The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has cautioned political parties against abusive language and acts likely to provoke violence or emotions in their campaigns for 2023 general election.
The INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu stated at the opening of a two-day capacity workshop for members of INEC Press Corps on critical issues in the Electoral Act, 2022 in preparations for the 2023 General Election in Lagos on Monday.
Mahmood, represented by Festus Okoye, INEC National Commissioner, Information and Voter Education Committee, urged all registered political parties to critically study and pay attention to the provisions of laws for proper and peaceful conduct of political campaigns, rallies and processions.
The laws according to Mahmood included the Constitution, the Electoral Act, the Police Act and the Public Order Act. “A political campaign or slogan shall not be tainted with abusive language directly or indirectly likely to injure religious, ethnic, tribal or sectional feelings.
“Abusive, intemperate, slanderous or base language or innuendoes designed or likely to provoke violent reaction or emotions shall not be employed or used in political campaigns,” Yakubu said.
Regarding activities toward 2023 general election, Yakubu said that eight out of the 14 items on INEC calendar and schedule of activities including the release of the final list of candidates nominated for national election have been implemented.
He said that on Oct. 4, INEC would release the final list of candidates nominated in relation to state elections.
“On Sept. 28 presidential and National Assembly campaigns will start, while that of governorship and State Assembly candidates will start on Oct. 12. “The commission will continue to adhere to set timelines in carrying out its activities,” he said.
Yakubu said that INEC has devoted time and energy to the cleaning up of the voter register using the Automated Biometric Identification System (ABIS).
“This process is almost finalised and the commission will engage with stakeholders relating to its findings before displaying the register for claims and objections as required by law.
“Furthermore, the commission is working out a protocol for seamless collection of Permanent Voters Cards by valid registrants, ” he said.
Yakubu assured that INEC would deploy and continue to deploy appropriate technology for conduct of elections.
“The Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) and INEC Result Viewing Portal (IreV) will be deployed for the conduct of the 2023 general election.
“We will continue to use technology to improve and enhance the credibility of elections in Nigeria.
“Our goal is electoral justice where every Nigerian will experience electoral fulfilment,” he said.
Yakubu described the workshop as timely as preparations for the 2023 general election have reached advantage stage with only 152 days away.
He said that it was important for the media especially the INEC Press Corp to have a good knowledge and understanding of the workings and operations of the commission.
He said that was necessary for an informed and balanced coverage of the commission’s activities and the dissemination of information to the general public.
Mahmood described INEC Press Corp as an indispensable partner in electoral process that provide a veritable platform and pathway for the dissemination of electoral information to the Nigerian public.
“The commission will continue to collaborate with the Press Corp in providing the requisite information that enables them to engage the electoral process and educate citizens to make informed choices,” Yakubu said.
He appreciated the European Union which has through the European Union Support to Democratic Governance in Nigeria (EUSDGN) Programme implemented by DAI for consistently supporting the work of the commission.
The Lagos INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC),Mr Olusegun Agbaje, said that the event presented a unique opportunity for participants to be well equipped with adequate knowledge of the processes of INEC, the Electoral Act 2022 and activities towards 2023 general election.
Agbaje advised the media to play its role in ensuring free and fair elections in 2023 by ensuring that the rule of law prevailed.
“As the clock gradually clicks towards the 2023 General Election, the media have a supreme call and duty to: mobilise, sensitis and enlighten the electorate on all electoral processes by educating them on their responsibilities to perform their civic roles to vote for any candidate of their choice in all elective posts.
“Address the issue of voter apathy and poor voter turnout in elections in Nigeria by rallying the electorate to perform their civic responsibilities.
“Educate voters to vote appropriately to avoid incidence of high records of invalid ballots at election; ensure that the game of politics is played in accordance with the enabling laws, rules and guidelines,” he said.
Abgbaje also called for robust engagement with parties and candidates to assist voters to make informed choices at the election; checkmate the current trend of fake news and sensational reportage of events.
“Educate the citizens on the provisions of the Electoral Act 2022, as well as the rules and regulations guiding the election.
“Collaborate with INEC and other election stakeholders to checkmate vote buying through sensitization, effective monitoring and enforcement of the laws.
“Also give a level playing ground to all by allocating to them equal media time and coverage; help to reduce electoral violence to the bearest minimum,” Agbaje said.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has urged political parties to adhere strictly with the Electoral Act as amended during the 2023 electioneering process.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Dr Alalibo Johnson, Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Cross River, made the appeal at a meeting in Calabar on Thursday.
According to the REC, political parties are expected to observe the threshold of campaign expenditure as provided by law under sections 87 to 89 of the electoral Act 2022, as INEC will not condone violation of these provisions.
While noting that campaigns for the Presidential and National Assembly would commence on Sept. 28, he said Political parties must avoid the use of foul language among others.
According to him, “campaign which commences in the public from September 28” 2022, for the Presidential and National Assembly elections nationwide, will be expected to follow the law strictly.
“Political parties and politicians must avoid use of foul languages, attack or use of force on opposition , employment of private security organizations by whatever name called or in whatever guise, violent activities of any kind and other electoral offences.
” He disclosed that Election and Political Parties Monitoring Department (EPM) of the commission was poised to track such in their campaign tracking activities.
Meanwhile, Johnson has disclosed that there were still more than 90,000 uncollected Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs) across the 18 Local Government Areas of the state.
The REC reiterated the need for Political Parties to mobilise their members and other stakeholders to collect their PVCs. The political parties who spoke through the chairman of the Young Progressives Party, Mr Anthony Attah, promised that they would work with the commission to ensure fre, fair and credible poll in 2023. NAN reports that 17 parties in the state, including APC and PDP, attended the meeting.
Gov. Ben Ayade of Cross River has challenged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to ensure conduct of free, fair and credible elections in Cross River.
The Governor gave the challenge on Wednesday in Calabar when he received the new Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in the state, Dr Alalibo Johnson.
Ayade, however, assured the INEC of peaceful atmosphere before and during the 2023 general elections in the state.
He noted that given the new REC’s track records and integrity, he had no doubt he would deliver.
According to him, “On behalf of the good people of Cross River State, l hereby give you that commitment that we will guarantee you free and safe elections.
“We also call on the INEC to please honour its pledge too so that we can have free, fair, credible, reliable and dependable elections.
“Government is not going to in any way influence your process, but we want to say that we are available and willing to support you at all times that INEC will so require our services.
” Ayade commended the INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu “who has distinguished himself in this country”.
Speaking further, he said “Never before have we had an INEC Chairman who has enjoyed the mutual trust from both the ruling party and the opposition parties.
“This is one chairman who has conducted his elections and results returned based on what is on the ground.
“He is not subject to any inducement, he is subject to the God that he serves and l want to say that his name would go down in history as one of the very best INEC Chairmen that we have ever had.
God bless him and God will continue to sustain him.
” Earlier in his speech, the new REC who harped on the need for a conducive atmosphere, noted that it is what is needed for free and fair elections to thrive.
“There is no way we can conduct a free and fair election without security.
We call on you to use your good offices to ensure that we have peace in the state.
“Peace in the sense that people can move freely to vote for candidates of their choice, and also, we at the back end of INEC can do our job without intimidation,” he stated.
The REC disclosed that about 90,000 uncollected PVCs were listed across the 18 Local Government Areas of the state and appealed to the registrants to come forward and pick up their PVCs. He also said that with the creation of new polling units, Cross River now had 3,281 Polling units.
The Nigerian Women Trust Fund (NWTF), in collaboration with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), have engaged critical stakeholders on effective and gender mainstreaming that will promote equality in the electoral space.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the engagement meeting for critical stakeholders in Oyo State, held at Owu Crown Hotel in Ibadan, was to enhance more women participation in Nigeria politics ahead of the 2023 elections.
In his goodwill message, Mr Abiodun Amosun, who represented the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Oyo, said the meeting was a pre-assessment on Gender and Election Watch Programme.
Amosun said the programme was timely and historic, “in the sense that general elections is around the corner, coupled with the fact that INEC accorded high level priority to mainstreaming gender considerations across all areas of its activities”.
He explained that the commission embarked on the review of its Gender Policy for 2021-2025, in line with the commission’s Strategic Plan 2022-2026, geared toward consolidating free, fair, credible and inclusive elections in the country.
According to him, the outcomes of the review process informed the commission’s decision to establish a new department, known as Gender and Inclusivity, with the task of raising awareness on gender sensitivity and improving gender equity.
On the pre-assessment meeting, the Administrative Secretary, said the Election Watch Programme was one of the key performance indicators for pursuing and advancing gender concerns in all electoral activities.
Amosun said the and how to identify anticipated participants for the next Gender Election Watch Programme would be looked into at the meeting.
“This would be geared toward enhancing women participation; the percentage of women in politics still remains very low and not too encouraging,” he said.
On the meeting’s objectives, Mrs Victoria Eta-Messi, the Deputy Director, Gender Relations, INEC in Abuja, said: “It is basically to sensitise the selected state offices of the commission on intervention that the Nigerian Women Trust Fund intend to do.
“With regards to gender mainstreaming ahead of 2023 general elections and beyond.
“With the European Union funding, Gender Election Watch is going to run for five years, but the main programme which is going to be implemented soonest, before the 2023 elections, is Gender and Election Watch.
“So, the first leg of the programme is the sensitisation of the eight selected states, where we will sensitise critical stakeholders on how to go about implementing activities of the programme that would ensure we have effective and equitable gender mainstreaming.
“We know that elections are under way in a couple of months and campaign would soon begin.
“So, there is going to be monitoring and observation of the campaign practices and processes with a gender lens from gender perspectives,” Eta-Messi explained.
She said that the programme would enable the stakeholders to have information required and what INEC and NWTF plan to do with regard to ensuring that there is increased women participation in 2023 election processes.
On her parts, the Programme Officer, NWTF, Ruth Manu, observed that the marginalisation of women in the nation’s political equation remains the central challenge of democratic governance.
According to her, some of the barriers to women’s participation in Nigeria politics are lack of effective government’ action to domesticate and implement International conventions that promote women’s equal participation in policy and governance processes.
“The systematic exclusion of women from leadership positions within political parties, education system and public spheres of representation, also media, provide less visibility for women in politics,” she said.
Manu further explained that the NWTF objectives were to contribute to the increase participation and greater inclusion of women in politics and pushing for legislation for women and gender to get to the mainstream politics.
She said the organisation was engaging INEC leadership, Women Societies, National Orientation Agency, traditional rulers religious leaders, political parties media and Civil Society Organisations to play their respective roles in actualising its objectives.
Manu urged all participants to ensure they carry out the awareness and sensitisation back to their members.
The programme officer said that this would enable them to be better informed on the needs for women to be more involved in politics.
The participants appreciated NWTF and INEC for the engagement, promising to do more in the sensitisation of the general public through their respective platforms.
NAN reports that theme of the one-day engagement was: “Women’s Political Participation, Inclusion and 2023 General Elections”.
Dr Mutiu Agboke, the immediate past Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Oyo State, has urged Muslim elites to educate members of the public on innovation by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) toward successful conduct of 2023 general election.
Agboke made the plea on Monday in a lecture entitled: “Why and How Muslim Elites Should Be Involved in Preaching Islam”.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the lecture, organised by the Forum for Comparative Sermons (FOCOS) was held at the Multipurpose Hall, Bodija Estate Islamic Centre, Ibadan.
According to him, Muslim elites, being the source of correct information and knowledge about all issues around them, should assist in using their influence and position for the success of the forthcoming general election.
“They should support INEC to make the electorate understand how the general election would be conducted, won and lost by the candidates.
“Among what the electorate should understand in the upcoming election in 2023 are innovation of the commission, such as INEC Voter Enrolment Device (IVED); Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS); Automated Biometric Identification System (ABIS) and INEC Results Viewing Portal (IRev).
“All these will give Muslim elites good standing to spread the gospel of the commission from the informed point of view and not otherwise.
“Muslim elites are so important in the current dispensation as they are to help in constructive and clear headed engagement of members of the public, not only by preaching Islam.
“But, also they should use their mental clarity of issues and undiluted dispositions predicated on the model of example of Prophet Muhammad,” Agboke said.
He said misinformation pervades everywhere about the activities of the commission, adding that it was proper for Muslim elites to know few things, if not everything about the Electoral Act, 2022. Agboke reassured Nigerians that INEC would transmit election results in the 2023 general election, contrary to the misinformation in the public space.
“INEC, as a commission, shall transmit the election results from the polling unit on election day in 2023 through the IRev. “This will enable the electorate from anywhere to view the result in its entirety, thus allows for transparency and remove the atmosphere of tension on election day,” he said.
Agboke, also urged politicians to seek votes more from the electorate than harrassing the sensibility of the electorate with cash in form of vote-buying “which is punishable with two years imprisonment”.
He said that the 2023 general election “shall be won on the strength of electorate acceptability and the candidate’s popularity”.
2023: NSCDC to train INEC officials on security during election 2023: NSCDC to train INEC officials on security during election Election By Muftau Ogunyemi Akure, Aug. 18, 2023 The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Ondo State Command, says it will train election officials on necessary security measures to take during elections.
Dr Hammed Abodunrin, the NSCDC Commandant, said when he paid a courtesy visit on the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Ondo state, Dr Rufus Akeju, on Thursday in Akure.
Abodunrin said it was the responsibility of the corps and other security agencies to ensure security during elections He, however, said other stakeholders including the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) must also work in tune with the security agencies.
The commandant said it was important for all stakeholders to ensure safe, free, fair and secure election where people would not be afraid to come out to vote.
“If INEC staff are not secured or feel threatened, they won’t be able to conduct a proper election, not necessarily that they want to get anything, but because they have to also secure their lives.
“This is the only way we can partner with INEC through the training of their staff on personal security.
“Because if there is a competition, somebody is bound to win and somebody will also lose while somebody could be aggrieved, because they don’t know how to play the game according to the rules.
“So, instead of INEC officers to become victims in the course of their duty, we can always upscale their skills in the way they can protect themselves.
“INEC officials’ personal security is very important to us and we are going to train them on how to get appropriate information and how to also secure themselves either at work or at home,,” he said.
Abodunrin added that the command would also sensitise the officials on how to do away with objects that could trigger issues during elections.
“Virtually all the objects we are using in our homes and offices have now become symbols of political parties, such as brooms and umbrellas.
“If we see electoral officers using a broom to sweep the polling booth or carry an umbrella during the rain, people could mistake it for a kind of campaign for a particular political party.
“From our experience, we have seen where people react to such things during an election.
“Meanwhile, all the objects have an alternative; a sweeping stick could be use instead of a broom and a rain coat could replace an umbrella,” he said.
Abodunrin commended INEC on the recent elections in Ekiti and Osun states, saying the two elections portend a lot of hope for the country.
The NSCDC commandant called on politicians to play the game according to the rules and shun any action that would jeopardise the 2023 general election.
“Our security operatives have to be observant and not only to say they are objective, but they must be seen to be objective.
Electorates should calm down and believe that their votes will count,” he said.
Responding, the REC appreciated the NSCDC for their demonstration of love and commitment to the consolidation and deepening of democracy in Nigeria.
Akeju assured the readiness of INEC to conduct free, fair, credible, generally acceptable and inclusive election in line with international best practices.
He appealed to the NSCDC to complement the commission’s efforts towards building a democratic culture in the country.
“Your visit today is timely as you are aware that the commission is preparing for the 2023 general election; the training will be for the betterment of officers and the commission at large,” Akeju said.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), says over 389,000 Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs), are still unclaimed in Kano State.
Prof. Riskuwa Shehu, the state INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), said this when the Federal Commissioner, Public Complaints Commission (PCC), Alhaji Ahmad Dadinkowa, visited him on Thursday in Kano. Shehu, represented by the state INEC Administrative Secretary, Alhaji Garba Lawan, said that the PVCs were those produced from 2011 to 2018. “People were reluctant to come and collect their PVCs, hence the need for all stakeholders to assist in sensitising the voters to go and collect their own before the general elections,” he said.
The REC said that 569, 103 new voters were captured in the state at the just-concluded Continuous Voter Registration (CVR).
“This is in addition to the already existing 5.4 million voters registered before the 2019 elections.
“With the 389,000 uncollected PVCS and the registration of over 569,000 new registrants, we will have about 1 million PVCs waiting to be collected before the 2023 General Elections,” he said.
Shehu urged all stakeholders to assist the commission in mobilising people and collect their PVCs. He said that the CVR would resume after the 2023 elections.
The REC said that before the 2019 elections, the state had about 8,017 polling units and over 3,000 voting points.
According to him, INEC converted those voting points to full-pledged polling units.
“So, now in Kano, we have 11, 222 polling units to be used during the 2023 elections.
”This was achieved with the contribution of all the stakeholders, that is, the traditional institutions and political parties, among others,” he said.
Shehu stated that the commission has initiated various reforms in the electoral process with a view to ensuring credible elections.
He also urged stakeholders to assist in sensitising the people against electoral violence and vote-buying.
Earlier, Dadinkowa, said that the visit was to seek for partnership with INEC to ensure free, fair and credible 2023 general elections.
A total of 187 candidates from 12 political parties are contesting for the 25 available seats in the Cross River House of Assembly for the 2023 general elections.
This was disclosed by Dr Cyril Omorogbe, Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) of the state at a news conference in Calabar.
He also disclosed that 11 political parties fielded 69 and 28 candidates for the eight House of Representatives seats and the three Senatorial seats respectively.
He said 11 political parties would fight for the governorship position,d adding that Cross River had 322,351 new registrants in the just concluded voters registration.
“The total completed registration recorded in the State at the close of Continuous Voters Registration (CVR) is 322,351 as well as 58,305 voter transfers and 20,822 PVC replacements.
“A total of 73 Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Voter Enrolment Device (VED) were deployed to the 19 Registration centres in Cross River State (i.
e. the 18 LGA offices and the State office) during the exercise,” he stated.
On Permanent Voters Card (PVCs) collection, Omorogbe said collection would continue in all the Local Government Area (LGAs) offices of the State, while 69,016 PVCs remained uncollected from 2011 to date.
He expressed egret that the collection rate of the PVCs was low, considering that it wass just six months to the general elections.
According to him, “PVCs collection will continue in all the LGA offices.
PVCs collection by owners was one of the services carried out by our staff alongside the CVR.
“A total of 27,158 new PVCs were received by the State Commission in April for distribution to their owners but at the close of registration, only 3,897 were so far collected by voters, leaving an outstanding balance of 23,261 “This set of PVCs is for people that registered from June to December 2021. “From the old PVCs that are left over from 2011 to 2018; we have on record 57,310 PVCs but only 11,555 have been collected by their owners during this period under review with an outstanding 45,755 which is still not collected.
” While appealing for support from the political parties and their candidates ahead of elections, he urged the people to collect their PVCs. “I pledge that we will continue to work hard to deliver free, fair and credible elections come 2023,” he stated.
INEC had fixed Feb. 25, 2023 for the Presidential and National Assembly Elections and March 11 2023 for Governorship and Assembly elections.
According to the schedule of activities for the general elections released by the commission, campaign is expected to commence on Sept. 28 and Oct. 12 for the and state Assembly elections respectively.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says 585,629 eligible residents completed their registrations at the end of the just-concluded Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) in Lagos State.
INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Lagos state, Mr Olusegun Agbaje disclosed this in statement on Tuesday, after conclusion of the CVR in the state.
The News Agency of Nigeria recalls that INEC CVR, which started on June 28, 2021 was initially billed to end on June 30 before it was extended to July 31. Agbaje, who appreciated the people of the state for turning out in large numbers to participate in the exercise, said the exercise had to end in order to allow INEC carry out other activities ahead of the 2023 general elections.
He said the CVR had to end to pave way for the commission to carry out other functions required by the Electoral Act 2022, regarding voter registration that would require time for such functions to be performed.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the commission is required to carry out display of the regrster of voters for claims and objections by members of the public, clean up the register to remove multiple registrants using the Automated Biometric Identification System (ABIS) and consolidate the data of existing voters and newly registered voters for the production of National register of Voters.
“The commission is required to produce Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs) for all fresh registrants and applicants for transfer as well as replacement of lost or damaged PVCs.” The INEC boss said the commission had to also give enough time for the collection of PVCs by their owners before the general elections in 2023. He added that INEC also needed time to make copies of updated register of voters available to political parties not later than 30 days to the general elections.
According to him, the commission has other activities that must be accomplished ahead of the general elections.
“We appreciate the cooperation of Lagos residents during the CVR and reiterate our determination to conduct very free, fair, credible and acceptable elections in 2023. “We also call for the citizens’ maximum cooperation and understanding as we forge ahead,” Agbaje said.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Lagos State on Saturday, debunked reports of arrest of its officials over alleged creation of illegal voter enrollment centre.
INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Lagos state, Mr Olusegun Agbaje, made this clarification in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria .
NAN recalls that some media outfits had reported that three officials of INEC in the state, were arrested by Police officers from the police station in Ijeshatedo for allegedly conspiring with St. Brigigs Catholic Church, Ijeshatedo, Lagos, to create an illegal Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) centre in the church.
Reacting, Agbaje described the news report as fake news.
“All my staff and machines are complete.
No member of INEC staff was arrested anywhere in Lagos on Friday,” the REC said.
Recall that INEC on Friday, debunked reported invasion of the same CVR centre by thugs and carting away of its enrollment machines.
There had been a huge surge in most voter enrollment centres in the state ahead of July 31 CVR deadline.