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2023: INEC Plans Arrest Of Underage Voters, Parents For Electoral Fraud

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) said underage voters and parents of all  ineligible voters will be arrested for aiding and abetting electoral fraud in the 2023 general elections.
INEC National Commissioner and Chairman Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, sounded the warning while featuring on a live Television programme on Monday.
The INEC commissioner warned underage voters to stay away from polling units during the general elections or risk arrest.
He said, “We have made it very clear that any visibly underage person should not approach any of our polling units on election day.
“If the person does appear, he or she would be arrested, alongside their parents for aiding and abetting such a venture”.
The Commission further dismissed those involved in the buying of Permanent Voters Cards (PVC) and harvesting of Voter Identification Numbers (VIN).
He said, “Those who are harvesting Voter Identification Numbers (VINs) of registered voters are doing that in futility.
“Why are they harvesting and buying off VINs when those VINs were published in our local government areas and in our registration areas when we displayed the voter registers for claims and objections? Those VINs are there.
“We have made it very clear that this Commission will deploy the BVAS for voters’ identification and authentication and the data of every registered voter in Nigeria per polling unit is domiciled in the BVAS and not in the PVCs.
“The only thing the Presiding Officer will do on election day is to look at the last six digits of your PVC and use it to bring out your VIN for the purpose of calling up your data from the BVAS.
“Those buying PVCs and harvesting VINs can only engage in voter oppression.
“They can only prevent the voter from going to the polling unit on election day but in terms of carrying the PVC of someone else to give another person for voting, I can assure you that it is next to impossible”.
On recruitment of adhoc staff for the election, Okoye said: “The Commission will engage 1.4 million adhoc staff made up of National Youth Service Corps members and students in tertiary institutions in their final year.”
He said, “You will know that it is next to impossible for INEC to have over 1.4 million staff in its payroll”.
“The strength staff of the Commission is around 16,000 and so when we devolve the collection to the various registration areas, we are going to engage the services of corps members to assist the Commission in terms of giving out these PVCs.”
Okoye said the Commission would publish the official register of voters that will be used for the 2023 general election on January 16.
“Our voters register is robust and we believe that it is very credible. As of today, we have 93.5 registered voters in the register.
“On the 16th of January 2023, the Commission will publish the official register of voters that will be used for the 2023 general election.
“Yes, I completely agree that there have been issues around underage registration.
“In some of the areas where we recorded underage registration, we have summoned all the officers that engaged in that particular exercise to appear before the Commission and appear before a special panel of the Commission and it is still ongoing.
“We have made it very clear that any visibly underage person should not approach any of our polling units on election day.
“If the person does appear, he or she would be arrested, alongside their parents for aiding and abetting such a venture.
“The Chairman has told Nigerians that the cleaning of the voter register is an ongoing venture and we are going to make sure that all malicious registrations that got into our register will be removed prior to election day.
“Some of the information on social media relating to underage registration was carried out between 2011 and before we went into the 2019 general election.
“This Commission had the courage to publish the voter register and asked Nigerians to scrutinise the register to make sure that every malicious registration is removed.
“We assure Nigerians that the voters register that will be used in the 2023 election is the one that they will be proud of,” he said.

 

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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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