Tag Archives: INEC

Unknown gunmen attack Enugu INEC office, kill policeman.

Unknown gunmen have again attacked an office of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, in Enugu South Local Government Area of Enugu State.

This is coming a few hours after a similar attack in Imo State which led to the killing of a local security man.

𝕹𝖔𝖇𝖑𝖊 𝕽𝖊𝖕𝖔𝖗𝖙𝖊𝖗𝖘 𝕸𝖊𝖉𝖎𝖆 learnt that the Enugu attack claimed the life of one policeman on duty.

INEC’s National Commissioner & Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, confirmed the incident, disclosing it occurred around 9.12pm yesterday, Sunday.

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The statement said the report of the incident was made by the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) for Enugu State, Dr. Chukwuemeka J. Chukwu.

He said the Commission’s security gatehouse was razed but that the attackers could not gain access to the main building as a result of the rapid response from the Police and Army personnel from 82 Division.

𝕹𝖔𝖇𝖑𝖊 𝕽𝖊𝖕𝖔𝖗𝖙𝖊𝖗𝖘 𝕸𝖊𝖉𝖎𝖆 gathered that the other policeman, who sustained injuries, is receiving treatment at an undisclosed hospital.

The attack was also confirmed by the Chairman of Enugu South Local Government Area, Barr. Chimezie Robinson Nkwuo.

While sympathizing with the family of the deceased policeman, he urged the residents not to panic to come out and collect their Permanent Voter’s Card, PVC.

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2023: Allegations of obstruction, discrimination in collection of PVCs false – INEC.

The Independent National Electoral Commission’s (INEC) Director for Voter Education and Publicity, Victor Aluko, has described as false allegations that its staff are colluding with certain people to prevent eligible Nigerians from collecting their Permanent Voters Cards, PVCs.

Aluko made the statement on Friday while fielding questions on the Channels Television’s Politics Today programme.

He said any of its staff found to be obstructing Nigerians from collecting their PVCs would be punished and prosecuted.

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“Well, personally, I don’t believe so. I don’t believe that anybody is colluding with anyone to prevent eligible Nigerians from collecting their PVCs. I don’t think so.

“Yes, we thank Nigerians for trusting us and believing in us. And the stand of the commission is that any of our staff that is found to have done such a thing will be punished and even prosecuted because it is against the law to deny eligible persons from collecting their PVCs. That is obstruction, and any staff that is found to have done such a thing will be punished.

“If anyone sees a staff doing such a thing, please report them, and the commission will not sweep it under the carpet; such staff in any part of the country will be punished,” Aluko said

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INEC won’t postpone 2023 general elections – Mahmood Yakubu.

The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mahmood Yakubu on Wednesday, restated the commitment of the commission to hold the forthcoming general elections as scheduled.

He said the electoral body is not contemplating postponing the general elections in February and March this year.

Yakubu spoke when he met with the leadership of the 18 political parties at the commission’s headquarters in Abuja.

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“The commission is not contemplating any adjustment to the election timetable let alone postponement to the general elections. The repeated assurance by security agencies for the adequate protection of personnel and process also reinforces our determination to proceed.

“The 2023 general elections will hold as scheduled. Any report to the country is not the official position of the commission,” he said.

The INEC chairman also presented the 2023 voter register to the parties ahead of the elections as required by the 2022 Electoral Act.

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The commission presented a register containing 93,469,008 voters for the 2023 general elections.

The voter distribution also revealed that 44,414,846 registered voters are females, and 49,054,162 are males.

Of the total registered voters, the number of young people between the ages of 18 and 34 stood at 37,060,399, representing 39.65% of total registered voters while the elderly between the ages of 50 and 69 stood at 17,700,270, representing 18.94% of total registered voters.

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Postponing 2023 Elections Will Be Great Disservice To Nigerians, Ortom Warns.

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The Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom has cautioned the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) against the postponement of the 2023 general elections on the excuse of insecurity, noting that doing so will be a great disservice to the people of Nigeria.

Ortom stated this on Wednesday during a courtesy visit to the Resident Electoral Commissioner in charge of Benue, Sam Egwu.

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He suggested that instead of a general postponement of the general elections, elections in volatile places can be staggered to allow for adequate security deployment on a date set aside for such areas.

He said Nigerians are in a hurry to elect new leaders that will bring on board solutions to the many challenges confronting the country.

“A statement was purported to have come from INEC about the fears of 2023 elections concerning security. Our prayer is that whatever happens, let us go ahead with the elections because Nigerians, Benue State people are equally waiting for it,” the governor said.

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Ortom said the enemies of Nigeria should not be allowed to take advantage of the security challenges confronting the country, insisting that elections must be conducted.

READ ALSO: INEC Won’t Postpone 2023 Elections – Yakubu

“If there are specific areas where insecurity is intense and there are problems, they should work towards shifting the elections (in those areas) and when the other places have concluded, they should go back there… I believe that can work but postponing the elections will be a great disservice to the people of Benue State and our country Nigeria,” he said.

The governor also urged INEC to extend by one week, the duration for the collection of Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) across the country.

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Feb 25: INEC begins distribution of PVC at Registration Areas.

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Ahead of the general elections, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, says the distribution of Permanent Voters Cards, PVCs, at various Registration Areas/Wards will start from Friday, January 6, till 15.

The Head of Department, Voter Education and Publicity, of the commission in Rivers State, Mr Mark Usulor, made this known in a statement issued by the Public Relations Officer (PRO), Mrs Geraldine Ekelemu, on Thursday.

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According to Usulor, PVC collection from the Registration Area/Wards will revert to the INEC Local Government offices from January 16 to 22.

He called on those unable to collect their PVCs at the LGA offices of the Commission to take advantage of the new development and do so at the Registration Areas/Wards within the stipulated dates.

He appealed to all stakeholders to provide a peaceful and enabling environment for the Commission staff to successfully carry out the exercise at the 319 Registration Areas/Wards in the state within the stipulated period

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Be Wary Of Fake Ad Hoc Staff Recruitment Portal – INEC Cautions Nigerians.

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has sent out a warning to Nigerians.

INEC cautioned Nigerians against a purported portal for recruitment of ad hoc staff 2023 general election.

INEC said this in a short message by Chief Press Secretary to INEC Chairman, Mr Rotimi Oyekanmi on Tuesday in Abuja.

Oyekanmi said that the portal was fake as the commission was no longer recruiting for the election as it official website for the recruitment had been shut down.

“The website/blog below is advertising ad hoc staff positions for the 2023 general election.

“However, the commission is no longer recruiting ad hoc staff for the 2023 general election.

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“The INEC ad hoc staff recruitment portal was officially shut down on December 14 2022.

“Therefore, the site, with the URL – http://www.yournewclaims.com/Inec-Recriutment/ is fake. It is intended to defraud unsuspecting members of the public. Nigerians should disregard it,” he said.

𝕹𝖔𝖇𝖑𝖊 𝕽𝖊𝖕𝖔𝖗𝖙𝖊𝖗𝖘 𝕸𝖊𝖉𝖎𝖆 reports that INEC had on October 5, 2022 raised alarm on similar fake ad hoc recruitment link inecnigeria.govservice.site being circulated online.

𝕹𝖔𝖇𝖑𝖊 𝕽𝖊𝖕𝖔𝖗𝖙𝖊𝖗𝖘 𝕸𝖊𝖉𝖎𝖆 reports that the commission on September 7, 2022 announced that its official recruitment portal for 2023 general election (www.pres.inecnigeria.org) would be opened to the public on Wednesday September 14, 2022 by 8 a.m. and would be closed on Wednesday, December 14, by 8 p.m.

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Over 400,000 PVCs yet to be collected in Ogun – INEC.

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The Ogun State Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) Niyi Ijalaye says over 400,000 Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) have not been collected in the state.

He said this in Abeokuta, the state capital, on Friday while giving an update on the PVC collection in the South-West state. (Watch Video Here)

According to him, out of the 538,000 cards available for collection, only 90,000 have been collected so far.

READ ALSO: I’ll Announce My Presidential Candidate In January, Join His Campaign – Wike

The Ogun REC, therefore, appealed to residents of the state to seize the opportunity to approach the nearest Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) office in their local government areas and collect their PVCs. (Watch Video Here)

While assuring that necessary logistics have been put in place to ensure a seamless collection, he said the exercise has become imperative in order for eligible voters to perform their constitutional rights of electing their preferred candidates in the 2023 general elections. (Watch Video Here)

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2023: Femi Falana raises alarm over anti-democratic forces.

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Human rights lawyer Femi Falana has called on security agencies to apprehend those he claimed are “anti-democratic forces” bent on truncating the 2023 elections.

Falana raised the alarm on Monday and based his argument on the series of attacks on the facilities of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), bandits’ mayhem, and the activities of some political actors in the country among others. (Watch Video Here)

“In spite of the fact that the facilities are said to be well guarded, the criminal elements involved in the nefarious activities generally operate without any challenge from security forces. If the dangerous trend continues on a larger scale, INEC will not be in a position to conduct elections in the affected areas. It is, therefore, curious to note that the few suspected arsonists have not been charged before any court,” he said in a statement sent to Channels Television.

“The state of insecurity in Nigeria has also constituted a serious threat to the conduct of credible elections. It has been confirmed that elections cannot take place in the over 40 local government areas in different parts of the country which are firmly under the control of various armed gangs, including bandits, (Watch Video Here) terrorists, and known and unknown gunmen. The territories seized by the criminal gangs are in Borno, Kaduna Katsina, Niger, Sokoto, Zamfara, Abia, and Imo States.”

“Unless the security forces are prepared to deal with the anti-democratic forces that are currently disrupting the democratic process, the 2023 general elections may be sabotaged to the detriment of democracy and political stability in the country,” the lawyer added. (Watch Video Here)

[READ ALSO] ‘Exercise In Futility’: INEC Says Politicians Can’t Bypass BVAS Through Bought PVCs

READ THE FULL STATEMENT BELOW:

HALT OFFICIAL SABOTAGE OF 2023 GENERAL ELECTIONS

In the last 4 years, the Independent National Electoral Commission has so far recorded 50 attacks on its facilities across 15 states. According to reliable data, Imo State had the highest number of attacks on INEC facilities with 11 incidents followed by Osun, Akwa-Ibom, Enugu, Ebonyi, Cross River, Abia, Anambra, Taraba, Borno, Ogun, Lagos, Bayelsa, Ondo and Kaduna States.

In spite of the fact that the facilities are said to be well guarded the criminal elements involved in the nefarious activities generally operate without any challenge from security forces. If the dangerous trend continues on a larger scale INEC will not be a position to conduct elections in the affected areas. It is therefore curious to note that the few suspected arsonists have not been charged before any court.

The state of insecurity in Nigeria has also constituted a serious threat to the conduct of credible elections. It has been confirmed that elections cannot take place in the over 40 local government areas in different parts of the country which are firmly in the control of various armed gangs, including bandits, terrorists, known and unknown gunmen. The territories seized by the criminal gangs are in Borno, Kaduna Katsina, Niger, Sokoto, Zamfara, Abia and Imo States.

As the security of electoral officials and election materials cannot be guaranteed in the seized territories the authorities of the armed forces should ensure that an enabling environment exists for the conduct of elections in all the states of the Federation. Otherwise, the elections may be postponed indefinitely in territories controlled by the armed gangs with serious implications for the 2023 General Elections

Last week, the INEC raised the alarm that some politicians have been buying up Permanent Voter Cards, PVCs, and financially inducing unsuspecting voters to harvest their Voter Identification Numbers (VIN) ahead of the 2023 general elections. Apart from the two suspects who were recently convicted for illegal possession of PVCs in Sokoto and Kano states the sponsors of the criminal enterprise have not been exposed by security forces.

While condemning the illegal purchase of PVCs the Director Publicity and Advocacy of NEF, Dr Hakeem Baba-Ahmed has disclosed that “thousands, or possibly even millions of northern voters, particularly women, are being made to surrender their PVCs for a pittance, in most instances not more than N2000. In some instances, they are told their cards will be returned to them after they are processed for additional payments as poverty relief. No cards are returned. Our investigations suggest that this is an aggressive and blatant voter suppression attempt to reduce the voting power of the North.”

On June 8, 2022 the Inspector-General of Police, Usman Alkali Baba, has approved the establishment of electoral offences desks at the Force Criminal Investigations Department, FCID, Force Headquarters, Abuja, with the Commissioner of Police, FCID, as the desk officer. The IGP also approved establishment of the desks at state commands across the country, with Assistant Commissioners of Police in charge of the Criminal Investigation Departments as state desk officers.

A statement by the Force Public Relations Officer, CSP Muyiwa Adejobi, said: “The mandate of the Electoral Offences Desk Officers includes the collation and investigation of all electoral offences/complaints from members of the public or any quarters, with a view to determining culpability in line with the amended Electoral Act 2022, and proffering charges before Courts of competent jurisdiction for necessary legal action.”

On November 18, 2022, the inspector-general of police (IGP), alleged that some governors were using armed thugs and state security outfits to disrupt campaigns and other political activities. Mr. Baba accused such governors show “traits of political intolerance” which create political tension in the country. On December 4, 2022 the Director General of the State Security Service, Mr. Bichi warned political leaders to do away with usage of thugs when carrying out their activities and urged the youth not to make themselves willing tools for politicians.

On December 11, 2022 the National Security Adviser, NSA, Major General Babagana Monguno (retd) warned state governors using thugs to prevent opposition parties from mounting campaign materials in their domains that security agencies would soon descend on them. Monguno said he was aware that in the last month, at least 52 cases of electoral violence across 22 states including politically motivated assassination of candidates had been reported.

The heads of the nation’s security agencies have been warning governors and other top officials of the political parties to desist from disrupting the democratic process. At the same time, they have been threatening to deal with armed thugs. Instead of issuing empty threats the security forces should proceed to arrest and prosecute the suspects electoral offenders.

Contrary to the general belief among security forces, executive immunity does not cover electoral offences. In Turaki v Dalhatu 2003) 38 WRN 54 at 188, the Court of Appeal held that “If a governor were to be considered immune from court proceedings, that would create the position where a sitting Governor would be able to flout election laws and regulations to the detriment of other persons contesting with him. This would make a nonsense of the election process and be against the spirit of our national Constitution which in its tenor provides for a free and fair election.”

A fortnight ago, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) announced its plan to limit weekly cash withdrawals over the counter to N100,000 for individuals and N500,000 for organisations regardless of their size while withdrawal at POS terminals has also been limited to N20,000 per day. Since the policy was announced, politicians have engaged in mopping up dollars to induce voters during the forthcoming elections. But the CBN has deliberately refused to ban the reckless inducement voters with dollars.

Meanwhile, no step has been taken by the Federal Government to amend section 2 (1) of the Money Laundering Act, 2022 which provides that “No person or body corporate shall, except in a transaction through a financial institution, make or accept cash payment of a sum exceeding (a)5,000,000 or its equivalent, in the case of an individual ; or (b) N10,000,000 or its equivalent, in the case of a body corporate.”

During the last governorship elections in Ekiti and Osun States it was widely reported that scores of vote buyers were arrested by operatives of the EFCC and ICPC. The suspects have not been charged before any court. Similarly, the hundreds of armed thugs arrested during the last primary elections of some of the registered political parties have been let off the hook.

A fortnight ago, suspected political thugs attacked the home of Senator Lee Maeba,the Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Presidential Campaign Council, in Port Harcourt, Rivers State. Without conducting any investigation whatsoever the Rivers State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Okon Effiong said that the attack by the suspected thugs was stage-managed.

However, in view of the reluctance of the ruling parties to allow the police to arrest and prosecute armed thugs and other criminal elements who disrupt elections the Uwais Electoral Reform Panel had recommended the establishment of Electoral Offences Commission. In July 2021, the Senate eventually passed the Electoral Offences Commission Bill. But the Houses of Representatives has deliberately refused to pass the Bill. Therefore, Nigerians should mount pressure on the members of the House of Representatives to pass the Bill and forward same to President Buhari for his assent.

Unless the security forces are prepared to deal with the anti democratic forces that are currently disrupting the democratic process the 2023 General elections may be sabotaged to the detriment of democracy and political stability in the country.

Femi Falana SAN,
The Chair,
Alliance on Surviving Covid 19 and Beyond (ASCAB)
December 19, 2022



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INEC Secures PVCs As Hoodlums Attack Fourth Imo Office Within Three Weeks

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has confirmed that its office in the Isu Local Government Area in Imo State was attacked and vandalised by hoodlums.

The Commission said the incident which occurred at the early hours of Tuesday, is the fourth attack on INEC facilities in Imo in less than three weeks following previous attacks in the Orlu and Oru West Local Government Areas and the State Headquarters in Owerri.

Watch Video Here | Download Video Here

INEC National Commissioner, Festus Okoye, in a statement on Wednesday, said the attack was reported by the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) for Imo State, Sylvia Agu.

READ ALSO: Court Orders Interim Forfeiture of $899,900, 15 Properties Recovered from Ex-AGF Idris

He said that eight windows were smashed, and burglary proofs removed, but the attackers could not access the building, adding that movable and immovable equipment as well as other materials were not removed or vandalised.

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One of the windows of the INEC office in Imo broken by the attackers. // Noble Reporters Media

See full statement below:

Watch Video Here | Download Video Here

INDEPENDENT NATIONAL ELECTORAL COMMISSION

PRESS RELEASE

ATTACK ON OUR ISU LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA OFFICE OF IMO STATE

The Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) for Imo State, Professor Sylvia Uchenna Agu, has reported that our office in Isu Local Government Area office was attacked and vandalised. The incident occurred at the early hours of Tuesday, 20th December 2022.

Eight windows were smashed, and burglary proofs removed. Fortunately, the attackers could not access the building. Movable and immovable equipment as well as other materials were not removed or vandalised.

However, as a precautionary measure, critical materials such as ballot boxes and voting cubicles have been evacuated to another INEC facility for safe keeping. Similarly, all uncollected PVCs have been secured while security will be deployed to ensure the continuous collection of the cards by registered voters in the same premises.

The incident has been reported to the Police and other security agencies for necessary action.

This is the fourth attack on INEC facilities in Imo State in less than three weeks following previous attacks on Orlu and Oru West Local Government Areas and the State Headquarters in Owerri.

Festus Okoye Esq.
National Commissioner & Chairman,
Information and Voter Education Committee
Wednesday 21st December 2022

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2023: Election under threat in South-East as attacks on INEC facilities escalate

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Ahead of the 2023 general elections next year, there are growing fears that the elections, especially in the South-eastern part of the country, might be under a serious threat.

This is even more as the rate of attacks on the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, offices and facilities have become more intense as the general elections draw close.

Watch Video Here | Download Video Here

DAILY POST reported the recent Monday attack on the INEC office in Owerri, Imo State, in which four persons were killed, including a police officer.

The attack followed barely one week after unknown gunmen attacked another INEC office in the same State located at Oru West Local Government Area.

Within the last four months, the commission’s facilities across the country have been attacked for a record eight times.

Although the attacks on the commission’s offices have been occurring across the country, it is evident the INEC has become a prime target of attacks in the South-eastern States, raising fears regarding the forthcoming general elections in the zone.

Most of the attacks on INEC facilities around the South-east have been largely attributed to the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).

However, IPOB has repeatedly denied their involvement in the attacks.



Attacks on INEC offices in Enugu State peaked in 2021.

Recall that on May 13 and 23, 2021, the INEC offices in Udenu and Igboeze South LGAs, respectively, were attacked by unknown gunmen/hoodlums, vandalising the commission’s facilities.

Again, in September 2021, the INEC’s office in Awgu Local Government Area of the State was put on fire by unknown persons.

Recently in July 2022, some suspected arsonists also destroyed the commission’s office in the Igbo-Eze North Local Government Area of the State.

Early last year, around May 2021, two offices of the INEC were set on fire by unknown gunmen in Ebonyi State. The offices were located in Izzi and Ezza North local government areas of the State, respectively.

Within the same month, the INEC office in Ebonyi LGA office of the State was also razed down by unknown gunmen.

Another attack on the commission’s office in Izzi Local Government Area of the State was recorded in November 2022.

Imo State has largely had its own share of the attacks on the INEC offices across the country.

The Monday attack on the Commission’s State headquarters at Owerri is the third in the last 12 days.

Governor Hope Uzodinma of Imo State blamed the attack on unpopular politicians who are afraid of losing elections.

The incident followed the earlier attacks on INEC offices at Orlu and Oru West LGA offices on 1st December and 4th December 2022, respectively.

Recall that in May 2021, a building belonging to the INEC was also set ablaze in the State. This excludes the attack at its Ahiazu Mbaise LGA office in the same month.

However, perturbed by the incessant attacks on its offices and facilities across the country, which could harm the conduct of the 2023 general elections, at a meeting with stakeholders in Lagos last week, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, the INEC chairman, lamented that the electoral body had lost so many of its facilities.

“In the last four months, five of our offices were attacked, buildings damaged, and materials were destroyed across the country.

“It is worrisome for us because we lost over 1990 ballot boxes, 399 voting cubicles, 24 generators, and quite a number of PVCs (65,699 in one incident), among many other items.

“These attacks must stop and the perpetrators prosecuted. Our responsibility is to conduct elections, and I want to assure Nigerians that we will recover from these attacks and that the lost materials will be replaced.

“We will continue to work with security agencies, traditional and community leaders, and well-meaning Nigerians to stop the attacks. But the ultimate solution is to arrest and prosecute the culprits,” he said.

Speaking to DAILY POST concerning the issue, a chieftain of the Labour Party, LP, in Enugu State, Hon Malachy Okey Onyechi, lamented that the ugly trend is capable of thwarting the nation’s democracy, saying it poses a great danger.

Hon Onyechi, who is also the party’s State House of Assembly candidate for Nsukka West Constituency in the forthcoming general election, urged the security agencies to beef up security around INEC offices and facilities, especially in the Southeast zone.

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He said, “To me, it poses a lot of danger. It is an indication that some politicians are desperate to thwart our democracy and make sure that they win by all means. They are the people behind all these devilish acts.

“The recent one that happened in Imo State, you heard the governor of the State, Hope Uzodimma, telling us that politicians are behind the hoodlums vandalising INEC offices.

“I believe some of the politicians who want to thwart the process of democracy are the ones behind it, and it will definitely affect the INEC’s and federal government’s plan to ensure a free, fair, and credible election.

“But what we are just saying is that – we are urging the security agencies to beef up security around INEC offices and facilities.

“I give kudos to the security agencies for apprehending those involved in the perpetration of the ungodly act at the Imo state INEC office. They were able to track down the perpetrators.

Watch Video Here | Download Video Here

“If other security agencies in different States could rise up to the challenge, I believe the dangers being posed by these hoodlums will be averted early enough, and we will have a smooth and free election.”

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Fuel Scarcity: DSS’s ultimatum to marketers prevented anarchy in Nigeria.

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A former Director of the Department of State Services (DSS), Mike Ejiofor, has disclosed that the agency’s 48-hour ultimatum to oil marketers to make fuel available for Nigerians, prevented a state of anarchy across the country.

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Ejiofor made this disclosure on Tuesday in Channeltv’s interview programme monitored by Noble Reporters Media.

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According to him, the secret police moved to forestall another #OccupyNigeria Protest.

He also said attacks on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) offices are politically motivated.

Watch Video Here | Download Video Here

“The DSS is charged with providing intelligence for the maintenance of the internal security of this country. You will recall #OccupyNigeria; if you continue to see people in queues, the tendency for people to rise against the government is there. In contrast, there is fuel”.

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Again, suspected arsonists burn down another INEC office in Imo.

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A few days after the office of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was set ablaze by unknown gunmen in Ebonyi State, another facility belonging to the commission has been burnt down.

Watch Video Here | Download Video Here

The development was disclosed on Sunday by the National Commissioner and Chairman Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye.

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In a statement, Okoye said the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) for the state, Prof. Sylvia Uchenna Agu, reported the incident which occurred in Oru West Local Government Area during an attack.

He said, “Overall, this is the 7th attack on our facilities in five states of the federation in the last four months.

“Once again, the commission expresses its concern on the consequences of what appears to be a systematic attack on its facilities across the country on the conduct of elections in particular and electoral activities in general.”

Watch Video Here | Download Video Here

He stated that the attention of the security operatives in the state has been drawn to this latest incident for investigation.

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Court orders INEC to resume voters registration

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A Federal High Court, Abuja, on Tuesday, ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to immediately resume the continuous voters registration (CVR) until 90 days before the 2023 general elections.

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Justice Inyang Ekwo, in a judgment, also directed the INEC to ensure that eligible Nigerians are not deprived the opportunity to have the voter’s card for the forthcoming poll.

Justice Ekwo held that it was the constitutional responsibility of the electoral umpire to make adequate provision for the exercise in accordance with the Nigerian laws.

“The case of the plaintiffs succeeds on merit,” the judge declared.

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NAN reports that Anajat Salmat and three others had sued INEC as sole defendant in a suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/1343/2022.

In the originating summons filed before the court, the plaintiffs argued that INEC cannot stop the CVR contrary to the stipulated provisions of the constitution.

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They urged the court to order the electoral umpire to resume the exercise in accordance with the law of the country

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NBC fines Arise TV over report on Tinubu.

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The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has fined Arise Television N2 million over a fake report about the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Bola Tinubu.

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The TV station had aired a report that the Independent National Broadcasting Commission (INEC) was investigating Tinubu’s alleged crime bordering on narcotics and illicit drugs.

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A statement purportedly issued by the INEC had gone viral on social media but the electoral body, on Saturday debunked the report, saying it was a handiwork of mischiefs.

Arise TV had on Sunday apologized to Tinubu and INEC for misleading the general public.

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According to The Nation, the television station was fined N2m for breaching the broadcasting code.

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INEC office attacks: Yoruba Nation agitators, politicians fingered.

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The recent attacks on two offices of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in two States of the South-West have been generating speculations among concerned residents who were shocked by the unexpected incidents.

To indigenes and residents of the South-West, an attack on INEC office is strange and extremely unusual.

In some other parts of Nigeria, especially in the South-East, many INEC offices have been set on fire by unknown individuals.

In many of the attacks, members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) were fingered as the masterminds. This is so because the group has continued to agitate for an independent nation, saying no to the 2023 elections.

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Since the Tuesday incidents in Osun and Ogun, some Nigerians have speculated that the brains behind the fire attacks might be some Yoruba Nation apologists, who have not stopped threatening that there would be no elections in Yorubaland in 2023.

Like their IPOB counterparts, Oodua Republic agitators have insisted that there would be no elections.

Since 2021, the self-styled Yoruba freedom fighter, Sunday Igboho, and his spokesman, Olayomi Koiki, have insisted that there would be no elections next year.

Though Sunday Igboho has ‘lowered his voice’ since his ordeals in Benin Republic, however, he recently said there is no going back on Yoruba Nation.

“I, Sunday Adeyemo and all those who are following me on the issue of Yoruba Nation, there is no going back for us. There are talks around that we have stopped clamouring for Yoruba nation, that is not true, it is an unconfirmed rumour. We want Yoruba Nation.

“I want you, the Yoruba monarchs, to call a meeting, come together, you can see how our people are being killed everywhere, this is not good. Please come together and support us, may you live long. Yoruba Nation, no going back,” he said.

In March 2022, a group known as the Yoruba One Voice (YOV), said the 2023 general elections were not on its agenda but rather, the agitation for self-determination of the Yoruba nation.

Likewise in May, a group identified as Yoruba Referendum Committee (Agbajoowo la fi n soya) called on the lawmakers in Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, Osun, Ondo, and Ekiti States to pass into law, the Bill for a Referendum, which they claimed has already been sent to them twice.

Also, the leader of Yoruba Self-Determination Movement (YSDM), Prof Banji Akintoye, recently expressed optimism that Yoruba Nation would have been achieved before February and March 2023, when the elections would take place.

In less than four months to the elections, some agitators, who have not seen any signal that their plans for a sovereign State would materialise, could have resorted to self help, our correspondent gathered.

Professor Akintoye alluded to the fact that the young ones in the struggle are eager to have their own independent nation, stating that, “I know that young people want to jump now. But their elders would hold them back by telling them to wait, and that they should not jump yet.”

Akintoye added that there are about 200 groups in the mission for Yoruba independence.

“We have very many organisations in the struggle. They are up to 200. We deliberately did that from the beginning. Let there be many organisations and don’t let the authority be able to decipher who is who. That’s why we assisted many of our youths to establish their own organisations,” he added.

Earlier in the month of October, a coalition under the auspices of the Yoruba Appraisal Forum (YAF) had raised the alarm over alleged plans by Yoruba Nation agitators to cause violence and chaos in the South-West.

YAF National Coordinator, Adesina Animashaun, at a press briefing in Lagos State, said the objective of the secessionists was how to truncate the conduct of the 2023 general elections.

He alleged that some disgruntled persons in the South-West had been engaging in clandestine activities to spark off “killings, arson and mayhem that would undermine the electoral process and ultimately truncate next year’s elections” throughout the country.

According to him, the violence was planned to coincide with the campaigns by political parties in the six South-West States, as it was aimed at “re-enacting the arson and killings that characterised the unfortunate ‘Operation Wetie’ violence”, which he said took place in the First Republic.

“It appears the alarm raised by the YAF group was not taken seriously by security agencies and the resultant effect was what we witnessed last week in Ogun and Osun INEC offices,” a source told DAILY POST.

It would be recalled that some Yoruba Nation agitators recently attacked soldiers in Ota area of Ogun, carting away the rifle of an officer who also sustained injuries.

A senior security operative in the South West confided in our correspondent that the Yoruba Nation agitators are prime suspects in the unfortunate incident.

According to him, it was not a coincidence that the two INEC offices were set on fire same day, same time. He recalled that the two were torched with loaves of bread soaked with gasoline.

“This is really a coordinated attack by those agitators who do not want the 2023 elections to hold. They are seeing that everything is getting set and they don’t know what to do to stop the election.

“Politicians will not go and burn voters’ cards because they know their members would be affected too. They will rather find another way to rig elections,” the security officer spoke anonymously because he is not permitted to address the press.

In his own view, a public commentator, Alhaji Ola Animashaun, said anything is possible as far as the arson is concerned.

However, Animashaun wants security operatives to dig deep in fishing out whoever was responsible for the attacks.

“Nothing is impossible and anything is possible in Nigerian politics, Ogun State inclusive.

“But without necessarily being restrictive, I would rather wish politicians should be effectively ‘x-rayed’ in this instance. However, some anti-democratic fifth columnists could also be at work for some unexplainable agenda as it were.

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“I think the 2023 desperadoes should not be off the radar of those looking into the Ogun/Osun (Ede) INEC area offices fire disaster. Coordinated or coincidental, some people somewhere, within or outside INEC, are in what can be called “desperate mode,” Animashaun stated.

Speaking, a political leader in Ogun State, Chief Dapo Adeyemi, opined that the attacks might be the handiwork of some politicians who are afraid of their seamy popularity among the electorate.

“It is not the first time that INEC facilities are being attacked or burnt. I am not sure the latest attacks, though happening in the South-West, could be the handiwork of Yoruba Nation agitators.

“One obvious fact is that the recent attack has political undertone and this is where the security agencies should ensure that the arsonists are fished out and their sponsors identified,” Adeyemi posited.

INEC, security agencies take actions

Meanwhile, at an emergency meeting of the Inter-agency Consultative Committee On Election Security (ICCES) held Friday to discuss the simultaneous attacks on INEC offices in Abeokuta South of Ogun and Ede South of Osun, it was resolved that security agencies would upscale intelligence gathering, sharing and utilising same to stem further sabotage.

The meeting, which was co-chaired by the Chairman of INEC, Mahmood Yakubu, and the National Security Adviser (NSA), Major General Babagana Monguno (rtd), was attended by the Inspector-General of Police, Usman Alkali Baba, representatives of the Armed Forces and others.

It was agreed at the emergency meeting that there would be the deployment of joint Security and Safety Teams to all INEC assets and facilities nationwide henceforth.

The teams, DAILY POST learnt, would include the police, Army, DSS, Civil Defence, the Federal Fire Service and others.

“The meeting appealed to Nigerians to continue to support the INEC and the security agencies to ensure a peaceful and secure environment for the 2023 General Election,” a statement released by the National Commissioner and Chairman, Security Committee of INEC, Maj. Gen. Modibbo A. Alkali (rtd) said.

Dialogue with secessionists for peaceful elections – Primate Ayodele to Buhari

On his part, the leader of INRI Evangelical Spiritual Church, Primate Elijah Ayodele, has advised President Muhammadu Buhari to dialogue with IPOB and Yoruba nation agitators for the sake of peace during the 2023 election.

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Ayodele maintained that now is the best time “to avoid the crisis planned to mar the 2023 general elections.”

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2023: We’re not investigating Tinubu over crime accusations – INEC

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has debunked claims that it had commenced investigations into allegations of criminal forfeiture against the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu.

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Tinubu had come under serious attack lately following the release of documents suggesting that some funds belonging to him were seized by the United States Government in 1989 for being proceeds of drug trafficking.

Since Friday, a press release purported to have been issued by INEC had surfaced online, claiming that the Commission has commenced an investigation into the case of criminal forfeiture against Tinubu.

The letter said the commission was liaising with a court in the United States to determine a possible violation of Nigeria’s Electoral Act 2022.

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But on Saturday, INEC stated categorically that the said press release did not emanate from it, neither is it pursuing any investigation against the APC candidate.

“It is the handiwork of mischief makers and utterly fake,” a statement by the INEC spokesperson, Festus Okoye, read.

Okoye stated that statements from the Commission are always uploaded to the INEC Press Corps platform “and simultaneously disseminated through our website and official social media handles.”

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He advised the public to ignore the press release.

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Kwara: 23 INEC staff “sanctioned” over illegal voters’ registration.

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Twenty-three staff of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, in Kwara State are awaiting sanctions for their involvement in illegal voters’ registration in the State.

The INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner, Garba Attahiru Madami, disclosed this in Ilorin at a stakeholders’ meeting with members of registered political parties contesting the 2023 general elections, with security agencies also in attendance.

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He said the current total voting population of Kwara state is 1.6m.

He decried poor response of the people of the State to collection of permanent voter cards, saying from 2011 to 2019 the commission has a total of 233,856 uncollected voter cards.

Madami explained that out of the figure of uncollected voter cards, only 20,752 were collected as at October 2022, with over 193,000 remaining uncollected.

He explained that the stakeholders’ meeting was necessary as the first step towards ensuring hitch-free elections in the State next year.

Madami vowed to protect the electoral process by conducting free, fair, transparent, peaceful and credible elections which will be acceptable to Kwarans.

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In his remarks, the State Police Commissioner, Paul Odama, warned politicians against vote buying which the electoral law frowns against.

He advised them to engage in issues-based campaigns, shun thuggery and damage to billboards of opposing political parties.

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Odama also cautioned politicians to desist from feeding their supporters with hard drugs to guarantee violence free campaigns and elections in the State

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Suspected political thugs burn down INEC office in Ogun. [Photos]

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Some suspected hoodlums have set on fire an office of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) at Iyana, Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital.

DAILY POST reports that the hoodlums, numbering about eight, had scaled the perimeter fence, jumped into the premises and set the INEC building on fire from the back.

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They were said to have soaked loaves of bread with petrol and threw same into the building at different angles to light up the INEC office.

Our correspondent learnt that the security guard at the facility, Azeez Hamzat, made a distress call to the police around 1 a.m., saying the facility was on fire.

The police from Ibara division were said to have mobilized detectives to the scene, while contacting fire fighters, who raced to the scene to put out the fire.

It was gathered that the store, the Registration Area Officer’s office and the conference room were affected by the inferno.

A source also told our correspondent that non-sensitive materials were also affected by the fire.

“No life was lost and no injury was sustained in the fire,” NoRM learnt.

It was shocking – Ogun REC laments

Meanwhile, the Ogun INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner, Niyi Ijalaye, has confirmed the incident, describing it as shocking.

“It is correct that our office was set on fire. The police are investigating. I do not know what to say. I’m in shock myself. We called the police and other security agencies at night. The fire brigade put the situation under control. The level of damage is still being assessed.

“It is very shocking and untoward. The security agencies are doing their very best. We are meeting again later today to come up with other strategies (toward securing our facilities),” Ijalaye said.

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The Ogun State Police Public Relations Officer, Abimbola Oyeyemi, could not be reached for comments as of the time of filing this report.

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2023: HURIWA laments move to dump BVAS

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Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, HURIWA, on Monday, insisted on the need for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to deploy the Bimodal Voter Registration System (BVAS) for the 2023 elections.

HURIWA’s National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, in a statement, also pushed for the establishment of a Electoral Offences Commission so that rogue politicians and compromised electoral referees will be punished and not allowed to jeopardise the next general elections.

The group said it is amazing how desperate politicians approach the Imo State High Court to get a restraining order to stop the deployment of BVAS by INEC in next year’s elections.

According to the group, next year’s general elections is a game-changer and a game over to politicians who have perfected the art and the act of rigging elections and perpetuate themselves in office like Methuselah.

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Stipulated in the Electoral Act of 2022, BVAS is a technological system which allows for accreditation of voters through biometrics capturing, uploading of results online, amongst others.

It has been described by many as an upgrade of the smartcard reader used in the last general elections which achieved some results in the country’s electoral process.

BVAS and the Election Result Viewing Portal (IReV) represent two crucial technological advances for enhancing the transparency of election results and upscaling public belief in electoral outcomes.

According to INEC, these technologies are addressing the 10 most prevalent flaws in the nation’s election result management process such as alteration of votes at polling units, distortion of number of accredited voters, collation of false results, mutilation of results and computational errors, swapping of results sheets, forging of results sheets, snatching and destruction of results sheets, obtaining declaration and return involuntarily, making declaration and return while result collation is still in progress and poor record-keeping.

Last month, opposition political parties in Nigeria under the aegis of the Coalition of United Political Parties raised the alarm over an alleged plot to truncate the 2023 elections by politicians who oppose the use of BVAS. However, INEC Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu has insisted that the commission is determined to deploy the BVAS technology for the conduct of a free, fair, credible and transparent election.

Commenting, HURIWA’s Onwubiko said, “INEC must be resolute in the deployment of the BVAS for the electronic transmission of results of elections in Nigeria come 2023. Next year’s elections are crucial for Nigeria’s continued existence and the best man, the true representative of the people, should emerge through the ballot.

“The 2023 elections must never be allowed to be jeopardised by rogue politicians desperate to perpetuate themselves in power or for politicians so greedy that they think it is their turn to be the President of Nigeria and so they are prepared to use criminal means to manipulate the election. Nigerians must remain eternally vigilant.

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“HURIWA also calls for the speedy passage and signing into law of the National Electoral Offences Commission to demonstrate that election-riggers will be dealt with, as argued by INEC chairman who said the work on the country’s electoral process would remain incomplete if electoral offenders continue to walk freely.

HURIWA believers that election offenders are as horrible as terrorists and economic saboteurs and so must be decisively dealt with by an unambiguously created independent commission backed up by an enabling Act but this commission must not be overstaffed or turned into job opportunities for political thugs but the commission’s staff strength should be pegged at 50 with the most competent Nigerians recruited to run it.

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INEC: 2022 registered PVCs not printed yet.

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says it has not printed the Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) of Nigerians who participated in the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) exercise from January 15 to July 31, 2022.

INEC National Commissioner, Festus Okoye, made this known on Channels Television’s Politics Today programme on Wednesday.
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Okoye said, “If you are a registered voter, in other words if you belong to the class of 84 million Nigerians that have already registered, you can track your data in our database.

“Secondly, if you were one of those that registered with the Commission during the Continuous Voter Registration exercise between 28th day of June 2021 and 14th day of January 2022, you can track where your Permanent Voter Card is and you will still be in a position to collect it.

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“But if you register between the 15th day of January 2022 and the 31st day of July 2022, the implication is that you are not yet a registered voter in the true sense of the word because we have just finished the cleaning up of the voters’ register which is still ongoing.

“So, it is not possible for you to know where your permanent voters card is because we are yet to print your permanent voter cards and we are yet to make these permanent voter cards available for the registrants.”
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He said there is pressure on INEC to conduct free and fair elections in 2023 and that it will be difficult for any politician to compromise the sanctity of electoral process in next year’s poll.

Okoye also said INEC Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu can only be removed constitutionally if he commits any infraction against his office but dismissed rumours of the removal of the INEC boss.

Earlier on Wednesday, Yakubu at Third Quarterly Meeting with political parties for the year 2022 in Abuja said 40% of newly registered voters are students whilst 76.5 percent of the newly registered voters are young people.

According to Yakubu, 9,518,188 new voters have been added to the existing register of 84,004,084 voters and preliminary register of voters in Nigeria now stands at 93,522,272.
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INEC had in July suspended the CVR after a one-month extension following the Federal High Court’s dismissal of a suit filed by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) which sought an extension of the exercise beyond June 30, 2022.

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2023: INEC invites election monitoring groups.

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has invited interested international organisations across the world to observe the 2023 general elections.

INEC chairman Mahmood Yakubu made the call when he received the delegation of the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) Pre-Election Fact-Finding Mission to Nigeria.

The group was led by Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, former chairman of the Electoral Commission of Ghana, at the commission headquarters on Monday in Abuja.

The INEC boss disclosed that it was a demonstration of the commission’s openness to receive international observers.

“Election observation is an important part of ensuring transparency and credibility in elections. We have always benefited from the insight of election observation missions. For instance, you are here on fact-finding, we will hear from you what you have found so far, which will help us in concluding our preparations for the election,” he explained.

Mr Yakubu assured the ECOWAS that the general elections would be technology-driven.

“Let me restate the commitment of INEC Nigeria free, fair and credible elections driven by technology. The 2023 general election in Nigeria will be driven by technology not only as a matter of legal requirement, but also as a matter of course, for us in the commission,” said the INEC chief.

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He assured the ECOWAS team that “we are committed to delivering a credible election in the next four months and a few days, which will be Nigeria’s seventh successive elections, since the restoration of democracy in 1999.”

Mr Yakubu, who commended ECOWAS for its commitment to credible elections in Nigeria, said it was the first to arrive Nigeria for the election.

“ECOWAS has demonstrated that seriousness and commitment to ensuring that we get (it) right electorally in this region in the next few weeks, I’m sure many more organisations will come,” added the INEC chair.

Mr Yakubu also stressed the need to restore democratic government in all West African countries including Mali, Burkina and Guinea.

(NAN)

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2023: Peter Obi have former leaders, 18 govs’ backing – Ohanaeze.

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About 18 sitting governors are behind the presidential candidate of Labour Party, Mr. Peter Obi, the apex Igbo socio-cultural organization, Ohanaeze Ndigbo has said.

This was revealed in a statement made available to DAILY POST, Wednesday, by Mazi Okechukwu Isiguzoro, the Secretary-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide.

He said apart from the unnamed governors, a number of the country’s past leaders were also backing Obi’s candidature.

He disclosed that the governors cut across different political platforms, adding that the All Progressives Congress, APC, and the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and other political parties, were already afraid of the development.

Ohanaeze, while hailing the courage and the determination of Nigerians who are trooping out in the different parts of the country in support of Peter Obi, urged that the momentum be sustained.

“This is a movement to take back Nigeria from the days of locusts, greedy and selfish politicians.

“It is a movement to rescue the country from adversity, economic slump, ASUU strike, insecurity and corruption.

“Nigerians have demonstrated readiness to take back their country through the ballot box and it behoves on the INEC to make the votes count,” he said.

The Ohanaeze scribe while reviewing the ‘Obidients’ rally held across the country, stated that “the PDP’s Atiku Abubakar and others are startled by the soaring popularity of the Labour Party’s Presidential candidate, Mr. Peter Obi, especially after the Obidients’ Independence Day rallies across the country cutting across ethnicity and religious lines. The mammoth crowd took the different cities of the country by storm.

“As we speak, about 18 Governors from the North and the South, cutting across party lines, are behind the scenes putting up structures for Obi to win the 2023 election. In addition, some former Presidents and elder statesmen are in support of Obi’s candidature.

“They are all convinced that Obi has something different from all the other candidates.

“We are glad that for the first time in the recent past, Nigerians are united in the dethronement of misgovernance in Aso Rock. They are determined to make a political change through the ballot box with a third force presidency.

“This is the first time we are seeing such a strong political movement in Nigeria that is not being sponsored by politicians, rather the masses own the project.

“You have seen the mass movement across the country and beyond; you have seen even children, the persons with special needs, the aged, everyone is part of this movement.”

He reiterated his call on the INEC not to truncate the will of the people.

“We are going to hold the commission accountable for their actions. The INEC staff should not scuttle the desire of the people by doing the bidding of money-bag politicians,” he cautioned

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Osun 2022: Tribunal commence sitting in “Harsh Weather”

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There is heavy presence of security operatives at the Osun State High Court on Monday morning as the governorship election tribunal commences sitting.

Noble Reporters Media learnt that Governor Gboyega Oyetola is challenging the result of the July 16 guber election as announced by the Independence National Electoral Commission (INEC).

Meanwhile, Oyetola had requested to relocate the sitting of the Tribunal to Abuja due to security reasons.

But the President of the Appeal Court had on Friday rejected the request, adding that security agencies in the State had assured the Court of their co-operation and support in enhancing the security of the Tribunal and its sittings

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Era of election result manipulation over, portal repeatedly attacked – INEC

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has assured that the days of manipulation of election results are over in Nigeria.

The Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu spoke on Friday in Abuja at the Launch of the Election Results Analysis Dashboard (ERAD) Report on Electronic Transmission of Results organised by Yiaga Africa.

Yakubu noted that the new Electoral Act, 2022, empowered it to adopt electronic means for both accreditation and results management.

He said the introduction of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) and the INEC Result Viewing (IReV) had increased confidence in the electoral process.

The BVAS, Yakubu explained, identifies and accredits voters through fingerprint and facial recognition, as well as capture and upload images of the Polling Unit result form (Form EC8A) to the IReV portal.

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The chairman said the Electoral Act, administrative measures and technology have helped the commission to drastically tackle major problems.

He listed falsification of scores at Polling Units, falsification of number of accredited voters, collation of false results, mutilation of results and computational errors.

Others are swapping of result sheets, forging result sheets, snatching and destruction of result sheets, obtaining declaration and return involuntarily, making declaration and return while collation is in progress, and poor recordkeeping.

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“The commission has increased the transparency and confidence of the public in its election result management processes.

“I can confidently say that the days of wanton manipulation of election results are over; yet, the commission is not resting on its oars.”

The electoral confirmed 128,994 accounts have been opened by IReV users since it was launched in August 2020.

Yakubu hinted that INEC had faced repeated attempts by hackers to breach its cyber security system for the portal but all failed.

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2023; INEC clears air on accepting Lawan, Akpabio as senatorial candidates

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has denied reports making the rounds that it has accepted the nominations of former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio and Senate President, Ahmed Lawan as senatorial candidates for Akwa Ibom North-West and Yobe North Senatorial Districts respectively.

Recall with Noble Reporters Media that the electoral body had rejected the nomination of the duo following controversies surrounding the primary elections of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) which purportedly produced them.

But an online news platform recently claimed in its publication that the commission doctored and backdated documents to accommodate Lawan and Akpabio’s nominations.

Reacting, INEC in a statement on Tuesday by National Commissioner and Chairman Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, denied the report, stressing that it did not recognize any of the two as senatorial candidates.

The statement reads in part, “For the record, the commission has not recognized any of the two personalities as a senatorial candidate.

“We call for responsible reportage as against the unwarranted attack on the commission and its officials over a matter that can be easily fact-checked.”

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