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INEC News Bulletin

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PARTY PRIMARIES: INEC CALLS ON PARTIES TO ABIDE BY GUIDELINES, VOWS TO ACCEPT ONLY CANDIDATES CLEARED BY NATIONAL CHAIRMEN AND SECRETARIES

 

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has called on Political Parties to avoid acts of misconduct and abide by the Timetable and Guidelines for the conduct of Party Primaries as issued by the Commission.

The Commission also vowed to accept only candidates cleared at the national level by Party Chairmen and National Secretary.

This was contained in a statement signed and issued yesterday, Thursday 4, October, 2018, by National Commissioner and Chairman of the Information and Voter Education Committee (IVEC), Prince Solomon Adedeji Soyebi.

The statement reads in part: “the Commission wishes to restate that the conduct of the primaries and resolution of all disputes arising therefrom must be concluded on or before the 7th of October, 2018 as earlier published in the Timetable and Schedule of Activities for the 2019 general elections”.

“The last day for submission of lists of their sponsored candidates (Form CF002) and personal particulars (Form CF001) remains 18th of October 2018 for Presidential and National Assembly, and 2nd of November for Governorship and State Houses of Assembly”

It continued: “the Commission states further that it will only accept the list of candidates submitted by the National Chairman and National Secretary”.

 

 

INEC MOBILIZES STAKEHOLDERS TO DISCUSS ACTIONABLE WAYS TO PROMOTE GENDER BALANCED DEMOCRACY

In furtherance of its commitment towards promoting a gender balanced democracy, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) organized a two-day Workshop to harvest ideas on enhancing women’s participation in the electoral process and promote synergy among women politicians; scholars and activists.

Chairman of the INEC, Professor Mahmood Yakubu while addressing participants at the opening of the workshop on INEC’s Role in Enhancing Women’s Participation in the Electoral Process, organized by the Commission with support from the European Centre for Electoral Support (ECES), held in Abuja, yesterday, reaffirmed the Commission’s commitment to promoting a gender balanced democracy. .

The INEC Chairman, represented by National Commissioner and Chairman of the Outreach and Partnership Committee (OPC), Dr. Adekunle Ogunmola, observed that Nigeria has one of the lowest percentages of female representation in the ECOWAS sub-region.

He said, “Although women constitute 49 percent of Nigeria’s voting population, the national average in female representation stands at 6.7 percent in contrast to the global average of 22.5 percent in 2018. This is one of the lowest amongst the countries in the ECOWAS sub-region, especially when compared to Ghana (10.7%) and Togo (17.6%)”.

Professor Yakubu explained that the workshop was organized in furtherance of the Commissions continuing effort at expanding participation in the electoral process. He said: “this Workshop is organized to identify and reflect on practical, effective and implementable level playing fields for females to participate in our political and electoral process across the country.

“One of the objectives of this conference is to explore ways of creating bridges between women politicians, scholars and activists so that synergies can develop in our collective effort to expand inclusivity by deepening the participation of women in the electoral process. Such conversation with the community of voters is of crucial significance in expanding inclusivity”.

The INEC Chairman maintained that women have the right to voice and participation in political processes that affect them, their families, and societies. “Countries with higher levels of women’s participation and leadership in political and electoral processes tend to be more inclusive, responsive, egalitarian and democratic”, he opined.

The INEC Chairman spelt out some of the gender responsive steps the Commission has taken. He said: “one of the key planks of the Commission’s effort towards expanding gender participation and representation is its Gender Policy Launched in 2014”.

He continued: “The policy aims not only at mainstreaming gender in electoral administration, but also at expanding and deepening female participation and representation in the political process , and more specifically, in encouraging the party system to be more open and inclusive to the participation of women, youth and people with special abilities.”

“In addition, the Commission has been holding stakeholder meetings with women groups and organizations to enable an understanding of common concerns identify key issues and formulate practical programmes that can deepen participation”.

The Chairman of the Outreach and Partnership Committee (OPC), Dr. Adekunle Ogunmola, said the purpose of organizing the workshop was to chart the roles of scholars and activists towards strengthening women’s participation as the 2019 general elections drew nearer.

Represented by National Commissioner, May Agbamuch-Mbu, the OPC Chairman, added that the workshop would also examine reasons for the low representation of women in politics and electoral processes, and find ways of addressing them.

Dr Ogunmola implored participants to engage actively and support the Commission in improving the participation of women in the 2019 general elections.

Chairperson of the House Committee on Electoral & Political Matters, Hon. Aishatu Jibril Dukku, decried the low level of female representation in Africa. She recommended that “INEC should adopt the policy of de-registering any political party that failed to adhere with the Gender Policy”.

Hon. Dukku implored Nigerian women to continually organize themselves, educate and create awareness of the importance of voting more women into political office and leadership position. She said: “ Nigerian Women need to be aggressive in pressing for the implementation of the three important Gender Policies in all electoral process in future (Nigerian Gender Policy, Political Parties Gender polices and INEC Gender Policy)”.

On her part, the United Nations Women Representative to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Ms. Comfort Lamptey, said the workshop was apt, “considering the low representation of women in elective positions at all levels of governance in Nigeria”.

She noted that the workshop was a clear testimony of the concern INEC places on the development of the Nigerian women. “INEC has become one of the most gender sensitive Organizations in Nigeria today”, she said.

The President of the European Centre for Electoral Support (ECES), Monica Frassoni, called for a collective effort to ensure increased women participation in the electoral process.

She said: “the task of ensuring women participation in the political system is a collective task of all electoral stakeholders including INEC, political parties, Women politicians, Scholars and Women CSO activists”. She called for synergy between the activities of all stakeholders in order to achieve the objective of equitable gender representation in the political space.

 

INEC UNVEILS FRAMEWORK FOR MAINSTREAMING PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES IN ELECTORAL PROCESS

The Participation of People With Disabilities (PWDs) in the electoral process may have gotten a major boost as the Independent National Electoral Commission takes a major step in mainstreaming their participation by unveiling s Framework for Access and Participation for PWDs in the electoral process.
Chairman of the Commission, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, speaking at the public presentation of the document held at Sheraton Hotels, Abuja today, said the unveiling of the document was the “culmination of a series of reforms embarked upon by the Commission; from ad-hoc arrangements to a mare cohesive, strategic, ensuring ans sustainable policy framework that is expected to ultimately open the doorway for more meaningful participation of the PWD community in all aspect of our electoral process”.

Represented by National Commissioner and Chairman of the Outreach and Partnership Committee (OPC), Dr. Adekunle Ogunmola, the INEC Chairman noted that the unveiling of the PWD Framework marked the end of haphazard and uncoordinated approach to PWD issues in the electoral process.

He said: “it should also be viewed as the symbolic beginning of a concerted, deliberate and coordinated initiative at mainstreaming the community. I therefore wish to put on record the sincere commitment of this Commission to the full employment of the rights of the PWD community in an inclusive electoral process, using the Framework as a guide”.
The INEC Chairman maintained that “excluding a community with an estimated population of over 25 million from the political process, amounts to denying the nation the much needed contribution of this critical mass in the task of nation building, as well as a dent on Nigeria’s domestic and international commitment to respecting and promoting the human rights of all its citizens”.

Professor Yakubu however noted that while the Commission may have publicly presented the document, it required the support of the stakeholders to give life to the policy. He said: “ it comes with a moral burden and weight on the part of all stakeholders to ensure the inclusion of all eligible PWDs in the electoral process. As a Commission, we intend to lead in this regard.

He continued: we take the Framework as our Character with all citizens with disability. We hold ourselves bound by the commitments contained in the Framework. We are of the candid view that integrating aspects of the entire Framework into a codified law should be the immediate focus of stakeholders and the Commission is hereby committing to lead in the advocacy for such in the future”.

In his remarks, Chairman of the Outreach and Partnership Committee (OPC), Dr. Adekunle Ogunmola, represented by a member of the Committee, Professor Antonia Okoosi Simbine, enthused that “the Framework will, to a great extent reduce if not totally eliminate all forms of barriers experienced by PWDs in all aspects of the electoral process”.

Dr. Ogunmola explained that the document was not hurriedly put together but a painstaking effort of all relevant stake holders. He words:“ the development of the Framework involved a series of consultations with internal and external stakeholders at different levels, Resident Electoral Commissioners, Administrative Secretaries, Directors and other staff, Disability Experts as well as INEC PWDs Desk Officers from the 36 states and FCT. Persons with Disabilities were extensively consulted at the State and National levels, the outcome from all these engagements enriched the content of the Framework”.

Country Director of the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), Shalva Kipshidze, observed that “Over the years the participation of PWDs in the political process in Nigeria has continued to improve and this can be seen even as recent as the Osun elections where INEC began to use the braille ballot jacket for the elections and this would in no small way increase the interest and participation of PWDs in the electoral process”.

Mr. Kipshidze added that “This effort by the commission to develop, validate and today, launch a framework that will ensure full participation of PWDs in the electoral process is highly commendable. Thus, IFES believe this is a clear indication that INEC is a forward moving organization that is all inclusive in her work as we are witnessing today”.

The public presentation was attended by National Commissioners, Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs), Administrative Secretaries, Directors and other staff of INEC, Representatives of PWD based CSOs, Disability Experts, Media, as well as INEC PWDs Desk Officers from the 36 states and FCT.

 

OSUN GOVERORSHIP: SEVEN POLLING UNITS TO DECIDE ELECTION SEPTEMBER 27TH

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has scheduled Thursday 27th September, 2018 for the conclusion of the Osun Governorship election held on Saturday 22nd September 2018. The Commission said the election would be decided by 7 polling units where elections were canceled.

In a statement signed by the National Commissioner and Chairman of the Information of Voter Education and Information Committee (IVEC) , Prince Solomon Adedeji Soyebi and issued yesterday, the Commission said a winner could not be declared on first ballot in compliance to Extant Law, INEC Guidelines and Regulations.

The statement read: “based on the results collated by the Returning Officer, the Margin between the two leading candidates is 353 which is lower than the number of registered voters in the affected areas. Extant Law and INEC Guidelines and Regulations provide that where such a situation occurs, a declaration may not be made.

“In the light of the forgoing, the Commission met and decided that it will remobilize and return to the affected polling units on Thursday, 27th September, 2018 to rerun the elections, conclude collation and make a Return”.

The Returning Officer, Professor Joseph Adeola Fuwape, had announced that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had polled 254,698 votes, followed by the All Progressives Party (APC), with 254, 345 votes.

Prof. Funwape, said a total of 3,498 votes in 7 Polling Units across the states were cancelled due to disruption, over voting, no voting and malfunctioning of the Smart Card Reader in four LGAs involving Orolu, Ife South, Ife North, and Osogbo

While commending the people of Osun for their peaceful conduct, the Commission appealed to all stakeholders to continue with the maturity and peaceful manner they have so far approached the elections. It reiterated that “only the votes of the electorate in Osun State that will determine who becomes the next Governor of their state”.

 

OSUN: INEC, EFCC VOW TO TACKLE VOTE BUYING

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) would join hands to tackle the menace of vote selling and buying in elections.

Both organizations agreed that the phenomenon of vote buying was affecting the fabrics of elections and democracy and could undermine the integrity of elections and the democratic process if not tackled.

During a visit to the EFCC yesterday, Chairman of INEC, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, informed the anti-graft agency that “of immediate concern is the election we are holding on Saturday in Osun State. We have a major Governorship election holding in Osun this Saturday, and is going to be the last major election before the 2019 general elections and we have taken steps as a Commission but we need the support of the EFCC in this respect”.

Professor Yakubu said “of late we are worried, really worried about the new phenomenon gaining ground but we will not allow it determine (the outcome of) our elections and here I am refereeing to the critical problem of vote buying in our elections”.

Professor Yakubu noted that “vote selling and buying is earning a bad name for our democracy, a very bad name for our elections and we thought we should visit national institutions like the EFCC because you have under the law the powers to arrest, to investigate and to prosecute to help us so we can stem this ugly tide of vote buying”.

The INEC Chairman regretted that of late, the Commission had been observing increasing inducement through electronic transfers where some people transfer money into the accounts of some voters in order to influence their decisions on Election Day. “We believe that you have both the law and the capacity on your side to help us in this respect”, he told the Acting EFCC Chairman, Ibrahim Magu.

Professor Yakubu maintained that “ours should be a democracy where the votes of the people determine who wins or who loses in an election not voter inducement openly using cash at polling units and outside the polling units”.

While explaining that the Commission had taken steps to tackle previous challenges in the electoral process and assuring that the challenge of vote buying will be equally surmounted the, INEC Chairman said, “If you notice, over the years, the Commission has taken proactive steps, today you hear of less of ballot box snatching, less of abduction of INEC staff and materials, you hear less of other violations that characterize our elections and in the recent past you will never hear election results declared before polling units are closed’’.

Professor Yakubu further asked for EFCC support in the area of campaign finance and spending by candidates.

“The law has prescribed limits as to what candidates can spend in elections but we need enforcement of these laws. We don’t want the money bags to determine our democracy; we want the votes of the people to determine who wins in our elections”. h said.

On his part, the Acting EFCC Chairman, Ibrahim Magu buttressed the concern of vote buying raised by the INEC Chairman. He said: “There is a lot of concern from every reasonable Nigerian about vote buying. There is a lot of concern that we should not allow money bags to determine our democracy or to derail the electoral process”

Magu explained that his Commission had also taken steps to tackle the menace of vote buying. “We have done a lot of work; we have spoken to other law enforcement agencies. We are collaborating and have our men deployed to monitor cash transfers. We have also done a lot of work on issues around electioneering finances on vote buying. We are also collaborating with the banks”, he said.

The EFCC Chairman assured that the Commission will work on the side of the rule of law and continue to ensure that the process of democracy is not compromised nor determined by the money bags. “We have the mandate to arrest, investigate and prosecute and we and are going to take the election coming as a test case”, he said.

The Acting Chairman of EFCC appealed to Nigerians to support the Commission in the fight against corruption. “One way to fight corruption is to stop vote buying, stop voter inducement in elections so that democracy can thrive,” he said.

 

OSUN GUBER: CANDIDATES PLEDGE TO PEACEFUL PARTICIPATION AS INEC, SECURITY ASSURE OF READINESS TO CONDUCT CREDIBLE ELECTION

Candidates of the 48 Political Parties contesting the September 22nd governorship election in Osun State have unanimously pledged to play by the rules, while the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and Security Agencies have reassured of level playing field for all.

The unanimous declaration to peaceful conduct by the candidates was made today in the presence of His Royal Majesty, Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, the INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim K. Idris, other heads of security agencies, Traditional Rulers, Religious Leaders, Civil Society Organizations and the Media, during Election Stakeholders’ Forum in Osogbo the Osun state capital.

Chairman of INEC commended the Parties for their cooperation and peaceful conduct so far and implored them to continue to support the Commission to ensure only the votes of citizens cast freely determines who emerged the next governor of the state.

He said “our ultimate objective is to ensure that only the choice made by the people of Osun state and nothing else will determines the outcome of the election. I wish to reassure you that the Commission shall not take any action to the advantage or disadvantage of any political party or candidate. Our focus is on our processes and our procedures”.

“We are confident that with the arrangements we have put in place and the assurances of support from all stakeholders, the Osun state governorship election 2018 will be another good example of free, fair credible and peaceful election as well as a further affirmation of the maturity of our democracy”, the INEC Chairman added.

The INEC Chairman enumerated some of the activities the Commission had embarked upon to ensure Osun state governorship meets the expectations of all stakeholders. He said: “the Commission has undertaken intensive voter education and sensitization, held many consultative meetings with political parties and their candidates in addition to Town Hall meetings in Osun state at which very useful suggestions were made on how to enhance the credibility of the election”.

He continued: “we have also engaged and trained the ad-hoc staff required for the election, made arrangements for the delivery of personnel and materials to all polling units on Election Day”.

Professor Yakubu noted that there had been increasing improvements in the electoral process which was reflected in the Commission’s punctuality. He added that: “we have taken measures to improve the functionality of the Commission’s technological innovations to further safeguard the integrity and the credibility of elections. We will continue to ensure that our personnel and materials arrive promptly at polling units and that the Smart Card Readers function optimally”.

Speaking further on the improvement in the electoral process, he said: “The process of counting the ballot papers at polling units as well as the collation and declaration of results will continue to be prompt, open and transparent. Today, malpractices such as ballot box snatching and stuffing, multiple voting, diversion of election materials, hijacking of election personnel, falsification of results and sundry violations of electoral law have been considerably addressed”.

The INEC Chairman however frowned at the worrisome trend of vote buying and selling in elections which he observed was on the increase due to improvements in the electoral process, making it a certainty that votes now count. “ votes now count and for this reason, the voter has become the new target of those who are determined to continue to subvert the electoral process”, he said.

“The menace of vote buying and selling on election day is the latest challenge to our electoral democracy. We wish to assure Nigerians that the Commission will rise to this challenge as well”.

In response to the vote buying and selling challenge, the Chairman said the Commission has reviewed the administration of the polling units to make it difficult for voters to expose their marked ballot papers between the voting cubicles where they vote in secret and the ballot box where they cast their votes.

“We are working with the security agencies and other law enforcement agencies for a solution to this brazen violation of several provisions of the Electoral Act. We have also consulted widely with stakeholders on how to best address this issue. It was during one of such consultative meetings here in Osun state that they drew the Commission’s attention to the use of smart mobile phones by some voters to take pictures of their marked ballot papers in the voting cubicles and later present it to vote buyers as evidence for payment”.

To address this, the INEC Chairman disclosed that “Mobile phones or other photographic devices should not be taken into the voting cubicles after collecting the ballot paper as they move into the voting cubicle to make their choices and after thumb printing the ballot to drop in the ballot boxes”.

He dismissed insinuations that the Commission was banning mobile phones at polling units, saying, “It is counterproductive for the Commission to introduce a blanket ban on the use of mobile phones or other photographic devices at polling units on Election Day.

Professor Yakubu explained that: The Commission has consistently encouraged citizens to use their mobile phones in a number of ways, to report any incident that is a violation of the electoral law to volunteer information to INEC via its dedicated platforms. “We have introduced a number of platforms through which we can be reached real-time, including a toll-free INEC Citizens Contact Centre (ICCC) telephone line in addition to our Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts”.

…EXTENDS PVC COLLECTION TO WEDNESDAY, SEPT 19

The INEC Chairman expressed delight at the level of Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) collection in Osun state and announced a two day extension to the collection of PVCs before the election.

“I am happy that over 70% of registered voters in Osun state have collected their PVCs. Our office here is Osun state has announced that the collection of PVCs will be suspended today Monday 17th September 2018 at 5pm. However, in order to give opportunity for more voters to participate in the election, the collection of PVCs is hereby extended to 5pm on Wednesday 19th September 2018”.

…PVC COLLECTION HITS 73.6%

The Resident Electoral Commissioner in Osun, Mr. Olusegun Agbaje, said a total of 1,237,620 (73.58%) PVCs had been collected by citizens as at 16th September 2018. He said 444,310 (26.42%) were yet to be collected out of a total number of 1,682,495 registered voters in the state.

He disclosed that a total of 16,000 ad-hoc staff who were sourced from the National Youth Service Corps Members (NYSC), Federal Tetiary Institutions students and Federal Establishments workers in the stated in addition to INEC staff deployed for the election were already trained and were ready to be deployed.

Mr. Agbaje warned that violators of the electoral law will be made to face the full wrath of the law and reiterated INECs commitment to free, fair, and credible elections. He said “the Commission will never do anything that will diminish her current level of credibility but will conduct the Osun state governorship election by exhibiting the highest level of transparency, integrity and professionalism”.

…Election Security: Police Deploys 18, 426 officers to Osun

The Inspector General of Police(IGP), Ibrahim K. Idris said the police was deploying over 18,426 police personnel to by supervised by the Deputy Inspector General (DIG) in charge of Operations, assisted by one Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG) and 6 Commissioners’ of Police.

The IGP assured that the officers deployed for the election had been “lectured and educated on electoral conduct, behaviors, laws and offences and are therefore expected to conduct them in a highly professional and ethical manner”.

“I can assure you that the Police complemented by the other security agencies is ready to provide adequate security in the election space devoid of any violence and snatching of ballot papers”, he added.

OSUN: OONI of IFE COMMENDS INEC FOR IMPROVED STANDARDS

The Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, commended the leadership of INEC for its efforts at improving the integrity of elections in the country and expressed confidence in the Commission to deliver on its mandate.

The monarch said the Osun governorship election will be a mirror for the entire country and called for all political parties, candidates and other stakeholders to work together towards ensuring that the Osun governorship election becomes a positive mirror for the 2019 general elections.

Oba Ogunwusi called for all candidates to embrace the spirit of sportsmanship and embrace who ever emerges winner on Saturday 22nd September by letting the citizens determine who governs them in the next four years in a free and peaceful atmosphere.

 

VOTE BUYING: INEC SEEKS STAKEHOLDERS COOPERATION TO REVERSE TREND

While the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has constantly reiterated its commitment towards stemming the worrisome tide of vote buying, the Commission has asked for the support and cooperation of all stakeholders in the electoral process to achieve the feat.

Chairman of the Commission, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, made the call, today, at the#WatchingTheVote Election Series II, put together by Youth Initiative for Advocacy, Growth & Advancement (YIAGA) with the theme: ‘’Ending the scourge of Vote Buying and Selling in Nigerian Elections’’, held at the Sheraton Hotel, Abuja.

Professor Yakubu noted that the challenge of vote buying was not just worrisome to the Commission but the entire country. He described it as a cancer, a menace and a shame to the electoral process even as he expressed optimism that “we will overcome vote buying, just as we have risen to previous challenges to our electoral processes”.

He said: “The problem is hydra headed and therefore requires a number of approaches involving all and sundry, INEC, security agencies, Political parties, civil society organizations, the media and most obviously citizens themselves. We all have to come together to address this challenge. The truth is that buyers and sellers know that they are committing illegality but nobody comes out to say I am a vote buyer or I am a vote seller”.

The INEC Chairman observed that “some of the infractions take place at the polling units; some of them take place outside the polling unit on Election Day, yet some of the infractions take place before elections some even take place but the support of the new device called the electronic cash transfer”.

He outlined some of the steps the Commission is taking to address the challenge of vote buying starting with the Osun Governorship election scheduled for September 22nd 2018. He said: “For the infractions that happen at the polling units, we are looking big time at the administration of the polling units and we are going to use the Osun governorship election in the next 8 days to actually make a statement on vote buying.

“We are going to look at the administration of the polling units such that it will not be possible or it will be difficult to vote for voters who vote and expose their ballot papers to agents of the vote buyers so they are later settled to do so.

“The second is to try to ban the use of some devices that aide vote buying on Election Day such as the mobile phones. When we tried in some of the recent elections to tinker with the administration of the polling units, a new device was introduced. Some walk into the voting cubicles with their smart phones, thumb print the ballot paper, take a picture of the ballot paper, fold it up and drop it and walk away, then later they meet the vote buying agents to show evidence”.

The INEC Chairman added that Commission would use Voter Education and Citizen Sensitization strategies targeted at discouraging vote buying and selling in elections. “We will continue through our voter education programme to increase voter education and sanitization against vote buying “, he said.

Professor Yakubu used the opportunity to particularly call on the security agencies to apprehend vote vote buyers and sellers and cooperate with the Commission to prosecute them, while regretting that even though the law empowered INEC to apprehend and prosecute vote buyers, it lacked the capacity to arrest offenders.

He also assured that the Commission would continue to work with anti corruption agencies such as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Offenses Commission (ICPC) to track and prosecute offenders who explore the electronic cash transfer strategy to undermine the electoral process.

The INEC Chairman echoed the argument of previous speakers before him add the event when they attributed the emergence of vote buying to the improvement in the electoral process.

He said “elections are no doubt getting better and there are reasons. Today we have less of ballot paper snatching and ballot hijacking. We hear less of hijacking of INEC officials and materials. We now know the exact location of our Polling Units and their coordinates and the voter register is no longer a secret”.

He added: “no longer are results of elections declared while some people are still on the queue to vote, the Commission is now more transparent than before. …. The development of ICT has also greatly the process and no longer do people thumbprint ballots without getting accreditation”.

Professor Yakubu assured the people of Osun and Nigeria that only votes will continue to determine the outcome of elections in the country.

The newly inaugurated Chairman of the Inter Party Advisory Council (IPAC), High Chief Peter Ameh in his remarks, expressed optimism at the capability of INEC to tackle the menace of vote buying. He said: “We have an intellectually driven INEC as we speak and I know that INEC is going to look at ways by which this issue of vote buying that have come to surface would be dealt with” .

High Chief Ameh added that: “Our elections are getting better, and that is why people now pay for votes because the election is now credible because if our elections are not getting better nobody would bring out money to try to influence the wishes of Nigerians to select”.

The IPAC Chairman called on Nigerians and Political parties to support INEC as it works working day and Night to see that elections are credible. “Citizens must wake up to their social responsibility”, he said.

On his part, Mr Ezenwa Nwagwu, one of the Board members of YIAGA, said “vote buying has always been with us but it has gained some ascendancy in conversations now because our elections are getting better”

Ezenwa averred that “politicians buy votes because the citizens are now the ones who decide the votes unlike in the time past perhaps when materials are taken to the houses of politicians and thumb printed. Now they are bringing the monies to the voting areas and it is important that we put pressure on citizen’s engagement with this issue”.

The Executive Director of YIAGA, Samson Itodo presented the YIAGA report on vote buying in the recent Ekiti governorship election tagged: “Duly Elected or Duly Purchased” to the INEC Chairman and the public.

 

INEC ISSUES CERTIFICATE OF RETURN TO SENATORS-ELECT

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has issued certificate of return to senators-elect, Ahmad Babba Kaita, APC, Katsina North Senatorial District and Lawal Yahaya Gumau, APC, Bauchi South Senatorial District.

The two senators were returned elected during the last Saturday’s bye-elections in their respective constituencies.

Speaking after receiving his certificate, senator-elect Kaita, described the bye-election as free, fair and credible.

“Even as I experienced some difficulties at getting the impressions of my PVC picked by the Card Reader, yet I believed INEC have done well”, he said.

In his remarks, the senator-elect for Bauchi South senatorial district, Lawal Gumau described the election as equal to none in terms of level of preparations and conduct by INEC and its officials.

Gumau urged citizens to continue to support INEC to conduct credible elections.

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