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We’re Committed to Free, Fair and Credible Elections – INEC Chairman

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By Emmanuel Oloniruha

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says it’s leaving no stone unturned in its quest to ensure hitch-free and credible 2023 general election.

INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu said this when he addressed the press at Chatham House, London, on Tuesday.

Yakubu said that INEC was satisfied with the level of its of preparations for the election, saying that 11 out of 14 activities scheduled for the election had been accomplished.

He, however, said that in spite of extensive preparations, there were still some outstanding issues and challenges of concern, some of which were beyond INEC.

Yakubu said that one of the problems had to do with the current security challenges in the country and the possible impact on the election.

He said security challenges in many African countries remained source of concern for election managers.

“For many years, Nigeria has been grappling with its own insecurity in the North-East, the long-standing Boko Haram insurgency has continued, albeit with attacks now more intermittent than regular.

“In the North-West and the North-Central, banditry, terrorism and the herder-farmer conflicts remain major challenges.

“In the South-South, the threat of renewed insurgency by groups demanding more share of petroleum revenue to the Niger Delta continues to simmer.

“In the South-West, although an earlier surge by a group demanding independence for the region has considerably dissipated, recent violent attacks on places of worship, rise in the activities of violent cults and kidnapping groups, as well as a history of violence involving groups seeking to control markets and motor parks remain strong,” he said.

Yakubu added: “In the South-East, the lingering agitation for separatism championed by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) pose a major security threat.

“Not only have violent attacks by a number of armed groups increased, the long-standing weekly lockdown of the five States in that geo-political zone, continue to disrupt social and economic activities”.

He said that violence and threat of violence were major challenges to organising credible election in 2023.

He said that violence could make deployments for elections difficult, particularly where some of the attacks targeted at the electoral process and participants.

Yakubu, however, said the commission had been working with security agencies and other stakeholders to establish mechanisms to understand, track and mitigate security challenges.

“We are working collaboratively in the context of the Inter-agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES).

“We also have the Election Violence Mitigation and Advocacy Tool (EVMAT), which is a research and diagnostic tool for predicting and mitigating election violence prior to elections.

“In addition, there is the Election Risk Management Tool (ERM), which tracks and reports general risks to elections.

“In all, we feel assured by the actions we have taken and our collaboration with the security agencies. The 2023 general election will proceed as planned. There is no plan to postpone the election,” he said.

The INEC boss said that another challenge was the fate of Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) and rising attacks on INEC facilities, materials and staff.

He said that although INEC had revised its policy on IDPs voting, it was difficult to identify IDPs in some states as they lived in host communities or extended family members or in communities where they were not registered voters.

“As a result, it is very difficult for the Commission to provide necessary electoral services to such IDPs. However, those in camps within Nigeria will be catered for in line with the commission’s policy,” he said.

Yakubu said that between 2019 and 2022 INEC experienced 50 attacks on its facilities, mostly in the form of arson and vandalisation.

He said that the 2022 attacks constituted the deepest concerns for INEC.

‘’This is so not only because they are increasingly happening closer to the general election, but also because some of them seem to be coordinated,” he said.

He said that the implication of the attacks was that those facilities must be rebuilt and several election materials must be replaced.

“Further, the commission and security agencies must have to increase the number of their personnel to these facilities.

“Nevertheless, the commission is determined to continue its preparations for the general election in spite of these attacks.

“So far, all the destroyed facilities will be rebuilt, or alternatives found, and the materials lost are being replaced.

“However, the commission has repeatedly called for more concerted efforts to control the attacks,” he said.

He listed other challenges to include campaign violence, fake news and disinformation, campaign finance and vote buying as well as litigations.

Yakubu said that in spite of the challenges, INEC had promised Nigerians and friends of Nigeria that the 2023 general election would be free, fair, credible and inclusive.

“We have left no stone unturned in preparing for it, in spite of several challenges.

“But all elections, especially those involving the type of extensive national deployment like we do in Nigeria, will naturally come with challenges.

“We have worked closely with stakeholders and development partners to confront these challenges and we are satisfied with our preparations so far.

“Our commission does not take the pledge that we have repeatedly made to Nigerians lightly. We are leaving no stone unturned in our preparations,” he said.

Yakubu renewed INEC’s commitment to serving Nigerians only as an independent body.

“We cherish the institutional independence and integrity of the commission.

“With the enthusiasm of Nigerians, the goodwill of stakeholders and partners, and the commitment of the Commission, we believe that the 2023 general election will be among the best conducted in Nigeria,” he said.

He acknowledged that there were enormous expectations, both within Nigeria and outside, on the conduct and management of the election.

Yakubu said that those expectations placed a great responsibility on INEC, a responsibility that was not taken lightly.

“We appreciate that there are challenges and concerns. But we also realise that there is enormous goodwill and support, both in Nigeria and beyond,” he said.(NAN)

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Supreme Court Victory: Atiku Felicitates with Governors Fubara and Kefas

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* Asks Nigerians to Always Seek Lawful Means in Seeking Redress

By Ojone Grace Odaudu

Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has felicitated with Governors Simi Fubara of Rivers State and Agbu Kefas of Taraba State respectively on the affirmation of their electoral victories by the Supreme Court.

In a post on his ‘X’ handle, the Presidential Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2023 elections described the victory as not only for the governors, but also the Peoples Democratic Party, the Nigerian electorate and all lovers of democracy and justice.

He enjoined all Nigerians to be vigilant and to always rely on lawful means in seeking redress as he has always done.

The post:

“I celebrate with governors @SimFubaraKSC of Rivers State and @GovAgbuKefas of Taraba State, whose victory at last year’s gubernatorial election polls were unanimously affirmed today by the Supreme Court. No doubt this is not just personal victory but victory for the PDP family, the Nigerian electorate, and all lovers of Democracy and Justice.

Indeed, their victory has reinforced the hope of the survival of our democracy, which citizens are getting disillusioned and disenchanted with the APC’s win-at-all-cost policy and brazen disregard for the rule of law.

I enjoin all Nigerians to be vigilant and to always rely on lawful means in seeking redress as I have always done, and by the grace of God, we shall triumph.

Accept my congratulations, Your Excellencies. -AA”

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BREAKING! Supreme Court Upholds Election of Sanwo-Olu, Bala Mohammed, Reverses Nullification of Yusuf’s

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The Supreme Court on Friday affirmed the elections of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State, effectively killing the appeals filed by the governorship candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party and the Labour Party in the state.

Similarly, the apex court also upheld the election of Bauchi State governor, Senator Bala Mohammed, ruling against the appeal by the candidate of the All Progressives Congress,

In a twist of fates, the court upturned the verdict of the court of appeal which nullified the election of Governor Abba Yusuf of Kano State, saying that the appellate court’s decision to uphold the tribunal’s earlier decision was wrong.

– Supreme Court Affirms Dauda Lawal’s Election As Zamfara Governor

Supreme Court also reversed the sack of Caleb Mutfwang as the duly elected governor of Plateau State

Details of Friday’s judgments on Eight Governorship elections soon….

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Kogi Inaugurates New LG Caretaker Chairmen

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By Christopher Sunday in Lokoja

The recently appointed Caretaker Committees for the 21 Local Government Areas in Kogi State have been sworn-in in Lokoja.

Administering the oath of office, Oath of Allegiance and the Oath of Secrecy to the appointees, Secretary to the State Government, Mrs Folashade Arike charged them to be focused on service delivery, while their loyalty should lie with the people and the government of Kogi State.

Dignitaries at the swearing-in event

She told them that their new positions are of high responsibility and not for self aggrandisement and oppression of the people they are meant to serve.

The event drew a large crowd of supporters from all the local government areas and party faithfuls, including members of the state and national assembly.

The newly inaugurated Caretaker Chairmen include:
Hon, Rasheed Bashiru Okatengwu – Adavi LGA

Hon. Haruna Aliyu Ogido – Ajaokuta LGA

Adamu Yahaya Mohammed – Ankpa LGA

Theophilus Adama – Bassa LGA

John Urah – Dekina LGA

Hon. Emmanuel Uge – Ibaji LGA

Amade Egwuda Ochijenu – Idah LGA

Hon. Cosmas Attabor Ilemona – Igalamela-Odolu LGA

Ibrahim Haruna – Ijumu LGA

Barr. Zaccaeus Dare Michael – Kabba-Bunu LGA

Hon Musa Abdulmalik – Kogi LGA

Hon. Abdullahi Adamu – Lokoja LGA

Hon. Ademola Bello – Mopa-Muro LGA

Hassan Atawodi – Ofu LGA

Hon. Rosemary Ohiezu – Ogori-Magongo LGA

Hon. Monday Amoke Odu – Okehi LGA

Hon. Enesi Ahmed Nuhu – Okene LGA

Ameh Williams O – Olamaboro LGA

Edibo Ameh Mark – Omala LGA

Dare Joshua Venza – Yagba West LGA

Hon. Tosin Olokun – Yagba EAST LGA

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