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2023 Elections: Foreign Observers Express Concerns Over INEC’s Readiness

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Some international election observers have expressed concern over the ability of the  Independent National Electoral Commission’s  (INEC) technology to perform optimally in the 2023 General Elections.
The joint delegation of the International Republican Institute (IRI) and the National Democratic Institute (NDI), raised the concern on Friday while addressing a press conference in Abuja.
The five-member delegation comprises the Secretary of State for Ohio, Frank LaRose; a former Minority Leader of the Sierra Leone Parliament, Bernadette Lahai; a former Director of Elections, Registration and Demarcation at the Electoral Commission of Ghana, Albert Kofi-Arhin; a Regional Director of NDI, Christopher Fomunyoh and Jenai Cox, Regional Deputy Director for Africa at IRI.
Members of the delegation took turns to read sections of the joint statement of their first pre-election assessment mission in Nigeria to journalists expressed concerns over whether the INEC Result Viewing Portal (IReV) and Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) will perform at the same level as witnessed in the recent governorship elections in Ekiti and Osun “when scaled up for the national elections.”
While noting other concerns to be addressed ahead of the 2023 polls, the delegation said the elimination of voting points by INEC has aided the transparency of results but has also posed a new challenge for the electorates.
“Instead of transitioning the previous voting points into new polling units, INEC has largely established the new polling units in new locations. Recognizing that moving voters to a new location presents a challenge, INEC has plans only to include new voters or voters who choose to transfer their registration at these new polling units. This approach is unlikely to address the anomaly of overcrowding in existing polling units,” a member of the delegation, Ms Lahai, noted.
She said there is a need to further reduce access to polling units so as to reduce conditions for nefarious behaviours during the voting exercise.
She also highlighted inter-party disputes, insecurity, high nomination fees by political parties, election violence and low representation of women in positions of power among the issues Nigeria needs to address before the 2023 election.
In its recommendations read by Ms Cox, the NDI/IRI delegation called for timely disbursement of funding for INEC, so they can play their role in the election cycle without fear or favour.
The delegation also advised INEC to capitalise on the excitement of Nigerians from the just concluded governorship elections in Ekiti and Osun States and extend the period for voter registration.
“INEC should publish disaggregated data on registered persons with disabilities (PWDs) before elections and invest in collecting data to map the location and type of assistance needed for PWDs, and audit polling unit layouts to ensure compliance with the INEC polling unit schematic,” Ms Cox said.
The delegation also urged the commission to seize the renewed interest of Nigerians in the electoral process to engage them on issues that matter to them.
It said the country, for the first time since 2007, may witness an open contest in the coming presidential poll.

 

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NGO Tasks NASS On Fiscal Responsibility Law Amendment

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The Growth Initiative for Fiscal Transparency (GIFT) Nigeria says there is an urgent need for the national assembly to pass the Fiscal Responsibility Act (FRA) amendment bill into law.
The executive director, Order Paper, Oke Epia,said this on Saturday at a media briefing in Abuja.
The Fiscal Responsibility Act 2007 is primarily designed to checkmate wastage and corruption.
Epia said the financial crisis faced by the country is as a result of corruption in the oil sector, which could be resolved through the passage of the amendment of the Act.
“Nigeria is in a fiscal crisis because certain things are not being done right, especially in the petroleum sector which accounts for over 60 percent of revenue earnings and over 90 percent of foreign exchange due to the country,” he said.
“It is the mainstay of the economy and that is where you have the poster child of corruption in this country.”
He said the slow amendment of the fiscal responsibility act gives room for the non-remittance of revenue by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) and other ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs).
“On the side of public finance management, that is what we want to alert your consciousness to, so that we can mount pressure on the national assembly to pass this fiscal responsibility amendment bill, so it will help get monies that are due to government paid to the government without much ado,” he added.

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Alleged 2019 Guber Poll Rigging: Ogun APC To Probe Amosun

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The state leadership of All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ogun State may likely quiz the immediate past Governor of the state, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, over his claim that the 2019 governorship election in the state was rigged in favour of the incumbent Governor, Dapo Abiodun.
There were indications that the party’s leadership may take a hard step on the Senator’s claim when the party’s leaders from the 20 local government areas of the state had a closed-door meeting in Abeokuta on Saturday and expressed their displeasure over the allegation.
The state Chairman of the party, Yemi Sanusi, who berated Amosun over his claim, described such outburst as  un-senatorial and unbecoming of a supposed statesman.
It was learnt that after the meeting, the party’s leaders called for disciplinary measures against such anti-party acts, which they likened to the ex-governor’s support for All Progressives Movement’s governorship candidate in 2019, resulting in his suspension.
Sanusi declared that, being the acting chairman of the party in 2019, he observed that the election that produced the incumbent governor was the most credible in the history of the state.
He said the electorate trooped out and overwhelmingly voted for Governor Abiodun and protected their votes from being overturned by riggers.
Sanusi, therefore, called on the party’s leaders and members to reciprocate the kind gesture of Governor  Abiodun by working hard to ensure  his re-election in 2023.
Meanwhile, in preparation for the general election, Governor Abiodun donated a bus to the party’s state executive council with a view to enhancing their operations ahead of the 2023 poll and in appreciation of their contributions towards the growth of democracy in the state.
He described the party’s state executive as a partner in progress, commending them for their sterling leadership which made it possible for them to keep the party united.
The governor, therefore, promised support for the party to sustain its membership drive, emphasising that all hands mist be on deck as the party gets prepared for the forthcoming general elections.

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APC’s Case Challenging My Victory, Waste Of Time – Adeleke

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The Governor- elect of Osun State, Senator Ademola Adeleke, on Saturday disclosed that the case filed by the All Progressives Congress APC, challenging his victory in the July 16 election is dead on arrival and a mere waste of time.
According to Adeleke, the people of Osun state have spoken and no amount of court cases can overturn his election as governor.
Adeleke, speaking at Ijebu-Jesa, headquarters of Oriade local government, where a former commissioner for finance under the administration of Aregbesola, Dr Wale Bolorunduro officially decamped to the PDP, said his major focus is how to move Osun forward, promising a massive impact in his first 100 days in office.
“The whole world knew that the election was free and fair. APC are just wasting there time. They have the right to go to court but I can tell you, it is dead on arrival.
“Osun people who have voted massively for us should keep calm and not worry. This time around, the people of Osun have spoken and it is the will of God.
“The only thing I’m concerned with now is how to make Osun great and I’m promising that in my first 100 days in office , Osun State will witness a massive change,” he said.
Speaking on why he defected, Bolorunduro said he left APC because the party is full of deceit and lack ethos of Obafemi Awolowo.
His words: “I and my followers are decamping today to PDP because it is the party for the progressive. It is a party that is transparent and not deceitful as the former party I was.
“I left APC because my glory was being covered and my contributions trampled upon. APC is full of deceit. There is nothing called progressivesm in that party.
“The party lack fairness, justice, transparency and the ethos of our avatar, Obafemi Awolowo. I had no choice than to leave APC and come to the party of light”.

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