PDP Laments Shift In Abuja Council Polls

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has decried the postponement of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Area Council election from March 19 to April 9.

This is contained in a statement issued by PDP National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh on Wednesday in Abuja.

It stated that there was no valid reason for the shift, except that the PDP and its candidates were more popular and set to sweep the polls.

Metuh, however, said that PDP members and supporters “are fully mobilised and ready for the elections. It is obvious that we are winning; the people are with us.’’

He also said that PDP would not accept anything short of free, fair and credible elections.
Meanwhile, the Chairman of INEC, Prof. Yakubu Mahmood, had reiterated that the election was postponed due to short fall in the number of ad-hoc staff required to conduct the FCT election.
Mahmood stated this during a joint news conference he held with the Inspector-General of Police, Solomon Arase on preparation for Rivers rerun election.

“FCT INEC required 9,000 ad-hoc staff to conduct the election, but was able to recruit 3,532 from the NYSC, leaving a shortfall of over 6,000.

“We took a step to engage students from University of Abuja, but were able to recruit about 2,000 people.’’ Mahmood said.

He said that the commission postponed the election as it was not sure of recruiting the remaining ad-hoc personnel required for the conduct of the election.

“Even if we are able to recruit the shortfall, we need enough time to train them before the election day,’’ he added. (NAN)

INEC Laments Cost Of Re-run Elections

Prof. Mahmoud Yakubu, the Chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), on Wednesday decried the cost of conducting re-run elections in the country.

Yakubu made this known at a National Conference for Justices of the Court of Appeal and Election Petition Tribunal Judges with the theme “2015 Election Petition Tribunals and Appeals” in Abuja.

He said it was more challenging to manage re-run elections arising from candidates’ disqualification.

According to him, while it is appreciated that the courts treat each case on its merits, certain trends point to conflicting judgments on similar cases by different Judicial Division of the Court of Appeal.

He said there were instances where elections were nullified and INEC was ordered to conduct a re-run simply for the sake of conducting elections in a specific polling unit.

Yakubu said after wasting time and resources, the outcome of such election did not make any material difference to the original result declared by INEC which made substantial compliance with the Electoral Act.

He cited the case of Lafia/Obi Federal Constituency in Nasarawa State, where Appeal Court ordered INEC to conduct a re-run in Angwan Doka Polling Unit 004 with just over 1,000 registered voters.

He said the candidate declared winner by INEC in the 2015 General election pooled over 74, 000 votes while the runner-up had a little over 70,000 votes.

Mahmoud said the number of registered voters in the polling unit could not have altered the result in any way and even the voters were aware of the reality.

“When INEC conducted a re-run election in that polling unit only 25 voters turned up to cast their votes and the election which has no utilitarian value cost the nation N3.2 million,” he said.

He said that 680 election cases were filed against INEC after the 2015 General elections and 580 out of these cases were dismissed by the tribunals and Court of Appeal.

Yakubu said that the commission had no judicial powers over the outcome of the elections it had conducted.

According to him, each time an appeal court determines a case, the commission is always ordered to undertake one form of consequential action.

In her speech, the President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa, said that the court received 749 appeals emanating from the decisions of the various election petition tribunals.

Bulkachuwa said in spite of the challenges of time, the justices of the court had managed to dispose the appeals within the stipulated period as required by law.

Thugs Snatched Result Sheet From Electoral Officer – Akwa Ibom REC

The Resident Electoral Commissioner in Akwa Ibom, Mr Gabriel Ada, has alleged that suspected thugs snatched result sheet from electoral officer in Saturday’s council poll in the state.

Ada told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Ibesikpo while monitoring the election that the incident took place in one of the polling units in Obot Akara.

According to him, suspected thugs in Obot Akara beat up an electoral officer and took away the result sheet for the polling unit.

“We are still having pockets of violence in one or two places in Obot Akara but I think the security presence is good enough.

“In one of my polling units in Obot Akara, a staff was beaten and the result sheet was collected,’’ Ada said.

He disclosed that security personnel were adequately deployed for the re-run election and that their presence had accounted for relative peace during the exercise.

“Before this time, we had a lot of interactive meetings with political stakeholders, where they all resolved that the election will be peaceful,’’ he said.

Ada restated the commission’s commitment to free, fair and credible re-run, adding that most polling centres received voting materials quite early.

He said that he had not received any report of malfunctioning of the card reader, adding that he was impressed with the turnout of voters for the exercise.

“The card reader is function well and the verification of the PVCs, which it is doing, is very important to us.

“Once a voter is verified, we also cross check to ensure that your name is in the voters’ register and after that, you are given your ballot papers to cast your vote,’’ he said. (NAN)​

Wike Denies Inciting Statement, Calls For Free And Fair Polls

Rivers State Govenor, Nyesom Wike, has denied making any inciting statement with regard to the March 19 re-run elections in the state.

He however insisted that the re-run elections in the state must be free and fair, adding that Rivers people must defend their votes and elect individuals who are capable to deliver as promised.

Wike spoke yesterday in Port Harcourt at the inauguration of the 3.144 kilometres Nkpogu Link Road and Bridge.

“They said I am inciting people over the re-run elections. That is not true. President Muhammadu Buhari has said the country must insist on free and fair elections. I am only supporting Mr. President that the election must be free and fair. I should be congratulated for that.”

He enjoined the people to participate in the election but ensure that they protected their votes.

The governor said: “There is no need to allow the APC to come back to the state. If you allow them to come back, they will scuttle development projects for our people.

“We are children of light. We are in the promised land and we cannot return to the days of darkness represented by the APC.”

He added: “We must protect our votes to reclaim our mandate. This is our opportunity to tell Nigerians once again that this is a PDP state.”

Commenting on the bridge, Wike said it was started from the very beginning to its completion by his administration. He said the immediate past government awarded the contract in 2012 but refused to fund the project.

He said the bridge and road project would improve traffic between LNG and Trans-Amadi areas of the town.

The governor called on the people to cooperate with the contractor to execute the phase 2 within the approved timeline and specifications.

He declared that his administration was bent on fulfilling its promises to the people and so monetary fund would not hinder the completion of the phase II of the project.

‘’The time for promising and not fulfilling is over, I promised Nkpogu community that if they give us their mandate I would complete this project, they gave us their mandate and so we would in turn fulfill our promise by completing this project.

‘’And I can assure you that funding will not be a problem to the completion of the second phase of this project,” he said.

Meanwhile the state Commissioner for Works, Mr. Kelvin Wachukwu, while appreciating the Govenor for bringing development to the Nkpogu people , said the dual carriage link bridge would ease the sufferings experienced by transporters on the busy road.

‘’The state will bear witness that from the inception of this administration, the state has moved from bad to better….

‘’I know prior to this period I have received complaints from several transporters because of the hardship they face resulting from holdups as this is a business area with high traffic. I have always told them to be patient because all this years they had to bear their sufferings and this time around, a Daniel came to put their sufferings to an end.”

In his remarks, the Chairman of Monier Construction Company (contractors of the project ), Senator John Mbata, said the company was prepared to partner the state government in the development of the state.

“We have delivered the project within time and budget. We are prepared to do more. We also assure you of quality works at all times,” he said.

BREAKING: INEC Announces Ife Central State Constituency Bye-Election Will Hold April 9

The Independent National Electoral Commission has announced that the bye-election for the Ife Central State Constituency of Osun State has been scheduled for the 9th of April.

The electoral body disclosed this via a tweet observed by Osundefender minutes ago. Details will be reported as they emerge.

BREAKING: INEC Announces Dates For Edo, Ondo Elections

The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, on Thursday announced the dates for the conduct of governorship elections in Edo and Ondo States respectively.

This was disclosed by the commission’s Deputy Director in charge of Voter Education and Publicity, Nick Datang.

Dazang said the governorship election in Edo State will take place on September 10 while that of Ondo would hold on November 26, 2016.

INEC Postpones Re-Run Elections In Rivers State

The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has postponed the Rivers State National and State Assemblies rerun elections from Saturday, 6 February to Saturday, 19 March, 2016.

The new date was announced in a statement signed by the INEC Public Relations Officer in Rivers State Tonia Nwoye.

The statement said the decision was taken after a meeting with stakeholders at INEC headquarters in Abuja.

Following the earlier date, Governor Nyesom Wike had declared Friday, 5 February as public holiday and every January 27 as public holidays to commemorate his victory at the Supreme Court.

At press time it was not clear if the Governor will reverse the Friday, 5 February public holiday he had declared Tuesday when he addressed the civil servants at the state secretariat.