Connect with us

General news

March 9 polls: INEC distributes election materials to LGAs in Delta

Published

on

Distribution

The distribution of the materials took place in the premises of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in Asaba in the presence of political party agents.

Speaking, INEC’s Head of Voters Education and Publicity in Delta, Mr. Bukola Ojeme, said the materials had been moved to the various local government areas of the state.

“The Police and other security agencies are offering cover for the movement of these materials to the various local government areas.

“No single sensitive material is missing and every material needed for the Governorship and House of Assembly elections have been sorted out.

”As you can see they are now moving them to the local government areas for onward distribution on Saturday.

“From the various LGAs, they will be distributed to the polling units on Saturday morning. The materials were sorted and packed all through yesterday,” he said.

Ojeme assured the people of the state that INEC was fully prepared for the Saturday’s election.

“I am encouraging voters to come out en-mass on Saturday to exercise their franchise and we do believe this Saturday’s election has been well prepare for.” he added.

According to him, nobody should entertain any fear as security agents are prepared to maintain peace during the election.

 

Mercy Obojeghren: is a graduate and a professionally trained journalist, with experience in national news reporting/editing and verification at the News Agency of Nigeria. NNN is a Nigerian online news portal that publishes breaking news in Nigeria, and across the world. Our journalists are honest, fair, accurate, thorough and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting news in the best interest of the public, because truth is the cornerstone of journalism and they strive diligently to ascertain the truth in every news report. Contact: editor[at]nnn.com.ng

Politics

INEC to pilot use of electronic voting machines soon — Yakubu

Published

on

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is to pilot the use of electronic voting machines at the earliest time possible towards full introduction of electronic voting in major elections in 2021.

The commission disclosed this in a policy document titled “Policy on Conducting Elections in the Context of the COVID-19 Pandemic” signed by INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, officially released on Monday.

 The commission, however, clarified that such pilot scheme would not be used for Edo and Ondo governorship elections scheduled for  Sept. 19 and Oct. 10, respectively.

Yakubu also disclosed the decision to suspend the Continuous Registration of Voters (CVR) for the time being to prevent the health risks associated with it in the context of COVID-19.

He stressed on the need to continue to make available INEC’s electronic channels for voters to check their registration status.

“The Commission recognizes the critical role that ICT will play in an electoral process that is being vastly reshaped by the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the growing demands by Nigerians for the deepening of the use of technology in our elections.

“Consequently, the Commission shall continue to apply relevant, value-for-money technology in all aspects of the electoral process and election management,” he said.

According to Yakubu, the policy also includes the creation of e-platforms for certain INEC activities, including accreditation of observer groups and deployment of their field observers.

He said activities to be conducted online also include submission of nomination forms by political parties for candidates, tracking and reporting of campaigns and campaign finance by/for candidates and political parties.

Others include submission of party agents lists by political parties, adding that in accreditation and deployment of observers, the Commission shall request and receive applications for election observation exclusively online.

“Reduce the number of accredited observer groups based on past performance and compliance with Commission’s guidelines for election observation.

“This is to reduce crowding and therefore health risks at election venues. Reduce the number of field

observers,” he said.

On health issues, Yakubu noted that the most immediate challenge that COVID-19 poses to the electoral process was health-related.

He stated that in order to protect voters, election officials and other stakeholders in the electoral process, the commission shall implement some measures.

They include supply and use infrared thermometers at the Registration Area Collation Centres, the Local Government Area Collation Centres and the State Collation Centres.

Also, “the use of face masks is mandatory for all involved in the election process and must be worn at all election locations.

“The Commission shall provide face masks for all election officials; and Alcohol-based hand sanitizers will be provided for election officials at the polling units.

“Methylated Spirit and cotton wool will be provided for the disinfection of the Smart Card Readers (SCRs) after the fingerprint of each voter is read.

“The rules of physical distancing shall be enforced at all election activities including stakeholder engagements, training, queuing at Polling Units, amongst others.”

Yakubu added that all protocols issued by the NCDC, Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, State Committees on COVID-19 and other relevant health authorities should be observed by election officials and all stakeholders.

“The Commission shall work with the PTF and health authorities to have in place a system of voluntary COVID-19 testing for INEC staff before and after deploying for elections,” he said.

The INEC chairman added that the commission shall work with the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 and health authorities in the states having elections to develop a protocol for dealing with persons who show symptoms of COVID-19 at election venues.

“Where an election official, a voter or any other person present at an election venue shows symptoms of COVID-19:

“The prevailing protocol shall be observed; the person must be isolated from other persons at the venue; the attention of the security personnel should be drawn;

“The dedicated number for COVID – 19 emergencies shall be called; and, if the affected person is an election official, the Commission must be notified through the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC),” Yakubu stated.

Edited Kamal Tayo Oropo/Wale Ojetimi

Continue Reading

Politics

INEC to redesign polling units to comply with COVID-19 regulations 

Published

on

Amidst COVID-19, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said that Polling Units shall be redesigned by the Commission to ensure substantial compliance with the COVID-19 protocols established by health authorities.

INEC noted that, among other things, the redesign would emphasise social distancing, general hygienic conduct and enforcement of COVID-19 prevention protocols.

The commission disclosed this in a ‘Policy on Conducting Elections in the Context of the COVID-19 Pandemic’ signed by INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, released on Monday.

The INEC chairman noted that on election day, the use of face masks shall be mandatory at Polling Units (PUs) and all election locations, stating that any voter without a face mask shall be turned away from the Polling Unit.

“However, the Assistant Presiding Officer (APO) II in checking the Register of Voters may request removal of mask to prevent voter impersonation.

“There shall be a two-tier queuing system at the Polling Unit – one outside and the other in the voting area. Voters will be brought into the voting area periodically to prevent overcrowding.

“Tags and twines may be used to ensure crowd control and maintenance of

social distance.

“In order to accommodate additional activities in setting up the PU due to COVID-19, polls shall now commence

at 8.30 am and close at 2.30 pm.

“Anybody on the outer queue by 2.30 pm shall be allowed to vote, in line with

the Commission’s regulations.

“Prior to the commencement of polls, the Presiding Officer or Assistant Presiding Officer (VP) shall ensure that the contents of the Voter Code of Conduct (VCC) are read out loudly to voters and that the VCC Poster is pasted at the polling unit,” Yakubu said.

He stated that there should be periodic disinfection of chairs, tables and work areas, as well as adequate ventilation at the Polling Units.

“The Smart Card Readers (SCR) shall be cleaned with the prescribed disinfectant after each voter’s fingerprint is read.

“Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and other safety materials shall be provided for polling staff,” he said.

Yakubu added that at the close of polls, polling unit staff should ensure that materials were properly disinfected, carefully packaged and that used PPE were hygienically packaged or disposed of.

He explained that for purposes of collation of results after election the Commission would cluster Registration Area (RA) collation centres where feasible, in order to reduce exposure of people to the risk of COVID-19, speed up collation and reduce costs.

“In order to prevent overcrowding during collation, only one polling agent of a party on the ballot (or the candidate in person) for the election(s) shall be allowed into the collation hall,” he said.

On post-election activities, Yakubu stated that for reverse logistics, election staff must ensure that used, but reusable PPEs, were carefully packaged and sent to designated collection points.

“All post-election debriefings shall preferably be done electronically. Where face-to-face debriefings take place, the protocols for COVID-19 prevention shall be followed,” he said.

For pre-election activities, Yakubu stated that INEC should immediately embark on review of regulations, guidelines and manuals for elections in the light of changes to the electoral process that are imminent due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Develop a Voter Code of Conduct (VCC) document detailing how voters are expected to act and conduct themselves at the polling units in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Review all Elections Information Kits to include COVID-19 information.

“Expand the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) at all levels to include NCDC (or other requisite health bodies) and National Orientation Agency (NOA) on a temporary basis,” he said.

The INEC chairman mandated INEC state offices to work with local health authorities to do a health assessment of upcoming elections immediately.

“Conduct immediate discussion with  state governments where elections are to hold concerning lockdowns, curfews, etc, and how they might affect elections.

“Ensure that Pre-Election Preparation (PEP) activities shall be conducted online preferably.

“Where face-to-face activities become necessary, the protocols for COVID-19 prevention should be followed.

“Pilot changes to the electoral process in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic in a by-election prior to the Edo and Ondo governorship elections in order to learn lessons where necessary,” he said.

Yakubu explained that INEC has also made provision for handling and delivery of election materials.

One of the provisions, according to him, was to reduce the number of contacts during distribution.

He said when Non-sensitive Materials were procured, they would be delivered directly by vendors to States or purchased by States requiring the materials and packaged according to the quantity required by Registration Area.

“This will reduce the level and number of contacts during distribution,” he said.

He said that production of Sensitive Materials shall commence early to give adequate time for proper packaging and delivery.

Yakubu added that to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19, the commission should reduce to a minimum interstate movement of staff, including ad hoc staff, for off-season and by-elections.

“The rule shall be that only shortfalls requested by the states are filled from outside the state. As much as possible, all election staff will be sourced in-state,” the INEC chairman said.

He added that in the establishment of voting points, in order to reduce the number of points in a Polling Unit to be monitored and controlled for COVID-19 compliance, the threshold for Voting Points shall be increased from 500/750 to 1,000/1,250.

Edited By: Kamal Tayo Oropo/Wale Ojetimi (NAN)

Continue Reading

Politics

COVID-19: INEC approves new policy framework for Edo, Ondo States

Published

on

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Thursday approved a new policy framework known as Policy on Conducting Elections in the Context of COVID-19 Pandemic.

The commission, in a statement issued by Mr Festus Okoye, INEC National Commissioner and Chairman,

Information and Voter Education Committee, in Abuja said the policy document would be released on May 25.

Okoye said that the provisions would be applied to the conduct of governorship elections in Edo and Ondo States scheduled for  Sept. 19 and Oct. 10, respectively, as well as other by-elections to be conducted soon in seven states.

 

“The general purpose of the Policy is to enable officials and staff of the Commission to understand and respond adequately to the challenges of conducting elections in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It is also to provide a guide for engagement with stakeholders as they prepare for elections.

“The clean copy of the policy document, which will be released on Monday, May 25, covers health and legal issues, election planning and operations, election day and post-election activities.

“It also covers voter registration, political parties, election observation, electoral security and deployment of technology.

“Conducting elections in a pandemic such as COVID-19 is yet uncharted waters. Only very few jurisdictions have any experience with this.

“That notwithstanding, the Commission is committed to conducting all elections that are due within the extant legal framework.

“However, in so doing it will put a premium on public safety and mitigation of health risks from COVID-19. Citizens must be assured that they will be safe while participating as voters, candidates and officials.

“The Commission remains committed to raising public confidence in the electoral process in spite of the challenges posed by the pandemic and to regularly communicate its actions and challenges to the public,” he said.

Okoye also disclosed that in view of the end of tenure governorship elections in Edo and Ondo, INEC would flag off robust engagements with its critical stakeholders to present the policy document by meeting with Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) on May 30.

He said that the meeting would be followed by that of political parties on June 1, civil society groups on June 2, and the media on June 3.

Okoye noted that in addition to the Edo and Ondo governorship elections, the commission had received the official declaration of vacancies for four Senatorial Districts and read reports of the passing of a Senator and four members of some State Houses of Assembly.

“As of today, the Commission is planning for nine by-elections across seven States of the Federation,” he said.

The by-elections are Bayelsa Central and West Senatorial Districts, Imo North Senatorial District,  Plateau South Senatorial District and Cross River North Senatorial District.

Others are Nganzai State Constituency, Borno State; Bayo State Constituency, Borno State; Nasarawa Central State Constituency, Nasarawa State; and Bakori State Constituency, Katsina State

“The provisions of the Policy on Conducting Elections in the Context of the COVID-19 Pandemic shall also apply to the conduct of these elections,” Okoye added.

He urged all Nigerians to adhere strictly to the COVID-19 protocols issued by the health authorities.

Edited By: Kamal Tayo Oropo/Muhammad Suleiman Tola (NAN)

Continue Reading

Politics

INEC to release policy framework for Edo, Ondo, future elections

Published

on

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) said it would on Thursday, May 21, release the policy framework for Edo and Ondo governorship elections, outstanding by-elections and future electoral activities.

The commission announced this in a statement issued by Mr Festus Okoye, the INEC National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, on Tuesday in Abuja.

Okoye reiterated INEC’s commitment to conduct of the two state governorship elections in accordance to the timetable and schedule of activities released on Feb. 6.

He said that the commission met on Tuesday and deliberated on a wide range of issues including the conduct of the states’ governorship elections and the nine outstanding bye-elections in different parts of the country.

“The commission deliberated extensively on a policy framework that will guide its operations, activities and engagements with critical stakeholders in view of the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the electoral process in Nigeria.

“Based on this, the commission will, on Thursday, issue a policy framework for engagement with stakeholders, the conduct of the two end of tenure governorship elections, outstanding bye-elections and future electoral activities.

“The commission reiterated its commitment to conduct the Edo and Ondo governorship elections on Sept 19 and Oct. 10 as contained in the timetable and schedule of activities released on Feb. 6.

“We reassure Nigerians of our resolve and determination to provide the requisite guidance, innovation and leadership in conducting elections in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The commission is committed to fulfilling its constitutional responsibility of conducting elections, without jeopardising the health and wellbeing of citizens, stakeholders or its valued staff,’’ Okoye said.

He explained that the commission would accelerate consultations and engagements with political parties, civil society organisations, security agencies and health authorities as soon as its policy framework is finalised.

He urged everyone to remain safe and healthy by complying with all the guidelines and protocols issued by the health authorities.

Edited By: Ifeyinwa Okonkwo/Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)

Continue Reading

Health

INEC presents 20 vehicles to Sokoto Govt for Covid-19 contact tracing, surveillance

Published

on

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has presented  20 Toyota Hilux pick-up vans to the Sokoto State Government for Covid-19 contact tracing, surveillance, laboratory and infection prevention.

INEC Head of Voter Education and Public Affairs in Sokoto, Malam Muhammad Musa, made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Friday in Sokoto.

He said the vehicles were released according to a directive from the INEC National headquarters in Abuja.

Musa said that the commission will collaborate with other agencies and stakeholders to combat the COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria.

”The vehicles were received by the Secretary to the state Government, Malam Sa’idu Umar, who thanked the commission for the support.

The spokesman said Umar expressed optimism that the vehicles would enable their teams on contact tracing, reaching the nooks and crannies of the state.

Speaking to NAN on the gesture, the Chairman, task force on Covid-19 and Commissioner for Health, Dr Ali Inname, assured that the vehicles would be maintained and used for the purposes they were meant for. 

Edited By: Ifeyinwa Okonkwo/Sadiya Hamza (NAN)

 

Continue Reading

Politics

Ondo, Edo governorship polls:  INEC to work out modalities for resumption of stakeholders engagement

Published

on

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), said it would work out  modalities for resuming engagements with political parties, civil society groups and other stakeholders in relation to the Edo and Ondo Governorship elections.

 

The commission disclosed this in a statement issued by Mr Festus Okoye, INEC National Commissioner and Chairman,  Information and Voter Education Committee, in Abuja on Thursday.

 

Okoye said the commission met on Thursday and deliberated on the step-by-step protocol for its resumption of activities and operations.

He said that it deliberated on preparations for the conduct of the two states  governorship elections and other pending senatorial and state assembly bye elections.

“The commission will work out modalities for the ramping up of activities in two of the states where it has governorship elections (Edo and Ondo).”

INEC said it will liaise with security agencies and health authorities on resumption of work in the two states as soon as possible.

 “The commission will resume engagement with political parties, civil society groups and organisations, the media and other stakeholders in relation to the Edo and Ondo governorship elections.

“The modalities for these engagements will be worked out and considered at its next meeting on May 14, 2020.” he said.

The commission according to Okoye, however, directed  directors and other designated staff of the various departments to resume work at the INEC National Headquarters on Wednesday May 13.

He stated that guidelines would be issued for the phase of resumption for the staff members.

He noted that only staff below 58 years of age  with no serious underlying health issues would resume.

He said that pregnant women, nursing mothers and all other staff with underlying health conditions should remain at home for the time being.

He said  the commission resolved to carry out comprehensive decontamination of its national headquarters, annex at  Blantyre Street, the Electoral Institute and its Area 10 office housing its staff clinic.

Okoye said parts of the commission’s resolution at the meeting was “to follow the Federal Government Guidelines on resumption protocols and procedure”.

They include providing infrared thermometers, soap and water at entrances and installing hand sanitiser dispensers at strategic points in the commission.

Others are: “to train its staff, particularly the cleaners and office assistants on cleaning protocols and strict compliance with federal government guidelines as well as its own specific protocols for resumption.

“To issue comprehensive guidelines for the first phase of its resumption in compliance with the directives of the federal government and health authorities.

“These guidelines will be posted on its notice boards and uploaded on the website of the commission on Monday May 11.

“Directors and other designated Staff of the various departments will resume at the national headquarters on Wednesday May 13, after the decontamination of the premises and provision of necessary amenities.

Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Donald Ugwu (NAN)

Continue Reading

Politics

COVID-19: INEC deploys 20 additional vehicles to Sokoto

Published

on

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has deployed 20 additional vehicles to Sokoto State to assist the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 with  logistic needs in combating the Coronavirus pandemic in the state.

The commission disclosed this in a statement issued by Mr Festus Okoye, the INEC National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, in Abuja on Wednesday.

Okoye said the commission approved the deployment of the 20 additional vehicles from its fleet to assist the task force to achieve its avowed commitment to support the national effort at combating the  COVID-19 pandemic.

“The 20 additional pick up vans, which are being released at the request of the task force, will be deployed to Sokoto state to facilitate the movement of medical personnel for contact tracing.

“The commission will continue to collaborate with all agencies and stakeholders to combat the COVID-19 pandemic in the country,” he said.

Okoye appealed to all citizens to join in the efforts at combating the pandemic by complying with the advice of the medical authorities and observing all protocols and directives issued by them.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the commission had, so far,  deployed 159 of its vehicles to nine states for the movement of medical personnel, contact tracing, surveillance/laboratory testing and infection prevention/control in efforts to contain the pandemic.

INEC earlier on April 3, deployed about 100 vehicles to six states- Lagos, Osun, Oyo, Kano and Rivers States as well as FCT.

The commission later released 39 additional vehicles to Kano and Plateau States on April 29.

Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Muhammad Suleiman Tola (NAN)

Continue Reading

Politics

COVID-19: INEC meets March 7 to adopt guidelines for resumption

Published

on

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) said it would meet on Thursday (March 7), to review the situation in its offices nationwide.

The commission will also at the meeting adopt a clear road map and guidelines for resumption of activities.

Mr Festus Okoye, INEC National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, disclosed this in a statement in Abuja on Thursday.

Okoye said that the commission would also deliberate on a number of issues.

He said preparations for the conduct of Edo and Ondo Governorship Elections, the upcoming bye elections in Bayelsa, Imo and Plateau States, and plans for resumption of normal activities will be considered.

Okoye said that the commission noted the advisory and protocols outlined by the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on combating COVID-19 on the gradual easing of lockdown from May 4 and decided as follows:

“The Commission will meet on Thursday, May 7, to review the situation in its offices across the country and adopt a clear road map and guidelines for resumption of activities in line with the announcement by the PTF.

“The exact date for the step-by-step resumption of normal activities in the Headquarters, State and Local Government offices will be communicated to staff, our stakeholders and the public after the Commission’s meeting on Thursday, May 7.

“Staff earlier designated for the provision of essential services are to continue with their work.”

Okoye, however, advised all stakeholders to wait for further communication from the commission on resumption of normal activities.

He said that the commission understood and appreciated the need for timely resumption of activities in view of the governorship elections in Edo and Ondo states and the bye-elections in Bayelsa, Imo and Plateau states.

He said that INEC was doing everything possible to observe critical protocols that would make for the seamless and gradual restoration of normalcy.

The News Agency of Nigeria recalls that INEC on March 23, suspended all regular and non-essential activities at its headquarters and offices nationwide as part of its control measures against the spread of the Coronavirus.

The commission said that the decision was part of measures to protect its staff, visitors and the general public.

Okoye promised to keep the public abreast of developments as they concern electoral process.

Edited By: Debo Oshundun/Muhammad Suleiman Tola (NAN)

Continue Reading

Politics

INEC deploys additional 39 vehicles to PTF for COVID-19 contact tracing, surveillance

Published

on

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has deployed 39 additional vehicles to support the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVlD-19 in contact tracing, surveillance, laboratory and infection prevention in Kano and Plateau.

In a statement issued by Mr Festus Okoye, the National Commissioner and Chairman, Voter Education Committee, in Abuja, the commission said that the vehicles were deployed in response to the request by the PTF to facilitate the movement of medical personnel for massive contact tracing and testing in the two states.

“ln response to request by the PTF on combating COVlD-19 for more vehicles to support the national emergency against the Coronavirus pandemic, the Commission has deployed about 39 additional vehicles.

“Thirty pick up vans have been deployed to Kano to facilitate the movement of medical personnel for massive contact tracing and testing in the State while nine vehicles have been assigned to Plateau.”

Okoye said the Commission would continue to work with all agencies and stakeholders to combat COVlD-19 in the country.

He reiterated INEC’s appeal to all citizens to stay safe by complying with the advise of the medical authorities.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that INEC earlier on April 3, deployed about 100 vehicles to six states to support the PTF in combating the COVID-19.

The pick-up vans were deployed to Lagos, Osun, Oyo, Kano, Rivers and FCT for contact tracing, surveillance/ laboratory and infection prevention/control in the six states.

Edited By: Nkiru/Sadiya Hamza (NAN)

Continue Reading

Politics

Fire incident will not affect administrative, technical operations – INEC

Published

on

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said that the Friday fire incident at its headquarters would not affect the administrative or technical operations of the Commission in any way. The commission disclosed this in a statement issued by its

National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye in Abuja. Okoye said that the fire did  not cause any substantial damage to the building.

According to Okoye, at 11.30 a.m on Friday a fire outbreak occurred at a section of the building housing the Election and Party Monitoring Department and the Media Centre.

The building is an annex, detached from the main building of the INEC’s headquarters.

“Fire fighters attached to the Commission swiftly responded to contain the inferno and they were later joined by their colleagues from the Federal Fire Service headquarters in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

“The fire was extinguished within a short period of time and did not cause any substantial damage to the building.

“Apart from some office furniture and equipment, nothing sensitive was destroyed. Reports of party primaries and conventions are intact.

“The campaign finance database is also not affected. The incident will, therefore, not affect the administrative or technical operations of the Commission in any way.

Okoye however, said investigation into the cause(s) of the fire incident had commenced.

Edited By: Maureen Atuonwu (NAN)

Continue Reading

Politics

Fire guts INEC headquarters’ Media Centre

Published

on

The

Media Centre of the Independent 

National Electoral Commission (INEC) headquarters 

in Abuja on Friday was gutted by fire.

 

News Agency of Nigeria gathered that the fire incident at the

media centre, which is located within the commission’s headquarters, but not within its main building,

started at around 11:30 a.m.

INEC National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye while confirming the incident, said that the

fire started around 11:30a.m, adding that the main building was intact.

Okoye, speaking with newsmen at the office where the incident happened,  said that the commission’s critical staff who were on duty noticed the fire and alerted fire officers.

“Some of our critical staff were in the office. They noticed that the fire started from the office of Director of Election and Party Monitoring (EPM) and they called the fire service

“Our own internal fire service here responded and people from Federal Fire service also responded and they were able to put out the fire.

 

We have gone there and seen the damages. We lost some of our photocopiers, computers, documents relating to political parties activities. But these are mostly correspondences, manifestos and parties constitutions and files relating to political parties.

 

“The critical documents relating to our activities with political parties were not affected because they had been moved out even before this incidence.

 

“So, the damage was very minimal and the documents we lost are just files and duplicates copies of some correspondences. So there is no cause for alarm,” he said. 

 

Okoye said that officers from the Federal Fire Service have done some preliminary investigations,  which may have to do with electrical issue

.

 

He disclosed that just on Thursday the Secretary to the commission issued a circular and directive to all INEC offices including that of the Abuja to making sure that all the commission offices were safe. 

 

He said that Some of the commission’s critical staff on duty went around to ensure that light in offices where there was no staff were put off.

 

Okoye assured that there was no cause for alarm with documents lost to the inferno.

“Every national commissioner has the manifesto and constitution and every other thing relating to political parties.

 

“I am telling you that most of the documents relating to our monitoring activities of political parties have already been moved to another office because the director is also relocating to different office before this fire incident.

 

“So, the documents you find here are just correspondences, but the main documents are properly secured.  Almost the documents here are also in the legal office, so we don’t have serious challenges.

 

“But with what has just happened, there have been damages to public property, our computers and some of the instruments we use to work, but

there is no cause for alarm,” Okoye said.

The Commanding Officer Fire Service, in charge of FCT, Mr 

Braimoh Momoh, 

said that the investigation on the cause of the fire was still ongoing.

 

Momoh said they were informed about the incident and they they quickly deployed firemen, who brought the situation under control.

“The level of damage is minimum due to action of firemen on ground, who were able to bring it under control. If not, the damages would have been so grievous,” Momoh said.

 

Edited By: Felix Ajide (NAN)

Continue Reading

Politics

COVID-19: INEC deploys 100 vehicles in six states for contact tracing

Published

on

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has deployed about 100 of its vehicles in six states to support the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on combating Coronavirus.

The commission disclosed this in a statement issued by Mr Festus Okoye, National Commissioner, and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, in Abuja on Friday.

Okoye said that the pick-up van to be deployed to Lagos, Osun, Oyo, Kano, Rivers and FCT, would be used for contact tracing, surveillance/laboratory and infection prevention/control in six states.

He said that since the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic, the Commission has been in touch with the PTF on areas it could assist to tackle the national emergency that required the support of all national institutions.

“The PTF has requested for about 100 pickup vans from the Commission’s fleet to be deployed for contact tracing, surveillance/laboratory and infection prevention/control in six states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) in the first instance.

“The states are Lagos, Osun, Oyo, Kano, Rivers and FCT. In addition, the Commission has also placed all our state offices nationwide on standby, in case the PTF requests for additional support to combat the pandemic,” he said

Okoye said that the Commission was equally working with the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and telecommunication service providers to assist in raising public awareness of the pandemic by sending bulk messages (SMS) to registered voters similar to what INEC did for voter mobilisation.

He added that INEC was also discussing with the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development on the possibility of using its electoral registration units nationwide as locations for the distribution of palliative and other relief materials to citizens.

“Short messages were adopted from the flyers/leaflets issued by the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC). This follows the suspension of the Do Not Disturb (DND) policy on sending unsolicited messages to telephone subscribers by NCC.

“Similarly, the Commission is in discussion with the Ministry on the possibility of using our electoral registration areas (wards) and polling units nationwide as locations for the distribution of palliative and other relief materials to citizens.

“The 8,809 wards and 119,973 polling units are located in various communities in the country and citizens are familiar with their locations,” he added.

Okoye assured the public that the commission would join hands with all agencies and stakeholders to combat COVID-19 in Nigeria.

“We urge all (except for those on essential duties) to stay at home, maintain recommended social distancing and remain safe by obeying all guidelines issued by the relevant authorities,” he said.

Edited By: Ifeyinwa Okonkwo/Maureen Atuonwu
(NAN)

 

Continue Reading

Politics

INEC presents Certificate of Return to house member-elect in Kwara

Published

on

By

(2020) INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Kwara, Malam Garba Attahiru-Madami on Tuesday presented certificate of return to Malam Ahmed Adam of the All Progressives Congress (APC) that won the March 14, 2020 House of Assembly bye-election in Patigi Constituency.

Speaking at the occasion in Ilorin, Resident Electoral Commissioner, Attahiru-Madami commended the six political parties that took part in the by-election for their peaceful conduct.

Attahiru-Madami appealed to leadership of political parties in Kwara to always live at peace with one another.

“Let us continue to live at peace with each other, let us continue to conduct elections peacefully in Kwara,” he said.

The REC expressed his satisfaction with the overall conduct of the Patigi by-election which he said his colleague from Osun, Mr Segun Agbaje attested to.

“My colleague in Osun who came to give me support said the by-election was wonderful, so I thank you for maintaining peace during the election.

“I thank the people of Kwara and Patigi in particular for their peaceful conduct during the by-election.

“I am particularly happy that there was no ballot box snatching, no fight, no rancor throughout the election period,” he said.

He urged Adam to always discharge his duties according to the constitution and with utmost sense of responsibility.

APC Vice Chairman, Chief Theophilus Oyebiyi, commended the commissioner for a job well done as regards the Patigi by-election.

“I have always been saying it that you are a trusted person with impeccable integrity, you have not disappointed us,” Oyebiyi said.

Nigeria News Agency reports that the presentation of the certificate was brief with few APC chieftains and party supporters because all activities at the commission have been suspended because of COVIC-19.

Edited By: Hawa Lawal/Kayode Olaitan
(NAN)

Continue Reading

Politics

COVID-19: INEC suspends regular activities for 14 days

Published

on

COVID-19: INEC suspends regular activities for 14 days: The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has suspended

all regular and non-essential activities in its headquarters and offices nationwide for 14 days, from Tuesday, March 24.

 

Mr

Festus Okoye, 

National Commissioner, and  Chairman, 

Information and Voter Education Committee, made the disclosure in a statement on Monday in Abuja.

 

Okoye said that the commission also suspended its

regular quarterly meetings with stakeholders and monitoring

of conventions, congresses, conferences or meetings of political parties until further notice.

He said that the suspension was in view of the Coronavirus pandemic

and the preventive measures put in place by the Federal and State Government’s.

“In line with the advisory on social distancing from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), the Commission has taken the following measures to protect its staff, visitors and the general public.

“Effective from Tuesday, March 24, all regular and non-essential activities will be suspended in its headquarters and offices nationwide for 14 days in the first instance.

“The regular quarterly meetings with Stakeholders, namely: political parties, civil society organisations, the media, security agencies and all other meetings, have been suspended until such a time when normalcy returns.

“In addition, the Commission will no longer monitor the conventions, congresses, conferences or meetings of political parties until further notice,” he said.

Okoye 

reiterated the c

ommission’s commitment to openness, consultation and continued communication with its stakeholders and expected all to understand the emergency situation that informed the suspension of contact engagements.

“The health and wellbeing of all our staff, officials and the general public are of paramount importance to us.

“Notwithstanding the measures outlined above, the Commission will continue to meet via non-physical contact channels while communication between the Commission and its stakeholders will remain open,” he said.

Okoye emphasised that the new measures taken do not affect the activities for Edo and Ondo Governorship elections scheduled for Sept. 19 and  Oct. 10 respectively.

“We will continue to keep the public abreast of developments as they concern our electoral process,” he said.

Edited By: Tayo Ikujuni/Ekemini Ladejobi
(NAN)

Continue Reading

Politics

COVID-19: INEC postpones 4 senatorial by-elections

Published

on

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has postponed the conduct of four senatorial by-elections indefinitely as a result of the 

Coronavirus pandemic.

The commission disclosed this in a statement issued by Mr Festus Okoye,

INEC National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, on Thursday in Abuja.

Okoye said the by-election, which included

Bayelsa Central and Bayelsa West Senatorial Districts, 

Imo North Senatorial District and 

Plateau South Senatorial District, were 

postponed until the situation normalised.

He recalled that INEC received notification of vacancies for the Bayelsa Central and Bayelsa West Senatorial Districts following the swearing into office of Sen. Diri Duoye and Sen. Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo as Governor and Deputy Governor of Bayelsa respectively.

He also recalled that the Commission also received the notice of vacancies for the Imo North Senatorial District following the death of Sen. Benjamin Uwajumogu and for Plateau South Senatorial District following the death of Sen. Longjan  Datong.

“Arising from the declaration of vacancies by the President of the Senate, the commission commenced preparations for the conduct of by-elections to fill these vacancies.

“However, given the health emergency occasioned by the Coronavirus pandemic and the preventive measures put in place by the health authorities, federal and state governments, the commission has decided to postpone the four senatorial by-elections until the situation normalises.

“This is in line with Section 26 of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended), which empowers the commission to postpone any election in the event of any emergency or natural disaster.

“The Commission is compelled to take this step in recognition of the fact that all major activities in the electoral process involve large gathering of people.

“These include the conduct of political party primaries, campaigns, stakeholder meetings, training and deployment of election and security personnel, movement of accredited observers and journalists, congregation of voters and other stakeholders at polling units, as well as the collation centres,” he said.

Okoye said while INEC acknowledged the right and desire of citizens for effective representation, there was an over-riding public interest in ensuring the health, safety and well-being of all stakeholders.

He added that the timetable and schedule of activities for the postponed by-elections would be issued as soon as the Coronavirus pandemic was contained.

Okoye, however, said that the governorship elections in Edo and Ondo states scheduled for September and October respectively were not affected by the postponement.

“We appeal for understanding and cooperation of all,” he added.

Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Felix Ajide
(NAN)

Continue Reading

Politics

Kwara by-election: Observers give INEC pass mark

Published

on

Local observers accredited to monitor Saturday’s Kwara House of Assembly by-election in Patigi State Constituency have commended the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for the successful conduct of the exercise.

The coalition of observers, in a communiqué read by its leader, Mr Victor Kalu, on Monday in Patigi adjudged the exercise free, fair, credible and transparent.

The communiqué jointly signed by Kalu and the Secretary of the team, Peter Olarewaju, said that the exercise was an obvious all-round improvement on the part of INEC regarding the conduct of elections in the country.

According to the communique, the election took place as scheduled under a conducive and peaceful atmosphere without complaints from political parties and candidates in terms of credibility.

“There was an obvious all-round improvement on the part of INEC regarding the timely distribution of election materials and its arrival in various polling units, resulting in timely commencement of election in all the units,’’ it said.

The coalition also commended the people of the constituency for their proper conduct during and after the election, especially for showing maturity and shunning violence.

It observed that the turnout of voters for the election was impressive but relatively low in some areas due to inadequate voter sensitisation.

The coalition also reported an uncontrollable presence of the underage people within and around the polling units while

heavy commercial activities were equally observed in major polling units.

The group called on government and the election umpire to consider engaging committed civil society groups on an intensive civic voter education ahead of every election to encourage voter participation in elections.

(
Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde/Mufutau Ojo)
(NAN)

 

 

 

Continue Reading

Judiciary

Alleged 2019 result falsification: AGF fails to produce INEC officials to court

Published

on

Attorney-General of the Federation’s office on Monday failed to arraign two officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for their alleged involvement in electoral fraud during the Feb. 23, 2019 Presidential and National Assembly elections.

The officials, Sulaiman Ikhuoriah and Olugbenga Omotiloye were scheduled to be arraigned before Justice Yusuf Halilu of an FCT High Court, Maitama.

The AGF charged the suspects with falsifying results in favour of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidates against the All Progressives Congress (APC) and its candidates in the elections held in Ikpoba-Okha Local Government Area of Edo.

 

Ikhuoriah was said to have served as the Collation Officer for Ward 6 in Saint Maria Gorreti Secondary School, while Omotiloye was an electoral officer at Bishop Kelly, beside St. Paul’s Catholic Church, Airport Road, Benin City.

 

The alleged infractions of the two officials of the electoral body were investigated by the Edo Command Office of the DSS.

 

The duo was initially billed for arraignment before the court March 10 but the court did not sit that day.

 

At the resumed hearing , both defendants were absent in court, prompting the judge to ask the counsel from the Office of the AGF of their whereabout.

 

The prosecution told the court that the DSS had yet to bring the two defendants to Abuja from Edo State.

 

Adding that the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation (OAGF) communicated through letters with the DSS to bring the defendants to Abuja, expressing  surprise that the Service did not bring them.

 

They, therefore, asked for a date in April for the prosecution to bring the two before the court for arraignment.

 

Justice Halilu, however, frowned at the inability of the prosecution to bring the defendants to court.

 

According to him, the court was not a warehouse where the prosecution would only come and file the case against the defendants and subsequently do nothing about it.

 

He then told the counsel from the OAGF that he would not give the prosecution any date, saying, however, that, “If you bring them (from Edo State) today, bring them tomorrow to court for arraignment.”

Edited By: Sadiya Hamza
(NAN)

Continue Reading

General news

Ekiti INEC gets new Adminstative Secretary

Published

on

The Independent National Electoral Commision (INEC), Ekiti State, has appointed Mr Alani Oduntan, as the new Administrative Secretary.

The new acting head, takes over from Dr Muslim Omoleke, who is said to have retired from active service.

He is also to function as the Acting Resident Electoral Commissioner, (REC) in the state, as done by the retiring Administrative Secretary, since there is currently, no substantive REC in the state.

Head of Voter Education and Publicity of the Commission in the state, Alhaji Taiwo Gbadegesin, confirmed the develoment to Nigeria News Agency , in Ado-Ekiti, on Saturday.

According to him, Oduntan, who is to act as the Administrative Secretary of the Commission, will serve as “the Head of all Electoral Operations of the Commission in the state.”

He said the new Administrative Secretary had since assumed duties, assuring the public that INEC in the state, would continue to diligently deliver on its constitutional responsibilities to the society.

Edited By: Fela Fashoro/Felix Ajide
(NAN)

 

 

Continue Reading

Politics

INEC declares APC candidate winner in Kwara bye-election

Published

on

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has declared the candidate of All Progressives Congress (APC), Adam Rufai, as winner of the bye-election into Patigi constituency in the Kwara House of Assembly.

The INEC Returning Officer, Dr Abdulazeez Ishola of the University of Ilorin, declared the result on Saturday in Patigi, headquarters of Patigi Local Government council area of the state.

He said that Rufai polled 10,354 to defeat the candidate of the main opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mohammed Yahaya, who polled 4,623 votes.

Ishola, who put the total number of registered voters in the constituency at 57,093, said that a total of 15,909 voters were accredited for the election.

“That Ahmed Rufai Adam of the APC, having satisfied the requirements of the law and scored the highest number of votes cast, is hereby declared the winner and returned elected,” Ishola declared.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that six political parties contested the election in the constituency.

NAN also reports that the winner will now replace his elder brother, Saidu Rufai, who died on Dec. 3, 2019, during a brief illness.

Edited By: Kamal Tayo Oropo and
(NAN)‘Wale Sadeeq

Continue Reading

Politics

INEC to create more polling units in Kwara, says REC

Published

on

 Malam Garba Attahiru-Madami, the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Kwara, says the commission will create more polling units ahead of the 2023 elections in the state.

Attahiru-Madami said this on Saturday in Patigi after he monitored the conduct of the by-election into the Patigi constituency seat at the state House of Assembly.

The commissioner, who said the commission was aware that some communities were far from their polling units, explained that the need to create additional units had been discussed at a meeting of the RECs.

According to him, the creation of more polling units will be done by our national body and that will be done before 2023 elections.

“We have discussed that in one of our RECs meeting and that will be done before 2023.

“But as at now, we have to do with what we have on the ground.

“I pity those people but there is nothing one can do right now. Definitely, we are going to create many polling units to make it closer to the people because we are here to serve the people,” he said.

Attahiru-Madami expressed satisfaction with the entire process of the election.

“The conduct is very good and peaceful. I must commend the electorate in Patigi. They conducted themselves peacefully.

“And I must give kudos to the politicians for keeping to their words because I have not heard of any violence from anywhere.

In Kpada, where I monitored 15 polling units out of about 22 units in the area, at the beginning, the turnout was very low but as time went by, it began to improve.

“Generally, the turnout is average from all places that I monitored. For instance for a polling unit that you would expect 700 voters, we are able to see like 250, 230 and sometimes 100.

“But the election is beautiful; Kwara has lived up to its billing, state of Harmony; state of peace,” he said.

He attributed the peaceful conduct of election to a lot of sensitisation by the commission.

He, however, identified lack of adequate time for parties to campaign was responsible for the average turnout.

This, he said, was due to the fact that the exercise was just a by-election that required a little time to conduct.

“This is a by-election conducted because somebody died. And it takes one month to mourn here and by electoral rules we must conduct by-election between 30 to 60 days.

“So, there is no much time for campaign, that may be one of the reasons as political parties were just given ten days to campaign and that may not be enough.

Attahiru-Madami advised whoever may lose in the election to re-strategise towards 2023 elections.

“In an election, there must be a winner and a loser. For the loser, that means he needs to restrategise for 2023 and see how he can come out better,” he said.

Edited By: Deji Abdulwahab/Felix Ajide
(NAN)

 

Continue Reading

Contact US: editor @nnn.com.ng, nnnnews247 @gmail.com

Latest News