019…

“We haven’t made much progress in the last two years, but we have made elaborate arrangements with the states to ensure that the cards are collected. We have just completed the draft Election Project Plan for 2019,” he said.

“The last election was three weeks ago in Gombe, the next election will come up in eight days time in Sokoto, followed by the Anambra governorship elections.

“We have issued the timetable for Ekiti and Osun governorship elections. In Anambra, we issued the timetable in February for an election that will take place in November. We have done the same for Ekiti and Osun. We have taken care, in both cases, to avoid party politics, national festivals and students’ examinations.

“The last (governorship) election in Ekiti took place on June 14, but June next year is likely to coincide with the fasting period and Salah.

“Since the law says that we should conduct the election at least 30 days to the end of the tenure (of the incumbent), we shifted it to July when there is no festival or examination.

“The same for Osun – instead of August 4, we’ll conduct the election in September.

“Interestingly in Osun’s case, we have given a one-year notice and we have always made copies of the timetable and schedule of activities available to the security agencies,” he said.

EDITORIAL: Facing The Future

The announcement by the nation’s Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) releasing the timetable for the Governorship elections in Ekiti and Osun States in 2018 is very much noted. The electoral commission must be given kudos for intimating all the relevant stakeholders of its intent and giving them the time to prepare for what in both states will be, probably pivotal elections. If nothing else, the early release of the sequence of events shows that critical institutions are being developed into the solid mechanism vitally needed to consolidate and deepen our democracy.

For the state of Osun, it is a wake-up call. It means that we will soon be in the post- Aregbesola era. These means that there must be a clear succession plan to consolidate on the gains of his two terms in office. The two terms have been pivotal. For a start there has been in governance, a clear and decisive break with an underachieving past. These gains must now be made irreversible.

The retooling of the state in terms of implementing Aregbesola’s original mission statement, via the six points’ integral action plan has been truly remarkable. The six-point agenda in its implementation has actually brought back into the lexicon the concept of the Social Contract. The essence of a social contract, which is a beneficial link binding the government in office to the electorate had hitherto been one of the casualties of the military incursion into our politics. Aregbesola through his fiscal prudence as well as the implementation of a remarkable social intervention programme has made the concept of the social contract fashionable gain.

The implementation is visible. Assessing the efforts made by the Aregbesola intervention makes one to recall what has been said for centuries about Christopher Wren, the sublime architect who defined what today is the ethos and spirit of the great city of London. The well known plaque says that, “If you seek to know what he has achieved, please look around you”. In this same manner, if you seek to know what Aregbesola has achieved in the State of Osun, do go there and look around you. The transformation starting from a low base is remarkable. There will be eternal discourses about the dotting of I’s and the crossings of T’s.

Nevertheless, in a very difficult fiscal climate within the context of a debilitating quasi-federalism, he has left the state in a better shape than he found it. The gains must not be frittered away. For there is a real threat that those who wish to go back to the pre-Aregbesola days of sloth, indolence and gains without pain are already preparing to leap over the fence and regain power.

Such a thing will be akin to a Shakespearean tragedy. It will mean in essence that like the Bourbons of revolutionary France, the people of the State of Osun will have learnt nothing and forgotten nothing. It must not be allowed to happen.

A much more desirable route is the example set in Lagos State since the return to civil rule in 1999. In that laudable trajectory, seamless transitions have handed the baton in a series of changeovers from the initiating avatar Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, to successors who have passed on the torch of sustainable development. The framework has ensured fiscal stability and continuity of the development process, a remarkable model, in Africa.

The state of Osun must follow suit. This means that the helmsman himself must follow the laudable example set in Lagos and ensure that the atmosphere is created for continuity of the programmes so beneficially implemented in the state. Governor Aregbesola frankly has no alternative. For the verdict of history will be harsh if he is derelict in his historic responsibility on this score. The imperative for continuity is non-negotiable.

Aregbesola therefore has work to do. For there are two decisive tenets in political mobilisation and communications which have to be deployed in the quest for continuity. The first is that a figure who has achieved what he has achieved must shift the territory of debate decisively in favour of his own position. Furthermore, we must acknowledge that Nicolo Machiavelli was correct about ‘The Law of Constant Reminders’. Great achievements have been made but there is a need for “constant reminders”. These two interlinked positions must be used as the mobilizing tools for the myriad of focus groups and stakeholders in the state. Done sensibly as it must, the vitally needed continuity will be ensured.