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2019 Polls: Civil Society Groups Present Reports, Demand Offenders’ Prosecution

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Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in Abuja have demanded immediate prosecution of all the people involved in electoral malfeasance during the last election even as they called for the signing of a new electoral law to forestall a repeat of pitfalls of 2019 polls.
This is as the leadership of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has denied claims that the body compromised the 2019 elections, insisting that the blame for whatever shortcomings that might have been discovered in the election should be taken to the doorstep of politicians and mischief makers.
It said that it would soon submit to the National Assembly the report of the last election as required by the constitution.
Both the CSOs and INEC spoke at the presentation of 2019 General Election Report and 2019 General Election Observation Statements. The events were organised by Centre for Transparency Advocacy (CTA) and Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room.
At the two well-attended events include the INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, was represented by represented by the Resident Electoral Commissioners in charge of Information, Festus Okoye, Amina Zakari, Mohammed Haruna, May Agbamuvhe-Mbie and Chairman, Inter Party Advisory Council (IPAC), Peter Ameh .
Others were Resident Electoral Commissioner for Akwa Ibom, Mike Igini, his colleagues from Zamfara, Enugu and Osun States.
Describing as unfortunate a situation where months after the general election those who committed diverse electoral offenses were walking the street free, the acting Executive Director of CTA , Ms Faith Nwadishi said the situation was sending a wrong signal to the public.
She said: “Let us state clearly here that the ultimate test of credibility is how the government handles criminality. If people do not see electoral offenders prosecuted and punished, the message would be clear that these persons work for those we have elected and who tomorrow will come seeking our votes again. If the government and the political class continue to act nonchalant, the people will lose confidence in politics and democracy and anarchy and self-help would be the outcomes. That would spell the end of Nigeria as we know it. It is therefore, the duty of the government, INEC and every patriotic citizen to ensure that. We have to work for a better electoral system now by ensuring that the law is upheld and offenders are appropriately punished.
“Her stand was re-echoed by Mike Igini who said the problem with the country’s democracy was the elite whom he said were benefiting from the current situation.”
According to him, “the political elite is the greatest threat to our democracy. They are working to consolidate on their wrongdoings.
“The problem we have is the absence of consequence for offenders. A situation a wrong is allowed, it could be repeated tomorrow. That is the challenge we have on our hands.”
Calling for a concerted action to rebuild credibility in the country’s electoral system , Nwadishi canvassed joining of forces by stakeholders to firm up new laws in that regard.
She said. “We believe the attempt to rebuild electoral credibility must start with the law. The incoming National Assembly must work in collaboration with INEC, civil society organisations and other stakeholders to firm up our electoral laws. We are prepared to make our technical contributions in this regard. Indeed, there is a need to give INEC more powers to reflect the presumed independence of the body. It must as much as possible be put fully in charge of the resources and personnel it needs for elections.”
On security, she said: “While we generally commend members of the security services for helping with maintaining law and order during the election, we cannot overlook the fact that the deployment of the military was unlawful and uncalled for. Our laws do not give soldiers any role to play in our election and our courts up to the highest level have ruled accordingly. Their deployment and brazen partisanship against the opposition was an affront on decency. Of course, we realise that they could only have acted on the orders of their political and civil superiors, but no soldier or commander of military forces is compelled to obey an unlawful order.

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CAN Accuses El-Rufai Of Hidden Agenda

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The Kaduna State chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has accused Governor Nasir El-Rufai of engaging in politics with civil servants and residents of the state.
This was contained in a statement issued on Tuesday by the state chairman of CAN, Rev. John Joseph Hayab, in the aftermath of the pronouncement of a four-day work week by the governor.
El-Rufai had said the state government would begin implementing the transitional arrangement in the public service starting from December 1, 2021.
However, the CAN Chairman urged caution, stating that the citizens of the state had been subjected to pains by this government through some of its unpopular policies.
He advised civil servants in the state not to celebrate the policy yet until they were convinced that there was no hidden agenda behind it.
“Workers must be sure that the policy is not aimed at reducing their salaries.
“They must be convinced that the government will not wake up one day with another shocking news of salary reduction since the five working days have been reduced to four.”
“How can a state that is not secured talk about giving workers time for agriculture and be with family when bandits move about freely, terrorising people in their homes, on the farms, and on the highways!
“How can one spend time with family when you have nothing to feed them or provide for their basic needs?” he said.

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Meagre Allocation Stalls Adamawa LG Polls

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The Adamawa State Independent Electoral Commission (ADSIEC) has postponed the December 4 local government council polls indefinitely due to  lack of funds.
ADSIEC Information Officer, Innocent Daniel, said on Monday that the commission was awaiting funds from the government to conduct a free, fair and transparent election.
“Among the major challenges that led to the postponement of the election was the meagre allocation to the commission in the state’s 2021 budget.
“The allocation is too meagre for the commission to organise and conduct the election.
“Also, the re-usable election materials such as ballot boxes, duty vests, bags and kits were completely vandalised during the #Endsars protest,” he said.
The Information officer said that the commission was also faced with the problem of handling the new polling units that were converted from voting points by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
He said that the conversion had raised the polling units in the state from 2,609 to 4,104.
“This development will lead to an increase in facilities and ad hoc staff. The ongoing registration of new voters will also have a resultant increase in ballot paper requirements.
“It is in this regard that the preparations for the local government council election for December 4, is hereby suspended to give the government time to source for funds,” Mr Daniel said.

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2023: Northern Youths Urge Old Politicians To Steer Clear

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Politicians above 60 years of age have been urged to stay away from the presidential race come 2023.
The appeal was made by the leadership of the Concerned Northern Youth Forum (CNYF) in Kaduna yesterday.
They argued that in developed nations, people of that age and experience were mostly engaged in charitable activities, free consultancy services and other forms of selfless services.
The spokesman of the group, Comrade Abdulsalam Moh’d Kazeem, called on youths to take advantage of the “not too young to rule”  to participate actively in the political arena.
Also, a north-based group has tasked Nigerian youths to join politics to free the country of bad governance.
Coordinator of the group, National Youth Movement for Good Governance, Nasiru Aliyu, who disclosed this at a news briefing in Kaduna, said Nigeria requires young hands that can work assiduously to address its developmental challenges.
Meanwhile, some stakeholders in the North Central zone and bigwigs of the PDP in the region, have thrown their weight behind the candidature of Bukola Saraki in the 2023 presidency.
The group, led by Professor Iyorwuese Hagher, stated this on Monday during the advocacy committee meeting for Saraki with party members and delegations from across the zone at the Nasarawa State party secretariat in Lafia.
An associate of Saraki, Alhaji Kawu Baraje, urged the party to consider Saraki as its presidential candidate for 2023 to salvage the country from total collapse.
Also, the campaign team of a former presidential candidate of the PDP, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, on Monday met with the party’s officials and stakeholders from the three senatorial districts of Benue State over the 2023 general elections.
The leader of the team, Chief Raymond Dokpesi, said they were in Benue as forerunners of Atiku to consult with the elders of the PDP in the state and ask them for support for their principal who will be contesting the presidential poll in 2023.
Similarly, a support group, Tinubu Legacy Forum (TLF), has said the national leader of the ruling APC, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, is not too old to contest the presidency.
While 69-year-old Tinubu has not formally declared his presidential interest, his recent visitations and series of support groups, rooting for him, show his interest in contesting the 2023 presidency, probably under the APC.
Addressing newsmen on Monday in Abuja, the Coordinator, TLF, FCT Chapter, Barrister Abdullahi Awwal Muhammad, said Tinubu was not too old to contest for the presidency.
In Lagos, a Yoruba group yesterday endorsed the former Governor of Imo State, Rochas Okorocha as the next president. The group, under the aegis of Oduduwa Sons and Daughters for Equity and Justice, declared that the Yoruba people have decided to support a South-Easterner as successor to President Muhammadu Buhari.

 

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