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INEC Involved In 419 Cases – Chairman

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) last week said that it had been involved in 419 court cases over election matters from 2016 to date.
Chairman of the commission, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu said this in an interactive session with a group of civil society organisations under the umbrella of the Situation Room in Abuja.
“Between 2016 and 2017, till this week, we have appeared for 419 cases in four different courts; so, I will say that in the last two years INEC has been dragged to court 419 times.
“Conversely, 187 of them are at Federal and State high courts while 141 are at the Court of Appeal. Sixty-one of them are at the Supreme Court and two at the Industrial Court,’’ he said.
Yakubu said that the political atmosphere in Anambra was quite peaceful as compared to recent elections, adding that “up till today, we have no case in court on the nomination of any candidate’’.
He said that though the situation was unusual, it was rarely amazing in the context of litigation since the 2015 general elections.
The chairman said that 37 political parties were participating in the November 18 Anambra governorship election which was a record for any governorship election in the country.
He said that INEC monitored all the political parties primaries and that 35 of them complied with the rules except for two that changed their candidates after the primaries, which was not allowed.
He said that Anmabra had 21 local government areas with 326 wards, 468 polling units, 724 voting points and 2,154,738 registered voters, including 203,681 new registrants.
Yakubu said that INEC had printed Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) for all registered voters in the state and that the cards would be delivered to the state so that the process of collection could commence.
requested by the Albino Foundation to help them see the party logos.
He added that all funds had been provided and remitted to the state for the conduct of the election.
Yakubu reassured indigenes of Anambra of early commencement of election, adding that the commission had made provision for ad hoc staff to stay the night at the polling areas.
Earlier, the Convener of Situation Room, Mr Clement Nwankwo, said the meeting was organised in order to clear the concerns of civil society organisations regarding the election.
Nwankwo said that CSOs were concerned with the safety of the electoral materials, ad hoc staff and the people.
He urged INEC to allow the CSOs to have access to monitor the collation centres to enhance the credibility of the final results that would be announced.
He advised the commission to continue to monitor the ballot paper to prevent some political parties conniving with the printers to omit their names or party’s logo to cook up legal cases.
Nwankwo also urged political parties to abide by the rules and regulations of the commission in order to have a free and fair election.

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Rivers Lawmakers’ Defection, ‘Monkey Politics’-CSO

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Civil Society Coalition for Good Governance, Budget and Accountability has condemned the defection of the 27 members of the Rivers State House of Assembly from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Executive Secretary, Civil Society Coalition for Good Governance, Budget and Accountability, Amb. Emmanuel Nkweke, who said this in an interview with The Tide in Port Harcourt also described as illegal all legislations passed by the defected lawmakers.
Amb. Nkweke described the defection as “monkey politics’, queried the rational behind the action of the lawmakers few months after being sworn into office, adding that members of the civil society community were yet to be told reasons for the defection.
“Up till now, we are yet to be told why they defected just few months of being sworn into office. For me, that is monkey politics”, he said.
He urged the lawmakers to go back to their former party and beg Rivers people for forgiveness, adding that if that is done, they may be welcomed back.
Amb. Nkweke also cautioned the lawmakers not to allow themselves to be used to do the bidding of an individual, adding that the present administration in the state needs the support of all to move forward.
Meanwhile, the Executive Secretary of the group has commended Governor Siminalayi Fubara for giving civil societies the latitude to operate freely in the state.
He alleged that civil societies were caged in the last eight years, adding that there was no breathing space for civil societies in the last eight years in the state.
Amb. Nkweke described civil society as the engine room of democracy as it engages in sensitisation on the policies and programmes of government, regretting, however, that their inputs were never taken into considerations.
“Civil societies give signals, civil society creates the awareness and sensitize the people towards achieving a reliable democracy.
‘’i want to let you know, very frankly, that civil society space in Rivers State, for the past eight years, was suffocated. There was no breathing space, they didn’t breathe. Civil society was dead completely”, he said.
Amb. Nkweke said the situation also affected upcoming activists as some of them had to operate from hideouts.

By: John Bibor

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Sack Incompetent Officials In Your Govt, NANS Urges Tinubu

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The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) has called on President Bola Tinubu not to condone incompetent personalities in his government.
Addressing newsmen in Abuja, NANS President, Comrade Pedro Obi, expressed concerns about the competence of the Minister of State for Youth Development and the SSA to the President on Student Engagement.
Comrade Obi, after staging a peaceful protest at the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), reiterated that the NANS will not be intimidated and will continue to fight for the interests of Nigerian students.
He said, “The message is very simple, we have incompetent people who have been appointed to offices. It’s unfortunate and it’s not the President’s fault, of course he believes in Nigerian youths and has also given us the opportunity to showcase our capacity in various roles that he has given us.
“We have the SSA to the President on Student Engagement, who has shown incompetence. He cannot continue to hold that office and we are calling on Mr. President that he should be sacked with immediate effect.
“Also we have the Minister of State for Youth Development. We are also calling that immediately he should be sacked, because he has left what he ought to do and has dabbled into the affairs of NANS.
“These people have displayed incompetence and are destroying the youth community. There are so many competent youths that President Tinubu can pick from.
“NANS can never be intimidated. This is an organisation that we grew up to meet and we will continue to protect the dignity of this organisation.”
Receiving the NANS on behalf of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator George Akume, the Permanent Secretary, General Services Office in the SGF, Dr. Maurice Nnamdi Mbaeri, assured the NANS of relaying back their complaints to the SGF which he said will land on the listening ears of President Tinubu.
According to him, “I have listened to the complaints you raised. I assure you that your complaints will get to the listening ears of Mr. President.
“Let me assure you that I’m happy this was also re-echoed in the NANS President’s speech that President Tinubu has indebt love for the youths of Nigeria and also for the students of Nigeria. This has been demonstrated by polices that (has) been put in place for the youths.
“I want to assure you that the President has your concerns in his heart and he’s always ever ready to attend to your needs.
“With this, I am going to report back to my boss the SGF, who will take up the matter with the President. I urge you to continue to maintain peace and tranquillity. Don’t do anything that will make Mr. President feel bad about you.”

 

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Ayu Withdraws Case Against PDP Ahead NEC Meeting 

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Former National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Dr. Iyiorchia Ayu, has withdrawn the court action he instituted against the party over his controversial removal from office barely two years into his four year  term.
His action has removed legal impediments likely to militate against the emergence of his replacement from the North Central.
Several meetings have been held and being planned following this new development.
On Tuesday, the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) passed a vote of confidence on the Ag. National Chairnan, Amb. Umar Damagum, whom members said has discharged his functions creditably.
It was gathered that the North Central Caucus of the party had long before now started mobilizing to ensure that the zone produces Ayu’s replacement to complete his tenure which expires in 2025.
In a related development, Amb. Damagum has held series of meetings with various groups to perhaps shore up his chances of retaining his seat as acting chairman.
He led the members of the NWC on Wednesday to interact with the PDP National Ex-officio ahead of the NEC meeting.
Immediately after the meeting with them, he led the NWC members to another meeting with the State Party Chairmen from the 36 States, including FCT, Abuja.
The meetings were  held at the NEC Hall, PDP National Secretariat at Wadata Plaza, Wuse Zone 5, in Abuja.

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