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Lagos, Ogun, Delta Ahead Of States With Unclaimed PVCs

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Over five million Nigerians out of the 93m who registered to vote have yet to claim their Permanent Voter Cards barely four months to the 2023 elections.
Findings by The Tide source across 19 states indicate that Lagos, Ogun, Delta, Ekiti and Enugu States are leading the states with huge numbers of unclaimed PVCs despite the enlightenment campaigns carried out by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Understandably, the All Progressives Congress (APC), Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Labour Party (LP) and others are worried the forthcoming elections may be marred by voter apathy.
The INEC Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu had disclosed during a meeting with political parties in Abuja last week that over 2.7million new registrations between June 28, 2021 and July 31, 2022, were invalid.
During the 2019 general elections, the commission noted that out of the about 82.3m Nigerians in the voter register, only 28.6million voted which led to the re-election of President Muhammadu Buhari who polled 15 million votes to defeat his closest rival, Atiku Abubakar,  who scored 11.2 million votes.
During the Lagos State governorship elections in 2019,  Babajide Sanwo-Olu got 739,445 votes to defeat his closest rival, Jimi Agbaje of the PDP who had 206,141 votes.
Both candidates recorded less than one million votes despite the fact that the state had six million registered voters.
Findings on Monday showed that 963,884 PVCs have yet to be collected in Lagos, Ogun 661,643, Delta 300,000, Ekiti 239,858 and Enugu 160,000.
The commission’s Public Affairs Officer in Lagos, Mrs Adenike Oriowo put the number of uncollected cards at 963,884 as of October 21, 2022.
In a statement on Monday, she further disclosed that 37,832 new PVCs have not been collected out of the 60,370 received from the INEC’s national headquarters.
The statement said, “Overall total PVCs received from the national headquarters is 6,630,661. Overall total PVCs collected as of October 21, 2022, is 5,666,777, and overall PVCs uncollected as of October 21, 2022, is 963,884.”
According to the INEC Public Relations Officer in Ekiti State, Mrs Rolake Odebunmi, there are 988,923 registered voters in the state and 239,858 among them had collected their PVCs.
Odebunmi stated that further action would commence on November 12 with a nationwide display of voter registers.
In Ogun state, the  Resident Electoral Commissioner, Niyi Ijalaye disclosed that 661,643 PVCs have yet to be collected.
The REC however said the total number of registered voters would be disclosed in the next two weeks after the cleanup of the voter register by INEC.
Also speaking with one of our source, the representative of the Public Affairs office of INEC in Gombe, Mohorret Bigun stated that no fewer than 95,959 cards were still in their custody.
In Ebonyi, it was stated that over 127,000 PVCs were yet to be collected while the number of unclaimed PVCs in Sokoto was put at 124,963. Some of the cards, it was gathered, have not been claimed since 2019.
At a recent stakeholders’ meeting, the Administrative Secretary of Sokoto INEC, Hauwa’u Aliyu said 148,446 voter cards were issued to the local government areas from 2019 to date but only 24,483 were collected.
Other states with a high number of uncollected PVCs include Adamawa 40,000; Kano 389,000; Niger 45,000; Bauchi 38,265 and Yobe 78,000.
But responding to the development, the Chief Press Secretary to the INEC chairman, Mr Rotimi Oyekanmi, argued that more Nigerians had collected their PVCs over the years than those who haven’t.
“For instance, the total number of registered voters as of 2019 was 84,004,084. Out of this, 72,775,502 or 86.63 per cent have collected their PVCs, leaving 11,228,582 uncollected PVCs as of 11th February 2019.
“However, Nigerians have been collecting their PVCs since then, although in trickles. Don’t forget that we conducted Continuous Voter Registration between 28th June 2021 and 31st July 2022. The PVCs of those that registered between June 2021 and January 2022 have been printed and the rate of collection of this set of PVCs has been quite impressive,’’ Oyekanmi submitted.
The press secretary also disclosed that the full report of the uncollected PVCs would be given by the INEC chairman in February just before the Presidential election.
While admonishing Nigerians to collect their cards so they can exercise their franchise, he said, ‘’Creating awareness and urging eligible voters to collect their PVCs is a collective, and not only INEC’s, responsibility. Other stakeholders, especially the media, also have a responsibility to encourage Nigerians to pick up their PVCs.
“Without a PVC, no voter will be allowed to vote. That is why it is very important for voters to collect their cards.  The Commission will continue to raise awareness among registered voters who are yet to collect their PVCs to do so.’’
The Chief Spokesperson of the APC Presidential Campaign Council, Festus Keyamo, believed that the commission owed Nigerians some explanation for the poor response to PVCs collection.
In his submission, the spokesperson of the Atiku-Okowa Presidential Campaign Council, Kola Ologbondiyan stated the INEC chairman had a responsibility to deliver a free, fair and credible election in 2023.
Speaking in the same vein, the Chief Spokesperson of the Labour Party Presidential Campaign Council, Dr Yunusa Tanko, equally asked the INEC to go the extra mile to ensure many Nigerians are not disenfranchised.

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PDP Reschedules NEC Meeting For Sept 26

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The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has slated September 26 for its second National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting of the year.
The date was announced by the party through its 2024 adjusted timetable and schedule of activities for congresses, which were released to party members and stakeholders on Monday.
Ahead of the September NEC meeting, the party has slated July 27 for the conduct of ward/delegate congresses to elect ward executives as well as three ad hoc delegates in 23 out of the 36 states of the country, including Abuja.
The timetable also disclosed that, among other things, the NEC is expected to ratify the list of executives that will emerge from the congresses.
According to the timetable, local government congresses to elect council executives and national delegates in 21 affected states are expected to follow on August 10th.
Recall that in April, the PDP held its first NEC meeting after acrimonious elections in 2023, where many of its high-profile members were involved in anti-party activities.
The party remains polarised, with some members supporting former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of the party, and others queuing behind the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) minister, Nyesom Wike.
The outcome of the election and issues surrounding the role played by its leaders led to the suspension of the National Chairman, Senator Iyorchia Ayu, by his Igyorov Ward executives from the Gboko Local Government Area of Benue State.
However, the effort to remove the Acting National Chairman, Ambassador Illiya Damagum, to allow the North Central region where Ayu hails from to produce its successor was deferred to the next NEC meeting earlier slated for August, which has now been shifted to September.

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Edo, Ondo 2024: INEC Warns Personnel Against Corrupt Practices

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says the success of any election largely depends on the professionalism and competence of those responsible for conducting it.
INEC chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, said this while warning its personnel against unethical and corrupt practices in the upcoming Edo and Ondo governorship elections.
He spoke on Monday in Abuja at a lecture in honour of late Abubakar Momoh, former director-general of The Electoral Institute (TEI), from August 2013 to May 2017.
Prof. Yakubu, represented by the National Commissioner, and Chairman, Board of Electoral Institute, Prof. Abdullahi Zuru, warned that any unethical practice before, during and after those elections would incur severe punishments under the law.
The theme of the lecture was: “Achieving Professionalism Among Election Personnel Through Effective Training in Preparation for the Edo and Ondo Governorship Elections.’’
He advised electoral officers to be guided by the principles of integrity, impartiality, transparency, professionalism, gender and disability sensitivity.
He said it was important for electoral personnel to be knowledgeable, skilled and well-equipped with relevant competencies to handle the complexities and challenges of the electoral process.
“Moreover, the crucial role election personnel play in upholding the integrity of our democratic processes cannot be overstressed.
“The manner in which they discharge their duties and responsibilities affects the degree of confidence voters will have in the electoral process, which will impact their participation and turnout,’’ he said.
Prof. Yakubu said that to ensure credibility and trustworthiness in elections and build trust among the electorate, INEC had always prioritised the professional development of its election personnel.
He said the commission identified effective and efficient electoral training as the key to unlocking professionalism among election personnel.
“The commission’s involvement in effective training programmes has empowered its staff to uphold the highest standards of integrity and professionalism in order to strengthen our processes and procedures to serve the interests of all Nigerians,’’ he said.
The Director General of TEI, Dr Sa’ad Idris, in his remarks, said that INEC, in pursuit of its mission and vision, had prioritised professionalism toward achieving free, credible, transparent and inclusive elections.
“As we prepare for the 2024 Edo and Ondo off-cycle governorship elections, the commission is assured that the outcome of effective training of election personnel will manifest in a high level of professionalism”, he said.

 

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Reps Propose Rotational Presidency, Six-Year Single Term

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A bill seeking a single term of six years for the President and state governors was brought up on Monday by 35 members of the House of Representatives.
The bill also canvasses the rotation of the presidency among the six geopolitical zones of the country.
The 35 legislators, under the auspices of Reform-minded Legislators, said the proposition would lead to a reduction in the cost of governance.
Addressing a press conference at the National Assembly Complex on Monday, the spokesman for the group, Ikenga Ugochinyere, added that the move would unite the country and ensure a seamless transition and unprecedented development for the country.
Hon Ugochinyere emphasised the need to interrogate the challenges facing the Nigerian state, saying, “We should not be afraid to meet and discuss our problems, challenges, fears, aspirations, and prospects as a people. We should not discuss in fear and we should never fear to discuss.”
Speaking on the bill, Hon Ugochinyere, who represents Ideato North/Idaeto South Federal Constituency of Imo State on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), said, “On governance, we are proposing a constitutional alteration to provide for the rotation of executive powers among the six geopolitical zones to ensure equal representation and reduce the desperation and tempo of agitation for the creation of states. We are proposing to amend Section 3 of the constitution to provide for the recognition of the division of Nigeria into six geopolitical zones.
“And also, to amend the constitution to provide for a single tenure of six years for the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the state governors. This will bring about a reduction in government spending and wastage; promote efficiency in governance, and national stability by providing a single term of six years for the President and the governors.”
The lawmakers drawn from different political parties are also seeking amendments to the constitution “to create the office of two Vice Presidents from the southern and northern parts of Nigeria.”
Hon Ugochinyere explained that the First Vice President would be a succession vice president, while the Second Vice President would be a minister in charge of the economy, and both shall be ministers.
Hon Ugochinyere said the 35 lawmakers were also pushing for a “constitutional amendment to provide that the President and the First Vice President shall come from the same part of the country (North or South) and the First Vice President shall become President whenever the President becomes incapacitated, that is, VP (succession), VP (Administration and Economy).”
The bill also seeks financial autonomy and accountability of local government councils by prescribing an independent Consolidated Local Government Council Account solely superintendent by Local Councils. It prescribes long-term imprisonment for any misuse of local government funds.
On electoral reforms, the group proposed amendments to the relevant sections of the Electoral Act to ensure “that all elections (presidential, governorship, National Assembly, state Houses of Assembly, and local Governments) are held on the same day.”
Hon Ugochinyere said, “We are pushing for amendments to relevant sections of the Electoral Act to provide that no declaration of a winner of an election shall be done by the relevant Independent National Electoral Commission officials until such officer has compared the results with the list of accredited voters and ensured that the results to be declared are in tandem with the list of accredited voters and the B-VAS machine or any other electronic device.
“Amend the Electoral Act to provide that any INEC officer who declares a false result will be liable for civil and criminal action personally brought against him by parties in the elections.
“An amendment to the Electoral Act to provide that all election-related litigations must be resolved and determined by the Elections Petitions Tribunal, Appeal Courts, etc before the winners are sworn into the respective elective offices.

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