FOURTY EIGHT POLITICAL PARTIES TO PARTICIPATE IN OSUN GOVERNORSHIP ELECTION
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has disclosed that 48 Political Parties have indicated interest to contest the September 22nd 2018 governorship election in Osun state.
Chairman of the Commission, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, made the disclosure yesterday at the swearing-in ceremony of two new Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs), held at the Commission’s headquarters in Abuja.
Professor Yakubu said that the Commission was currently processing the nomination forms, “Our preparations for the Osun State governorship election continue in earnest. Nomination of candidates closed yesterday (Tuesday) in line with the timetable and schedule of activities released by the commission in October 2017.”
“A record number of 48 political parties have nominated candidates for the election. The Commission is currently processing the nomination forms,” he added.
The INEC Chairman noted that with the two newly sworn in RECs, Garba Attahiru Madami and Ahmed Mahmud, the Commission now has all but two Resident Electoral Commissioners. He used the occasion to welcome to the INEC fold , Barrister Festus Okoye a human rights activist, who was earlier in the day sworn in as National Commissioner by President Muhammadu Buhari.
He noted that with the Barrister Okoye’s resumption to office, the Commission now has the full complement of all 12 National Commissioners.
As you assume duty immediately, let me remind you that you are responsible for the management of personnel, materials and resources in your States of posting. You will also interact with various stakeholders. In discharging your responsibilities, you must at all times be open, transparent and non-partisan while remaining firm and courageous.
Speaking to the newly sworn in RECs the INEC Chairman said: “You must quickly familiarise yourselves with the relevant provisions of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended), the Commission’s plans, guidelines and regulations as well as established processes and procedures.
“On the practical side of your work, you must immediately interact with your staff and pay attention to their welfare, visit the Local Government offices in your States and assess the various facilities and critical requirements for the 2019 General Elections, ranging from the recruitment and training of ad hoc staff, logistics and more.
“Within the confines of the law, I encourage you to be imaginative in responding to the needs of the electorate and adding value to the electoral process. In doing so, always seek for clarification and, where necessary, the approval of the Commission.
‘”I wish to assure you that your supervising National Commissioners and the Headquarters will always support you to deliver on the Commission’s core mandate of service to Nigerians.”
Prof. Yakubu explained that only last week, the Commission released the Timetable and Schedule of Activities for four bye-elections, following declaration of vacancies by the National Assembly and the respective State Houses of Assembly.
….PORT HARCOURT III AND TAKUM I STATE CONSTITUENCY BYE-ELECTIONS TO HOLD AUGUST 18
The Chairman INEC, Prof Mahmood Yakubu said ‘” after fixing Saturday 11th August 2018 for the bye-elections, the Commission also received additional declaration of vacancies from the Rivers State House of Assembly, in respect of Port Harcourt III State Constituency and the Taraba State House of Assembly for Takum I State Constituency.
He said: “Since the law requires the Commission to conduct the elections within one month from the declaration of vacancy, the bye-elections in Rivers and Taraba States will be held simultaneously on Saturday 18th August 2018. The Timetable and Schedule of Activities for the two elections will be released tomorrow (Thursday 26th July) after the weekly Commission meeting. With this development, the Commission will be conducting six bye-elections before the Osun State Governorship election scheduled for 22 September 2018.”
He told the new RECs to prepare for immediate deployment in the conduct of elections. “The Resident Electoral Commissioner for Kwara State will be deployed to Kogi State to observe the Lokoja/Kogi-Koton Karfe Federal Constituency bye-election, while that of Kebbi will be deployed to observe the Katsina North Senatorial bye-election,” he affirmed.
Garba Madami, who spoke on behalf of his colleague, assured the Commission that they would protect its integrity and live up to expectations.
2019: INEC CONDUCTS “BRIDGE” WORKSHOP FOR PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICERS
In line with the policy of ensuring staff are equipped with the requisite skills and capacities to deliver free, fair and credible elections, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has organized a 5day BRIDGE workshop for Public Affairs Officers (PAOs)
The Commission with Support from the European Union Center for Electoral Support (ECES), organized a 5-day Building Resources in Democracy, Governance and Elections (BRIDGE) Modular training on Media and Elections with all 36 Public Affairs Officer’s and the FCT as well as some staff of its Publicity Department as participants.
At the Opening of the workshop holding in Kano, Chairman of the Information and Voter Education Committee (IVEC), and National Commissioner, Prince Adedeji Solomon Soyebi implored the participants to seize the opportunity offered by the workshop to fully equip themselves for the “big job” ahead of the 2019 general elections which the Commission aims to conduct in a freer, fairer and more credible manner than the last one.
Represented by National Commissioner, Mohmammed Haruna, the IVEC Chairman said “the broad objective of this workshop is to build and enhance your skills and capacities for the projection of INEC in the public eye as an electoral management body with a world class reputation for conducting free, fair and credible elections.
“Your principle guide in creating and sustaining this positive image for INEC is its Communication Policy which first came into existence in 2013, two years ahead of the 2015 General Elections which for the first time in Nigeria’s history, was won by an opposition party”.
Prince Soyebi added: “the challenges you face going forward are many, especially in the context of the advent of the internet and the subsequent rise of the social media which has made the spread of fake news and hate speech much easier and at the same time has made it more difficult to tell the difference between real news and fake news”.
He quickly added that it behooves on the Public Affairs Officers to effectively tell the Success stories of the Commission while also succinctly conveying its challenges encountered in achieving those success stories in an honest and frank manner.
The Resident Electoral Commissioner in Kano, Prof. Riskuwa A. Shehu, while welcoming the participants, stressed the importance of effective communication. He said the workshop was not only apt but timely at time when the Commission was faced with the challenge of fake news.
“This workshop is apt and timely because of the situation we find ourselves these days where fake news and absolutely mischievous ways of communicating is affecting the image of INEC. I see this as an opportunity for all of us who have a major task and a moral obligation as INECs representatives to project the image of the Commission through skillful communication with the wider public”.
The REC added: “My prayer is that at the end of this workshop, we will all be better informed and trained to be able to project the image of INEC in the best possible ways. There is no gainsaying that Communication is all important. Wrong communication can cause a lot of embarrassment “.
The Director of Voter Education and Publicity Department, Oluwole Osaze-Uzzi enjoined the participants to pay key attention to the experiences shared by the skilled facilitators. He said the workshop was an opportunity to share experiences and ideas on how to better improve the work of projecting the image of the Commission.
The Executive Director for ECES, David Le Notre, represented by an Electoral Administration Expert with the organization, Wilson Manji, observed that the 2019 general elections were important to Nigeria, “that is why INEC is laying emphasis on capacity building in order to organize the best possible elections”.
He said the workshop was being organized within the context of the European Union Support to Democratic Governance in Nigeria (EU SDGN) programme which aims to contribute to the reinforcement of democracy in Nigeria through building strong, effective and legitimate democratic institutions.
Le Notre, emphasized that the training course was not only intended to give the PAOs the opportunity to acquire new skills, but also to enable them make a difference in their work places that would ultimately result to better elections and deepen democracy.