The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has again reminded political parties to furnish the commission with their election expenses and contribution reports in line with the provisions of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended).
The commission noted that only seven out of 14 political parties that participated in the Edo State governorship election had complied, while only eight out of 17 that participated in Ondo State governorship met the demand.
The INEC Chairman, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, gave the reminder in his remarks during the quarterly meeting between the commission and political parties.
According to him, “may I also draw your attention to your obligation under Sections 92 (3) and 93(4) of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) which require political parties to submit to the commission their election expenses reports within six months and election contribution report within three months after the declarations of result of an election.
“We have reminded political parties of these obligations in respect of the Edo and Ondo governorship elections held last year. However, only seven out of 14 political parties have responded in the case of Edo State and 7 out of 17 for Ondo State. We wish to remind political parties of the consequences of the failure to do so as enshrined in the Electoral Act. We therefore expect all defaulting parties to comply in earnest as you prepare for forthcoming elections.”
INEC also frowned at the inability of the parties to conduct rancor-free primaries to elect their candidates for elections, adding that the commission was pained that party candidates are now determined by judgment of courts after winners of elections have been announced.
“The commission is not happy that candidates for elections are now being determined through litigation long after elections have been concluded and winners declared by INEC. The problem lies squarely with the conduct of party primaries and nomination of candidates by some political parties. We urge you to hold yourselves to the same high standard of free, fair, and credible elections that you hold INEC in all elections,” Yakubu said.
According to him, “at our last meeting held on February 5, 2021, the main subject matter was our proposal to address the crisis of voter access to Polling Units in Nigeria. The commission proposed to do so by converting the well-known and well-established voting points and voting point settlements to polling units and consolidating them with the existing polling units.
“We decided to consult widely with stakeholders. Considering your central role in our democracy, the commission began the series of consultations with leaders of political parties. After extensive interactions with other stakeholders and fieldwork by officials of the commission, the number of polling units and consequently voter access to them has been substantially enhanced. Nigeria now has 176,846 polling units. Only Wednesday, June 16, 2021, the commission presented the new polling units to Nigerians and their distribution nationwide. The list is already uploaded on our website and social media platforms.
“On behalf of the commission, I would like to express our appreciation once again to leaders of political parties for your support. I want to reassure you that the commission will continue to consult you on matters critical to the consolidation of our electoral process.
“Infographics containing the summary of the new distribution of polling units in Nigeria is contained in your folders for this meeting. We believe that political parties will use the information in planning for future elections, including the nomination of your polling agents for elections.”
He added that, “closely tied to the expansion of voter access to polling units is the resumption of the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR), including the creation of a portal that will enable Nigerians to commence their registration online before concluding the process physically at designated centres. The Commission has fixed Monday, June 28, 2021, for the exercise to commence nationwide. The CVR will be a major issue for discussion at this meeting. The commission will demonstrate to you how the proposed online registration will proceed, including a presentation of the new INEC Voter Enrollment Device (IVED).
“As you are aware, a number of bye-elections and major end of tenure elections are scheduled to hold before the 2023 General Election. This weekend, two bye-elections are holding in Kaduna State for the Sabon Gari State Constituency in which five political parties are fielding candidates and in Jigawa State for the Gwaram Federal Constituency where ten political parties are participating.
“We have concluded all arrangements for these bye-elections, including the sensitive materials that will arrive today in the two constituencies. So far, the processes have been rancour-free. We urge you to appeal to your candidates and supporters to maintain the current peaceful atmosphere. For the outstanding bye-elections, I want to assure you that as soon as vacancies are declared by the Hon. Speaker of the House of Representatives, we will release the timetable for the Jos North/Bassa Federal Constituency of Plateau State and the Lere Federal Constituency of Kaduna State.
“Again, as you are aware, the commission has already released the Timetable and Schedule of Activities for the Ekiti State Governorship elections holding on June 18, 2022, and that of Osun State holding on July 16, 2022. Copies of the timetable have been sent to your various offices officially, but we have also included the infographics in your folders for this meeting.
“There purpose of the advanced notice for the two elections is to provide you and other stakeholders ample time to prepare for the elections as we have done in similar situations in the past, the latest being the Anambra Governorship election and the area council election in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
“In respect of the Anambra State Governorship election, all the 18 political parties have expressed interest to participate and have scheduled their primaries for the election in line with the dates provided for in the Timetable released by the commission.
“In the case of the FCT Area Council elections, political parties have concluded their primaries for the 68 constituencies made up of six area council chairmen and 62 councillors. A total of 14 out of 18 political parties have nominated 110 candidates for chairmanship/deputy chairmanship positions and 362 candidates for councillorships. Altogether, 14 political parties have nominated 472 candidates to vie for 68 elective positions in the FCT. An infographic distribution of the nominations by area councils is included in your folders for this meeting.
“On this note, I would like to remind political parties about the recent letters written to you by the commission on the imperative of complying with the provisions of the law as well as our regulations governing the conduct of party primaries and nomination of candidates.
“The commission is not happy that candidates for elections are now being determined through litigation long after elections have been concluded and winners declared by INEC. The problem lies squarely with the conduct of party primaries and nomination of candidates by some political parties. We urge you to hold yourselves to the same high standard of free, fair, and credible elections that you hold INEC in all elections.
“You must ensure strict compliance with your party constitutions, the law and the commission’s regulations and guidelines on party primaries in particular and the management of party affairs in general. After all, Nigerians only exercise their democratic right to elect leaders from the candidates presented by political parties. Electing good leaders begins with the quality of primaries conducted by political parties. We will do our part to ensure that our elections continue to improve.
“May I also draw your attention to your obligation under Sections 92 (3) and 93(4) of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) which require political parties to submit to the commission their election expenses reports within six months and election contribution report within three months after the declarations of result of an election. We have reminded political parties of these obligations in respect of the Edo and Ondo Governorship elections held last year. However, only seven out of 14 political parties have responded in the case of Edo State and 8 out of 17 for Ondo State.
“We wish to remind political parties of the consequences of the failure to do so as enshrined in the Electoral Act. We, therefore, expect all defaulting parties to comply in earnest as you prepare for forthcoming elections.”
In his address, Chairman of Inter-Party Advisory Council, Dr. Leonard Nzenwa, said the parties were aware of the concerns raised by the commission.
According to him, “as party mangers, we have not swept these concerns under the carpet as we are convinced that why this have continued to thrive is partly on account of dearth of credible, quality, patriotic and selfless individuals with impeccable democratic credentials to drive the push for organic and representative democracy in the country.
“To this end, the Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC), which I am privileged to lead is in advanced partnership discussion stage with the Chartered Institute of Forensics and Certified Fraud Examiners of Nigeria to help strengthen capacity of political parties to conduct proper and professional due diligence on aspirants seeking to contest for various positions under the platforms of the various parties in the country before and after elections.
“We are hopeful that this effort will yield positive result as deep professional background checks exercised on aspirants to ascertain their integrity, credibility and electoral worth before and after polls with further scrutiny by security agencies and other stakeholders will help the polity. This will support the parties to have rancor free party primary.”
UBEC, RSUBEB Begin Digital School Construction In Rivers
As part of government’s efforts to realize its dream of making the nation’s educational system a global digital community, the Federal Government, through the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) and the Rivers State Universal Basic Education Board (RSUBEB), have commenced the construction of a modern digital Smart Basic School in the state, with 14-month completion schedule.
The school, which is a pilot modern basic education facility, is designed by UBEC in collaboration with RSUBEB to entrench digitization of ICT-driven basic education system across the 36 states and FCT, Abuja.
Speaking with journalists at a brief handover ceremony of the proposed smart school site to UBEC by RSUBEB at the Community Primary School, Uzuoba in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of the state, over the weekend, the National Consultant, UBEC Smart School Project, Prof Masud Abdulkarim, said the school was designed to incorporate digital technology into the basic education system in the country, which he said, has been in practice in advanced countries for years.
Abdulkarim stated that the desire of the Federal Government was to ensure that Nigerian children were not left out in the digital space, saying that the school would have great impact on the youth and give them equal opportunity to compete globally in the technology world.
He described the school as the first of its kind in the history of the country, adding that the school would have four categories that would take care of the nursery, handicapped, primary as well as junior secondary students with a maximum of 35 persons per class of two streams.
Abdulkarim noted that with the strategy, no fewer than 700 children would be enrolled into the school.
According to him, the school would afford the children the opportunity to become robotic engineers, artificial intelligence (AI) engineers and ICT engineers, and added that as future leaders, they need to be equipped and encouraged.
The UBEC consultant commended the state government for the provision of the school for the construction of the smart school, and described the site as the most suitable across the 23 states so far visited.
“Let me thank the RSUBEB for the site, in fact, it is the best and most suitable site among the 23 states we have so far visited. Because it has an existing school structure with a fence to protect our equipment and infrastructure. Moreso, the project will impact on the schools around because they will benefit from our Wi-Fi”, he stated.
Abdulkarim called on the host community to jealously guard the project as a growing child, till its maturity to adult stage, saying that they were important stakeholders in the project.
Also speaking on behalf of the Chairman of Rivers State Universal Basic Education Board (RSUBEB), Ven Fyneface Akah, a commissioner in the board, Chief Faith Amaso, called for synergy between the contractors and host community in other to remove every impediment that may affect the delivery of the project on schedule.
Akah opined that the project, when completed, would improve basic education in the state, and expressed happiness over the commencement of the project in the state.
Rivers United Beat Young Africans Of Tanzania 1-0
Rivers United Football Club of Port Harcourt, yesterday, at the Adokiye Amasiemaka Football Stadium, trounced the Young Africans Football Club of Tanzania 1-0 in a return leg match of the ongoing Confederation of African Football Club Champions League competition.
The stadium, which was filled to capacity, witnessed a trilling encounter, which saw the crowd craving for more.
It would be recalled that Rivers United had defeated the Young Africans of Tanzania 1-0 in the first leg of the championship at the Benjamin Mkapa Stadium, Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania, last Sunday.
Reacting to the feat, the Chairman of Degema Local Government Area, Hon. Michael John Williams, expressed joy over the victory of the Rivers United FC of Port Harcourt against the Young Africans of Tanzania in the ongoing Confederation of African Football (CAF) Champions League.
The match, which ended 1-0 in favour of the Rivers United FC, took place at the Adokiye Amiesimaka International Stadium in Rivers State, yesterday.
Top government officials in the state, including Rivers Deputy Governor, Dr. Ipalibo Harry Banigo; LG council chairmen and commissioners, amongst other sports enthusiasts, graced the event.
Speaking on the outcome of the match, Williams stated that the Rivers United players exhibited the Rivers team spirit, which culminated in their victory.
The political heavyweight in Degema LGA, noted that nothing would be impossible for Rivers people to achieve when they work together in unison and firm determination.
He added that the massive support and huge investment in the sports sector by the Governor Nyesom Wike administration, also motivated the Rivers team, who worked hard to secure a back-to-back victory.
By: Nelson Chukwudi
NJC Okays Six Chief Judges, 30 Others For Appointment
The National Judicial Council (NJC), has recommended the appointment of chief judges and 30 others as judicial officers to beef up judicial functions in some states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
At its 95th meeting held on September 15 and 16, 2021, the council considered the list of candidates presented by its Interview Committee, and recommended the 36 successful candidates to their respective state governors for appointment as heads of courts and other judicial officers in Nigeria.
They are Hon. Justice Richard O. Olorunfemi as chief judge, Kogi State, Hon. Justice Joe Itsebaga Acha for Edo, Hon. Justice Akintoroye Williams Akin for Ondo, Hon. Justice Husseini Baba Yusuf for FCT, Hon. Justice Ekaette Francesca Fabian-Obot for Akwa Ibom, and Hon. Justice J. O. Adeyeye for Ekiti State.
Others are Hon. Kadi Baba Gana Mahdi as Grand Kadi, Yobe; Umaru Ahmad Liman as Grand Kadi, Bauchi; Hon. Justice Osagede Osado Emmanuel as President, Customary Court of Appeal, Nasarawa; Hon. Justice Mashud Akintunde Akinfemi Abass as President, Customary Court of Appeal, Oyo State; and Siyaka Momoh Jimoh Usman as President, Customary Court of Appeal, Kogi State.
Three judges are recommended for High Court of Gombe, and they are Zainab Abdulkadir Rasheed, Abdussalam Muhammad, and Daurabo Suleiman Sikka.
Akwa Ibom has Effiong Asukwo Effiong; Bauchi has Nana Fatima Jibril; while Kaduna High Court has Abdulkarim Mahmud.
The three candidates recommended for Katsina State are Kabir Shuaibu, Ibrahim Ishaku Mashi, and Ibrahim Abubakar Mande, while Prof Alero Akeredolu was recommended for Ondo State.
Four successful candidates for Oyo State are Olusola Adebisi Adetujoye, Folabimpe Beatrice Segun Olakojo, Prof Taiwo Elijah Adewale, and Kareem Adeyimika Adedokun.
Kogi State has three candidates, and they are Abubakar Sule Ibrahim, Abdullah Sulyman, as well as Aminu Ali Eri.
Two Kadis for Sharia Court of Appeal are Adamu Kuna Jibril and Ahmed Baba Bala, while the four for Bauchi are Musa Sani Abubakar, Mahdi Manga, Khamis Al-Hamidallah Muhammad and Sani Musa with Ondo State having one in the person of Orimisan James Okorisa and Oyo Customary Court of Appeal having Ajadi Olubukola Omolayo.
A statement by the NJC Director of Information, Mr Soji Oye, and released in Abuja, yesterday, said that all the recommended candidates are expected to be sworn-in after approval by President Muhammadu Buhari, and their respective state governors, and confirmation by the respective state Houses of Assembly.
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