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Tag Archives: INEC

Melaye asks Supreme Court to stop recall process

Kogi West Senator, Dino Melaye, has urged the Supreme Court to declare the petitions submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission seeking his recall as illegal.

The Senator in an appeal he filed against the March 16, 2018 judgment of the Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal, also urged the apex court to declare the recall process as illegal.

Melaye had on Tuesday filed a seven-ground notice of appeal against the judgment of the Court of Appeal which had dismissed his suit instituted before the Federal High Court in Abuja to challenge the validity of the process of his recall which commenced June last year.

The Court of Appeal had in its March 16, 2018, judgment held that contrary to Melaye’s contention, the 90 days provided by the 1999 Constitution for the recall process to be concluded had not run out but had been paused since June 23, 2017 when he commenced the suit before the Federal High Court, Abuja.

With the Court of Appeal’s dismissal of the suit, the preconditions earlier given by the Federal High Court in Abuja for INEC to fulfill before continuing the recall were set aside.

The appeal court’s judgment therefore paved the way for INEC to continue the recall process which had been stalled by Melaye’s suit.

Following the Court of Appeal’s judgment, INEC had announced that the recall process would resume on April 28.

But on Tuesday, Melaye, through his lead counsel, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), filed his appeal against the judgment, contending that the three Justices of the Court of Appeal who delivered the unanimous judgment dismissing his suit erred in law.

Also on Wednesday, the senator filed a motion before the Court of Appeal seeking the stay of execution of the court’s judgment.

In his notice of appeal, apart from seeking the Supreme Court’s order allowing his appeal, he also urged the apex court to, among others, ”declare the petition purportedly presented to INEC for the recall of the plaintiff/ appellant as illegal, unlawful, wrongful, unconstitutional, invalid, null, void and of no effect whatsoever.

INEC releases timetable for Melaye’s recall

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has released timetable for the recall of Dino Melaye, lawmaker representing Kogi west senatorial district.

Augusta Ogakwu, secretary of the commission, disclosed this on Friday.

According to the timetable, the recall process will begin on March 27, with the posting of the notice of verification at the commission’s local government area office in Lokoja, Kogi state capital.

The last day for interested observers to submit application at INEC headquarters in Abuja is April 4.

Below is the schedule of activities the commission released on Friday

INEC fixes date to recall Dino Melaye from senate

The Kogi state Independent National Electoral Commission on Wednesday announced dates for the commencement of the recall process of the embattled Senator representing Kogi West, Dino Melaye.

The Resident Electoral Commissioner in the state, Prof. James Apam, said following the appeal court ruling that INEC can commence the recall process, the commission has fixed the last Saturday of April as the verification date.

INEC also fixed first Saturday in the month of May as the day that a referendum would be conducted in line with the electoral laws.

Apam spoke at a stakeholders’ forum on Wednesday in Lokoja.

He said, “On this day, the Commission will endeavour to invite all those who have signed the recall register to come forward and identify their signature.”

According to him, if this process is successful, the Commission will proceed to the next stage where a referendum of all registered voters would be conducted.

“Here, voters will be asked to vote either ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to the question of whether they want Senator Dino Melaye recalled.

“If the answer meets the constitutional requirements of 51 percent ‘yes,’ the process moves to the next stage; but if it fails, the process stops,” Apam explained.

Recall that the appeal court had, last week, thrown out Senator Dino Melaye’s suit challenging the move to recall him.

Recall also that the embattled Senator has vowed to proceed to the Supreme Court in the bid to stop INEC from proceeding with the process.

Apam said that as a law-abiding entity, INEC will not do anything outside the dictates of the law, noting, “that is why we have to wait till after the judgement before going ahead with the process.”

Election timetable: Senate kicks against court order, resolves to write CJN4

The senate on Thursday resolved to write a letter to Walter Onnoghen, chief justice of Nigeria (CJN), to inform him of its position on the court order that restrained the national assembly from further actions on the electoral act.

On Wednesday, a federal high court in Abuja gave the order in a suit filed by Accord Party.

The party is challenging the constitutionality of the ‎amendment to the electoral act.

Moving a motion on the floor of the senate, Godswill Akpabio, senate minority leader, wondered if a court injunction could stop the national assembly from carrying out its constitutional functions.

The minority leader said the matter should be taken “very seriously” to forestall reoccurrence of its nature in future.

“The issue really is not the bill itself, it has to do with due process and parliamentary functions. I am worried about the situation of powers as enshrined in our constitution,” he said.

“Can the court really rule an injunction, expatriate or otherwise, to stop the parliament from carrying out its constitutional duties? I have looked through the Nigerian constitution, and in my view, I don’t think it is right for the court to interfere in the affairs of the parliament, particularly when we are in the process of making legislation. We cannot be stopped by an injunction.

“But be that as it may, I believe strongly that we also do not have the power to arrest a court judgement while the proceedings are going on and because of separation of powers.”

The restraining order will expire on March 17.

After Akpabio’s submission, the senate resolve to send a letter to the CJN.

Buhari rejects amended timetable for 2019 elections

President Muhammadu Buhari has rejected the amended timetable for 2019 elections.

The president’s rejection was contained in a letter read Tuesday on the floor of the upper legislative chamber by Senate President Bukola Saraki.

Some senators had rejected the amended timetable saying that Buhari is the target.

But in the letter, the president said amending section 25 of the electoral act would infringe on the “constitutionally guaranteed discretion” of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to organise, undertake and supervise elections.

“Pursuant to Section 58(4) of the constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), I hereby convey to the senate, my decision, on 3rd March 2018, to decline presidential assent to the electoral amendment bill 2018 recently passed by the national assembly,” the letter read.

“Some of my reasons include the following -the amendment to the sequence of elections in Section 25 of the principal act, may infringe upon the constitutionally guaranteed discretion of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to organize, undertake and supervise elections provided in Section 15(A) of the third statue to the constitution.

“The amend to section 138 of the principal act to delete two crucial grounds upon which an election may be challenged by candidates, unduly limits the rights of candidates in elections to a free and fair electoral review process;

“The amendment to section 152 subsection 325 of the principal act may raise constitutional issues over the competence of the national assembly to legislate over local government elections.”

INEC detects names of 299 foreigners in voter register

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Friday said it had expunged 299 names of aliens from the voter register.

Mahmood Yakubu, chairman of the commission, made this known at a consultative meeting of the commission with security agencies in Abuja.

Yakubu said the foreigners were discovered through information made available by the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS).

He said registering to vote and actual voting were exclusive rights of Nigeria’s citizens to which aliens were excluded by law.

According to him, the commission has agreed with NIS to deploy their officers to every registration centre nationwide to ensure that only Nigerians are registered.

The INEC chairman promised that the commission would continue to work in partnership with all security agencies to purge the voter register of all ineligible voters.

“Those who are below the age of 18, aliens, those registered in absentia, those barred by statutory regulations from registering as voters are not qualified,” he said.

“Persons who do not ordinarily reside, work or originate from the area covered by the registration are ineligible.

“We will continue to thoroughly scrutinise registrants in the ongoing exercise in order to ensure that only eligible registrants get registered.”

Yakubu said the consultative meeting came at exactly 350 days to the commencement of the 2019 general election.

He added that the meeting was also timely as it was 133 days and 203 days to governorship elections in Ekiti and Osun, respectively.

He assured the electorate that the commission, in collaboration with security agencies, would continue to work in line with the rules of engagement.

Yakubu said the synergy would guarantee citizens’ rights during campaigns and actual voting in a professional and non-partisan manner, consistent with the provisions of the law.

He said INEC was working hard to address all the challenges currently facing the ongoing continuous voter registration (CVR).

He assured all registered voters and those intending to register, of getting their permanent voters card (PVC) before the 2019 elections.

Double registration: Yahaya Bello will be prosecuted, says INEC

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says the allegation of double registration against Yahaya Bello, governor of Kogi state, still stands.

James Apam, resident electoral commissioner (REC) in the state, said this at the INEC office in Lokoja, capital of Kogi, on Thursday.

“The allegation of double registration has not been swept under the carpet; we cannot prosecute Bello now because he enjoys immunity as a sitting governor,” he said.

“He has committed an offence and we shall prosecute him when he is out office.”

He said the recent issuance of a temporary voter’s card to the governor did not mean that the issue of double registration had been swept under the carpet.

On February 26, INEC issued a temporary voter’s card to the governor after applying for the transfer of his permanent card from Abuja to Okene.

Last year, INEC declared the second registration done by Bello at the government house, Lokoja, on May 23, as illegal and contrary to the electoral act.

The electoral body, through one of its federal commissioners, Emmanuel Shoyebi, said the registration, which was done outside the designated registration centre, amounted to a criminal offence.

Shoyebi said Bello did his first registration at Wuse Zone 11 in Abuja, on Janaury 30, 2011.

For their involvement in the double registration saga, a senior official of INEC was compulsorily retired from service while two others were summarily dismissed last month.

Apam, however, explained that a temporary voter’s card was issued to the governor based on legal advice, saying that the governor would surely face the consequences of his crime at the appropriate time.

He said INEC’s legal advisers had advised the electoral body not to deny Bello his right to vote and be voted for since he could not be tried at the moment.

On the ongoing continued voters’ registration exercise, Apam said INEC had registered 176,866 new voters in Kogi between April 2017 and February 2018.

The resident electoral commissioner said that the new registrants comprised of 90,553 male voters and 86,313 female voters.

During the period, he said that the organisation had transferred 7,169 permanent voter’s cards and replaced 9,400 lost or defaced cards.

INEC announces general elections dates till 2055

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Wednesday announced dates for general elections in the country for the next 36 years, starting from 2019 to 2055.

The chairman of the commission, Mamood Yakubu, made the announcement at a consultative meeting with leaders of political parties in Abuja.

“In 2019, the dates are February 16 and March 2; in 2023, the dates are February 18 and March 4.

“In 2027, the dates are February 20 and March 6; in 2031, it is February 15 and March 1.

“In 2035, it is February 17 and March 3; in 2039, it is February 19 and March 5 and in 2043, it will hold on February 21 and March 7.

“In 2047, it is February 15 and March 2; in 2051, it is February 18 and March 1; in 2055, it is February 20 and March 6,” Mr. Yakubu said.

He pointed out that in other democracies of the world, periods of elections were generally known and were not topics for speculation.

Mr. Yakubu explained that the aim was to engender certainty in the election calendar and allow for long-term planning by the commission and all stakeholders.

He said that certainty in election calendar was necessary to match Nigeria’s democratic system with global best. practices.

The chairman said that in the last one week, INEC received 108 applications from associations seeking to be registered as political parties.

He said that 66 of the applications did not meet the initial requirements while 33 passed and had proceeded to the next stage.

He said that nine others were at the final stage of registration.

The INEC boss commended political parties for the roles they played in the governorship and National Assembly by-elections in Anambra which ensured that the exercises were crisis-free.

He urged all existing political parties yet to comply with all relevant sections of the constitutional requirements necessary for their existence, to do so.

He advised the parties to ensure rancour-free conventions and congresses ahead of 2019 and the Ekiti and Osun governorship elections later in the year.

“Internal party democracy is critical to the overall success of the elections and it helps to eliminate some protracted litigations.

“Less than a year to the 2019 general elections, there are still cases in courts, challenging the nomination of candidates in the 2015 elections,’’ he said.

Mr. Yakubu urged the parties to support the commission in its quest to sanitise the voter register by drawing the attention of the umpire to any irregularity.

In his remarks, the Chairman, Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC), Mohammed Nalado, commended INEC for recognising political parties as partners.

He said that with little or no financial support, political parties were at the forefront of voter sensitisation to the need to conduct themselves responsibly at polling units.

Mr. Nalado commended the commission for creating an enabling environment for free and fair elections by rolling out election calendar in good time.

He added that the political parties were happy with the position of INEC on the sequence of elections, saying that the commission acted on the existing law.

He welcomed the newly-registered political parties to IPAC and urged INEC to support the council’s plan to amend its code of conduct.

According to Mr. Nalado, the amendment will address issues of internal democracy, conflict resolution system among other issues affecting political parties in the country.

2019: I won’t be intimidated – INEC Chairman

The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mahmood Yakubu, has said he would not be intimidated by partisan pressure.

“I have passed the stage where someone can intimidate me to do what is wrong.” Mr. Yakubu said in the current edition of The Interview.

He made this statement in light of concerns about voter registration and accusations by politicians that INEC could not be trusted to conduct free and fair elections.

In a recent comment, Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, said the report of under-age voting in Kano had damaged confidence in INEC.

Mr. Yakubu, however, said, “I have passed that stage, where I can be intimidated, with due respect. And the real test is in what we have done (178 ‘mini’ elections) so far. The most interesting thing for me is that both parties accuse us equally. So, that means we are doing something right.”

He said he had never faced any pressure from the Presidency, or any other quarters, to bend the rules.

“We know that poorly conducted elections are a recipe for disaster,” Yakubu said. “We will never tread that path.”

The MD/Editor-In-Chief of The Interview, Azu Ishiekwene, described the interview as “the first barometer of Yakubu’s INEC in the last three years.”

On the Kano underage voting, the INEC Chairman said, “These are elections that are not the legal and constitutional responsibilities of INEC. There are legal entities that conduct local and government elections in this country. So, on what basis are we going to prosecute electoral offenders in an election in which INEC is not legally responsible for?”

Reminded that potential abuse of INEC’s register was enough basis for prosecution, he said, the argument could also be stretched to other agencies involved in the process, including the police.

The interview also covered the delayed primaries in the ruling All Progressives Congress, the role of security services, including the use of the army in past elections, and whether or not Mr. Yakubu will vote in 2019.

This edition also features interviews with sextoypreneur, Iheoma Obibi, on the growing sex toy market; and BBC’s new head of West Africa and ex-PUNCH editor, Toyosi Ogunseye.

INEC lacks capacity for credible elections – Wike

Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has said that the Independent National Electoral Commission does not have the capacity to conduct credible elections in the country.

Wike, who made this remark on Tuesday when the German Ambassador to Nigeria. Dr. Bernhard Shlagheck, visit him at the Government House in Port Harcourt, called on the International Community to closely monitor the nation’s electoral process.

The governor explained that it was imperative for the International Community to monitor the 2019 elections in order to stop INEC from manipulating the process.

“INEC does not have the capacity to hold free and fair elections. See what happened in Kano State. INEC says it wants to investigate the under-age voting that took place last week.

“Who gave the children the voter cards? We will not allow anyone to manipulate the electoral system of the country,” Wike said.

He pointed out that due to the failure of the All Progressives Congress, the party was planning to use INEC and security agencies to create crisis and manipulate the electoral system.

The governor said that the cry over the order of elections by the ruling APC revealed their intention to manipulate the process.

Speaking further, the governor urged the German Ambassador to ensure that the Federal Government was committed to the development of the Niger Delta.

Wike explained that despite the resources produced in the Niger Delta, the people have been denied access to infrastructural development.

Earlier, the German Ambassador to Nigeria, Dr Bernhard Shlagheck, lauded Wike for his investments in infrastructural development.

Shlagheck pointed out that he was in Rivers State as part of his familiarisation tour of the Niger Delta, adding that he began the tour with the state because of the importance of Rivers in the structure of the region.

The ambassador urged political stakeholders to work for the success of the 2019 general elections.