INEC Rates Rivers Re-run Elections As An Improvement

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has described the conduct of the Saturday re-run legislative elections in Rivers as an improvement compared to the suspended exercise in March in the state.
The Chief Press Secretary to INEC Chairman, Mr Rotimi Oyekanmi, said in a telephone interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Saturday in Abuja while assessing the exercise.
Oyekanmi said that though there were few cases of violence during the election, there was no confirmed case of killing.
“Generally, the trail of violent is not as what we witnessed in March.
“In March, a person was killed and the commission was forced to close the election, but in this Saturday exercise, there is no strong indication for us to say that we are suspending the election again.

“We think that relatively, we should be able to conclude the process peacefully, the security agencies should be commended for securing most of the places used for the elections,.
‘’Voting in some places have been concluded and collation ongoing.
“We are assuring Nigerians that we are building on our achievements in Edo and Ondo in term of credibility of elections in the country,’’ he said.
The chief press secretary further said that there were measures put in place to ensure that collation of results remain peaceful and transparent.
“A lot of precautionary measures have been put in place to ensure that hijacking of election results witnessed in the suspended elections in March does not reoccur.’’

INEC Interim Report On Rivers Re-Run Election

The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has released an interim report on the Rivers re-run elections where it promised that co-operation with the commission will bring about results that are acceptable to Stakeholders.

The report reads in full:

“Following the release of the timetable for the conclusion of the National and State Assembly re-run elections in Rivers state on 3rd November 2016, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) proceeded to conduct the elections in the state as scheduled today, Saturday, 10th December 2016.

“The elections were generally peaceful and the turn-out was impressive except in Akuku-Toru, Gokana, Khana, Andoni and Tai Local Government Areas.

“There were alleged reports of dynamite explosions in Akuku-Toru; INEC officials were attacked in Khana; electoral materials were snatched in Andoni; and our staff were prevented from conducting the elections in Tai State Constituency.

“In a few other areas where hoodlums threatened the conduct of the exercise, the security agencies intervened and ensured that the elections were conducted in a peaceful atmosphere. “In the meantime, actual voting has ended in most Polling Units (PUs).

“We urge the good people of Rivers state to continue to cooperate with the Commission so that ultimately, we would have results that are acceptable to the Stakeholders.”

INEC To Deploy 10,294 Workers For Rivers Re-run

the Independent National Electoral Commission is to deploy 10, 294 personnel for the conduct of the Rivers State legislative election scheduled for Saturday.

The Deputy Director, Voter Education and Publicity of INEC, Mr. Nick Dazang, said in a statement on Tuesday that the commission would deploy 14 categories of personnel for the rerun election on Saturday.

According to Dazang, the commission would deploy three returning officers for the three senatorial districts, 10 returning officers for the federal constituencies, 23 local government collating officers, and 221 registration area collation officers.

Other are “57 Collation Officers (for collation only at registration areas); 231 supervisory presiding officers; 1,840 presiding officers; 6,609 assistant presiding officers (I, II and III); 661 assistant presiding officers (VP); 363 reserve APOs (5%) of APOs; 21 constituency supervisors ( three SDs; eight FCs; and 10 SCs); 24 LGA supervisors; and 223 RA supervisors.”

Dazang said the rerun election would take place in the three senatorial districts, eight federal constituencies and 10 state constituencies.

The constituencies where the election is scheduled to hold are Rivers East, Rivers West and Rivers South-East senatorial districts.

Others are Akuku-Toru/Asari Toru, Degema/Bonny, Okrika/Ogu-Bolo, Etche/Omuma, Ikwere/Emohua, Khana Gokana, Eleme/Tai/Oyigbo, and Opobo/Nkoro/Andoni federal constituencies.

The rerun election will also take place in 10 state constituencies which are Eleme, Gokana, Asari-Toru I, Asari-Toru II, Andoni, Khana II, Etche II (SC), Ikwere, Bonny and Degema.

Dazang recalled that the rerun election scheduled for March 19, 2016 was suspended because of violence.

He said the exercise was in different stages when the process was suspended.

He stated further that the elections had been concluded in some of the constituencies, results declared and winners returned by the respective returning officers before the process was suspended,

According to him, the suspended exercise was also characterised by “returns made under duress by those not authorised to do so; collation made without validation; voting concluded without collation; disruption of voting, and no voting at all in some areas.”

Ondo Polls: No Justifiable Reason To Shift Polls, INEC Tells PDP

The House of Representatives on Thursday stated that a former president, Olusegun Obasanjo, is the grandfather of corruption in the country, accusing him of introducing corruption to the National Assembly on its first working day in 1999.

The former President had while delivering a lecture at the first Akintola Williams Annual Lecture in Lagos on Wednesday had said the “National Assembly stinks and stinks to high heavens. It needs to be purged,” adding that the parliament operates a cabal “worse than any cabal that anybody may find anywhere in our national governance system at any time.”

But addressing journalists, the Chairman, House Committee on Media & Publicity, Hon. Abdulrazak Namdas maintained that Obasanjo has no moral authority to discuss corruption, adding that he wants to bring down Buhari’s government and that he is “acting as lifetime opposition leader, blackmailer”.

In the words of Namdas, “Our attention has been drawn to a statement credited to former President Olusegun Obasanjo at a lecture he delivered recently, wherein, in his characteristic manner accused everybody but himself of corruption.

“He ventured to accuse the National Assembly of Budget padding, accused the House of criminal activities of threatening the life of a “whistleblower”, lampooned constituency projects which he approved as President, ventured to discuss the budget of National Assembly which is highly underfunded?

INamdas said the House would ordinarily not join issues with the former President as he has held an office that deserves respect and reverence.

“However, because of the material misstatement of facts, outright lies and falsehoods, and mischievous innuendo introduced in his statement, we are left with no option but to correct him.

“We have repeatedly maintained that there was no “padding” of the 2016 Appropriation Act, which is a legitimate document passed by the National Assembly, authenticated by the Clerk to the National Assembly as provided in the Acts Authentication Act and assented to by Mr. President. It is most unfortunate that a former President of Chief Obasanjo’s stature would allow himself to be hoodwinked and procured by a renegade member of the House, who embarked on massive propaganda and lies just because he was removed from office.

“For the avoidance of doubt, there is no crime that was committed by the National Assembly by exercising its constitutional function of appropriation. If Chief Obasanjo has an issue with the execution of the 2016 Budget or indeed other Appropriation Acts, he should direct his anger elsewhere.

“He claimed that the National Assembly Budget is very high, when by all standards, the National Assembly is grossly underfunded and is hampered from effectively and legitimately carrying out its constitutionally assigned functions. The National Assembly Budget funds a bureaucracy of about 5,000 civil servants. It has some other agencies under its preview such as the National Assembly Service Commission with its own staff of about 500; even the Public Complaints Commission is now a parastatal of the National Assembly.

“National Assembly Budget also funds the National Institute for Legislative Studies, which is a legislative think-tank and highly rated academic institution that serves both National and State Houses of Assembly and even international legislators. All these agencies also have their capital budget including development of their headquarters, procurement of office equipment, procurement of regular items for running their offices; the National Assembly maintain legislative aides of about 3,000 in number, that aid the work of the Assembly; it also conducts regular public hearings involving the media and stakeholders and oversight activities, involving huge sums of money.

“The cost implication of running the National Assembly is high because of the nature of our Presidential democracy. Then of course, there are 109 Senators and 360 members of the House of Representatives that require proper equipment to function effectively. They require adequate travel and transport support to carry out legislative functions. The National Assembly also has buildings and offices to build and maintain. National Assembly staff and members attend conferences, trainings, seminars to keep abreast of legislative developments worldwide. The activities are very encompassing and expensive.

“It is also unbecoming of a former President to quote figures of sums of money that are factually incorrect. No member of the House of Representatives receives N10m every month. The salaries and allowances of members of the House are as determined by the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC). Of course further sums of money are spent as running costs, that is, the cost of running the office of a member.

“If a Minister, Chief Executive or Director in a Ministry travels on official duties, for instance, do you include the cost of his ticket and accommodation as part of his salary or allowances? Does the cost of stationeries and maintenance of equipment like computers used in their offices, form part of their salaries and allowances?

“These are some of the costs that must be taken care of by the National Assembly and the media calls these costs “jumbo pay”. For goodness sake, the National Assembly is an arm of government, not just an ordinary agency of government.”

Ondo Polls: PDP Candidate, Jegede Submits Protest Letter To INEC, Requests Postponement

Ahead of the Saturday’s governorship election in Ondo State, the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Mr. Eyitayo Jegede, SAN, has called for the postponement of the election.

Jegede, who got his name back on the list of the candidates that would participate in the election following an order of the Supreme Court, said the list of his party agents had not been received by the Independent National Electoral Commission, adding that his faction of the party had not got a copy of the voters’ register.

Presenting his protest letter to the Resident Electoral Commission in the state, Mr. Segun Agbaje, at the state’s headquarters of the commission in Akure, the state capital on Thursday, the PDP candidate said his request for election postponement was in line with the electoral laws.

He said, ” We want INEC to shift the date of the election to enable me enjoy the privileges the candidates of other parties will enjoy in the election.

” Before now, my party has written to inform INEC on what is needed to be done in line with the provision of the law, they have not replied the letter. There are three conditions for election postponement, these conditions are, violence, natural disaster or any other emergency.

” What we have here is a legal emergency, it must be attended to, it is a legal emergency.

But the REC said there was no going back in conducting the election on Saturday.

He said the commission was ready for the election and there was no way it could shift the election.

Agbaje said, ” We are going to conduct the election on Saturday, there is no going back, it is not the fault of the INEC that parties are having intra-party crisis. It will cost Nigeria a lot of money if the election is postponed.

” We have prepared well for the election, the sensitive materials are already out and to postpone the election, it will cost the election a lot of money.”

He, however, assured that the commission would defend the party if there is any post election litigation over the matter raised.

PDP Calls On INEC To Postpone Ondo Polls

The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Caretaker Committee Chairman, Ahmed Makarfi, has called for the postponement of the governorship election in Ondo State slated for November 26.

Makarfi gave the call sequel to the court of Appeal’s decision refusing to deliver judgement on the appeal filed by its faction’s governorship candidate in Ondo State, Eyitayo Jegede, where he sought to upturn an Abuja Federal High court ruling which ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to replace him with Jimoh Ibrahim.

Reacting to the court’s decision, National Publicity Secretary of the Makarfi-led Committee, Prince Dayo Adeyeye, in a statement said the the election should be postponed until the party’s candidate in the upcoming election is determined by the court.

According to Adeyeye, “We call on all well meaning Nigerians to urge the All Progressives Congress-led Federal Government to desist from the use of organs of the Nigerian state as a tool with which to subvert the will of the Nigerian people.

“At this point, we must urge all Nigerians to hold the Federal Government, INEC, APC and the Jimoh Ibrahim group for any consequences of the dangerous games that they have chosen to play with the Nigerian people.

“The judiciary is seen as the last hope of the common man. When the freedom and independence of the judiciary to further the course of justice is tampered with, people often resort to self help.

“We call on INEC to postpone the elections pending the determination of the suit before the Supreme Court. We make this call against the backdrop of the fact that INEC is a party to the suit before the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court and is well aware of the steps taken by certain parties to the suit to frustrate the course of justice.”

#OndoDecides: PDP Governors Urge INEC To Be Fair

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Governors’ Forum has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to direct Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to be fair in the conduct of forthcoming Ondo governorship election.

In a statement by its Secretary, Patrick Okon, on Monday in Abuja, the forum also called for overhaul of the commission.

It alleged that the All Progressives Congress (APC), with the help of INEC, was planning to rig the poll.

“We are aware of the plan of APC to get Ondo state by all means, including enlisting the assistance of INEC.

“We are warning that we will not fold our arms to watch this impunity and day-time robbery.

“INEC is an umpire and should play its role very well so that the electorate will have confidence in it.

“From the way things are going, the people are already losing confidence in the commission,’’ it said.

The forum also called on INEC to stick to its electoral mandate and should not subvert the law of the land.

“INEC should conduct itself very well in this forthcoming Ondo state governorship election to avoid a repeat of what happened in Edo election.”

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that INEC on Thursday cleared Mr Jimoh Ibrahim nominated by disputed National Chairman of PDP, Sen. Ali Modu Sheriff’s faction, as the party’s candidate for the election.

It based its action on a court order, which declared Ibrahim as the candidate of the party for the poll.

The development jolted majority of members of the party, who had in a primary supervised by INEC as provided in the Electoral Act, elected Mr Eyitayo Jegede as candidate for the election.

Jegede’s nomination was submitted by Sen. Ahmed Makarfi-led National Caretaker Committee of the party.

However, the caretaker committee has the Court of Appeal to reverse the decision of High Court on the issue. Hearing on the matter has been fixed for Tuesday and Wednesday in Abuja.

#OndoDecides: INEC Distributes 1.2 million PVCs

Ahead of November 26 governorship election in Ondo State the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Wednesday said a total of 1,201,073 Permanent Voter Cards (PVC) have been collected by eligible voters in the state.
The Resident Electoral Commissioner in the state, Mr. Olusegun Agbaje, disclosed this at a stakeholders meeting held in Akure, the state capital.
He also informed that 344,006 of PVCs were still waiting to be collected by the electorate.
According to him, “It is important to stress at this juncture that only the PVCs would be used to vote during the governorship poll, while the smart card readers would be used for accreditation of voters.”
Agbaje urged the electorate to desist from selling their PVC, saying selling of PVCs or manipulation of the card was a grievous offence punishable under the law with fines and/or prison term.
The REC urged the electorate in the state to have confidence in INEC, assuring that the commission would remain unbiased, neutral and fair to all.
In his remark, Chairman of KOWA Party in the state, Mr. Olanrewaju Atanlogun, urged INEC to tackle the inadequacy of polling units to ensure that no one was disenfranchised.
Atanlogun, who is also the Deputy Chairman, Conference of National Political Parties in the state, added that INEC should also look into the security situation in the riverside areas of the state.

Fayose Regains Voice, Says PDP Contested Against INEC In Edo

The Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, has claimed that the Edo governorship election was between the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and its candidate, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu and the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, not the All Progressives Congress, APC.

This was as he described APC’s victory in the election held last week as a “victory only made possible by the use of federal government agencies to subvert the will of the people.”

INEC had on Thursday declared APC’s candidate in the election, Godwin Obaseki as winner of the keenly-contested governorship election in the state.

But speaking through his media aide, Lere Olayinka, Fayose lamented that the win-at-all-costs attitude of the APC was inimical to the sustenance of democracy in the country.

The governor alleged that rather than allow the people of Edo State elect their leader, APC conspired with INEC to impose Obaseki on the people.

According to the governor, it was unfortunate that those, whose emergence was made possible because the then PDP government allowed the people the freedom to make a choice, have now eroded the independence of INEC.

He said, “The stage for the manipulation of the election was set by the use of security agencies to postpone the election, even when there was no single security threat and what was witnessed in Edo State last Wednesday was the execution of the rigging plans perfected after the postponement.

“The power of the people to choose their governor was completely robbed at gunpoint in Edo State. Unfortunately too, these elements have even murdered the rights of Nigerians to protest against the subversion of their will and it is now obvious that only the insistence of Nigerians can save democracy in the country.

“Like I have said before, we are already seeing signs of what to come in 2019 and Nigerians should know by now that it will only take their insistence for their votes to count as long as these APC elements remain in power.”

INEC Confirms Akeredolu As APC Ondo Guber Candidate

The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has released the list of candidates for the November 26 governorship election in Ondo State.

In a list published on Thursday evening, INEC confirmed former President of the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, Chief Rotimi Akeredolu, as the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC.

Akeredolu emerged as APC’s candidate from the party’s primary election that was purportedly marred by electoral irregularities.

Following alleged irregularities that marred the primary on September 3 2016 in Ondo State, the party’s Appeal Committee had recommended the cancellation and conduct of a fresh primary election .

Despite the recommendation of the Appeal Panel, the national leadership of the party submitted Akeredolu’s name to INEC as its governorship candidate.

Meanwhile, INEC also confirmed Eyitayo Jegede as the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP’s candidate in the forthcoming election.

Jegede, a former Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice in Ondo State is of the camp of the factional National Chairman of the party, Ahmed Makarfi.

His confirmation as the party’s candidate may have put an end to the aspiration of Jimoh Ibrahim, the nominee of embattled factional National Chairman of the party, Sen Ali Modu Sheriff.

INEC also cleared no fewer than twenty-eight political parties and their candidates for the forthcoming election in the state.

See the list of cleared political parties and their candidates below:

Accord (A): Pastor Oladare Amuda, Action Alliance (AA): Barrister Yinka Oloyede Orokoto, Alliance for Democracy (AD): Dr. Akin Olowookere, African Democratic Congress (ADC): Mrs Modupe Ogunyoku, African People Alliance (APA): Mrs Helen Folasade, Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN): Chief Adetuwo Ogunjumelo.

All Progressives Congress (APC): Barrister Rotimi Akeredolu, All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA): Prince Samuel Ayo Adegbite, Better Nigeria Progressive Party (BNPP): Hon. Funmilayo Jenyo Ataunoko, Citizens Popular Party (CPP): Prince Peter Fasua, Democratic Peoples Congress (DPC): Reverend Dr. M.D Adeeyo, Democratic Peoples Party (DPP): Mrs Olamide Falana, Hope Democratic Party (HDP): Hon. Olumuyiwa Odedeyi.

Independent Democrats (ID): Mr Samuel Oluwatoyin, Labour Party (LP): Hon. Adeoti Taiye Stephen, National Conscience Party (NCP): Davies Oluwasuyi, National Unity Party (NUP): Pastor Moses Ayibiowo, New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP): Dr. Oluwadare Bada, KOWA Party (KP): Barrister Daniel Ogungbemi, People for Democratic Change (PDC): Segun Odidiemi.

Peoples Democratic Party (PDP): Barrister Eyitayo Jegede, Peoples Party of Nigeria (PPN): Madam Temidola Olagbegi Olunmoliyi, Progressive Peoples Alliance (PPA): Prince Adekunle Egbuwalo, Peoples Redemption Party (PRP): Roland Aregbede, Social Democratic Party (SDP): Dr. Olu Agunloye, United Democratic Party (UDP): Mr Olugbenga Falaiye, Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN): Barrister Bolarinwa Aidi, United Progressive Party (UPP): Mr. Olamilekan Iyanu Olufemi and Young Democratic Party (YDP): Mr. Anthony Adeniranye.

Buhari Sends Six Names To Senate For Confirmation As INEC Commissioners

President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, sent six names to the Senate for screening and confirmation as national commissioners of Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.

The President also sent names of five persons for screening and subsequent confirmation as national commissioners of National Population Commission, NPC.

Buhari in two separate letters to the Senate, which were read at plenary by the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, said his appointment of national commissioners for both INEC and NPC was in accordance with the provisions of Section 154(1) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).

The names of the INEC national commissioner nominees were given as Prof. Okechukwu Obinna Ibeanu, Anambra State; May I. Agbamuche-Mbu, Delta State; AVM Ahmed Tijani Mu’Azu, Gombe State; Mohammed Kudu Haruna, Niger State; Dr Adekunle Ladipo Ogunmola, Oyo State; and Abubakar Ahmed Nahuche, Zamfara State.

Those nominated for NPC include; Engr. Benedict Ukpong, Akwa Ibom State; Gloria Fateya Izonfuo, Bayelsa State; Barr. Kupchi Patricia Ori Iyanya, Benue State; Dr Haliru Bala, Kebbi State; and Dr Eyitayo Oyetunji, Oyo State.

In the letters, Buhari thanked the Senate in anticipation of the early consideration and confirmation of the nominees.