INEC Presents Certificate Of Return To Buhari, Osinbajo

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has presented the certificate of return to President Muhammadu Buhari, and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, following their re-election.

President Buhari was declared the winner of the presidential election in the early hours of Wednesday after he polled a total of 15,191,847 votes to defeat his closest rival and candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, who scored 11,262,978 votes.

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YIAGA Commends INEC, Says Election Results In Line With Its Estimated Range

A civil society organisation, YIAGA AFRICA on Wednesday verified the results of the just concluded 2019 Presidential election announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

YIAGA AFRICA said the result is in line with its Parallel Vote Tabulation (PVT) estimated range.

Dr Hussaini Abdu, Chair, YIAGA AFRICA Watching The Vote (WTV) made this known at a news conference on the group’s Statement on the 2019 Presidential Election Results in Abuja.

He said the group deployed 3,030 observers, who were paired to a random statistical sample of 1,515 polling units located in every local government area (LGA) and states of Nigeria.

Dr. Abdu said the deployment to a statistical sample of polling units enabled YIAGA AFRICA to independently project the vote shares that each candidate should have received within a narrow range.

The group’s projections were based on the results announced in the polling units and would have detected any significant manipulation occurring during collation of the Presidential election results.

He called on security agencies to remain vigilant in protecting and securing lives and property in the post-election phase.

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Chronicles Of An INEC Ad-Hoc Staff, By Aliyu Kasimu

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) called for applications from students of tertiary institutions, members of the National Youth Service Corp (NYSC) amongst others to be deployed at polling units for the 2019 elections earlier slated for 16th of February, 2019 and 3rd of march, 2019 for Presidential and National Assembly and Gubernatorial and State Assembly respectively. 

I will be talking about what happened in the Nasarawa Eggon Local Government Area of Nasarawa state, where I applied as ad-hoc staff. As reports from other places have it, the situation across the country isn’t any different from this one. 

The first disappointment was in the application process itself. Before the commission announced an online application, student unions in tertiary institutions (such as the Students’ Representative Council ( SRC) in Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria) called for students to send some of their biometric details to their social media accounts. Thereafter, the commission’s offices in Local Government Areas accepted applications which would usually consist of application letters attached with some credentials. 

It was quite clear that the normal “who you know” aggrandizement would play a major role on who gets the job until the commission announced an online application. I was particularly delighted and hopeful since it would close the gap of nepotism and would try to close the equal opportunity gap for everyone. I was wrong after all. In the end, it didn’t count for anything as it wasn’t adopted at all. 

A new lightening of hope and reassurance enveloped me when I saw different reports credited to big wigs in INEC that asked any interested and qualified person to be available for the training, which would eventually be a major basis for selection.

THE TRAINING 
The training was simply a sham show. It spanned three ill days viz; Friday, Saturday and Sunday. We were divided into groups of undergraduate students, SSCE holders and graduates (NCE, BSc, ND, etc) and were required to sign the attendance everyday until the training was completed.

On Friday and after few minutes of introduction to the ad-hoc job and what it entailed, we were asked to pay 10 naira each for photocopy of “pre-test” question papers. We were going to have a test! Anyone who answered those questions only on the basis of knowledge gained in the introductory part of the class must have failed woefully. Don’t refuse to think that the tutors failed in that regard too. I had downloaded the manual from my school’s whatsapp group two days before. Perhaps my school training made me not hesitate to skim through the 124 paged draft before going for the training.

In my school, any good student would study course notes before coming to class for many reasons, one of which is “you simply don’t know what would happen” and so we would always “prepare for the worse”. After completion and submission of the test script, our tutor announced the answers which had me and those who trusted me enough to copy my answers score 9/10.

The training had more than 95 percent of trainees standing throughout the session; now try to imagine the circumstances of the test. I leave that to you, but not without an idea note that it was worse than a “short gun” in a faculty course lecture session in our government owned tertiary institutions. 

On the last day (Sunday), we managed to see the Smart Card Reader (SCR). She had worked us through the functions, features and whatnot earlier on. So when it arrived, we were asked to touch, observe the key features and pass on to the next person. At the end of that exercise, my PVC was used to show how verification and authentication worked. At the surcease of the session, we wrote a post test which was unexpectedly an exact photocopy of the pretest. We had paid for photocopies on Saturday. To be fair to the tutor, she did her best with the resources available to her.

SHORTLISTING OF SUCCESSFUL CANDIDATES 
The list was pasted on the 12th of February, 2019 on the outside wall of the commission’s office and all applicants thronged there to check their names. Some were happy while some where disappointed. Maryam Ahmad Turaki, a geology student of Federal University, Lafia with whom we went for the training confirmed to me that her cousin who was in fact, completely absent during the training period was shortlisted.

It is balanced to think that she wasn’t the only one in such a bewildering situation. While some of us saw our names, she and many others didn’t. I felt sad for her particularly. Maryam was a very jovial friend and kind at heart.

DOCUMENTATION 
A notice was also walled far beside the list of names. It was to the effect that all shortlisted candidates were to come back on Friday, a day to the elections for what they called “accreditation”. I like to think of it as “documentation” as that gives a clearer description of what actually happened. 

We arrived on Friday only to be notified that another list was again, pasted, but this time, at the secretariat which was a few meters from the commission’s office. On my arrival at the secretariat and out of the corner of my eye, I espied the colorfully dressed Khadijah Musa, a 3rd year student of the gutsy University of Maiduguri. We had met during the training. She is truthful, honest and suspiciously shy. 

The list at the secretariat was more detailed. It showed the respective positions of the shortlisted candidates and their exact polling units. But the list didn’t come without disruptions. Some had their wards changed while some claimed that they didn’t see their names, despite seeing it in the earlier list. 

On ascertaining the presence of their names and respective wards, candidates were to report at the commission’s office for documentation. The process involved is topic for another day. Suffice to say that we were a crowd compared to a stampeding herd of wild-eyed cattle, making wild, uncontrollable noises like some unfortunate swarm of angry bees.

WELFARE 
We hung around in waiting, while documentation went on. We had been told not to leave the venue. When it was 11pm, I and a few others had made up our minds to pass the night there. What was the point in going back home when election was in few hours and there would be no movement of vehicles from 6am, we brainstormed. It was bright-line unwise to leave at that time. 

In all the time we spent there, not even sachet waters were given. Nay, they didn’t even speak kindly. When it was time to sleep, they made it clear through their body language, that everyone one was on his/her own; just find a place to catnap before dawn. 

For me and Ahmad Balarabe, one of the commercial danfo buses had been our resting garden. We thought it wouldn’t make a bad place to spend the night either. Alaji and another person joined us soon after we made that decision. Then came a lady; “abeg I fit sleep for that back seat?” she asked, confidently. Deep inside, I had reservations. “You’re welcome” I quickly said. We stepped down to allow her go inside. The girl slept and snored away – the strongest evidence that she didn’t give a damn. She woke up very early in the morning (well before 5am), thanked us for the hospitality and left.

News of possible postponement had started to creep in since 12am. But another news credited to one of INEC’s commissioners debunked and dismissed it. This rekindled some hope. At about 2:50am, I was woken up by obstreperous noises buzzing out in inconsistent ranges such as to make one ponder about how far the noise makers were to his/her coordinates. I asked and was told that the elections had been postponed.

Knowing fully, what people can do and how some people’s happiness thrived on spreading fake news, I assumed they acted based on the earlier news I saw; so I asked if the person had seen it himself. His answer was negative. My mind dismissed it even more until I saw buses which were parked since morning and painted with INEC stickers vamoose. I started nursing doubts as well. Fast forward, I confirmed my self and left for home when I found a car that would go my way at about 4:50am. Many others did the same.

ALLOWANCES
On the 20th of February, 2019 we went to the commission’s office to collect a 7,000NGN stipend. The news got me thinking why they would ask that we show up to collect money after they had collected our account details during documentation. Some of my friends proposed hypothesis; they claimed that from experience, it would be very difficult for us to get all the money allocated for us and that posting monies to our bank accounts was as a result of the sinister motives, bad business. 

They had asked us to come for the stipend a day before. The news had been spread by word of mouth and it reached me through the same channel. The allowance comprised of 4,500NGN training allowance and 2,500NGN feeding allowance. We had waited for very long before we were granted permission to enter the gate; if opening the already pressured gate can be termed like that. We queued up according to our respective wards with our media of identification. The Supervisory Presiding Officer (SPO) would verify information by cross comparing our ID’s and the list with him. He would then make a mark against our names and hand us two forms to append our signatures. Some people had problems with verification; some had problems of valid phone number but distinct names while for some, it was the reverse. This category of people were asked to standby for some more time. They cursed the SPOs as they harangued. I left after I had collected mine.

For me, it was an experience worth passing through. I learnt a lot of things and made knew friends. On this note, I urge the commission to seek to improve the welfare of their ad-hoc staff. Crowd control is also very important.

Aliyu Kasimu 
aliyusoffice@gmial.com
Twitter handle: @ialikasim

PS: please find attached, a photo I snapped at the INEC office in Nasarawa Eggon LGA, Nasarawa State.

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2019 Elections: INEC Distributes Sensitive Materials In Ekiti

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Ekiti state has distributed all sensitive materials to the sixteen local governments areas ahead of Saturday’s elections.

The exercise took place at the Central Bank of Nigeria Ado-Ekiti, in the presence of security operatives and party Agents to witness the distribution process.

Addressing newsmen, the Acting Resident Electoral Commissioner in Ekiti state, Dr Muslim Omoleke said after the arrival of the materials at the INEC offices in the Council areas, it would be taken to various Registration Area Centres RACs where it would be re-distributed to each polling unit.

Dr Omoleke noted that the National headquarters of the commission had mandated that all materials should reach Registration Area Centres latest by noon tomorrow.

He explained that the early distribution of the election kits was to avoid late arrival of materials at polling units, adding that the materials would be adequately protected by security agents.

In a separate interview, party Agents of APC, Mr Garba Arogundade, Mr Sunday Olowolafe of the PDP and that of the Mega Party, Mr Peter Oladipupo expressed satisfaction with the distribution process, saying some issues which needed to be addressed had been communicated to INEC officials for prompt action.

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Report: Polls Shift: INEC Chairman, Yakubu, Compromised

There are indications that the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, has been compromised in respect of conducting the 2019 general elections, impeccable sources have revealed.

The revelation came on the heels of the postponement of the elections by a week from Saturday, February 16 based on logistical challeges allegedly faced by the electoral commission occasioned by bad weather and sabotage.

However, there are misgivings and dissatisfaction within tjr political circle as there are accusations and counter-accusations between the two leading political parties – All Progressives Congresss (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

But the head of the commission may be acting a script as people in charge of relevant agencies responsible for INEC logistics have denied the logistics claim, saying the nation’s weather was good days to the scheduled day of the elections and the airports were ordered to operate 24 hours in order to deliver critical electoral materials across the country.

The Minister of State for Transportation (Aviation), Hadi Sirika and the leadership of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) have all put a lie to the INEC chairman’s claim of bad weather as one of the reasons for the election postponement.

Also, Prof Yakubu has been acting alone within the INEC structure, thereby sidelining the most experienced National Commissioners – Mr Lekki and Hajiya Amina Zakari – while working with a close knit group that has be compromised by the opposition.

“Professor Ibeano is said to be closely coordinating with Professor Chidi Odinkalu and indeed, the six-point plan of the INEC chairman was never discussed within INEC or with his commissioners,” one of the sources revealed.

It also been discovered that since the stakeholders meeting pf last Saturday, the chairman is yet to meet his team as the national commissioners were at home on Sunday despite efforts to keep the situation room open.

Insider sources confided in our reporter that the INEC chairman is working against the ruling APC, saying that the logistics issue and trying to hold elections without adequate preparations were designed to suppress APC votes and it took the insistence of some national commissioners, who are disposed to the fair conduct of the polls, to ensure the postponement was done in order to demobilise saboteurs.

“Initially, their goal was to force elections with shoddy logistics and announce results with high degree of low turnouts from APC strongholds.

“Interestingly, the INEC chairman has been sitting at the Abuja Airport since Friday. No one knows what he is clearing and for what. It means there is a possibility that alternative election materials are being cleared as all clearings have been concluded since and INEC is not using Abuja airport as major incoming hub. Indeed nothing can be done at airport that can’t be done elsewhere under these circumstances,” another source said.

Meanwhile, Prof Yakubu’s express pronouncement on Saturday that there is no more campaigns by the political parties is another cause for concern, as there are indications that it might be a kind of fait accompli regarding the election results.

“If he (INEC chairman) is not compromised, why will he do that? Campaigns can only stop 24 hours to the elections as specified by the Electoral Act. So, why he is going against the law if there is no deal with some people against others,” he added.

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Security Agencies Uncovers PDP’S Vote Buying Plan

Reports say that security agencies have discovered the plan by opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to deploy $3million (N1.8billion) to each state to induce voters.

The party is reported to have also co-opted former members of staff of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to recruit loyal ad hoc staff for the elections.

Also, a member of the National Peace Committee, a body headed by former Head of State Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar, has also discovered to be in the work plan of PDP.

The Nation reported that the cash was remitted before last Saturday’s postponement elections.

It reported that most state chapters were finding it difficult to change the dollars to naira because of the surveillance on Bureau De Change operators by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Department of State Services (DSS).

Also, the agencies have intercepted alleged compromise of some officers of INEC, policemen and other security agents in some states.

The intelligence report, including the alleged implication of a former top official of INEC, may be presented to the chairman of the electoral commission, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, by the security agencies.

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Revealed: How Saraki Masterminded Election Postponement

It has been revealed that the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki masterminded the postponement of the Presidential elections.

In a desperate move, Saraki is reported to have warned the INEC Chairman that if he was not going to furnish him with slots to nominate persons to sensitive INEC positions he would frustrate the passage of his budget.

A source close to the INEC Chairman disclosed that the National Assembly deliberately refused to touch INEC’s budget up until November 2018, knowing that his budget was to be sourced from borrowed funds.

“This plot was masterminded by the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki to perfect the rigging plans of the PDP, either by having his way with his nominees or by delaying the elections and frustrating INEC.” the source revealed.

It is recalled that funds were not disbursed until December 2018, this made things difficult for INEC which had to import some of its electoral materials.

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Election Postponement: APC To Resume Campaign Till Thursday

Aftermath of the postponement of the general elections by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), has said it will resume campaign nationwide.

National Chairman of the party, Comrade Adams Oshiomole, stated this today at a meeting of the party’s Caucus meeting in Abuja.

Recall that INEC had warned against the continuation of campaign after announcing postponement.

Oshiomhole, however said that the electoral management body does not have the power of making laws and cannot on its own amend the law by asking parties not to campaign after shifting the election.

He said the APC and its members nationwide will continue in their campaign till Thursday this week as provides for by the Electoral Act and will be prepared to meet the commission in court.

He also accused the commission of failing to take concrete action against some of its officials accused of taking side with certain political parties.

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INEC Meets Over Ban On Campaign

Following the opposition of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives Congress (APC) to the Independent National Electoral Commission’s (INEC) ban on electioneering during the one week extension of poll, the commission will meet today to review the restriction.

INEC, according to its national chairman’s Chief Press Secretary (CPS), Mr. Rotimi Oyekanmi, would meet to review its position and decide whether or not to reopen campaigns.

The two leading parties have argued that the commission’s restriction has no basis in law.

The PDP also alleged that fresh facts have confirmed that officials of the federal government and the APC have been sabotaging INEC in a well-orchestrated plot to engineer staggered presidential election, contrary to simulated stance by the presidency and the party’s National Chairman, Mr. Adams Oshiomhole.

The main opposition party also urged the electoral body to rescind its decision on the suspension of campaigns by political parties, a position backed by the Director of Strategic Communications of the ruling party’s Presidential Campaign Council, Mr. Festus Keyamo, SAN, who described as illegal, the decision of INEC not to allow political parties to engage in further campaigns, despite the postponement of the presidential election to Saturday.

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2019: Electoral Violence Looms As Group Laments Former INEC Commissioner’s Plans To Rig For Saraki Dynasty

The Harmony progressives’ forces has expressed concerns over possible electoral violence in Ilorin west constituency over the public declaration of a Former INEC commissioner, Dr Nasir Ayilara to rig for Saraki’s dynasty at the upcoming polls.

Mr Abdulwaheed Jabar, the group’s spokesperson disclosed that frustrations have been building up in the communities over the irresponsible and insensitive words credited to Dr Nasir who was known to be a core loyalist of the Senate President who is contesting for the Senate seat of Kwara central for the third time.

Jabar revealed that there were widespread confirmed report that Dr Nasir Ayilara being a former INEC commissioner for eight years and having recruited many of Saraki foot soldiers to the commission during his service years in Ilorin West was responsible for delisting many applicants for the INEC Ad-hoc staff while those who never applied were given appointment letter.

This unprofessional and awful act of Dr Nasir was made possible as he was believed to have high profile contacts at the state commission office. Jabar mentioned that Dr Nasir was strategically positioned to coordinate buying of PVCs in Ilorin West where PDP were banking on to win but the wave of the opposition party in the axis kept soaring higher which infuriates the state power to be more careful and watchful.

The spokesman revealed further that Dr Nasir Ayilara had to summon his personal AD-Hoc recruits last week where he promised them more money from Saraki fondly called “Leader” tasking them to ensure PDP victory at all cost.

To further heat up the polity, he declared full support vowing to deliver at the polls even with his life while opposition political parties have vehemently promised to resist the move. The political temperature has flared up in the communities which is brewing a looming violence if unchecked.

“It is therefore necessary to sound this to the entire world that Ilorin West may experience violent clashes as residents are now living in fears, the peaceful atmosphere have being overheated by umpires who are supposed to be neutral in the electioneering process while our political actors keep directing the tempo”

“We call on INEC to specifically investigate the nefarious act of its former commissioner, Dr. Nasir Ayilara who was also indicted by a police probe panel to have benefitted from the N23 billion bribe during 2015 elections and to beam searchlight on the activities of its AD-hoc staff with partisan interest at the upcoming polls”

Finally, Jabar called on the New Kwara Commissioner of Police to nipped this looming violence in the bud to forestall violence which if unchecked could lead to a state of emergency in the state”.

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Statement By President Buhari On The Postponement Of General Elections By INEC

I am deeply disappointed that despite the long notice given and our preparations both locally and internationally, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) postponed the Presidential and National Assembly elections within hours of its commencement.

Many Nigerians have traveled to various locations to exercise their right to vote, and international observers are gathered.

INEC themselves have given assurances, day after day and almost hour after hour that they are in complete readiness for the elections. We and all our citizens believed them.

This administration has ensured that we do not interfere in any way with the work of INEC except to ensure that all funds were released to the commission.

We now urge INEC to ensure not only that materials already distributed are safe and do not get into wrong hands, but that everything is done to avoid the lapses that resulted in this unfortunate postponement, and ensure a free and fair election on the rescheduled dates.

While I reaffirm my strong commitment to the independence, neutrality of the electoral umpire and the sanctity of the electoral process and ballot, I urge all political stakeholders and Nigerians to continue to rally round INEC at this trying national moment in our democratic journey.

I, therefore, appeal to all Nigerians to refrain from all civil disorder and remain peaceful, patriotic and united to ensure that no force or conspiracy derail our democratic development.

I have decided to move back to Abuja to ensure that the 14.00 hrs meeting called by INEC with all stakeholders is successful.

Muhammadu Buhari

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