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INEC’s Report On 2019 General Elections

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Friday in Abuja made virtual and public presentation of its ‘Report of the 2019 General Election’.
The commission also made public presentation of the ‘ Review of the 2019 General Election: Report of the Commission’s Retreats and Stakeholder Engagements’’.
INEC Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, while presenting the two reports said that the ‘Report of the 2019 General Election’ has 13 Chapters covering major issues.
These according to him include challenges associated with the preparation and conduct of the election, lessons learnt and specific recommendations for addressing them.
Yakubu said that the second report “the Review of the 2019 General Election’’ contained 180 recommendations including recommendations for test running and adoption of e-voting as well as adoption of early/special voting for election duty and other related officials.
Other recommendations are:
Early presentation of proposed amendments to the electoral legal framework, which should be concluded at least 12 months to the next general election, to provide effective planning.
The creation of electoral Offences Commission and Tribunal with powers to arrest, investigate and prosecute electoral offenders.
Automation of the nomination process to facilitate the storage, access and retrieval of candidates’ data.
The commission’s consideration of  sourcing of its ad hoc personnel from its pool of retired staff.
Delivery of all non-sensitive election materials to states and FCT offices 30 days to any election so as ensure proper audit and quality assurance.
The need to review the criteria for recruiting collation officers and returning officers.
Sourcing of Registration Area Camps (RAC) managers from the staff of the commission.
Improvement of the voter registration to accommodate online registration and printing of permanent voter cards on monthly basis instead of the current quarterly basis.
The report also recommended that the Nigerian Constitution should be amended to provide for stronger legislation against defection by elected members of the national and state houses of assembly from one party to another.
“Such defectors should automatically lose their seats except in the case of merger of two or more parties,’’ it said.
The report recommended that funding of political parties from budgetary allocation should be restored.
It, however, said that this should not be tied to the election campaigns but for the purpose of maintaining infrastructural facilities and membership registration.
The recommendations, according to Yakubu, either require administrative action by the commission or amendments to strengthen the existing electoral legal framework by the National Assembly.
“Some of the recommendations that require administrative action by INEC are already being implemented resulting in improved management of the electoral process as seen in the recent off-cycle Governorship elections in Edo and Ondo States.
“We are similarly engaging with the National Assembly on aspects of the recommendations that require legislative action.’’
Yakubu noted that the strength of any public institution lay in its ability to ask critical questions, review its processes, strengthen its procedures for better service delivery and engage with stakeholders.
“It is my hope that making the two reports public will promote a better understanding of the issues and challenges associated with the conduct of the 2019 General Election and as important resource materials for research.
“It is my hope that it will serve as the promotion of a broader national discourse on the necessary reforms required for the continued delivery of peaceful, free, fair, credible, inclusive and safe elections in Nigeria.’’
Yakubu assured Nigerians that the hard copies of the two reports would be widely disseminated while soft copies would be uploaded on the commission’s website on Monday next week.
The INEC National Commissioner in-charge of Electoral Operations and Logistics Committee, Prof. Okechwukwu Ibeanu said that the two documents covered the chronicled works of INEC, views of the commission and those of stakeholders on the 2019 general elections.
Ibeanu said that in drafting the document INEC was guided by a number of principles including openness driven by a genuine consultation, sound knowledge informed by good science and good collaboration based on partnership.
He said that the reports revealed five key lessons including the fact that election could not rise above the structure and the infrastructure of the society.
“It is the same roads washed off that the commission has to use to conduct elections. It is the same airlines that run late that we have to use.
“The second lesson is that trust is at the heart of every election and that is why the commission has placed a lot of emphasis on openness and transparency in building trust.’’
He said that the reports also revealed that elections are too serious to be left in the hands of 30,000 election manager alone.
He added that the report also revealed that while INEC played key roles in the conduct of elections, the actions of other stakeholders including CSOs, security agencies and media were also important in determining the quality of the election.
He said that while technology in election had also become inevitable, it was not the end, as the use of technology in an election without trust would complicate matters.
Mr Hermann Thiel, the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) Country Director for Nigeria, said that the reports represented an institution willing to reflect on its processes, learn from them and improve on the process.
Thiel said that the development in the 2020 U.S. elections revealed that elections processes around the world were faced with challenges.
“Every country in the world is going through the processes. The world in changing, technology is being introduced.
“New processes and principles that were not there in the last decades were being introduced and they are presenting challenges to elections around the world and each election authority around the world has to learn.’’
Thiel added that one of the ways to learn was to look at what others had done, adding that the reports would be of great benefits to INEC and other electoral bodies around the world.
The Electoral Administration Expert for the European Centre for Electoral Support (ECES),  Mr Manji Wilson commended INEC’s innovations implemented toward improving the country’s electoral system.
Wilson expressed hope that the lessons learnt from previous elections documented in the reports would contribute to meaningful and improve processes in the next electoral cycles in Nigeria.

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Obi: You Can’t Speak For Afenifere, Tinubu Campaign Slams Adebanjo

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The All Progressives Congress APC Presidential Campaign Council has slammed Afenifere leader, Pa Ayo Adebanjo for attempting to turn the pan-Yoruba sociocultural association into his personal estate and using same to canvass support for the Labour Party LP presidential candidate, Mr Peter Obi.
Director, Media and Publicity of the council, Mr Bayo Onanuga in a statement on Saturday titled “Our Reaction to Baba Ayo Adebanjo and his new Ohanifere Venture”, said “Papa Adebanjo does not speak for Afenifere”.
According to the council, Pa Adebanjo is free as an individual to support anyone he likes, in furtherance of his democratic rights.
“We know for a fact that Baba has turned Afenifere into his personal estate as Acting Leader. We are also certain that there was nowhere Afenifere, as we know it, met and took a decision to adopt Mr. Peter Obi as a candidate for 2023 presidential election.
“We respect the age of Baba Adebanjo but he can not turn Afenifere into his personal franchise for any political alliance.
“We are very much aware that Baba Reuben Fasoranti, the real leader of Afenifere had stated clearly that Pa Adebanjo has always been speaking for himself on many national issues using the name of the group.
“It is our well considered position that Pa Adebanjo cannot appropriate Afenifere. Baba is just an individual who is free to support any politician of his choice. As an individual, he cannot equate himself with the socio-cultural and socio-political organisation”, the council stated.

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2023 Polls: IPC Begins Training Of Media Monitors

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The International Press Council (IPC), last Friday began the training of 12 Media monitors in Lagos to prepare them for the monitoring of the coverage and reportage of the electoral processes and the 2023 elections by the print and online media.
The essence of the 18-month monitoring that will commence on October 1, 2023, is to assess the level of compliance with professional and ethical standards by newspapers, including online ones, being selected for the exercise.
Among others, the monitoring will be done within the context of the expectation of the Nigerian Media Code of Election Coverage, which spells out the responsibilities expected of journalists and other media professionals at elections.
The Media Election Code was endorsed by umbrella media professional bodies and associations, and close to 300 individual media outlets in 2018.
It enumerates what journalists and media management should do to ensure social responsibility and integrity; equitable access for parties and candidates; media access for disadvantaged groups including women, persons with disability and youths; conflict sensitivity and the avoidance of hate speech.
The training of the monitors is one of the activities under component 4 (Support to media) of the European Union Support to Democratic Governance in Nigeria-Phase 2 (EUSDGN II) project, being implemented by IPC, along with its partner, the Institute for Media and Society.
The overall goal of the media component is to “Support the consolidation of democracy in Nigeria with the media (broadcast, print and online media) helping to facilitate the key ingredient of credible elections through engagement and professionalism in coverage and reportage of the electoral processes.”
The specific objective is to ensure that, “The Media, including New and Social Media, provides fair, accurate, ethical and inclusive coverage of the Electoral Process.”
The two-day training , the first day of which was facilitated by Mr. Edetaen Ojo, Executive Director of Media Rights Agenda (MRA) and Mr. Sanmi Falobi, Project Manager of IPC, aimed to build the skill of the monitors on the processes and methodologies of media monitoring.
“Against the background of the prevalence of misinformation and disinformation especially by political actors, all we are seeking to achieve is for the Nigerian media to contribute to the credibility of electoral information before, during and after the 2023 elections”, said the Executive Director of IPC, Mr. Lanre Arogundade.

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2023: ‘Same-Faith Ticket, Blunder Laced With Hidden Agenda’

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The Christian Awareness Initiative of Nigeria, CAIN, last Saturday night, said no amount of blackmail would stop a former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, and an erstwhile Secretary to Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal, from publicly condemning the decision of the All Progressives Congress, APC, for fielding a same-faith presidential ticket.
The Spokesman of CAIN, Yusuf Kanhu, who said this in a statement he personally signed accused supporters of the APC of hiring mercenaries to tarnish the image of the duo.
Kanhu in the statement made available to journalists in Abuja described the Muslim-Muslim ticket of the APC as a “blunder”laced with “hidden agenda”
He explained: “The decision by Nigerian Christians through the umbrella Association to reject the same faith ticket was not against any particular party but advice to all political parties. Sadly the presidential candidate of APC ignored the advice and picked his vice from the same faith.
“The Christian Umbrella body came out in the first place to reject the idea and challenge Christians in APC to tell their party and Candidate to do what is right and good for the unity of the country.
“Hon Yakubu Dogara and Babachir Lawal respected the call of their leaders and proved that they are not going to betray the position of CAN just to satisfy their belle.
“Interestingly, the APC candidate and some of his supporters instead of making an honest effort to convince Christians and especially those Christians in their party about the reason for their action have chosen to recruit faceless people and are creating unknown groups with funny names to castigate the Christian body and the courageous Christians from their party that are telling them the danger and implication of their ill advised decision.
“We wish to inform the APC candidate that blackmail will not stop Dogara, Babachir, and others from telling them the truth.
“Nigerian Christians know the difference between fake Christian groups from genuine groups such as Northern Christians Youth Initiative with her faceless coordinator Hon. Mike Msuaan Msuaan.
“We can go on to name many hungry people who have not attended any church service in the last 10 years but are cashing on the desperation of the APC candidate to show that he has Christians’ support to start none existing Christian groups to enable them to get their share of the cake in circulation.
“The church in Nigeria and especially in the North knows the voices and names of their genuine leaders fighting for justice which is different from the newly born and newly introduced names that are only speaking to get money from their sponsors.
“Sponsoring fake people and groups to insult others will not correct your big blunder and will only make more Christians accept the fact that the decision has a hidden agenda.”

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