INEC News Bulletin
STOP SEEING INEC AS A POLITICAL PARTY OR ITS OFFICIALS AS RIVAL CANDIDATES, PROF. MAHMOOD TELLS POLITICAL PARTIES
Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Mahmood Yakubu has urged Politicians and Political Parties to stop seeing the Commission as a political party or its officials as rival candidates and reaffirmed that the Commission has no candidate in any election.
Professor Yakubu made the statement while addressing Chairmen and Secretaries of Political Parties at the Commission’s quarterly consultative meeting with Political Parties held Wednesday in Abuja.
The INEC Chairman, who reassured that the Commission would continue to maintain its integrity as an election manager also said: “It is unfortunate that in certain quarters, there is still the fixation that INEC officials are involved in deliberately perverting the processes and procedures for partisan considerations.
“Instead of approaching us with evidence of any potential or actual infractions for remedial action in the interest of our democracy, some prefer press conferences in which the Commission and a handful of its officials are criticised and maligned’’ , and advised citizenry to “stop seeing INEC as a political party or its officials as rival candidates’’.
‘We are not a political party. We have no candidate in any election. We shall continue to maintain our integrity as election managers”, Prof Mahmood explained.
Allaying concerns in some quarters that there were attempts by INEC officials to pre-load the Smart Card Readers ahead of the July 14 2018 Governorship Election in Ekiti State, the INEC Chairman said: “I wish to assure you that our electoral processes have gone beyond the capacity of our own officials to manipulate. The procedures are robust. The claim that the Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) are cloned and Smart Card Readers pre-loaded is simply ludicrous.
“The Card Readers are only configured to specific polling units 72 hours or less before an election, set to operate only on Election Day from 8am and is manually shutdown for accreditation after the last person on the queue has voted or automatically by 8pm.
He continued: “In Ekiti State, where we are deploying the enhanced Smart Card Readers (SCRs), this process has not even commenced. It is impossible to pre-load the Card Readers, let alone do so with cloned PVCs”.
Another area of concern the INEC Chairman addressed was the increasing attempts by mischief makers to undermine the Commission’s processes.
He said “The Commission is aware that as we approach the 2019 general elections, there will be a lot of interest in our activities for virtuous and malicious reasons. Only a few days ago, Nigerians were legitimately outraged by the image of blank PVC advertised by an offshore Company for purchase in the open market.
“Within a few hours, we contacted the online platform responsible for the advert which promptly removed it
‘’We will continue to work with security agencies to track down those responsible for the advert as well as any prospective buyers of which there are none so far. We suspect that many dubious enterprises will keep trying openly and in the dark web”.
Professor Yakubu once again reaffirmed that the security codes for PVCs and Smart Card Readers are not only robust but continuously enhanced.
‘’We wish to reassure Nigerians that our sensitive and non-sensitive materials, processes and procedures are secured”.
INEC UPDATES POLITICAL PARTIES ON OUTSTANDING BYE ELECTIONS, EKITI GOVERNORSHIP ELECTION, AND CVR
In line with the tradition of keeping stakeholders abreast with developments on the electoral process, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has updated Political Parties on developments in some focal areas of the moment; including outstanding bye-elections, CVR and preparations for Ekiti Governorship election.
Chairman of the Commission, Professor Mahmood Yakubu gave the update today in Abuja during the Commission’s quarterly consultative meeting with leaders of political parties.
He said: “Today’s meeting is taking place only 10 days to the Ekiti State Governorship election holding on Saturday 14th July 2018, 80 days to the Osun State Governorship election to be held on Saturday 22ndSeptember 2018 and 226 days to the 2019 General Elections.
“We also have five (5) pending bye-elections for which we are awaiting communication from the Taraba State House of Assembly in respect of Takum I State Constituency, Cross River State House of Assembly for Obudu I State Constituency and the National Assembly in respect of Bauchi South and Katsina North Senatorial Districts and the Lokoja/Koton Karfe Federal Constituency in Kogi State”.
Professor Yakubu hinted that the Commission had already instructed the Resident Electoral Commissioners in the five (5) States to begin the necessary preparations for the bye-elections ahead of the formal declaration of vacancies by the appropriate bodies.
The INEC Chairman explained that the immediate focus of the Commission was the Ekiti State Governorship election holding in 2,195 Polling Units spread across 177 Wards in the 16 Local Government Areas of the state.
He said: “35 political parties are contesting in the election. So far, the Commission has successfully implemented 12 out of the 14 activities outlined in the timetable and schedule of activities for the election released nine (9) months ago on 5th October 2017.
“The only outstanding activities are last day of campaign and election day scheduled for 12th and 14th July 2018 respectively. We shall continue to implement all activities on schedule according to our timetable”
The INEC Chairman also sought the support of political parties in areas of voter education and and public enlightenment: ‘’As we approach the 2019 general elections, we need your support in many ways, especially voter education and sensitisation. With 68 political parties and 136 applications being processed, we need raise the awareness of citizens on the manifestos, logos and acronyms of political parties.
“Similarly, we need to find different ways of managing the ballot papers for the general elections. As a proactive step, the Commission has been working on a number of options regarding the design of the ballot paper and the management of the ballot box. We shall demonstrate a number of options to this meeting for consideration and suggestions”, he added.
On the 136 applications for registration as political parties, the INEC Chairman gave a summary on the stage at which the processing of their applications was: ‘’we are as at 3rd July 2018 processing 136 applications from Associations seeking registration as political parties. Out of this figure, 74 have failed the initial assessment of the suitability of their names and logos while 62 have passed the initial assessment.
“Nine (9) Associations have undergone verification of their offices and proposed leadership while 16 are either awaiting verification or yet to supply supporting documents. We shall continue to operate within the ambit of the law in the registration of political parties”.
Giving an update on the ongoing nationwide Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) exercise, the INEC Chairman revealed that there were 9,922,619 fresh registrations as at 22nd June 2018, while there were 489,354 requests for transfer of details from one location to another. He also said 766,435 Nigerian had requested for replacement of their Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) and 576,346 PVCs had been so far collected as at the same date.
Professor Yakubu hailed the cooperation of the political parties under the auspices of the Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC). He noted that elections had gotten better with their support. “I wish to thank all political parties for your support. Many of you have approached the Commission with important suggestions and observations on how our processes and procedures can be strengthened.
“Under the auspices of the Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC), political parties are embarking upon Voter Education and sensitization in Ekiti State in partnership with the Commission. This is very important to our electoral process in particular and our democracy in general, especially in view of the large number of political parties fielding candidates in the election”.
‘’Through this collaborative effort, our national elections are getting better organised and the outcome reflective of the will of the people. I wish to reassure you that the Commission shall remain focused on the goal of delivering free, fair and credible elections”, he added.
Responding, the Chairman of IPAC, Muhammad Nalado, commended the Commission for steady improvements in elections conducted since the 2015 General Elections. He attributed the success to the quality of people who make up the Commission.
Nalado said: “We have rated you high and I know you have a very good team of Commissioners that is why we are having improvements. Your tenure is very innovative because you have been improving in all the preceding elections after the 2015 general elections”.
The IPAC Chairman corroborated the INEC Chairman’s position that cooperation between both bodies has yielded result especially in the areas of voter education and sensitization. He said: “INEC has been supporting the political parties to go out for voter education and sensitization when ever elections are around the corner and we have achieved so much”.
Alh. Nalado reassured that the umbrella body of political parties would continue to work with Nigeria to deepen democracy. “I am assuring you our continued support to the commission to make sure the commission takes Nigeria to the promise land. We are improving and we will keep on improving, he said”.
Editor-in-Chief: Oluwole Osaze-Uzzi
Editor: Aliyu M. Bello
Reporter: Nathaniel Audu Gana
Technical Support: Bala Ato Agyo