INEC News Bulletin
2019: NATIONAL PEACE COMMITTEE EXPRESSES CONFIDENCE IN INEC, CANVASSES STAKEHOLDERS’ SUPPORT
The General Abdulsalam led National Peace Committee on Elections has called for the cooperation of all stakeholders in the electoral process in order to create conducive environment for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct free, fair and credible elections in 2019.
The Committee said it was confident that the Commission was ready to conduct general elections with the full support of all actors in the process.
Chairman of the National Peace Committee, General Abdulsalam Abubakar (Retired), made the call while briefing journalists after a meeting with the INEC Chairman, Professor Yakubu Mahmood, in Abuja, yesterday.
The Chairman of the Peace Committee said the meeting was convened to get briefing from the INEC Chairman on the level of preparations for the 2019 General Elections and the areas where the Peace Committee can support INEC to conduct peaceful polls in 2019.
“We invited the Chairman of INEC and for the last one hour or so he has briefed us on the preparation for the elections, his challenges and what he is going to do in order to make sure there is successful free and fair elections.
“On our part we will do the best we can in order to help sanitize the political arena. You members of the press have also a role and a duty to educate our people and the politicians so that when they go on campaigning, they campaign on issues and there should be politics without bitterness, there should be no rancor”.
Further rallying the support of media in the area of voter education and citizen’s sensitization, the Peace Committee Chairman said “You will also help us educate our citizens so that they will avoid being used as thugs during campaign and during elections. You should also help us educate Nigerians on their citizen’s rights to ensure that they collect their PVCs and ensure that their names are properly registered, to avoid ballot box snatching and all types of hooliganism during the elections”.
General Abdulsalam disclosed that the National Peace Committee was going to meet with leaders of political parties and subsequently get Presidential Candidates and Party Chairmen to sign a peace accord before the 2019 general elections.
He said: “The next stage is that we are going to meet with Chairmen and Secretaries of Political Parties tomorrow in order to discuss and also listen to them to see how we can make progress. After the meeting with the political parties, we are going to draw a memorandum of understanding for peace and tranquility and this we hope will be signed by all the presidential candidates and the Chairmen of the registered parties”.
“Our people should realize that peace is very paramount in every society, there must be peace before we conduct elections and there must be peace before we have a country”, General Abdulsalam stressed.
Responding to journalists on the purpose of the meeting after the briefing, the INEC Chairman, Professor Yakubu Mahmood, said “We are here to brief the committee on our preparations for the elections, we have told them everything that we have been doing to ensure free, fair and credible elections including the registration of voters, making the PVCs available for collection well ahead of the elections and some of the issues and challenges that we are facing for which we have sought the for the support of the National Peace Committee.
“So basically this is a routine meeting with the National Peace Committee and more of these interactions are planned ahead of the signing of the National Peace Accord involving the presidential candidates and the Chairmen of political parties and we’ll also continue this kind of interaction with other stakeholders as the elections approach.
2019: WE WILL CLOSELY MONITOR CAMPAIGNS BY POLITICAL PARTIES – INEC CHAIRMAN
As electioneering campaigns by political parties for the 2019 Presidential and National Assembly elections get underway, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said it will closely monitor how the parties conduct their activities to ensure compliance with the extant laws and regulations.
Chairman of the Commission, Professor Yakubu Mahmood, who declared this today at the regular Commission’s meeting with Resident Electoral Commissioner’s (RECs), however expressed pleasure at the focus of the campaigns which he observed has been based on policies rather than on personalities since the commencement of the campaigns on the 18th of November.
The INEC Chairman disclosed that the meeting with Resident Electoral Commissioners was convened to discuss ‘’the progress made on the collection of outstanding Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) by citizens as well as new modalities for a more efficient administration of the collection process”, among other things.
“Professor Yakubu while speaking on Commission’s strides since the last meeting with RECs held in September said “since then we have been working on the clean-up of the voters’ register, being the foundation for the conduct of credible elections. As required by law and in line with the Timetable and Schedule of Activities for the 2019 General Elections, the Commission recently displayed the register in al polling units nationwide for claims and objection by citizens.
“The objective (of the Display) was for citizens to help the Commission to identify any ineligible registrants such as persons below the statutory age of eighteen (18) years and non-Nigerians who may have registered as well as deceased persons and multiple registrants.
‘’At today’s meeting, the Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) will report on the outcome of the exercise in their various states”. The INEC Chairman promised to share the outcome of the discussion on the display of voter register the exercise with the public next week.
“Similarly, the meeting will consider the recruitment and training of election duty staff, discuss the ongoing review of the framework for voting by Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), explore additional assistive measures in support of Persons Living with Disabilities (PWDs) in the electoral process, examine additional ways to safeguard the sanctity of the ballot against the menace of vote buying at polling units, appraise issues relating to electoral logistics and generally assess facilities and preparations for the General Election”, he added.
…CANDIDATES LIST FOR THE FCT ELECTIONS OUT TODAY
Speaking on the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Elections scheduled to hold alongside the Governorship and state Houses of Assembly elections on March 2, 2019, Prof Yakubu said the list of candidates for the elections into 68 constituencies in the FCT will be published at the INEC FCT office as well as the six (6) Area Council offices today Wednesday 21stNovember 2018.
He called on citizens to exercise their civic responsibilities by checking the personal details of the Chairmanship and Councillorship candidates that seek to represent them for each of the 68 constituencies.
..INEC COMMISERATES WITH FAMILIES OF DECEASED STAFF
Commenting on the passage of four (4) members of staff of the Commission in Kogi state and one (1) in Edo state who died in road accidents last week, Prof Yakubu expressed deep regrets and prayed for the repose of their souls.
He said “similarly two (2) of our staff survived road accidents in Katsina state during the bye-election last weekend and one (1) election duty staff suffered a head injury following attack by hoodlums who destroyed election materials at a polling unit in Kwara state”.
“While we pray for the repose of the souls of those who lost their lives and wish the injured speedy recovery, we will work with the security agencies’ to ensure the arrest and prosecution of those involved in the attack on our staff”, he added
ELECTION MANAGEMENT BODIES IN ECOWAS MOVE TO CHECK INCREASING COST OF ELECTIONS
Concerned by the rising cost of conducting elections in the ECOWAS sub-region, Election Management Bodies in the sub-region under the umbrella of ECOWAS Network of Electoral Commission’s (ECONEC), have carried out a research with the aim of understanding causes and minimizing the cost of elections among member states.
The Study which was part of the two-year Work Plan (2016-2018) of ECONEC culminated into a two-day validation workshop that started yesterday in Abuja.
According to the President of ECONEC and Chairman , Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Professor Mahmood Yakubu, the study was done on six carefully selected countries of Nigeria; Liberia; Benin Republic; Senegal; Cape Verde; and Guinea Bissau.
He explained that the selection was done being“mindful of the different jurisdictions within the ECOWAS region”.
Professor Mahmood noted that the research was “borne out of the serious concern by all Electoral Commissions in the sub-region about the spiralling cost of conducting elections. With every cycle, the cost of elections keeps rising, making many countries unable to fund critical aspects of the electoral process as a sovereign responsibility”.
The ECONEC President outlined some areas where electoral expenditure continues to spiral. He said: “The ever-rising cost of voter registration and the compilation of credible voters’ register, recruitment and training of electoral officials, provision of electoral logistics, election security, civic and voter education, procurement of sensitive and non-sensitive materials, deployment of electoral technology, undertaking regular engagement with stakeholders and handling of pre-election and post-election litigations are enormous”.
Professor Mahmood lamented the burden such costs often have on national resources. His words: “the task of meeting such extensive expenditure has increasingly challenged the national resources of many countries in our region. It is against this background that Governing Board of ECONEC inaugurated this study to explore what we can do as Election Managers, working together with national stakeholders and development partners, to find ways to reduce the cost of elections without jettisoning new innovations or compromising the quality, transparency and credibility of elections”.
The ECONEC president called on Election Management Bodies in the ECOWAS region to synergize and fashion out ways to make elections cost-effective while upholding the mandate of conducting free, fair, and credible elections in their countries.
“It is imperative for Electoral Commissions in the ECOWAS region to rethink the way elections are funded in such a manner as to make the electoral process more cost-effective but yet free, fair and credible. This is because of the contending expenditure of government on other aspects of national development. An expensive election that ushers in a Government that lacks the resources to fulfil its campaign promises to citizens may, in the long run, erode public confidence in elections in particular and the democratic process in general”.
Director, Political Affairs at the ECOWAS, Dr. Ajibewa Remi, maintained that “organizing elections should be a matter of national sovereignty; however, the reality is that in most of our member states election budgets are largely funded by development partners which should not be the case, they often providing 50 % or more of the election expenses”.
The situation, Dr. Remi observed “often give rise to accusation of foreign intervention, influence in the selection of our leaders. For this reason, the time has come to pause and reflect on viable ways of self-financing our elections without jeopardizing the financial stability and independence of the electoral system of the commissions as well”.
He averred that the study under review current presents an opportunity to highlight the key and fundamental elements of election budgets and provide tools for realistic budgeting for EMBs and also for our national authorities.
Dr. Remi expressed optimism that “the study we are here to review and validate will expand the body of knowledge on the reasons for variations in the cost of elections across the ECOWAS region, elicit discussion among election stakeholders in financing elections in ECOWAS member states and equip ECONEC with empirical advocacy tool for the timely provision of adequate election funding for the benefit of member states”.
CAMPAIGN FOR PRESIDENTIAL AND NATIONAL ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS TO BEGIN SUNDAY
Political Parties who have fielded candidates for the February 16th, 2019 Presidential and National Assembly elections will by Sunday, 18th November 2018, commence campaigns across the country.
This is in line with the Timetable and Schedule of Activities issued by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and in accordance with Section 99(1) of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended) which provides that “the period of campaigning in public by every political party shall commence 90 days before polling day and end 24 hours prior to that day”.
Political Parties are expected to conduct their activities in an organized and peaceful manner, devoid of rancor, hate and/or inflammatory speeches.
Campaign for Governorship and State Houses of Assembly will commence 1st December 2018.
2019: POLITICAL PARTIES YET TO SUBMIT LIST OF CANDIDATES – INEC
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said that non of the 89 political parties that notified the Commission of their intention to conduct their primaries has submitted the list of its sponsored candidates to the Commission for the 2019 general elections as at yesterday 11 October 2018.
In a statement signed and issued by a member of the Information and Voter Education Committee (IVEC), National Commissioner, Mohammed Haruna, the Commission said all 89 parties were yet to submit the list of their sponsored candidates contained in CF 002 and personal particulars contained in Form 001 to the centre designated by the Commission for the collection.
The Commission reminded the parties that the deadline for the submission of Forms CF001 and CF002 for the 2019 general elections remain October 18 2018, while the deadline for submitting same for the Governorship and State Assemblies is 2nd November, 2018.
In a related development the Commission has reorganized the Chairmanship of 5 out of its 15 Standing Committees. As contained in the statement, Barrister Festus Okoye will now Chair the Information and Voter Education Committee (IVEC), while Prince Solomon Adedeji Soyebi, will Chair the Board of the Electoral Institute.
Similarly, Dr Mohammed Mustafa Lecky is the new Chairman of the Planning, Monitoring and Strategy Committee; Mrs. Amina Bala Zakari, would head the Health and Welfare Committee; and Prof. Okechukwu Ibeanu, will now Chair the Electoral Operations and Logistics Committee.
2019 GENERAL ELECTIONS: OONI OF IFE RALLIES SUPPORT FOR INEC
By Chinwe Ogbuka, Assistant Director, Publicity
The Ooni of Ife, his Imperial Majesty, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, has appealed to Nigerians to support the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct free, fair, credible and peaceful elections in 2019 even as he assured the Commission of the Traditional Rulers’ support and prayers for the Chairman of the Commission and INEC officials.
The Oba, who made the appeal on Tuesday when the Chairman of INEC, Professor Mahmood Yakubu led a delegation on a courtesy visit to the Oba’s Palace in Ile Ife also appealed to Nigerian youths to shun violence and join hands to make the work of INEC easier.
The Monarch expressed appreciation for the visit saying, “We feel very delighted and very honored that you find it very honourable to visit us in Ife and the throne of Oduduwa. I thank God for your life and we will be praying for you.
“I assure you that everyone in the Kingdom of Ife will continue to pray for you because you want things to be done well. We told you that all will be well in Osun Governorship election, we assured you that things will go very well and things went well. I want to let you know that the throne of Oduduwa played that role to be neutral,” he added.
2019: INEC REFUTES MEDIA REPORTS ON POSTPONEMENT OF ELECTIONS
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has reacted to a report that appeared on the front page of a national daily yesterday with the headline “We May Shift 2019 Polls over Threat of Violence – INEC”.
The Commission said the story did not correctly represented what the INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu said at the Inter-agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) ) which held at the Commission’s headquarters on September 11, 2018.
In a statement signed and issued by the Chief Press Secretary (CPS) to the INEC Chairman, Rotimi Lawrence Oyekanmi yesterday, the Commission explained that “Professor Yakubu made reference to Section 26 of the Electoral Act 2010 (as Amended) only to underscore the importance of having peace and order in place before, during and after elections and to emphasize the significance of the synergy between the Commission and security agencies) but NOT to anyway create impression for shift of the 2019 General Elections dates
The statement that ‘’ at no point during his remarks did the INEC Chairman allude to the notion that the Commission may shift 2019 polls over threat of violence as reported by the national newspaper
“To be sure, INEC has no plan to postpone the 2019 General Elections”. The statement concluded.
It would be recalled that INEC had in January this year fixed February 16 and March 2, 2019 for the conduct of Presidential and Governorship elections, respectively.
2019: INEC PLANS INTER-AGENCY COLLABORATIVE FRAMEWORK TO CURB VOTE BUYING
In a definitive move to deal with the menace of vote buying during elections, the Independent National Electoral Commission has hinted that it would establish an Inter-agency collaborative framework to deal with the phenomenon.
Chairman of the Commission, Professor Mahmood Yakubu gave the hint while receiving the Acting Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), Alh. Musa Usman Abubakar in INEC Headquarters, Abuja, yesterday.
The INEC Chairman who reiterated that the Commission would make big statement out of the forthcoming Osun State Governorship election in the area of vote buying said “the Commission is working towards setting up an Inter-agency collaborative framework against vote buying and the menace of overspending beyond what the electoral act provides for those who campaign for the votes of citizens.
“As you are aware under the law, there are spending limits for parties and candidates who participate in elections and this interagency framework will include the cooperation and active participation of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), ICPC, and Security agencies particularly the Police, the Department of State Services (DSS) and the Nigerian Intelligence Agency (NIA) . Very soon, immediately after the Osun governorship elections the Commission will unveil that framework for collaborative effort aimed at further sanitizing our electoral process.
“INEC is determined to ensure that vote buying does not determine our 2019 general elections. The votes cast by citizens will continue to determine who wins in our elections and we are focusing more on the processes leading to that outcome. The outcome for any election is entirely in the hands of the voters but we are responsible in ensuring that the processes lead to free, fair and credible electoral process”, he added.
The INEC Chairman further explained that, “in addition to working with the EFCC and the ICPC, INEC is also taking steps to ensure that votes are not bought particularly on Election Day. We have said that we are going to review the administration of our polling units in such a way that will make it difficult if not impossible for citizen who vote to expose their marked ballot papers before dropping the ballot papers into the ballot boxes.
“As you are aware, voting is secrete but the casting of the ballot is done in the open as required by the electoral act that is why we have the voting cubicles where citizens can make their choice in secrete before dropping the ballot papers into the ballot boxes. So we are going to examine the administration of the polling units such that it will almost impossible for citizens to expose their ballot papers as they travel between the voting cubicles and the ballot boxes’’, he added.
The INEC Chairman appealed to citizens to cooperate with the Commission to reverse the trend of vote buying and sanitize the electoral processes. “We need the support and cooperation of citizens and to ensure that this is achieved , I would like to reiterate what the Commission has done In the past to empower citizens to report where there are violations or infractions so that INEC can respond speedily; for instance, we have the INEC Citizens Contact Centre (ICCC)) which provides a toll free number directly linked to the INEC situation room on election day, and I would like to appeal to Nigerians where ever they see violations of the electoral act to quickly report this using the toll free number under our ICCC platform so we can very speedily respond’’.
Earlier in his remarks, the Acting Chairman of the ICPC, Alh. Musa Usman Abubakar , said the purpose of the visit was to seek collaborative ways of combating the menace of vote buying which had become a source of concern for citizens and the anti corruption agencies.
“The main reason why we are here is to identify with what the public are experiencing today from the elections that were recently conducted in some states, the major issue is the issue of vote buying. It is now a major concern among the people on the streets that vote buying is now in vogue in our elections generally and it is really something of concern to us the anti corruption agencies and INEC,” he said.
The Acting ICPC Chairman explained that his Commission was empowered to deal with cases of corruption and bribery which the vote buying fell under. His words: “the ICPC has enormous powers to deal with all cases of corruption and malpractices including those in elections. our laws under the ICPC Act (2000), Section 6 A to F, has empowered the Commission to investigate and prosecute any person involved in any act of bribery and corruption under any law that prohibits corruption . I believe the Electoral Act also provides a number of sections that deals with corruption and bribery so vote buying is one of the corrupt practices that are prohibited under both our act and the Electoral Act.
Both organizations pledged to continue to work together to sanitize the electoral process and ensure that only the votes of citizens determined who emerged winner in elections.
2019: CSO’s REVIEW ELECTION OBSERVATION CHECKLIST FROM A GENDER PERSPECTIVE
In a bid to improve the Checklist for Election Observation to reflect current realities with regards to women participation in elections, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) have converged to review the existing checklist ahead of the 2019 general elections.
The one day meeting to review Election Observation Checklist from a Gender perspective was organized by INEC with support from the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), on Monday (12th November) in Abuja.
National Commissioner, AVM Ahmed Tijjani Muázu (Rtd), who declared the meeting open, recognized the importance of international standards which demanded that elections provide equal and equitable opportunity for participation by women and men. He said “INEC has ensured that gender issues are entrenched in election observation”.
AVM Muazu maintained that ”as managers of Africa’s largest democracy, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has entrenched a culture of electoral administration that recognizes election observation as a vital component of election delivery system”.
The National Commissioner explained that ”the Commission has developed and deployed tools to assist in the evaluation of the effect of electoral activities on women in the electoral circle. One of the tools developed and used during the 2015 general elections was gender checklist. This tool has also been deployed in the governorship elections thereafter and this is in line with international best practices”.
AVM Muazu said the review meeting became imperative as 2019 general elections approached to conform to the changes that might have occurred since the last general elections.
The National Commissioner implored representatives of the CSOs present to make meaningful contributions to improving election observation checklist with the hope that the 2019 general elections will mark a turning point for women’s visibility and representation in the electoral process in Nigeria.
The Director of Voter Education and Publicity, INEC, Oluwole Osaze-Uzzi, explained that the inclusion of gender on the observation checklist in the build up to the 2019 general election was in response to complaints made by the CSOs and Women Rights Organizations about the inadequate support and commitment to mainstreaming gender into election observation in Nigeria.
He said the issue of gender equality and access has remained on the front burner of the Commission’s engagement, both at the institutional reform level and engagements with stakeholders in the electoral process.
Mr. Osaze-Uzzi stressed that the need for participants to bring their experiences and expertise to play and reaffirmed the Commission’s determination to conduct free, fair, credible and inclusive elections in 2019.
The Deputy Director in charge of the Gender Division, INEC, Mrs Blessing Obidegwu, while stating the objectives of the meeting said updating the gender checklist for election observation will help to improve the quality of election observation by capturing the issue of inclusivity and human rights.
She said it will also enhance the qualitative involvement of women in the electoral process at all levels and stages of the electoral cycle. “It will also evaluate and strengthen women’s participation in politics through evidence based recommendations that would address gender inequalities in access to politics”, Obidegwu added.
INEC COMMENCES NATIONWIDE DISPLAY OF REGISTER OF VOTERS TODAY
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has commenced nationwide display of register of voters, today.
The exercise which would last seven days was designed to clean-up the registers ahead of the 2019 General Elections.
The Chairman INEC, Professor Mahmood Yakubu while receiving a the ECOWAS Fact Finding Mission to Nigeria led by Mr Mohammet N’fa Conteh in Abuja yesterday, said the exercise would kick-start on Tuesday 6 to end on Monday 12, November 2018.
During the Display, voters are required to cross check the details of their personal particulars and make claims for corrections in the event of any wrong entry; or raise objection against the inclusion of name of any ineligible person(s) for removal from the register.
The Display would take place in all polling units nationwide, while hearing of claims and objections would be done at ward centres, from 9:00am to 3:00pm daily. Permanent Voter Cards of persons who registered from 2017 to March 2018 would also be available for collection at ward centres during the exercise, and would revert to Local Government offices of the Commission after exercise.
The Commission said it was determined to remove from the register the name of any person(s) proven to have registered when he/she was not qualified to do so. Such person(s) include: non-Nigerians, the under-Aged, the deceased and those who registered more than once.
Already, ‘’more than 300, 000 names of ineligible persons have been removed from the register through the Automated Fingerprint Identification System’’, Prof, Yakubu said.
He further called on all stakeholders to support the Display and Clean-up exercise: ‘’the responsibility of cleaning up the register does not rests on INEC alone, but on every Nigerian’’, said he.
Earlier in his remark, the leader of ECOWAS Mission, Mr Comteh who also serves as current Chairman of the National Electoral Commission of Sierra Leone said his team was in the Commission to find information on the level of INEC’S preparation for the 2019 General Elections.
During the visit, the Mission would interact with some election stakeholders including civil society organizations (CSOs), the media and some and democratic institutions in the states’’, Mr Comteh said.
CVR: WE CAPTURED OVER FOURTEEN MILLION NEW REGISTRANTS IN 16 MONTHS – INEC
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) said 14,551,482 new registrants were recorded in the recently suspended nationwide Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) exercise. The exercise which lasted for 16 months commenced on April 27th, 2017 and was suspended on the August 31st, 2018.
Chairman of the Commission, Professor Mahmood Yakubu made the disclosure today at the Commission’s third quarterly consultative meeting with Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) at the Commission’s Headquarters, Abuja.
Addressing the RECs, Professor Yakubu said: “As you are aware, the Commission concluded the current phase of the nationwide CVR exercise last week. For a period of sixteen (16) months, from 27thApril 2017 to 31stAugust 2018, the exercise was conducted continuously in all the states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) as envisaged by the Electoral Act. At the end of the exercise, a total of 14,551,482 new voters were registered. If this figure is added to the existing register of 69,720,350 voters, it means that the nation now has a voter population of 84,271,832”.
He however explained that the figure might reduce after the Commission carries out a cleanup of the register to rid it of multiple registrations. “The figure may drop slightly after we run the Automatic Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS), The current figure represents about 21% increase on the existing register”, he said.
Speaking further on the CVR exercise, the INEC Chairman said “ the Commission is also processing 769,917 requests for intra and inter-State transfers as well as 1,178,793 requests for replacement of lost, damaged or cards with misspelt names or incorrect personal details of voters as required by law. This means that the Commission has to print a total of 16,500,192 Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs) and make them available for collection by citizens ahead of the 2019 general elections.
“Already, the Commission has printed the PVCs for those registered in 2017 and delivered them to States for collection. I can also confirm that the PVCs for 2.7 million voters registered in the first quarter of 2018 have been printed and will be delivered to the States next week”.
…BULK SMS TO PROMOTE PVC COLLECTION
The INEC Chairman added that as part of efforts aimed at ensuring citizens got their PVCs with minimum inconveniences, the Commission had entered into partnership with the Nigerian Telecommunications Commission (NCC) to send bulk SMS to citizens for the collection of their PVCs.
“We shall ensure that the process of collection is simplified with minimum inconvenience to citizens. We will also ensure that information about the collection of PVCs is widely disseminated. Already, we are partnering with telecommunication companies to send bulk text (sms) messages to citizens for the collection of their PVCs”, the Chairman said.
“Today’s meeting will also consider other options, including the devolution of collection to Ward level. We however wish to restate the Commission’s policy that no PVCs will be collected by proxy. Registered voters must endeavour to collect their cards personally. We are working hard to ensure that no PVC goes into the wrong hands”, he added.
..INEC FULLY READY FOR OSUN ELECTION
Commenting on preparations for the forthcoming Osun state governorship election scheduled for Saturday, 22nd September 2018, Professor Yakubu assured that preparations were in full gear.
“All processes and activities are going according to our timetable and schedule of activities released almost a year ago. The last major activity was the presentation of the Voters’ Register to each of the 48 political parties fielding candidates in the election, giving detailed information of the distribution of the 1.6 million registered voters by Local Government Areas, Wards and Polling Units.
“We are working on a multi-faceted approach to the menace of vote-buying and other sundry electoral malpractices. We will introduce changes to the election-day administration of our polling units, in addition to the electronic tracking of our sensitive materials. We are discussing with the security agencies on a more vigorous enforcement of the law against voter-inducement. Furthermore, we are working with the Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC) and other stakeholders on voter education and sensitization”.
While assuring the people of Osun that only their votes would determine who emerged winner in the September 22nd governorship elections, Professor Yakubu further assured Nigerians that every registered voter will get their PVCs before the 2019 general elections.
OSUN GUBER: INEC RESTATES COMMITMENT TO EQUITABLE ACCESS TO IMFORMATION
As the Osun Governorship election and the 2019 General Elections draw nearer, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said it was committed to ensuring un-impeded access to information by the media.
This was the major take-home from two forums held separately for Journalists and for Social Media Influencers in Osogbo, Osun State.
Speaking at the Forum for Journalists, the Chief Press Secretary to the Honourable Chairman INEC, Mr Rotimi Lawrence Oyekanmi said INEC would guarantee equitable media access to information in all exercises.
He urged the practitioners to always verify information with the Commission to prevent fake news. ‘’Fairness and accuracy is the hallmark of journalism’’, he added.
‘’INEC recognises the important role media plays in the electoral process; therefore, balanced and objective coverage is needed so as not to endanger the process’’, he said.
In their separate remarks the General Managers of NTA Osun, Osun State Broadcasting Corporation (OSBC) and Rave FM among others, expressed commitment to providing credible electoral information to members of the public.
Earlier in a remark, the Deputy Director, Publicity, INEC, Aliyu Bello said the meeting was designed to sensitize the practitioners on preparations for the September 22nd, 2018 Osun Governorship Election.
In his opening address, the Resident Electoral Commissioner, INEC Osun State Mr. Olusegun Agbaje, represented by the Head, Voter Education and Publicity, Ojewande Stephen commended the media for positive ‘’contributions and support at ensuring the realisation of the cardinal objectives of the Commission’’ and urged them ‘’to sustain the tempo throughout the remaining period of the forthcoming election’’.
Reeling out statistics of PVC collection in the State, Mr Agbaje said as at September 8th, 2018 there were 407,193 yet to be collected PVCs in the Commission and urged owners of such cards to visit Commission’s designated centres to collect their cards.
The Forum was organized with the support of Internal Foundation for Electoral System (IFES).
In a related development INEC organized a similar forum for Social Media Influencers.
The forum which was attended by bloggers and online media publishers provided opportunity for the operators to discuss and synergize with INEC for credible, fair and balanced coverage of the election, devoid of fake news and publication of unconfirmed reports.
INEC INTRODUCES WRITTEN INTRUCTIONS AT PUs
In an effort to promote the voting rights of Persons Living with Disabilities (PWDs) through sound Voter Education, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has introduced the use of written instructions at polling unit levels and transcribed voter education materials into braille. The initiative was aimed at assisting persons with hearing or visual impairments.
This was disclosed by the Deputy Director in charge of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), Mrs Dorathy Bello in a paper she delivered at a one-day forum for Persons Living with Disabilities in Osogbo, Osun State.
Similarly, Mrs Bello hinted that since the recent bye-elections, INEC has been provided magnifying glasses to assist visually impaired persons.
OSUN GUBER: INEC ADOPTS MORE STRATEGIES TO FIGHT VOTE BUYING
Disturbed by the alarming trend of vote buying, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) said beginning with the September 22nd, 2018 Osun Governorship Election more strategies would be adopted to stem the tide.
This was revealed by the Resident Electoral Commissioner, INEC Osun State, Mr Olusegun Agbaje MFR, mni during a one-day Implementation Meeting on Voter Education and Publicity in Osogbo, today.
Commissioner Agbaje said in addition to measures already taken by the Commission in previous elections to check the menace of vote buying during elections, INEC would reposition the polling unit structure to strengthen the sanctity of the balloting process to ensure all weak points were blocked to prevent vote buying.
Mr Agbaje hinted that among the three security officials to be deployed to every polling unit one would be briefed to ensure that no voter displays his/her ballot paper to politicians for reward after voting.
The Commissioner who urged voters not to enter the voting cubicles with their cell phones said he was working with the Commission’s National Headquarters to create a policy that would stop voters from entering the voting cubicle with cell phones.
He said some voters enter the voting cubicle with cell phones to make photographs of their ballot paper for subsequent display to buyers.
‘’If air travellers could afford to switch off their phones for the length of time they were air-bound, I see no reason why voters could not afford to keep their phones away for the two minutes they would take inside the voting cubicle to cast their ballots’’, he queried.
On the size of ballot paper for the election, Mr Agbaje said ‘’with 48 political parties contesting in the election, the ballot paper will be enlarged’’.
He urged stakeholders to carry out effective sensitization on elections to ensure voters are well enlightened on voting.
Reeling out the statistics of Permanent Voters’ Card (PVCs) collection, Mr Agbaje said the State received a total of 1, 676,212 PVCs (both the new and old) out of which 1,180, 049 have been collected by their respective owners, while 496,163 were yet to be collected; a figure which he said represents 70.9% and 29.6%, respectively.
The Commissioner said the current number of PVC collection in the State is well ahead of the recorded 70% in 2014 and more efforts were being made to encourage collection, which might possibly reach 75% before the governorship election.
‘’We have devolved the collection to Registration Area level and would wish to take it to polling unit levels but for obvious logistical reasons and funding’’, he added.
In his remarks the Director Voter Education and Publicity, INEC, Barr. Oluwole Osaze Uzzi charged participants to sensitize voters on ballot paper handling and correct thumb printing to minimize the number of invalid votes.
He said with the high number political parties contesting in the election which invariable translates to larger size of the ballot papers, voters need to be enlightened on how best to handle the ballot paper to avoid high number of voided ballots.
Director Uzzi also warned that ‘’until final collation and declaration is made by the appointed officials, it is wrong and sactionable to announce or publish the election outcome by any person’’.
The Osun State Director of National Orientation Agency, Yomi Olashade; IFES Deputy Country Director, Mrs Oloma I.; General Managers of Media Corporations as well as representatives of both Muslim and Christian communities in the State were among the many stakeholders that attended the meeting.
The total number of PVC collection in Osun State (both old and new, as at 30/8/2018) was 1,180, 049; while, the total number of uncollected was 496, 049; representing 70.4% and 29.6% respectively as against what was carried yesterday.
OSUN GOVERNORSHIP ELECTION: INEC EXPRESSES READINESS AS POLICE, OTHER STAKEHOLDERS PLEDGE COMMITMENT TO PEACEFUL CONDUCT
Barely 22 days to the conduct of the governorship election scheduled to hold in Osun state on the 22nd of September, 2018, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has expressed its readiness to conduct an election that meets the expectations of Nigerians.
The assurance was given by the Chairman of the Commission, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, at a one-day Seminar organized by the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, with the theme: Imperativeness of Police Collaboration with Essential Stakeholders: Towards Secured, Free, Fair and Credible Elections in Nigera, which held in Osogbo the Osun state capital on Thursday.
The INEC Chairman who was represented by the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Osun state, Mr. Olusegun Agbaje, said “I can confidently say that INEC is over 80 percent ready for the conduct of the governorship election on the 22nd of September, 2018”.
He explained that to ensure the elections were credible, the Commission in its preparation was carrying out comprehensive and targeted voter education, Continuous Voter Registration (CVR0, Distribution of Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs), training of security agents on the electoral process and election security among others.
“In addition, several innovations including the Smart Card Reader, the Permanent Voter Cards (PVC), Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES), customization of ballot papers, e-colletion among others introduced to the electoral process have greatly impacted on the credibility of the elections conducted by the Commission since the 2015 general elections”.
Professor Yakubu reeled the electoral statistics for the Osun governorship election. He said: the state has a total of 3010 Polling Units (PUs); 332 Registration Areas (RAs); 30 Local Government Areas (LGAs); and 755 Voting Points (VPs).
Other statistics on Osun governorship election the INEC Chairman gave are: 1,682,495 Registered Voters; 1,168,719 (61.72%) PVCs collected as at 29th August, 2018; and 507,493 (30.28%) uncollected PVCs as at 29th August, 2018.
The INEC Chairman further disclosed that that: “over 15,700 ad-hoc staff would be deployed for the conduct of the election. Similarly, over 16,000 Security Personnel would be deployed to man INEC facilities such as the PUs, RACs, Collation Centres, INEC LGA offices and INEC state office”.
The INEC Chairman used the occasion to implore the security agencies to secure the electoral space to allow for peaceful conduct of the election. his words: “despite the immense efforts in the past to properly secure the conduct of elections by the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on election Security (ICCES), election security has continued to pose a very enormous challenge and if we must surmount this challenge, all hands must be on deck . In this regard, the Police and other security agencies have a very big role to play”.
He continued: Apart from ensuring the safety of lives and properties at all times, security agencies must also ensure that they make the environment safe and peaceful at all stages in the electoral process especially where and when conflict is envisaged such as during political rallies, political parties meetings, polling, counting of votes, announcement of result and during post result announcement activities.
“The security agencies must always ensure that the Political Party leaders and their followers are properly admonished to shun all acts that constitute electoral vices by justly exercising their power to apprehend and investigate violators of extant laws, whose activities pose threats to effectively cooperate with INEC at all stages of the electioneering process to adequately secure the process”.
Harping on the need to collectively deal with the trend of vote buying, Professor Yakubu said: “there is need for a very strong message to vote buyers and sellers as well as other perpetrators of criminal activities during elections by arresting snd prosecuting anyone found wanting no matter how highly placed in line with the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) to serve as deterrent to others”.
He assured that only the registered voters in Osun state will use their PVCs to elect the next governor of the state come Saturday 22nd September 2018.
The convener of the seminar and Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, it was imperative for the Police to hold regular consultative meetings with stakeholders as the 2019 general elections approached.
He said this was important so as to “fashion out ways of delivering violent free elections that would be adjudged free, fair and credible in the observation lens of both local and international observers”.
The IGP explained that the Police and other Security personnel involved in election security would continue to receive the necessary training to ensure that their conducts do not fall below expectations and assured that disciplinary measures will be taken against any officer found wanting.
He called for the cooperation of all stakeholders in the electoral process to continue to secure the electoral space in Nigeria.
In his goodwill message, the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, said it was time for all stakeholders to synergize for the conduct of peaceful elections in the country.
The monarch maintained that that state was greater than any individual and called on all aspirants in the Osun governorship election to work together for the betterment of the people of the state.
The Summit had in attendance most aspirants for the governorship seat in the state, representatives of Security Agencies, Civil Society, Leaders of Political Parties, Traditional and Religious Leaders, Local and International Observers and other stakeholders in the electoral process who all pledged to that they would ensure that Osun governorship elections would be conducted in a free, fair and peaceful environment.
OSUN GUBER: INEC COMMENCES TRAINING OF POLL OFFICIALS
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has commenced the training of Supervisory Presiding Officers (SPOs) on Polling and Counting Procedures for Osun State Governorship Election.
The 2-day training which started yesterday at Ataoja School of Science Oshogbo, is organized by the Electoral Institute (TEI).
The Acting Director General of the Institute, Dr. Saad Umar said the exercise was aimed at developing the skills of the officers to effectively cascade the training to Presiding and Assistant Presiding Officers who would be involved in the election.
Declaring the training open the Honorable Resident Commissioner, INEC Osun State, Mr. Olusegun Agbaje MFR, mni. urged participants to remain focused, fair and nonpartisan in the discharge of their duties.
He advised them to ask questions where necessary and participate actively as only the best would eventually get selected as trainers for the upcoming training of Presiding Officers (POs) and Assistant Presiding Officers (APOs).
2019: UNITED NATIONS, ECOWAS DRUM SUPPORT FOR INEC
With 109 days to open the polls on February 16 2019 for the Presidential and National Assembly elections, members of the International Community have continued to express readiness to support the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) towards organizing free, fair, credible and peaceful elections.
The latest pledge to support the Commission from the international community when a delegation from the Joint mission of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the United Nations (UN), led by the United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary – General for West Africa and the Sahel, Dr. Mohamed Ibn Chambas, paid a courtesy visit to the INEC Headquarters in Abuja, today.
The envoy who commended the Professor Mahmood Yakubu led INEC for its efforts at improving elections in Nigeria and the ECOWAS sub-region, noted that “you need the cooperation from all stakeholders, and also have the solidarity of the international community, we understand the difficult task that is before you, and this is a lead country in our sub-region and in Africa with appreciable population”.
Dr. Ibn Chambas observed that the task before INEC was enormous; stressing that INEC was a model to other Election Management Bodies in Africa. He said: “at the end of the last exercise for new voters, you registered about 14 to 15 million new voters, that is the size of the voting population of other big countries in the region, this is quite a task”.
He continued: “you need all the cooperation and understanding from all stakeholders. ECOWAS and UN want to pledge to continue to support you in our own little way so that at the end of the day we can say as we did in 2015 without any hesitation that the elections were conducted in a peaceful atmosphere, were credible and all who wanted to participate had the opportunity to do so”.
The UN Representative intimated the Commission on efforts taken by the joint mission in soliciting support of other stakeholders towards achieving peaceful and credible elections in Nigeria in 2019.
He said they had commenced interactions with candidates on ensuring conducive environment for the conduct of elections. His words: “yesterday we had an audience with President Mohammadu Buhari and he assured us of his determination as chairman of ECOWAS and the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to do everything within his powers to ensure that credible, transparent, free and fair elections are conducted in 2019. We intend in the coming weeks to meet with other candidates to ask for their cooperation to engage in issue based campaigns and to ensure you have the space to conduct your duty”.
On security, the envoy said the team had been received by the hierarchy of the Nigerian Armed Forces and the hierarchy of the Nigerian Police Force to discuss preparations to secure the electoral process and to give INEC the assurance that they will be able to perform..
“We were given these assurances by the Nigerian Armed forces and the Police that they will also carry out their constitutional responsibilities to make sure that every Nigerian registered to vote, would be able to cast their vote in a secure environment including and especially those in IDP camps”, he said.
Dr. Ibn Chambas also spoke on interventions with Civil Society community. He said: “we have been interacting with Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) asking for their cooperation and support to INEC particularly on voter education. Whereas you do your best in this regard, we believe that CSOs can help a lot by sending the message to the ordinary person in the villages, in the towns and the cities of Nigeria so that they are well educated about their rights and responsibilities”.
Responding, the INEC Chairman, represented by the Acting Chairman of the Commission, Dr. Mustafa Lecky, commended the Joint Mission for its effort and call for further support to the Commission. He alluded that conducting free, fair, credible and peaceful elections is a collective responsibility.
The INEC Chairman acknowledged the support of the international community towards the preparations for the 2019 elections through various agencies such as the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), the European Centre for Electoral Support (ECES), GIZ, ECOWAS, ECONEC and other agencies. He noted their contributions to capacity building for staff and other stakeholders.
Professor Mahmood while intimating the Commission’s guests on steps taken in preparation for the 2019 general elections explained that: “INEC has produced a lot of macro level documents which guides our processes and our activities. I would like to mention the strategic plan 2017- 2021, the Strategic Plan of Action, the Election Project Plan which is the actual count down towards the 2019 general elections”.
He continued: “we are setting up the Election Monitoring Support Centre with support of our partners, IFES, ECES, some UN agencies and other bilateral organizations. The EMSC will be used as the centre for monitoring all the activities in our strategic programme of Action countdown imputing on daily, weekly and monthly bases how far we have gone with the countdown towards the election”.
Other areas where the INEC Chairman spoke on the Commission’s preparation include; the early release of the Timetable and Schedule of Activities for the 2019 general elections and strict adherence, the conduct of the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) exercise, Display of the Register of Voters for Claims and Objection, Voter Education, Enhancement of the Smart Card Readers, procurement for 2019, Legal Framework, and pending bye-elections.
Professor Mahmood solicited for more support from the UN and ECOWAS in the areas of mobilization for participation, voter education, and engagement with security through capacity building to enable them secure the electoral space.
INEC SUSPENDS BYE ELECTION
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has suspended Port-Harcourt 3 State Constituency bye-election scheduled for Saturday 18th, August 2018 in Rivers State.
According to a statement signed and issued by the State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Obo Effanga, the suspension was on account of widespread disruption of the process by armed hoodlums.
The statement said, ‘’the Commission in full readiness for the said election deployed personnel and materials to the 142 polling units involved (in the bye-election) and election commenced peacefully in all units; however, midway into the elections, miscreants and hoodlums accompanied by heavily armed security personnel in uniform stormed the various polling units and Registration Areas disrupting activities, destroying and carting away election materials including smart card readers and ballot boxes.
‘’In addition, many electoral officials were manhandled, injured and held hostage’’, it added.
‘’As a result of this widespread and wanton disruption of the electoral process as reported from the field by Supervisory Presiding Officers and Supervisors from the Commission and also, having reviewed the situation, the Commission in accordance with the provisions of Section 26 of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended)has decided to suspend the elections forthwith’’, the statement concludes.
VOTE BUYING: INEC SEEKS COOPERATION OF POLITICAL PARTIES TO STEM THE TIDE
Concerned about the allegations of vote buying during elections, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has called on registered political parties join efforts by the Commission reverse the ugly trend.
Chairman of the Commission, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, made the appeal today at a brief ceremony to present the Certificates of registration to Chairmen of the 23 new Political Parties recently registered by the Commission.
In a ceremony which held at INEC Headquarters in Abuja today, Professor Yakubu said, “The Commission is deeply worried about our elections, particularly the way they are becoming increasingly monetized. Vote buying is a cancer to our elections and we must work together collectively to stamp it out”.
He hinted that “on the part of the Commission, starting with the Osun state governorship election coming up on the 22nd of September 2018, we will change the way our Polling Units are administered, such that there will be no room for voters to expose their marked ballot papers between the voting cubicles and the ballot boxes”.
The INEC Chairman assured that the Commission would continue to review its strategies in consultation with security agencies for a more robust response to the arrest and prosecution of vote buyers and would engage with all well meaning groups for effective voter education and sensitization..
Professor Yakubu said that the 23 political parties emerged from the 144 applications received by the Commission saying, “from today you are recognized as political parties under the law and you have equal status with any political party in Nigeria. This means that you can sponsor candidates for elections including the 2019 general elections”.
He continued: “The formal commencement of activities for the 2019 general elections begins tomorrow Friday 17th August 2018 with the publication of notice of poll. Already, the commission has concluded all arrangement for doing so in all our offices nationwide as required by law. This will be followed by the conduct of party primaries beginning from Saturday 18th august 2018 to Sunday 7th October 2018.
“As political parties you have an obligation to respect your constitutions, your members, abide by INECs guidelines and regulations, obey the electoral act and above all, submit to the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria”.
Professor Yakubu implored them to cooperate with Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC) to foster the existing cordial relationship between INEC and political parties. He said: “from today you are also members of the IPAC and you will be invited to the regular inter consultative meeting between INEC and all political parties and you will also be involved in all activities of the Commission involving political parties in Nigeria.
In his remarks, the Chairman of IPAC, Honourable Muhammed Lawal Nalado, while welcoming the New Political Parties to the fold, commended INEC for ensuring due diligence in registering more political parties. He said the addition of 23 political parties to the existing 68 would open the political space to give room for more participation.
Hon. Nalado called on the newly registered parties to work with IPAC and support INEC to conduct free, fair and credible elections and deepen democracy.
INEC MEETS NATIONAL ASSEMBLY COMMITTEES ON 2019 GENERAL ELECTIONS BUDGET
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has met relevant Committees of the National Assembly over the 2019 general elections budget.
Chairman of the Commission, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, led National Commissioners and Directors of INEC to defend the 2019 elections budget before the House of Representative Committee on Electoral and Political Matters and the Senate Committee on INEC in separate meetings.
Professor Yakubu explained that the 2019 general elections budget proposal of about 189 billion naira was broken down into 4 components. He said the first component was the Election Operational Cost which is estimated at 134.4 billion naira
The second component he explained was the Election Technology Cost, estimated at 27.5 billion naira deals with election technology cost, while explaining the third component and fourth components of 22.6 billion naira and 4.6 billion naira are for Election Administrative Cost , and contingency, respectively .
The INEC Chairman provided further explanations as to why there was increase in the 2019 general election budget , saying “ budgets are put together putting into consideration the number of registered voters. He stressed that there had been a 17.1 percent increase in the number of registered voters since the last general election.
“As at the 11th of August, the Commission had registered 12.1 million new voters. if you add this to almost 70 million on the register before the 2015 general elections, we have well over 80 million registered voters as we speak, we have a 17.1 percent increase in the voter population over and above the register used it the 2015 general elections”.
“The Commission is going to conduct elections into more constituencies in 2019 than the 2015 general election with the FCT Area Council end of tenure elections coinciding with the general elections in 2019”, he said.
Professor Yakubu explained that “the Commission would be conducting elections into 1558 constituencies across the country. We are conducting elections into 1 Presidential Constituency, 109 Senatorial, 360 Federal Constituencies, 991 State Constituencies, 29 State governorship elections, and for the first time the general election is coinciding with the Area Council Elections in the FCT so we are going to conduct 68 elections in the FCT in addition to elections in other constituencies”.
The INEC Chairman also attributed the increase in the Commission’s election budget to the increased number of political parties since the last election and explained that producing ballot papers for 91 political parties as well as monitoring their conventions, Congresses and primaries would cost more.
“We had a little over 40 political parties in 2015 but as at today we have over 91 political parties in Nigeria and we are still considering applications from 140 associations for registration. If half of the political parties field candidates, we are going to process a total of 70,809 nomination forms for the election, if all the 91 political parties present candidates for all the constituencies we will process over 144,000 applications for the election. So it is really a huge task for the Commission”.
Other reasons he said include: the increase in the cost of logistics, which include increase in the price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) which was needed to fuel all the Commission’s vehicles, increase in exchange rate of foreign currencies as compared to 2015 and increase in the number of voting points due to increase in number of registered voters.
Responding, both Chairmen of the of the Senate Committee on INEC, Senator Suleiman Nazif Gamawa and the Chairman, House Committee on Electoral and Political Matters, Honourable Aishatu Jibril Dukku assured that the National Assembly would remain focused and will continue to work towards the interest of Nigeria.
INEC EXTENDS DEADLINE FOR CVR, REGISTERS 23 NEW POLITICAL PARTIES
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has extended the deadline for the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) exercise from 17th to 31stAugust, 2018. It also approved the registration of 23 new political parties.
The decision was contained in a statement signed and issued by Commissioner and member of the Commission’s Information and Voter Education Committee (IVEC), Mallam Mohammed Haruna, yesterday.
The statement added that the CVR exercise commenced since April 27 2017, when the Commission decided ‘’to make the exercise truly continuous for the first time as envisaged under the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended), by opening permanent registration centres in all the country’s 774 local government areas and 672 other centres to make it an all-year round affair.
“Nigerians who turn 18 years and who had not registered previously have an opportunity to register. Consequently, the current CVR has been going on for 16 months.
‘’As at 11th August, 2018, the Commission has registered an additional 12, 139, 061 new voters, it explained.
The statement also added that, “In order to have enough time to clean up the provisional register and print the Permanent Voter’s Card (PVC) in good time for the general elections, the Commission, after consultation with stakeholders, decided to suspend the exercise with effect from 17th August 2018, to resume after the elections.
“However, many Nigerians have appealed to the Commission to extend the exercise. Consequently, the Commission has decided to extend the CVR to 31st August 2018. The exercise will continue in all the designated registration centres every day, including weekends, but excluding public holidays, between 9am and 5pm.
‘’The Commission wishes to inform the public that the ongoing collection of PVCs will not end with the CVR exercise. Collection of PVCs will continue until close to the general elections”, it said.
On 2019 General Elections, the statement said INEC would on Friday 17th August issue the Notice of Election for the 2019 General Elections.
“On the 9th of January 2018, the Commission issued the Timetable and Schedule of Activities for the 2019 General Elections. The first of the 14 activities in that timetable is the issuance of Notice of Election, which is scheduled for Friday, 17th August 2018 in accordance with Section 30 (1) of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended). This activity kick-starts the countdown to the 2019 general elections.”
..New Political Parties
On the registration of new political parties, the statement said ‘’the Commission received a total of 144 applications from political associations seeking registration as political parties. After a rigorous process of evaluation, in accordance with provisions of the Constitution and the Electoral Act, which included assessment of the constitutions and manifestos of the intending parties and verification of membership of their executive committees and offices, 23 Associations met all the requirements and were subsequently granted approval.
“This brings the number of political parties to 91 and will be the last round of registration of parties until after the general elections on 16th February 2019. This suspension is in line with Section 78 (1) of the Electoral Act, which requires all applications for registration as political party to be concluded latest six months to a general election.”
The newly registered political parties will receive their certificates of registration at the Commission’s Headquarters on Thursday, 16th August.
The newly registered political parties are: Advanced Alliance Party (AAP); Advanced Nigeria Democratic Party (ANDP); African Action Congress (AAC); Alliance for a United Nigeria (AUN); Alliance of Social Democrats (ASD); Alliance National Party (ANP); Allied People’s Movement (APM); Alternative Party of Nigeria (APN) ; Change Nigeria Party (CNP); Congress Of Patriots (COP); Liberation Movement (LM); and Movement for Restoration and Defence of Democracy (MRDD).
Others are: Nigeria Community Movement Party (NCMP); Nigeria for Democracy (NFD); Peoples Coalition Party (PCP); Reform and Advancement Party (RAP); Save Nigeria Congress (SNC); United Patriots (UP); United Peoples Congress (UPC); We The People Nigeria (WTPN); YES Electorates Solidarity (YES); Youth Party (YP); and Zenith Labour Party (ZLP) .
BYE-ELECTIONS: INEC TO CONDUCT PORT HARCOURT III, AND TAKUM 1 STATE CONSTITUENCY ELECTIONS
Four Political Parties, have fielded candidates for the Saturday August 18 2018 Port Harcourt III State Constituency Bye-Election.
Similarly, 9 Political Parties have fielded candidates to contest the Takum 1 State Constituency Bye-election scheduled for the same date.
The list of Political Parties and their candidates was contained in a document signed by the Acting Secretary to the Commission, Mr. Okechukwu Ndeche.
For the Port Harcourt III State Constituency bye-election in Rivers state, the Parties contesting are: the All Progressives Congress (APC) Worlu Ruhunda Dickens; Democratic Alternative (DA), Gibson Wisdom Tonye; Masses Movement of Nigeria (MMN), Eyiba Chigala; and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chimeka Nmerukini.
The Political Parties for the Takum 1 State Constituency bye-election and their candidates are: Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN), Musa Abdullahi; All Progressives Congress (APC), Atem Ansho; andDemocratic Alternative (DA), Abel Tenyang Danlami;
Progressive Peoples Alliance (PPA), Sule Abdul-Rahman.
Others are: Social Democratic Party (SDP), Jakanda Taninga Audu;United Democratic Party (UDP), Ibrahim Tanko Danwakiliya; Young Democratic Party (YDP), Sunday Yusufu; and Young Progressive Party (YPP), Andy Usman.