The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says it is working to make permanent voters card (PVC) available in November to all voters who registered this year.
The Chairman of the commission, Mahmood Yakubu, stated this while addressing journalists after the opening of a validation workshop on the study cost of elections in the ECOWAS region.
“The update is that we have printed the PVCs for those who registered in the first quarter of 2018 and we are simultaneously printing for those who registered in the second and third quarters. So we looking at the end of November for all the PVCs to be printed.”
Mr Yakubu assured everyone who registered and applied for transfer or replacement of their cards of getting their PVCs ahead of the 2019 general elections.
Asked if there was still room for those who want to request for transfer, he said the request of transfer was suspended alongside voter registration on August 31.
“No, we have closed simultaneously as we suspended the registration until after the general election. But what we are doing is processing the applications we received before the August 31st deadline for the suspension of voter registration.”
The workshop was based on a study carried out on Benin Republic, Cape Verde, Guinea Bissau. Liberia, Nigeria and Senegal, to review and validate findings on the increasing cost of conducting elections.
Mr Yakubu, who is also the president of ECOWAS Network of Electoral Commissions (ECONEC), said the study which is part of ECONECs two-year Work Plan (2016-2018) is borne out of the serious concern by all electoral commissions in the sub-region about the spiraling cost of conducting elections.
“The task of meeting such extensive expenditure has increasingly challenged the national resources of many countries in our region. It is against this background that Governing Board of ECONEC inaugurated this study to explore what we can do as election managers, working together with national stakeholders and development partners, to find ways to reduce the cost of elections without jettisoning new innovations or compromising the quality, transparency and credibility of elections.”
He said ECONEC had undertaken needs assessment, solidarity and mid-term review missions to several member states for Election Management Bodies (EMBs) in the sub-region to share experience, expertise and even pool resources.
This, he said, was “not only with a view to ensuring best practice through peer review, but also in order to reduce the cost of conducting elections among our member states.”
He noted that it was in this light that member countries began to support each other to conduct their elections.
“Burkina Faso assisted neighbouring Niger Republic with ballot boxes and the printing of the voters register for the February 2016 presidential and parliamentary elections. Similarly, Ghana provided support to the Republic of Liberia with the printing of the voters register for the October 2017 presidential and parliamentary elections.
“Indeed, INEC Nigeria assisted the Republic of Liberia with the deployment of ICT experts to clean up the disputed voters register in order to break the logjam to the conduct of the December 2017 presidential run-off.
“At a bilateral level, countries within the region have also provided material and technical assistance to one another to support the conduct of credible elections. The latest example is Nigeria’s support for the ongoing voter registration exercise in Guinea-Bissau.”
He said election is a sovereign national responsibility, but in the past multi-lateral agencies such as the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the European Union (EU), working together with other development partners, had, in some cases, provided support through the donor basket to fund certain electoral expenditure.
Mr Yakubu said although this was commendable, electoral commissions in the ECOWAS region need to rethink the way elections are funded in such a manner as to make the electoral process more cost-effective yet free, fair and credible.
“This is because of the contending expenditure of government on other aspects of national development. An expensive election that ushers in a Government that lacks the resources to fulfill its campaign promises to citizens may, in the long run, erode public confidence in elections in particular and the democratic process in general.
“The obvious first step is to conduct a study on why elections cost so much. From such a study, we can then determine what can be done to reduce the cost.
“Mindful of the different jurisdictions within the ECOWAS region, we selected six countries for the study, consisting of two countries from each of the three official linguistic blocs: Nigeria and Liberia (Anglophone), Benin Republic and Senegal (Francophone) and Cape Verde and Guinea-Bissau (Lusophone).
“The three experts that anchored the study were drawn from Nigeria (Prof. Adele Jinadu), Benin Republic (Francis Laleye) and Cape Verde (Jose Cabral Sanches). On behalf of ECONEC, I would like to thank them for deploying their experience and expertise in undertaking the study in spite of the short period of time available and limited resources.”
The INEC chairman said the idea of pooling resources (ballot boxes, vehicles for electoral logistics etc.) together to be deployed in support of elections in countries within the region on the basis of need is now more urgent than ever before and assured of ECONEC’s full support.
“ECONEC is in full support of the establishment of an election materials depot in Lungi, Sierra Leone, where some facilities such as trucks for electoral logistics already exist. We support this initiative and would cooperate with ECOWAS for its actualisation in line with the organisation’s mandate on electoral assistance to member states.”
He appreciated ECOWAS and ECONEC for championing the idea of pooling electoral resources together in support of the electoral process in the region.
He also expressed gratitude to the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA) for helping to equip and sustain the permanent secretariat in Abuja as well as the grant to undertake this study, the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ) for sponsoring this validation workshop, in addition to the mid-term review of elections in the region, and the Electoral Institute for Sustainable Development in Africa (EISA).
OAU Professor Allegedly Involved In Sex-For-Marks Scandal To Be Arraigned By ICPC
Mr Akindele was accused of demanding sex from one of his students, Ms. Monica Osagie, in order to upgrade her academic result.
In a statement by the spokesman of the commission, Rasheedat Okoduwa,Professor Akindele will be docked on Monday 19th November 2018, on a 3-count charge having been accused of using his position as a lecturer in the Department of Management and Accounting to demand for sexual benefit from a student and fraudulently upgrade her result in Research Method course which she supposedly failed in 2017.
The Commission says that his actions were contrary to Sections 8 (1) (a) (ii), and 18 (d) of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000 and are punishable under the same sections.
One of the counts reads, “That you, professor Akindele, on or about the 16th day of September, 2017 at Ile-Ife did corruptly ask for sexual benefits for yourself from Ms. Monica Osagie on account of favour to be afterwards shown to her by you in the discharge of your official duties as a lecturer in the Department of Management and Accounting, Obafemi Awolowo University, to wit; altering her academic grades in the course with code MBA 632- Research Method from fail to pass; and thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 8(1)(a)(ii) of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000.”
The 57-year-old professor has asked for plea-bargain having admitted guilt. He also cited ill-health as a factor that may make him unable to stand the rigours of prison life, notifying the Commission through his lawyer, Omotayo Alade-Fawole.
He pleaded that his prayers for plea-bargain be considered, more so as he was already serving punishment for his offence having been sacked by the university.
Ms. Osagie had earlier expressed a lack of confidence in the capacity of ICPC to give her a fair hearing.
According to the commission, the public announcement of the professors impending arraignment is in fulfillment of its promise to the public to avail them of the outcome of the investigation in due time.
Traditional Ruler Arrested Over Alleged N15.5m Fraud
The State Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), DSP Abimbola Oyeyemi, in a statement made available to TribuneOnline, said the arrest of the traditional ruler followed a petition written by the management of a real estate firm against the traditional ruler.
DSP Oyeyemi said the company approached the traditional ruler for the purchase of about 23 acres of land in his domain, which was negotiated for N15.5 million, and the company paid the amount to the suspect after showing them the land.
“Surprisingly, some months after the payment was made, the traditional ruler started selling the same portion of land to another set of people, and before the company knew what was going on, he had sold 17 acres out of the 23 acres.
“As a result of the petition, the state Commissioner of Police, Ahmed Iliyasu, directed the officer in charge Public Complaints Bureau to look into the case and bring the suspect to book.
“The traditional ruler was subsequently arrested, and on interrogation, he admitted collecting the said amount of money from the complainant after showing them the land.
“He stated further that it was when he needed some money for his coronation that he was tempted to sell parts of the already sold land,” DSP Oyeyemi stated.
The police spokesperson said CP Iliyasu had ordered a thorough investigation into the case, and that the suspect would be arraigned in court in accordance with the anti-land grabbing laws of Ogun State.
Court orders forfeiture of N300m bonds over Kanu’s absence
A Federal High Court in Abuja has ordered the interim forfeiture of the N300 million bail bonds by sureties to Nnamdi Kanu following their failure to produce him in court on Tuesday.
Justice Binta Nyako ordered that the money be deposited in the court’s bank account and not the Federal Givernment’s Treasury Single Account (TSA) before the next adjourned date on March 28, 2019.
The judge ruled that the sureties: Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe; a Jewish priest, Immanuel Shalom, and an Abuja-based accountant, Tochukwu Uchendu, would be given six months to argue their applications challenging the forfeiture.
However, the co-accused to the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) Bright Chimezie, Chidiebere Onwudiwe, Benjamin Madubugwu, and Chidiebere Onwudiwe were present as their trial on three count-charges bordering on conspiracy to commit treasonable felony and setting up illegal broadcast stations, continued.
Earlier, prosecution counsel Suleiman Labaran asked the court to order the sureties to show cause why the N100m bail bond for each of the them should not be forfeited to the Federal Government.
But counsel to Abaribe, Chukwu Machukwu-Ume (SAN) said the lawmaker went on an oversight function with the Senate Committee on Niger Delta.
Justice Binta Nyako threatened to issue a bench warrant for the arrest of Abaribe and Uchendu, who was said to be ill. Shalom was present in court.
The sureties had filed separate applications asking the court to stop their suretyship on the ground that they can no longer perform that responsibility because of some supervening and exceptional circumstances.
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