Ife Central State Constituency Bye- Election: INEC Assures Residents Of Free And Fair Poll

By Opeyemi Jelilat, Osogbo
A total of sixty-two thousand, three hundred and ninety three (622,393)  eligible voters are expected to participate in the saturday April 9 Bye election into the Ife central state constituency, Osun state.
INEC resident electoral commissioner in charge of the Bye election Alhaji Nasiru Ayilara stated this while briefing newsmen on the commission’s level of preparation for the poll.
Alhaji Ayilara who maintained that INEC is prepared to conduct a free, fair and credible poll come saturday, disclosed that the materials for the bye election were already in the custody of the commission and would be distributed tomorrow for upward movement to the local government.
While assuring the 817 adhoc staff of INEC of their safety‎, Ayilara explained that there would be restriction of movement between the hours of8:00am and 4:00pm in the local government.
He said “due to the political nature of the local government area,the commission has fashioned out to security measures that would guarantee the safety of both INEC officials and the electorates.
” we had met with all the security agencies in the state and they have assured the commission of safety of both electoral officials and the voters”.
Meanwhile the two major political parties in the state have expressed divergent views on the commission decision not to distribute the materials today.
‎The agent of the All progressives Congress Mr Adeosun Razak said ” it is unconventional that we will inspect materials today, leave them at the state secretariat of INEC and then wait till tomorrow for the materials to be moved to thee field. We have not done this before, the normal practice is to examine the materials and get it loaded into local government vehicles for movement.
In fact, it is in our practice in the APC that we get our own people to accompany such materials to the field, because we have had cases in the past when materials were diverted”
But the Agent of the Peoples Democratic P‎arty, Mr Sunday Adewole believes that the decision ” will prevent ballot papers from being moved to wrong places or hand. It’s good that INEC decided to wait till friday before moving the materials”
‎The Bye election would take place in 168 polling units of 11 wards in Ife central local government area of the state.
‎The Ife central state constituency in the osun House of Assembly became vacant following the death of the minority leader of the house Hon Oladejo Makinde, on December  27th 2015.

INEC Recruits Over 9000 Ad-hoc Staff For FCT Elections

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says it has recruited 9,374 ad hoc staff for the April 9 federal capital territory (FCT) area council election.

Jacob Jatau, resident electoral commissioner (REC) in the FCT, disclosed this in an interview with NAN on Thursday in Abuja.

INEC had postponed the election, which was initially scheduled for March 16, over its inability to recruit enough ad hoc staff.

“I can confirm to you that the commission is fully ready for the April 9 election,” he said.

“We have been able to recruit the additional ad hoc staff to meet the shortfall that made us postpone the election.

“The commission has also trained the additional ad hoc staff recruited for the exercise.

“All is now set for the conduct of free, fair and credible election in the FCT.”

Ndidi Okafor, INEC deputy director of publicity in FCT, said the commission had also recruited and trained extra personnel to address likely shortage on election day.

“The ad hoc staff are employed from the serving National Youth Serving Corps (NYSC) members, students of the University of Abuja and ex-NYSC corps members from our data bank,” Okafor said.

Okafor called for the collaboration of stakeholders to ensure credible and violence free election comes April 9.

INEC Rubbishes PDP Claims Of Bias

The Deputy Director, Voter Education and Publicity of the Independent Electoral Commission, INEC, Nick Dazang, has denied claims by the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, that the commission is under the control of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC.

Debunking the claim by the Deputy National Chairman of the PDP, Uche Secondus, who said the commission did the biddings of the ruling party with regards to the re-run election in Rivers State, he said the election was stopped for many reasons.

Dazang said, “As of the time of the suspension of further action by the commission, the exercise was at different stages.

“For example, the elections had been concluded in some constituencies with the declaration of results and return of winners by the respective Returning Officers; results declared and/or returns made under duress or by unauthorised persons; collation had been concluded but no declaration or return made; voting had been concluded and collation was ongoing but yet to be concluded; voting concluded but collation yet to commence; and /or no voting at all or voting commenced but was disrupted before conclusion.”

Dazang, while describing the PDP as a formidable opposition urged the party to stop spreading unfounded claims.

INEC Releases More Rivers Re-run Results

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Tuesday evening released additional five results from the March 19, 2016, Rivers State legislative rerun elections.

Three Federal and two State Constituency seats were released by the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Aniedi Ikoiwak, at the Commission’s head office in Port Harcourt, Rivers state capital.

In the released result, the People’s Democratic Party (C) candidates cleared the three federal seats.

For Port Harcourt Federal Constituency 1, Kenneth Chikere (PDP) won by polling 18,904 votes, to defeat his close rival, Igo Aguma (APC), who scored 6,035 votes.

Port Harcourt Federal Constituency 2, Blessing Nsiegbe (PDP) scored 6,968 votes to defeat Collins Owhondah (APC), who polled 3,154 votes.

For Obio/Akpor Federal Constituency, Kingsley Chinda of PDP scored 27,895 votes, while the APC candidate, Anthony Okocha, got 9,514 votes.

Also, the candidate of APC, Benibo Anabraba, won the State Constituency seat for Akuku-Toru 2; he scored 2,970 votes.

He defeated the PDP candidate, Tonye Alalibo, who was disqualified by the electoral body.

Adoki Smart of PDP, for Port Harcourt Constituency 2 scored 15,244 votes, to beat Mrs. Irene Inimgba of APC, who polled 2,844 votes.

According to the result, PDP has taken 13 federal and state seats, while APC got two seats from the results announced so far by INEC.

In a statement signed by the REC, Ikoiwak, investigation was ongoing by the Commission and the details would be made public after investigation.

He said the additional five results were the outcome of INEC’s meeting in Abuja.

APC Cannot Win Elections In Rivers – Wike

Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike on Tuesday said the All Progressives Congress (APC), is not in a position to win any election in the state.

The governor, according to a statement by Simeon Nwakaudu, his special assistant to the Rivers State Governor on Electronic Media, also alleged that the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, was sponsoring violence to remain relevant politically.

Governor Wike said with the proofs of corruption against Mr. Amaechi, the minister of transportation resorted to blackmailing the leadership of the All Progressives Congress that he would reveal to the public how much he invested in the party’s campaign if he was not confirmed as a minister.

This is even as the Senate Caucus of the Peoples Democratic Party, led by Minority Leader, Senator Godswill Akpabio insisted that the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, must release the collated results of the March 19, 2016 rerun elections.

Speaking during a solidarity visit by the PDP Senate Caucus, Governor Wike said the Minister of Transportation lost his local government area and Federal Constituency, hence his desperation to influence the release of the results.

He said: “Any person who loves Mr President won’t be causing unnecessary crisis for him. We have problem in the North East, problem in the South-East, so there is no need for another problem in the South-South .

“It is good that the elections were held so that Nigerians will know the truth about the polity. If elections are held 20 times, PDP will win”.

The governor decried the role played by soldiers during the rerun elections. He said the military were directly involved in the elections at polling units and at the collation centres in direct violation of the Electoral Act.

He regretted the killing of the corps member, Samuel Okonta, during the rerun elections, but stressed that investigation into the type of bullet that killed him must be made public. He confirmed that the state government will immortalise the late corps member.

Earlier, Senate Minority Leader and Leader of Senate PDP Caucus, Godswill Akpabio, said the victory recorded by the PDP in Rivers State is “A clear case of justice being done by God”.

While describing Rivers State as peaceful, Mr. Akpabio, regretted the sponsored propaganda by the opposition to destroy the image of the state. He said there was no other political party in the state outside the PDP.

He called for tolerance in the political space to allow for the sustenance of the state’s multiparty democracy.

The high point of the visit was the donation of N1million by the Senate to the family of Mr. Okonta through Governor Wike.

Mr. Akpabio prayed that Mr. Okonta’s death would be the last during elections.

He also commiserated with the government and people of the state over the death of PDP members during the rerun elections.

Rivers APC Consoles With NYSC, On Death Of Corps Member

The members of the Rivers State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) have paid a condolence visit to the Director-General of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), Brig.-Gen. Johnson Bamidele, on the unfortunate death of a corps member, Okonta Samuel Dumebi, during last Saturday’s legislative reruns.

The corps member, who was an ad hoc member of staff of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), was an orphan from Illah, Delta State, but killed on March 19 in Ahoada West LGA of Rivers state, during the elections.

The APC’s delegation to NYSC, which was led by the Rivers governorship candidate of the party during the April 11 last year’s poll, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, was received by the Director, Corps Welfare, Mrs. Rhode Kwaki, other directors and staff of the NYSC.

Peterside, who is also the Director-General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), stated that the APC members from Rivers state were at the NYSC’s headquarters in Abuja to condole with the DG and other officials of NYSC, as well as the family of the deceased.

The APC chieftain (Peterside) said: “We are pained at this irreparable loss and more pained that it happened in our dear state. It is a shame on our country and we feel that sense of loss like you. Our prayers are with you and the family of Okonta Samuel Dumebi.”

The NIMASA boss also berated the Rivers Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, for threatening INEC officials before the March 19 elections, which he insisted led to the avoidable death of the orphan, describing the corps member as a victim of Wike’s hate speeches and viciousness.

The deceased was also described as a young man with dreams and patriotism, who demonstrated his desire to contribute his quota to the development of Nigeria, assuring that the country would remember him for a long time to come.

Peterside, a former member of the House of Representatives, also promised that the APC in Rivers would join hands with the NYSC to bring an end to the recurring violence and deaths of young Nigerians, insisting that elections should not be avenues for people to lose their lives.

Kwaki, who represented the DG of NYSC, stated that officials of the corps were saddened by the gruesome murder of the young man.

The NYSC’s director also lauded the APC’s delegation for the visit, stressing that the officials were now encouraged by the support and show of solidarity by the politicians.

The Rivers APC Chairman, Chief Davies Ikanya; the deputy governorship candidate of the party in the April 11 last year’s election, Asita Honourable; and some faithful of the party were part of the delegation.

No Elections In Rivers Without Assurance Of Peace – INEC

The Independent National Electoral Commission has announced that it would conduct fresh elections in areas where voting was disrupted in the violence-marred Rivers States polls of March 19.

However, the electoral body said in a statement Friday that it would never return for the fresh polls until there is an assurance of security and safety.

INEC said it would not endanger the lives of its personnel, journalists and observers and others involved in the exercise.

“INEC will, at a date to be decided, conduct fresh elections starting with accreditation and voting in all Local Government Areas, Constituencies, Registration Areas and Polling Units where the exercise was disrupted before voting was concluded on Saturday 19th March, 2016,” the statement signed by INEC’s Director of Voters’ Education and Publicity, Oluwole Osaze-Uzzi, said.

Even so, the commission said this would only be after due consultation with parties involved, and subject to the advice of the security agencies and guarantees by the political parties, candidates and their supporters.

“While the Commission is committed to conducting free, fair and credible elections, it hereby reiterates its resolve not to return to Rivers State (or anywhere else where there was a breakdown of law and order in the cause of conducting elections) until there is a conducive atmosphere for the conduct of credible elections. As a responsible organization, it will not expose its stakeholders especially voters, its officials, observers, media personnel to any danger and even where dates have been fixed and published, it will not hesitate to again suspend the exercise where there is a clear danger or credible threat of a breakdown of law and order,” INEC said.

The All Progressives Congress had called for total cancellation of elections in Rivers State.

But INEC said it would uphold results already declared.

“The Commission restates its earlier decision to uphold the declarations and returns made in the Federal and State Constituencies where the exercise had been concluded.

“Similarly, the Commission will conclude and make returns in constituencies where it is satisfied that voting and collation were done in substantial compliance with the Electoral Act and our Guidelines,” INEC said.

Although INEC said it acknowledged “that there were some challenges in its operational efficiency, especially as it concerns the production and customization of the result sheets used for the conduct of the election”, yet, it insisted no fake result sheet was used, dismissing allegations by PDP and APC.

“The Commission wishes to emphatically state that there were no fake result sheets or any fake materials used in the conduct of the elections,” it said.

INEC condemned the violence that characterised the elections.

“The Commission condemns in no uncertain terms all those who have been spewing hate speeches and making incendiary statements, which no doubt exacerbated an already tense situation.

“It will like to again commiserate with the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) and the family, friends and colleagues of Samuel Dumebi Okonta, the Corps member who unfortunately lost his life in this patriotic service as a poll official. May his soul rest in peace.”

UK, US, Condemn Violence In Rivers Elections

The United States, U.S and the British governments on Tuesday expressed disappointment and sadness over reports of violence, particularly against electoral officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, as well as irregularities in the March 19 rerun election in Rivers state.

A statement issued by the Press & Public Affairs Officer of the British High Commission in Nigeria, Joe Abuku reports that UK observers in the state “saw irregularities around the voting and noted the low turn-out of voters at polling units which was in part a consequence of fear of violence.”

The British High Commission called on the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and the All Progressives Congress, APC, to encourage their supporters in Rivers to behave peacefully.

It further advised those still dissatisfied with the outcome of the election “to pursue resolution of their grievances through the courts in accordance with the rule of law.”

In the same view, the US Embassy in Nigeria in a terse statement also on Tuesday said the violence that marred the Rivers rerun was unfortunate.

“We call upon the leadership of Nigeria’s political parties to urge their supporters to conduct themselves peacefully throughout the electoral process,” it advised.

“We call on those dissatisfied to pursue a resolution of their grievances peacefully in accordance with the rule of law.”

It would be recalled that INEC last Sunday suspended all electoral processes regarding the re-run.

Rivers APC Calls For Fresh Elections

ALL Progressives Congress, APC has called for cancellation of last Saturday rerun election in the 23 local government areas of the state, saying it was characterized by violence.

State Chairman of the party, Dr Davies Ikanya who spoke Monday evening, at the state secretariat of the party in Port Harcourt alleged that the Police connived with the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP to manipulate the exercise,

Dr Ikanya who was flanked by the running mate to Dr Dakuku Peterside in the last governorship election, Mr Honourable Asita and other state executives of the party said the election was a sham.

Continuing, he denied allegation by governor Nyesom Wike that notable members of the APC had stormed Mile 1 Police station on Sunday to influence the result of PHALGA, stressing that it was the PDP that allegedly made effort to tinker with the result.

The party Chairman, Dr Ikanya again traded words with governor Wike over the incident at UTC junction on Azikiwe road in Port Harcourt, saying it was clear a attempt to assassinate the governorship candidate of his party, Dr Peterside.

He confirmed that he was in the vehicle, stressing that the Chief of Staff, Government House, Chief Emeka Woke and his team allegedly opened fire on their vehicle with alleged intention to assassinate them.

According to him, the Chief of Staff, Mr Woke and his team trailed their vehicle to UTC , opening fire on them.

Meantime, Governor Wike maintained in a statement by his media aide, Mr Simeon Nwakaudu that Dakuku and his team shot at his Chief of Staff, Mr Woke.

The governor explained that the APC leadership attempted to hijack the spread sheet of the rerun election results in Ikwerre local area.

INEC To Investigate Allegation Of Fake Results Sheet

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says it will investigate alleged distribution of fake result sheets in some polling units in Saturday’s legislative re-run elections in Rivers.

resultThe commission’s Director of Voter Education and Publicity, Mr Oluwole Osaze-Uzzi, made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Abuja.

Osaze-Uzzi also told NAN that the commission would also investigate other allegations raised during the conduct of the election.

He, however, insisted that there was no way fake election materials could have been distributed by INEC’s election officers.

“Was there really distribution of fake result sheets? How did the people know that they are fake?

“The allegation will be investigated, anyway.

“We are having a meeting on Wednesday with the Rivers Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Monitors and Supervisors who went to the state for the election.

“This issue will be raised there; thereafter, we will issue a public statement on our findings.

“We will also investigate any allegation that has been raised and backed with fact,” Osaze-Uzzi said.

On when the commission would release the remaining results of the election, he said that decision on it would be taken at the Wednesday meeting.

“We are not going back to the state until the atmosphere is conducive to have a violent-free election.

“But I don’t want to pre-empt anything ahead of the Wednesday meeting.”

On update about electoral officers abducted during the Saturday election, Osaze-Uzzi said that he was yet to be briefed on the matter.

“I cannot speak categorically on that, but I was told that some of the people we are much concerned about have been released.

“But regrettably, I think we lost a youth corps member but I can’t state categorically,” he added

Rivers Re-run: Polls Suspended In Six LGAs As Election Is Marred By Violence

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) today suspended the ongoing legislative rerun election in six of the 23 local government areas (LGAs) of Rivers state over widespread violence.

Aniedi Ikoiwak, resident electoral commissioner (REC), announced this on Saturday, listing the affected LGAs as Bonny, Gokana, Abua/Odual, Khana, Eleme and Andoni.

He said some party agents attacked INEC officials for allegedly using fake election materials in their areas, an allegation he denied.

“All INEC materials used for the election are genuine,” he said.

The heavy deployment of security men – over 6,000 policemen were posted to the state for the election, supported by soldiers and men of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) – could not guarantee a hitch-free poll.

Though violence was among the reason which made the tribunal and appeal court to order a fresh election in the state, break down of law and order was recorded across most parts of Rivers on Saturday.

An INEC official disclosed that grenades were used to blow up the commission’s office in Gokana, while electoral materials were hijacked by suspected thugs in Bonny.

In Abua LGA, INEC officials were stranded as there was no security provision to move across the water, and election could not hold in most parts of Khana.

Tambari Ntoti, an agent of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Nonwa community, Tai LGA, was shot dead.

James Gogo, a resident of Ahoda west, alleged that most of the ad hoc staff deployed in the area were not members of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) but militants.

“Some of these guys are well known in the state. I have no interest whatsoever in this election, and I am not in support of any party. Some of these INEC staff are known militants,” he said.

In different polling units in Port Harcourt, the state capital, voters were still expecting the arrival of electoral officials hours after the exercise had been concluded in other areas.

After casting his vote at ward 9, unit 7, Whimpy Junction in Obi Akpor, Nyesom Wike, governor of the state, said while security personnel gave a good account of themselves, the same could not be said of INEC.

“I think that INEC is not prepared for the election. If they are not ready, they shouldn’t be telling people that they are ready,” he told journalists.

The election was initially scheduled to hold across 319 wards and 4,442 polling units of the state.

Ikoiwak said a new date would be announced for the rerun election in the affected areas.

The Cable