The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says it stands by its statement that the All Progressives Congress (APC) will not field candidates for the 2019 general elections in Zamfara.
INEC Chairman, Mahmoud Yakubu, stated this on the sideline of the opening of a two-day validation workshop titled “Study on the cost of elections in ECOWAS Region” on Monday in Abuja.
“We have issued a statement on Zamfara and nothing has changed. We stand by the statement that we issued,” he said.
Mr Yakubu re-emphasised that the deadline for submission of party candidates’ name to the commission was October 18, saying that it would give a full report on that after November 18.
INEC had informed the ruling APC in a leaked memo that it would not be allowed to field candidates for elective positions in Zamfara in the 2019 elections.
The commission’s acting secretary, Okechukwe Ndeche, in a letter to the APC said the party was barred from fielding candidates for governorship, national assembly and state assembly elections.
The commission said this was because APC failed to comply with Sections 87 and 31 of the Electoral Act of 2010.
Parties, according to the act, were expected to comply with the timetable and schedule of INEC, which says that the conduct of primaries must be held between August 18 and October 7.
INEC said it received reports from its Zamfara office, indicating that no primaries were conducted in the state “notwithstanding that our officials were fully mobilised and deployed.”
The APC National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, later responded to INEC in a statement and said that the party had already arrived at a consensus before the deadline.
Mr Oshiomhole said that following the high level of friction, disagreements and threats of violence by various political camps before the primaries, all the aspirants met at City King Hotel, Gusau, to find a truce.
“After hours of intense horse-trading, a consensus was reached within the spirit and context of the electoral act and the constitution of our party.
“This was done in strict compliance with Section 87 (6) of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended),” he said.
He said that the claim by INEC that no primaries were conducted could only be referring to its officials’ observation that actual voting did not take place.
The APC chairman said that conduct of primaries was not the only mode prescribed for producing candidates in the electoral act, 2010 (as amended).
“We, therefore, affirm that indeed, primaries took place in Zamfara State,” Mr Oshiomhole said.
The party chairman also noted that PDP had similar issues in Kano State and wondered why INEC did not bar the opposition party from fielding candidates.
Mr Yakubu further said that the commission would by the end of November print the outstanding Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs).
“We have printed the PVCs for those who registered in the first quarter of 2018. We are right now simultaneously printing for those who registered in the second and third quarters.
“We are looking at the end of November for all the PVCs to be printed including request for transfer and relocation.
“Let me just repeat the assurance that every citizen that registered and who have applied for transfer or replacement will get his or her PVC before 2019 general elections.”
He, however, said that the commission had stopped every registration, request for transfer and replacement of damaged PVCs. (NAN)
Deadly Zika Virus fast circulating in Kenya
The deadly Zika virus, which almost marred the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil, has been detected in Kenya for the first time.
On Friday, local researchers said they have detected 33 Zika incidents in West Pokot County and one in Turkana County, the first ever recorded in Kenya.
The team from the Ministry of Health, the Nairobi-based International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (Icipe), Kenya Medical Research Institute (Kemri) and Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology want measures put in place to prevent a possible outbreak.
The researchers in the study published in Virology Journal on Friday on May 17, 2019, said they had found evidence Zika virus has been circulating undetected in human populations in West Pokot and Turkana counties.
The team led by Edith Chepkorir of Icipe was hunting for yellow fever, dengue, West Nile and Zika viruses in the two counties.
The areas were being investigated because they border Uganda, South Sudan and Ethiopia where recent outbreaks of yellow fever and dengue have been reported, with possibility of spillover into Kenya.
In the study, they found all the four viruses present with Zika being recorded for the first time in Kenya.
The team had collected 877 samples from the two counties with 33 turning positive for Zika in West Pokot and one in Turkana.
“The results in the current study suggest circulation of Zika in both counties, yet there have never been reported or confirmed cases of Zika in Kenya,” the report notes.
The virus was first identified in a rhesus monkey in 1947 in the Zika forest in Uganda. Coincidentally, the new study says the Kenya cases were detected in an area called Kanyerus, West Pokot, which is very close to where the virus was first recorded in Uganda.
EFCC arrests 10 suspected Internet Fraudsters in Abuja
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Abuja Zonal office have arrested ten suspected internet scammers popularly known as “Yahoo Boys” at Favour Estate Land Estate, in Abuja.
They were arrested following a tip-off by an anonymous source.
Some of the items recovered from the suspects were exotic cars, laptops and smart phones.
A statement released by the antigraft agency gave the names of the suspects as Okorokpa Clifford, Ejechi Rukeme Clarence, Omoagbere Nelson, Olamide Agbi, Prosper Williams, Zhenom Moses, Nasiru Saudi Ali, Shakajede Okiemute, Okoro Andrew and Amorighoye Laju Precious.
Christchurch shootings: Court charges Mosque attacker with terrorism
The man accused of killing 51 people in the Christchurch mosques attack has been charged with terrorism, New Zealand police have said.
Brenton Tarrant was charged with “engaging in a terrorist act”, police said in a statement on Tuesday.
He is already facing charges of murder and 40 of attempted murder following the attack on two mosques in the South Island city on 15 March.
The Australian is next due in court in June.
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