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PDP witness: An INEC official was caught with $10,000 on election day

Likita Ali, a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) agent, says an official of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was arrested with $10,000 on the day of the presidential election.

Ali said this on Tuesday while being cross-examined by Yunus Usman, counsel to INEC.

The witness said he served as agent of the PDP in Lafia local government area of Nasarawa state.

He said the unidentified INEC official was allegedly caught at the Lafia local government collation centre.

“I was there when the INEC official was caught. Lafia local government collation centre was where it happened.”

When Usman asked him if the INEC official was alive, he responded saying: “He should be alive.”

The witness said he reported the matter to the security agencies in the area and the official was arrested and transferred to the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) office in Lafia.

When asked by Mike Igbokwe, a counsel to Muhammadu Buhari, if he kept a copy of the statement to police, Ali said “no.”

He added that he visited all the 24 polling units in his ward.

Diezani Bribe: INEC deputy director bags six years, another gets 7-yr jail term

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC Kano zonal office on Friday, June 28, 2019 secured the conviction of a Deputy Director of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Auwal Jibrin and one Garba Ismaila, before Justice Yusuf Birnin-Kudu of the Jigawa State High Court sitting in Gumel, on a six-count charge bordering on unlawful enrichment and gratification.

The journey to prison for them started after the Commission received intelligence report that they benefited from the $115,010,000 largesse of a former Minister of Petroleum, Diezani Alison-Madueke, in the build-up to the 2015 presidential election.

Investigations showed that they benefitted the sum of N45,000,000 (Forty Five Million Naira) out of the N250,000,000 disbursed in Jigawa State to influence the outcome of the election.

Upon arraignment, they pleaded “not guilty” to the charges thereby setting the stage for full trial.

During the course of trial, the prosecution presented five witnesses and tendered 20 exhibits to prove the case against them.

One of the charges reads: “That you, Auwal Jibrin, while being a public Servant (Deputy Director with Independent National Electoral Commission, Dutse) sometime in 2015, at Dutse within the Judicial Division of this Honourable court dishonestly received the sum of ₦45,000,000 (Forty Five Million Naira) from Garba Ismail, which you were not authorized to receive and you thereby committed an offence punishable under section 122 of the Penal Code.”

Delivering judgement, Justice Birnin-Kudu held that: “The prosecution proved beyond reasonable doubt, all the elements and facts of the case as contained in the charge and the testimonies of prosecution witnesses and exhibits tendered.”

The court added that the defence team failed to counter the evidence presented by the prosecution through its witnesses.

Thus, the court found the first defendant guilty as charged on count two, while the second defendant was found guilty on counts one and three.

The court, however, discharged them on counts four, five and six.

Consequently, counsel for the EFCC, Mohammed Gambo, urged the court to sentence them accordingly.

Counsel representing the second defendant, Jonathan Methezidie, who also held the brief for counsel representing the first defendant pleaded with the court to temper justice with mercy in sentencing the defendants.

After listening to the plea of the defence for mercy, the trial judge sentenced the first defendant to seven years imprisonment without an option of fine on count one, while the second defendant who was the INEC Deputy Director was sentenced to six years each on counts one and three.

The court further ordered the final forfeiture of the recovered monies and properties attached to the investigation with the exception of a three-bedroom flat attached at No. 1 Hadeja Road, Birnin kudu, Jigawa State.

INEC promises automatic employment for ad-hoc NYSC staff

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has promised automatic employment to corps members who performed exceptionally well as ad hoc staff during the 2019 General Elections.

The INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, made the promise on Monday in Abuja at the presentation of kits with laptops and phones by the European Union (EU) to outstanding corps members who participated in the 2019 Elections.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that EU donated the kits to 75 outstanding corps members for their excellent performance as INEC ad hoc staff during the 2019 elections.

They were selected as recipients following a public announcement on March 27.

Yakubu, who stressed the important role corps members played during the conduct of election, said that there could be no successful elections in Nigeria without the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC).

He said that the recognition of the hard work of corps members by the commission and the EU was apt as they had continually over the years put their lives at risk to ensure the peaceful and successful conduct of elections in the country.

The INEC Chairman praised corps members’ resilience, patriotism, dedication and commitment to the electoral process, adding that the commission would continue to reward them for their hard work.

“In addition to what the EU is giving you today, the commission has embarked on the review of the 2019 General elections.

“There are many of you who did very well during the elections. We will identify you and reward those who performed excellently well in the election with automatic employment.

“By doing so, we hope that those of you who have done excellently well will form a group of conscientious election duty staff going on to the next general elections,” he said.

He thanked the EU and the Director-General of the NYSC, Brig.-Gen. Shuaibu Ibrahim and also the youth corps members stressing “there cannot be any election in Nigeria without the NYSC’’.

“I have said this before and I will say it again that the youth corps members are the most dedicated, the most educated, most patriotic, the most willing, the most able, the most greatly available, and the most committed election duty personnel.

“It is not just about the election but the entire electoral process. You are available for voter education, voter registration and also available on Election Day,” Yakubu said.

The INEC chairman said that the automatic employment being granted by the commission would also be extended to corps members who would perform exceptionally well during the conduct of the Kogi and Bayelsa Governorship elections holding in November 2019.

Yakubu said that the commission planned to utilise the services of corps members for the entire elections.

Amb. Ketil Karlsen, the Head of EU Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, while presenting the laptops and phones to the corps members said that the gesture was a way of thanking them for their participation in the elections.

Karlsen, said that the EU recognised the important work corps members carry out during elections, adding that the youths were the backbone of democracy.

The ambassador also announced that the 75 corps members had been coopted as ambassadors of the EU, assuring them of the unions support in the future.

He said that each recipient was carefully selected by a panel of the NYSC and the EU delegation in Abuja.

According to him, 292,000 corps members participated in the general elections and it could not have been possible without their participation, “so we sat down to think what we could possibly do to thank them.’’

“We will have loved to reach out to every single one of the corps members who participated all over the country, unfortunately that is not possible but we tried to convince Brussels and the European Parliament to do something that has never been done before.

“They agreed to directly pass down the equipment that was used during the EU observation mission to 75 corps members who participated.

“I have seen the hardships you have had to endure; the journey has just begun I want you to count on the EU to accompany you on that journey onwards to ensure the full actualisation of democracy in Nigeria.’’

The NYSC Director-General, Brig.-Gen. Shuaibu Ibrahim said that the scheme was not surprised by the appreciation accorded corps members by the EU as they had continued to play major roles in ensuring peaceful and successful conduct of elections.

Ibrahim said that with over 300,000 corps members mobilised every year, the scheme had created opportunities for corps members to discover and harness their potential for personal and national development.

He therefore called on the EU to support the scheme in its effort to provide entrepreneurial skills and start-up capital to enable corps members establish businesses for self-employment after the service year.

The NYSC boss said that this support would go a long way to contributing to the socio-economic development of Nigeria.

We don’t have a server, INEC replies Atiku

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says it does not have a server where results of the presidential election were uploaded.

The electoral commission was reacting to the request of Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

The PDP and Atiku had asked the tribunal to compel INEC to allow them inspect smart card readers and the server.

The opposition party and its candidate are challenging the declaration of President Muhammadu Buhari as winner of the presidential election that held in February.

At the tribunal on Thursday, Yunus Usman, counsel to INEC, said the party was asking something they did not have.

“They are asking us to bring something we do not have,” the lawyer said.

Usman asked the tribunal to strike out the application.

Also, counsels of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Buhari asked the tribunal to strike out the application of the PDP.

They argued that they could not prove the existence of a server.

The electoral commission said Buhari polled 15,191,847 votes to defeat the former vice-president who secured 11, 262,978.

But Atiku in his application claimed that he polled 18,356,732 votes while Buhari secured 16,741,430, citing INEC’s server.

Court orders INEC to issue certificate of return to Okorocha

The federal high court sitting in Abuja has ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to issue certificate of return to Rochas Okorocha, former governor of Imo state.

Okon Abang, the presiding judge, held that having been declared winner of the February 23 senatorial election in Imo west district, INEC has no reason not to issue him certificate of return.

He ruled that the decision to deprive Okorocha of the certificate falls outside the provisions of the law.

“Once the declaration is made under section 68(c) of the Electoral Act, INEC has become functus officio and INEC has no lawful authority to withhold the certificate of return for any reason whatsoever,” the judge held.

“Therefore the issue of duress is unknown to both the Electoral Act and the Constitution.”

The court ruled that Okorocha remained elected subject to the outcome of the ongoing proceedings of the election petition tribunal.

He, therefore, ordered, INEC to publish and circulate the name of the Okorocha as the senator-elect representing Orlu Imo west senatorial district.

The judge awarded the cost of N200,000 payable by INEC to the plaintiff, and awarded N100,000 payable to the plaintiff by each of the other seven defendants to the plaintiff.

The judge ordered the defendants to pay the costs personally to Okorocha before taking any further steps in the case.

INEC had delisted Okorocha among senators-elect, saying Francis Ibeawuchi, returning officer for the election, declared the former governor winner of the election under duress.

INEC issues certificates of return to Zamfara PDP candidates

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has issued certificates of return to Bello Matawalle as governor-elect of Zamfara state.

Matawalle and Mahdi Gusau, deputy governor-elect, both of whom are of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), were presented their certificates of return at the Electoral Institute in Abuja on Monday.

Also presented with their certificates of return were the three senators-elect and seven members-elect of the house of representatives from Zamfara — also of the PDP.

The supreme court had on Friday voided votes of the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidates in the state in the last elections. It ruled the party did not hold valid primaries.

Speaking before the presentation of the certificates, Mahmood Yakubu, INEC chairman, reiterated the importance of party primaries ahead of elections.

He said there were over 800 suits in court challenging outcome of various primaries.

“I want to reiterate the importance of conducting proper primaries before elections in order to reduce the spate of litigation associated with them,” he said.

“At the moment, there are 809 pre-election cases pending in various courts across the country challenging the conduct of primaries by political parties for the 2019 general election.

“This is clearly more than the total number of petitions currently before the various election petition tribunals nationwide challenging the outcome of the main elections.

“In our last update, the commission reported that 25 certificates of return had been withdrawn and issued to persons declared winners by courts of law. Since then, three more certificates have been withdrawn by court order. With the Zamfara case, the figure has now risen to 64.

“In addition, the commission is studying nine more judgements we were served in the last one week in which primary elections conducted by different political parties were upturned by the courts.”

Zamfara: How we arrived at our decision – INEC

INEC Chairman, Prof Mahmood’s Statement on Zamfara Supreme Court ruling.

TEXT OF PRESS CONFERENCE ADDRESSED BY THE HON. CHAIRMAN, INDEPENDENT NATIONAL ELECTORAL COMMISSION (INEC), PROFESSOR MAHMOOD YAKUBU, ON THE SUPREME COURT DECISION ON CANDIDATES OF THE ALL PROGRESSIVES CONGRESS (APC) IN THE 2019 GENERAL ELECTIONS IN ZAMFARA STATE HELD AT THE CONFERENCE ROOM, INEC HEADQUARTERS, ABUJA, ON SATURDAY 25TH MAY 2019

Ladies and Gentlemen

1.​First, let me welcome all of you to this Press Conference. The reason for addressing you today is to provide an update on the recent decision of the Supreme Court regarding the candidates fielded by the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Zamfara State for the 2019 general elections.

2.​It is important to provide a background to the legal process that culminated in the Supreme Court decision on 24th May 2019. You may all recall that the Commission issued the Timetable and Schedule of Activities for the 2019 general elections on 9th January 2018, over one year in advance. Among other activities, the conduct of party primaries was scheduled to take place between 18th August and 7th October 2018. Unfortunately, the APC did not conduct its primaries in Zamfara State within this stipulated time and the Commission duly informed the party that it would not be in a position to present candidates for elections in the State. Subsequently, various interested parties, including the APC itself, approached the court over the decision of the Commission. Just before the election, the subsisting court judgment at the time ordered the Commission to include the APC on the ballot for the Governorship, National Assembly and State Assembly elections, which the Commission complied with.

3.​However, since the elections were completed, a Court of Appeal judgment and now a Supreme Court judgment have determined that the APC did not conduct valid primaries for the elections in question. In its judgment delivered on 24th May 2019, the Supreme Court, having determined that the APC did not conduct valid primaries, said that the votes cast for the party in all the elections in question were “wasted” and ordered the Commission to recognize the runners-up as the winners. This judgment affects the positions of Governor and Deputy-Governor, three Senatorial, seven Federal and twenty-four State Assembly Constituencies.

4.​Following the judgment of the Supreme Court, the Commission has met in two emergency sessions and taken briefings from our lawyers and staff on the implementation of the Supreme Court judgment. While the legislative elections (Senatorial, House of Representatives and State House of Assembly elections) are straight forward to deal with because they entail first-past-the-post or simple majority of votes, the Governorship election is determined not just by majority votes but also spread in accordance with Section 179 (2) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended). This means that we had to first discount the votes cast for the APC at the elections and then carefully rework the spread by Local Government Areas based on the new valid votes.

5.​In compliance with the Supreme Court judgment, the Commission has now determined the winners of the elections in Zamfara State as follows:

Governorship
S/N
POSITION
NAME OF ELECTED CANDIDATE
GENDER
PARTY
1
GOVERNOR
BELLO MOHAMMED MATAWALLE
MALE
PDP
2
DEPUTY GOVERNOR
MAHDI ALIYU GUSAU
MALE
PDP

Senatorial
S/N
NAME OF SENATORIAL DISTRICT
NAME OF ELECTED CANDIDATE
GENDER
PARTY
1
ZAMFARA NORTH
ALHAJI YA’U SAHABI
MALE
PDP
2
ZAMFARA CENTRAL
MOHAMMED HASSAN
MALE
PDP
3
ZAMFARA WEST
LAWALI HASSAN ANKA
MALE
PDP

House of Representatives
S/N
NAME OF FEDERAL CONSTITUENCY
NAME OF ELECTED CANDIDATE
GENDER
PARTY
1
KAURAN NAMODA/BIRNIN MAGAJI
UMAR SANI DAN-GALADIMA
MALE
PDP
2
SHINKAFI/ZURMI
BELLO HASSAN SHINKAFI
MALE
PDP
3
GUSAU/TSAFE
KABIRU AMADU
MALE
PDP
4
BUNGUDU/MARU
SHEHU AHMED
MALE
PDP
5
ANKA/TALATA MAFARA
KABIRU YAHAYA
MALE
PDP
6
BAKURA/MARADUN
AHMED MUHAMMAD BAKURA
MALE
PDP
7
GUMMI/BUKKUYUM
SULAIMAN ABUBAKAR GUMI
MALE
PDP

State House of Assembly
S/N
NAME OF STATE CONSTITUENCY
NAME OF ELECTED CANDIDATE
GENDER
PARTY
1
KAURA NAMODA NORTH
ZAHARADEEN M. SADA
MALE
PDP
2
KAURA NAMODA SOUTH
ANAS SARKIN FADA
MALE
PDP
3
BIRNIN MAGAJI
NURA DAHIRU
MALE
PDP
4
ZURMI EAST
SALIHU USMAN ZURMI
MALE
PDP
5
ZURMI WEST
NASIRU MU’AZU
MALE
PDP
6
SHINKAFI
MUHAMMAD G. AHMAD
MALE
PDP
7
TSAFE EAST
MUSA BAWA MUSA
MALE
PDP
8
TSAFE WEST
ALIYU NA-MAIGORA
MALE
PDP
9
GUSAU EAST
IBRAHIM NAIDA
MALE
PDP
10
GUSAU WEST
SHAFI’U DAMA
MALE
PDP
11
BUNGUDU EAST
KABIRU MAGAJI
MALE
PDP
12
BUNGUDU WEST
NASIRU BELLO LAWAL
MALE
PDP
13
MARU NORTH
YUSUF ALHASSAN MUHAMMAD
MALE
PDP
14
MARU SOUTH
KABIRU HASHIMU
MALE
NRM
15
ANKA
YUSUF MUHAMMAD
MALE
PDP
16
TALATA MAFARA NORTH
SHAMSUDEEN HASSAN
MALE
PDP
17
TALATA MAFARA SOUTH
AMINU YUSUF JANGEBE
MALE
PDP
18
BAKURA
TUKUR JEKADA BIRNIN TUDU
MALE
PDP
19
MARADUN I
FARUK MUSA DOSARA
MALE
PDP
20
MARADUN II
NASIRU ATIKU
MALE
PDP
21
GUMMI I
ABDULNASIR IBRAHIM
MALE
PDP
22
GUMMI II
MANSUR MOHAMMED
MALE
PDP
23
BUKKUYUM NORTH
IBRAHIM MOHAMMED NA’IDDA
MALE
PDP
24
BUKKUYUM SOUTH
SANI DAHIRU
MALE
PDP

6.​The Commission will issue Certificates of Return to the new winners as follows:

i. Governor and Deputy Governor-elect, Senators-elect and Members of the House of Representatives-elect will receive their certificates on Monday 27th May 2019 at the Commission’s Electoral Institute at 2.00pm.

ii. Members of the State House of Assembly-elect will receive their certificates from the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) for Zamfara State at the INEC State Office in Gusau on Friday 31st May 2019 at 10.00am.

7.​I wish to seize this opportunity to draw the attention of all stakeholders, but particularly the political parties, to the implications of the Supreme Court judgment on the Zamfara matter. It is clear that properly conducted party primaries are cardinal to the proper internal functioning of political parties, the electoral process and our democratic system at large. Therefore, political parties must take very seriously the conduct of primaries according to all extant rules, including the monitoring of the processes by INEC to avoid a repeat of the Zamfara experience. I want therefore to remind us that the Commission has since 9th April 2019 issued the Timetable and Schedule of Activities for the 2019 Bayelsa and Kogi Governorship elections by which party primaries are scheduled to hold between the 2nd and 29th August 2019. I appeal to political parties intending to field candidates in the elections to adhere strictly to this and other timelines in the Timetable and Schedule of activities.

8.​I thank you very much and I will now take some questions.

BREAKING: INEC declares PDP winner of Zamfara elections

 

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has declared Bello Matawalle of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) winner of Zamfara state governorship election.

Mahmood Yakubu, INEC chairman, announced this during a press conference in Abuja on Saturday.

He also said  the party won all but one of the elective positions in the state. Kabiru Hassan of the National Rescue Movement (NRM) won the election in Maru south state constituency.

Yakubu said this followed the supreme court decision sacking all candidates of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the general election.

The apex court had ruled the party did not hold a valid primary election and subsequently voided its votes.

Matawalle had scored 189,452 to emerge second in the governorship election.

Yakubu said that Certificates of Return would be given to the governor-elect, Deputy-governor-elect, three Senators and seven House of Representatives members-elect by 2:00 p.m. on Monday.

BREAKING: INEC meets over Zamfara Supreme Court ruling

The Independent National Electoral Commission, on Friday, held a meeting over the Supreme Court judgement on the general elections held in Zamfara State.

In a statement signed by Festus Okoye, INEC’s National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education, the electoral body is meeting to determine the next course of action following the ruling.

Part of the statement read, “Following the Supreme Court’s Judgement delivered today 24th May 2019 on the Governorship, National and State Assembly Elections held in Zamfara State, INEC held an emergency meeting to consider the Court’s decision.”

The statement revealed that the meeting would continue on Saturday and an outcome would be revealed on Monday.

See tweet:

INEC Nigeria

@inecnigeria

Press Release
Following the Supreme Court’s Judgement delivered today 24th May 2019 on the Governorship, National and State Assembly Elections held in Zamfara State, INEC held an emergency meeting to consider the Court’s decision…..

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Court orders INEC to withdraw 25 Certificates-of-Return

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has withdrawn 25 Certificates-of-Return issued to some candidates that won during the 2019 general elections, following court orders.

The Chairman of Information and Voter Education Committee (IVEC), Mr Festus Okoye, said this at a `Forum on Media Coverage of 2019 General Elections’ held in Enugu on Monday.

Okoye noted that 20 of the 25 certificates-of-return were withdrawn from All Progressive Congress (APC) members to other APC members; while two from Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) members were withdrawn and issued to other PDP members.

He said that the other three were withdrawn from APC and PDP; and given to other political parties.

“Before we left INEC national headquarters on Friday; the commission has withdrawn 25 certificates-of-return from the first owners to their new owners following court orders to do that,’’ he said.

Okoye, however, lauded the media for its openness and robust engagement with the commission before, during and after the election, adding that the media had become critical stakeholders for the success of future elections.

He noted that the media had become the first line of reach of the masses as well as platform for explanation of INEC political and electoral decisions.

Okoye, therefore, called on the media and its practitioners to dig deep into the Electoral Act to ensure that the import of the recent amended sections are made known to the public.

“The media should also centre on the aspect of using Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) to resolve electoral issues especially at the party levels instead of going to the court,’’ he advised.

Speaking, President of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), Mr Chris Isigozu, said that the media and its practitioners enjoyed a vast and robust relationship with INEC before, during and after the elections.

Isigozu said that INEC performed creditebly well given the resources and length of co-operation from other stakeholders involved in the electoral processes.
“However, we are here to evaluate the entire process and see where we can strengthen our engagement and better the electoral system.

“We would be open and say it as it; so that the electoral and democratic processes can be better even as we go into off season elections,’’ he said.

Enugu State Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Dr Emeka Ononamadu, noted that evaluation of processes of the elections would help better the electoral processes as well as strengthen institutions and stakeholders involved in the entire processes.

“INEC wants to hear from the media, security agencies, civil society organisations, Non-Governmental Organisations etc on how the election fared. Whether there are avenues to improve on what we have.

“So, INEC is open to receive your objective deliberations and its outcome and we definitely take a critical look at your outcomes in order to better the electoral processes,’’ Ononamadu assured.

INEC recognises Sowore as AAC chairman, faults his suspension

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says Omoyele Sowore remains the substantive national chairman of the African Action Congress (AAC).

In a letter dated May 14, Rose Oriaran-Anthony, the commission’s secretary, said Sowore’s purported suspension by the party cannot hold.

She said there is no evidence of the meeting in which Sowore was suspended, as some of the party leaders had claimed.

Mazi Okwy, a member of the AAC national executive committee (NEC), had announced the suspension of Sowore, adding that one Leonard Nzenwa had been appointed acting chairman.

Okwe based the action on “failure to convene national executive council (NEC) meeting, financial misappropriation and other anti-party activities”.

Sowore dismissed the suspension and subsequently expelled Nzenwa while he suspended top members of the party.

The INEC secretary said the commission will continue to relate with Sowore as the national chairman of the party.

The letter read: “There is no documentary evidence that a meeting of the AAC National Executive Committee was convened by the National Chairman as required by chapter 9 section 59(a) of the AAC constitution.

“The party did not provide a 21-day notice of the NEC meeting as required by section 85(1) of the Electoral Act 2010.

“There are no minutes or evidence of attendance of the AAC National Executive Committee meeting where the National Chairman and eight others were purportedly suspended.

“Accordingly, the Commission shall continue to recognise and relate with Mr. Sowore Omoyele as the substantive National Chairman of the AAC.”

INEC shifts Kogi, Bayelsa guber polls to Nov 16

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has rescheduled the Bayelsa and Kogi state governorship elections.

The commission said the elections, initially scheduled to hold on November 2, will now hold on November 16.

Festus Okoye, INEC director of voter education and publicity, said in a statement, on Thursday, that the change in date was as a result of various appeals for the commission to reschedule the polls.

Some stakeholders from Bayelsa state had urged INEC to change the election date as it coincides with the state’s annual ‘Thanksgiving Day’ which is backed by law.

“After a careful consideration of the appeals, the Commission at its regular weekly meeting held today, Thursday 16th May, decided to shift the governorship elections in Kogi and Bayelsa States to Saturday 16th November 2019,” the statement read.

“The timelines for all other activities leading to the elections have also been adjusted to align with the new date.”

In the amended timetable and schedule of activities for the elections, conduct of party primaries and resolution of any dispute would hold between August 18 and September 5, while campaigns will also commence on August 18.

Personal particulars of candidates would be published on September 16, while official register of voters would be published on October 3, with campaigns ending on November 14.

Why 75 political parties passed vote of confidence on INEC boss

Seventy-five political parties have passed vote of confidence on Prof. Yakubu Mahmood, Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The parties made this known in a communique issued at the end of a two-day National Roundtable for the 2019 General Election Review,  organised by Centre for Transparency Advocacy (CTA), held on Monday in Abuja.

The communique was jointly signed by the Acting Director, CTA, Ms Faith Nwadishi and National Chairman, Coalition for Change (C4C ) Party, Mr Geff Ojinika.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the conference with the theme: “The Role and Performances of Stakeholders in the 2019 General Elections: Issues, Challenges and prospects,” was in conjunction with Chairmen of Nigerian Political Parties.

According to the group, Yakubu did well in the conduct of the just concluded elections and deserved to be commended.

“While thanking the INEC management for a well-planned and carefully executed 2019 General Elections, the roundtable passed a vote of confidence on the INEC Chairman.

“It equally calls for a more regular roundtable discussion on the improvement of our electoral process,” the  communique noted.

The group recommended the need for INEC to strengthen the capacity of its polling staff through, training and retraining particularly on the handling of the card readers.

They called on the National Assembly to immediately re-present to President Muhammadu Buhari, the amended Electoral Bill and urged the President  to do the needful to ensure that the amended Electoral Bill was signed into law.

The roundtable demanded the establishment of electoral offenses tribunal to punish electoral offenders and should be structured to take off in less than a month after the conclusion of election petition tribunal hearings.

They also said that political parties and young people should leverage on the provisions of the Not-Too-Young-To-Run Act to increase political participation of youth in subsequent elections.

The communique noted that efforts must be intensified to ensuring  proper coordination of Inter Agency Committee on Election Security (ICES) and the non-partisan deployment of security personnel to all the polling units to ensure peaceful conduct of polls.

The parties said that in order to address dwindling turnout of voters after the first election and increase the zeal to elect credible leaders, the conduct of the three principal elections should be done on the same day.

This, they said, would curb voter apathy.

They added that that it would also save cost, ensure emergence of quality leadership, the integrity of the ballot, large voter turnout and guarantee improved security on election day.

The group also urged political parties to maintain internal democracy and engage in transparent primaries to select their candidates with less rancour, and minimise defections.

The communique also advised parties to review their manifestoes to strengthen their ideologies and loyalties and stem intra-party conflicts that bedevilled  the nation’s polity.

“Freedom of Information Act should be given life so that media outfits and journalists will be adequately protected while carrying out their legitimate duties during elections.” it said

NAN reports that some of the political parties at the event included, Labour Party (LP), Progressives Peoples Alliance (PPA), Accord (A),  National Conscience Party (NCP), among others.

‘INEC being blackmailed by those rigging election’

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said it is being intimidated and blackmailed by politicians with a history of election rigging in the state.

The Akwa Ibom State Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Mike Igini, who addressed a news conference at the weekend, said those accusing the commission of irregularities rigged elections in the past to get government positions.

Igini was reacting to allegations by the All Progressives Congress (APC), and its lawyers, that INEC was preventing it from accessing and inspecting electoral materials.

He said: “Akwa Ibom is the only state where the opposition is complaining of being denied access to materials but the complaints are deliberate. Those with a history of election rigging are the ones accusing the commission. The complainants cannot compare what happened in 2011 and 2015 to the 2019 elections.”

Igini flayed the APC lawyers and petitioners for accusing it of not complying with the Tribunal order to inspect election materials.

According to him, the Commission has complied with the tribunal’s orders in line with the provision of Sections 77 and 151 of the Electoral Act, to make available to petitioners, certified copies of election materials, and also to be open to petitioners.

“The APC governorship candidate’s lawyer, Victor Iyanam, informed the commission of the tribunal’s order on April 25, and was told to return the next day so that INEC’s legal team could jointly work out the inspection schedule, but he never turned up.

“Now, in between the waiting time, Iyanam already granted news conferences and issued statements, accusing the commission of denying them access to materials. But this is untrue. We are committed to the electoral accountability to ensure electoral justice.”

Igini explained that since April 23, inspection of materials had been happening daily for Akwa Ibom Northeast and Akwa Ibom NorthWest Senatorial seat.

Atiku releases ‘evidence’ of election result from INEC website

Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has insisted the result from the server of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) shows he defeated President Muhammadu Buhari in the presidential election.

In his submission to the presidential election tribunal, the former vice president gave the “unique MAC address and Microsoft product ID of the INEC server” from where the results were obtained.

According to the result declared by INEC from the 36 states and the federal capital territory (FCT), Buhari polled 15,191,847, while Atiku came second with 11,262,978 votes.

But in his petition submitted at the tribunal, the PDP candidate claimed he garnered a total of 18,356,732 votes to defeat Buhari, who, according to him, polled 16,741,430 votes.

INEC, in response, said the results being paraded by Atiku was fabricated and not from its website.

But in their response to the INEC’s submission, a copy of which was obtained by TheCable, Atiku and the PDP said address of the server from which the results were obtained is unique to INEC.

“The Servers from which the said figures were derived belong to the first Respondent (INEC). The figures and votes were transmitted to the first Respondent’s Presidential Result’s Server 1 and thereafter aggregated in INEC_PRES_RSLT_SRV2019, whose Physical Address or unique Mac Address is 94-57-A5-DC-64-B9 with Microsoft Product ID 00252-7000000000-AA535. The above descriptions are unique to the 15t Respondent’s Server,” they said.

“There is no conjecture in the votes and scores in the table pleaded by the Petitioners. The figures are factual. The Spokesperson for the 2nd Respondent’s Campaign Organization openly admitted that the data in question was in the first Respondent’s Server when he wrote and submitted a petition to the Inspector General of Police and the Director General of the Department of State Services (DSS) asking the Security agencies to investigate the 2nd Petitioner herein for allegedly hacking into the Server of the 1St Respondent and obtaining the data in question.

“Specifically, Mr. Festus Keyamo, SAN, the Spokesperson of the 2nd Respondent claimed in the said petition that it was the first Petitioner who smuggled the data into the Server.”

Atiku and the PDP also alleged the INEC chairman “committed grave errors in the final collation exercise” for the election by “falsely crediting” some persons with political parties, including “Okotie Christopher, Reverend Dr. Onwubuya and Ojinika Jeff Chinze.”

“The grave errors referred to in paragraphs 4 and 5 above were under the hands and signature of the first Respondent’s Chairman, (who was also the Returning Officer) in the conduct of the final collation of the results of the Presidential Election,” they added.

“The Petitioners state that the final results as declared by the first respondent are those that were transmitted online to the website of the first Respondent (www inecnigeria.org).”

Atiku scammed, no poll result on server, says INEC

The Independent National Electoral Commission said it never transmitted the 2019 presidential election result on a server as claimed by the Peoples Democratic Party and its candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.

The rebuttal was stated in INEC’s reply to the petition filed by Atiku and PDP challenging the re-election of President Muhammadu Buhari, as declared by INEC on 27 February.

The commission, which is being represented by Yunus Usman (SAN), as lead counsel, said the results of the poll were never transmitted or collated electronically.

The vehement dismissal of Atiku and PDP’s claim meant that the petitioners must have been scammed to believe that the results were stored electronically.

To be sure, INEC added in its response, that it kept no such server where such electronically transmitted results could have been obtained.

INEC on February 27, 2019, four days after the poll on 23 Februaray, declared that the All Progressives Congress candidate, President Muhammadu Buhari, won with 15,191,847 votes to defeat his closest rival, Atiku, who polled 11,262,978 votes.

But the petitioners stated that “from the data in the 1st respondent’s (INEC’s) server…the true, actual and correct results” from the “state to state computation” showed that Atiku polled a total of 18,356,732 votes to defeat Buhari who they said scored 16,741,430 votes.

They said the results were the total votes scored by the candidates in 35 states and the Federal Capital Territory Abuja, as there was “no report on sever” about the results from Rivers State as of February 25, 2019.

By calculation, Atiku and the PDP claimed to have defeated Buhari by 1,615,302 votes. But the commission, urging the tribunal to dismiss the petition, said in its reply filed on April 10, that the petitioners’ claims were false.

The INEC’s Director, Information and Communications Technology, Mr Chidi Nwafor, in his witness statement on oath attached to the reply, specifically denied the “server results” which the petitioners were laying claim to.

He said all the results were collated manually and were never transmitted electronically.

Courts have legitimised vote buying – Falana

Femi Falana, human rights lawyer, says the courts have legitimised vote buying.

Speaking on Wednesday at the ninth forum of the anti-corruption situation room in Abuja, Falana said since 1999, the purchase of votes has been the order of the day.

He said measures should be put in place in a bid to reform the country’s process “in a way that we will not be all collectively disgraced.”

The event was organised by the Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA) in collaboration with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) and some civil society groups.

“Unfortunately, under the current political dispensation, our courts have legitimised vote-buying and other violations of the provisions of the electoral act,” Falana said.

“I will refer to few cases. In the case of Falae and Obasanjo, in 1999, it was proved in the court of appeal that bags of rice, salt and garri were distributed to entice voters for the candidate of the ruling party, general Olusegun Obasanjo.

“The court of appeal so found such infraction of the law, however it turned round to say even those distributing were said to be PDP stalwarts, the court of appeal said it was not proven that there were winners of the election.

“Since then, the purchase of votes, bribing of voters have been the order of the day.

“The battle ahead is how we are going to reform the democratic session in a way that we will not be all collectively disgraced. We have never gone this low where publicly people are trading in votes. We never went that low.”

Mahmood Yakubu, chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), said vote buying comprises the free choice of the voter.

Yakubu, who was represented by Festus Okoye, national commissioner, urged the national assembly to clearly define what vote buying is and provide stiff sanctions.

INEC fixes Nov 2 for Kogi, Bayelsa guber polls

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has fixed November 2 for the governorship elections in Kogi and Bayelsa states.

Festus Okoye, chairman of INEC’s information and voters education committee, announced this on Tuesday evening.

Okoye said parties interested in fielding candidates for the polls are expected to hold their primaries between August 2 and August 29, while campaigns will commence from August 2 lasting till October 31.

The deadline for the submission of names of agents by parties is October 31.

“The Commission at its meeting held today approved the Timetable and Schedule of Activities for the Governorship elections in Kogi and Bayelsa States which will hold in both States on Saturday 2nd November 2019,” he said in a statement.

“The official notice for both elections will be issued on 1st August 2019 while political parties that intend to sponsor candidates are to hold their primaries for the nomination of such candidates from 2nd-29th August 2019.

“Campaigns by Political Parties in public shall commence on 2nd August 2019 and end on 31st October 2019.

“The parties sponsoring candidates are required to submit the list of their agents not later than 2nd October 2019.

“The stated timelines are in line with the provisions of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended). All stakeholders are urged to take cognizance of and adhere strictly to them.

“Details of the Timetable and Schedule of Activities for the election are on the Commission’s website.”

We’ll wait for Supreme Court’s pronouncement on Zamfara APC – INEC

The Independent National Electoral Commission has said that it will wait for the pronouncement of the Supreme Court before taking any decision on the primary elections of the All Progressives Congress in Zamfara State.

The commission had withheld certificates of return of the state Governor-elect, Alhaji Mukhtar Shehu, following the judgment of the Court of Appeal in Sokoto.

But the APC and the governor-elect, in a letter to the commission last week, said the Court of Appeal did not nullify their primary elections.

INEC’s National Commissioner and Chairman of its Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, on Monday in Abuja, said the commission was law-abiding.

He said, “The Independent National Electoral Commission is a law-abiding institution. It is the policy of the commission to obey court orders and court decisions.

“The commission took the decision to exclude the candidates of the All Progressives Congress from the list of nominated candidates on the grounds that the party did not conduct primary elections.

“The party has taken the matter to the Supreme Court and it is only rational and prudent to wait for the decision of the Supreme Court before proceeding. The commission took a cautionary approach in suspending further issuance of certificates of return to the members-elect of the state assembly, the deputy governor-elect and the governor-elect. The commission will abide by the decision of the Supreme Court on the matter.”

He added, “The commission does not have any interest in who becomes the governor of Zamfara State but is only interested in the processes and procedures leading to the declaration of results and issuance of certificates of return.

“We are confident that the Supreme Court will conclude the hearing of the matter and deliver its judgment before the inuguration of elected members of the national and state assemblies.

“We believe that the people of Zamfara State deserve to know who their governor and representatives are before the terminal date of this regime.

The commission receives dozens of letters daily. The commission replies letters it receives but takes decisions based on the orders and judgments of courts.

“The commission studies the judgments and takes its decisions based on the judgements and orders and not based on the opinions and decisions of lawyers.”

Meanwhile, the state Governor and senator-elect, Abdulaziz Yari, led other federal lawmakers-elect from the state to an induction course in Abuja on Monday.

When contacted, one of the newly elected members of the House of Representatives, who preferred anonymity, told one of our correspondents that nobody had told him anything about withdrawing his certificate of return.

“I have been following the drama playing out in our party from the pre-primaries to our victory at the polls, and nobody has notified me that my election had been voided that will necessitate the withdrawal of my certificate of return,” he stated.

Court orders INEC to prosecute Ifeanyi Ubah

A federal high court in Awka, Anambra state capital, has ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to prosecute Ifeanyi Ubah, senator-elect of Anambra-south and M.N Umenweke, the returning officer, over criminal allegations levelled against them in the February 23 election.

The order came following an application sought from the court by Chris Uba, senatorial candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the district.

Uba had, among others, asked for “A further order of mandamus compelling the 1st Respondent to prosecute the second ( Prof MN Umenweke) for announcing or publishing a false result to the effect that the 3rd Respondent had won the election held on the said 23/2/2019 even when they both knew that the said election was inconclusive and from which no genuine result had thereby been generated.”

In the order, I.B Gafai, the judge, asked the INEC to conduct investigation into the matter within 14 days for the purpose of prosecuting the respondents.

“Upon the honourable court having delivered a considered judgement today, it hereby ordered as follows: The 1st Respondent (INEC) shall within 14 days from today conduct or cause investigation into the criminal allegations of the Applicant (Chris Uba),” the judgement read in part.

“Prosecute, if the investigation result so warrants, the third Respondent ( Ifeanyi Uba) and any other person(s) implicated in its investigation.

“Where it considers it inexpedient to prosecute through its legal officers, consider at its liberty, the appointment of the Applicant’s solicitors in this suit for the purpose of such prosecution.”

Ubah won the senatorial election under the platform of the Young Peoples Party (YPP) but defected to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) on Monday.