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Breaking: Tribunal dismisses Oyetola, INEC’s objections to Adeleke, PDP’s petition

The Osun State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal in Abuja on Friday dismissed the separate objections filed by the All Progressives Congress and its candidate, Gboyega Oyetola, as well as the Independent National Electoral Commission against the petition challenging their victory at the September 2018 election.

The Peoples Democratic Party and its governorship candidate in the election filed the petition urging the tribunal to declare that he polled the highest lawful votes and should be declared the winner.

But Oyetola, APC and INEC filed their notices of preliminary objection contending the court’s jurisdiction and petition’s competence.

Delivering the‎ lead ruling of the three-man tribunal, Justice Peter Obi, dismissed objections as misconceived before striking them out.

The tribunal added that the tribunal had jurisdiction to hear the petition.

There are two other reserved rulings the tribunal is to deliver before delving into the merit of the petition.

More to follow …

INEC lists condition to give Okorocha certificate of return

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has listed the only condition under which it will issue a certificate of return to Rochas Okorocha, governor of Imo state.

At a press conference in Abuja, Festus Okoye, chairman of INEC information and voter education committee, said the commission will issue a certificate of return to Okorocha if directed by the court to do so.

Francis Ibeawuchi, returning officer for Imo west senatorial election, had announced Okorocha as winner of the poll.

But INEC declined to give Okorocha a certificate of return because Ibeawuchi said he declared him winner under duress.

This prompted Okorocha tosue the commission. In a suit filed at a federal high court in Abuja, the governor asked the court to rule that INEC has no power to withhold his certificate of return and to grant an order mandating the commission to issue it to him.

When asked to comment on the matter, Okoye said the commission’s stance that it will not reward bad conduct remains the same.

He said: “The position of the commission has not changed. The position of the commission is that we will not issue certificate of return to Governor Rochas Okorocha in relation to the senatorial election.

“Since the matter is already in court, the best thing to do is not to prejudge the matter that is in court, but to allow the judicial processes to run through.

“If at the end of the day, the court gives an order that we should give him his certificate of return, of course, the commission will obey such a court order.

“If on the other hand, the court takes a different position and makes other consequential orders in relation to the conduct of the elections in Imo West, we will also comply with whatever order the court gives.

“As of today, the matter is pending in court, the best thing to do is to wait for the outcome of the judicial process.”

FULL LIST: 18 states where supplementary elections will hold

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says Saturday’s supplementary elections will take place in 18 states.

A document released by INEC on Thursday showed supplementary governorship polls will hold in five states including Bauchi (14 LGAs), Benue (22 LGAs, Plateau (9 LGAs) Kano (29 LGAs) and Sokoto (22 LGAs)

It said although an Adamawa state high court directed the suspension of supplementary election in the state, the exercise will hold for two constituencies for the house of assembly election.

“In Adamawa state, elections will hold in Nassarawo-Binyeri State Constituency of Mayo Belwa LGA, which was
countermanded as required by the Electoral Act following the death of a candidate on the eve of the Governorship and State assembly elections held on 9th March 2019,” the document read.

“Supplementary election will also hold in Uba/Gaya State Constituency in Hong LGA. In Bauchi State, supplementary elections will hold in Kirfi State Constituency of Kirfi LGA.”

The commission said supplementary  election for state constituencies will hold in 18 states.

TheCable observed the total number of voters to participate in the supplementary election for state constituencies stand at 585,138.

Below is the list of states, affected LGAs and number of registered voters there:

  • Bauchi (one LGA, 1,111 voters)
  • Bayelsa (three LGAs, 58,270 voters)
  • Benue (nine LGAs, 91,141 voters)
  • Ebonyi (three LGAs, 45,905 voters)
  • Edo (one LGA, 6,764 voters)
  • Ekiti (one LGA, 2,244 voters)
  • Kaduna (one LGA, 7,514 voters)
  • Adamawa (two LGAs, 49,588 voters)
  • Kano (one LGA, 40,821 voters)
  • Kogi (three LGAs, 24,637 voters)
  • Imo (five LGAs, 118,372 voters)
  • Lagos (one LGA, 12,711 voters)
  • Nasarawa (four LGAs, 43,874 voters)
  • Osun (one LGA, 2,485 voters)
  • Plateau (one LGA, 5,501 voters)
  • Sokoto (two LGAs, 24,492 voters)
  • Taraba (two LGAs, 19,912)
  • FCT (four LGAs, 29,796 voters)

INEC secures vacation of court orders, says supplementary election will hold in Bauchi, Adamawa

The Independent National Electoral Commission has said that the supplementary governorship election earlier scheduled to hold in Bauchi and Adamawa states will still hold, even though the issue has become a subject of litigation.

The litigation on the Bauchi governorship election, INEC said, was initiated by the All Progressives Congress and its candidate, Mohammed Abubakar.

Taking to its verified Twitter handle @inecnigeria on Thursday, INEC said an interlocutory injunction to suspend the process has been served on the Commission by the Federal High Court, Abuja.

“While the Commission has complied in accordance with its policy to obey all court orders in deference to the rule of law, it has also taken urgent steps to vacate the order and dismiss the action,” INEC said.

It noted that the litigation and consequential order only affect the collation of results for the governorship election in Tafawa Balewa Local Government Area.

“Consequently, the supplementary elections will proceed as scheduled on Saturday, 23 March in the other 15 Local Government Areas of Bauchi State as well as the Kirfi State Constituency Supplementary Election in Kirfi Local Government Area,” the Commission said

Similarly, INEC said, the Adamawa State High Court had issued an injunction restraining the Commission from proceeding with the supplementary election following the application by the Movement for the Restoration and Defence of Democracy, a registered political party which did not take part in the main election.

It said that though the Commission had also complied with the order, it has also taken steps to vacate it and dismiss the action.

“Notwithstanding the legal action over the Supplementary Governorship election, elections will hold in Nassarawo/Binyeri State Constituency in Mayo–Belwa Local Government Area where the election had to be countermanded following the death of a candidate before the polls, as well as the supplementary State Constituency election and Uba/Gaya State Constituency in Hong Local Government Area,” INEC said.

PDP: Data from INEC’s server showed Atiku defeated Buhari with 1.6 million votes

Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has claimed that he defeated President Muhammadu Buhari by 1,615,302 votes.

According to Punch, Atiku made the claim in a petition he and his party filed before the presidential election tribunal.

The  newspaper quoted the petitioners as saying data from the server of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) shows the true and correct results from state to state computation.

In the 139-page document, they said Atiku garnered a total of 18,356,732 votes to defeat Buhari, who reportedly polled 16,741,430 votes.

They said the results were the total votes scored by the candidates in 35 states and the federal capital territory (FCT), Abuja, since there was no report on the sever showing results from Rivers state as of February 25, 2019.

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

Atiku had rejected the result, alleging widespread irregularities. He had asked the tribunal to declare him authentic winner of the election or order that a fresh poll be conducted.

Relying on 50 sets of documents, the petition listed INEC as its first respondent, Buhari and the APC as the second and third respondents.

The petition also raised the allegation that Buhari was unqualified to vie for the presidential election considering that he did not possess the minimum qualification of a school certificate as required by the constitution.

“The 2nd respondent (Buhari) was not duly elected by the majority of lawful votes cast at the election,” the petition read.

“The election of the 2nd respondent is invalid by reason of corrupt practices.

“The election of the 2nd Respondent is invalid by reason of non-compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended).

“The 2nd respondent was at the time of the election not qualified to contest the said election.

“The 2nd respondent submitted to the 1st Respondent an affidavit containing false information of a fundamental nature in aid of his qualification for the said election.”

JUST IN: I’ll sue INEC over cancellation of Bauchi supplementary poll, says gov

Mohammed Abubakar, governor of Bauchi state, says he is heading to court to challenge the Independent National Electoral Commission’s (INEC) decision to resume collation of results in the state.

The election in the north-west state was declared inconclusive based on controversies in the results of Tafawa Balewa local government area.

The commission listed Bauchi among the states where supplementary election would hold but it later reversed the decision, saying the collation of results of the March 9 election will continue on Tuesday.

Speaking after meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday, the governor described INEC’s decision as illegal.

“I came to brief Mr. President about the situation in my state. I briefed him on the issues surrounding the inconclusive elections,” he said.

“The returning officer for Bauchi State at the end of collation, rejected the result of Tafawa Balewa local government and then 36 other units spread around 15 local governments of Bauchi state and ordered a rerun.

“Surprisingly, we woke up one morning and INEC came up with a procedure that is not known to law. Because, where a returning officer has declared the result, only an election petition tribunal can reverse the result. But INEC is attempting to reverse itself in the case of Bauchi. And when one juxtapose that of Bauchi and other states with inconclusive elections, one wonders why that is happening only in Bauchi state.

“So, for that reason there is a need for me to come and brief Mr. President because that has the potential of touching on the security of the state and it is our paramount duty to secure the state.”

Asked if what is happening was illegal, the Bauchi governor said, “Of course it is definitely extra illegal. It is a straight forward matter. The returning officer is the final arbiter even with respect to scores and declaration of result. And once he makes a declaration, no power can reverse that declaration except duly constituted court of the land.

“I came to brief Mr. President, I am not seeking any action of Mr. President. We all know Mr. President, he is a stickler for procedure. What I pointedly told him was that I am not here to seek for you to interfere on our behalf, sir but to brief you on what is happening and what actions I have taken.

“One of which is that I am a lawyer and I am pursuing the legal angle. I briefed him and he emphasized on that legal angle that it is the best way to go.”

You can’t seize my certificate, Okorocha dares INEC

Rochas Okorocha, governor of Imo state, says the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has no right to withhold his certificate of return.

Speaking on Wednesday when some of his supporters marched to the government house to protest the conduct of the just-concluded elections, Okorocha said anyone who decides to go against him would lose.

INEC had removed Okorocha’s name from the list of senators-elect who will be presented with certificates on Thursday, saying the governor was declared winner “under duress”.

“I wonder why INEC will withhold my certificate for a frivolous reason, without hearing from me. I am not a violent person and those who know me know that,” he said.

“This is why we have peace in Imo state. The Returning Officer could not have done that under duress under the watchful eyes of the Police, DSS and party agents. I am not unmindful of the fact that those who are fighting me from Abuja are anxious to see me removed as a senator. I urge INEC to do the right thing immediately by releasing my certificate.

“Let me tell every Nigerian that I fought no one and no one should fight me. If anyone fights me, he will be the loser at the end of it all. My INEC Certificate cannot be touched or seized, doing so is belittling democracy in Nigeria. It is only the tribunal that has the right to say otherwise once a result is declared. INEC cannot seize my certificate by mere petition written by somebody in a case I was not given the opportunity to present my own side of the story.”

He also rejected the declaration of Emeka Ihedioha of the PDP winner of the election, with Uche Nwosu, candidate of the Action Alliance (AA), trailing him.

But Okorocha insisted that “going by the actual calculation, the person that won this election is Nwosu, his son-in-law.

“Uche Nwosu won the election landslide, if you remove the manipulation results from Mbaise, Uche Nwosu won with over 50,000 votes, if you cannot declare him a winner because you have someone already, then they should go for a rerun because you cannot change the Constitution if the Federal Republic of Nigeria because you want to favour a candidate,” he said.

“The REC has shown he was brought to Imo after the 2015 election to return PDP to power in the state. The REC had acted illegally by ignoring the provision of the Constitution that makes it mandatory for a candidate to have 25 percent in 2/3 of the Local Governments in the State by announcing the PDP candidate, Emeka Ihedioha who only met the requirement in 9 Local Governments instead of 18 LGAs which is 2/3 of 27 LGAs winner.”

He further sought answers to why the REC should accept the “outrageous figures” from the three local governments areas of Aboh Mbaise, Ahiazu Mbaise and Ezinihitte, where the PDP candidate got 64,219 votes from Aboh Mbaise alone.

Okorocha noted that the outcome from the three LGAs constituted 50 percent of the total votes got by the PDP candidate in the state with 27 LGAs.

“In the course of this manipulation, we all observed that the REC decided not to use the collation officers from Federal University of Technology Owerri (FUTO), which he disbanded for reasons he gave that they have met with politicians,” the governor said.

“Again, he brought some people whom he introduced from the University of Agriculture Umudike.

“They arrived just a night before the election date and we thought we have gotten the collation officers. Again, those ones were disbanded on the same reason that they have met with politicians, I wonder how this is possible having arrived the state after midnight on the election eve.

“Now the REC went to his own University in Awka to bring in collation officers. We believed him not knowing that he brought people he has been training for a hatched job for some weeks now in Anambra State to come and carry out this injustice in Imo State.

“These men arrived with heavy security from Anambra and went straight to the various Local Governments.”

Akwa Ibom REC: Politicians invited me to a meeting abroad but I said no

Mike Igini, resident national electoral commissioner (REC) of Akwa Ibom state, says those accusing him of committing electoral fraud are people who tried unsuccessfully to take him abroad for a secret meeting.

The All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state has Igini of colluding with the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) to rig the election in favour of the opposition party.

But in an interview with The Nation Newspaper, Igini said his accusers wanted him to compromise the elections.

He, however, did not mention any names.

“The very people who wanted me to compromise are the ones who are accusing me. They are the ones who wanted me to travel abroad to hold a secret meeting with them and I said no,” he said.

“I said why do you want to go abroad and discuss the affairs of an electoral process outside Nigeria? Why do you want me to enter aeroplane and go to where? If you want to have a meeting with me, come to my office.

“Since I have been in this state, anybody who says he has given me pure water, let him or her come forward and say so. All those who contested the elections whether in PDP or APC or any party, I don’t know them other than their lists of the names.

“As I speak to you, I don’t have their contacts, even those who won. If I see them on the way, I won’t recognise them.”

The Akwa Ibom REC alleged that some politicians in the state have refused to come to terms with the fact that “the old tradition of writing fictitious results are over”.

He said apart from 1999, no genuine elections had been conducted in the state until the last one under his watch in which he wanted to bring a positive difference.

“In Akwa Ibom, apart from 1999, they have not been delivering ballot papers results sheets to polling units,” he said.

“They have been writing results in Akwa Ibom state. There were no genuine elections in the state and I said there has to be a paradigm shift to the side of the will of the people.”

APC, 13, PDP, 8 — full list of the 21 governors-elect declared by INEC

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has declared winners in 21 of the 29 states where the governorship election held on March 9.

The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has 13 states ahead of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) which has eight.

The exercise has been declared inconclusive in five states while collation was ongoing in three states as of the time this report was filed.

Below is a table the winners declared so far declared by INEC:

 

S/N  States Elected Governors Political Party
1 Abia Okezie Ikpeazu PDP
2 Akwa Ibom Udom Emmanuel PDP
3 Borno Babagana Zulum APC
4 Cross River Ben Ayade PDP
5 Delta Ifeanyi Okowa PDP
6 Ebonyi David Umahi PDP
7 Enugu Ifeanyi Ugwanyi PDP
8 Gombe Inuwa Yahaya APC
9 Imo Emeka Ihedioha PDP
10 Jigawa Abubakar Badaru APC
11 Kaduna Nasir El-Rufai APC
12 Katsina Aminu Masari APC
13 Kebbi Abubakar Bagudu APC
14 Kwara Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq APC
15 Lagos Babajide Sanwo-Olu APC
16 Nasarawa Abdullahi Sule APC
17 Niger Abubakar Bello APC
18 Ogun Dapo Abiodun APC
19 Oyo Seyi Makinde PDP
20 Yobe Mai Mala Buni APC
21 Zamfara Muktar Idris APC

 

BREAKING: INEC declares Kano guber poll inconclusive

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has declared the Kano state governorship election inconclusive.

As results streamed in rhe opposition Peoples Democratic Party seemed positioned for  a major upset in Kano, the stronghold of the ruling All Progressives Congress when its candidate, Abba Yusuf polled 1,014,474 to Governor Umar Ganduje’s APC which polled 987,819 in a keenly contested election.

Although the APC won in 28 out of the 44 local government areas, the number of votes scored was not enough to counter that of the PDP which won in the remaining 16 decisive local government areas.

The returning officer for the Kano State governorship election, Prof. B.B Shehu while giving a breakdown of the figures said, “The total number of registered voters is 5,426, 989, accredited voters, 2,211,528, out of this number, the ruling APC scored 987,819, while the main opposition PDP scored 1,014,474.

“The margin of victory is 26,655, this makes it impossible to make a return and declare a winner.”

He referred to provisions of section 22 of the Electoral Act, which he said was clear on what should be done.

Corroborating what the returning officer said, the Kano State INEC REC, Prof. Riskuwa Shehu said, “Section 26 of the Electoral Act stipulates that if the margin of cancelled votes is higher than the margin of victory, you cannot make a return. We will hold re-run elections in areas where votes were cancelled and add it to what we have and a winner will be declared.”

A mild drama played out when the result of the crucial Nasarawa Local Government Area was to be presented. A member of the House of Representatives, Ali Madaki was granted permission to speak and was given.

He said he had information that there was a plan to cancel the result of Gama ward to pave way for the declaration of the governorship election in the state as inconclusive.

However, the State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Prof. Riskuwa Shehu said such information was not at his disposal.

At this point, the agent of the All Progressives Congress, Gen. Idris Bello Danbazzau was recognized to speak, when he stood up, he said, “Those who are making these claims are the criminals”, no sooner had he said that than PDP agents in the hall shouted him down with some of them asking if the deputy governor was a member of the PDP.

When calm was restored, the INEC local government collation officer in charge of Nasarawa, Prof. Ibrahim Abdulsalam explained what led to the almost day-long delay in the presentation of results from the local government.

He explained that collation officers and observers were attacked by suspected thugs during the collation exercise in the area.

According to him, the attackers stormed the Local Government Collation Centre, in Nasarawa and destroyed electoral materials at the point of collation.

The INEC collation officer in charge of the local government, Prof. Ibrahim Abdulsalam from the Bayero University Kano narrated his ordeal before presenting his collated results at the State Collation Centre at INEC Headquarters.

Why Okorocha won’t be given Certificate of Return – INEC

The Independent National Electoral Commission has disclosed that it would on Thursday issue certificate of return to all candidates elected in the last general election.

The electoral umpire, however, said it would not issue certificate to Rochas Okorocha Okorocha of the All Progressives Congress in Imo West.

According to a statement posted on INEC website on Monday, the declaration of Okorocha as winner was made under duress, hence, the reason he won’t be among those billed to be issued certificate on Thursday, March 14.

The event would take place at the Africa Hall of the International Conference Centre, Abuja.

INEC declares guber polls inconclusive in four states

Four states — Bauchi, Adamawa, Plateau and Sokoto state — do not have a clear cut governors elect following the inconclusive nature of the guber polls.

In all these states, the margin of win has been smaller than the number of cancelled votes, narrowing the race to any of the top two candidates game to take.

In Bauchi

APC: 465,456
PDP: 469,512

Rejected: 21,419

Margin of lead between PDP and APC: 4059

Cancelled Votes: 45,312

INEC therefore declared the state guber election inconclusive.

In Adamawa

PDP: 367, 471

APC: 334,995

Margin of win: 32,476

Cancelled Votes:  40,988

Andrew Haruna, the state returning officer, said votes were cancelled in 44 polling units across the state.

He declared the poll inconclusive.

In Plateau

The story is not any different in Plateau state, where Simon Lalong of the APC is seeking re-election.

Final result for the governorship poll

APC: 583,255

PDP: 538,326

Total registered voters 2,480,455

Total accredited voters 1,157,025

Total valid votes 1,154,678

Rejected 15,691

Total votes cast 1,154,678

Margin between the two parties 44,929

Cancelled votes 49,377

In Sokoto

Aminu Tambuwal of the PDP has his fate hanging in balance as his state guber poll was declared inconclusive, for the same reason.

Sokoto State Governorship election declared inconclusive

Aminu Tambuwal PDP: 489,558 votes
Ahmed Aliyu APC: 486,145 votes

Margin of Winning 3,413

Cancellation in 136 polling units with 75,403 registered voters

BREAKING: INEC suspends electoral processes in Rivers

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has suspended electoral processes in Rivers state as a result of violence.

The commission announced this in a statement issued on Sunday afternoon.

More to follow…

INEC ad hoc staff feared missing as boat capsizes in Delta

No fewer than 12 persons, suspected to be ad hoc staff of the Independent National Electoral Commission, are feared missing after their boat capsized in the Warri-North Local Government Area of Delta State.

It was learnt that the incident occurred around Ebrohimi community creek on Saturday evening.

It was gathered that the boat had on board about 20 persons, including corps members and security personnel.

It also carried electoral materials used for the conduct of the exercise in the area.

Our correspondents gathered that the occupants were returning to Koko, the headquarters of Warri North LGA, after the governorship and House of Assembly elections, when the boat capsized.

The source was, however, silent on the number of casualties, saying that although a rescue operation was said to have begun shortly after the incident, it was not clear whether all the occupants had been rescued as of the time of filing this report.

When contacted, the Police Public Relations Officer, Chuks Oresewezie, said, “I will just confirm whether what you are saying is true because as of yesterday, before I left the office, there was nothing like that.”

But the Resident Electoral Commission, Dr. Cyril Omorogbe, who confirmed the incident, noted that ad hoc staff of the state were not involved in the mishap.

Omorogbe, who spoke in Asaba on Sunday morning, “I understand that my staff members are not involved.

“They (INEC workers) are all safe and the ad hoc staff were safe.

“And I don’t think the mishap affected the materials because it happened later in the day, from what I know.”

BREAKING: Soldiers, policemen clash at INEC head office in Rivers

Soldiers and policemen are currently engaged in a heated argument at the head office of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Rivers state.

The argument broke out over who should be in charge of the office which is the state collation center where result of the governorship election will be announced.

More to follow…

Elections: Lagos INEC adhoc staff protest unpaid allowances

Scores of adhoc staff of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) at Ojo and Iba Collation Centres in Lagos on Saturday staged a protest over unpaid allowances.

The collation centres are located at St. Michael Nursery and Primary School, Costain Road, Ojo, and Local Authority Primary School, Iba, both in Lagos State.

As at 9.30 a.m, the adhoc staff were seen chanting. “No Pay, No Work’’ at the collation centres, refusing to go and resume duty at the polling units in the area.

One of the ad-hoc staff who pleaded anonymity told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that they will not resume duty until they get their allowances.

“We will not go to work if we do not receive our money here and now.  They promised to pay us for the Presidential Election held on Feb. 13 immediately after the elections, but some of us got paid only yesterday March 8.

“The N10,000 allowance for the governorship election was supposed to be paid yesterday, but till now nothing.

“So, we will not go anywhere until we get our money,’’ he said.

An Electoral Observer at the collation centre, Mr Davis Faleye, decried the poor organisation by the Commission.

“I was here at 7.30 a.m and I met this situation.

“INEC should have paid them their money so they can render their services to the government and for the election because I feel that their rights should not be undermined.

“If they are yet to leave the collation centre as at 9.30 a.m, I wonder when voting will start.

“I have called the commission and reported the situation, but nothing has been done,’’ Faleye said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that in some of the polling units in the area, voters were on queues waiting for the INEC officials to cast their votes.

INEC omits APC from Zamfara result sheets

The All Progressives Congress (APC) is not on the result sheets of the ongoing governorship and house of assembly elections in Zamfara state.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) attributed the development to the court rulings on the internal crisis in Zamfara APC.

INEC had excluded the party from the 2019 elections as a result of the controversies which trailed the primary elections.

But last month, a Zamfara high court ruled that the party could field candidates in the elections.

In a statement, Rose Oriaran-Anthony, national secretary of the commission, said the party was omitted from result sheets because of the “suddenness of the court order”.

“The commission has just discovered that because of the suddenness of the court order, the party (APC) was omitted for the governorship result sheets. “This omission is deeply regretted,” the statement read.

“As a solution, the commission has decided to manually create columns in each of the Result Sheets after the last printed party, ZLP, and insert the APC.

“This does not affect any other information on the Results Sheet.”

Commenting on INEC’s readiness for the polls, Asmau Maikudi, resident electoral commissioner (REC) in the state, said the commission had completed all arrangements for an early start.

She said all elections materials which were distributed to all the 14 local government areas of the state under the supervision of party agents and other stakeholders had reached their destinations without any hitch.

Maikudi said the cooperation of the stakeholders in the state, especially security agencies, politicians and the media, was commendable.

INEC: No certificate of return for any candidate declared winner under duress

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says it will not issue certificates of return to any candidate declared winner of an election under duress.

Mahmood Yakubu, INEC chairman, made this known during a meeting with the inter-agency consultative committee on election security held in Abuja on Thursday.

There was widespread intimidation and harassment of the commission’s staff during the last presidential and national assembly elections.

In Imo, for instance, Francis Ibeawuchi, INEC returning officer for the Imo west senatorial election, said he was “forced”to announce Rochas Okorocha, Imo state governor, as winner of the poll.

Yakubu said the commission will not tolerate the intimidation of its staff during Saturday’s elections.

“I am confident that working together with the security agencies, we will consolidate on the largely peaceful conduct of the presidential and national assembly elections while also taking decisive steps to deal with the minority of violators intent on disrupting the conduct of peaceful elections,” he said.

“However, the commission will not tolerate the act of holding our officials hostage and forcing them to declare winners under duress. Where such occurs, the commission will not reward bad behaviour by issuing them certificates of return.”

‘MEASURES IN PLACE TO ENSURE POLLS OPEN AT 8AM’

The INEC chairman added that the commission had put necessary measures in place to ensure voting starts at the scheduled time of 8am.

He said materials for the election have been delivered to all states and the FCT and movement to the local government areas to be completed before Friday.

“By tomorrow, all materials and relevant personnel will arrive at the Registration Area Centres (RACs),” he said, adding: “With this arrangement, we are confident that all polling units will open at 8am nationwide.”

The governorship election will hold in 29 states while 991 members of houses of assembly in all the states will be elected alongside six local government chairmen and 62 councillors in the FCT.

CDD: INEC has to make itself clear on cancellation of elections

The Center for Democracy and Development (CDD) has asked the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to make itself clear on cancellation of elections.

Speaking at a press conference in Abuja on Thursday, Idayat Hassan, director of CDD, cited instances of lack of clarity in the national assembly and presidential elections.

She said the coalition of result was “very very sluggish” and in several instances, calculations were wrong with mutilations and various writings on the results sheets.

Hassan urged the commission to tackle logistics challenges that affected the February 23 polls, including delays resulting from late arrival of election materials and personnel as well as the inability of officials to move election results from polling units to the Collation centres due to lack of transportation.

She asked INEC to ensure that election officials use smart card readers nationwide, describing the none use of card readers as a violation of INEC’s guidelines.

“Smart card readers must be made compulsory nationwide rather than in some parts of the country and zero votes must be recorded for all polling units where the SCRs are not used,” Hassan said.

“The patchy use of SCRs further cause voting delays that could affect the smooth conduct of the elections.

“Despite the assurances by the election management body that it was ready to conduct the election on February 23, there were significant delays in the opening of polling units and insufficient materials across the country when voting did get underway on that day.

“More so, Election Day was characterized by localized incidents of voter intimidation, ballot box snatching/destruction and general voter apathy as the national voter turn out rate dipped from 43.7% in 2015 to just 35.6%.”

The centre also condemned the “do-or-die attitude” of the political class who sometimes use thugs to disrupt voting, and asked political parties to educate their agents and supporters on the need to adhere to the code of conduct for smooth conduct of polls and collation of results.

Court orders INEC to allow Atiku access all electoral materials

The Court of Appeal has ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to allow Atiku Abubakar and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to access all electoral materials in the presidential elections.

A three-man panel of the court gave the order based on an ex-parte motion filed by the PDP and Atiku seeking an order granting them access to inspect the electoral materials used for the February 23 polls.

Atiku and his party had prayed for an order compelling INEC to allow them to inspect the register and other vital documents used in the conduct of the election unhindered.

In delivering its ruling, the panel ordered INEC to allow the appellant access to all electoral material to enable the applicant file and maintain an electoral petition.

However, the court refused prayers 3 to 5 which sort scanning and forensic audit, saying a forensic audit does not fall under the terms envisaged by section 151 of the electoral act.

The panel agreed unanimously to the ruling, hence, the motion was granted in part.

Abdul Aboki, Peter Ige and Emmanuel Agim were members of the panel.