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What Nigeria Election Means Globally – British High Commission

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The British High Commission, on Wednesday, said it was committed to a successful general election in 2023 because the world would be watching Nigeria.

While admitting that worsening economic crisis and security challenges would be potential threats to the election, the BHC said the execution of the 2023 election would be a significant milestone for Nigeria.

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The Head, Governance and Stability in the Foreign, Commonwealth Development Office of the United Kingdom, Elizabeth Drew, stated this in Abuja, on Tuesday, during a national stakeholders forum on elections organised by a coalition of over 80 human rights organisations under the aegis of Nigerian Civil Society Situation Room, with support from FCDO and UKAID.

During the programme, the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, said the commission was mobilising every national institution to track campaign financing and combat the illicit flow of funds.

The Convener of NCSSR, Ene Obi, said the forum would critically assess the current political environment and make recommendations and suggestions in the preparations and conduct of the 2023 general elections.

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As we inch closer to the 2023 general elections, all eyes and attention will be on the elections and expectations will be very high considering that this will be Nigeria’s sixth general elections since 1999.

READ ALSO: PDP Differs As APC Dismisses Electronic Result Transmission

“We will also use the forum to advocate for building political power in order to address civic engagement and voter mobilization. It is our hope to see an improved electoral environment in Nigeria as we head toward the general elections in 2023.

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“We will continue to work towards improving Nigeria’s elections – to ensure that the process is free, fair and reflects the choice of citizens,” Obi said.

Drew said, “There are admittedly concerns as we approach the polls. Nigeria is going into the general elections against a backdrop of security concerns and challenging economic growth.

“These are all factors that can potentially impact on the successful execution of the polls and hinder the meaningful participation of citizens across the country. The UK stands ready to continue to support INEC and all relevant stakeholders in the efforts to effectively execute the polls within this context.

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“Nigeria’s democracy really matters; as the largest democracy in Africa, Nigeria’s leadership on electoral reform and practice is important for the continent and beyond. Other countries look to Nigeria for democracy issues. The execution of the 2023 polls will be a significant milestone in this respect.

“As a long-standing partner, we believe in Nigeria, and we believe in democracy in Nigeria. We are keen to see a successful general election in Nigeria next year.”

The INEC chairman said the commission was ready to track campaign financing and the illicit flow of funds among politicians and political parties who bankroll elections.

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Yakubu said, “Turning to campaign finance, the commission is determined to tackle the matter frontally. Areas of violation include party and candidate expenditure beyond what is provided by law and the diabolical practice of vote buying at polling units on election day.

“We are mobilising every national institution with the responsibility for tracking and combating the illicit flow of funds as well as the broadcast and print media regulatory agencies to confront the problem head-on. The details of this will be unveiled shortly.”

Yakubu promised that INEC would continue to work with civil societies for the improvement of the electoral process in Nigeria.

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According to him, INEC had reviewed the Memorandum of Understanding with the National Union of Road Transport Workers and expanded the scope of collaboration to include the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria for the riverine areas.

He said, “On electoral logistics, particularly the arrangements for the movement of personnel and materials to various locations during elections, the commission met again with the service providers and reviewed the Memorandum of Understanding with the road transport unions.

“Arising from our experience in previous elections, the commission has expanded the scope of collaboration to include the marine union for the riverine areas. Very soon, the revised MoU will be signed with the service providers to cover both land and maritime transportation.

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“However, there are four broad areas that Nigerians would like to receive assurances of the progress the Commission is making and challenges (if any) being encountered. They are security, campaign finance, technology, the Permanent Voters’ Cards and assurances that their votes will count on election day.

“On security, the commission has said repeatedly that it is an area of concern. The commission has the responsibility to conduct elections. However, securing the environment for the deployment of personnel and materials as well as the peaceful conduct of elections is a shared responsibility involving the security agencies, the political actors and their supporters, the media and all other critical stakeholders.

“The perennial insecurity in the country is a source for concern. This existing challenge is compounded by the unfortunate incidents of attacks on campaigns, rallies and processions across all political parties.”

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Yakubu also said that beyond the provisions of the law, the commission held an emergency meeting of the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security in the wake of the recent attacks on INEC Local Government offices in Ogun and Osun States.

READ ALSO: PDP Crisis: Atiku Support Group Reveals What Will Happen If Ayu Resigns

“Far-reaching resolutions were arrived at, including the deployment of joint security teams to our facilities nationwide. Beyond that, the Inspector-General of Police summoned an extraordinary meeting with leaders of political parties on the imperative of peaceful campaigns.

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“We will continue to follow up on that bold step in our engagement with political parties and other critical stakeholders,” he said.

The Inspector-General of Police, Usman Alkali-Baba, represented by ACA Director of Operations, Onaghise Osanyade, Assistant Commissioner of Police, said the Nigeria Police Force was working to guarantee an enabling environment for the conduct of the 2023 elections.

Alkali-Baba, however, said that with synergy with other stakeholders, the elections would be free, fair and credible in a peaceful atmosphere.

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Tribunal: INEC Presents Blurry Adeleke’s Testimonial, Oyetola Kicks

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The Election Petition Tribunal hearing case emanating from the July 16 governorship election in Osun State was forced into adjournment on Thursday following presentation of blurry documents used by the Governor Ademola Adeleke for 2018 elections.

The eight-page documents presented by a Deputy Director of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Joan Arabs, included Certified True Copies of the testimonial obtained by Adeleke from Ede Muslim Grammar School, and West Africa Examination Council General Certificate of Education.

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The panel had last week Friday ruled that INEC chairman should bring Adeleke’s filings for 2018 poll on its next sitting.

READ ALSO: Adeleke Directs LG Heads To Replace Sacked Chairmen

At the day’s proceedings, after checking the documents presented by INEC, counsel to the petitioners, Lateef Fagbemi, SAN, who appeared with Akin Olujinmi, SAN, told the panel that two out of the pages were not clear enough.

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Fagbemi said section for scores obtained by the candidate on the GCE result was blank, adding that the address of the school that awarded the testimonial was not also clear enough.

But counsel to INEC, Prof. Paul Ananaba, SAN, said the copies were clear and readable, urging the plaintiffs to allow the documents to be admitted, since they had earlier claimed that they had CTC copies of the documents which could be presented.

He assured not to object to the documents if presented by the plantiffs.

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Counsel to Adeleke and Peoples Democratic Party, Onyeachi Ikpeazu, SAN and Dr. Alex Izinyon, SAN, respectively said the documents were clear enough, but admitted some sections were blurry.

They, however, said the documents were still rectifiable and urged the petitioners to call their next witness, while INEC should be made to present a clearer copies, if they have.

Ananaba later called for stand down of the matter to enable him obtain screenshots of the documents from the INEC headquarters in Abuja.

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After the panel had reconvened, Ananaba presented both colour and back and white copies made from the screenshots obtained from INEC head office, which he also admitted were not better than the copies earlier presented.

He sought adjournment to enable INEC brought before the panel, the file from which the copies earlier presented were made from.

READ ALSO: JUST IN: Supreme Court Affirms Osun Gov-elect, Adeleke As PDP Candidate

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Fagbemi, however, insisted that the order of the court was that clear documents should be presented, saying the respondents must comply with the directive.

Reading the ruling of the panel, the Tribunal Chairman, Justice Tertse Kume, adjourned the matter till Saturday for the INEC to bring the original file containing the documents.
PUNCH

 

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JUST IN: Labour Party Expels Peter Obi’s DG, Okupe, 10 Others

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The Labour Party in Ogun State has expelled the Director-General of the Peter Obi Presidential Campaign Council, Doyin Okupe.

Okupe was sacked alongside 10 others for alleged non-financial membership status, high-handedness and financial recklessness.

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The Chairman of the party in Ogun State, Michael Ashade, announced the party’s decision in Abeokuta Thursday, saying the offences were a breach of the Labour Party’s constitution.

Ashade said Okupe has ceased to be a LP member for his “failure to meet the mandatory constitutional requirements to fulfill membership status.”

According to him, Okupe had failed to pay his membership dues since the last six months he joined the Party, saying he has therefore forfeited his membership of the Labour Party and he is no longer fit to act as the Director General of Obi’s campaign council.

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He stated that the offenses of Okupe amd and the other 10 are against Article 9(3) sub(iii) and Article 9(3)xi of the LP constitution.

READ ALSO: Akwa Ibom YPP Guber Candidate Bags 42 Years In Prison Over Corruption

He accused Okupe of mismanaging the funds approved for the LP in Ogun to mobilize members for the rally held last week at Ibadan, the Oyo State capital.

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While notifying the LP National Chairman, Barr Julius Abure of their decision, they called on Obi to immediately appoint another DG for the PCC from the North.

Okupe could not be reached for his reactions as calls to his mobile phone were unanswered.

He also did not respond to a text message sent to him as of the time of this report.

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Okupe is from Ikenne Local Government Area of Ogun State.

 

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Court Strikes Out Fresh Suit Seeking To Sack Rivers APC Guber Candidate

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A Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt, on Wednesday, stuck out a suit by a governorship aspirant in the All Progressives Congress, APC, Benard Mikko, over the party’s primary elections in Rivers State.

The Governorship candidate of the APC, Tonye Cole, the Independent National Electoral Commission and another governorship aspirant of the APC Ojukaye Flagg-Amachree were also joined in the suit.

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But the court ruled that the suit was lacking in merit.

Mikko had approached the court to direct INEC to disqualify Tonye Cole from next year’s Governorship election, claiming that the primary election held on 26th of May, 2022, that brought him in as the governorship candidate was marred with irregularities.

He also claimed that the candidate has a questionable character following his indictment in a white paper report by a commission of inquiry set up by the Rivers State government.

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READ ALSO: BREAKING: Court Sacks Tonye Cole As APC Governorship Candidate In Rivers

Presiding judge, Justice Ayua Phoebe in her judgment said the court lacked the jurisdiction to hear the suit because the plaintiff failed to exhaust all the internal mechanisms of the party before instituting the legal action, adding that the party is supreme.

The judge, while describing the suit as frivolous and abuse of court process, ruled that Mikko also failed to abide by his earlier oath of allegiance sworn to the APC never to institute any legal action against the party and that he will support whoever emerged from the primaries.

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While the counsel to the APC, Chinda Chizim commended the judgement, that of the plaintiff, Eli Ojigba said he will consult his client for his next line of action.

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