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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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2023: A’ Court Seals Senate President’s Return Bid

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The Court of Appeal in Abuja has affirmed Bashir Machina as the authentic candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for Yobe North Senatorial District.
The court, on Monday, upheld the judgment of the Federal High Court sitting in Damaturu, Yobe State, which held that Senate President, Ahmad Lawan was not the APC’s candidate for Yobe North Senatorial District in the 2023 elections.
Justice Monica Dongban-Mensen, who presided over a three-man panel, gave the affirmation in an appeal by Lawan, challenging the decision of Justice Fadimatu Aminu of the Federal High Court Damaturu, which had on September 28, 2022, declared Machina as the winner of the primary election organised by the APC in May 2022, while Lawan opted to contest the presidential primary election organised by the APC on June 9.
The Federal High Court sitting in Damaturu had in September ordered the APC and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to recognise Machina as Yobe North senatorial candidate of the party.
The presiding judge, Justice Fadima Aminu, nullified the parallel primary election that produced Lawan on June 9, 2022.
The judge also ordered the APC to forward the name of Machina to INEC as the authentic winner of the primary held in May.
“In the final analysis, the conditions for the validity of primary elections were fulfilled in the election of May 28, 2022, which produced the plaintiff. The phantom election of June 9 2022 which produced the second defendant is hereby declared invalid in view of the outline provision of the law of the very primary election.
“Consequently, the plaintiff is hereby declared the validly elected candidate of the first defendant conducted on 28/05/2022 for the 2023 general election.
“The first defendant is hereby ordered to prepare the name and details of the plaintiff to the third defendant as its rightful candidate. This is my decision,” Aminu ruled.
The judgement come weeks after Machina distanced himself from the notice of withdrawal from the race which went viral.
The Tide source had on August 9, 2022, reported that INEC denied recognising Lawan and Senator Godswill Akpabio as senatorial candidates of the APC, respectively.
Both Lawan and Akpabio had contested the APC presidential primary. However, after losing, both of them were listed as senatorial candidates by the APC, but INEC refused to recognise them.
Recall that Lawan, Akpabio, and Ebonyi State Governor, Dave Umahi, had chosen to pick Senate tickets for Yobe North, Ebonyi South and Akwa Ibom North West senatorial districts respectively, after losing out at the presidential primary of the APC.

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Ekiti Assembly Leadership Change, Rape Of Democracy – Ajulo

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A Constitutional and Human Rights lawyer, Dr Kayode Ajulo, has described the impeachment of the Speaker of the Ekiti State House of Assembly, Gboyega Aribisogan, as a glaring rape of democracy and an intentional violation of the rule of law.
Ajulo, in a statement signed by him, also, joined the league of leading legal luminaries in Nigeria to condemn the recent controversies over the leadership of the Ekiti State House of Assembly.
He said that “political players in Ekiti State should not allow selfish personal interests that brewed the sad commentary coming from Ekiti State constitute a great disservice to the State’s enviable records and indelible marks of honour to national building and development of the likes of Aare Afe Babalola, Chief Wole Olanipekun, Femi Falana, Dele Adesina, Dayo Akinlaja and other eminent citizens of the State.
Recall that the Ekiti State House of Assembly had on Tuesday, 15th November, conducted an election to choose a new Speaker following the demise of the erstwhile Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. Funminiyi Afuye, on October 19, 2022.
The election had two members of the Assembly contesting and one Hon. Gboyega Aribisogan won and was duly sworn-in, having polled 15 votes as against the 10 votes of the other contestant, Hon. Olubunmi Adelugba.
However, the new Speaker was reportedly impeached and suspended with six others on the 6th day after swearing-in, even before he could start acting in his new role and the candidate who had contested against him, Olubunmi Adelugba, was announced the new Speaker.
Ajulo, who hailed Aare Afe Babalola, Wole Olanipekun, Femi Falana and other notable legal professionals from the State following their collective stance on the allegedly controversial change of leadership in the Assembly, also described the event as “a glaring rape of democracy and an intentional violation of the rule of law.”
The legal luminaries from the state, which include Aare Afe Babalola, Chief Wole Olanipekun, Dele Adesina, Olu Daramola, Femi Falana, Dayo Akinlaja, and Gboyega Oyewole, had described the event as “an act of illegality”, adding that the election that produced Hon. Olubunmi Adelugba was “unconstitutional and ridiculous”
They noted that election into the position of the Speaker of House of Assembly dictates that the present occupant of the office must be accorded fair hearing before being removed from the office, saying the alleged suspension and stoppage of the salaries of the Speaker and six other members of the House were misplaced, illegal, illegitimate, null and void.
Ajulo, in the statement, described the position of these foremost lawyers as a just fight to strengthen democracy and uphold the laws of the country, saying impunity is detrimental to the development of a nation.
“ You cannot underestimate the unmatchable contributions and services of these notable men to the development of legal profession and general growth of this country. “I have had the privilege of working with almost all the 6 of them. They do not engage in frivolities and their integrity is intact.
“They possess enviable track records in the legal profession and national development that precede their names. “ All of them had, at one time or another perfectly resolved more complex national issues. So, you do not expect them to fold their arms while this is happening at the backyard.
“It may be understandable if such a scenario had happened in some of the unsettled States of the country, but it is totally unthinkable to expect such in a peaceful, sophisticated , civilized, educated, egalitarian, land that parades Professors and notable men who have contributed to the development of this country in no small measure and don’t expect a strong reaction.
“I commend these noble jurists for their collective stance on this sheer and gory impudence on the symbol of democracy in their State, Ekiti.
“Delibrate violation of the rule of law must not stand in Ekiti State or anywhere else.”
Ajulo, therefore urged other notable figures in the legal profession to join in the call to end deliberate violation of the constitution of the country.

 

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INEC Vows To Deliver Despite Attacks On Facilities

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The Independent National INEC Vows To Deliver Despite Attacks On FacilitiesElectoral Commission (INEC) on Monday lamented the incessant attacks on its local government offices across the states.
This was as the commission said that though, it will recover losses from the attacks, it could not condone rising attacks on its facilities.
The INEC Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, stated this during the visit of African Union Special Pre-Electoral Political Mission to the commission.
The Tide source had reported that within the space of three weeks, three attacks were carried out on local government INEC facilities in Ogun, Osun and Ebonyi states.
Yakubu however re-emphasised that the commission would not be deterred by the challenges, noting that it was ready to conduct a free and fair election.
“In the last three weeks, three of our local government offices were attacked in three different states across the country. The last attack happened yesterday. Though there are no casualties, quite a number of the materials acquired and delivered for the election have been lost.
“The good thing is that so far, we can recover from all the losses but it is a source of concern which should not be allowed to continue.
“We will continue to engage security agencies to make sure that our offices, personnel and facilities are protected ahead of the election. We may express some concern about the attack on these facilities but it will not deter the commission from conducting the election as scheduled.
“I want to assure you that yes, we may suffer little hitches here and there but overall, the commission is required to proceed with the election and in the manner that the law requires us to do using the deployment of technology for the purpose of accreditation and uploading of polling units results.”

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