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INEC: Voter registration may continue after June 30 deadline

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The Independent National Electoral Commission says it has not extended the Continuous Voter Registration for another 60 days, insisting the June 30 deadline stands.

It however clarified that despite its deadline, voter registration may continue following the court injunction asking the commission not to stop the registration exercise.

The INEC National Electoral Commissioner for information and Voter Education, Festus Okoye, confirmed this in an interview with The PUNCH on Wednesday.

A Federal High Court in Abuja on Monday stopped INEC from ending voter registration on June 30, 2022.

Justice Mobolaji Olajuwon granted an order of interim injunction following the hearing of an argument on motion exparte filed by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project.

SERAP and 185 concerned Nigerians had early this month filed the lawsuit against INEC, asking the court to “declare unconstitutional, illegal and incompatible with international standards the failure of the electoral body to extend the deadline for voter registration to allow eligible Nigerians to exercise their rights.”

In the suit, SERAP had asked the court for “an order restraining INEC, its agents, privies, assigns, or any other person(s) claiming through it from discontinuing the continuous voters’ registration exercise from the June 30, 2022, or any other date pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice.”

In the suit number FHC/L/CS/1034/2022 filed at the Federal High Court, Lagos, and transferred to Abuja, SERAP is asking the court to determine “whether the failure of INEC to extend the deadline for voter registration is not a violation of Nigerian Constitution, 1999 [as amended], the Electoral Act, and international standards.”

The suit is adjourned to June 29, 2022, for the hearing of the motion on notice for interlocutory injunction.

But according to Okoye, the electoral umpire maintains its stand.

“No. We have not extended anything. The June 30 deadline still stands,” he said.

He added that while INEC maintains its stand, the commission would be going to court to give its position on June 29 in respect of the earlier injunction by the Federal High Court in Abuja.

He said, “There is a court order to ensure we do not stop registration this month. The injunction is what is subsisting. But as I said earlier, the commission has not extended voter registration for a day.

“We will be going to court on the 29th of this month to explain our stand on the June 30 deadline. But as of now, the commission has not extended registration but will only respect the court order.”

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PDP gives Obasanjo 48 hours to clarify comment on ‘regrettable’ choice of Atiku as VP

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Former President Olusegun Obasanjo

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has asked former President Olusegun Obasanjo to clarify his recent comments on regretting picking Atiku as vice-presidential candidate in 1999.

Obasanjo had, while addressing a leadership mentoring session with selected students in Abeokuta, Ogun state, on Saturday, said picking a running mate when he wanted to become Nigeria’s president in 1999 is one of the mistakes in his life.

“One thing that has happened to me is that God has never disappointed me and that is very important. For instance, one of the mistakes I made was picking a number two when I was going to become president,” Obasanjo said.

Atiku Abubakar, the PDP presidential candidate for the 2023 general election, was vice-president during the Obasanjo administration from 1999 to 2007.

However, speaking on Monday at a media briefing in Kaduna, Walid Jibrin,
chairman of the PDP board of trustees (BoT), asked the former president to clarify his statement within 48 hours.

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“Our attention has been drawn to a statement said to have been made by Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, former president of Nigeria, that it was a mistake for him to have appointed Atiku Abubakar as the Vice President in 1999,” he said.

Jibrin said although Obasanjo did not specifically mention Atiku’s name, the report of what he told his audience was such that he was referring to former vice-president.

“Obasanjo should come out and clarify the statement — whether he was misquoted or he meant what he said,” Jibrin said.

“It is when he makes that clarification that the PDP will officially reply him.

“One can assume that what he said may be correct, but we want to give him time up till tomorrow (Tuesday) or next (Wednesday). If he comes out to say he had been misquoted or he meant what he said on Atiku, you will hear the bombardment and I will break the egg.

“I will also tell Nigerians and the whole world who Obasanjo is, how Atiku assisted him to rule Nigeria, and how Atiku refused his third term ambition.

“It is, therefore, very important that we hear from Obasanjo openly.”

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Why Kwankwaso can’t be running mate to Obi – NNPP chieftain Jibrin

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Rabiu Kwankwaso, presidential candidate of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), will not be a running mate to Peter Obi, flag bearer of the Labour Party, a strong member of the NNPP, Abdulmumin Jibrin, has said.

The former member of the House of Representatives who spoke on Sunday in an interview on Channels Television, said Kwankwaso would be bringing far more to the table than Obi.
The NNPP and LP are currently discussing a possible coalition for the 2023 presidential election in a bid to defeat the two major political parties.
One talking point that has dominated the discussion is the choice of presidential candidate and running mate between Kwankwaso and Obi.
Kwankwaso’s candidacy is currently gaining momentum in the northern part of the country, while Obi is gaining popularity among the youths.
Speaking during the interview, Jibrin said the former Kano governor has an “edge” over other presidential candidates in the race to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari.
Asked about the alliance talks with Labour Party, he said Kwankwaso is more experienced than Obi and he will bring 70 per cent of the votes if they team up.
“It is public knowledge that we are in talks with Peter Obi. Of which, we believe that it would be able to take care of a lot of things. One, to address the issue of marginalisation of the South-East,” he said.
“Secondly, bringing someone with private sector background, of course, a lot of followership that he has among the youths but we are taking that cautiously because that has not been tested in terms of electoral value. From the surface, you are going to agree that he has massive youth followership.
“Very clearly, Kwankwaso will not be a running mate to Peter Obi. By every standard, Kwankwaso should be the presidential candidate. Kwankwaso has more political exposure and experience. He has a big profile when it comes to that. He has more experience politically on how to win elections.
“When you look at it in terms of equity contribution, in terms of votes, it will be about a ratio of 70 per cent to 30 per cent. We are looking at bringing in 70 per cent of the contribution.
“Even if it is business, Peter Obi is experienced in business, he knows that whoever is bringing the larger chunk of equity is expected to stay on board.”
Jibrin added that Kwankwaso is the “single most popular politician today in the northern part of the country”.

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Form coalition or lose to Tinubu — Deji Adeyanju advises Atiku, Peter Obi, others

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Deji Adeyanju

Human rights activist, Deji Adeyanju has reiterated that the national leader and presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Bola Tinubu will defeat other contestants at the polls next year except they form a coalition.

Adeyanju disclosed this on Twitter on Sunday while reacting to a journalist, Eniola Akinkuotu’s tweet.

This was not the first time Adeyanju will sound the alarm for the presidential flag bearers of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Atiku Abubakar, Labour Party, LP, Peter Obi, New Nigeria Peoples Party, NNPP, Rabiu Kwankwaso and African Action Congress, AAC, Omoyele Sowore to withdraw from the race but choose one that others will support.

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Akinkuotu had tweeted earlier that, “It’s too late for the opposition to come together. The deadline for mergers has passed. INEC has already begun printing ballot papers.”

But, Adeyanju who did not mention Tinubu said other unless other aforementioned presidential contestants agree and swallow their pride to work in unison, APC candidate will humble them at the 2023 presidential election.

Adeyanju tweeted, “Eniola my great brother, they can all meet and agree they will support either Obi, Kwankwaso, Atiku or Sowore. Everybody must not be on the ballot but if they go into the race with their ego, Convener of Agbado will humble them with Bullion Vans.”

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