Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mahmoud Yakubu, has revealed that ad-hoc staff recruited for the conduct of the 2023 general elections will have to swear an oath of neutrality before they will partake in the job.
Yakubu, who made this known on Saturday while inspecting ongoing training for Supervisory Presiding Officers in Abuja, said the Commission’s focus on conducting one of the best elections in Nigerian history, is desirous of ensuring the integrity of polling officers which will have a significant impact on election outcomes, whether positive or negative.
He insisted that to achieve the aims set out by President Muhammadu Buhari in the upcoming elections, INEC must ensure that its ad-hoc staff owe no allegiance to any political party or candidate, but rather to the citizens, and must thus remain neutral.
“You are going to supervise the Presiding Officers who are actually going to conduct the elections in all the polling units for Nigeria,” he said, while addressing the trainees.
“It is important to bear in mind your commitment to the Federal Republic of Nigeria and what counts most is your integrity as Presiding Supervisory Officers.
“You have been carefully selected by the commission to perform a very important responsibility for the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
A human rights group, International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law, Intersociety, has demanded the removal of the Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC, in charge of Lagos State, Olusegun Agbaje.
The group made the demand in a letter to the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Chairman, Prof. Yakubu Mahmood.
Intersociety anchored its stand on claims that the REC was taking actions capable of inciting genocide and ethnic cleansing targeting Ndigbo in Lagos.
The letter was signed by Emeka Umeagbalasi, Board Chair, Intersociety, Chinwe Umeche, Head, Democracy and Good Governance Program, Obianuju Joy Igboeli, Head, Civil Liberties and Rule of Law and Chidinma Udegbunam, Head, Campaign and Publicity Department.
This came in reaction to the statement made by the REC while featuring on Channels television’s programme.
Intersociety said it was strongly calling for the immediate removal of the REC based on “live and verifiable video clips which saturated the social media spaces showing systematic and orchestrated plots by the REC to deprive the Nigerian citizens of South-East resident in Lagos their PVCs and rights to participate and vote in the Feb 25, 2023 Presidential Poll.”
It said, “apart from genocidally referring to them as ‘South-East migrants’, the REC did not hide his hatred of the South-East residents in Lagos by denying them PVCs under frivolous circumstances.
“As if these were not enough, the REC ended up vicariously, if not directly, inciting native residents preparatory to unleashing ‘Election Day and Post-Election Day’ ethnic cleansing against the South-East residents in the State.
“He also hatefully lied unpardonably by describing the decades-old South-East residents in Lagos as ‘those that migrated and settled in Lagos to escape insecurity in the South-East’.”
The group further claims that “not long ago, batches of carefully sorted out PVCs with ethno-religious marks bearing Igbo and other Eastern names were carted away from INEC custody and scattered and dumped in large numbers inside gutters and streets along Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.
“In 2015 and 2019, organized group violence was unleashed on Igbo citizens’ resident in Lagos by loyalists of the leading political actors in Lagos for conscientiously voting for candidates of their choice.
“In the 2019 Presidential Poll, Igbo properties including homes and market stores as well as polling units in their areas were targeted, attacked and wantonly destroyed, including being razed or set ablaze; and as if these were not enough, millions of South-East voters were denied PVCs by INEC under the Lagos REC in the just conducted PVC distribution in the State.
Totality of these is, therefore, tantamount to ethnic profiling with intent to instigate incitement, genocide and ethnic cleansing against the South-East residents in Lagos State. “Intersociety hereby makes bold to say that the Lagos REC is unfit to continue as Lagos REC and must be redeployed as a matter of uttermost immediacy.
“INEC must also thoroughly investigate REC Olusegun Agbaje including looking into massive denial of PVCs to South-Easterners in Lagos State, including Igbo residents in Oshodi-Isolo, Mafoluku-Oke Afa, Ijora Badia, Amukoko, Alaba, Surulere, Orile, Itire, Ijesha, Cele, Okota, Ajegunle, Olodi Apapa, Coconut, Ojokoro-Ijaiye, Agbara, Ojo, Okoko, Satellite Town, FESTAC, Mushin, Ojuelegba, etc.”
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Meanwhile, Intersociety has cried out that there was a massive poll rigging plan ahead of the presidential poll through disenfranchisement of citizens of voting age on the grounds of their ethnic identity, religion, place of work, gender and class.
It claimed that there were also estimated four million fake names compiled from booklets of passport photographs, posters of dead persons and fake names and images from outside the country presently stored in the National Register of Voters.
“What concrete measures are being put in place by INEC to ensure that the deployment of IReV, BVAS and PVC accreditation/voting technologies, processes and procedures are done across board in the 36 States and the FCT on Feb 25, 2023 Presidential Poll without discriminatory recourse to dual policies of sticking to or insisting on IReV, BVAS and PVC accreditation/voting technologies, processes and procedures in the South and substantially collapsing same and allowing manual voting in the North, especially in the States of Kano, Katsina, Kaduna, Jigawa, Kebbi, Sokoto and Zamfara in North-West; Borno, Bauchi, Yobe and Adamawa in North-East; and Niger State in North-Central,” it queried.
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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In a letter, dated March 25, addressed to the APC National Convention sub-committee, sighted by this newspaper, Dogara said his decision is based on “President Muhammadu Buhari’s directives to adopt consensus in filling party positions at the APC Convention”. According to him, he is “unequivocally” supporting consensus, and endorsing Senator Kyari for the position of Deputy Chairman (North).
Over 7,000 delegates are attending the convention of the ruling party today (Saturday) at the Eagle Square, Abuja, to elect new national and zonal officials.
Bauchi State Governor Bala Mohammed has debunked all allegations leveled against him by the former Speaker House of Representatives, Mr. Yakubu Dogara, describing them as fabricated lies.
The Governor made his remarks on Tuesday while receiving members of Dass/Tafawa Balewa/Bogoro Constituency on a solidarity visit to him in Bauchi.
Dogara represents the constituency at the Federal House of Representatives.
The former Speaker had accused Governor Mohammed of diverting a N4.6billion loan, inflating contracts sums, and mismanagement of local government funds, among other claims, as grounds for his defection to the APC from the PDP.
“It is a very regrettable development, it is unfortunate, because he is a young man that we so much love and appreciate, including me. Even now I don’t harbour any malice against him,” Mohammed said.
“But he came to show his true colours as a pretender, as a fabricator of lies against my person, who has helped him to reconnect and recapture his mandate as a member of the House of Reps. after being expelled by my adversary, the former Governor.”
The Governor also assured leaders of the PDP in Nigeria that Bauchi remains “intact” for the party.
The Board of Trustees (BoT) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has reacted to the defection of the former speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara.
In a statement on Monday, the party’s BoT Chairman, Senator Walid Jubril, said the lawmaker may have left the PDP because of his underground plans to run for the office of the Vice President in 2023.
He added that Dogara did not explore all the available dispute resolution mechanisms within the PDP before defecting to the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Senator Jubril, however, urged members of the party to remain united, stressing that the PDP doors were open for all Nigerians who want to be a member.
His reaction came a day after the former speaker revealed the reasons why he left the opposition party and return to the ruling party.
Among the reasons included what he described as the breakdown of governance in Bauchi State under the administration of Governor Bala Mohammed whom he “helped install” as a governor in the 2019 general elections.
Dogara raised concerns about issues relating to the alleged failure of governance in the state, adding that there was no way he would successfully ask questions without being accused of disloyalty if he were to remain in the PDP.
President Muhammadu Buhari with APC Caretaker Committee Chairman and Yobe State Governor, Mai Mala Buni, and Mr Yakubu Dogara at the Presidential Villa in Abuja on July 24, 2020.
Read the statement from the PDP BoT Chairman below:
I have read with mixed feelings the reason given by former speaker House of Representatives Mr. Yakubu Dogara for decamping to APC.
I am equally sorry for Dogara for not adhering to all avenues available in the party constitution for settlement of disputes or complaints by a member of the party.
I became more disturbed when the reasons given by Mr Dogara for his decamping considering his position as a former speaker.
In his position as a member of BoT, Mr Dogara has never laid any complaints to me as the Chairman of BoT which is the highest advisory organ of the party and remained the conscious of the party.
Considering seriously reasons given by Dogara for his decamping, one is compelled to say that Mr Dogara has other strong reasons for leaving PDP. I am beginning to suspect that the former speaker has underground motives for joining APC.
I begin to suspect that Mr Dogara has a plan of becoming President or Vice President in 2023 which he knows he will never archive in PDP.
I want to assure the former speaker that PDP shall continue to be very strong and united and its doors remain open to all Nigerians therefore PDP will never accept any plan from anybody to destroy the party.
As Chairman of BoT, I urge all members of the party to remain calm and strong as the BoT will continue to play its role as the conscience of the party as contained in its constitution.
Similarly, BoT is in total support of Godwin Obaseki in becoming the new Governor of Edo State. BOT is making its arrangements to visit Edo in order to ensure the success of Obaseki.
BoT will also visit our PDP Governors and party hierarchy in the states. No shaking at all, victory is ours.
The immediate past Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Yakubu Dogara, has explained why he left the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and returned to the All Progressives Congress (APC).
He gave the explanation in his letter of resignation dated July 24, 2020, and addressed to the Bogoro ‘C’ Ward Chairman of the PDP in Bauchi, his home-state.
Dogara revealed that one of the reasons for his exit from the PDP was what he described as the breakdown of governance in the state.
He decried that such was happening under the administration of Governor Bala Mohammed whom he “helped install” as a governor in the 2019 general elections.
The former speaker also raised questions on issues relating to the alleged failure of governance in Bauchi.
He, however, stressed that he cannot successfully ask questions about those issues without being accused of disloyalty if he were to remain in the PDP.
Dogara noted that he had taken up the responsibility of telling the truth to power in Bauchi under the administrations of former Governors Isa Yuguda and Mohammed Abubakar
He believes abdicating the same duty under the present administration will make him become the most irresponsible and unprincipled politician in the state.
NASS Return, But Not As Speaker The former speaker announced his return to the APC about a year and six months after he joined the PDP for reasons he did not disclose as of the time.
He made the announcement while presiding over a plenary on January 29, 2019, at the lower chamber of the National Assembly.
Following his exit from the APC, Dogara went ahead to contest for re-election as the lawmaker representing Bogoro/Dass/Tafawa Balewa Federal Constituency on the platform of the PDP in the last elections.
Although he succeeded in his bid to return to the National Assembly, he was replaced by the former Leader of the House, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila, as the Speaker of the 9th Assembly.
About a year and half later, the Caretaker Committee Chairman of the APC and Yobe State Governor, Mai Mala Buni, said Dogara had returned to the APC following a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday last week.
The former speaker confirmed the statement of the Yobe State governor in the letter below:
People’s Democratic Party,
Bogoro ‘C’ Ward,
LETTER OF RESIGNATION OF MY MEMBERSHIP OF THE PDP
Above subject matter refers.
I write to intimate you of my decision to resign my membership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
This became necessary because the same reasons why we fought hard in 2019 to effect changes in the Governance of our dear state are festering now.
I intend to bring these issues to the front burners once again as the fight to install decent and egalitarian government in our dear state continues.
Specifically, I intend to ask questions about the following:
a) What has happened to LGA allocations since May 2019?
b) What happened to our campaign promise to conduct LGA elections within six months of the PDP government?
c) What happened to the N4.6 billion loan taken from a bank and paid directly into a private company’s account?
d) Why are we segmenting salaries and why is payment of salaries of state workers outsourced to a private firm as consultants?
e) Why are contracts inflated, awarded and payment of mobilisation done in violation of extant rules on procurement?
f) Why are our highly revered Traditional Rulers and Elders treated with odium contrary to the guarantee we gave during the campaign that such will not happen under a PDP government?
Mr Chairman, you will agree with me that I cannot raise these issues and many more questions without a charge of disloyalty levelled against me if I were to remain a member of the PDP.
I cannot also fail to raise these questions now, having raised similar ones during the administrations of Governors Isa Yuguda and Mohammed A. Abubakar. If I abdicate this responsibility on the altar of partisan loyalty, I will be the most irresponsible and unprincipled politician in Bauchi State.
Thus, by this letter, I have resigned my membership of the PDP to enable me keep faith with my principle of fighting for good governance in our Dear State.