The Imo Government and the state chapter of the Inter Party Advisory Council (IPAC) have called for caution in the handling of the alleged compromise of the INEC voter register in the state.
They also urged politicians to desist from any act capable of hitting up the polity ahead of the 2023 general elections.
They made the call in separate reactions to the claim by the Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP) that the voter register in Imo and 20 other states had been compromised.
The Spokesman for CUPP, Mr Ikenga Ugochinyere, had alleged that inflated figures and fictitious names were uncovered in the voter register for Omuma Ward of Gov. Hope Uzodimma.
The Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Declan Emelumba, dismissed the allegation as “reckless, irresponsible and seditious.
“It could only have come from a jaundiced, mischievous mindset,” he said.
Emelumba said that the establishment of a tertiary institution at Omuma could have accounted for the existence of non-Igbo names in the voter register.
According to him, only those who hack INEC’s server can gain access to the commission’s information that has yet to be brought to public knowledge.
He, therefore, urged relevant security agencies to arrest and investigate CUPP and its spokesman, in order to ascertain their source of information.
“Imo is not on INEC’s official list of states guilty of fictitious registration of voters and INEC has not completed the Automated Biometric Verification of the system.
“The exercise must be concluded before an official voter register can be released to the public.
“It is therefore clear that Ugochinyere has either hacked into INEC server and doctored documents there or forged the document he was brandishing.
“Either way is criminal and it is important that he is immediately arrested for questioning,” the commissioner said.
Also reacting, the state Chairman of IPAC, Mr Levi Ekeh, said it was premature to make such allegation when INEC had yet to publish a cleaned up voter register for public scrutiny.
Ekeh said INEC had no doubt introduced a lot of innovations to allay peoples’ fear regarding the 2023 General Elections.
“We as a body commend their good efforts so far.
“At the same time, we caution them that Imo people, Nigerians and the entire world are watching them as unbiased umpires to deliver free, credible, fair and acceptable elections in 2023. “In line with the Electoral Act, after the Automated Biometric Identification System and clean up, the commission shall display the voter register for seven days for the public to scrutinise and raise objections and complaints,” Ekeh said.
He said that the allegation by CUPP could only become an issue, if INEC failed to address the objections and complaints raised.
He said that INEC would publish the final register after treating the objections and complaints.
While recognising the rights of citizens to speak out in a democratic process, IPAC called for patience and understanding at this critical moment of the country’s electoral process.
The Inter Party Advisory Council (IPAC) in Lagos State, says many Nigerians may not have been captured in the INEC Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) that ends nationwide on Sunday.
IPAC also said that many Nigerians that would be of voting age some months to the election would also be defranchised.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) exercise which started on June 28, 2021, was initially billed to end on June 30, before it was extended to July 31. NAN also recalls that in Lagos state as at July 18 those who registered online were 640, 560 but many of them had not completed their registration, while those who completed the registration exercise were 451, 156. INEC Resident Electoral Commission (REC) in Lagos state, Mr Olusegun Agbaje said on July 24, that current statistics of July 28, showed that Lagos State had about seven million registered voters.
The REC disclosed that the number was derived from the new registrants so far in the ongoing CVR, added to those in the old register of voters in the state.
IPAC Chairman in Lagos state, Mr Olusegun Mobolaji, however, said that INEC should reconsider ending the registration.
Mobilaji who made the appeal when he spoke with NAN on Sunday, was reacting to the scheduled July 31 deadline of the CVR.
He said that for elections to be free, fair and credible, every eligible citizen must be allowed to participate in choosing the leadership they wanted.
“Everything about credible elections is voter register and voter cards, and if that is actually what INEC really stands for as unbiased umpire, for the purpose of democracy, INEC should be fair in all areas, especially in allowing those who have not registered to do so.
“I think INEC should have a way of allowing every eligible voter get their voter cards to choose the leadership they want,” he said.
He stressed that irrespective of the time the registration started, the commission should.
not discontinue the exercise.
“Irrespective of the fact that INEC had started the voter enrollment exercise in 2021, if the time is not enough for everyone that want to participate in the election to get registered and obtain a voter card, INEC should not stop registration,” he said.
He said that continuation of voter enrollment would not affect every other electoral activity and processes put in place by the commission to conduct good elections.
According to him, they continue until it becomes glaring that it will be impossible to print voter cards again, we will all know that they have done their best.
“I think voter registration can go simultaneously with every other plan INEC has.
“There should be a way round this, such that everyone that is of voting age is given the opportunity to be able to vote.
We still have months to the election.
” Mobolaji said that INEC could get more gadgets and personnel to register every eligible citizen who presented themselves for the registration.
“INEC may have done its best but I can say that its best is not enough for the present dispensation as well as the requirements and demand of present democracy.
“Nigerians want to be part of the decision making process.
They want to elect good leaders.
All eligible citizens want to be part of it,” he stated.
According to him, the only way to reposition the country is through ballot and every qualified citizen should be allowed to vote in 2023. He said that the crowd at enrollment centres across the country showed that the time for registration was not enough.
The Inter Party Advisory Council (IPAC) in Lagos State, says the outcome of Saturday’s Osun governorship election is a confirmation that votes still count in Nigeria’s electoral system.
The IPAC Chairman in the state, Mr Olusegun Mobolaji made this remark in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Sunday in Lagos, while reacting to INEC’s conduct and outcome of the governorship election won by an opposition party.
“The election is a clear indication and confirmation that our votes count and there is no power or government that cannot be unseated.
“I urge Nigerians to see election and democracy as part of determinant of our destiny and do the needful to be part of electing good leaders that will fix this nation and make us rise again,” Mobolaji said.
On the challenges of vote buying in elections, the IPAC chairman said: “we can overcome the nemesis of vote buying and apathy if we are actually ready to do it.” According to him, IPAC will not relent in its efforts to sensitise and educate people that democracy and election is the affair of everyone.
“We must work hard to fix this nation through credible elections and good leadership,” Mobolaji said.
NAN reports that the PDP candidate, Sen.
Ademola Adeleke, defeated the incumbent Gov.
Gboyega Oyetola to emerge winner of the election.
INEC’s Returning Officer, Prof.
Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, said that Adeleke polled 403,371 votes to defeat his closet rival, Oyetola, the candidate of the APC, who scored 375,027 votes.
The PDP won in 17 local government areas, while APC won in 13.
The Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC) has congratulated Prof. Mahmood Yakubu on his re-appointment as Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), urging him to continue with the electoral reforms he initiated.
IPAC National Chairman, Dr Leonard Nzenwa, in a statement on Wednesday in Abuja, described Yakubu’s re-appointment as a welcome development and a blessing to the Nigerian polity.
Nzenwa said that only few helmsmen at the commission were able to achieve respectable results like Yakubu did during his first tenure in office.
He said that Yakubu assumed INEC leadership four months after the exit of Prof. Attahiru Jega, who presided over the crucial 2015 general elections that ushered in President Muhammadu Buhari as president.
The IPAC chairman also lauded Yakubu’s digitalisation programme which has transformed the way elections were being conducted in Nigeria in the last four years.
“The smooth conduct of Edo and Ondo State governorship election is clear example of the positive technology and digitisation trajectory which Yakubus’ first tenure gave to Nigeria.
“We urge him to continue with the strident effort to help in reformation of the electoral process, even as we urge the chairman to put his foot down to ensure that Nigerians votes count in all elections in the country going forward,” Nzenwa said.
He urged all stakeholders to work and support the re-appointed INEC chairman’s effort to make all poll in the country to be inclusive, fair, free and credible.
Edited By: Ali Bab-Inuwa
The Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC) in Lagos State on Tuesday urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to consider postponement of Oct. 31 bye-elections by two weeks following the ongoing #EndSARS protests.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the #EndSARS protest by the youth is seeking an end to the defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squads (SARS) over police brutality, among other demands.
The protests in the last 13 days have, however, created a lot of tension in most parts of the country.
The IPAC Chairman, Mr Femi Olaniyi, in a statement in Lagos, said that the postponement had become imperative for a seamless and hitch-free bye-elections across the country.
Olaniyi said: In view of the present ongoings in the country generally, INEC should postpone all bye- elections nationwide by two weeks because all political parties could not campaign as required due to the #EndSARS protests nationwide.
“Going ahead with the election on 31st October will be a bias action against the new and upcoming political parties that needed to create more awareness.
“This is the first election in Lagos after the de-registration of some political parties and campaign can only be done during election period to make known to the public the current registered parties.”
Olaniyi, also Lagos State Chairman of Social Democratic Party (SDP), however, appealed to all protesters to remain peaceful in their demand for better society.
“The conveners should not allow hoodlums to hijack the protest from them to commit crime or attack people.
“We also condemn the attack on police vehicles conveying men of the force to their duty post at Ebute Metta by hoodlums.
” We are only calling for police reforms to remove the bad eggs among them, and not to eradicate them.
“We appeal to the commissioner of police in Lagos to keep the men calm and handle the matter with utmost discreet and understanding,” he added.
The IPAC chairman commended Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu for ordering students to stay at home during the period of this protest for their safety.
According to him, the governor’s decision is a right move in the right direction.
“We urge parents and guardians to keep their children and wards under control and not be involved in any criminal activities,” he added.
Edited By: Wale Ojetimi
The Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC) in Lagos State has commended President Muhammadu Buhari, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and security agencies over the peaceful Edo governorship poll.
IPAC described the poll and its outcome as exemplary and recommended the same for the Ondo governorship poll coming up on Oct.10.
The commendation was made by IPAC Chairman, Mr Tade Ademola, in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos on Sunday.
Ademola said that the level playing ground allowed by the President and INEC had further deepened Nigeria’s democracy.
Ademola, who is also the Chairman, Alliance for Social Democrats (ASD) in Lagos State, urged that the standard already built in Edo poll should not be compromised in the forthcoming Ondo governorship election on Oct. 31.
“The truth about Edo election is that the people were determined, and that was what won the election. If people are determined everywhere and are not complacent, we will get there.
“It is better this time around, but it can be improved upon. We should be able by now to be conducting our election online.
“In the coming Ondo election, I hope they will not change style and that there will be a level playing ground for all so that only the peoples’ will will prevail.
“If the same template as used in Edo, is used in Ondo election, it will be a progress in the nation’s electoral system.
“Generally, this election was peaceful and fair as we could see. We cannot say 100 per cent perfect, but it was better than what we had in Kogi and Bayelsa,” Ademola said.
According to him, though there are areas to improve upon, the relatively peaceful and credible Edo election is a milestone in the history of elections in recent time.
He said that INEC could improve on timeliness of staff and materials at polling units.
Obaseki polled a total of 307,955 votes to defeat the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu who scored 223,619.
Edited By: Emmanuel Nwoye/Bayo Sekoni
The Minister of Women Affairs, Mrs Pauline Tallen, has urged the Ebonyi Government to check incidences that resulted to early girl-child marriage in the state.
Tallen spoke on Friday in Abakliki during a visit to Gov. David Umahi as part of her visit to the state to flag-off national cooking gas and tree planting exercise.
The minister said that incidences of early girl-child marriage was high in several states of the country, saying that education was one of the ways to check the anomaly.
“We appeal to Ebonyi Government to ensure that girls not only go to school but are retained to complete it, at least attain secondary school level.
“I am not saying that after secondary school they should go into marriage but they should be given opportunity to attend university and even up to master’s degree level.
“Educating a man is just for himself but educating a woman is inevitable because she is a mother, teacher and community leader.
“Every family can testify to the fact that the girls never abandoned parents even at old age and so, to enjoy old age, the girl–child should be educated,” she said.
She commended the government for its efforts in checking Vesico Vaginal Fistula (VVF), noting that the establishment of National Obstetrics and Fistula Centre in the state had been of assistance.
“We want to commend you for domesticating the Child’s Right Act but it should be implemented to ensure that no child will be on the streets, at home and no incidence of VVF.
“We also commend the state government for the appointment and election of women into governmental and political positions of which the state is vastly developing due to this development,” he said.
Tallen said that the national cooking gas and tree planting exercise would enhance the well being of families and also aesthetics of Ebonyi and beyond.
Gov. David Umahi welcomed the minister to the state and lauded her for being the pivot for implementing programmes which touched the lives of people at the grassroots.
Umahi represented by the Deputy Governor, Dr Kelechi Igwe, said that Tallen propagated the message of Global System for Mobile- Communication as Minister of Science and Technology during former President Obasanjo’s administration.
“You should not worry over the distribution of the cooking gas as we will adopt the same policy used during the distribution of COVID-19 palliatives.
“We brought all the political parties together under the Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC) to decide ways of sharing the palliatives and equitably distributed among all the political parties in the state,” he said.
He said that the state had attained over 50 per cent affirmation for women by ensuring that they occupied the vice-chairmanship and secretary positions of the local government areas, commissioners and governmental aides.
Edited By: Josephine Obute/Peter Ejiofor)
Mr Kola Ajayi, Chairman of the Alliance for Democracy (AD) in Lagos State, on Thursday said most opposition parties in the state were lazy with little or no fighting spirit to win elections.
Ajayi, also the immediate past Chairman of Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC), made the remarks in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos.
The AD chieftain spoke while reacting to chances of opposition parties in the Oct. 31 Senatorial and Kosofe State Constituency II bye-elections in the state.
“The problem we have is that most opposition parties are lazy.
“They are lazy in the sense that anytime there is an election, most opposition only look for what they want to gain, they don’t prepare fully for the elections.
“What they always do is trying to align with the ruling party for monetary gains. That is why I said most opposition parties are lazy,” the ex-IPAC chairman said.
According to him, opposition parties can defeat the ruling party in the state if they are united and determined to win.
Ajayi said: “If all of them are working, they can work on the huge number of registered voters who do not always come out on election day to vote.
“We have about 5.5 million registered voters in Lagos and during elections, only about a million come out to vote, the opposition parties can work on these people to unseat the ruling party.
“At the 11th hour to elections, you see them (opposition parties) moving to the ruling party or main opposition, telling them they want to work with them, thereby endorsing those parties for peanuts.
“Opposition parties need to work, that is how they will be respected. They should work first and if there is going to be any alliance later, it will not be on monetary bases, it should be on appointments.
“In some states where this alliance is necessary, the opposition are given appointments, but in Lagos the party they endorse pays them off,” he said.
On the forthcoming bye-elections in the state, Ajayi urged the Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC) to provide a level playing ground for all parties and candidates to deepen the nation’s democracy.
The bye-elections became necessary following the death of occupants of the seats in both the Senate and the Lagos State House of Assembly.
Until their deaths, they were members of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Wale Ojetimi
Kogi State Independent Electoral Commission (KOSIEC), has scheduled Dec. 12, for conduct of elections into the 21 Local Government Areas in the state and presented a timetable and schedule of activities for the polls.
Mamman Nda-Eri, chairman of the Commission, disclosed this at a stakeholders meeting for the official declaration of Notice of Conduct of the elections on Wednesday in Lokoja.
Nda-Eri said that the commission which was inaugurated on March 11, had the core mandate to conduct free, fair and credible local government polls in the nearest time possible but was constrained by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I urge all of us to ensure the conduct of elections devoid of rancour and acrimony in our various domains. We will not only be unbiased but seen to be unbiased.
“On our own path, we pledge our unalloyed loyalty to the people of Kogi to conduct free, fair and credible elections in line with the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 and the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended).’’
According to the time table and Schedule of Activities for the council polls presented by Nda-Eri, the activities started Wednesday, Sept. 9, with the stakeholders meeting.
He said that collection of nomination forms from political parties will start on Sept. 24, and end on Oct. 2, while Oct. 6, until Oct. 13, is scheduled for conduct of party primaries including resolution of disputes arising from such primaries.
This, according to him is to enable political parties to democratically nominate candidates for the elections as required by law adding that all issues relating to the primaries must be concluded on or before Oct. 13.
The commission chairman added that among other activities the last day for submission of names of polling agents by political parties would be Nov. 25, while Dec. 10, is the last day for political party campaigns.
The Commissioner of Police in the state, Mr Ede Ayuba, assured that security agencies in the state would collectively provide the needed security and provide level playing ground for all candidates and parties.
“We will be fair to everybody and to all and play the game by the rules and, except you contravene the provisions of the Electoral Act, will be friendly” he said.
Chairman of the state Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC), Iliyasu Badanga urge the commission to maintain the highest level of probity and accountability to produce free, fair, credible and “believable” elections come Dec. 12.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Olujumu of Ijumu, Oba Williams Ayeni; the Chairman of Jamatul Nasir Islam (JNI), Alhaji Isa Adeboye; and representative of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), Idris Miliki; all called for conduct of free, fair and credible council elections.
Edited By: Donald Ugwu
A new leadership of the Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC), Abia chapter, led by Mr Enwereuzo Ogbonna, has emerged, following the purported sack of the Ceekay Igara-led executive committee (exco).
Ogbonna told newsmen at the IPAC office in Umuahia on Wednesday that the former exvo was dissolved in line with the resolution of the group’s General Assembly on Monday.
He said that the General Assembly, which is the highest decision making organ of IPAC, decided to sack the former exco after reviewing its performance since its inception on December 2.
He said that the assembly examined the recent political developments in the country, including the re-registration of some political parties, the verdict of an Appeal Court, setting aside the de-registration of some political parties by the Independent National Electoral Commisssion (INEC).
He said that the interim exco would pilot the affairs of the group and organise an election for a new one before the end of the year.
Ogbonna further said that the assembly expressed the readiness of IPAC to work with the state government, Department of Security Service, INEC, police and other relevant agencies to foster peace and good governance in Abia.
“The General Assembly rededicates itself to the primary role of IPAC, which is the enthronement of free and fair political culture and ensure good governance in Abia,” he said.
But in a swift reaction to Ogbonna’s claim, the chairman of the allegedly ousted exco, Igara,
stated that he remained the chairman of Abia IPAC.
In statement issued in Umuahia, he stated that the Ogbonna-led group was “made up of all the de-registered political parties in Abia.
“It should be on record that once you are de-registered as a party, you automatically stop being a member of IPAC.
“If Supreme Court reinstates their groups as political parties, we will receive them back”.
He advised Ogbonna and his group to approach INEC to re-register them as political parties rather than transfer their anger to the wrong person.
“Accusing me of carrying a trailer-load of rice and money from Abia government as palliative is nonsense.
“They have every right to find out if I received a grain of rice either for IPAC or for any other purpose,” he said.
Edited By: Kayode Olaitan (NAN)