The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has sought greater collaboration with journalists and media executives in its quest to organise credible and a hitch -free elections in Ekiti.
The electoral body also hinted that it had detected 47,633 voter double registration on its portal ahead of the poll.
Top INEC officials made these known in Ado-Ekiti at the Traning/ Capacity Building For Journalists/ Media Executives On Constitutional and Legal Issues On Electoral Act 2022.
The commission said that it is extremely difficult, if not impossible to outsmart the new technology being deployed as it captures both finger prints and facial impression of eligible voters.
The National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, disclosed that Ekiti has 988,923 registered voters ,out of which 734,746 persons have collected their Permanent Voters Card for the election.
Okoye, added that part of the constitutional frameworks designed for the success of any election, is freedom of press, warning that this shouldn’t be abused to prevent violence during election.
“Before a journalist can monitor election in any state, he must have good knowledge of the social, political, economic, and geographical composition of that environment.
“ He must also understand the security situation, because all these differ from state to state.
“They must also have a deep knowledge of the laws guiding the conduct of elections. They must know what laws permit regarding the information you dish out. Media personnel are not permitted to give out information that can mislead the populace and ignite violence on the day of election. They have to be accurate .
“In this election, we appeal to you to be neutral, non-partisan, ethical and professional in the discharge of your duties, so that we can record success together and conduct election that can be acceptable to all”, he said.
Okoye further added that the non-sensitive materials for the elections have been deployed to all the 16 LGAs noting that adhoc staff have been mobilised and trained.
“The commission on the election day will deploy the adhoc staff from a total of 104 registration centres, made up of 46 registration areas centres and 61 super registration area centres.
“The commission will also deploy 22,244 polling units in Ekiti State and will deploy slightly above 10,000 adhoc staff to conduct this election.
“I want to announce that the commission is happy and elated at the level of preparations for this election.
“All the 16 LGAs have received the full complement of all the non-sensitive materials. They have dispatched all the non-sensitive materials in accordance with all the registration areas and wards and in accordance with all the polling units.”
The Commission averred that such people have had their registration invalidated to prevent double voting during election, with the aid of the Bimodal Voter Authentication System(BVAS) invented by INEC to sanitise its registers.
In his presentation, the INEC’s Head of Department, Information and Communication Technology, Titilayo Oderinde said no individual can exercise double franchise during election with the help of the ICT innovation.
He said : “During the just concluded Continuous Voter Registration exercise declared by INEC for intending voters to update their registration, a total of 124,963 persons registered in Ekiti.
“But it will marvel you that when the number was subjected to BVAS scrutiny, a total of 47,633 were discovered to have registered twice and got expunged from the register.
“Though, the commission was so lenient that one of the double registrations was struck out leaving one for the voter to exercise his franchise. It is not applicable to a gender, the offence was committed by both genders.
“But I see no reason why people should be doing this when they can approach the commission for migration of their polling units, even if they leave their environment for another location”.
Also addressing the participants, the Resident Electoral Commissioner, Ekiti State, Dr. Adeniran Tella, appealed to voters not to treat their Permanent Voter Cards(PVCs) as instruments for mere identification, saying they are to be deployed to vote on election day.
“PVCs is not designed as identification card, it is for voting. We want to do away with this voter apathy and we are starting with Ekiti election. I salute our women for participating well in registration. 71% of them had also collected their PVCs.
“We are assuring the People Living with Disabilities that their interests will be protected by the commission. They are Nigerians with inalienable rights to vote and we shall provide enabling environment for them to vote in this election, we have made adequate provision for them”.
Kano Tribunal Judgment, Slap On Constitutionalism, Rule Of Law -NNPP
The New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP) has described the judgment of the Kano State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal that nullified the election of Governor Abba Kabiru Yusuff as a slap in the face of constitutionalism and the rule of law.
In a signed statement made available to newsmen by its acting national chairman, Abba Kawu Ali, the NNPP said its candidate won convincingly in the March 18, 2023, election, which it described as free, credible, and globally acclaimed as a fair election.
He said the pronouncement of the 3-man tribunal is laughable and a pure miscarriage of justice, which is capable of eroding the confidence of the electorate in the judiciary.
He, however, called on the party’s supporters across Nigeria to remain calm as the party will appeal the tribunal’s judgement.
“The New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP) receives with utter incredulity and disbelief the judgment of the Kano State Election Petition Tribunal on the March 18, 2023, Governorship Election.
“The reported judgement nullified the free, credible, and globally acclaimed fair election of our gubernatorial candidate, Engr. Abba Kabiru Yusuf, and brazenly awarded the election to the APC candidate, Nasiru Gawuna.
“The Tribunal arrived at this unjust judgment by unfairly subtracting 165,663 votes from the governor’s tally to enable it to unfairly award the result to the candidate of the ruling APC.
“In doing so, the tribunal obviously affirms its belief that the vote tally of the APC candidate was sacrosanct.
“The judgment of the 3-man Kano State Governorship Election Petition is laughable and nothing but a pure miscarriage of justice.
“The decision of the Tribunal is a slap in the face of constitutionalism and the rule of law and is capable of further discouraging the electorate from having confidence in the judiciary.
“The NNPP recalls with regret that this Tribunal has simply replayed the unholy script of 2019 by overturning the will of the people and awarding results to those who evidently lost the election.
“The NNPP will appeal this most unfair judgement.
We call on millions of our supporters in Kano and in the rest of the country to remain calm and maintain peace. A lopsided judgment cannot stand on the altar of justice”, he said.
Ondo Assembly Moves To Impeach Dep Gov
Indications emerged on Wednesday, that members of the Ondo State House of Assembly have commenced the process of impeaching the state Deputy Governor, Lucky Aiyedatiwa.
This is coming following an emergency plenary session summoned by the House of Assembly on Wednesday, with heavy presence of security men at the Assembly gate.
The Tide source gathered that at least 23 lawmakers have already appended their signatures, supporting the impeachment notice against Aiyedatiwa.
A source disclosed that the Deputy Governor is under investigation for alleged gross misuse of office and might be eased out of office through impeachment.
According to the source, trouble started when Aiyedatiwa reportedly approved the sum of N300 million for the purchase of a bulletproof SUV for his personal use.
The source said the approval was allegedly given while the state Governor was recuperating in Germany and it was approved without the knowledge of the governor.
He said the Deputy Governor further complicated matters when he ordered that the N300 million should be sourced from the Palliative fund.
He said “This fund, provided by the Federal government, was intended to support states in addressing the needs of their citizens.”
The source said the impeachment proceedings underscore the Assembly’s commitment to accountability, even at the highest levels of state governance.
Further developments in this case were being awaited as the situation continued to unfold.
Bauchi Tribunal Upholds Gov Mohammed’s Election
The Bauchi State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal has upheld the victory of Governor Bala Mohammed in the March 18, 2023 governorship election.
Delivering the judgment on Wednesday, Chairman of the three-man panel of the Tribunal, Justice P.T Kwahar, dismissed the petition of the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakr (rtd), who challenged result of the election.
The tribunal held that the petitioners failed to prove their allegations of non-compliance with the Electoral Act, electoral irregularities as well as bypass of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (B-VAS) machines in some polling units of Toro, Dass, Zaki, Itas-Gadau, Alkaleri, Bauchi, Tafawa Balewa, Ningi, Dambam and Ganjuwa Local Government Areas.The Tribunal held that there was no tangible evidence to show that the BVAS was truly manipulated.The judge explained that the witnesses brought by the petitioner presented evidence based on hearsay as they were not present at the polling units, “they have failed to establish beyond reasonable doubt that the APC candidate won the election.”
“This court therefore returns the second respondent as the elected governor of Bauchi state by the first respondent in the conduct of the governorship election of the 18th of March, 2023,” he held.
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