INEC Slams Politicians For Spreading False Allegations

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has urged political interest groups to stop brandishing unconfirmed allegations, on social media.

Chairman of the Commission, Mahmoud Yakubu, issued this directive during his opening remarks at the quarterly consultative meeting with political parties in Abuja, urged them to rather use the appropriate channels to reach the commission if they have doubts with any issues on elections.

It is the last quarterly consultative meeting between INEC and the leadership of political parties in Nigeria, before Ekiti and Osun governorship elections billed for july 14 and September 22, 2018, but second to the last before the 2019 general elections.

At the meeting, the electoral commission’s boss cleared the air on allegations of electoral maleficence levelled against it by some political interest groups over cloned PVCs and its staff involvement in alleged shoddy deals with political party candidates.

Yakubu, in his speech, also disclosed the commission’s level of preparedness ahead Ekiti and Osun governorship elections.

Chairman of the umbrella body of political parties in Nigeria, the Inter Party Advisory Council, IPAC, Lawal Nalado in its response sued for peaceful coexistence and healthy rivalry amongst political parties as the country prepares for Ekiti, Osun and the 2019 general elections.

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Ohanaeze, Afenifere React To Report Of Alleged Voters Card Cloning

Following reports circulating online on an alleged attempts to clone and sell the Permanent Voters Card (PVC) on a foreign online business portal, alibaba.com, President General of Ohaneze Ndigbo, Chief John Nnia Nwodo, has said the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) must come up with detailed explanation rather than making allegation with- out providing the substance.

According to Nwodo, the electoral commission has a history of raising issues without providing details.

“They should offer us better particulars and stop raising issues without providing particulars. If they said they found an attempt, what is the evidence, who is behind the attempt? Is it being done here in Nigeria or abroad? Have the people behind it been arrested?

“We have already told them that they are registering underaged children. They said they have made a report, but up till now the report has not been made public. So INEC should stop raising issues without providing particulars. I am a lawyer so I expect them to provide details of what they say”, Nwodo said.

On his part, Afenifere chieftain, Ayo Adebanjo, said INEC as the electoral umpire should be held responsible for whatever shortcomings associated with elections.

As far as Adebanjo is concerned, the masterminds of the cloning are trying to win election at all cost.

“Are they not the people in-charge or are saying they don’t know about it? As far as I am concerned, the INEC chairman should be held responsible for whatever shortcomings that comes to the election. He is the chief electoral officer of the country and can’t shirk his responsibility.”

Recall that INEC had in a statement on Sunday, said the electoral agency had heard of such attempts and has taken security steps to protect the PVC, ahead of 2019.

“We wish to assure the public that the Commission had anticipated these and proactively taken measures to preserve and further secure our electoral materials. Several security features and secret source codes are contained in the SmartCard Readers which enable them to read only PVCs duly issued by the Commission. The advertisement shows photographs of blank cards which have not been personalised and which do not contain any details,” Director of Voter Education and Publicity, Oluwole Osaze Uzzi, stated.

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INEC Reacts To Alleged Attempts To Clone PVCs Online

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) yesterday said it would continue to protect Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) and card readers from unauthorised and malicious access.

This was contained in a statement by the Director, Voter Education and Publicity, Oluwole Osaze Uzzi.

Uzzi noted that the commission had anticipated these and proactively taken measures to preserve and further secure the nation’s electoral materials, adding that the report would be investigated through engagement with the government and security agencies.

“Security features and secret source codes are contained in the Smart Card Readers, which enable them to read only PVCs duly issued by the commission,” he said.

In related development, the electoral body has distanced itself from posts and advertisements on the Internet displaying blank PVCs for sale.

Pictures were being circulated on social media platforms, displaying PVCs with a photo attachment column for sale on a popular Chinese online store, saying it was in agreement with INEC.

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Ekiti 2018: 563,051 PVCs Collected, Says INEC

The Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC) has indicated that a total of 563, 051 Permanent Voter Cards (PVC) have been collected by registered voters in Ekiti State, 27 days to the governorship election.

Spokesman of the commission in the state, Taiwo Gbadegesin told News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Ado Ekiti on Monday that the state has a total of 913, 334 registered voters and that 353, 262 PVCs were yet to be collected by their owners.

On preparations for the election, Gbadegesan said that INEC was 94 per cent ready, adding that it had already distributed “virtually” all the non-sensitive election materials to all the 16 local governments.

He said the INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, would visit the state on July 10, to interact with candidates and officials of the 35 political parties, as well as other stakeholders participating in the election.

 

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Ekiti 2018: Traditional Council Kick Against Deployment Of Soldiers

Ahead of the gubernatorial election in Ekiti State, traditional rulers in the state have urged the federal government not to deploy soldiers in the state so as not to create tension or intimidate members of opposition parties.

The monarchs stated their position at a meeting with heads of security agencies and the leadership of the Independent National Electoral Commission in Ado Ekiti, the state capital.

Chairman of the Ekiti State Council of Traditional Rulers, Oba Oluwole Ademolaju, who addressed the gathering, said, “We have learnt that INEC wants to use students instead of the usual corps members; we need to know who should be doing this job; and we want the security agents to be fair in their dealings with everyone in the state.

“We don’t have reasons to doubt your (INEC) competence; we want you to prove your competence.

“We want INEC to be above board. To the security agencies, we know that your job is herculean but we urge you to do your job as professionally as possible, be as diligent as possible, be as dispassionate as possible.”

Specifically, the Attah of Ayede, Oba Abdulmumuni Orisagbemi, said the council kicked against deployment of soldiers in the state.

“What we are saying is that we don’t want any unlawful arrests during the election. If you have any issue with anyone, leave it till after the election. We don’t want soldiers in Ekiti, this is an election, not a war.”

Responding, Ekiti State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Prof. Abdul-Ganiy Raji, thanked the traditional rulers and urged them to tell their subjects to avoid hate speech.

“They also say a lot of things about us; this is also affecting us too.”

Raji explained that it was the policy of INEC as a body to use staff and students of federal establishments in the state for its operations.

He said, “We are going to partly use electronic gadgets. Our smart card readers are now enhanced. We used them successfully in Ibarapa and not a single fingerprint was rejected. Come with your party agents to monitor our activities. We will be transparent.

“Where there is violence, we will rerun the election. We will not cancel, we will return the following day to conduct the election with full security.”

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2019: Proponents Of INEC Boss’ Sack, Enemies Of Democracy – CSOs

A coalition of Civil Society organisations and Election observer groups have described those calling for the sack of the INEC chairman, Prof Mahmood Yakubu as enemies of the country’s democracy.

The groups said the call was more of ethnic agenda, rather than about the development of the nation’s democracy, even as it urged Nigerians to disregard such calls.

Addressing a joint press conference in Abuja, Executive Director, Independent Service Delivery Monitoring Group,
Dr. Chima Amadi as well as Ezenwa Nwagwu of Partners for Electoral Reforms described those behind the call for Yakubu’s sack as “ethnic entrepreneurs” who are determined to undermine the integrity of the electoral process and diminish the democratic gains our country has made since the return to civil rule in 1999.

Others who jointly addressed journalists included, Ledum Mitee, former MOSOP President, Okechukwu Nwanguma of the Network of Police Reform in Nigeria and Barr. Aminu Mahmud of Public Interest Lawyers League

Dr Chima who addressed on behalf of the coalitions said the recent call by the Southern and Middle-Belt Leaders Forum as unfortunate.

He explained that while the coalition doesnt hold the fort for the INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, theyare compelled to respond by stating the facts as they are and exposing the hollow claims of ethnic entrepreneurs, masquerading as leaders.

He said, “For us, the claim that there are “accumulated indications”, suggesting that the INEC Chairman will rig the 2019 elections in favour of President Muhammadu Buhari is not only stupid but silly. If there are accumulated indications, they point to those successful governorship elections conducted in Bayelsa and Rivers states respectively by the selfsame Professor Mahmood Yakubu and won by the opposition parties.

“Will these Elders tell us that they are oblivious of the numerous elections conducted by the current INEC which produced different outcomes for different political parties irrespective of incumbency at both the Federal or State level.

“The latest is the Ibarapa East State Constituency bye-election in Oyo State in which the opposition party in the State won the seat. This is significant against the background of the Local Government election in the State three weeks earlier in which the ruling party in the State won every Chairmanship and Councillorship constituency.

“Of course, the Anambra State Governorship election is still fresh on our minds in which the candidate of the ruling party lost in every Local Government Area to the extent that even the Ohaneze commended INEC for its transparency in conducting the elections? Two months later, the same INEC successfully concluded the Anambra Central Senatorial election after staying the course in a protracted legal battle.

“The Ondo Governorship election was also a watershed. For the first time, the outcome of the election was not challenged in court because of its transparency although the three leading candidates were senior lawyers. This is significant given the fact that a number of previous governorship elections in the State were in fact determined by the courts.”

He said if the INEC Chairman was working for Buhari, why didn’t he hand the aforementioned states over to the ruling party or secured victories for Buhari and his ruling party in the bye-elections held in Dukku North constituency in Gombe state, Ardo Kola in Taraba, Osun West Senatorial Zone won by the opposition parties?

He went further to explain that the Independent National Electoral Commission as the Election Management Body is a creation of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, by virtue of Section 153(1)(f) and its Chairman is appointed by the President, subject to the Senate, by virtue of Section 154(1) of the said Constitution.

According to the qualification for appointment of the Chairman is set out in Section 14(1) Part 1 of the Third Schedule of the Constitution which stated thus: ” a chairman, who shall be the Chief Electoral Commissioner, shall be person[s] of unquestionable integrity and not less than fifty years of age”.

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INEC Expresses Worries Over Unclaimed PVC In Kogi

Kogi state office of Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says about two hundred and forty five thousand new persons have been registered as prospective voters in the state as at this June.

The Resident Electoral Commissioner in the state, Professor James Apam, stated this at a media briefing in Lokoja, capital of Kogi state central Nigeria.

Professor Apam expressed disappointment that out of over one hundred and twelve thousand permanent voters cards printed for kogi state this june, only about seven thousand voters cards have so far been collected in the state.

The electoral Commissioner who spoke of the efforts by the commission to enfranchise all eligible voters in kogi state in line with the mandate of the commission, advised people of Kogi state who applied for voters cards to go to the electoral commission offices in local government areas for the collection of their cards, while those who applied for replacement and inter-state transfer of voters cards will soon be issued their voters cards.

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Ekiti 2018: 40 Candidates Jostle For Governorship Seat

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said that no more than 40 candidates under different political platforms are jostling for the Ekiti governorship seat in the July 14 gubernatorial election.

Among the candidates are tow women and are: Mrs. Margaret Ilesanmi of Accord (A) and Olajumoke Saheed of Democratic Alternative (DA).

The ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) is fielding the incumbent Deputy Governor, Prof. Kolapo Olusola while Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi is running on the platform of the main opposition All Progressives Congress (APC).

On the list of candidates are: Comrade Shola Omolola of Action Alliance (AA), Mr. Lawrence Ogundipe of Advanced Congress of Democrats (ACD), Dr. Jide Ayenibiowo of Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN), Mr. Olaniyi Agboola of Alliance for Democracy (AD) and Chief Ayodele David Adesua of African Democratic Congress (ADC).

Also on the list are Otunba Segun Adewale of Action Democratic Party (ADP), Mr. Lucas Arubuloye of AGA, Mr. Stephen Oribamise of All Grand Alliance Party (AGAP), Rev. Tunde Afe of Abundant Nigeria Renewal Party (ANRP), Malam Saheed Jimoh of African People’s Alliance (APA), Mr. Tope Adebayo of Advanced People’s Democratic Alliance (APDA) and Evangelist Gbenga Adekunle of All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA).

Others are: Prince Adegboye Ajayi of Better Nigeria People’s Party (BNPP), Mr. Olalekan Olanrewaju of Democratic People’s Congress (DPC), Pastor Stephen Oladejo of Democratic People’s Party (DPP), Mr. Adewale Akinyele of GPN, Mr. Tosin Ajibare of Independent Democrats (ID) and Temitope Amuda of Kowa Party (KP).

The list also includes: former Deputy Governor, Dr. Sikiru Lawal of Labour Party (LP), Mr. Olabode Jegede of Masses Movement of Nigeria (MMN), Mr. Sunday Balogun of Mega Progressive People’s Party (MPPP), Comrade Sunday Ogundana of National Conscience Party (NCP), former Senator, Dr. Bode Olowoporoku of Nigeria Democratic Congress Party (NDCP) and former deputy governor, Chief Adebisi Omoyeni of PANDEF.

Others are: Mr. Ayoyinka Dada of PDC, Mr. Goke Animasaun of Progressives People’s Alliance (PPA), Mr. Stephen Obasanmi of Providence People’s Congress (PPC), Mr. Ebenezer Ogunsakin of People’s Party of Nigeria (PPN) and Mr. Akinloye Ayegbusi of Social Democratic Party (SDP).

Also listed on the ballot are: Dr. Olusegun Adeleye of United Democratic Party (UDP), Mr. Femi Bade-Gboyega of Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN), Mr. Ayodeji Faokorede of Young Democratic Party  (YDP) and Mr. Temitope Omotayo of Young Progressive Party (YPP).

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2019: INEC And Underage Voting Challenges

Introduction

The beauty of democracy and indeed its attractiveness to many is the broad participation as well as the guarantee of periodic, genuine and credible elections. Nineteen years after Nigeria returned to participatory democracy, it has made discernible progress, including a seamless handover in 2015. Yet, Nigeria’s democracy is fraught with some teething problems. Underage voting has become a national challenge and sore point.

As the election year approaches, it is natural for people to recall words attributed to former Soviet dictator, Joseph Stalin, as recalled by his former secretary; “I consider it completely unimportant who…will vote, or how; but what is extraordinarily important is this — who will count the votes, and how.”1 Going by Nigeria’s immediate-past history, such worries are not completely out of place. Not a few believe it is imperative to look critically at those who will count the votes during the 2019 general elections and the methodology they will use. Certainly, there will be challenges.

Already, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) the body saddled with the responsibility is under intense criticism for what transpired at the Kano State local government area elections. The Nation, in a recent editorial piece could not be have been more critical of what happened in Kano State. Trenchantly, the paper observed that, “A very sad reminder of this was the charade of an election recently conducted into the local government councils of Kano State. In an age when technology has made it difficult to hide anything, photographs of children who were illegally accredited to vote soon filled the cyber space. Then, came the denials – from the state government, the Kano State Independent Electoral Commission (KNSIEC), the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), and somewhat the INEC. No one wanted to accept that the constitution and the Electoral Act had been breached.”2

That broad brush appraisal echoes the views of most Nigerians. Some took to social media to vent their frustrations, especially concerning INEC’s ability to conduct credible elections in 2019. INEC’s Director of Publicity and Voter Education, Oluwole Osaze-Uzzi, admitted that officials, often out of fear for their lives and threats by community members, do register underaged voters. This confirmed the suspicion of many and opened a new vista of public condemnation.

In a move to save face and apparently restore the confidence of the national electorate, INEC set up a committee to investigate the allegations of underage voting that trailed the Kano State Local Government Area elections. The committee sat and presented their report expeditiously.

In the committee’s report, according to an op-ed piece by the INEC’s Chiarman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, INEC swiftly but deftly walked away from issue of being forced to register minors, and distanced itself from the “charade” in Kano. Furthermore, INEC doubled down on its earlier stance that the only role it played was to provide the KNSIEC with the Kano State Register of Voters for the election. INEC also tried to disassociate the alleged irregularity from where most of the accusing fingers are pointed – at the National Register of Voters. In denying any nexus between the alleged underaged voting and its register, INEC contended that its register “was substantially not used to accredit voters before voting,”3 and thus, “it is logical to conclude that if underaged voting occurred in the election, it was not due to any presence of underaged registrants on the Register of Voters.”4 INEC went on to state that “The few images and video clips from Kano show no accreditation of voters or any relationship with the Register of Voters.”5 That said, INEC sought  to reassure Nigerians that the National Register of Voters, the sole determinant of who gets to vote and who doesn’t during the 2019 general elections is “dependable.”6

A New Wave of Scrutiny 

The veracity of INEC’s contention remains in dispute. Indeed INEC and its operations face new wave of scrutiny. Many see INEC Committee’s self-absolving report as “a proverbial child that passes the exam it sets for itself.” The widespread allegations that dead people signed petitions for Sen. Dino Melaye’s recall, a matter also handled by INEC, has not helped INEC’s image . Indeed it is now compelling for INEC to update the National Register of Voters urgently. The body should work with National Identity Management Commission and other relevant government agencies with national demographic data base to redact names of dead and underaged voters and in so doing, invalidate those PVCs that may be used in ways that could undermine the credibility of every forthcoming state or the national election.

The issue of having a sufficiently credible National Register of Voters is too important a matter to be entrusted solely with the commission’s self-auditing mechanism. Political parties, civil society groups and other stakeholders should show more leadership in this regard. Beyond taking up the media space to call out INEC in the event of real or perceived shortcomings, relevant stakeholders should take the pain to thoroughly scrutinize the National Register of Voters. And in the event of discovering any impropriety, including underage voters, file their fact-backed complaints appropriately and pursue necessary redress rigorously.

Understandably, in its self defense, INEC has passed the buck to various political stakeholders.  According to INEC, “…we have consistently given political parties copies of the register for each year and ahead of general elections as well as Governorship off-season elections. Only recently…, we gave each of the 68 political parties a copy of the register containing names of the 3.9 million new voters registered in 2017. We urged them to use the register not only to reach out to voters, but also to check whether there are ineligible persons on the list and draw the attention of the Commission to them. Unfortunately, since this Commission was inaugurated in 2015, there has not been a single report from any political party of ineligible voters on the Register.”7

Despite INEC’s attempt at self exculpating, it’s clarion call to action has merit. Given what is at stake, much will certainly be achieved if political parties, especially the leading opposition parties, civil society organizations, the media, institute their own independent scrutiny of the rather voluminous National Register of Voters, with a view of highlighting the weaknesses to the electoral umpire, and also making theRegister really dependable.

It noteworthy that as required by law, INEC confirmed that  it displays regularly the provisional register soon after each Continuous Voter Registration for periods usually lasting between 5 and 14 days, for claims and objections. Nigerian citizens, who inevitably bear the greatest brunt of flawed elections, should sustain the tempo by maximizing the opportunity of this display to alert INEC and indeed the whole world about “ineligible registrants, including underaged persons and aliens.”8

Two South-West states of Ekiti and Osun are scheduled to hold Governorship elections before the 2019 general elections. Both states present sufficient basis and the litmus to test the preparedness of INEC. The only limitation being that these two states, unlike their counterparts in the north, do not particularly have a history of underage voting, resulting from “padding” the voters register.

Available evidence and data reveals an interesting pattern in the geographical spread of underaged voters in Nigeria. Recent data say Nigeria currently has 10.5million out-of-school children. The largest swathe of that population are domiciled in the northern part of the country. Incidentally, the same part of the country has the highest occurrence of underage voters. That these children who could not be compelled to enroll and stay in school, could be found and persuaded to obtain voter’s card illegally and eventually mobilized to exercise “a franchise that does not belong to them legally” during elections, speaks volume of the real interests of the national elites and political class.

Discomfortingly, the issue of underaged voting represents only a fraction of irregularities witnessed during recent elections. During the 2017 governorship elections in Anambra State, there were allegations of grotesque manipulations of the card reader machine and a possible compromise of the ICT unit of INEC. Similarly, evidence exist that the votes of those who were manually accredited, were not reflected in the final results announced after balloting. Efforts should be made to investigate those allegations and see that such exploitations, if they indeed happened, will not reoccur in 2019.

Conclusion 

INEC should strive to live up to its statutory mandate – an independent arbiter. It should not allow both external pressure, vested interest and internal compromise to undermine the forthcoming general elections. In doing so, INEC ought to remember that the 2019 general elections could have broad national security implications.  The country hangs on the balance and could be tipped over by the credibility or otherwise of the 2019 general elections. Great circumspection is called for.

Nigeria can ill-afford to have an election that is not credible and sufficiently so, not with the increasing calls for national restructuring, broad feeling of marginalization, high youth unemployment, spiraling  restiveness, ascendancy of armed groups, the threat posed by herdsmen killings and the anger generated by the government’s lackluster handling of the crisis, and new alarming level of ethno-religious divisions.

Whereas post-election violence is hardly a new phenomenon in the country, most violent incidences “often tend to be localised, short-lived and restricted to polling centres and communities.”9 Human Rights Watch reported that more than 800 people were killed in three days of rioting in 12 northern states following the April 2011 presidential elections. Experts think the country is once again at the cusp of a major national crisis and that something in the similitude of what obtained in 2011 could trigger a major revolution.

Thankfully, the major political parties, barring a belated volte-face, are looking to nominate their presidential candidates from the Northern parts of the country. That reduces the north-south divide. But experts continue to warn that the level of anger and frustration in the land is such that the nation need not experiment with policies that will become tripwires as wheel as engage in unnecessary brinksmanship ahead of 2019. Were underaged voters to be seen as the swing bloc on which any candidate is elected, it would be a matter of Nigeria, and more specifically INEC failing to make a stitch in time to save nine.

——

Chima is a Research Associate at Selonnes Consult;   Obaze is the MD/CEO Selonnes Consult
References
1. Snopes, “Joseph Stalin: ‘It’s Not the People Who Vote That Count” https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/stalin-vote-count-quote/ Retrieved 14/5/18.

2. The Nation, “Underage voting in Kano” http://thenationonlineng.net/underage-voting-in-kano/ Retrieved 14/5/18.

3. Vanguard, “ALLEGED KANO UNDERAGE VOTERS: Our story, by Yakubu, INEC Chairman” https://www.vanguardngr.com/2018/05/alleged-kano-underage-voters-story-yakubu-inec-chairman/ Retrieved 14/5/18

4. Ibid

5. Ibid

6. Ibid

7. Ibid

8. Ibid

9. Prof. Etannibi EO ALEMIKA, “POST-ELECTION VIOLENCE IN NIGERIA: EMERGING TREND AND LESSONS” http://cleenfoundation.blogspot.com.ng/2011/07/post-election-violence-in-nigeria.html Retrieved 14/5/18

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INEC Registers 70,000 Prospective Voters In Kwara

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says it has registered 70,000 people in Kwara since the commencement of the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) exercise in April 2017.

Mr Paul Atser, INEC Administrative Secretary in the state, made this known during a meeting with members of the Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC) in Ilorin on Monday.

He said that the Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) of the 70,000 registered prospective voters would soon be sent to the state for distribution.

He added that of the 242,000 unclaimed PVCs in the state, 4,000 had been collected by their owners.

Atser further added that card owners will have to personally visit INEC collection centres as there will be no collection by proxy.

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Group Commends INEC For Transparent Conduct Of Dino Recall Process

A group, Independent Service Delivery Monitoring Group (ISDMG) has commended the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for ensuring that the recall exercise of Senator representing Kogi West, Dino Melaye, was carried out peacefully and in a free and fair atmosphere.

In a statement signed by Faith Nwadishi, Director of Contact and Mobilisation, she said that although the recall process did not succeed, its outcome clearly reflects the will of members of the constituency and exposes the political motivation of those who instigated the recall process.

The election observer group hinted that it deployed independent field monitors to observe the recall and exercise and commended INEC for allowing the will of the people prevailed in spite of obvious attempts by some politicians to interfere with the process.

“ISDMG deployed independent field monitors to observe the recall exercise. Our observers report that there were attempts by some politicians to induce INEC officials to manipulate the recall process to achieve a pre-determined outcome. But INEC officials remained resolute and resisted the attempts to influence them to rig the exercise in their favor.

“Clearly INEC officials demonstrated determination to ensure a transparent exercise with a credible outcome. This is consistent with the INEC Chairman’s oft-repeated assurances to Nigerians that this INEC is committed to free, fair and credible elections,” the statement partly read.

The group however noted that the outcome of the exercise has not gone down well with some people especially, “those whose selfish and narrow partisan interests have been defeated. Such people who already had their minds made up as to how the exercise should have been conducted and what its outcome should have been are now accusing INEC of failure because the recall of their political adversary failed. We note that INEC would have faced the same accusations from the other side had the outcome been on the reverse.”

It added: “Contrary to wild and frivolous allegations from familiar quarters and from frustrated people who are bent on discrediting and distracting INEC at every opportunity, the conduct of the exercise in Kogi provides an insight into what 2019 will look like. It shows that INEC is getting its acts right. It shows that this INEC cannot be compromised. This is good and necessary for our electoral sanity and our political development.

“We urge fellow Nigerians to remain vigilant and continue to assist INEC in its determination to sanitise our electoral process and ensure a credible general election in 2019. Citizens must continue to participate in and monitor the voter registration process with a view to identifying fake names, pointing out such false identities to INEC.

“This way, we will help INEC in its effort to sanitise the voter register and ensure that 2019, as the INEC Chairman already promised, will be better than 2015.”

 

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Dino Melaye Recall Process To Begin Saturday, Says INEC

Senator Dino Melaye, lawmaker representing Kogi West at the National Assembly, may again be in another mess as the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Wednesday in Lokoja, announced that it will conduct the signature verification exercise for his recall in seven local councils on Saturday.

Addressing media in Lokoja, during the “Stakeholders Meeting on the Process of the Recall (Verification) of the Senator Representing Kogi West Senatorial District, Kogi State”, the INEC National Commissioner Supervising Kogi, Kwara and Nassarawa states, Mohammed Haruna, assured that the electoral body has no interest in the process, other than to ensure that the process is followed through as spelt out by the law.

“INEC has absolutely no interest in who wins or loses”, he explained.

He urged all concerned to adhere strictly with the laid down process as spelt out by the laws guiding the process.

Highlighting the process so far undertaken, the Kogi State Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Prof. James Apam, explained that more than 50 percent of the constituents of the senatorial district, “plus at least one person”, must affirm that their signature or thumbprint must be verified by INEC national n the 560 polling units in the Kogi West Senatorial district.

According to him, the process will be undertaken across the 560 wards of Kogi West, between 8am and 2pm on Saturday.

He said that the Card Reader Machine will be employed for the exercise, adding that those who did not append the recall petition in the first instance, cannot partake, while polling units where malfunction is experienced, will be cancelled and/or redone, if the number involved will substantially affect the outcome.

“All I want to tell you is that we are ready to commence on April 28, from 8am-2pm, in the seven LGAs of the senatorial district. What we are doing is in compliance with what the law says”, he explained.

He added that applications from local observers will be entertained in Lokoja, the state capital, till Friday, April 27, 2018.

Outcome of the signature verification exercise is expected to be made public on the following day (Sunday, April 29, 2018).

The Nation

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