2019 And The Politics Of Campaign Finance, By Reuben Abati

Each Governor was reportedly asked by the ruling APC party to bring N250 million ahead of the party’s National Convention.

Each Governor was reportedly asked by the ruling APC party to bring N250 million ahead of the party’s National Convention. When the public protested, recently, the party disclaimed the news even if it added that it was the responsibility of members to pay outstanding dues.

The APC needs N6 billion for its pre-election Convention. In the just concluded Ekiti Governorship primaries, an APC Gubernatorial aspirant who claimed he spent N100 million, got just 11 votes! I wonder how much the eventual winner spent. This story and similar ones, underscore the politics of campaign finance, the threat it poses to electoral integrity and outcomes, the enforceability of electoral laws, and the freedom of the people to choose.

Elections cost money, however.  The political party has to set up a party secretariat in virtually every ward, state, and at the national level, pay staff, promote its brand and its agenda, organize meetings, pay sitting allowances, support candidates, run media advertisements, arrange receptions and entertainment, pay for logistics, buy vehicles, pay for air travels and road transportation, the organization of rallies and campaigns, reserve some tidy sum for lobbying at all levels including the lobbying of the media and other groups in civil society.  Win or lose eventually, every political party be it in Africa, Europe, America, or Asia knows that money drives the game of politics. This is no rocket science, no matter how unfortunate the implications may be. It is nonetheless for this reason that political parties write into their constitutions, means of raising funds. These include membership subscriptions, payment for expression of interest in elective positions, donations, fund raising activities, and support from friends and the corporate sector.

As it is with the political parties, so it is with the candidates who seek elective offices on the platform of political parties. Their chances are also determined by the amount of money that they are able to raise and spend. In Nigeria, our experience has been that political office holders take loans, borrow money from Godfathers which has to be repaid with interest and at a cost, sell their property if they have any, solicit for money from friends and corporate organisations who are also at best, investors looking for latter-day return on investment.

In Oyo state, Lamidi Adedibu fell out with Governor Rasheed Ladoja because he insisted on a share of the Governor’s security vote. In Anambra state, Governor Chris Ngige ran into troubled waters because he refused to share privileges with the man that allegedly put him in power.

This commercialization of the political process is a universal dilemma and part of the crisis of what seems to be the perceived end of liberal democracy. If money makes all the difference, and politicians have to acquire and repay monetary IOUs, then where does that leave the big, liberal, ideas about choice, sovereignty and the power of the majority?

Where really, are the people in the entire democratic equation?  Before the election, on election-day and even after, the electorate at least in Africa, expect to be paid in cash and kind. The people are encouraged to embrace democracy with cash, they are induced to vote in the same manner and their loyalty is maintained only when it is procured. Countries where democracy still seems to be putative or uncertain are the worst hit and many of them are in Africa. But it must be carefully noted that politicians also spend money elsewhere: in France, the United Kingdom, Belgium, the United States, Spain, Germany, Italy and so on…. campaign finance has been a problem, to be specific, corrupt campaign financing, poses a threat to the globalization of the democratic enterprise.

The liberal democratic project is based on the assumption that the electorate are granted the freedom to choose, determine the future of their country and their individual/collective future as well. When they make mistakes, they bear the consequences, but a few years later, four, or five, under the constitution, they may also be allowed the opportunity to correct their mistakes and hope for the best within the framework of representational democracy. But a drawback to all that, I argue, has been money, described elsewhere as the root of evil. The connection between evil and money has been a principal bane of democracy, turning democracy, that same vehicle that is supposed to bring good tidings into a vehicle of mixed blessings – the good and the ugly.

In cognizance of this, many countries have written into their electoral frameworks, rules and procedures on campaign finance: to rescue democracy from money bags, the influence of money, also, to prevent the undue use of money, and to preserve the people’s sovereignty. In real terms, these rules which exist in virtually every jurisdiction, include laws and regulations which forbid the unauthorized use of state resources for political purposes, contributions from dubious sources, violation of campaign funding limits as prescribed by enabling laws, the use of money to influence voters and election outcomes, non-disclosure of campaign spending, abuse of media, broadcasting and political advertising rules, and rules on declaration of assets, academic qualifications, health and other disclosures and internal party guidelines and rules.

Accordingly, Sections 222 – 229 of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution (as amended) provides rules and regulations on the operations of political parties, with Sections 225 and 226 thereof affirming the powers of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the country’s electoral body to monitor, inquire into and assess campaign finances, and a party’s source of and management of funds. Section 228 expressly provides sanctions with regard to party finance and campaign finance, and provides the National Assembly statutory powers in this regard.  The best that the National Assembly of Nigeria has done in this regard, however, has been the enactment and review of Electoral Acts to guide the conduct of elections in Nigeria (notably the Acts of 2002, 2006 and 2010).

The extant 2010 Electoral Act, as amended, caps spending limits as follows: Presidential election – N1 billion, Governorship- N200 million, Senatorial – N40 million, House of Representatives candidate – N20 million, and House of Assembly – N10 million.  Section 92 (3) of this enabling law also requires every political party to submit, six months after every election, an audited revenue and expenditure report of the party, failing which penalties are stipulated. But this has never happened.  The first key argument of this commentary, therefore, after the legal, cultural and socio-political, context described above, is that corrupt campaign finance is a big problem in Nigerian politics, and that money poses the biggest threat to our democracy.

Upon his assumption of office in Nigeria in 2015, President Muhammadu Buhari recognizing this fact decided that he would focus on the abuse of campaign financing and tackle electoral corruption.  The way he has gone about it and the conduct of his own political party, the All Progressives Congress should be a useful global study in how not to tackle the challenge of campaign finance.  And it is like this: campaign finance scrutiny and the audit of the electoral process requires a non-partisan, and objective process, but in Buhari’s case, the process began with a determination to discredit and malign the preceding administration based on the assumption that this would automatically make the successor look good. It is a strategy that has failed.

The biggest focus of the Buhari administration has been simply this: to prove to Nigerians that the preceding Jonathan administration used public funds to finance the 2015 general elections, and that the public funds involved were meant for the prosecution of the war against the Boko Haram: Nigeria’s biggest security challenge.  We have been fed with details of thieving officials, money given to prayer-warriors of different denominations, the media, the civil society, traditional rulers, politicians and other stakeholders, but here is the take-away: the Buhari war against corruption has been utterly selective and selfish. His government is just as terribly guilty.

The 2015 general election is in retrospect, a test case for Nigerian democracy. The truth is that the dominant political parties – the PDP and the APC – both violated the laws on campaign finance, before and after the fact.  I am not aware for example that either of the political parties complied with the aforementioned Section 92(3), or Section 92(6) of the Electoral Act 2010, (as amended), or that even INEC itself bothered to take up the matter.  In every election since 1999, contribution and spending limits have been exceeded and the relevant laws have been observed in the breach by political parties and politicians at all levels.

In 2015, the Jonathan campaign at a fund raising dinner breached the fund raising limit, for example by collecting more than N20 billion! The APC would later claim it spent just a little above N1 billion in the 2015 Presidential election, but this has not yet been investigated, and I don’t think anybody believes it. Some of the state Governors who later became big men in the Buhari Government have been accused of making untidy donations to the Presidential campaign without any investigation. Businessmen, who associate with any government in power, hedging their bets, protecting dubious advantages, have also been known to donate money to politicians as protection fees.

This lack of equity and transparency, is principally the reason the Buhari government’s effort to address the challenge of corrupt campaign financing is considered hypocritical, one-sided, fake and dishonest. Most of the Jonathan men and women who are today in the dock are there for campaign finance reasons – Sambo Dasuki and his team – they are accused of using state security funds to organize political campaigns,  Olisah Metuh – he is accused of taking state money to help Jonathan’s re-election, part of which he allegedly diverted,  Femi Fani-Kayode and Nenadi Usman are accused of using state funds to run political campaigns, but not even one person from the APC wing has been similarly charged, or accused,  and yet the same APC also gave money to politicians, journalists, persons in civil society, including spiritualists and thugs, and there are self-styled Godfathers in that party who have been quarreling over the redemption of the IOUs they incurred.

This essay is not about the APC, however. It is about corrupt campaign financing and the bona fides of the current Nigerian government in that respect and it is something the incumbent President should begin to worry about.  Whoever comes to equity so the law says, must do so with clean hands. In Nigeria, the ruling APC party and its principal, Muhammadu Buhari may have been trying to claim a moral high ground in the last three years particularly in relation to matters of integrity and governance but they seem to belong more to the valley.

Nothing makes this more obvious than the APC ward congresses and Local government elections held last week in which there were accusations of vote buying, harassment, violence, parallel congresses, anti-party activities, and corrupt practices. Defeated opponents have complained about “too much money” deployed by persons with government connections, and the abuse of state resources to impose outcomes. There is also widespread anxiety about the emerging crisis within the APC  – the implosion within, the crisis of leadership and the apparent advertisement of sheer incompetence.

The APC is the coalition, the special purpose vehicle that brought President Muhammadu Buhari to power.  It is turning out to be his nemesis. In the recent APC congresses and elections, the APC discredited its own President and repudiated everything that he claims to stand for, including the integrity of campaign finance.  This is my point and I consider that to be very sad. President Buhari discredited President Jonathan on the grounds that his aides, either authorized or unauthorized, deployed state funds hoping to bring him back to power.  I hope President Buhari is aware that his own aides were all over the country in the last week trying to grab positions using both state resources and power.

In Rivers Sate, to cite just one notorious example, feuding APC chieftains sacked the High Court in Port Harcourt and destroyed public property. Judges and lawyers had to flee. The Federal Government has not yet issued any statement condemning this assault on the judiciary.  That is unacceptable.

I write this piece in the expectation that President Buhari will be made to be aware (since he is said not to be aware of many things) that his own men are destroying the very foundation of his government.  He needs to wake up and act. A few months to the 2003 elections, President Olusegun Obasanjo asked all members of his cabinet who were interested in political positions to step aside. Six months to the 2015 elections, President Goodluck Jonathan did the same to ensure a level playing field.

President Buhari owes us a duty to do the very best to prevent the abuse of positions for political gain: a limited proposition perhaps, but he needs to be seen to be honest about his own campaign finance proposition. He should deal with the situation by repositioning enforcement mechanisms. The nation will gain a lot from a further reform of the campaign financing process, to give room for the election of more competent and qualified persons for the betterment of the nation.

President Muhammadu Buhari also needs to make a choice between being a joke or a hero. It is up to him. He may in fact choose to concede heroism to either Goodluck Jonathan or Olusegun Obasanjo who right now looks like Nigeria’s qualified version of Malaysia’s Mahathir Mohammed. Whatever happens, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) can make all the difference by choosing to be independent and effective in the discharge of its monitoring and sanction powers as contained in the Constitution and the Electoral Act.

Fayose, Very Abusive, Lacks Decorum- Oyegun

National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief Odigie-Oyegun said Monday that the party was working hard to redeem

National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief Odigie-Oyegun said Monday that the party was working hard to redeem Ekiti state from what he described as a very abusive government.

Oyegun who spoke when he received the report of the Primary election Committee from the committee chairman and Nasarawa state governor, Tanko Al-Makura said the present Ekiti state governor, Ayodele Fayose was very abusive and lacked decorum.

He praised the aspirants for their spirit of sportsmanship, adding that the disrupted primary,  gave the party an opportunity to organise a perfect one, adding that the committees, aspirants and the delegates at the primary deserves a gold medal.

He said the party leadership had started work to consolidate on the victory recorded at the primary, saying “We are working to ensure that the victory you have started is carried through come July 14, this year at the governorship election”.

APC Sweeps Oyo Local Government Polls

The Oyo State Electoral Commission (OYSIEC) has declared the All Progressives Congress (APC) winner of 33 local governments and 35

The Oyo State Electoral Commission (OYSIEC) has declared the All Progressives Congress (APC) winner of 33 local governments and 35 local government development areas held on Saturday in the state.

Declaring the results at a press conference at OYSIEC Headquarters on Sunday, the Chairman of the commission Mr. Jide Ajeigbe commended the people of the state for peaceful conduct of election.

He also commended the contestants for organising a violence-free electioneering campaign, urging them to continue demonstrating high level of maturity in the subsequent elections in the state.

Ajeigbe described the election which was conducted in 610 wards and 4,783 polling units among 12 political parties as free, fair and credible.

“It is needful to appreciate the good people of Oyo State for conducting themselves orderly and peacefully through the period of the exercise. Kudos needs to be given to contestants for organising a violence-free electioneering campaign. Your conduct showed the kind of political maturity that Oyo state is known for.

“It is therefore hoped that this kind of maturity exhibited before, during and after the conduct of the will be sustained now that the election is over so that good democratic values be further achieved at the grassroots.”

The Oyo State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had on Thursday announced its withdrawal from participating in the LG polls in the state, said that OYSIEC had failed integrity test.

Be Magnanimous In Victory, Ajimobi Tells Oyo LG Election, APC Congress Winners

File photo: Abiola Ajimobi   The Oyo State Governor, Abiola Ajimobi, has congratulated winners in the state’s local government election

Ajimobi Declares Three Days To Mourn Oyo Speaker
File photo: Abiola Ajimobi

 

The Oyo State Governor, Abiola Ajimobi, has congratulated winners in the state’s local government election and the LG congress of the All Progressives Congress (APC), urging them to be magnanimous in victory.

The governor conveyed his message in a statement by his Special Adviser on Communication and Strategy, Mr Bolaji Tunji, shortly after the release of the results of the LG election by the Oyo State Independent Electoral Commission, on Sunday.

Of the 33 LGs and 35 LCDAs where elections were held, APC candidates made a clean sweep of the chairmanship and councillorship elections.

Ajimobi expressed satisfaction with the outcome of the exercise which he described as orderly and peaceful.

He, however, asked those who did not win in both contests to eschew violence and to be gallant in defeat.

The governor also urged APC faithful across the state to be orderly and law-abiding in their conduct, while he advised those that might be aggrieved by the outcome of the elections to explore lawful channels to seek redress.

He said: “We have proved sceptics and the doubting Thomas wrong with the successful and orderly conduct of the local government election, 11 years after the last one was held. This is another defining moment in the life of our administration.

“I congratulate our great party, the APC, winners in the LG election and those that emerged victorious in our party’s congresses held across the LG headquarters in the state. It was through the support of all the stakeholders that we were able to surmount the initial obstacles.

“For the winners, I urge you to be magnanimous in victory and I want the losers to be gallant in defeat, knowing full well that the losers of today may be the winners tomorrow with tenacity and sense of purpose. Elections should not always be about winning, but about taking part.

“I want to admonish our party faithful dissatisfied with the LG congresses and losers in the LG election across the participating political parties to eschew unruly conduct capable of igniting crisis in any part of the state. Violence is never a proper response to losing an election because it does no one any good.

“With the successful conduct of our party’s ward and LG congresses, as witnessed by the congress committee and the Independent National Electoral Commission, I urge our party members to brace themselves for Saturday’s state congress, which will climax the process.”

Ajimobi also called for restraint on the part of splinter groups that have formed internal opposition against the APC, appealing to them to retrace their steps and join hands with him to build the APC into a more formidable and virile party ahead of the 2019 general election.

The post appeared first on Channels Television.

APC Insists No Parallel LG Congress Was Held In Oyo

    The Oyo State All Progressives Congress has dismissed the parallel local government congress purportedly held by what it

 

 

The Oyo State All Progressives Congress has dismissed the parallel local government congress purportedly held by what it called a dissident group within the party, describing it as a joke taken too far by the masterminds.

The party said the purported parallel congress is illegal, null and void.

The State Secretary of the party, Hon. Mojeed Olaoya, who disclosed this in a statement, on Sunday, said that the purported congress, which he read about in an online medium, was a sheer waste of time if it indeed took place.

As a follow-up to the ward congresses held across the state, last Sunday, he said that the APC held a very successful local government congress conducted within the 33 LG headquarters by the Alhaji Musa Halilu-Ahmed-led congress committee, on Sunday.

He said: “These impostors are overreaching themselves if the said parallel congress was held as we read online. I want to believe that these people are only out to hoodwink the public by their propaganda because there was no evidence that any other congress took place apart from the official one.

“The guideline of the APC is very clear about where to hold congresses, who to conduct it and who to authenticate it. For the avoidance of doubt, the ward congress held last Sunday and today’s (Sunday) LG congress conducted by the Oyo State APC under the leadership of Chief Akin Oke met all these criteria.

“In strict compliance with our party’s constitution and guideline, we held the ward congresses in the meeting places of the party at the ward level last Sunday. Today, we held our LG congresses within the headquarters of the 33 LGs in the state.

“Both congresses were conducted by the Alhaji Musa Halilu-Ahmed-led congress committee from the APC headquarters and were witnessed by officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). All these stakeholders, including security agencies, signed the result sheets as stipulated,” he stressed.

Olaoya further noted that anything besides these are fake and that there was nothing to worry about.

He, therefore, urged loyal party members to get prepared for the state congress, which he said would climax the party congresses, on Saturday, May 19.

“I want to insist that APC is one in Oyo State. Any member claiming to belong to any forum or splinter group is not a genuine member of our great party, because Governor Abiola Ajimobi has united all those that joined hands to form the APC. We are an indivisible entity.”

The post appeared first on Channels Television.

Kaduna LG Polls: PDP Accuses KADSIECOM Of Favouring APC

File photo   The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has accused the Kaduna State Independent Electoral Commission (KADSIECOM) of altering the

Kaduna Polls: PDP Accuses KADSIECOM Of Favouring APC
File photo

 

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has accused the Kaduna State Independent Electoral Commission (KADSIECOM) of altering the results of the just concluded local government elections in favour of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

In a statement on Sunday by the PDP National Publicity Secretary Mr Kola Ologbondiyan, the party rejected the outcomes of the polls which they described as “provocative and fraudulent”.

READ ALSO: El-Rufai Hails Conduct Of Kaduna LG Polls, Electronic Voting System

They noted that the alleged alteration of final results and declaration of the APC as the winner in areas purportedly won by the opposition party in Saturday’s polls were indefensible.

“From the reports of results at the polling centres, it is clear that the PDP defeated the APC in most of the areas where elections held across the state, including Governor Nasir El-Rufai’s ward where the PDP led with over 90% percent of the votes cast.

“The result of this election is a clear testimony of our popularity in the state. As such, PDP rejects the fraud by Kaduna State Independent Electoral Commission (KADSIECOM) in altering the results in favour of APC,” the statement read.

The PDP further accused KADSIECOM of working in with the APC to engage in the alleged manipulation of the collation process.

They also claimed that figures were changed while and the electoral body announced final results that were different from figures tallied at the polling centres.

The opposition party, however, asked the APC and KADSIECOM to note that they have eyes everywhere as they monitored the entire balloting processes at all levels.

They added that they are also aware of the performance of various parties at the polls, insisting that the PDP did well in all the polling centres across the state.

The PDP also cautioned KADSIECOM to save Kaduna from avoidable stress by resisting the ruling party and withdrawing all the alleged altered final results.

They asked the commission to announce results that reflect the actual wishes of the people as expressed in the ballot, in its bid to stand either on the side of truth or corruption.

The post appeared first on Channels Television.

Delta APC Ward Congress: How Kutugi, Mahmud Allegedly Cart Away 100 Result Sheets

The All Progressives Congress (APC) Ward Congress may have come and gone, but the aftermaths of the party’s congress has

The All Progressives Congress (APC) Ward Congress may have come and gone, but the aftermaths of the party’s congress has left chaos, irregularities, kidnapping, and alleged case of conspiracy and theft within its members.

In Delta State, the ward congress was scheduled to commence on Saturday May 5 at 9am, but in the process of sorting out the electoral materials for distribution to the 270 wards in the state for conduct of the congress, Chairman of the Ward and Local Government Congress Committee, Alhaji Sani Dododo discovered that 100 out of the 270 Ward Result Sheet Booklets were stolen.

Abusidiqu gathered that the electoral materials were kept in the custody of the Committee’s Secretary, Mr Usman Kutugi at his hotel room in Orchids Hotel, Asaba, to the exclusion of any other person.

While at this, State Chairman of the Party, Prophet Jones Ode Erue, reportedly received WhatsApp messages and pictures from one Godwin, revealing pictures of the booklets which were allegedly in possession of Engineer Sam Adjogbe, Executive Director, Projects of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC). The messages also revealed how Adjoge transferred the electoral materials to another Engineer Leo Obobi, Acting State Publicity Secretary, some other unidentified persons in a hotel in Ugheli Local Government area of the State

To unravel the mystery behind the sudden disappearance of the booklets from Kutugi’s hotel room in Asaba, to another hotel in Ugheli, a one hour drive from Asaba, the Commissioner of Police, Muhammad Mustafa, dispatched a team of Crime Detectives to the scene of the missing items.

The process to unravel the missing 100 results booklets recorded a violent reaction from opposition camp allegedly sponsored by Olorogun Otega Emerhor and Hon. Voctor Oschei, as over 400 heavily armed thugs laid siege on Orchids hotel, demanding that the remaining congress materials be released to them.

Abusidiqu gathered that the refusal of the Congress Committee Chairman to yield to the thugs request left many injured including Dr. Janet Oyubu, State Women Leader;  Comrade Chuks Erhire Director General of Senator Ovie Omo-Agege’s Constituency Office; Mr Julius Akpovoka Efeni, and Barrister Ejiro Etaghene.

However, the immediate deployment of mobile forces by the State’s police command restored peace and security to the hotel and environs.

Due to the missing electoral materials, the Committee Chairman, rescheduled the congress for Sunday May 6, which was duly observed by officials of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), and was reported peaceful except in Ugheli South Ward 10, where a Chairmanship aspirant was allegedly murdered by unknown gunmen.

While waiting for the collation of results from the field, Chairman of the Congress Committee discovered that two members of the congress committee, Mr. Kutugi, and Kassim Mahmud, a member of the committee were nowhere to be found. It became a cause of concern as both were in possession of the remaining sensitive materials which include the summary result sheets.

Again, the Congress Chairman, Mr. Dododo reported their sudden disappearance to the Police and the Department of State Security Service (DSS). The deployment of tracking devices to monitor their phones revealed they were in Port-Harcourt, Rivers State while they were supposed to be in Asaba, Delta State, for the APC ward congress.

Meanwhile, the police incident report on the disappearance of the missing booklets, exclusively obtained by Abusidiqu read: “We note that preliminary findings at Orchids Hotel where the Committee was staying revealed that the Secretary’s (Kutugi) room was not burgled or broken into. The hotel’s Closed-Circuit Television (CCTV) camera footages showed that the Secretary (as the last occupant of the room) left the room with a big loaded Ghana-Must-Go bag and returned to his room with the bag empty.”

The police report added that Mr. Kutugi and Mr. Mahmoud absconded to unknown destination with all the necessary and sensitive election materials till the end of all the ward congress in the state without any explanation.

“From the investigation carried out, it’s clear that Mr. Usman Kutugi and Mr. Kasheem Mamoud have been bought over to compromise the result of the ward congress. A case of kidnapping cannot be established against Mr. Kutugi and Mr Mamoud.

“Based on the sudden disappearance of Mr. Usman Kutugi. The Chairman of the Congress Committee applied doctrine of necessity to collect the result from all the Wards in the presence of the State Party Chairman and all other Stakeholders involved in the exercise and declared the result on Monday 7th 2018,” a report signed by the Delta State Police Commissioner reads.

It added: “It is evidently clear that Mr. Kutugi and Mr. Mamoud were not kidnapped but compromised their responsibilities and a case of Conspiracy and Stealing of the Congress sensitive materials have been established against them.”

 

Photos: One Dies As Agege APC Holds Congress

A member of the All Progressives Congress in Lagos has been shot dead at the party’s local government congress in

A member of the All Progressives Congress in Lagos has been shot dead at the party’s local government congress in Agege. The member, identified as Nurudeen Olanose, was allegedly shot at Central School, Dopemu, during a fracas that ensued after voting had ended on Saturday.

Two others are in critical condition while nine people have been arrested and taken to Area G Police Division in Agege.

When contacted, Chike Oti, the Spokesperson of the Lagos State Police Command, said “I’ll get back to you.”

There are however different accounts of what led to the shooting as some said violence broke out after Mudashiru Obasa, the Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, visited the venue and some said Obasa was never there.


LG Election: Kaduna votes with electronic machines as opposition complains

Local government council elections held in Kaduna on Saturday amid complaints of late arrival of materials and low turnout of

Local government council elections held in Kaduna on Saturday amid complaints of late arrival of materials and low turnout of voters.

The election in 21 of the state’s 23 local government areas was conducted using electronic voting machines — the first time in Nigeria.

At all the polling unit visited in Unguwan Dosa, Kawo, Unguwan Shanu, Badarawa, Barnawa, Television, Kakuri, few voters were seen queueing to get accredited and vote for their preferred candidates. At some unit, officials were yet to arrive as at 12: 30pm.

Yakubu Aliyu, a resident of Maiduguri Road, said he voted early. He applauded the state government for introducing the electronic voting system.

“Although few people turned out at most polling centers, the process was quiet simple and fast. Many people have voted. It took me not five minutes to vote. This is commendable,” he said.

Voting started late in some areas of Zaria, Sabongari, Lere, Ikara, Kachia, and Jaba.

Sani Bitrus from Jaba Local Government told PREMIUM TIMES that they were witnessing late arrival of the election officials.

Accredited voters did not see ballot papers. Instead, they faced an electronic voting machine displaying the logos of the political parties participating in the election.

By pressing the logo of a preferred political party, the voter registers a choice that is recorded and acknowledged by the machine.

Complaints

But a former spokesperson to former governor Ramalan Yero, and a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party, Ahmed Maiyaki, accused the state government and the state electoral body of deliberately disenfranchising the people by not arriving at polling unit early, and not being present in some polling units.

“We are aware of the plan by APC to rig the local government election. We are not going to accept that,” Mr Maiyaki said.

“As I am taking to you right now, there were no electronic machine at many polling units up till this afternoon. All over the place there are reports of absence of voting machine and it is deliberate.

Kaduna LG Polls – Premium Times Mohammed Lere.

Kaduna LG Polls – Premium Times Mohammed Lere.

Kaduna LG Polls – Premium Times Mohammed Lere.

Kaduna LG Polls – Premium Times Mohammed Lere.

Kaduna LG Polls – Premium Times Mohammed Lere.

Kaduna LG Polls – Premium Times Mohammed Lere.

Kaduna LG Polls – Premium Times Mohammed Lere.

Kaduna LG Polls – Premium Times Mohammed Lere.

Kaduna LG Polls – Premium Times Mohammed Lere.

Kaduna LG Polls – Premium Times Mohammed Lere.

“And again there is clear used of money at various polling centers. In Igabi Local Government, the story is not different. I am telling that the state has failed and we are watching and we are not going to accept the result as it is clear they want to rig the results.

” All of us here are supervising the election, I am here at the PDP situation room here and I am telling clear and loud, this is a failure.

Meanwhile a visit to some polling unit in the state reveal low turnout and in many, are still expecting election materials.

When contacted, an APC chieftain in Kaduna, Hassan Mohammed, said he was not aware of any plan by the party to disenfranchise Kaduna voters from exercising their civic rights.

“The APC is accepted by the people of the state and there is no plan in anyway to stop the people from electing their chairmen and councilors. It is that feeling of defeat that the PDP is already experiencing and they have started their usual noise,” Mr Hassan said.

An official of the state electoral commission, Mohammed Mustapha, told PREMIUM TIMES that the commission was doing all it could to see that no citizen of the state missed out of the election.

“Yes we are having little hitches here and there, like arrival of voting materials to some units but as I speak to you now many polling units have finish capturing voters and just waiting for voters to come.

“Everybody will vote and we are prepared to make sure the elections succeed.”

Ekiti Primary: Al-Makura Says APC Has Learnt So Much

Governor Tanko Al-Makura   Nasarawa State Governor, Tanko Al-Makura, says the All Progressives Congress (APC) has a lot to learn

Ekiti Primary: Al-Makura Says APC Has Learnt So Much
Governor Tanko Al-Makura

 

Nasarawa State Governor, Tanko Al-Makura, says the All Progressives Congress (APC) has a lot to learn from its previous primary election in Ekiti State.

The governor, who is the chairman of the organising committee for the exercise, stated this on Saturday during an interview with Channels Television in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital.

The previous, election which held on May 5, was marred by violence and subsequently declared inconclusive by the committee which conducted the exercise.

The election was later rescheduled for Friday, but the APC shifted it to Saturday following further consultations between its National Working Committee (NWC) and aspirants in the poll and other stakeholders.

Speaking at the venue of the rescheduled exercise, Governor Al-Makura noted that the smooth nature of today’s exercise is traceable to a thorough review of the botched edition.

He said, “I feel really bad and disturbed that that (previous) exercise was disturbed at that point in time but to say the fact, we have been able to do what we could to ensure a seamless process.

“We have learnt so much from it and that is why we have decided that this time around, we wouldn’t allow agents to come close to where the voting process is taking place.

“We have also tried to ensure that the process is done in such as manner that nobody from anywhere can come and interrupt the process.”

Governor AL-Makura revealed that accreditation was conducted simultaneously in accordance with the senatorial zones while voting was done in a sequential order.

Responding to the complaints by some aspirants about the system of voting, he said the national secretariat gave a guideline which only considers the option of an indirect process (delegate primaries).

The chairman noted that although the party’s constitution allows for both direct and indirect voting processes and while the aspirants would wish it was a direct process, the committee has the mandate to follow the guidelines and the stipulations of the party’s leadership.

He also reacted to the withdrawal of Senator Babafemi Ojudu from the race on the grounds of envisaged violence, saying it was his decision as every aspirant has a right whether or not to continue.

Al-Makura, however, said Ojudu’s withdrawal has not been communicated to him officially, maintaining that 33 aspirants are still taking part in the process.

While there might be concerns in some quarters, he affirmed that the rescheduled exercise has been transparent, free and fair, as well as highly credible so far.

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