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INEC may start e-voting with Anambra governorship election 2021

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The Chairman of the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu on Wednesday hinted the much totuted Electronic voting in the country may begin from the Anambra State gubernatorial election slated next year.

Prof. Yakubu dropped the hint while speaking with newsmen shortly after 2021 budget defence session before the House Committee on Electoral Matters.

He stated that about 40 companies had demonstrated on e-voting to the commission but a decision was yet to be reached.

He said, “They have demonstrated. The next stage is for the commission to decide. So, its too early to tell you the cost or when the process will be concluded.

“But we’re determined, we are going to deploy electronic voting machines, or electronic ballot machines in elections, possibly we commence with the Anambra Governorship elections next year. ”

The INEC boss, however, declined to speak on what the country is to expect from him as the INEC boss during his second tenure saying “I have not been confirmed by the Senate yet, wait till I’m confirmed, then I will tell you what to expect from the Commission.”

There was however some bickering on as the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC, made to present its 2021 budget proposal to the House Committee on Electoral Matters.

Immediately after the Chairperson, Hon. Aisha Dukku, delivered her opening address, the Chairman of INEC made to commence the outlay of the 2021 proposal, but a lawmaker, Solomon Bob, (Rivers) under a point of order noted that it would be pointless and counterproductive to do such.

According to him, the 2020 budget performance is the real kernel of the matter.

He recalled that throughout 2020, there was no oversight of the INEC due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, he said it was imperative to know how the appropriation given was utilized before other funds would be given.

But the Chairperson of the Committee, Aisha Dukku, ruled him out of order, saying as the chairperson of the committee, she had the prerogative to structure the order of events.

But after the presentation of the 2021 proposal, Uzoma Abonta (Abia PDP) and Yusuf Tajudeen (Kogi PDP) insisted on asking questions on the 2020 budget performance of the organisation.

They said if the INEC was not comfortable with discussing issues in the open, they should go into a closed door session.

The Chairperson capitulated and all the commissioners, directors, the Permanent Secretary, journalists and aides to lawmakers in the committee room were asked to leave, with only the INEC chairman and the lawmakers remaining.

One of the national commissioners who were asked to stay outside, Mr Festus Okoye, however, told journalists that there was nothing strange about the committee opting to meet with only Yakubu behind closed doors.

He said, “They have their own rules; they set their own rules so we have to comply. They can invite only the chairman for a meeting, so there is nothing strange in what is happening now.”

The INEC boss had earlier informed the committee that the commission had to revert to its special fund, created under section three of the Electoral Act, in order to meet its mandates, due to a drastic reduction of its budget after the review.

According to him, its initial budget of N40bn was reduced to N36bn, when the commission was already in the middle of implementation, and so had to draw N5.2bn from the INEC Fund in order to deliver on its mandate.

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Sanwo-Olu to shun debates with PDP candidate over violence

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Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Lagos State governor and governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress for the state, has announced that he will no longer attend any debate where members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) are to participate.

He described PDP members as agents of violence, apparently refering to a recent attack that reportedly occurred in Surulere area of Lagos on Friday.

While the PDP is accusing the APC)k of using thugs to attack supporters of its governorship candidate, Abdul-Azeez Adediran, better known as Jandor, the APC insists that it was Adediran’s thugs that unleashed violence on residents of the area.

Reacting to the incident in a statement on Saturday, Lagos commissioner for information, Gbenga Omotosho, said the state would not tolerate violence and being portrayed in a bad light.

He stated “We condemn this savagery that has portrayed our state, the safest in Nigeria, in a bad light. That is not who we are; we are civilised and cultured.

“Following advice from competent sources, including elders and respectable Lagosians, we will henceforth shun any forum that may require us being together with PDP and its agents of violence.

“Consequently, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu regrets to announce that he will not be participating at The Platform Governorship Debate of January 29, 2023.  

“The governor holds Pastor Poju Oyemade and The Covenant Nation Church family in high esteem and cherishes future opportunities to engage the congregation and render accounts of his stewardship to them as integral parts of the Lagos electorate.

“We will never be found in the company of those to whom the lives of innocent Lagosians mean nothing. Mr Sanwo-Olu won’t share a podium with them.”

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Adeleke forged certificate not enough to disqualify him – Tribunal

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Osun Election Petition Tribunal has said it was able to establish that Osun State Governor Ademola Adeleke forged one of his tendered school certificates.

It however held that the forgery case was not enough to disqualify Adeleke from contesting the July 16, 2022 election.

It added that the Peoples Democratic Party candidate had acquired additional qualifications.

Delivering the majority judgement, the tribunal, led by Justice Tertsea Kume, said the petitioners were able to prove a forgery case against Adeleke as EC9, which is the affidavit in support of personal particulars about the governor told “a lie about itself.”

Interestingly, the only member of the tribunal, Justice B.A. Ogbuli, who gave a dissenting ruling on the judgement, aligned with the position of the majority judgement on the issue of disqualification.

The tribunal held: “Respondent through Mrs Joan Arabs produced FILE D which was tendered in evidence. The said exhibit FILE D is in respect of the election conducted by the 1st respondent in 2018.

“Exhibit EC9, as earlier indicated, is the affidavit in support of the personal particulars of the 2nd respondent which he presented to the 1st respondent for the election of the 16th of July, 2022.

“On page two of exhibit EC9, the 2nd respondent (Adeleke), in his handwriting, wrote under (1) School Attended (Educational qualification with dates: Thus: 2. Secondary Ede Muslim Grammar School, Eede – attended 1976 – 1981, Penn Foster High School Diploma -2021

“3. Higher Atlanta Metropolitan State College – BSC Criminal Justice 2021.

“On page 4, of exhibit EC9, there is a letter of attestation from Ede Muslim High School dated 22nd of May, 2016.

“Learned counsel for the petitioners, as earlier stated, referred to the different names in the schools reproduced above and the evidence admitted by RW2 under cross-examination, that Osun State was created in 1991, and as such, any evidence that a qualifying certificate or document stating that it was from Osun State in 1981 is a forgery”.

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INEC extends PVC collection deadline to February 5

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has extended the deadline for the collection of permanent voter cards (PVCs) by one week.

The deadline was extended from Sunday January 29 to Sunday February 5, 2023.

This is the second time INEC will extend the deadline for PVC collection.

In a statement on Saturday, Festus Okoye, national commissioner and chairman, information and voter education committee, said the decision was taken after a meeting on Saturday.

The statement read, “The Commission met today, Saturday, 29th January 2023 a day after its meeting with the Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) from the 36 States of the Federation and the Federal capital Territory, Abuja and deliberated on a number of issues, including the reports from RECs on the ongoing collection of Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) in its 774 local government offices nationwide.

“It will be recalled that at the meeting with RECs on Friday, 28th January 2023, the Chairman of the Commission, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu indicated that the Commission will not hesitate to consider additional measures to ensure that all citizens have ample opportunity to collect their PVCs ahead of the General Election.

“Having reviewed reports from all the States of the Federation, the Commission is encouraged by the progress made so far as more Nigerians troop out daily to collect their PVCs.

“Arising from reports from the various States and discussions with Resident Electoral Commissioners, the Commission has decided to further extend PVC collection in all its Local Government Offices nationwide by an additional one week.

“The ongoing collection of PVCs nationwide will therefore continue and end on 5th February 2023. This is the second time the Commission is extending PVC collection nationwide and this will be the last extension of the exercise.

“Collection period has further been extended by an additional two hours and will start at 9am and end at 5pm daily including Saturdays and Sundays.”

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