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Yakubu laments burning of INEC offices, says attacks may affect elections

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As two electoral offices were razed Tuesday night by hoodlums, Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, has said the series of attacks on the commission’s facilities may undermine capacity to organise future elections.
He said, “These attacks are no longer freak events but appear to be quite orchestrated and targeted at INEC.”
He expressed worry that the attacks may affect its preparations for elections.
About 23 offices of the commission have been torched. The breakdown shows that the most affected states as Akwa Ibom (four), Abia (three) Anambra (two) and Imo (two).
Other states that witnessed fire incidents between February 2019 and May 2021 are Borno, Ebonyi, Jigawa, Kano, Ondo, Plateau and Rivers. Abuja was also affected.
Yakubu in a statement shared by INEC’S official twitter handle @inecnigeria, lamented that the spate of arson and vandalisation targeting the Commission’s facilities and property has become profoundly worrisome.
The statement read in part, “Unfortunately, some events in the recent past have challenged the Commission and adversely affected our commitment to continue to improve the electoral process.
“The spate of arson and vandalisation targeting the Commission’s facilities and property has become profoundly worrisome
“Unfortunately, this has been on the rise since the 2019 General Election but has now developed into a crisis. In the last three weeks or so, three of our LGA offices in Essien Udim in Akwa Ibom State, Ohafia in Abia State & Udenu in Enugu State have been set ablaze by unidentified persons.
“Last Sunday, 16th May 2021, our State office in Enugu suffered yet another arson and vandalisation in which parts of the building were ransacked and several vehicles razed. And more of our facilities are being systematically targeted and attacked.

“Just last night, Tuesday 18th May 2021, two more offices in Ebonyi and Ezza North Local Government Areas of Ebonyi State were burnt down.
“Although there were no casualties, the damage to the physical infrastructure and electoral materials was total. Nothing has been salvaged from ballot boxes and voting cubicles to generating sets and office furniture and equipment.
“The facilities of the Commission are there to serve the local communities for the most fundamental aspect of democratic governance, which is elections.
“Therefore, targeting such important national assets and repositories of electoral materials that took time and enormous resources to procure cannot be justified.
“Replacing these facilities in the prevailing economic circumstances will indeed be a tall order, thereby adversely affecting electoral services in the same communities.”

 

 

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Face-off between Niger Gov, Senator disrupts pro-Tinubu rally in Borgu

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Dozens of security operatives on Tuesday disrupted a campaign rally organised for the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu in Borgu Local Government Area of Niger State.

The “Grand Lockdown Rally” billed to hold at the New Bussa Township stadium in Borgu, is organised by Project 774, a political group under the leadership of Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi (APC, Niger North).

Senator Abdullahi, who is the Deputy Whip of the Senate, had invited the Niger state Working Committee of the APC to the campaign rally.

The invitation letter signed by his Special Assistant (operations), Hon. Mohammed Garba Danladi, was addressed to the state Party Chairman, Hon. Haliru Zakari Jikantoro.

“I am directed to invite you and your exco to the Grand Lockdown Rally in honour of Jagaban Borgu and Kashim Shettima, our party Presidential and Vice Presidential Candidates, Hon. Mohammed Bago, with Comrade Yakubu Garba as Gubernatorial and Deputy Governorship Candidates for Niger state in the 2023 General Elections.

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“In view of the need to galvanize support and positively enhance the chances of our party in the forthcoming elections, we wish to solicit and count on your unflinching support towards the success of the rally,” the letter read.

But the party’s state executive disassociated itself from the rally, asking all party faithful not to attend.

A statement by the state publicity secretary, Mallam Musa Dan Sarkindaji, said the planned rally contravene the unified campaign structure as designed by the party.

The party instead urged its executives, stakeholders, and supporters to attend the grand zonal rally which is scheduled for Wednesday in Bida, the headquarters of the Bida local government.

When our correspondent visited the New Bussa township stadium, dozens of personnel from the police, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, and Federal Road Safety Corps blocked the entrance, preventing APC supporters from accessing the campaign venue.

When approached, some security agents, who preferred not to be named because they were not authorised to speak, said they were mobilized to the venue to prevent access on “directive from the above.”

The Police spokesman in Niger, DSP Wasiu Abiodun, said security operatives were mobilised to the campaign venue to prevent a breakdown of law and order having got intel of a likely breach of security.

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In a terse statement, Abiodun said, “The Police had to take over the venue of the planned rally as a proactive measure due to intelligence received of likely breach of security at the venue.

“Hence, we have to do the needful to avert any possible attack or hijack by suspected miscreants to cause mayhem and breach of peace in the community.

“The Command will not fold its alms and allow an act of political violence, avoidable loss of life, destruction of properties, and lawlessness.”

The dissociation of the APC state working Committee from the rally laid bare the cold war between Governor Bello, who is in control of the party’s structure in the state Senator Sabi Abdullahi, the organiser of the rally.

The senator, who currently occupies the Niger North senatorial seat, contested the APC ticket to retain the seat despite pressure to step down for the governor, a development that pitched him against the state executive.

The governor won the primary and since then, both of them have not been in good terms.

The poster of the governor, who is the APC senatorial candidate, is conspicuously missing at the venue of the planned campaign organized by the senator.

Daily Trust

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We’re good to go, says INEC, publishes notice of poll

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The Independent National Electoral Commission on Monday published the Notice of Polls for the 2023 General Election.

INEC also did a self-audit of its preparations for the polls and declared that it was good to go.

INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu made the declaration when he received in audience the President and Chief Executive Officer CEO of the International Foundation for Electoral Systems IFES, Mr Anthony N. Banbury.

So far, the Commission has successfully implemented 12 out of 14 activities in the Timetable and Schedule of Activities

Section 44 of the Electoral Act 2022 (as amended) provides that the Notice of Polls must be published not later than 14 days before the election cause to be published, a notice specifying the date and hours fixed for the poll; the persons entitled to vote; and the location of the polling units.

“This meeting is holding today when we are implementing the 12th activity – the Publication of the Notice of Polls – meaning that we have so far successfully implemented 12 out of 14 activities on schedule.

“So, there are only two activities outstanding. The first one is the end of campaign by political parties, which by law is 24 hours before polling day, which is going to be on the 23rd of February for the Presidential and National Assembly elections and the 10th of March for the States governorship and States Assembly, and then, the election day proper, which is on the 25th of February for the Presidential and National Assembly and on the 11th of March for the state elections,” he stated.

The INEC chairman added that the technological innovations for the elections had been tested and that the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System, BVAS, would again be tested this Saturday in a nationwide mock accreditation exercise.

He said, “The preparation has gone on very well. And then with the benefit of the new Electoral Act, we have more time to prepare than our predecessors had in the past.

“We are working with the National Union of Road Transport Workers to make sure that we get logistics right so that we deploy personnel and materials to locations early enough so that we can open the polling units, conclude the processes at the polling units and quickly declare the outcome of the elections, as decided by Nigerians swiftly. The earlier we conclude the processes, the speed with which we also declare winners and conclude the processes.”

 

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Gunmen attack Rivers SDP gov candidate Magnus Abe campaign train

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Gunmen suspected to be hired assassins on Monday evening attacked the campaign train of the governorship candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) in Rivers State, Senator Magnus Abe.

The gunmen, according to Leadership, carried out the attack at Akinima community in the Ahoada-West local government area of the state.

Abe and his team had earlier visited Ubeta and other communities in the area before heading for Akinima, the headquarters of the local government area, when they came under heavy gun attack.

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