Poll Shift painful but Nigerians must maintain their commitment – Tinubu
By Lucy Osuizigbo
Lagos, Feb. 16, 2019 (NNN) National leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Sen. Bola Tinubu, has urged Nigerians to remain committed and not allow the election postponement deter them from exercising their rights on Feb. 23.
Tinubu made the call in a statement made available to newsmen on Saturday in Lagos by his Media Officer, Mr Tunde Rahman.
Presidential and National Assembly elections slated for Feb. 16 were shifted till Feb. 23 by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Saturday, hours to the commencement of the polls.
Governorship, state houses of assembly and Federal Capital Territory Area Council polls, earlier fixed for March 2 were also moved to March 9 by INEC due to some challenges.
According to Tinubu, there were reports of eager voters rising early to leave their homes to cast their ballots on Saturday only to be told upon arriving at their appointed polling stations that the election had been postponed.
He said that this should not have happened for it could well discourage people from coming out when the election takes place.
Tinubu, however, urged people who came out and other Nigerians who intended to cast their votes to maintain their commitment and prepare to do so on Feb. 23.
“Do not allow this delay to deter you from the expression of your democratic rights.
“What you had set your mind to do on February 16, keep your mind and heart on for February 23, ” he said.
Tinubu expressed dissatisfaction over the late hour postponement of the presidential and national assembly elections by INEC.
” As the National Leader of the APC and simply as a Nigerian, I must express my profound concern and dissatisfaction with the unexpected, late hour postponement of the presidential and national assembly elections by INEC.
“While we appreciate the enormity of the logistical challenge that elections in a vast nation like ours poses to INEC, we are still pained that the Commission could not meet this challenge within the time allotted.
“We are also perplexed that INEC literally waited so late in the day to make known the obstacles preventing it from keeping faith to the election schedule.
” INEC could have and should have given the nation more ample and earlier warning. This could have perhaps lessened the pervasive disappointment that we all now feel. It also would have helped people better order their steps today, ” he said.
The APC National Leader urged political parties and Nigerians to support and encourage INEC to conduct a smooth election on February 23.
“We must take INEC’s statement at face value and hold to the belief that INEC understands even more than ever the sober and grave responsibility it has to our nation and our democracy.
“INEC can only properly discharge that responsibility by conducting free and fair elections.
“While we cannot go back to repair what did or did not happen to cause this postponement, we all must encourage INEC to do all that is necessary so voting can smoothly proceed on February 23.
“Whatever our political affiliation, we must encourage INEC to overcome the difficulties in order to rise to this most important occasion, ” he said.
Tinubu also urged INEC to commit itself more than ever before to perform to its utmost so that the elections would be remembered as a free and fair exercise consonant with the best of international standards.
“In the end, elections must be held in such a manner that every vote carries the same weight and no vote is minimised because elections took place much earlier or later in one place than in another.
“Thus, it is better to experience a slight delay to conduct the elections properly rather than to conduct the elections piecemeal and uneven fashion.
“No one will absolve INEC if such a fate befalls this all-important election. The electoral body must use the one-week extension mend its logistics gaps and lapses, ” he said.
Tinubu urged Nigerians to contain their anger, remain calm and not be tempted to breach the peace in the country because of the delay.
“This delay has clearly provoked significant anger and disappointment among the people. The voters were ready and INEC should have been equally as prepared and ready as the voters.
“In the greater scheme of things, a one-week delay is not overly burdensome when compared to the importance of conduct of free and just elections in the establishment of representative democracy and good governance in our land.
“Please, persevere just a bit longer to ensure that the elections on February 23 truly reflect the will of the people.
“Whatever obstacles may come, be they large or small, let us show the world the Nigerian people will not be deterred from realizing the democracy for which we have fought and sacrificed so long and so hard to achieve, ” Tinubu said. (NNN)
Edited by Bayo Sekoni/Oluwole Sogunle
Edo Gov. Poll: Rep Chinda chairs PDP screening committee
Rep Kingsley Chinda, Obio/Akpor Constituency, Rivers, is to chair the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) screening committee for aspirants in its primaries for Edo governorship, scheduled for Thursday.
This was disclosed in a statement issued by the party’s National Organising Secretary, Col. Austin Akobundu (rtd) on Thursday in Abuja.
The National Working Committee (NWC) of the PDP approved the list of the screening committee.
Members of the screening committee are: Chief Oladimeji Fabiyi, Sen. Joy Emordi, Hajiya Aishat Hasindu, and Hon. Boyele Debekeme as Secretary.
Akobundu said the screening exercise would hold at the NWC HALL, Wadata Plaza from 10 a.m.
The three aspirants that obtained the party’s nomination and expression of interest forms for the primaries were, Mr Kenneth Imansuangbon, Mr Omoregie-Ogbeide Ihama and Mr Gideon Ikhine.
Anambra poll: Aspirant urges PDP to reconsider zoning of ticket
Ozigbo, a former Chief Executive Officer of Transnational Corporation of Nigeria Plc, stated this during an online news conference on Thursday in Awka.
He said the yearnings of the people of the state was that the Anambra South Senatorial District should produce the next governor of the state.
The News Agency of Nigeria recalls that the party leadership had said at an expanded South-East Zonal Executive Committee meeting in March that it was not considering zoning of the governorship ticket to any of the three senatorial zones of the state, “at least for now’’.
The National Vice Chairman of the PDP for South East, Chief Austin Umahi, had made the declaration, shortly after the meeting in Enugu.
The meeting was attended by governors Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State, David Umahi of Ebonyi and the Deputy Governor of Abia, Senators Ike Ekweremadu and Sam Anayanwu and other current and past National Assembly members.
The governorship election will hold in November 2021.
“If the proper things are done and the race zoned to Anambra South Senatorial District, I will win the party primary and become the next governor of the state by the grace of God,’’ he said.
He, however, said that in spite of his party refusal to zone the race, he would still contest and win.
He said he was not afraid to contest against any candidate, including the ex-governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo.
“If my party gives me the governorship ticket and Soludo emerges in APGA or any other party, I will floor him.
“What Soludo has, I have more.
“It’s Soludo that will be bothering on how to beat me in the contest because I have the wherewithal and connection to contest and win the election.’’
Expressing confidence that he would emerge the consensus candidate of the PDP, Ozigbo said he had the goodwill of the majority of the party’s leaders in the state.
“I don’t have a godfather; God is my godfather but I have the goodwill of the leaders of our party.
“Some have linked me with Mr Peter Obi, Chief Chris Uba, Prince Nicholas Ukachukwu and a host of others.
“That shows I’m popular across the board,’’ Ozigbo said.
Finland’s Social Democratic Party gains popularity: poll
The support for the Finnish Social Democratic Party (SDP) rose to 23.2 percent, showed a poll commissioned by the national broadcaster Yle and published on Thursday.
In the poll, the support for SDP rose by 1.1 percentage points, while support for the Center Party went down by 1.5 percentage points to 10.7 percent, which means SDP has further increased its lead over its main partner, the Center, in the current five-party coalition cabinet. The Green Leagues, also in the cabinet, surpassed the Center as well in the poll.
Tuomo Turja, research director of the Taloustutkimus, one of Finland‘s leading market research companies, noted on Yle that the speed of the ten percentage point increase in the popularity of the SDP since last December is unprecedented.
Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin represents the SDP, while Finance Minister Katri Kulmuni is chairman of the Center party.
The poll led to an open statement by the centrist parliamentary leader that the party could leave the cabinet. Antti Kurvinen, chairman of the Center Party Parliamentary Group, said on Yle that the party must get its policy goals through in the autumn, otherwise it may not continue. Kurvinen insisted that the government must agree on the “renewal of the labour market” to increase employment.
S.Korean president’s approval rating stays high at 58.9 pct: poll
According to the Realmeter survey, support for Moon edged down 1 percentage point from a week earlier to 58.9 percent this week.
The support score had hovered above 60 percent for five straight weeks, before falling to 59.9 percent last week.
The negative assessment on Moon’s conduct of state affairs inched up 0.2 percentage points over the week to 35.5 percent this week.
Support for Moon’s ruling Democratic Party rose 0.7 percentage points to 42.8 percent.
The main conservative opposition United Future Party gained 27.5 percent of support this week, up 1.2 percentage points from the previous week.
The results were based on a survey of 1,510 voters conducted from Monday to Wednesday. It had plus and minus 2.5 percentage points in margin of error with a 95 percent confidence level.
INEC to voters: Don’t wear party-branded face masks to polling units
Ahead of the governorship elections scheduled to hold on Sept. 19 and Oct. 10, INEC has warned voters in Edo and Ondo against wearing face masks with the logo of their political parties, to polling units.
Prof. Okechukwu Ibeanu, INEC National Commissioner and Chairman, Electoral Operations and Logistics Committee (EOLC), gave the warning on Wednesday in Abuja, during the commission’s first virtual consultative meeting with media organisations.
“Wearing of face masks to polling units will be compulsory, but any voter with branded face masks will be turned back from the polling unit,” he said.
He, however, said that INEC would not provide or share face masks to voters during polls.
Ibeanu, in his presentation at the meeting presided over by the INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, said that the commission could not afford the cost of providing face masks to registered voters in the states.
According to him, it will cost not less than N640 million to provide face masks to all registered voters for the elections.
“So, should INEC be spending N640 million handing out masks that voluntary organisations and government agencies can actually give to people, if we had a national campaign for this purpose?” Ibeanu asked.
He, however, urged the media to sensitise people on the need for individuals and organisations to donate and distribute face masks to the people, not just during elections but at all times.
“I don’t think anybody in Nigeria should not have access to face masks now. But the more important thing is that people can also improvise and they need to understand that they can do so,” he added.
The national commissioner also said that the Continuous Voters Registration (CVR) and the distribution of Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs), before the Edo and Ondo governorship elections, as well other by-elections would not be feasible.
Ibeanu said that there was no need for the distribution of the PVCs before the elections as the nation just came out of a general elections last year.
“Since the 2019 general elections, there has not been new CVR. If the collection of the PVCs is allowed for Edo and Ondo polls, the same demand will be made for bye-elections, causing other challenges.
“So, after much consideration, we decided not to allow collection of PVCs before the elections,” he said.
The National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Mr Festus Okoye, said that INEC was determined to be part and, indeed, lead the process of innovation and creativity in the electoral process.
He said that the commission would not throw in the towel and postpone all elections to an indeterminate period.
“Throwing in the towel in our constitutional circumstances may do violence to the constitution and wittingly or unwittingly throw the country into avoidable constitutional crisis.
“The commission is therefore determined to proceed with the two governorship elections in Edo and Ondo States and the 10 Senatorial and State Assembly elections.
”These exercises will be done with caution, bearing in mind that the health and safety of the people will be crucial determinants of the success or otherwise of the elections,” Okoye said.
Edo Gov Poll: INEC set up dedicated portal for form submission
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says it has set up a dedicated portal through which political parties contesting for Edo governorship scheduled for Sept 19, will submit the nomination forms of their candidates.
INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, disclosed this on Monday, during the first virtual consultative meeting of the commission with leaders of political parties.
Yakubu, however, warned political parties against changes in the date for the conduct of their primaries for the election, as the portal would be automatically shutdown on the scheduled dates.
“Party primaries for the nomination of candidates for the Edo Governorship election begin tomorrow. Already, some political parties have invited the commission to monitor their primaries which must be conducted from 2nd to 27th June 2020.
” This time around, the submission of nomination forms will be done online for which a dedicated portal has been set up.
“Let me therefore warn political parties that intend to field candidates for the election to strictly adhere to these dates as well as the new online procedure for filing of nominations. Any party that operates outside these dates will only have itself to blame.
“The portal will automatically shutdown on the scheduled date and at the fixed hour. The Legal Department and ICT will brief this meeting on the new procedure,” Yakubu said.
The chairman advised parties on the need to conduct rancour-free primaries, and to avoid acts of thuggery, brigandage, vote-buying and other sundry violations of the Electoral Act.
Yakubu also directed parties that opted for direct primaries to provide the commission with the list of their registered members, while those going for indirect primaries must also provide INEC with the list of their delegates.
“As we monitor the conduct of party primaries, we will pay particular attention to your compliance with the law and to consider sanctions so that the unruly behaviour of some party supporters is not carried forward to the main election.
“At the same time, I wish to appeal to political parties that opt for direct primaries to avail us with the register of members to be used for the election from Ward to Local Government and State levels for the effective discharge of our monitoring responsibilities under the law.
“Those that opt for indirect primaries should similarly make available to the commission, the list of delegates for the election. Doing otherwise will amount to going into an election without the voters’ register.
“The commission makes available to each political party, the complete register of voters before every major election. We expect political parties to reciprocate for their primaries,” he said.
Yakubu disclosed that the commission had already carried out the first out of the 14 activities it lined up for Edo governorship election, as the notice for the election (Form EC60A) had been pasted in its Edo state office.
The INEC chairman, who stressed the need for a national conversation around the frequency of bye-elections in Nigeria, said in the month of May 2020 alone, five members of State Houses of Assembly passed on.
He added that since December 2019, a period of six months, twelve members of the National and State Houses of Assembly had similarly passed on.
“This is in addition to the resignation of two Senators from Bayelsa who have since been sworn-in as Governor and Deputy Governor of the state.
“The cost of conducting these bye-elections to the commission, the security agencies, political parties and candidates, election observers, the media, litigations (both pre-election and post-election) and disruption of activities as a result of the restriction of movement on election day is enormous.
“There is no election season in Nigeria any longer. The commission is busy conducting elections all-year round between one general election and another.
“This often diverts our attention away from reform, innovation, peer learning and planning for the consolidation of our electoral process.
“The commission is going to open a discussion with stakeholders and the National Assembly for necessary reforms toward more cost-effective and democratic options,” he said.
” For undertaking elections in normal period has never been easy, and definitely will not be less daunting this season.
“It is in the light of this, we, the political parties will want to commend INEC for the bold step it has taken to come up early with a well-heeled policy on conducting elections in the context of COVID-19 pandemic.
” Indeed, the measures outlined to tame the scourge in the document is realistic, exhaustive, health-sensitive, safety-induced and in tune with reality of the times.
“Our checks so far show that globally, INEC is the first national election organising body to have done this, not even USA, India, Pakistan has codified effort to respond maximally, politics-wise to the pandemic in an enclosed one-all document as it did. And this was done swiftly!
“It is also gratifying to note that the document received wide commendation across board and is now being referenced. And last week we commended the commission via a plethora of media for its effort.
“From high-end issues as health and safety concerns, legal matters, election planning and implementation to elections operations to materials handling, staff management and ad hoc recruitment
” Placement to logistic, transportation and passenger management to queuing arrangement in polling units, crucial areas in pre and post election preparation and management were properly captured,” he said.
Nzenwa, however, called on INEC to be ready, and willing to review some aspects of the policy document regarding concerned misgivings by stakeholders who strongly felt that some of its provisions might not be feasible when it was lifted from paper for implementation.
He expressed the resolve of IPAC to work with INEC in deepening engagement with all stakeholders, especially the electorate by properly informing them about their roles and responsibilities during election in the context of COVID-19 pandemic.
He urged INEC to ensure that minimal discomfort was imposed on voters and other stakeholders in its quest to ensure that the nation had credible and acceptable polls during the Edo, Ondo and other by-elections.
Benue LG polls: PDP Chairman says party’s victory not a surprise
The Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Benue, Mr John Ngbede, said the party’s overwhelming victory at the council polls on May 30 didn’t come to him as a surprise.
Ngbede disclosed this in an interview with newsmen on Monday in Makurdi.
The party won 23 Chairmanship positions out of 23. Also, it won 276 Councillorship positions out of 276.
The chairman noted that the party deserved the landslide victory because it worked assiduously for it, which manifested on Saturday.
“We campaigned seriously without relenting. No political party in the state campaigned apart from PDP.
“We followed all the processes of election beginning with the congresses.
“Some political parties did not buy forms. Even the ones that bought forms they did not campaign at all. So, what did they expect,” he queried.
He also said that Benue residents voted massively for the party 8because Gov. Samuel Ortom was performing wonders for the state.
“The milestones recorded by the governor went a long way in winning votes for the party.
“He has completed a lot of projects which were started by his predecessor.
“He also initiated new ones and some of them have been completed while others are on the verge of completion and others ongoing,” Ngbede said.
PDP sweeps Benue LG polls
The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has won all the electoral positions contested in the Local Government Council polls held on May 30 in Benue.
News Agency of Nigeria reports that the elections were conducted in 23 local government councils across 276 council wards of the state.
The elections, which were adjudged by a team of election observers led by Ibrahim Sheka from Kano, as having low turn out, featured five political parties.
The five parties were; Social Democratic Party (SDP), Accord Party (AP), Africa Action Congress (AAC), All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA), Labour Party (LP) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) while the main opposition political party, the APC boycotted the exercise.
Loko commended the BSIEC officials for the smooth conduct of the polls and directed all elected chairmen and councilors to report to the commissions office in Makurdi on June 1, for their Certificates of Return.
Edited By: Philip Dzeremo and Abdullahi Yusuf (NAN)
Benue LG polls: Observers attribute low turn out to COVID-19
Sheka told newsmen on Saturday in Makurdi after monitoring the elections in some parts of Makurdi town, that the conduct was smooth but blamed the poor turnout on the fear of COVID-19.
Sheka lauded officials of the electoral umpire and the electorate for observing COVID-19 rules.
Also speaking after the monitoring exercise, the Chairman, Benue State Independent Electoral Council (BSIEC), Mr Joseph Loko, commended the electorate for orderliness during the polls.
Loko also commended BISEC officials for the “smooth conduct of Local Government Election in the state”.
Loko said collation of results would soon begin and expressed optimism that there would be no commotion at the end.
“So far, there has been no incidence of violence anywhere,” he said.
He also attributed voters apathy to palpable fears of COVID-19.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the polls did not hold in most designated polling units within and outside Makurdi, the state capital.
NAN reports that markets, including business outlets, were opened within the voting hours and no restriction placed on vehicular movement.
Edited By: Philip Dzeremo/Muhammad Suleiman Tola (NAN)
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- 14 health workers infected with COVID-19 in Myanmar
- Belarusian president names new prime minister, cabinet members
- COVID-19 cases in Belarus rise to 45,981
- Comply with Osun govt. directives on services, CAN orders churches
- FRSC charges officers to be more committed, hard working
- A’Ibom seeks FG assistance in fighting against COVID-19
- Gov. Obiano redeploys 4 commissioners in minor cabinet reshuffle
- People work at pastry factory in Khartoum, Sudan
- English Premier League agrees on 5 substitutes for season restart
- UK food banks hand out record number of emergency food parcels during pandemic: report
- People take part in demonstration in Athens, Greece
- Phuket hotels to fully open for Thai visitors as foreign travelers reduce
- 5.0-magnitude quake hits 122 km WNW of Ternate, Indonesia — USGS
- Ugandan cabinet approves human organ donation, trade bill
- Uganda braces for slump in global vanilla prices amid market surplus, COVID-19
- WRC New Zealand rally postponed
- EFCC destroys 681 bags of adulterated fertiliser in Gombe
- Kurdish-led militia, United States-led coalition forces brace for operation in eastern Syria: monitor
- Zambian expert urges tougher penalties for race discrimination, saying racism starts since colonialism
- Over 20 pct of Latvians work from home amid COVID-19 pandemic
- Finland’s Social Democratic Party gains popularity: poll
- Japan now thinking of “simplified’’ Olympic Games —- Tokyo governor
- Global Funds gives Zambia over 315 mln USD to combat HIV, TB and Malaria
- Court orders police, DSS not to arrest CUPP spokesman, Ugochinyere
- Senegal’s COVID-19 cases top 4,000 as more restrictive measures eased
- Syria receives new batch of anti-coronavirus medical aid from China
- Nepal confirms 334 new COVID-19 cases, tally over 2,600
- Palestine says Israel violates freedom of worship in Jerusalem
- Reopening of worship centres: Cleric advises religious leaders to obey govt. order
- Uzbekistan joins neighboring countries’ efforts against locust swarms
- Turkey plans to resume int’l flights to 40 countries, regions in June
- COVID-19: Constant stress, fear can reduce body immunity, says Nutritionist
- CLO urges FG to tackle erosion in Anambra
- People take part in protest over death of George Floyd in San Mateo of California
- Group embarks on market sensitisation on COVID-19, distributes face masks, gloves