The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says it has no plan to postpone the 2019 general elections.
The Chief Press Secretary to INEC Chairman, Mr Rotimi Oyekanmi, made the clarification in a statement in Abuja.
Oyekanmi said the clarification became necessary following a story with the headline, “We may shift 2019 polls over threat of violence – INEC.”
The publication, according to Oyekanmi, does not portray the correct reflection of what INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, said at the Inter-agency Consultative Committee on Election Security meeting in Abuja on Tuesday.
Oyekanmi said what Yakubu told the security chiefs at the meeting was that as the 2019 general elections drew close; the committee would need to meet more frequently.
This, according to him, is to constantly assess the security situation across the country and take proactive actions to forestall any unpleasant event before, during and after the elections.
“He underscored the fact that elections cannot be conducted under a rancorous atmosphere.
“He referred to Section 26 of the Electoral Act which, among others, gives the commission the power to postpone an election if there is reason to believe that a serious breach of peace is likely to occur if the election is proceeded with on (the fixed date)”, or as a result of natural disasters or other emergencies,” Oyekanmi.
He said Yakubu made the reference to the Electoral Act only to underscore the importance of having peace and order in place before, during and after elections.
Oyekanmi also said that the INEC chairman’s reference was to emphasise the significance of the synergy between the commission and security agencies.
He added that Yakubu also noted that the most important assignment before the commission was the Osun governorship election.
INEC boss added that the Osun Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mr Segun Agbaje and Commissioner of Police in the state, Mr Fimihan Adeoye, would brief the committee on the current situation in the state.
The Chief Press Secretary said that Yakubu said the two officers would also brief the committee on the readiness for the governorship poll, which he said that they did.
“Besides, Yakubu spoke on the rising phenomenon of vote buying and selling and harped on the need for collaborative effort to decisively tackle the menace and prevent it during the Osun governorship election.
“He said a Code of Conduct for security agents would be enforced during the elections and warned that any activity outside the confines of legality/ legitimacy will be viewed seriously.”
Oyekanmi said that the INEC chairman also seized the opportunity to draw the committee’s attention to a certain video clip.
According to him, in the video, some political actors were seen making inciteful statements that could lead to serious security breaches before, during and after the 2019 general elections.
He added that Yakubu also called on the relevant security agencies to be vigilant, just as he urged them to take immediate action on the development.
“It is thus clear that at no point during his remarks did the INEC chairman allude to the notion that the commission “may shift 2019 polls over threat of violence” as reported by the national newspaper.
To be sure, INEC has no plan to postpone the 2019 General Elections,” Oyekanmi said.
Edo PDP Decries Obaseki’s Poor Performance
The Edo State Chapter of the PDP has again descended on Governor. Godwin Obaseki, describing his tenure as a hardship phase for the people.
Addressing a news conference on Wednesday in Benin, the Chairman of the PDP in the state, Chief Dan Orbih, said that Obaseki had failed to offer leadership to make the people enjoy the dividends of democracy.
According to Orbih, the governor should face governance and stay out of the endless crisis rocking the state’s chapter of the APC.
Orbih, who has been a vocal critic of Obaseki’s style of governance, said his advice was imperative because the crisis in the APC had become a distraction for the governor, preventing him from offering meaningful governance.
He lamented that Obaseki’s three-year tenure had only brought agony and deprivation to the populace, denying them the benefits expected from democracy.
The PDP chieftain also advised Obaseki to desist from the “yearly jamboree” of inviting people for talks in the name of marking anniversary but to channel resources to tackling problems.
“It is obvious that the APC has nothing to offer to the people of Edo State. As at today, Edo State is the only state where only a few elected members of the State Assembly are sitting.
“More so, the governor has not delivered on the 200,000 jobs he promised youths in Edo State.
“Our roads are begging for attention. There is worsening insecurity, in spite of the huge amount of security vote he withdraws monthly.
“He should, henceforth, commence the support of security agencies in the state for efficiency and if he cannot, he should stop withdrawing or collecting security votes.
Orbih also decried the inability of the government to pay bursaries and grant scholarships to Edo students in various institutions of learning, lamenting the dilapidation of various schools in the state.
According to him, the least the government can do for the youths is to employ more teachers to tackle the dearth of teachers in the state.
“The APC promised better days for Edo State and more than 11 years after the people have nothing to show for the promise.
“Edo people should remain resolute and committed in effecting a change in government come 2020.
Orbih also condemned the state government’s clampdown on civil society groups for demanding accountability to determine the status of infrastructure in the state.
“The governor owes it a duty to account for every action of his in the state.”
On the defection of Mr Osagie Ize-Iyamu, the PDP’s flag-bearer in the 2016 gubernatorial elections to the APC, Orbih said that Ize-Iyamu was yet to inform the PDP of his decision, noting however, that the PDP in the state was intact, stronger, more united and bolder.
He disclosed that the party had concluded plans for mass mobilisation of voters, ahead of Edo 2020.
According to him, Edo PDP knows how to manage itself, and in 2020, we will do the needful because we want a party that can manage crisis.
Kogi Poll: Court Hears Suit Challenging Bello’s Eligibility, Today
A suit challenging the eligibility of Yahaya Bello, Governor of Kogi State to contest the November. 16 governorship election in the state will be heard today, Friday, at the Federal High Court, Abuja.
The originating summons, which is instituted by Natasha Akpoti, the Social Democratic Party (SDP)’s governorship candidate in the forthcoming poll, will be mentioned at Court 5 before Justice Inyang Ekwo.
The Tidereports that while SDP candidate is the plaintiff, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) are1st and 2nd defendants respectively.
The suit, dated October. 10 and marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/1221/2019, filed by Chief Mike Ozekhome, SAN, on Akpoti’s behalf, sought the court’s determination on the eligibility of Governor Bello in the Saturday election, having allegedly been involved in double registration as a voter.
Akpoti said “that by his wilful act of making double registration as a voter, Yahaya Bello, candidate of the 1st defendant is not a fit and proper person to be allowed by the 2nd defendant to vote or be voted for in the forthcoming Kogi State governorship election, having committed an act of electoral fraud.
“That Mr. Yahaya Bello, the candidate of the 1st Defendant.,was initially registered as a voter sometime in 2011 in Abuja, by the 2nd defendant.
“That Bello. the candidate of the 1st defendant again fraudulently procured from the 2nd defendant. a second registration as a voter on 23rd May,. 2017, at Government House. Lokoja, while his 2011 first registration as a voter in Abuja was still live, extant and subsisting.
“That the said Yahaya Bello, the candidate of the 1st defendant carried out the double registration with the 2nd defendant so as to scuttle due electoral process.
“That such a person is not a fit and proper person to be voted for in any election, let alone for the high office of the governor of a state.”
Recall that Justice Ekwo had, on Tuesday, delivered judgment, disqualifying the APC Deputy Governorship Candidate in Bayelsa, Sen.
Udom’s Victory, Justice Directed By Law
The Peoples Democratic Party, Akwa Ibom State chapter, has described the victory of Governor Udom Emmanuel at the Appeal Court in Calabar as justice directed by law and not through federal might or political colouration.
The Publicity Secretary of PDP in the state, Ini Ememobong said this in a reaction to the ruling of the Appeal Court on Wednesday which upheld the verdict of the Governorship election petition tribunal.
In a statement, Ememobong said, “the judgement of the Court of Appeal sitting in Calabar on the Appeal filed against the verdict of the Governorship election petition tribunal by the All Progressives Congress and her Governorship candidate, Obong Nsima Ekere, delivered today has again aligned with reality by confirming the sanctity of the ballot.”
“ In the well-considered judgement, the noble Lords of the penultimate court, held that the Appeal was lacking in merit, agreeing with the tribunal that the APC did not lend credible evidence to prove their case and that they had dumped documents in the panel without linking them, as required by law.
“By this judgment, the judiciary has again shown that justice is directed by law and not federal might, partisan colouration or other extra-legal dispositions. To this, we are deeply grateful to the court and wholeheartedly welcome the judgement.”
The Publicity Secretary, however, renewed the call for partnership with the opposition APC, in the execution of Akwa Ibom Project.
He noted, “We acknowledge the zeal and emotional investments committed to the Governorship quest by Obong Nsima Ekere, an illustrious Akwa Ibom son, who rose to the exalted office of Deputy Governor through the instrumentality of our party. He has fought the fight, ran the race, but the results are not in his favour. We urge him to avoid the temptation of escalation of commitment and rather view the Akwa Ibom project as the cynosure and act in the benefit of the larger interest of the people.
“We commend Akwa Ibom people who have continually stood firm with our party, through their votes. Our legal team for diligent and excellent representation. The legal department of our Party led by the State Legal Adviser, Goddy Umoh Esq has shown great dedication in the pursuit of this case deserves commendation. God Almighty deserves our praise for His mercies and protection throughout the elections period.”
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