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Anambra election: Corps members threaten withdraw from poll over IPOB order

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Some National Youth Service Corps, NYSC, members in Anambra State have vowed to steer clear of the forthcoming governorship election over constant threats from the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB.

DAILY POST reports that the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, often relies on corps members for the conduct of elections in all parts of the country. They are often used as Presiding Officers, PO and Assistant Presiding Officers, APO 1, 2 and 3 in most polling units during elections.

But sequel to the tension currently rocking Anambra State following moves by IPOB to halt the election, corps members serving in some local government areas of the state, told DAILY POST that they are not interested in taking part in the election currently being threatened.

DAILY POST recalls that IPOB had declared sit-at-home in order to halt the election, insisting that the Southeastern region does not need any election. It stressed that the Federal Government must call for a referendum which would determine the corporate existence of the country.

According to media reports, IPOB members are also angered by the continuous incarceration of its leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu who has been in the custody of the Department of State Services, DSS, since June 2021 following his rearrest from an undisclosed country.

Simon Ekpa, one of the supporters of the fugitive and an opinion leader in the Biafra struggle had via his social media handles, warned INEC against conducting any election in Biafra land (Southeast).

In a post on his Twitter and Facebook handles on Wednesday, the Finnish warned Igbo citizens to avoid the election. He said “tell Egbunike, others to stay away from Anambra election as Biafrans already decided there will be no movement or election in Anambra State on the 6th of November, 2021.

“DIG Egbunike should be ready to go down in the history as the policeman used by the Fulanis to instigate crises should in case he tries to enforce election in Anambra State by killing any Biafran.”

DAILY POST recalls that in a statement recently issued by the spokesman of the group, Emma Power, IPOB vowed to commence one-week sit-at-home a day to the election if Kanu remains in the DSS custody.

Speaking with DAILY POST, a corps member who identified herself as Ochanya, serving in Anaocha Local Government Area of the state, expressed fear of attack on the election day, saying the recent killings in the state birthed by the IPOB’s sit-at-home, shows the potency of their threats.

According to Ochanya, majority of corps members in the local government have vowed to shun the election despite the assurances by security agencies to ensure that the election is crisis-free.

She said, “I don’t want to die. My life is very important to my family. We have all witnessed the wrath of IPOB while they were trying to enforce the Monday sit-at-home. Many residents here have lost their lives because they violated the order.

“I pity those going for the election just because of the stipends. Even to stay in the state during the election is still a concern to me If I have my way, I will travel back to Abuja before November 24.”

Also, Mr Kenneth, popularly known as ‘Coper Ken’ told our correspondent that his parents had warned him against taking any function in the election, stressing that his life is more important than the benefits attached to the exercise.

“I know there is going to be money for those who will risk their lives to conduct the election but I’m not greedy. My life is more important than any money. IPOB mean business. My parents had even warned me to steer clear of the election so I’m out”.

Another corps member from Awka North Local Government Area of the state, who identified himself as Adebayo Fayemi said he is still deciding whether to participate in the election or not despite going through the training. According to Adebayo, the level of tension in the area two days to the election may determine his decision.

“I am very sure that the election will hold and nothing will happen, but sometimes, the fear exhibited by others, affects my courage too. Of course, no body wants to die. If by the end of November 4, the security situation is not encouraging, I will have no choice but to stay at home on the election day”, he said.

An official of the scheme, (a local government inspector) who spoke to our correspondent on condition of anonymity, said that corps members who volunteer to participate in the election, would be given adequate security.

According to him, NYSC will not impose the function on corps members who are not willing to participate.

DAILY POST recalls that the Inspector General of Police, IGP Usman Alkali Baba had on October 14, ordered the deployment of a total of 34,587 police personnel to the state ahead of the election.

The IGP who made the development known at the Force Headquarters in Abuja, during the 2nd Strategic Police Managers Conference for Senior Police Officers from the rank of Commissioner of Police and above, also ordered the deployment of three Police Helicopters, technical capabilities of the Police Airwing, the Force Marine and the Force Animal Branch, and other operational assets to maintain peace during the election.

Daily Post

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2023: E-Transmission Of Election Results Has Come To Stay – INEC

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Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu

The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, on Wednesday promised that the results of the 2023 general elections would be transmitted electronically.

There have been calls by stakeholders that the deployment of technology in the country’s electoral processes be enhanced to address hitches witnessed in previous elections.

It was against this backdrop that the Electoral Act was amended by the National Assembly. President Muhammadu Buhari had, on February 25, assented to the Election Act 2022 after its passage by the National Assembly.

One of the key provisions of the law is the deployment of technology in the electoral process.

Section 52(2) of the Act says: “Subject to Section 63 of this bill, voting at an election and transmission of results under this bill shall be in accordance with the procedure determined by the commission (INEC), which may include electronic voting.”

Speaking on Wednesday in Abuja when he hosted a delegation of Media Trust Group (owners of Daily Trust newspapers and Trust TV) on election debate, the INEC boss said going forward, the electoral body would transmit election results electronically.

Media Trust Group is organising a series of debates for presidential and governorship candidates ahead of the next year’s general elections, dubbed ‘Media Trust Nigeria Election Debate 2023’.

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Yakubu, told the delegation that the transmission of elections results from the polling units (PUs) would be a permanent feature in the nation’s electoral processes.

“Yes, it is going to be permanent in all elections conducted by the commission going forward. But I wish to draw your attention to the fact that we did not start the electronic transmission, at least, from the polling units to the IReV Portal, in Anambra or FCT elections.

“It was actually on August 2020 that we deployed that for the Nasarawa Central State Constituency by-election, the first election conducted under COVID-19. So, if you look at the IReV Portal, you could see all the results from the 2020 to the Ekiti and Osun governorship elections and all the other by-elections we conducted,” Yakubu said.

What INEC learnt from Kenyan presidential poll

On lessons learnt from the just-concluded Kenyan presidential election, Yakubu said that the INEC had received a letter from the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) of Kenya that it wanted to deploy the Kenya Integration Election Management System (KIEMS) and that it was going to transmit polling unit level results to the collation centre. KIEMS is the equivalent of the Nigeria’s Bi-Modal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS).

He said like Nigeria, the transmitted results were collated manually.

He also noted that Nigeria’s BIVAS is a significant improvement on the Kenya’s system because in Nigeria, the collations have to pass through several stages from the polling units to the ward level, to the local governments and the states before reaching the national portal for the presidential election.

This, Yakubu said, allows agents of all political parties and candidates to observe the collation process at all stages, unlike in Kenya where results go straight to the national portal.

The INEC chairman also said that while Nigeria learnt from the 2017 Kenyan elections, the Kenyans had also learnt a lot from the conduct of the 2019 and 2023 general elections in Nigeria.

He said the collation of results was faster in Kenya possibly due to the fewer numbers of polling units and registered voters compared to the larger number of same in Nigeria.

On pending by-elections, the INEC boss said that there were 27 pending by-elections across the country.

He said the commission would conduct the elections pending when court cases and insecurity in some of the affected constituencies were resolved.

Speaking further, Yakubu said the INEC would support the Media Trust Group’s debates in order to deepen issue-based politicking ahead of the 2023 elections.

According to him, there are other debates and more expected to be conducted ahead of the 2023 elections.

He, however, said that the commission would be watching all the debates like other Nigerians.

Daily Trust reports that for four months, three Senate seats: Borno North, Nasarawa West and Zamfara Central Senatorial Districts have been vacant following the resignation of the occupants, including the national chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Abdullahi Adamu; Senator Abubakar Kyari and Senator Muhammad Hassan Nasiha.

The Media Trust Group delegation, including the Group Chief Executive Officer (GCEO), Mallam Mounir Haliru Gwarzo, was led by the MTG’s Election Debate Committee Chairman, Prof. Jibrin Ibrahim.

Ibrahim had earlier said that the visit was to seek the support and participation of the INEC in the coming debates and other activities to promote and sustain issue-based politics and campaigns in Nigeria.

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PDP crisis: Pressure mounts on Ayu to step aside, old video surfaces

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PDP National Chairman, Dr. Iyorchia Ayu

National Chairman of People’s Democratic Party, PDP, Senator Iyiochia Ayu, is under fresh intense pressure to step aside as a video of him pledging to do so should a northerner emerge as presidential candidate of the party is trending in the social media.

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APC supporters hold carnival as Tinubu visits Obasanjo

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Obasanjo, Tinubu

The presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, on Wednesday, met behind closed doors with former President Olusegun Obasanjo in Abeokuta.

Both leaders had frank discussion.

Scores of supporters of the APC in state stormed Obasanjo’s residence, dancing and singing praises of the candidate while the meeting lasted.

The meeting, which started at 1.09pm, lasted for three hours and ended without either of the parties speaking with newsmen on the outcome.

Tinubu was believed to have seized the opportunity of the meeting to seek Obasanjo’s support for his presidential ambition.

The former Lagos State Governor was accompanied to Obasanjo’s Penthouse within  the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library, Oke- Mosan, Abeokuta, by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila; a former National Chairman of the APC, Bisi Akande; and a former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Nuhu Ribadu,  among others.

He was received by the state governor, Dapo Abiodun; and former Governors Segun Osoba and Gbenga Daniel.

Also at the gathering were former deputy governors of the state, Gbenga Kaka and Salimot Badru and other state government functionaries.

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While Tinubu emerged from the Penthouse into the hands of the  crowd which  included newsmen, Obasanjo remained indoor as his guests made their way out after the meeting.

The presidential candidate did not grant press interview as he entered a waiting vehicle which conveyed him to the MKO Abiola Stadium for another programme.

When he was asked to address members of the Artisan Association of Nigeria, Ogun State chapter at the stadium, Tinubu only prayed for them and left the venue.

A source, who did not want his name because he was not authorised to speak to journalist on the outcome of the meeting, told our correspondent that some selected persons were allowed to join Tinubu and Obasanjo for the second phase of the meeting.

The source said a pre-meeting was held where almost all the personalities that followed him were in attendance.

The second phase of the meeting was said to have had only five persons who joined the two leaders in the inner room.

The source described the meeting as fruitful, saying the two parties agreed that no one should make the meeting a media affair.

The source said, “It was a very truthful and tough discussion from both sides.

“Obasanjo, as usual, was direct and Asiwaju was very straight forward in his report.”

Punch

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