The Independent National Electoral Commission on Monday advised its Electoral Officers who participated in the 2019 general elections to be tolerant of criticisms because no electoral process is perfect.
The commission told the EOs that while friends would criticise them, enemies would come with condemnation.
The Chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, stated these in Abuja during a review of the 2019 general elections with 387 EOs from the 19 Northern states and the Federal Capital Territory.
He said, “Anything (criticism) that anybody is going to say about the conduct of (2019) elections in Nigeria is secondary to the kind of information we are going to hear from those who truly conducted elections at the level that matters; at the level of the Polling Units.
“Where we should be criticised, I consistently say that friends will criticise you, but your enemies will condemn you. But criticism is the basis for making any system work.
“No democracy and no electoral process is perfect. Every democracy is work in progress.
“So, feel free to make suggestions on all the issues relating to the whole process of conducting elections. You have the protection of the chairman that whatever you say will not be used against you.”
Yakubu said despite all the difficulties witnessed, the commission registered over 14 million new voters within 18 months, due to the diligence of the EOs at the local government levels.
The INEC National Commissioner and Chairman of its Planning, Monitoring and Strategy Committee, Dr Mustapha Lecky, said the 2019 general elections would not have been concluded until the submission, validation and publication of a report by the commission.
The report, according to him, is part of the commission’s responsibilities to Nigerians.
Lecky said the review was aimed at evaluating the conduct of the elections and learn vital lessons.
He added that the review will afford the commission the opportunity to review its policies and programmes which would serve as a roadmap to 2023 general elections.
He said, “Our primary job of conducting election, in this case the just concluded 2019 general elections, will not be deemed to have been completely concluded until a report of the 2019 general elections is submitted, validated and published as part of INEC accountability to Nigerians.
“This process is essentially a sort of SWOT analysis, involving identification of our strengths, performance, weaknesses or lapses, opportunities missed or taken, as well as impediments, bottlenecks and/or threats uncovered across all the processes before, during and the fallouts since the conduct of the 2019 general elections.
“The commission is aiming to be comprehensive in its attempts to review all the issues connected to the general election; from preparation through execution and its aftermath, hence the review timetable and schedule of activities has provided for consultations at multi-levels.
“The commission, over the past two weeks undertook state-level reviews, in each and every state of the federation. All the EOs present at this meeting were part of their respective states review exercise.
“Nevertheless, because of the very critical roles that EOs play in our elections, it was deemed fit to have a more focused discussion with them, with a slightly modified template to dig deeper with regards to certain issues.
“In addition, we feel there is value to be added by pairing EOs across states for them to share experiences and make more robust recommendations arising from this cross-fertilisation of experiences and ideas.”
Sanwo-Olu Signs Anti-Open Grazing Bill Into Law
Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on Monday, signed the bill to prohibit open cattle grazing and trespass of cattle on land in the state into laws.
With the law, Lagos has joined some states in southern Nigeria that have anti-open grazing laws in place.
The law is coming more than two weeks after the September 1 deadline set by the Southern Governors Forum for states.
The governor also signed the Lagos State Domestic And Sexual Violence Agency Bill, into Law.
Meanwhile, the state government has said it is committed to tackling the menace of drug abuse frontally to reduce the ravage among youths in the state.
Sanwo-Olu stated this on Monday at the Lagos House, Ikeja, during a courtesy visit by the delegates of Anglican Communion Church of Nigeria, led by the Archbishop Metropolitan and Primate, Most Reverend Henry Ndukuba.
Sanwo-Olu said his government was building a massive rehabilitation hospital at Ketu-Ejirin to tackle drug abuse, adding that his administration would partner with the Church to ensure that the people lived a better life.
He said governance started from the leadership of spiritual homes, noting that government and church can jointly build a community that would outlive all, while restating the commitment to improve the movement of people on road, water as well as building rail infrastructure to make Lagos a livable city.
Speaking earlier, Ndukuba thanked the governor for partnering with the church in the welfare of the people and commended him for his outstanding performance in tackling Covid-19.
Also present at the courtesy visit were the Deputy Governor, Obafemi Hamzat, Chief of Staff to the Governor, Tayo Ayinde, Secretary to the State Government, Folashade Jaji, Commissioner for Information, Gbenga Omotoso, among other dignitaries.
Okowa Tasks NASS On True Federalism
Delta State Governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, has called on the National Assembly to embody in the 1999 Constitution being amended, true federalism and independence of Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC).
The governor made the call on Monday at a nationwide sensitisation on the review of the existing revenue allocation formula held at Unity Hall, Government House, Asaba.
He explained that an independent RMAFC would carry out its functions independently, including laying its proposals directly before the National Assembly for approval.
According to the governor, the current practice where recommendations of the commission are presented to the President has led to the non-review of the revenue allocation formula since 1992 as no President demonstrated the political will to forward the amendments to the parliament.
He commended RMAFC for ongoing sensitisation of the states before a zonal exercise where recommendations from the states would be received.
“For quite some time a lot of talks have gone on in the revenue allocation and it’s very unfortunate that in this country we are still operating a revenue allocation formula that was actually reviewed in 1992.
“As we look forward to a new revenue allocation formula, we hope that you come out with something that is fair, justifiable and equitable.
“But, the challenge is that when you have done all this work, you are going to eventually, by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, lay this before the President and the President ought to lay it before the National Assembly.
“There is a challenge there and there has always been a challenge there, because what is there in our laws that will ensure that the President lays the recommendations of RMAFC before the National Assembly?
“We hope that the National Assembly takes a look at this amendment because RMAFC is supposed to be an independent commission, a commission on behalf of all federating units and component parts of the federation.
“They cannot tie your hands; the constitution ought to be amended to enable chairman of RMAFC to directly lay before the national assembly whatever review it has come up with so that nobody stands it down,’’ he said.
Okowa stated that the National Assembly must do what was right because “a nation is a nation.
Reps Query Presidential Committee Over Assets Seized From Past Leaders
The House of Representatives on Monday ordered the Presidential Implementation Committee (PIC) on Landed Property to produce reports of all assets seized from former Nigerian leaders.
Members were more particular about the late Head of State, Sani Abacha, whose property and money were recovered by the Federal Government.
The chairman, ad-hoc Committee on Abandoned Property, Ademora Kuye, said the House wanted a report on all assets seized from Nigerian leaders in and out of Nigeria, particularly Abacha.
He said this when the Executive Secretary of PIC appeared before the committee in Abuja.
“We need to know the state of those property and to also know if the property have titles of deed,’’ Mr Kuye said.
The committee also queried the sale of federal government’s assets held in trust by the PIC.
Mr Kuye said the committee discovered that some of the property the PIC claimed to have sold were either not sold or were not paid for, contrary to claims made by the PIC.
He added that some of the seized houses which the PIC claimed were vacant were still being occupied.
He directed the PIC to furnish the House of Representatives committee with up-to-date reports of federal government’s assets sold, amount realised from the sales, those yet to be sold and those under litigation.
Mr Kuye also asked that the PIC must state the amount of money remitted to the federal government from the sales with evidence of remittance, adding that all assets pointed out to the committee but not included in its first report should be forwarded to the House of Representatives committee.
Responding to Mr Kuye’s submissions, the Executive Secretary, PIC, Bala Samid, stated that some of the people occupying government quarters had refused to vacate them.
He added that as soon as the occupants were approached for payment or to vacate the houses they went to court to obtain injunctions restraining the PIC.
“We approached the federal government to report them and the federal government said that we should give them time”.
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