Elections shift: INEC retrieves sensitive materials from LGs to CBN in Lagos
By Yemi Adeleye
Lagos, Feb 17, 2019 (NNN) The National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Lagos State, on Sunday said it had retrieved all sensitive materials for the rescheduled Presidential and National Assembly elections earlier distributed to the 20 Local Government Areas of the state.
INEC Spokesman in Lagos State, Mr Femi Akinbiyi told the News Agency of Nigeria (NNN) in Lagos, that all sensitive materials had been retrieved and kept in the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) under security watch.
He said that the sensitive materials, which comprised ballot papers and result sheets, had been distributed at the three senatorial districts before they were later moved to the 20 LGAs.
INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, had attributed the postponement of the elections to logistic and operational problems.
Akinbiyi said that the Lagos State Commissioner of Police had monitored the exercise in some local governments.
“The instruction from the INEC headquarters was that all sensitive materials should be moved back to the CBN and the Commissioner of Police in Lagos State was in Ikeja today to supervise such movement.
“The movement across the state was done under tight security,” he said.
According to him, all card readers earlier deployed to each local government area have been returned to the INEC office in Yaba for reconfiguration.
The INEC Public Relations Officer added that all ad hoc staff had been paid their training allowances for the postponed elections.
The Governorship, State Houses of Assembly, and FCT Area Council elections were also shifted from March 2 to March 9.
The INEC state chairman said that the postponement would afford the electoral body the opportunity to address the identified challenges in order to maintain the quality of Nigeria’s election. (NNN)
Edited by Abiemwense Moru/Lydia Beshel
Elections: INEC to implement measures to mitigate COVID-19 impact – Yakubu
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has reassured Nigerians that it would continue to adopt and implement measures to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the country’s electoral activities.
Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, the Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), on Wednesday gave the assurance at the commission’s first virtual consultative meeting with media organisations.
Yakubu solicited media cooperation and support in disseminating required information that would help to protect the health of voters and all those involved in electoral activities.
According to him, as usual, the Commission welcomes media comments and suggestions, as critical stakeholders involved in reporting and analysing our democracy and electoral process.
“As citizens, the Commission believes that your opinions and suggestions will be of immense benefit to our electoral activities.
“The Commission, therefore, values your contributions to policy formulation and implementation,” he said.
Yakubu said that COVID-19 pandemic had necessitated a rethink of many activities that had been taken for granted.
“With regard to the conduct of elections, the world is clearly sailing through uncharted waters.
“Only a few countries have conducted elections since the reported outbreak of the pandemic in December 2019.
“However, health authorities have issued guidelines on protective measures against the spread of the virus and the response to any emergencies that may occur,” Yakubu said.
According to him, the Commission has always accredited media organisations to cover elections and to ensure your unimpeded access to voting locations and collation centres.
“The forthcoming Edo and Ondo Governorship Elections as well as many bye-elections across the country will not be different.
“However, in tandem with the new health reality, accreditation of media organisations for these elections will be done online through a dedicated portal,” Yakubu said.
He pledged the commission’s commitment to continue to ensure that media carried out their responsibilities without any form of hindrance.
The President, Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Chris Isiguzo, in his remarks, commended the steps taken so far by the INEC in conducting elections during pandemic.
Isiguzo pledged the continued support of the media for successful elections.
He, however, called on the commission to give the same support to the media, especially for them to carry out their responsibilities without any form of harassment by the security agencies.
Cameroon publishes provisional lists for general elections
Cameroon’s electoral body, Elections Cameroon (Elecam)has published the provisional lists of political parties to run for legislative and municipal elections scheduled for 2020.
According to a statement of Elecam on Tuesday, a total of 470 candidate lists were submitted by 35 political parties, 451 lists have been accepted.
Candidates of the ruling party, Cameroon People’s Democratic Movement (CPDM), are reported to be running unchallenged in 17 constituencies.
Specifically, in the Centre region where the capital Yaounde is located, CPDM runs solely in 7 out of 11 constituencies.
In the troubled Anglophone regions where a separatist conflict is ongoing, mostly CPDM, and Social Democratic Front (SDF), a major opposition party deeply rooted in the English-speaking part of the country, will take part in the elections.
Another major opposition party Cameroon Renaissance Movement (CRM) did not show in the provisional lists.
According to Cameroon’s electoral code, these provisional lists are subject to appeal before the Constitutional Council.
The twin elections will take place on February 9 2020 amid threats by separatists to disrupt the elections in the two troubled English-speaking regions.
Government has assured hitch-free elections nationwide, stressing that “all necessary security measures’’ shall be taken to ensure that the elections take place peacefully.
Edited by: Hadiza Mohammed/Ali Baba-Inuwa
Observers rate Ekiti LG elections free, fair
The Coalition of Civil Society Domestic Election Observer Groups has described the Saturday’s local government elections in Ekiti as free and fair.
The coalition’s team leader, Mr Muhammad Al-Jameel Hashidu, told newsmen in Ado Ekiti on Monday that voting materials arrived in the 2,195 polling units promptly.
He said further that voting and collation were done without harassment and intimidation, attesting to the credibility of the poll.
The group noted that the election witnessed high turnout of voters in major cities in contrast to what were witnessed at the grassroots, hinging this on low level of sensitisation at the remote centres.
The coalition called for more voter education and advocacy at the grassroots and proper funding of the state electoral commission to conduct better future elections.
The National Coordinator of Network of Civil Society Organisations in Nigeria , Mr Victor Kalu, said the neutrality maintained by government and security agencies reinforced the acceptability of the poll.
We emphasise the contributions of the Ekiti Police Command in posting officers to every nook and cranny of the state during the exercise,” he said.
The local government elections took place in Ekiti on Saturday with the All Progressives Congress winning all the 16 chairmanship and 177 councilorship seats.
Edited by: Kayode Olaitan
Hundreds in Algiers protest elections amid crackdown by authorities
Hundreds of people gathered in central Algiers on Friday in what could be a last large-scale attempt to pressure the country’s authorities to cancel the upcoming elections, amid a crackdown by authorities.
Anti-government rallies have been held every Friday and Tuesday since mid-February and the protests forced long-time ruler Abdelaziz Bouteflika to resign in April.
Since then, demonstrators have been demanding for key Bouteflika-era officials to depart, and for an overhaul of the country’s political system, before a presidential election is held.
On Friday, protesters were shouting “the people want independence” and “the people want to overthrow the regime”.
On Thursday, Amnesty International warned that Algeria’s authorities have escalated their crackdown on protesters in recent weeks, making arbitrary arrests, prosecuting and imprisoning dozens of activists and forcibly dispersing demonstrations.
The London-based group said that a wave of arrests targeting protesters had intensified since the campaign for the presidential elections began on Nov. 17.
Citing Algerian rights lawyers and activists, Amnesty International said that at least 300 people had been arrested between Nov. 17 and Nov. 24.
Algeria’s authorities have defended plans to hold the election on Dec. 12, saying it was necessary to end the long-running stand-off in the country.
Five contenders are vying to replace Bouteflika, who has ruled energy-rich Algeria for two decades, an era that was dominated by cronyism and mismanagement.
Edited & Vetted By: Emmanuel Yashim