President Muhammadu Buhari has been accused of compromising the integrity of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, for appointing card-carrying members of the All Progressives Congress, APC, as Resident Electoral Commissioners.
Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, HURIWA, through a statement by its National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, described the recent nominations of someone it describes as a questionable character with known political affiliation and record of alleged corruption, as unconstitutional, insisting that such nominees should not be confirmed by the Senate.
Recall that the President had on July 26 forwarded the names of 19 INEC REC nominees to the red chamber for confirmation. Five of the nominees were reappointed for a second term of five years while 14 others had new appointments.
However, a coalition of Civil Society Organisations including the Director, International Press Centre, said the nominee from Sokoto was an APC governorship aspirant in 2015 whilst the nominee for Enugu is alleged to be the younger sister of the APC Deputy National Chairman, South-East.
Likewise, the CSOs said the nominee for Imo, a former Head of ICT at INEC in Imo, is infamous for alleged corruption and connivance with politicians to undermine elections whilst the nominee for Ebonyi, a former Accountant-General in Ebonyi State, was suspended on allegations of incompetence and corruption in 2016.
Commenting, HURIWA said, “We align with the positions of our brother CSOs that these persons are unworthy to hold a sensitive position such as Resident Electoral Commissioners of the Independent National Electoral Commission unless the Federal Government is trying to reward politically prejudiced and allegedly corrupt individuals with sensitive and prestigious appointments.
“The APC government should be reminded of Section 14(2a) of the Third Schedule of the 1999 Constitution as amended which states that ‘a member of the commission shall be non-partisan and a person of unquestionable integrity.’
“Also, Section 14(3b) of the same Schedule states that ‘there shall be for each state of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory of Abuja, a Resident Electoral Commissioner who shall be a person of unquestionable integrity and shall not be a member of any political party.’
“Similarly, Section 156(1(a) of the same Schedule prohibits the appointment of such individuals with questionable character.
“This is not the first time the President will politicise the appointment of INEC officials. In 2020, the President nominated his aide on social media, Lauretta Onochie, as an INEC commissioner to represent Delta State. He later replaced her after an outrage condemning his decision.
“Also, in October 2019, a self-confessed APC member in Osun State, Olalekan Raheem, was nominated as a resident electoral commissioner by the President though the Senate later rejected the nominee.
“The President must not compromise INEC’s integrity as Nigeria goes into an election year in 2023. INEC as an electoral umpire must be an apolitical institution with objective individuals with no record of political allegiance.
“Nigerians are watching to see how the APC government intends to smuggle its members into INEC top organs to allegedly circumvent the process in favour of the ruling party which intends to perpetuate itself into power after failing Nigerians in all ramifications.”
KOGI GUBER: Former Dep. Gov Achuba endorses Muri, urges Kogites to reject Gov. Bello’s violence, 3rd term agenda
…Says Bello brought his cousin, Ododo of APC, to elongate his grip on Kogi resources
Ahead of the November 11 governorship poll, a former Deputy Governor of Kogi State, Simon Achuba, has declared his support for the candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), Yakubu Murtala Ajaka.
Achuba, who served under Governor Yahaya Bello, on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC), told journalists in Abuja at the weekend that he decided to back Ajaka because of his pedigree and capacity to retrieve the state from maladministration.
He charged voters not to be intimidated by the spate of kidnapping and killings that has permeated the state since the commencement of the electioneering.
Also, he tasked the people of Kogi East in particular to desist from causing mayhem against the people because of political gains.
According to him, Governor Bello brought his cousin, Ahmed Ododo, of the APC, to elongate his grip on the resources of Kogi State without any commensurate development.
“If this is allowed to go through, his wife may become our Governor in 2027. God forbid!!!. We call on all well meaning Kogites irrespective of political ethnic and religious divide to rise up and resist the evil seed being plotted in Kogi State.
“It has been 7 years and 8 months of reckless plundering of our state resources without any tangible legacy to show for his two tenures.
“Rather, all legacy projects by his predecessors has been sold off without reinvestment. I know as a matter of fact that about fourteen billion was paid to Kogi State by the Federal Government for a road constructed by his predecessor.
“Can the successor of Bello expect such legacy fund? It is like daydreaming to think so. He had the opportunity to write his name in gold but turned it down. He will be remembered for bad governance and violence perpetrated in Kogi State.
“Kogites have mastered your tactics and are at the game wisely. The result of the election come November 11 will prove to you that you have so much to learn.
“As you continue to receive decampees, we wish you state the disappointment that follows. Take note that your antics of violence and manipulation not withstanding, this time around will fail.”
He called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the security agencies to be diligent in the discharge of their functions.
“We wish to call on INEC to be free and ensure that the election is free and fair. Thank God we have BVAS, Glory to God.
“Anywhere there are votes beyond what the BVAS has accredited the agents are expected to protest.
“On the issue of security, we wish to call on the inspector general of police and the chief of army staff to keep a close eye on Kogi.
“When I was a still the deputy governor in 2019, the State House of Assembly raised the alarm over importation of military software. What concerns a civilian government with military software? Sincere then, there has been killings and kidnappings. We cannot continue like that.
“We urge Kogites to face the evil and terminate it. November 11 is by the corner. We urge the people to reject bad administration through the ballots.
“We call on INEC to check what is happening. I want to ask the youths in Kogi East why have they accepted to be agent of the devil? They should stop destroying the property of their brothers and sisters. The intention of this is to make sure that the votes in Kogi East are suppressed.
“If you endorse it, your children will suffer it . You may enjoy it for now but later you will suffer it. Instead of using the money to develop the state, he has pocketed it. This time the voices of the people will be loud and clear,” he added.
Tribunal verdict, victory for democracy and Enugu, says Gov Mbah
…extends hands of fellowship to opposition
…restates commitment to campaign promises
Governor of Enugu State, Dr. Peter Mbah, has lauded the decision of the Enugu State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal, which dismissed the petitions of the Peoples Redemption Party (PRP) and the Labour Party (LP) candidates challenging his victory in the March 18, 2023 governorship election, describing the decision as victory for democracy and the people of Enugu State.
Dr. Mbah, who also extended hands of fellowship to the opposition candidates and their political parties, said the task to build Enugu remained a collective one, adding that he was committed to working with all, irrespective of political persuasions.
The tribunal chaired by Justice Kudirat Akano, had earlier in the day dismissed the petitions of the governorship candidate of the PRP, Chris Agu, and the candidate of the LP, Chijioke Edeoga.
Addressing the state, at the Government House, Enugu, Mbah said: “This is another memorable day in the anal of our dear state, as the Enugu State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal affirmed the mandate, which you freely gave to us on 18th of March this year.
“This is victory for Ndi Enugu. It is also victory for democracy.
“It is a victory for massive development for Ndi Enugu. It is a victory for exponential growth for Ndi Enugu. It is a victory for Enugu’s greatness. It is a victory for the ban on Monday sit-at-home. It is also victory for our determination to restore water in all your homes in the next 68 days”.
While thanking God for making the victory possible, Dr. Mbah also commended the tribunal for painstakingly dissecting the petitions and “for coming out with fair and just decision that resonates with Ndi Enugu”.
According to him, “the verdict has further strengthened our confidence in the judiciary as the temple of justice and the last hope of the common man”.
Extending hands of fellowship to his opponents, Mbah said: “There is time for everything under the sun. There is time to strive and time to unite. We all put ourselves forward to serve Ndi Enugu. The people have spoken and the tribunal has also affirmed. If service was the motivation, then it is time to rise above partisanship and come together because there is so much work to be done.
“Our arms are wide open and I beckon on my brothers, who ran this race with us, to join us in the onerous task of building a new Enugu State of our dreams.
“In the same vein, I enjoin all our supporters to be magnanimous in victory. Politics is over. Governance began on 29th May when we were inaugurated. It is time to unite”.
Governor Mbah, who reiterated his resolve to deliver on his campaign promises, further stressed that the tribunal’s decision was an elixir to do more, and urged the people to hold him to account on those promises.
“Once more, I immensely thank the good people of Enugu State, who not only believed in us, but also vested their mandate in us. Above all also above, they have stood by us every step of the way.
“I want to assure them that I will work for them with every fibre of my being. I stand by every campaign promise I made as espoused in our Statement of Purpose. I also stand by the Citizens Charter that I executed on my first day in office. The Enugu people should hold me to account. I will not let them down”, he concluded.
BREAKING: Tribunal dismisses Edeoga, LP’s petition, affirms Mbah’s election as Enugu Governor
…Edeoga’s petition lacks merit
Chijioke Edeoga of the Labour Party (LP) had approached the tribunal to challenge the declaration on the grounds that Mbah wasn’t qualified to stand for the election.
He alleged that he forged his National Youth Service Corps, NYSC certificate and cases of over-voting in Udenu, Nkanu East and Enugu East local government areas.
The Tribunal chaired by Justice Kudirat Murayo Akano dismissed all grounds of petition saying his petition lacked merit.
The panel held that NYSC isn’t a requirement for contesting for the office of the Governor and there’s no where that the NYSC Certificate was attached to the documents Mbah submitted to INEC by the respondent.
On the issue of forging NYSC Certificate, the panel discountenanced all the evidences by the DSS, NYSC official and others because they weren’t in compliance with paragraph 4, sub-section 5D of the evidence act.
Only the witness of the pw26 which was described as a hearsay by the panel and those not help the petitioners and therefore resolved the issue of Certificate Forgery in favour of Mbah.
On the issue of wrong computation of results of the Labour Party in Udenu local government, the panel said they petitioners failed to prove his case and the witnesses they called gave the same report from different polling units and wards and wondered why their testimonies are the same even from different locations.
The panel also said that the witnesses presented by the Labour Party weren’t duly accredited agents by INEC and makes their testimony invalid.
The panel based on the witnesses from the right agents in 3 polling units, deducted 51 votes from PDP and added same to Labour Party.
The tribunal held that the deduction isn’t enough to Overturn the election of Mbah.
In Amagu polling unit in Nkanu East the panel cancelled the votes for all parties because the witness pw10 proved he was there and the right person.
In the remaining 11 polling units, the tribunal held that the witnesses didn’t sign the result sheet and their witnesses is discountenanced because they can’t prove they were party agents
After resolving all the matter, the tribunal dismissed the petition for lacking in merit.
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