Only INEC Can Create Electoral Wards, Not States – Supreme Court

The Supreme Court on Friday set aside the decision of the Court of Appeal, Calabar which compelled the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to conduct elections in the 10 wards of Ikang town in Bakassi Local Government Area of Cross River State.

Delivering the judgment, Justice John Okoro held that it was the constitutional responsibility of the electoral body to create electoral wards and not the state.

The Cross River State House of Assembly had adjusted the old three Ikang wards in Akpabuyo Local Government Area to 10 in line with Law No. 7 of Cross River State 2007.

The judge, also held that the state had the right to make such law, adding that the “Law No.7’’ was not illegal.

He said the law did not create any constituencies, but adjusted boundaries of Akpabuyo to accommodate Bakassi.

Okoro therefore, said albeit the two lower courts were wrong to have ordered INEC to conduct elections in areas it did not delineate for that purpose.

“The decision of the Court of Appeal, Calabar is set aside but the commission should do the needful by formally delineating the 10 wards in Ikang for election purposes.

“The people of Bakassi have suffered enough and they should be made to have sense of belonging’’, he said.

Dissatisfied with the decisions of the lower court, INEC had approached the apex court praying it to set aside the two judgments.

The other appellant in the matter was the Resident Electoral Commissioner, Cross River State.

The appellants by this appeal registered their grievances with the decision of the Court of Appeal, Calabar delivered on Dec.6, 2013 dismissing their appeal against the judgment of Justice A.F.A Ademola of the Federal High Court, Calabar.

The respondents are Muri Asuquo, Chief Antigha Cobham, Chief Bassey Etim, and Chief Effiong Iman.

The respondents had initiated the case on behalf of the people of Ikang Clan, Esighi Clan, Antigha Ene Eyo Clan and Eduhu Idim Ikot Eyi Clan of Bakassi Local Government Area.

Based on the notice and grounds of appeal filed as aforementioned, the Appellants formulated four issues for formulation.

They had urged the apex court to ascertain whether or not the law No.7, 2007 which the lower court upheld in its judgment, was enforceable, lifeless, in-abeyance and or inchoate.

The appellant further sought the court’s explanation whether or not the lower court was right when it entertained in suit No. FHC/C/41/2012 for the second time the same issues it had conclusively resolved.

They also asked the court to decide on whether or not the creation and delineation and adjustment of the boundaries of the tow local government area in No.7 for the 2012 governorship election was legal.

The appellants further asked to know whether or not the judgment of the lower court which ordered the appellants to conduct the 2012 governorship election in the 10 wards was not illegal.

VON

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We’ll Implement Amended Electoral Act If President Buhari Gives Assent, Says INEC

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has said it will implement the amended Electoral Act, if it gets the President’s accent.

INEC National Commissioner, Voter Education and Publicity, Solomon Soyebi, disclosed this when he appeared on a Lagos-based television programme, yesterday.

He said the commission operates within the ambit of the law, and noted that it would be difficult for the electoral body to challenge the law, when it is, in fact, bounded by it.

“Everybody has a role to play in the governance of Nigeria; ours is just to conduct elections and we have nothing to do with the making of the law. So, if the law is made today, we are just there to obey it,” he said.

Soyebi, however, said in some cases, INEC can challenge any frivolous court order if it feels unsatisfied with it, but not the law.

He, however, recommended that all elections should be conducted the same day, as it is in some developed countries, stressing that it can also be achieved in Nigeria.

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INEC Registers 118,525 Voters In Katsina State

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has registered no fewer than 118,525 people in the ongoing Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) in Katsina State.

The Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in the state, Alhaji Jibril Zarewa, disclosed this to newsmen on Sunday in Katsina.

Zarewa said that 74,894 of the voters registered were males, while 43,631 were females.

The commissioner said that they were issued with temporary voter cards in the interim and would be given the Permanent Voter Cards (PVC’s) in due course.

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Voter Registration To End 60 Days Before General Elections, Says INEC

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said that it would end the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) exercise across the country 60 days ahead of the general elections slated for February 2019.

This was disclosed in a statement signed by the National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee (IVEC), Solomon Soyebi.

“So far, over four million Nigerians have registered across the country. The Commission wishes to assure all eligible Nigerians that the CVR exercise is designed to continue indefinitely as envisaged by the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended).

“However, as provided for in Section 9 (5) of the Electoral Act (as amended), the CVR will be temporarily suspended 60 days to the commencement of the next General Elections scheduled for February 2019. The exercise will resume after the conclusion of the elections.

“The Commission hereby encourages all eligible Nigerians to register at our offices in all local government headquarters and other officially designated areas across the country between 9am and 3pm, Monday to Friday, excluding public holidays,” the statement read.

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INEC Takes Steps To Register IDPs In Bakassi

The INEC in Cross River says it is taking steps to ensure that the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Bakassi Local Government Area of the state exercise their franchise in 2019.

Dr Frankland Briyai, the Resident Electoral Commissioner in the state, said this in an interview in Calabar on Sunday.

We are strategising on how Bakassi returnees in different camps in the state are registered so that they can vote in 2019.

“No matter their situation, they have the right to choose who leads the both at the state and national levels.

“But because of the security situation in the area, we have to reach them through some critical stakeholders, including traditional rulers, youth leaders and political leaders.

“We have decided go to the camps with soldiers, policemen and other security agents for safety reasons. “We feel this is the best way of getting them to register, ‘’ he said.

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INEC Issues Certificate Of Return To Umeh

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has presented certificate of return to the winner of the Anambra central senatorial bye-election, Victor Umeh, at its headquarters in Abuja.

Umeh, a former national chairman of the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA), won Saturday’s poll by a landslide, securing 64,879 votes.

INEC National Commissioner, Professor Oke Ibeanu, in his address, assured that it would continue to improve on the conduct of free, fair and credible elections in the country.

Equally, Umeh, commended INEC for obeying the judgment of the appellate court, despite attempts by some interest groups to undermine the rule of law on-pre election cases.

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Ngige Distances Self From INEC Rerun In Anambra

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, has distanced himself from the Anambra Central Senatorial rerun election, describing it as Kangaroo and a charade.

Recall that INEC had declared Chief Victor Umeh of the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) as winner of the election, and announced the All Progressives Congress  (APC), with Sen. Chris Ngige as candidate, was second with 975 votes.

However in a statement made available to pressmen Ngige, who contested the senatorial seat in the 2015 general elections asked his supporters to shun the poll, stressing that he was not in the race.

The minister who said he had in 2016 written to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) that he was no longer interested in the race, threatened to drag the electoral umpire to court should the commission publish his name as a candidate on the ballot paper for the poll.

His statement read in part,” the attention of the Honourable Minister of Labour and Employment that INEC has listed his name in the rerun election being conducted by the INEC on January 13, 2018.

For the information of the general public and voters and my numerous supporters in Anambra-central Senatorial District I’m not participating in the said election which can be described as a charade.

“I had since by a letter dated 11th January 2016 withdrawn from this rerun when it was earlier scheduled for March 2016, in accordance with the provisions of sections 33 &35 of the Electoral Act 2010 for personal and family reasons.
“My party APC promptly wrote the commission of its intention to organise a primary election for my substitution.
“A primary monitored by INEC was organised at Awka and the name of a new candidate that emerged was promptly submitted only for INEC to reject the new candidate on 29 January.

“My party the APC and INEC is in the Court of Appeal, Abuja, over this obnoxious and illegal action of INEC, with hearing on the matter fixed for 23rd of January which is still within the armbit of 90days ordered by court only for them to fix an ‘election’ for 13th in order to give an unfair advantage to the APGA candidate to go ‘unopposed’.

“I have met with INEC on this issue and I’m using this forum to inform everyone that I’m not participating in this Kangaroo election and listing my name on the ballot will earn them a litigation because it’s an illegal action which will be roundly challenged in court.

“INEC actions which are biased, and jaundiced will be viewed as an act intentionally undertaken to humiliate and ridicule my person”.

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FG Reaffirms Commitment To Fair Polls

The Presidency says the outcome of the INEC-organized elections at the weekend, in which three different political parties won, is a manifestation of President Muhammadu Buhari’s deep commitment to free and fair elections.

Commenting on the outcome of the polls, Presidential Spokesman, Garba Shehu, said:‘‘the President is inherently committed to the independence of the electoral commission in his belief that the will of the people shall be the basis of authority of government, which is expressed through periodic, free and fair elections. He will do nothing to impede INEC.”

Congratulating the winners of the elections in Anambra Central senatorial district, Ardo Kola state constituency in Taraba and Gwagwalada Ccentral constituency in the FCT, on behalf of the President the spokesman reaffirmed that under President Buhari’s watch, Nigeria will record more free, fair and credible elections.

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INEC Registers 68,079 Voters In Kwara

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Kwara State, on Thursday, announced that it had registered a total of 68,079 people at the end of the third quarter of the ongoing Continuous Voters Registration (CVR) exercise which began in April 2017.

Speaking with stakeholders in Ilorin, the Administrative Secretary of the electoral body in the state, Mr Paul Atser, said only 3,069 people had collected their permanent voters cards (PVCs) since April 2017 out of 242,069 unclaimed cards after the 2015 elections.

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INEC Releases Timetable For 2019 General Elections

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has released the timetable and schedules of activities for the 2019 general elections.

INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, said in Abuja that the dates for National Assembly and Presidential elections remain Feb. 16, 2019; while governorship and State House of Assembly elections, will hold on March 2, 2019.

INEC had earlier released the dates for 2019 general election in March 2017.

Yakubu said that the conduct of party primaries including resolution of disputes arising from primaries for national and state elections has been slated for between Aug. 18 and 2018 to Oct. 7, 2018.

He added that the conduct of parties primaries for the FCT Area Council election has also be scheduled for between Sept. 4 and Oct. 27.

Yakubu said that political campaigns by political parties for Presidential Election and NASS elections would commence on Nov. 18 and end on Jan. 14, 2019; while that of governorship and State Houses of Assembly would start on Dec. 1 and end on Feb. 28, 2019.

He said that notice for elections would be released on Aug. 17, while collection of nomination forms for national and states elections by political parties has been fixed for between Aug 17 and Aug. 24, while that of the FCT is slated from Sept. 3 to Sept 10.

The chairman said that the last date for submission of nomination forms by political parties has also been scheduled for Dec. 3 for president and NASS elections, and state elections Dec. 17.

He also said that the collection of nomination forms for FCT Area Council elections would commence on Nov. 3 to Nov. 10, while the last date for the return of the nomination forms is Dec. 14.

The commission according to Yakubu would on Oct 25 publish the personal particulars of National elections candidates on Oct. 25 and those of the state candidates on Nov. 9.

He also announced Nov. 17 as the last date for the withdrawal or replacement of candidate(s) for president and NASS elections, and Dec. 1 for governorship and state house of assembly elections.

Yakubu said that the INEC would on Jan. 2, 2019 publish notice of the polls, and on Jan. 7, 2019 publish official register of voters for the election.

The chairman said that political parties were also expected to submit names of their agents for the elections on Feb. 1, 2019.

He disclosed that 1,558 constituencies elections made up presidential, 29 governorship elections, out of which seven are staggered would be conducted in 2019.

Yakubu assured Nigerians that the commission was determined to strictly adhered to the timetable and implement it to the letter.

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INEC Debunks Rumors Of Fixing Dates For Party Primaries

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has described as untrue the recent media reports that the Commission has fixed dates or period for the holding of party primaries.

In a press release issued on Tuesday, and signed by the Director, Voter Education and Publicity, Oluwole Osaze-Uzzi, the Commission said it ‘’has not fixed the dates or period for the holding of party primaries’’, adding that ‘’for the avoidance of doubt, only the dates of the elections have been released, not the Timetable.

‘’It is the Timetable and Schedule of activities that will state details of major steps and milestones, including the period for the conduct of primaries and submission of names of party candidates’’, the statement explained.

The statement added that the Timetable and Schedule of activities ‘’will be released in due course and the public and stakeholders will be duly informed through the official channels’’.

The Commission urged Political Parties, their members and the general public to ignore the initial story which went viral on the matter especially on some social media platforms and was even carried by a few media houses, describing it as ‘’not correct’’.

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INEC Indicts Kogi Gov Yahaya Bello Over Double Registration

The Independent National electoral Commission (INEC) has indicted Governor of Kogi State, Yahaya bello, over double registration in its on-going Continuous Voter Registration (CVR).

Following this revelation, three staff members involved in the irregularities have been dismissed by the commission.

In a statement by its National Commissioner & Member, Information and Voter Education Committee, Mrs. May Agbmuche-Mbu, the electoral agency said: “Following reports of alleged double registration by the governor of Kogi state, in the on-going CVR, the Commission set up a panel of investigation into the involvement of staff in the matter.

“The initial report submitted by the panel was referred to the Appointment, Promotion and Disciplinary Committee, which made recommendations to the Commission.

“While the governor of Kogi state currently enjoys immunity from prosecution, the Commission took the following decisions in respect of its own staff: Summary dismissal of two staff for acts of gross misconduct. Immediate and compulsory retirement of an Electoral Officer, for acts of gross misconduct.”

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