Nafisa Atiku: How I was Disenfranchised During the Last Election

Flashback to a very sunny morning in Enugu state where I had just arrived to line up and register for

Flashback to a very sunny morning in Enugu state where I had just arrived to line up and register for my voters card. I decided I would skip classes that day to make sure I registered. I was almost sure I could do it in a couple of hours and head back to the campus to chill. How wrong I was. Very, very wrong.

Struggling to register that day was worse than the line in my first year when we were all gathering to collect our matriculation gowns and in the process someone had pulled my weave so hard it tore out. That was humane compared to this hot mess of a struggle.

The center was deeply under-staffed and as usual corruption had gotten into everything. A voters card apart from being a means to exercise one’s civic duty could also be used as a very valid means of identification. I could see people handing money over to some INEC officials to register. People entered the line at will, cheating people at the back. Did I mention I didn’t register? I went back to tell my friends of the horrors I had seen and experienced all in attempt to get my PVC.

I was not discouraged, I went back the next day, and the next, and even went on Sunday. Next week, common sense dawned on me and I realized I couldn’t continue this charade. I wanted to vote in the next election. I went on a Tuesday and the first thing I did was to befriend one of the INEC officials. I asked him to allow me help them on the condition I would register that day. I helped them out till it was time to close up and I insisted my registration be done. That was how I eventually got my temporary voters card. Did I mention that majority of my university mates didn’t bother going because of how tedious the process was? Imagine over 5,000 potential voters gone because of the inadequacy of the system at that time. Let me shock you the more, I eventually never got my Permanent Voters card because, “it was never ready”, and that was probably how I and millions of other people were disenfranchised.

Why do I take the pains to enumerate this story? It’s because as I acknowledge how important it is for one to engage in their civic duty, we must be intelligent in evaluating the processes involved. As the next elections are soon to be conducted, registration has started in different local governments in the federation. Another story. I tried to register again in my local government this year, they had closed until resumption the following month. I had to travel for work so that window of opportunity was lost to me. Registration in some areas have gone smoothly, in some other places not so much. The process has not been very favorable to the working class segment of the population.

Gospel Obele an economist, CEO and Lead Analyst of Streenomics a leading market research firm said this, ”INEC is trying to convince over 60% of our young population, who are really not interested to go to an INEC polling office to endure the rigor to obtain a PVC. Big Brother Naija despite majority of youths interested, bought voting rights on the go in their smart phones. Yet people compare and complain. We are in an age of irrationality and for positive change to happen, rationality needs to ride on the intelligence of irrationality. Unfortunately change actors aren’t seeing this perspective enough to influence from a higher intelligence

The voters registration and voting exercise needs to be more intelligent and less stressful in its approach. People complain about political apathy among young people and working class folk. To be honest, which one of us would want to stand under the sun as I did for a week and at the end still not vote?
In Kaduna where the recent local government elections were conducted using an electronic voting system,it wasn’t a perfect experience but it was far from a technological disaster. While we may not be ready to use this sort of technology on a wider scale at the moment, it was indeed a step in the right direction in easing the stress of the voting exercise.

In short, if you want more people to engage in the political process, stop putting roadblocks in the guise of procedure and make it more accessible to all. That’s is why, after all, technology exists.

Photo Credit: © Innovatedcaptures | Dreamstime.com

Forum wants Kaduna electoral commission to domesticate gender policies

Sola Ojo, Kaduna A forum comprised of different interest groups at the end of a 2-day meeting in Kaduna over

Sola Ojo, Kaduna

A forum comprised of different interest groups at the end of a 2-day meeting in Kaduna over the weekend urged the Kaduna State Independent Electoral Commission (KAD-SIECOM) to domesticate gender policies to encourage women participation in politics.

The meeting was facilitated by Development in Practice Gender Entrepreneurship Initiative (DIP-GEI) under the Voice to the People (V2P) project in Kaduna, which was supported by Christian Aid.

The forum, which had representatives of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), KAD-SIECOM, Conference of Political Parties, Women Aspirant and Mentorship Forum and non-governmental organisations in attendance, hoped that, if affirmative gender policies of INEC could be set up in Kaduna, it would afford women, many of whom are not financially endowed, to participate in elections.

This is even as Chairman, House Committee on Information and Home Affairs, Kaduna State House of Assembly, Shehu Shadalafiya, said the House was willing to effect changes that would bring about development, security and equal opportunity for people in the state if such is communicated to the Assembly.

“It is very important for KAD-SIECOM to domesticate gender policy. This will further expose our people and allow more women to participate in politics,” he said.

“Political parties too need to do the needful by creating the opportunity, meeting their affirmation to give women the opportunity in intra-party politics even in their excos.

“This workshop is a very good step Kaduna State will benefit from, and we are happy to have taken part in it.

“We look at issues that need to come to the assembly, but civil society, KAD-SIECOM itself, women groups, political parties can initiate moves for amendments, changes or creation of new law.

“We in the Kaduna Assembly are willing at every time to do things that will bring about development, security and equal opportunity for our people,” he stressed.

Programme Manager, DIP-GEI, Stella Samuel Udobong said the meeting was organized as part of a V2P project by DFID, and implemented by DIP-GEI with 45 participants drawn from 10 political parties across the State.

V2P is a community-based project that empowers natives on how to prioritise their needs and make same known to their policymakers through a collective voice for desire changes to happen in their communities. The idea is to give voice to communities to make collective demands.

According to her, INEC, NGOs, and inter party women network were brought together to strategize on the way forward for womens’ inclusion in the 2019 General Elections.

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INEC Register 143, 277 New Eligible Voters In Gombe.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Gombe state, over the weekend said it had registered 143,277 new eligible voters in

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Gombe state, over the weekend said it had registered 143,277 new eligible voters in the ongoing Continuous Voters Registration (CVR) exercise.

The Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in the state, Umar Ibrahim, disclosed this to newsmen during a press conference in Gombe.

Ibrahim said since the commencement of the exercise over 143, 277 persons applied for Permanent Voter’s Cards (PVCs) across the state, comprising 91,300 and 51,977 females.

The REC added that 1,117 inter state transfer cases were attended to and 1,753 intra state request were look into, while 12, 797 persons registered for replacement of missing, lost or defaced PVCs.

“I am happy to inform you that INEC Gombe state has received a total of 47,718 PVCs for all those that registered from April to December, 2017 and those that applied for inter state transfer within same period.”

Ibrahim while expressing satisfaction with the exercise in the state, said distribution of the received PVCs will commence on Monday 21st May 2018.

The REC then urged all those who registered within the period to come out and collect their PVCs and all eligible voters who are yet to register, to use this opportunity by visiting any of the 32 CVR centers in the state.

“Distribution of the new PVCs will commence on Monday 21st May, 2018 in the 11 INEC LGA offices in the state and will continue alongside the ongoing CVR.”

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INEC Director, Secretary Docked For Money Laundering

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, on Wednesday arraigned two former senior staff of the Enugu State office of the

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, on Wednesday arraigned two former senior staff of the Enugu State office of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Amadi Simon, a former deputy director and Nathan Owhor Oviri, an administrative secretary before Justice A.M. Liman of the Federal High Court, Enugu on a 16-count charge of conspiracy and money laundering.

The officials are alleged to have laundered One Hundred and Thirty One Million, Three Hundred and Eighty Thousand Naira (N131, 380,000) contrary to Section 18 (a) and 1 (a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act,2011 (as amended) and punishable under Section 16 (2) (b) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2012.

Their arraignment was sequel to roles they allegedly played in the disbursements of 2015 presidential election campaign funds to some INEC Staff in Enugu State from the $115m provided by Diezani Alison-Madueke , former minister of petroleum resources, to influence the outcome of the election.

They were said to have made and accepted cash payments exceeding the authorized limit required by law without passing through a financial institution.

“Investigation by the Commission revealed that the sum of $27 Million USD was released which was converted to N131,380,000 in various Bureau de Change,” the spokesperson for the EFCC, Wilson Uwujaren, said in a statement. “The sum formed part of N450 Million released to the Enugu state PDP Campaign team.

“The money was allegedly collected by Nathan Owhor from some party chieftains and taken to a hotel at New Haven, Enugu where it was disbursed to all supervising returning officers of INEC for onward disbursement to other staff in all the local government areas of the state.”

Both men pleaded not guilty to the charges leveled against them and were granted bail in the sum of Five Million Naira (N5, 000,000) each and one surety each who must not be below the rank of a director in either state or federal ministry. The sureties must also own landed properties within the court’s jurisdiction.

Justice Liman further ruled that the accused person should continue to enjoy the administrative bail granted by the EFCC until the conditions listed above are met within seven days.

Failure to meet the conditions, they would be re-arrested and remanded in prison custody, the judge said.

The matter was adjourned to October 10, 2018.

2019: INEC And Underage Voting Challenges

Introduction The beauty of democracy and indeed its attractiveness to many is the broad participation as well as the guarantee

Introduction

The beauty of democracy and indeed its attractiveness to many is the broad participation as well as the guarantee of periodic, genuine and credible elections. Nineteen years after Nigeria returned to participatory democracy, it has made discernible progress, including a seamless handover in 2015. Yet, Nigeria’s democracy is fraught with some teething problems. Underage voting has become a national challenge and sore point.

As the election year approaches, it is natural for people to recall words attributed to former Soviet dictator, Joseph Stalin, as recalled by his former secretary; “I consider it completely unimportant who…will vote, or how; but what is extraordinarily important is this — who will count the votes, and how.”1 Going by Nigeria’s immediate-past history, such worries are not completely out of place. Not a few believe it is imperative to look critically at those who will count the votes during the 2019 general elections and the methodology they will use. Certainly, there will be challenges.

Already, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) the body saddled with the responsibility is under intense criticism for what transpired at the Kano State local government area elections. The Nation, in a recent editorial piece could not be have been more critical of what happened in Kano State. Trenchantly, the paper observed that, “A very sad reminder of this was the charade of an election recently conducted into the local government councils of Kano State. In an age when technology has made it difficult to hide anything, photographs of children who were illegally accredited to vote soon filled the cyber space. Then, came the denials – from the state government, the Kano State Independent Electoral Commission (KNSIEC), the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), and somewhat the INEC. No one wanted to accept that the constitution and the Electoral Act had been breached.”2

That broad brush appraisal echoes the views of most Nigerians. Some took to social media to vent their frustrations, especially concerning INEC’s ability to conduct credible elections in 2019. INEC’s Director of Publicity and Voter Education, Oluwole Osaze-Uzzi, admitted that officials, often out of fear for their lives and threats by community members, do register underaged voters. This confirmed the suspicion of many and opened a new vista of public condemnation.

In a move to save face and apparently restore the confidence of the national electorate, INEC set up a committee to investigate the allegations of underage voting that trailed the Kano State Local Government Area elections. The committee sat and presented their report expeditiously.

In the committee’s report, according to an op-ed piece by the INEC’s Chiarman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, INEC swiftly but deftly walked away from issue of being forced to register minors, and distanced itself from the “charade” in Kano. Furthermore, INEC doubled down on its earlier stance that the only role it played was to provide the KNSIEC with the Kano State Register of Voters for the election. INEC also tried to disassociate the alleged irregularity from where most of the accusing fingers are pointed – at the National Register of Voters. In denying any nexus between the alleged underaged voting and its register, INEC contended that its register “was substantially not used to accredit voters before voting,”3 and thus, “it is logical to conclude that if underaged voting occurred in the election, it was not due to any presence of underaged registrants on the Register of Voters.”4 INEC went on to state that “The few images and video clips from Kano show no accreditation of voters or any relationship with the Register of Voters.”5 That said, INEC sought  to reassure Nigerians that the National Register of Voters, the sole determinant of who gets to vote and who doesn’t during the 2019 general elections is “dependable.”6

A New Wave of Scrutiny 

The veracity of INEC’s contention remains in dispute. Indeed INEC and its operations face new wave of scrutiny. Many see INEC Committee’s self-absolving report as “a proverbial child that passes the exam it sets for itself.” The widespread allegations that dead people signed petitions for Sen. Dino Melaye’s recall, a matter also handled by INEC, has not helped INEC’s image . Indeed it is now compelling for INEC to update the National Register of Voters urgently. The body should work with National Identity Management Commission and other relevant government agencies with national demographic data base to redact names of dead and underaged voters and in so doing, invalidate those PVCs that may be used in ways that could undermine the credibility of every forthcoming state or the national election.

The issue of having a sufficiently credible National Register of Voters is too important a matter to be entrusted solely with the commission’s self-auditing mechanism. Political parties, civil society groups and other stakeholders should show more leadership in this regard. Beyond taking up the media space to call out INEC in the event of real or perceived shortcomings, relevant stakeholders should take the pain to thoroughly scrutinize the National Register of Voters. And in the event of discovering any impropriety, including underage voters, file their fact-backed complaints appropriately and pursue necessary redress rigorously.

Understandably, in its self defense, INEC has passed the buck to various political stakeholders.  According to INEC, “…we have consistently given political parties copies of the register for each year and ahead of general elections as well as Governorship off-season elections. Only recently…, we gave each of the 68 political parties a copy of the register containing names of the 3.9 million new voters registered in 2017. We urged them to use the register not only to reach out to voters, but also to check whether there are ineligible persons on the list and draw the attention of the Commission to them. Unfortunately, since this Commission was inaugurated in 2015, there has not been a single report from any political party of ineligible voters on the Register.”7

Despite INEC’s attempt at self exculpating, it’s clarion call to action has merit. Given what is at stake, much will certainly be achieved if political parties, especially the leading opposition parties, civil society organizations, the media, institute their own independent scrutiny of the rather voluminous National Register of Voters, with a view of highlighting the weaknesses to the electoral umpire, and also making theRegister really dependable.

It noteworthy that as required by law, INEC confirmed that  it displays regularly the provisional register soon after each Continuous Voter Registration for periods usually lasting between 5 and 14 days, for claims and objections. Nigerian citizens, who inevitably bear the greatest brunt of flawed elections, should sustain the tempo by maximizing the opportunity of this display to alert INEC and indeed the whole world about “ineligible registrants, including underaged persons and aliens.”8

Two South-West states of Ekiti and Osun are scheduled to hold Governorship elections before the 2019 general elections. Both states present sufficient basis and the litmus to test the preparedness of INEC. The only limitation being that these two states, unlike their counterparts in the north, do not particularly have a history of underage voting, resulting from “padding” the voters register.

Available evidence and data reveals an interesting pattern in the geographical spread of underaged voters in Nigeria. Recent data say Nigeria currently has 10.5million out-of-school children. The largest swathe of that population are domiciled in the northern part of the country. Incidentally, the same part of the country has the highest occurrence of underage voters. That these children who could not be compelled to enroll and stay in school, could be found and persuaded to obtain voter’s card illegally and eventually mobilized to exercise “a franchise that does not belong to them legally” during elections, speaks volume of the real interests of the national elites and political class.

Discomfortingly, the issue of underaged voting represents only a fraction of irregularities witnessed during recent elections. During the 2017 governorship elections in Anambra State, there were allegations of grotesque manipulations of the card reader machine and a possible compromise of the ICT unit of INEC. Similarly, evidence exist that the votes of those who were manually accredited, were not reflected in the final results announced after balloting. Efforts should be made to investigate those allegations and see that such exploitations, if they indeed happened, will not reoccur in 2019.

Conclusion 

INEC should strive to live up to its statutory mandate – an independent arbiter. It should not allow both external pressure, vested interest and internal compromise to undermine the forthcoming general elections. In doing so, INEC ought to remember that the 2019 general elections could have broad national security implications.  The country hangs on the balance and could be tipped over by the credibility or otherwise of the 2019 general elections. Great circumspection is called for.

Nigeria can ill-afford to have an election that is not credible and sufficiently so, not with the increasing calls for national restructuring, broad feeling of marginalization, high youth unemployment, spiraling  restiveness, ascendancy of armed groups, the threat posed by herdsmen killings and the anger generated by the government’s lackluster handling of the crisis, and new alarming level of ethno-religious divisions.

Whereas post-election violence is hardly a new phenomenon in the country, most violent incidences “often tend to be localised, short-lived and restricted to polling centres and communities.”9 Human Rights Watch reported that more than 800 people were killed in three days of rioting in 12 northern states following the April 2011 presidential elections. Experts think the country is once again at the cusp of a major national crisis and that something in the similitude of what obtained in 2011 could trigger a major revolution.

Thankfully, the major political parties, barring a belated volte-face, are looking to nominate their presidential candidates from the Northern parts of the country. That reduces the north-south divide. But experts continue to warn that the level of anger and frustration in the land is such that the nation need not experiment with policies that will become tripwires as wheel as engage in unnecessary brinksmanship ahead of 2019. Were underaged voters to be seen as the swing bloc on which any candidate is elected, it would be a matter of Nigeria, and more specifically INEC failing to make a stitch in time to save nine.

——

Chima is a Research Associate at Selonnes Consult;   Obaze is the MD/CEO Selonnes Consult
References
1. Snopes, “Joseph Stalin: ‘It’s Not the People Who Vote That Count” https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/stalin-vote-count-quote/ Retrieved 14/5/18.

2. The Nation, “Underage voting in Kano” http://thenationonlineng.net/underage-voting-in-kano/ Retrieved 14/5/18.

3. Vanguard, “ALLEGED KANO UNDERAGE VOTERS: Our story, by Yakubu, INEC Chairman” https://www.vanguardngr.com/2018/05/alleged-kano-underage-voters-story-yakubu-inec-chairman/ Retrieved 14/5/18

4. Ibid

INEC Registers 70,000 Prospective Voters In Kwara

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says it has registered 70,000 people in Kwara since the commencement of the Continuous

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says it has registered 70,000 people in Kwara since the commencement of the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) exercise in April 2017.

Mr Paul Atser, INEC Administrative Secretary in the state, made this known during a meeting with members of the Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC) in Ilorin on Monday.

He said that the Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) of the 70,000 registered prospective voters would soon be sent to the state for distribution.

He added that of the 242,000 unclaimed PVCs in the state, 4,000 had been collected by their owners.

Atser further added that card owners will have to personally visit INEC collection centres as there will be no collection by proxy.

INEC Wasted N100 Million On Dino Melaye’s Failed Recall

Mahmood Yakubu, the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, said on Friday, May 4, 2018, the Commission spent

Mahmood Yakubu, the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, said on Friday, May 4, 2018, the Commission spent only N100 million on the failed bid to recall Dino Melaye the senator representing Kogi West Senatorial District.

Yakubu said at a press conference in Abuja that the figure was nowhere near the N100 billion reported in several quarters.

He said: “A recall exercise is just like conducting a Senatorial election. The Kogi-West which Melaye represents has 552 polling units and seven local governments.”

Dino Melaye Recall Flops

The attempt to recall Senator Dino Melaye failed after the verified signatories to the petition for his recall fell short of requirements.

For the verification exercise to succeed, 50 percent plus one of the signatories to the petition had to be verified.

However, based on the results announced by Professor Ukertor Gabriel Moti, the Declaration Officer for the exercise held in the senatorial district on Saturday, April 28, 2018, only 18,742 of the 189,870 of the signatories to the petition for the Senator’s recall were verified by INEC.

The verified signatories represent 5.34 percent of the 351,146 registered voters in the Senatorial district.

After announcing the results, he declared, “I Professor Ukertor Gabriel Moti, affirm that the information on verification of signatures to the petition for the recall of Senator Dino David Melaye of Kogi West Senatorial District has taken place on this day, April 28, 2018, and that the verified signatures is 5.34 percent of the total number of registered voters in the constituency and has therefore not satisfied a requirement of the law for a referendum.”

He said the results were signed by him and the two agents to the petitioners and the agent of Senator Melaye.

Saturday’s verification exercise came months after the petition for Senator Melaye’s recall was submitted to INEC because of lawsuits filed by the Senator challenging the petition.

A total of 189,870 signatories were on the petition, representing 54 percent of the 351,146 registered voters in the senatorial district which is comprised of seven local government areas including Lokoja, the state capital.

When the exercise was finally held on Saturday, April 28, 2018, it was characterised by low turnout with some verification centres quiet hours later. By the time the verification ended by 2 pm and collation of results started talks of its failure had started spreading.

Although the exercise was largely peaceful, there was violence in Mopa Amuro towards the end of the exercise. Six polling units were reportedly affected. As a result, the exercise in six out of the 10 wards in the LGA were cancelled.

Consequently, the LGA turned had the least number of verified signatories with 710 as against the 9,173 on the petition.

The low turnout for the exercise was most evident in Lokoja, which had the highest number of signatories on the recall petition – 66,266. Out of that number, only 4,810 people showed up for the verification with 3,763 verified.

Had the verification exercise been successful, INEC would have proceeded with the recall process by holding a referendum.

Unlike the verification exercise which is limited to signatories of the petition, a referendum is open to all registered voters in the constituency. A referendum is considered successful when more than 50 percent of registered voters in the constituency vote yes in support of the recall petition.

Read more at ChannelsTv, The Nation

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The Satanic Gang Up Against Dino Melaye | STATEMENT

Reports emerged how the Presidency, INEC, some top security officials in Abuja and Kogi State government designed strategy to execute

Reports emerged how the Presidency, INEC, some top security officials in Abuja and Kogi State government designed strategy to execute Senator Dino Melaye’s recall by every illegal means.

The leaked report had it that, meeting was held on Monday, April 23, 2018, lately at a secret venue in Abuja where the perfection was hatched. Of course, hundreds of millions was said to have exchanged hands to seal the deal.

All the collaborators-In- Chief including Inec representatives were present at the anti- Melaye strategy meeting.

Their real reason Melaye MUST be arrested by his persecutors!

One, so that the induced INEC recall process can go on despite filing appeal at Supreme Court. With this collaborators think they will be able to manipulate the verification exercise. Their plan is to criminally sign the verification sheets right inside Kogi government house.

Secondly, they don’t want Distinguished Senator Dino Melaye to be around during the forthcoming APC Ward, Local Government and State congresses. They believe he is too popular with real members of the party and his presence will deny Yahaya Bello the chance to appoint stooges into party leadership positions.

Their real intention is to arrest and detain him over fresh trumped up charges as exposed & currently revealed at yesterday’s meeting.

Thirdly, Melaye was said to be criticising the Buhari led federal govt.

INVASION OF MELAYE’S HOME

Since Monday, April 23, 2018, heavily armed fierce looking mobile police men have laid siege in Senator Melaye’s home in Maitama, Abuja.

No ‘Warrant of Arrest’ to show cause for his arrest.

The matter upon which Melaye’s was arraigned is in court already & a date fixed, yet they’re still after him.

The last court before the current adjournment, the court refused to grant police warrant.

No statement taken from Melaye, yet he was arraigned and he honoured the court even without any notice of court summon.

Upon what was report ready and find Melaye culpable to warrant his arraignment? They rushed to court without taking Melaye’s statement ( strange to legal proceedings).

Not minding the police flaws, Melaye’s lawyer wrote them..

Now its clear, they want to interrogate Melaye in the middle of a case that is already before a competent court?

The question now is; if they even have a new case against distinguished Sen Dino Melaye, it is expected that they must write the Senate President stating the fact.

But for the police to be showing the world that anything can happen under  supposed democratic system of govt is worrisome and unfortunate.

The continued siege on Melaye’s home is a grand plan of the Presidency and Co to ensure Melaye is silenced, embarrassed, harassed, humiliated and forcefully execute his recall.

The Senate President is also marked as target if they must achieved this recall because the final bucks stops on his table.

Fellow Nigerians, Civil Society Groups this is what Senator Dino Melaye is going through under a goernmentt which pretentiously claimed to be fighting corruption, upholding rule of law and ensuring security of lives and property.

Melaye’s right is trampled on, challenged and attempt to be molested under the purview of self acclaimed champions of change  mantras.

Nigeria under this govt has currently drifted to Hobbesian system where life is poor, solitary, nasty, brutish and short.

Nigerian Coalition For The Defence Of Melaye’s Rights And Freedom.

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INEC Releases Report On Underage Voting Today

The Independent National Electoral Commission says it will on Friday (today) make public its investigations on underage voting in Kano.

The Independent National Electoral Commission says it will on Friday (today) make public its investigations on underage voting in Kano.

The Chief Press Secretary to the INEC Chairman, Rotimi Oyekanmi, said this in a text message on Thursday night.

He said, “You are all cordially invited to a press conference on the findings of the committee constituted to investigate the alleged Kano Underage Voting scheduled on Friday.”

INEC had in February set up a committee to investigate underage voting in the local government election in Kano State in which the All Progressives Congress won the 44 local governments.

The report of the committee which was submitted on March 28, was kept secret for several weeks causing the opposition Peoples Democratic Party to accuse INEC of colluding with the APC-led Federal Governemnt to rig the 2019 elections even before the polls.

INEC Didn’t Spend N1 Billion On Dino’s Recall – Official

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has denied reports in some section of the media that the Commission spent N1billion

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has denied reports in some section of the media that the Commission spent N1billion naira to prosecute the recall process of Senator Dino Malaye.

A source within the Commission who claimed anonymity said that INEC spent far less than N100 million and even so, the bulk of it was spent on personnel allowances and logistics for 552 polling units in 7 LGAs.

According to the source, places like Yagba West and Yagba East that are separated by at least 4 hours distance from Lokoja on patchy road had to be covered to ensure that everyone was reached.

“In Lokoja LGA, some of the polling units are on the border with Niger State. We had to reach all these areas,” the source said.

Asked why INEC proceeded with the process amid allegations of fake names in the petition, the source said: “the exercise was a Constitutional requirement. Section 69 of the 1999 Constitution requires that the signatures be verified. The framers of the Constitution knew what they were doing. Fake names, unwilling petitioners and dead persons will be included. This is Nigeria.

“That’s why the Constitution has made it mandatory on INEC to verify the signatures. This has been done transparently and the will of the people of Kogi West upheld. With only 5.34% verified as against the 50% + 1  required by the Constitution, the recall terminates at this stage. There is no further course of action for INEC to take.”

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