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Posts tagged ‘Independent National Electoral Commission’

Court strikes out case against Jonathan’s candidacy for 2015 election.


A Federal High Court sitting in Kaduna said yesterday that President Goodluck Jonathan is eminently qualified to contest the 2015 presidential election if he so desired and struck out a suit seeking to stop him from contesting the election.

Delivering judgement on a suit brought before the court by two chieftains of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Richard Mneaga and Shuibu Lili, Presiding Judge, Justice Evelyn Anyadike also ruled that the plaintiffs lacked the locus standi to institute the case by virtue of section 308 of the constitution, which prohibited the president from sueing or being sued.

The plaintiffs, had among other things sought for an order of the court to disqualify President Jonathan from presenting himself as a

presidential candidate of the PDP in the 2015 election, and for the court to order the Independent National Electoral Commission to restrain the PDP from accepting nomination of Jonathan as its presidential candidate in the election.

The Plaintiffs had insisted in the suit which was filed on October 7, 2013, that Jonathan would have completed eight years in office as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria when calculated from May 29, 2007 and therefore want the court to declare that President Jonathan is not entitled to a tenure of office as President exceeding eight years calculated from 2007, as last holder of the said office”.

Justice Anyadike affirmed that President Jonathan has the constitutional right to contest for presidency in 2015 if he so desire, pointing out also that the court lacks the jurisdiction to entertain the matter since the plaintiffs did not follow the due process of filing their case, saying the petition was served out of jurisdiction.

She however dismissed the case for lack of merit.

Reacting, counsel to the plaintiffs, Mohammed Ibrahim dismissed the judgement, faulting the technicalities which the judge relied upon to dismiss the case rather than looking at the matter based on its merit.

Ibrahim however said they will be heading to the judgement at the Appeal Court for further interpretation of the judgement by the lower court, adding that they will also be asking the upper court to determine whether President Jonathan has the constitutional right to seek for another term of office in 2015.

But Counsels to President Jonathan, Nnamdi Ekwem and second defendants, (PDP), Victor Kwom, hailed the judgment, describing it as another landmark victory for democracy and rule of law.

Source: Radio Biafra.

Group Calls On Government to Establish Electoral Offences Tribunal.


Transform Nigeria Citizens Initiative has called on the National Assembly to pass a legislation to establish a special Electoral Offences Tribunal to dispense justice in all cases of electoral malpractice, ahead of the 2015 general election.

In a press statement released today, the global group popularly known as Transform Nigeria Movement, TNM, noted that the 2015 polls should be more transparent and more credible than that of 2011 as Nigeria cannot afford to have elections or general governance slide back in terms of peacefulness, fairness, transparency, or credibility.

TNM said that starting from April 2014; they will start a mobilisation campaign to ensure that such Tribunal is established in all the 36 States of the Federation and Abuja before the 2015 election.

“We stand with Nigerians who say loudly that they will not accept crooked tactics, electoral tampering, over-heated rhetoric, vote selling or buying, or violence”, the group said, adding that “anyone who engages in such election chicanery should be held accountable”.

“We call on Nigeria’s National Assembly to pass legislation enacting an Electoral Offences Tribunal legislation that President Jonathan himself proposed when he was vice president.”

Frowning at a situation where persons indicted of electoral malpractice in a cancelled election that was marred by rigging still goes ahead to contest again in the rescheduled elections and win, the group called it an anomaly and should no longer be tolerated.

“Such persons should be handed over to the law enforcement agencies for prosecution and if found guilty, be barred from contesting in all future elections for at least 10 years”.

TNM said that if Nigeria’s security agencies are allowed to do their jobs professionally like they did during the Anambra governorship poll, the elections would be safely held in states with gubernatorial elections this year and in 2015.

“Credible elections are the responsibility of every citizen,” The group said and urged voters to vote according to their conscience and not sell their votes, which would amount to selling their future and the future prosperity of their children.

“You must hold your politicians, your electoral commission, your judiciary, your media, your political parties, your security services, and one another accountable.  You must vote according to your conscience.  Anyone who witnesses fraud must peacefully report it to the INEC and the Nigerian judicial system for resolution.

“Nothing justifies violence.  Most importantly, Nigerians should vote.  The ballot is your means to select your leaders and determine your futures,” The statement said.

Source: SAHARA REPORTERS.

As We Await Jega’s Imperfect Elections In 2015 – By Peter Claver Oparah.


By Peter Claver Oparah

I don’t know what was probably on the mind of Attahiru Jega, the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) recently when he warned Nigerians not to expect a perfect election from his INEC in 2015. I am yet to fathom what message he wanted to send by that apparent admittance of failure before he sets out to deliver what Nigerians have rightly termed a crucial election that will make or mar the fragile country. It is not as if most Nigerian expected a perfect election; not from INEC and most certainly, not from Jega’s INEC that delivered an untidy farce in 2011 and had been delivering more egregious parodies in states it had conducted elections since that sordid show in 2011. Perhaps the high point of Jega’s incapacity to conduct elections in Nigeria was the November 16, 2013 tragedy in Anambra State which merely worked from an answer to a pre-determined question. The nationwide condemnation trailing that anti-climactic election jolted Jega, first to admit the infractions that besmirched the so called election while curiously approving the outcome (as is traditional with his questionable objectivity) and now, to seek to prepare us for the worst in 2015.
Yes, Jega wants to lower the high expectations Nigerians have built for a credible election in 2015.  Yes, he wants to pre-offload the seeming massive umbrage that awaits him should he play a predictable script of mismanaging the 2015 election to favour those that tele-guide him on the job. Yes, Jega was creating a convenient alibi for the predicted failure his INEC plans to shock Nigerians with in 2015 but I don’t think we should allow him such a cheeky escape route. Come to think of it, when did Jega wake up to the reality that his INEC cannot deliver a perfect election after he reveled in the syndicated applause that attended his abhorrent conduct in 2011? When did he wake up to realize that indeed, his INEC, with its present composition and carriage cannot be trusted to deliver an election that will even compete within the regional standard obtainable in West Africa? I ask the last question because Nigerians, I know, will certainly hail Jega and swathe him in flamboyant allure should he deliver an election that nears the standard obtainable in Ghana or even Benin Republic.

After his appointment, Jega was to embark on an expensive voter registration exercise that involved the capturing of the personal data of eligible Nigerian voters. From its face value, that looked a sure bet towards dealing with the virus of multiple thumb printing, which riles the country’s electoral process. It also stood to verify the authenticity of declared results for whenever the thumb printed votes come in contact with the captured data of voters, there is bound to be a scientific filtering to separate the actual votes from the fake votes. What should shock Nigerians was the first observation from curious Nigerians that there was no central server to store the cumulative data captured all over the country. That meant there was no base for the expensive data Jega captured at every polling booth in Nigeria. Also the deliberate manipulation of the voters’ register, as seen in the elections in Ondo, Anambra and Delta Central Senatorial constituency points to the fact that the data that were collated has been seriously compromised and cannot be trusted to form the cornerstone of credible election in Nigeria. Again, there was no known relationship between the data captured and the votes cast. On election day, one needs to present merely his temporary voters card for possible identification and nothing more. What really was the essence of the thumb print that was central to the voters’ registration? With this lacuna, desperate politicians were to corner all the ballot papers and in some cases, one person thumb printed as much as twenty booklets and all were accounted as real votes in the 2011 sham of an election. This was the magic behind the history-breaking 90 to 99 per cent votes the PDP appropriated in the South East and South South States in 2011.

Jega is being clearly mischievous by his latest warning to Nigerians not to expect a perfect election in 2015 and every Nigerian must tell him in unmistakable terms that we expect nothing more than a perfect election from him. If he cannot deliver, let him quit in time for the country to have for herself an election umpire that is ready to claim responsibility for his actions. Yes, let it be clear and candid that we will not accept any more of Jega’s farces again. I can attest that Jega’s INEC cannot conduct a credible election because Jega is too indebted to those that appointed him than disappoint their schemes to corner every election in Nigeria by hook or crook.

It has been the mantra of those that support the entrenchment of fraudulent elections in Nigeria to argue that there can no prefect election. Again, they freely charge that election losers in Nigeria can never accept defeat. These positions have been proven false by the conduct, outcome and reactions that trailed the June 12 1993 presidential election. Truth is Nigerians know a credible election when they see one and whenever it occurs, even losers will accept the outcome. Perfectness is a relative word and that elections are deemed perfect does not mean it is free from error. Nigerians know this and when they demand a perfect election, they want an election with minimal errors and not one that is deliberately schemed as a farce. A bigger truth is that apart from the 1993 presidential election, all other elections held in Nigeria have been mere concoctions put in place to dupe the electorates and further the ends of corruption and bad governance.

As it is now, Jega’s INEC is fully packed with leading PDP members. The rest are mere nominees of the PDP and President Jonathan. One wonders how a credible election can happen with the upper deck of INEC populated by members of a political party that had sworn to retain power till eternity through every available means. The process and procedures of elections are mere malleable tools at the hands of the PDP to arrive at pre-ordained ends. No foundation for credible election is built on such partial foundation and that is one of the burdens Jega carries and why Nigerian elections remain perpetually shambled with deliberately erected bulwarks stalking it at every end.

But this country has a well thought out report on electoral reform, as recommended by the Justice Mohammed Uwais Electoral Reform Panel. The panel is comprehensive enough as to remove most of the bulwarks that stand between Nigerians and credible election in its report. For understandable reasons, the ruling PDP sabotaged the report because while it stands to guarantee a free, independent and credible electoral organ and process, it threatens the plot by the PDP for perpetual fiefdom. The party rather prefers a system where we wobble through highly manipulated elections, executed according to its wills and by people of questionable integrity and party mercenaries. It rather prefers a situation where it enters the game both as a player and referee. It is within this pliable template that we locate Jega, his shoddy conducts so far and his frustration that gave vent to the recent warning. The question every Nigerian, especially the opposition must ask is whether we must continue to endure the process that threw up Jega and makes room for all his failures and still threaten us with future failures?

Methinks every Nigerian must rise up and tell Jega that we expect him to conduct a credible election in 2015 or find the exit door, if he feels he cannot guarantee that. We have collectively borne the brunt of fraudulent elections far too long that we cannot put up with another deliberately fabricated ruse in 2015. In fact, he should muster the courage and tact to steer off the way so as to enable the country address its electoral woes by strictly applying the Uwais Electoral Reform Panel Report. This must be made clear to Jega and the opposition should ensure that Jega is perpetually kept on his toes so as not to once again, dump another electoral charade on the country’s doorstep in 2015.

Peter Claver Oparah
Ikeja, Lagos.

E-mail: peterclaver2000@yahoo.com

 

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of SaharaReporters

Nigeria; 2015 And A ‘Diminished’ Sovereignty.


By Emmanuel Onwubiko

Few days before last year’s yuletide, a major political statement with far-reaching constitutional import was made by the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission[INEC] Professor Attahiru Jega to the effect that if the violent and bloody insurgency in the North Eastern states of Yobe, Borno and Adamawa persisted till January 2015 when the next General elections would hold, then the war torn states may not witness any of the election activities meaning that the chunk of the electorate from a sub-section of the nation would be disenfranchised in one of the Nigeria’s most historic elections since amalgamation one hundred years back.

President-Goodluck-JonathanIronically his ugly picture was graphically painted to depict a clear state of war in the North East barely two weeks after the confused technocrats in the Nigeria’s foreign affairs ministry disputed the account of the International Criminal Court [ICC] which stated that the North East of Nigeria is indeed witnessing a civil war. If the Nigerian state say the North East is not in a state of war, why then will the same government come up to admit that a situation of war going on in that same section of the country was capable of scuttling the holding of the general election in January 2015?

The same foreign affairs ministry opposed the United States government some months back to declare the dreaded Boko Haram as a Foreign Terrorist Organization only for the same Nigerian state to applaud the United States Government late last year when the administration indeed proceeded with the declaration of the global terrorists status against the Nigerian-based Boko Haram.

But in order not to detract from our subject of debate in this piece it is appropriate to remind my readers that almost immediately that significant warning was issued by the Independent National Electoral Commission that the continuous insurgency and armed insurrection in the North East may lead to withholding election in that section of the country come January 2015 polls, the political establishment of the opposition wing misconstrued that to mean that the Federal Government under the ruling Peoples Democratic Party [PDP] was only rehearsing through the mouth piece of the supposed independent electoral umpire how it intends to scheme out a  large percentage of the support base of the newly registered opposition All Progressives Congress in the coming polls to provide soft landing for the expected flag bearer of the national ruling party and the current President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria Dr. Good luck Jonathan.

Jonathan it would be recalled has neither declined or declared his intention to seek reelection in the January 2015 general election. Sadly, the political opposition in Nigeria has spectacularly failed to set up scholarly think tank made up of find minds to proffer alternative solutions to the prevailing state of insecurity in the North East which it controls both in the executive and the legislative arms. Nigeria’s political opposition indulge in playing huge political gambits with the state of insecurity threatening the territorial integrity of Nigeria.

Back to the bone of contention concerning whether election will hold or not in the North East if insurgency continues, those  In the opposition political bloc who believe President Jonathan is scheming to run say his body language shows clearly that his ambition to be reelected in 2015 is overwhelming. Incidentally, supporters of the current President whose hidden ambition to run as the Presidential flag bearer of his party with largely hand picked national hierarchy has divided the once formidable national party, are bent on ensuring that President Jonathan is returned elected.

The intensity of the contest among the ruling national party on which section of Nigeria should produce the next Presidential candidate which led to the formation of a break away faction [New PDP] that later merged with other opposition parties that coalesced into the single largest opposition political platform the All Progressives Congress [APC] has also been played up in the kinds of reactions that have emerged following the warning of the possibility of not holding election in the terrorism afflicted North Eastern states come 2015.

In a surreptitious attempt to put a lie to the fear expressed by the electoral commission that the ongoing insurgency may deny the electorate of the affected states of their constitutional civil and political rights in the coming national election, the Yobe state government staged a choreographed local council polls during which time no incidence of terrorism happened and indeed the newly formed All Progressives Congress which controls the state staged a successful but massively dramatic political rally in the trouble spot of Damaturu, Yobe state.

The local council poll that followed resulted in the eventual emergence of the All Progressives Congress [APC] as the winner in all the councils which means that even though the state indeed produced the nation’s junior finance minister who is a card carrying member of the national ruling party [PDP]and also the immediate past national women leader Hajia Chiroma who now holds a strategic Federal Board appointment under the current Jonathan administration could not even win their local councils of origin.

The Yobe political scenario that played up in the just concluded local council polls may have achieved two points in the thinking of the opposition All Progressives Congress namely, that the Independent National Electoral Commission need not fear to conduct the general election in January 2015 in the North Eastern states even with the disturbing phenomenon of violent terrorism attacks and secondly that the opposition political platform which gained Adamawa state with the cross carpeting of the PDP produced Governor Murtallah Nyako with the possible decampment of the former Vice President Alhaji Atiku Abubakar to the fold of opposition politicians, it may as well be appropriate to admonish the national ruling party to begin singing nunc dimitis [it is finish] as long as their political fortune is concerned in the coming election. How true are these political conjectures?

However, while career politicians continue to debate the merit and demerit of the threat by the electoral panel not to go ahead with election in January 2015 in the North East if the terrorists attacks persist, it is noteworthy to observe that the usually media omnipresent Nigerian military establishment has not said a word regarding the national security implication of the possibility that the violent insurgency by the dreaded armed Islamic rebels [Boko Haram]  could hamper the smooth conduct or indeed undermine the holding of election in all parts of Nigeria giving the fact that the constitutional mandate of the Nigerian military is to protect the territorial integrity of Nigeria and effectively safeguard the national interest of Nigeria and ensure that constitutional events such as the coming national election is not unduly sabotaged by armed insurrectionists.

The hierarchy of the Nigerian Armed Forces may have deliberately overlooked the obvious fact that if the next general election is in any way undermined leading to it not being held in any part thereof then the sovereignty of Nigeria can as well be adjudged diminished. This scenario must be avoided by all legitimate means. How do we feel as a sovereign state to wake up one morning to find out that some armed hoodlums who indeed crumbled the Maiduguri international airport by a barrage of successful attacks [in December 2013] leading to its closure to air traffic for three months [till March 2014] can successfully impede the conduct of election in over five states of the country with significant electorate?

Now a basic question to be asked is why the Nigerian armed forces has yet to implement comprehensive and effective combat strategies to clearly demonstrate to all Nigerians that it is capable of eliminating any major terrorist threat that may indeed scuttle the coming election in any form, shape or nature or indeed any criminal and rebellious activities by any armed hoodlums that will stop the constitutionally empowered electoral panel from holding election in all parts of Nigeria simultaneously. Why was it possible for the Iraqi and Afghanistan governments to have successfully organized national elections amidst civil wars whereas Nigeria that has over the last two years started fighting the armed insurgents in the North East not being able to confidence building measures to enable election that is one clear calendar year away from holding successfully in Nigeria? Where have all the Billions of public fund said to have been invested in procuring state of the art security infrastructure to change the security architecture of Nigeria to battle terrorists gone to? Have the massive defence budget of Nigeria been stolen in 2013? Nigerians need answers to these critical posers.

+Emmanuel Onwubiko; Head; Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria and blogs

Source: African Examiner.

FG is to spend N11 billion to host the national dialogue and the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Abuja.


okonjo

This figure is contained in the details of the 2014 budget breakdown, which states that N7 billion is to be spent on the national dialogue.

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, on January 18, 2005, requested the approval of N932 million to fund a three-month National Political Reform Conference scheduled to begin mid-February of the same year.

In the breakdown, Obasanjo said delegates would earn N21.68million as sitting allowance and N650. 25 million as allowances in lieu of accommodation.

Also included was N1.7million for return tickets from London, Washington, Beijing and Johannesburg, in addition to N28,800 for return flights to Abuja for the inaugural session and subsequent conference meetings.

Delegates, he noted, would be given N14,400 for airport taxi and local transportation within Abuja. There was provision for, at least, two CVU long wheel cars to be hired and fuelled at N2.9 million.

However, in the case of the Dr. Jonathan administration’s national dialogue, there is no breakdown of how the N 7 billion will be spent.

Besides, N4 billion is to be spent on hosting the WEF in Abuja.

These figures are captured under the Service Wide Vote of the Federal Ministry of Finance for 2014, with other expenses submitted for appropriation to the National Assembly. They include N35,409,859,962 to fund the presidential amnesty programme for the reintegration of transformed ex-militants; N546,300,000 for the presidential amnesty programme for the reintegration/transition safety allowances for 3,642 ex-militants (third phase) and N3,699,933,814 as operational cost for the programme.

Besides, the fund allocated to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct elections, N21 billion is voted by the Ministry under its service wide vote for election logistics support. There is also N7 billion proposal for payment of outsourced services.

Under the miscellaneous heading of the ministry’s service wide vote in 2014, N27.5 billion is proposed to be spent on unexplained contingency funding; N5,149,600,000 is set aside for adjustments to the recurrent budget and N5 billion for capital cost adjustments.

The capital expenditure of the ministry’s service wide vote is estimated to cost N433,584,612357. From this amount, N100 billion will go to finance constituency projects for legislators of the National Assembly; N62.8 billion for special intervention; N8 billion for national job creation scheme; N30 billion for the sinking fund for infrastructural development; N14 billion for Nigeria Electricity Liability Management Company (NELMCO) and N16 billion for the bulk trader.

In the budget, N5 billion is budgeted to be spent on “2011 election violence and civil disturbance (damage done to public property and places of worship) and N12.6 billion on special intervention Millennium Development Goals (MDGs 1 and 2).

About N10 billion is to be returned to a special account (not specified) and another N10 billion to fund the Multi Year Tariff Order (MYTO) under the electricity provision programme. The government, through the ministry is asking for N25 billion to pay off maturing domestic bonds and N5 billion for payment of local contractors’ debts; N16 billion for Development Finance Institution (DFI) and N4,060,000,000 to fund galaxy backbone infrastructure.

Source: Radio Biafra.

PHOTONEWS : INEC Registered A Bowl Of Rice As A Voter In Anambra.


By Saharareporters, New York

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) presented a bowl of rice as one the registered voters during the recently concluded gubernatorial election in Anambra State.  The bowl of rice pictured in INEC’s voter’s roll was registered as a 37 year old male voter in Umuerodili township in Anambra State.

NCP Raises Alarm Over INEC’s Plot to De-Register More Political Parties.


The National Conscience Party (NCP), founded by the late human rights lawyer, Gani Fawehinmi, has voiced concerns that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was plotting with the National Assembly to de-register more political parties in order to suit the interests of those already in power.

 

In a state-of-the-nation address to the press yesterday, the party’s national chairman, Yunusa Tanko, alleged that INEC was requesting the powers from the National Assembly to reduce the number of political parties in existence. The party condemned a move by INEC to acquire the power to disqualify candidates, adding that disqualifications should be left to political parties. Mr. Tanko advised INEC to focus on addressing rigging and other electoral problems.

 

 

Earlier this year, the NCP had filed a court case to stop INEC’s moves to de-register political parties.

 

The NCP also criticized INEC’s decision to uphold a law that allows office holders to defect after an election. The party asserted that, once a candidate obtains a mandate on a political platform, it is dangerous to allow that candidate to trade that mandate at will. The NCP describe the practice as inimical to a viable democracy.

 

According to the NCP chairman, partisan defections cause the loss of internal discipline and result in arbitrary behavior by officials, especially those who are already in public offices.

 

Mr. Tanko condemned INEC’s search for enabling legislation to be able to de-register parties, saying that the measure would serve the interests of the parties currently in power.

The chairman cited Kenya and Benin Republic as examples of countries with a much smaller population than Nigeria, yet with more political parties.

 

“Nigeria has only 25 political parties with over 171 million people while Kenya has 59 political parties with far less population, and also Benin Republic has only 9 million people with more than 100 political parties,” said Mr. Tanko.

 

On former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s now famous public letter to President Goodluck Jonathan, Mr. Tanko stated that the message in the letter was more important at this time than the messenger. The NCP chairman condemned the alleged training of snipers by President Jonathan to silence opposition elements, adding, however, that he did not excuse Mr. Obasanjo of culpability in the same offence during his tenure.

 

Reacting to the exodus of key PDP members into the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr. Tanko said it confirmed that some parties exist out of sheer interest to stay in power and be in charge of the nation’s resources, without having any ideological identity.

 

“NCP remains the only political party that cares for the masses and has a genuine manifesto,” Mr. Tanko asserted. He denied that the NCP had any intention or plan to merge with other parties. Rather, he clarified that NCP may consider alliances with some parties that share similar ideologies.

 

“A merger means parties will lose their individual certificates and come under one certificate, but alliance means we can come together to achieve certain programs together without losing our partisan certificate to the arrangement,” he explained.

Source: SAHARA REPORTERS.

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