BMO Blasts PDP Over Unfounded Claims On June 12

The Buhari Media Organisation (BMO) has accused the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) of embarking on a fruitless ego trip with its criticism of the Federal Government’s decision to schedule some Inauguration Day ceremonies for June 12 2019. 

The group described the opposition party as mischievous for suggesting that President Muhammadu  Buhari would be inaugurated for a second term in office on the day, as opposed to May 29, which the Constitution recognises as the inauguration day for a new political dispensation. 

BMO said in a statement signed by Chairman Niyi Akinsiju and Secretary Cassidy Madueke that it was amused that a party that outrightly refused to recognise the sanctity of June 12 for 16 years now wants to be seen as the defender of Nigeria’s democratic culture. 

“Here is a party that is today speaking on what it described as sanctity of a day that it has the temerity to term as ‘our Democracy Day’.  Yet, it was in total control of the Executive and Legislature at the centre for all of 16 years during which it had three different Presidents but failed to do anything to accord official recognition to a day that it now agrees is important in the annals of Nigeria’s political history.  

“We are indeed shocked that the party whose members were the biggest beneficiaries of June 12 sacrifice now remembers that  Moshood Abiola  ‘stood and died for democracy’, but did everything possible to stop him from being immortalized while it rode roughshod over Nigeria and Nigerians.   

“It is therefore nothing more than an ego trip to nowhere for PDP to criticise the federal government’s decision to move some second term inauguration ceremonies to June 12 and yet seek to claim the day as ‘our democracy day’.  

“But we need to let opposition elements know that whether inauguration ceremonies are held on May 29 or June 12, the President did enough in his first term to earn the trust of the majority of Nigerians that cast their ballots on February 23,” the group said. 

BMO also accused the PDP leaders of attempting to revise recent history with their claim of a stolen mandate which it insisted only existed in the imagination of their members and a group of political elite that is used to living off government patronage. 

“We wonder how long PDP would continue to live in a fool’s paradise with its constant refrain of a stolen mandate in an election that all its key campaign spearheads lost in their polling units, just like their presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar was unable to muster enough votes in his immediate constituency in Adamawa State to defeat President Buhari. 

“Many of their allies across the country, including former President Olusegun Obasanjo and the factional Afenifere leadership were also roundly rejected in their polling units, wards and states by the mass of Nigerians who were clearly averse to a return of the rapacious PDP years. 

“We at BMO again want to remind the party and its leaders that the February 23 Presidential election conferred 100% legitimacy on the President for a second term with a margin that is more than the combined population of Swaziland, Equatorial Guinea and Mauritius.

“We are convinced that the Presidential election Petition Tribunal would consign their claim, which is predicated on fake INEC server result, to the dustbin of history where it rigthly belongs.”

The group also expressed hope that the next set of National Assembly members would take the necessary legislative action to establish June 12 as the National Democracy Day.

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The Shortcomings In 2019 General Elections, By Gidado Yushau Shuaib

The 2019 general election is the most expensive poll ever organised by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). It incurred an additional N69 billion than the penultimate exercise in 2015. However, when teeming Nigerian electorate were preparing to cast their ballot on February 16, something ‘mysterious’ happened.

In the dead of the night, the INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, summoned a press conference to postpone the election to the following week. He cited delay in delivering election materials and deployment of staff to the nooks and cranny of the country as reasons for the postponement. Other reasons included poor weather condition, unresolved candidate registration issues and rumoured plans for sabotage by desperate elements.

Many electorates who had travelled for the election were disappointed over the postponement barely six hours to the commencement of the exercise.

So, what happened when INEC finally conducted the Presidential/NASS and Governorship/State Assemblies’ polls? Incidences of vote-buying by the two leading political parties were widely recorded.

Vote-buying by politicians and their agents, which has taken a centre-stage in political sphere, is the act of exchanging votes for money and other material items between politicians and the electorate.

In fact the federal government was accused of vote-buying with its TraderMoni economic intervention. The Nigeria’s Head of Transparency International, Mr. Auwal Rafsanjani, in a media chat posited that such initiative was not a part and parcel of the manifesto of the ruling APC and it is not in the Nigerian constitution. He bluntly stated that, “the allegation by many Nigerians that this is clearly a case of vote buying using public funds goes contrary to our constitution and to having a free and fair election.”

If at all what Mr Rafsanjani said is anything to go by, one must begin to wonder what hope a Nigerian has when such a policy of the government is meant to woo support during elections, rather than compete fairly for votes. This shows a blatant disregard for democratic norms as well as the fact the current administration is losing popularity by the day.

Responding to the accusations, Laolu Akande, the spokesperson of the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, flatly denied such allegation, saying that TraderMoni was not an act of vote buying, but rather a means to empower petty traders. “It will be an absurdity to call TraderMoni vote-buying. You can see it for yourself that this is a program that has affected millions of lives,” he said.

Meanwhile, militarization of the electoral process, mostly in the opposition’s stronghold also received bashing. This is despite valid, subsisting court judgments that prohibited the use of the military for election purposes.

Series of video clips have trended online which captured soldiers overrunning the home of a state official as well as INEC officials lamenting the besieging of collation centres by the army. This act stands condemnable even as the Chief of Army Staff, Lt General Tukur Buratai, had set up a panel to investigate the role of the military in the just-concluded elections, although nobody seems to be impressed by the development. Thanks to social media for breaking barriers and making citizens aware of happenings around the nation.

A seemingly worrisome electoral malpractices, is the deployment of thugs to polling units in various but most endemic in Kano. A situation where a keenly-contested election between two leading parties turned out to be a landslide during the supplementary elections raises a lot of unanswered questions. It is unfortunate seeing how thugs took over streets, and strangely with security cover provided by the Nigerian Police.

After wild allegation of fraud from the stakeholders involved in the elections most especially the opposition, the African Union (AU) said the elections were “largely peaceful and conducive for the conducting of credible elections.”

Moving forward, there is a need for INEC to go back to the drawing board and re-evaluate their performance in the 2019 polls. They should, thereafter, put all necessary machineries in place to correct the identified lapses. INEC should also endeavour to eradicate the growing culture of inconclusive elections.

There is also a need for a political-will towards ensuring peaceful, transparent election while also urging the authorities concerned to improve voter education for the benefit of the electorate on their expectations.

While we pray that future elections would have less military interference, the youths should also resist the temptation of serving as political thugs desperate and power-hungry politicians during elections. They should rather identify ways to grab leadership and put the nation back on the track of socio-economic development and growth.

Above all, the progress we envision for our electoral system will remain elusive if necessary and progressive amendments are not carried out on the Electoral Act. Now is the time to act. A stitch in time, they say, saves nine.

Gidado Yushau Shuaib, editor of Youths Digest, writes from Abuja. Twitter: @GidadoYS; Email: giddyshuaib@gmail.com

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INEC To Hold Supplementary Election In Ibeju Lekki

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Lagos state says it has concluded arrangements for the conduct of the supplementary election in nine polling units of Ibeju-Lekki constituency 1.

The elections were declared inconclusive due to over voting in nine polling units covering two registration areas of the constituency.

In a statement on Thursday, the commission said it has met with all relevant stakeholders in the area including the political parties and affected candidates, Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) for the local government and other interested groups.

The statement noted that only voters with valid Permanent Voter Cards, PVCs within the constituency will be allowed into the polling units to vote.

The training of ad-hoc staff for the supplementary election has also commenced at the Registration Area Centres (RAC).

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Army Faults INEC’s Position On Rivers Election

The Nigerian Army has faulted the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) over the position it adopted regarding the governorship election in Rivers State.

INEC indicted soldiers alongside armed thugs over the violence that forced the suspension of the elections in Rivers .

Executive Director, Global Peace and life rescue initiative, Melvin Ejeh, in an interview with TVC, also reiterated the position of the army.

“The governor is an alarmist. Wike wanted to rig the election and the position of the army is that the election should be held in a free and fair atmosphere”, he stated.

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Unknown Gunmen Abduct Senior INEC Staff In Jigawa

A senior staff of the Independent National Electorate Commission (INEC) in Jigawa state has been kidnapped in the state last Friday.

The kidnapped staff identified as Mr. Mahadi Hassan, is a Pension Desk Officer of the Commission in Jigawa State INEC office.

It was gathered Hassan was picked by gunmen along Gwiwa road Gwiwa local government area in the state.

The INEC Head of Department voter education and Publicity Mr John Kaiwa confirmed the incident.

He added that the kidnappers were yet to contact the commission or the victim’s family on any amount of ransom.

When contacted, Jigawa Commissioner of Police Bala Zama Senchi? said the command was yet to receive any report related to the kidnap of INEC staff in the state.

“As I am speaking to you, we have not received any report in relation to the kidnap of any INEC staff. I just heard it for the first time from you,” he said.

The commissioner promised to contact all people related to the matter and get back with updates.

The Nation

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INEC Insists No Certificate Of Return For Okorocha

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has insisted that it will not present a certificate of return to Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha.

INEC’s National Commissioner for Information and Voter Education, Mr. Festus Okoye, said this, yesterday.

He said the electoral body took the decision because the returning officer for Imo West senatorial district election said he declared governor Okorocha as the winner “under duress.”

Asked whether the commission investigated the claim and confirmed that it was true, Okoye said “Yes.”

“We’ve made it clear on why we didn’t present any certificate of return to him (Okorocha).

“If you look at our website, we said the declaration and return were made under duress and that we are not going to give any certificate to any person  who procured a return under duress.”

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INEC To Conclude Collation In Bauchi State

The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, says it has approved the resumption and conclusion of the collation of results of Tafawa Balewa Local Government Area in relation to the governorship and state constituency elections in Bauchi State.

The Commission in a statement said after due consideration of the report submitted by the Resident Electoral Commissioner for Bauchi State on the disruption of the collation process at the Tafawa Balewa collation centre which led to the cancelation of results for the entire local government, a committee was set up.

INEC said from the findings of the committee, it was observed that the results of seven out of 11 registration areas for the governorship and six out of 11 for state assembly elections were affected.

The statement said the investigation committee in its report established that the result in polling units and registration areas are available and in safe custody, noting that the number of cancelled votes for the four polling units in Ningi Local Government Area which was recorded as 25,330 in form EC40g (1) was incorrect, bringing the actual figure to 2,533.

INEC, therefore, decided that the error in the total number of cancelled votes in four polling units in Ningi Local Government Area should be corrected from 25,330 to 2,533 and consequently appealed to all stakeholders for continuous support and understanding.

The Commission also announced the appointment of a new collation and returning officer for Tafawa Balewa Local Government to continue and conclude the collation process in place of the original collation officer who withdrew from the exercise citing threats to her life and those of her family members, adding the collation process for the local government will resume on Tuesday, March 19, 2019.

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INEC Fixes March 23 For Bayelsa Assembly Supplementary Poll

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), says it would hold House of Assembly supplementary election on March 23 in Bayelsa State, in areas where election was declared inconclusive in Feb. 23, poll.

Mr Wilfred Ifogah, Head of INEC Voter Education and Publicity in the state, disclosed this in a statement issued on behalf of the state’s Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mr Monday on Thursday in Yenagoa.

“The election will hold in five wards in Ogbia Local Government Area(LGA).

“It will also take place in two wards in Southern Ijaw LGA and one ward in Brass LGA,” he said.

According to him, the places where election will hold are: Otuokpoti, Ologi, Ayama and Okodi polling units in Ogbia constituency II, Ukube and Koluama units in Southern Ijaw constituency IV and some units in Cape Farmoso in Brass constituency I.

“INEC wishes to inform the people of the state, especially the critical stakeholders of the date for the conduct of supplementary election in the constituencies were election was declared inconclusive,” he stated.

NAN

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INEC Declares Plateau, Adamawa, Benue Governorship Polls Inconclusive

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has declared Saturday’s governorship election in Plateau, Adamawa and Benue States inconclusive.

Prof. Richard Kimbir, the Returning Officer for the election in the state announced this in the early hours of Monday in Jos, after collating results from the 17 local government areas.

Kimbir, who is the Vice Chancellor of Federal University of Agriculture, Makurdi, said the total number of votes cancelled were more than the difference in the number of votes the the two major candidates got, “hence was constrained to declare the polls inclusive”.

The returning officer said Mr Simon Lalong of the All Progressive Congress (APC) scored 583, 255 votes, while his closest rival, Lt. Gen. Jeremiah Useni (rtd) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) garnered 538, 326 votes in the election.

Kimbir who put the total number of cancelled votes in the state at 49, 347, noted that it was above the total difference of 44, 929 in the votes scored by the two major candidates.

“In line with section 179, subsection two of the 1999 constitution as amended, I am constrained to declare this election inconclusive.

“This is because the total number of cancelled votes is above the difference that exist in the votes garnered by the two major candidates.

“So, in line with the electoral act, a supplementary elections will be conducted in the affected areas in 21 days,” he declared.

Shendam, Barkin Ladi, Bassa, Bokkos and Kanam were the LGAs affected by the cancellation.

Others affected include Jos North, Langtang South, Mangu and Pankshin.

Similarly, INEC says the Adamawa Governorship election is also inconclusive and a new date for the rerun election would be announced.

The Returning Officer .Prof. Andrew Haruna, confirmed the development at the governorship election collation centre in Yola on Monday.

Haruna said the number of cancellations was higher than the margin of lead votes between the two contestants and therefore, a new date for the rerun election would be fixed.

Haruna mentioned about 44 polling units affected across the state.

Gubernatorial election in Benue state has been declared inconclusive.

Announcing the decision, the returning officer and vice chancellor university of Jos ,Professor sabastin maimaiko said the number of rejected and cancelled votes stands at one hundred and twenty one thousand and nineteen and higher than the margin of lead which is eighty one thousand five hundred n fifty four.

 INEC would is yet to fix the date for election in the cancelled areas.

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Suspected Hoodlums Set INEC Office Ablaze In Imo

The Independent National Electoral Commission’s (INEC) office in Ngor Okpala Local Government Area of Imo State has been set on fire by suspected hoodlums.

The INEC spokesperson in the state, Emanuella Opara, said she could not confirm the developments because she had been deployed to a local government to function as an electoral officer.

She said: “If I were to be in the headquarters now I would have confirmed the report to you but I am here on the field working.”

The police spokesperson in the state, Orlando Ikeonkwu, said he would find out what happened and get back to our reporter.

However, a party agent at the local government, who asked not to be named, said no damage was done to the official result already collated.

Armed thugs had on Saturday invaded many polling units in Ngor Okpala LGA and carted away voting materials including ballot papers, ballot boxes and result sheets.

Many INEC ad-hoc staff were also beaten up with their valuables, including mobile phones, wallets and bags lost in the process.

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Three Abducted INEC Ad-hoc Staff In Katsina Regain Freedom

The three Independent National Electoral commission’s (INEC) adhoc staffs that were abducted on Saturday have regained their freedom.

According to a police report, the three were released at about 9 pm Sunday night.

They have since being reunited with their families.

The Katsina police Command in a statement said they have been taken to Danmusa hospital for medical checkup.

The terse statement reads: ” Today 10/03/2019 at about 21:00hrs, the 3 abducted INEC ad hoc staff were released by their abductors. They have been taken to Danmusa Hospital for medical checkups and later rejoined their respective families. Investigation is top gear with a view to arrest the  hoodlums. I will continue to keep you posted.”

The Nation

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UK Confirms INEC Results As Authentic

The United Kingdom Government has confirmed that the results of the presidential election as released by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, were authentic.

British Minister of State for Africa, Harriet Baldwin, said the results were consistent with the results obtained through the Civil Society Parallel Vote Tabulation process.

“Along with our international partners, the UK believes the Nigerian people can have confidence in the result,” she said.

INEC Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, early Wednesday morning declared President Muhammadu Buhari as the winner of the 23 February election, with 15,191,847 votes. His main challenger Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party scored 11, 262,978 votes.

But the PDP agent at the collation centre declined to sign the results and later Atiku also rejected the verdict and said he would challenge it in the court. In a press conference on Wednesday, Atiku ramped up the rejection by raising issues of ‘statistical impossibility’ about the results in some states of Nigeria.

The statement by the British minister was the first authentication of INEC result.

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