INEC News Bulletin
2019: ONLY A CREDIBLE REGISTER OF VOTERS WOULD BE USED FOR GENERAL ELECTIONS, INEC ASSURES
Few days after setting up a Committee to investigate the allegation of underage voters in the Kano state Local Government elections, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has once again assured Nigerians that only a credible voter register would be used in the 2019 general elections.
The Commission said it was mindful of the fact that the credibility of a voter register is the bedrock of credible elections and it would leave no stone unturned to ensure ineligible registrations were not part of the 2019 electoral process.
Chairman of the Commission, Professor Mahmood Yakubu restated this commitment during the Commission’s first quarterly consultative meeting with Civil Society Organizations and the Media held separately at the INEC Headquarters, in Abuja on Monday.
Professor Yakubu said the Investigative Committee headed by National Commissioner AbubakarNahuche would depart for Kano on Wednesday to unravel what exactly happened and assured that the outcome of the investigation would be made public.
He said the Commission would continue to clean up the voter register to ensure that unqualified persons were not found on the registers.
The INEC Chairman also assured that every citizen captured in the ongoing nationwide Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) Exercise and those intending to register, would get their Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) before the 2019 general elections. He hinted that the distribution of PVCs for those who registered in 2017 would commence in the first week of May 2018.
Professor Mahmood hinted that the Commission had deployed about 400 new generation Direct Data Capture Machines nationwide to hasten the process of registration. “Only two weeks ago we deployed additional 400 new generation DDC machines to registration centres nationwide. The new DDC machines are distinct from the old machines we have been using which were procured in 2010”, he said.
… ELECTION SEQUENCE INFORMED BY EXISTING LAW
Addressing the issue of election sequence, Professor Yakubu said the decision of the Commission was guided by the existing enabling laws as provided in the Electoral Act 2010 (As Amended) and the 1999 Constitution (As Amended).
“We issued the Timetable and schedule of activities for the 2019 General Elections based on the extant laws’’, said he.
The Chairman who acknowledged the passage of the Amendment Bill to Section 25 (1)of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) by the two chambers of the national assembly said the Commission had released the 2019 Elections Timetable on the basis of ‘’the law as it exists”.
… PROF MAHMOOD FROWNS AT VOTE BUYING
INEC Chairman has frowned at the worrisome development of vote buying during elections and pointed out that it undermines the tenants of democracy.
“Our democracy should be democracy for the people, by the people; not a plutocracy owned by the rich’’, he warned.
He said INEC would partner with security agencies to curb the menace of money politics.
‘’We are discussing with the EFCC on not just vote buying but also party and campaign finances”, he added.
…..INEC CHAIRMAN UNDERSCORES THE CONTRIBUTIONS OF MEDIA AND CSOs IN DEPEENING DEMOCRACY
The INEC Chairman underscored the Contribution of the CSOs and the Media in deepening democracy through constructive criticisms, suggestions, observation reports and feedbacks. He said their immense contribution has helped in policy formulation and strengthened the electoral process.
Professor Yakubu called on both stakeholders to continue to make meaningful inputs that would further enrich the Commission’s processes and procedures which are aimed at ensuring free, fair and credible elections.
In their contributions, during separate meetings with the Media and the CSOs in Abuja Mrs Uwadishi Fatih of the Independent Service Delivery Monitoring Group has pledged the support of CSOs to work with INEC to deepen democracy; the President of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), Comrade Wahid Odusile, represented by Mr Adebayo Bodurin of Daar Communications, urged the Commission to maintain the standards of elections conducted in recent times.
The NUJ President also commended the Commission for the consideration given to the People Living with Albinism in the recently conducted Anambra governorship elections through the provision of magnifying glasses and urged the Commission to sustain and even extend such gestures to other needs of Persons Living With Disabilities (PWDs) and senior citizens as well for purposes of promoting greater inclusivity in the process.
INEC CHAIRMAN URGES RECS TO REMAIN FOCUSED
As preparations for the 2019 General Elections continue to gather momentum, Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Mahmood Yakubu, has tasked Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) to remain focused amidst partisan criticisms and urged them to always remain on the side of the law.
Professor Yakubu made the call on Tuesday at the opening of the Commission’s first quarterly meeting with RECs in 2018, held at the INEC Headquarters, Abuja.
The INEC Chairman said: “as we approach the 2019 General Elections, I wish to draw your attention to the necessity to stand firm. Be very firm on the side of the law and the people of Nigeria who deserve nothing less than free and fair elections. You should not be distracted, especially by partisan comments from any quarters.
“There will be attempts to draw the Commission into needless controversies. Remain focused on the goal of serving Nigeria conscientiously, transparently, doggedly, in a committed manner, and always in accordance with the law.
‘’Our responsibility to the nation can never be compromised”, he stressed.
Professor Yakubu reminded the RECs of the responsibilities of coordinating the policies and programmes of the Commission in the states, a role which he described as pivotal to the success of elections.
“The feedback we receive from you is also essential to the fine-tuning of policy and in this way both the Headquarters and the states work in synergy on matters of policy and practice”, he explained.
INEC, NPC To Sign MOU ON CONSTITUENCY DELIMITATION
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has taken steps towards achieving seamless periodic Delimitation of Constituencies through partnership with the National Population Commission (NPC).
The indication for the collaboration came on Tuesday, when the INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, led Members of the Commission and some INEC Directors to the Headquarters of the National Population Commission (NPopC) in Abuja.
Professor Yakubu noted that some of the constitutional responsibilities of INEC were related to that of the NPopC; hence there was need for synergy and cooperation between both organizations in the interest of the people of Nigeria.
He explained INEC was required by law to carry out delimitation of constituencies in an interval of not less than 10 years or following a new population census. “We therefore need accurate population census to delimit constituencies and make the needed requirement of distributing the population among the various constituencies into as nearly equal as is practicable”, he said.
The INEC Chairman disclosed that the Commission was already working with the Population Commission to align its Registration Areas to the NPopC’s Enumeration Areas.
He hinted that the collaboration was on progress and would be formalized through the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between both organizations, adding that it would enable the Commission to seamlessly carry out delimitation exercises after every population census.
Professor Yakubu said INEC has been working with the Population Commission in the current effort to define boundaries. ‘’We have been working with the Population Commission to align our registration areas to your enumeration areas. We have so far covered 84 LGAs nationwide and as we speak we are working in 16 more LGAs. By doing so we hope to have the basis of seamlessly delimiting constituencies as a matter of cause after every population census”.
The INEC Chairman also sought collaboration with the Population Commission in cleaning up the register of voters by removing the names of dead Nigerians from the register.
“The National Population Commission is the registrar of births and deaths nationwide; INEC is responsible for voter registration as well as the cleanup of the voter register by removing the names of dead persons from the register. We would like to partner with the Population Commission to make available to INEC all the records of death of citizens since 2015 to enable us take necessary steps to remove them from the voter register,” he requested.
Responding, the Chairman of the National Population Commission, Chief Eze Duru Iheoma (SAN), said the visit was a step to foster greater collaboration between sister agencies in performance of the statutory functions.
He expressed delight that the partnership was unprecedented and explained that the ongoing synergy between both organizations aimed at producing Enumeration Areas Maps on Electoral Wards, would ensure that the Registration Areas of INEC are clearly demarcated and can be physically traceable on ground using their base maps.
The NPopC Chairman stressed the need for both organizations to work more closely by harmonizing their data nationwide and assured that his organization was ready to deepen the relationship and also to explore further areas of mutual cooperation for the benefit of the nation.