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22 Mar 2019

Nigeria election: INEC reacts as Gov. Okorocha, others drag electoral umpire to court

The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has reacted to the decision of the Governor of Imo State, Rochas Okorocha to drag it to court.

Following INEC’s refusal to issue him a Certificate of Return after being declared winner of Imo West senatorial election, Governor Okorocha on Thursday took a legal action against the commission.

Speaking in an interview with newsmen after the briefing on fate of federal lawmakers yet to be issued Certificate of Return in spite of being declared as winners of the elections, Festus Okoye, INEC’s National Commissioner, Information and Voter Education, said since Okorocha and others have taken legal action, the commission will allow the judiciary to decide.

He said that there were four lawmakers in that category, whose INEC refused to issue Certificates because their results were declared under duress.

He added, “Since they have taken legal option we are going to allow the judiciary to take it course.

“At the end of the day we will comply with whatever the court says,” he said.

Rivers: INEC to resume collation of election results

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has fixed April 13 for supplementary election in  Rivers State.

Besides, the commission is to resume collation of results of the last governorship and state Assembly elections from April 2 to 5.

INEC, however, noted that election had been concluded in 21 state constituencies.

The collation of the results for the election held on March 9 was suspended due to violence.

The Commission set up a Fact-Finding Committee that visited the state and submitted its report which revealed that while election could not hold in a few areas, they were successfully concluded in others with the declaration of winners in 21 state constituencies. Collation was ongoing at the time of the suspension of the process.

Announcing the outlined activities and timeline to resolve the electoral logjam in the state, the INEC National Commissioner in charge of Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, said the commission will on March 30 meet with critical actors in the state after which the headquarters of the commission will release a guideline for the continuation of the process.

Okoye spoke at a press briefing at the commission’s headquarters in Abuja. He noted that there will also be an inter-agency meeting between the commission and others a day before the stakeholders meeting in Rivers.

Revalidation of observers, the commission said, will be done simultaneously in Abuja and Rivers State between March 25 and March 31.

The state chapters of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) disagreed over the new timeline given by INEC to conclude elections in the states.

The APC, through its Publicity Secretary Chris Finebone declared that INEC’s announcement was suspect and received with mixed feelings, since the electoral commission had not shown sufficient good faith.

PDP Chairman Felix Obuah , in a press statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Jerry Needam stated that members of the party received the INEC’s news with optimism.

Rivers APC said: “As a major stakeholder in the Rivers State political space, APC received with mixed feelings, INEC’s timeline for concluding the governorship and House of Assembly elections that started on March 9. INEC has not shown sufficient good faith in the way it brought the collation to an abrupt stop (on March 10), without cogent, verifiable and convincing reasons.

“The supposed umpire (INEC) went ahead to announce that collation for 17 local government areas (out of 23 LGAs in Rivers) had been concluded, as against the records provided by our situation room. And to make matters worse, INEC refused, failed or neglected to name the said 17 LGAs where it claimed collation had been concluded.

“INEC curiously announced that it had dropped four LGAs’ collation officers confirmed to be PDP card-carrying members, without the umpire clearing the air about the status of the LGAs’ results the four ad hoc personnel supposedly collated.”

The main opposition APC, which backed the African Action Congress (AAC), since court order did not allow it to present candidates for the elections, also wondered why the four indicted collation officers of INEC would be unfit for the job, while the collations they conducted were acceptable.

The party said: “Why is INEC jittery to name the 17 local government areas, if not for the simple reason that some underhand dealings might have taken place, for which it is covering up? With the violation of the collation process by Governor Nyesom Wike when he stormed the Obio/Akpor LGA Collation Centre (at the council’s secretariat in Rumuodomaya, Port Harcourt in the night of March 9), where his Chief Security Officer (CSO) and security detail shot an army captain and other soldiers in the process, why does it seem that INEC’s body language is suggesting that Obio/Akpor LGA’s collation has been completed?

“To the APC, INEC is up to some mischief, clearly pointing to a clear determination to rig the overall results of the March 9 elections in favour of Wike and the PDP. The signs are visible enough to the blind and loud enough to the deaf. All the shenanigans so far exhibited by INEC only go to confirm that fear.”

PDP chairman said: “Even though we frown at the length of the timeline issued by INEC for the collation, declaration and conclusion of the election process in Rivers State, we received the news with optimism. Rivers State PDP is waiting patiently for the process to be concluded, because the people of Rivers State overwhelmingly voted for our party.

“We urge Rivers people to remain calm, as the mandate they freely gave to Governor Wike and the PDP on March 9 will be affirmed at the end of the collation process. Victory for the PDP will come at the end of the exercise. Rivers State is PDP. The people massively voted for the PDP, as all the figures indicate.”

On the letter by Rivers elders to President Muhammadu Buhari to intervene in Rivers political crisis, to prevent anarchy, Obuah berated the eminent personalities, including a former governor of the state, Chief Rufus Ada-George; and an ex- Culture Minister Alabo Tonye Graham-Douglas.

He described Ada-George, Graham-Douglas and others as self-acclaimed elders and card-carrying members of the APC, who, according to him, were allegedly working for Transportation Minister Rotimi Amaechi, a former Rivers governor.

INEC reveal what will happen next as the commission insists no certificates for Okorocha

The Independent National Electoral Commission on Thursday insisted that it would not reward bad conduct by presenting certificates of return to candidates who its officials declared winners under duress.

 The commission, however said it could issue the certificates based on court judgement or decision of an election petitions tribunal.

 INEC’s National Commissioner and Chairman of its Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, said this during a press conference held at the commission’s headquarters in Abuja.

Okoye said apart from the Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha, there were other candidates from Niger, Benue and Akwa Ibom states who were also denied certificates of return for being declared winners under duress.

He said, “The position of the commission has not changed. The position of the commission is that we will not issue certificate of return to Governor Rochas Okorocha in relation to the senatorial election.

“Since the matter is already in court, the best thing to do is not to prejudge the matter that is in court, but to allow the judicial processes to run through.

“If at the end of the day, the court gives an order that we should give him his certificate of return, of course, the commission will obey such a court order.

“If on the other hand, the court takes a different position and makes other consequential orders in relation to the conduct of the elections in Imo West, we will also comply with whatever order the court gives.

“As of today, the matter is pending in court, the best thing to do is to wait for the outcome of the judicial process.”

 Okoye also said the resumption of collation and announcements of results for the governorship election in Rivers State would be done between April 2 and 5.

Okoye said, “The commission set up a fact-finding committee that visited Rivers State and submitted its report, which revealed that while election could not hold in a few areas, it was successfully concluded in others with the declaration of winners in 21 state constituencies.

“Collation was ongoing at the time of the suspension of the process.”

 Okoye also announced that supplementary elections, where necessary, would now take place on April 13, while issuance of all outstanding certificates of return would be concluded on April 19.

He said certificates of return in respect for governors-elect shall be presented by supervising national commissioners of the respective states between March 27 and March 29.

 He also said the precise date for the presentation in each state would be made known by the respective resident electoral commissioners after consultation with the supervising national commissioners.

 Okoye said date for presentation of certificates of return the state houses of assembly members-elect would be announced in due course.

 He added that supplementary elections would be conducted in 18 states of the federation on Saturday.

According to him, detail of the states and constituencies where the elections would take place will be uploaded on the electoral body’s website before the close of work on Thursday.

Okoye said the commission had conducted governorship elections in 29 states and returns had been made in 22 states.

 According to him, while the election was suspended in Rivers State, it was declared inconclusive in Bauchi, Adamawa (North East); Benue and Plateau (North Central) and Sokoto and Kano (North West) states.

 He said, “Following the inconclusive governorship elections in the six states, the commission fixed supplementary elections for March 23, 2019.

“The supplementary governorship election earlier scheduled to hold in Bauchi State is now a subject of litigation, which was initiated by the All Progressives Congress and its candidate, Mohammed Abubakar.

 “An interlocutory injunction to suspend the process has been served on the commission by the Federal High Court, Abuja. While the commission has complied in accordance with its policy to obey all court orders in deference to the rule of law, it has also taken urgent steps to vacate the order and dismiss the action.”

Dogara raises alarm, writes IGP, DSS over alleged plot by Bauchi Govt. to implicate him in criminal conspiracy

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, Thursday alerted the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, and other security agencies of an alleged plot by the Bauchi State Government to implicate him in criminal conspiracy.

Dogara also wrote a letter dated Thursday, March 21, addressed to the Inspector-General of Police and, copied to the Director-General, Department of Security Services, DSS.

The speaker even said he was in receipt of credible information of an ongoing plot to plant false evidence in form of branded motorbikes and cars bearing the logo of his party (PDP) and his pictures, which will be used to commit crimes and implicate him in criminal activities.

He said, “I write to inform the Inspector General of Police that I am in receipt of credible intelligence about an ongoing plot by Bauchi State Government to implicate me in a criminal conspiracy.

The Special Adviser to Dogara on Media and Public Affairs disclose this in a statement in Abuja.

Dogara reportedly said, “The Bauchi State Government has procured hundreds of motorbikes and cars, which are being branded in the Government House Bauchi with my pictures and logo of my party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and my name inscribed.

“The plan is that the Bauchi State Government will engage some criminal elements and give them the branded motorbikes and cars which they will use to commit crime and thereafter abandon them at the scene so as to implicate me.

“I am, by this letter, putting the Police and other security agencies on notice so as to be on the watch out for these criminal elements intended to be deployed by Bauchi State Government.”

How widespread impunity is encouraging right abuses in Nigeria – U.S. report

The failure and incapability of the Nigerian government to investigate and punish both state and non-state actors accused of human rights violations in the country has led to the entrenchment of abuses such as torture, illegal detention, human trafficking and sexual exploitations, the United States Department of State, 2018 Human Rights Practices report on Nigeria has observed.

The report which captured several instances of human rights violation excoriated the Nigerian government for the political will to identify and prosecute perpetrators of rights abuses despite passing laws and other legislation to check these violations.

“The government took steps to investigate alleged abuses but fewer steps to prosecute officials who committed violations, whether in the security forces or elsewhere in the government. Impunity remained widespread at all levels of government,” the report stated.

“There were several reports the government or its agents committed arbitrary and unlawful killings. The national police, army, and other security services used lethal and excessive force to disperse protesters and apprehend criminals and suspects and committed other extrajudicial killings. Authorities generally did not hold police, military, or other security force personnel accountable for the use of excessive or deadly force or for the deaths of persons in custody. State and federal panels of inquiry investigating suspicious deaths generally did not make their findings public,” the report added.

The report cited an investigative panel set up by then acting president, Yemi Osinbajo, in August 2017, to review the compliance of the armed forces with human rights obligations and rules of engagement. It stated that even though the panel submitted its findings in February 2018, the government did not publish the report of the panel nor prosecute those that might have been indicted.

Another example of government-backed impunity highlighted by the report is the Borno State government financed militia popularly known as Civilian JTF. The militia, which works closely with the military to prevent Boko Haram attacks on civilian populations, was accused of human rights abuses such as the use of child soldiers but “the government took few steps to investigate or punish CJTF members who committed human rights abuses,” the report noted.

Redundant Legislations
The report observed that impunity festers not because of lack of appropriate laws to prosecute perpetrators but in most cases, the laws are rendered redundant for lack of a political will to use it.

“The constitution and law prohibit torture and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment. In December 2017, the president signed the Anti-Torture Act, which defines and specifically criminalizes torture. The Act prescribes offences and penalties for any person, including law enforcement officers, who commits torture or aids, abets, or by act or omission is an accessory to torture. It also provides a basis for victims of torture to seek civil damages. The Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA), passed in 2015, prohibits torture and cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment of arrestees; however, it fails to prescribe penalties for violators.

“Torture (NCAT). Lack of legal and operational independence and lack of funding, Torture (NCAT). Lack of legal and operational independence and lack of funding, however, prevented NCAT from carrying out its work effectively.” It stated.

For instance, the report observed that the Anti-Torture Act prohibits the use of evidence and confession obtained via torture, yet personnel of “the Special Anti-robbery Squad (SARS) often used torture to extract confessions later used to try suspects.”

In 2016, AI reported police officers in the SARS regularly tortured detainees in custody as a means of extracting confessions and bribes. In response to AI’sfindings, the inspector general of police reportedly admonished SARS commanders and announced broad reforms to correct SARS units’ failures to follow due process and their use of excessive force. Allegations of widespread abuse by SARS officers, however, continued throughout the year.

“In late 2017 citizens began a social media campaign (#EndSARS) to document physical abuse and extortion by SARS officers and demand SARS units be disbanded. In December 2017 the inspector general of police announced plans to reorganize SARS units, but complaints of abuse continued. Several SARS officers were dismissed from the force and, in some instances, prosecuted, and the National Police Force (NPF) sought technical assistance for investigations of SARS officers.

“The vast majority of misconduct cases, however, went uninvestigated and unpunished. In August then-acting President Yemi Osinbajo ordered the inspector general of police to overhaul the management and activities of SARS, and ordered the NHRC to set up a “Special Panel” with public hearings on SARS abuses. The panel’s work was ongoing at the end of the year and it had not yet issued a report.”

The report also blamed the government for failing to prosecute members of the military who were indicted in the December 2015 siege of the Shia group, the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) and other extrajudicial practices like torture, illegal detention, and attack of people for their sexual orientations.

“Military and police reportedly used a range of torture methods including beatings while bound, rape and other forms of sexual violence. According to reports, security services committed rape and other forms of violence against women and girls, often with impunity.

“As of December the government had not held any responsible officials to account for reported incidents of torture in detention facilities in the Northeast, including Giwa Barracks,” the report stated.

INEC reacts as US says voter intimidation in Nigeria’s 2019 polls disappointing

The United States has said it is disappointed by the low voter turnout and reports of voter intimidation, vote -buying, interference by security forces and violence in some locations during Nigeria’s 2019 elections.

But the Independent National Electoral Commission in its reaction to the US assessment of the elections said there could never be any perfect election anywhere in the world.

However, the US admonished all stakeholders to work towards a free, fair, credible, transparent, and peaceful process, especially for those who would participate in Saturday’s supplementary elections in some states.

The US Embassy in a statement in Abuja on Thursday commended Nigerians’ commitment to the democratic process, noting that it would continue to follow closely the ongoing polls.

It said, “As long-time friends of Nigeria, we continue to follow closely the ongoing elections. We do not have a preferred party or candidate.

“As noted by many observer groups in their preliminary reports, we too were disappointed by the low voter turnout as well as credible reports of voter intimidation, vote-buying, interference by security forces, and violence in some locations.

“We are saddened by those acts of violence and extend our deepest sympathy to the families of those who lost their lives, including those who worked for the Independent National Electoral Commission and the security services.”

Stating that it had no preferred candidate, the mission expressed support for a democratic process “where the will of the Nigerian people is reflected in the results.”

No perfect elections anywhere, INEC tells US

But asked to react to the US assessment of the 2019 elections, the Chief Press Secretary to INEC Chairman, Rotimi Oyekanmi, appreciated the US support for the nation’s electoral process. He, however, said that no country in the world could conduct a perfect election, adding that the US observations were not enough to discredit the integrity of the elections.

He said, “As one of our important partners, the Independent National Electoral Commission appreciates the United States’ interest and support for Nigeria’s electoral process.

“However, there is no country in the world where general elections are perfect from the beginning to the end. In our reckoning, coupled with various reports released by local and international observers so far, the 2019 general elections were a success, but by no means perfect.

“There are lessons to be learnt and there is room for improvement. The commission will continue to do its best to deliver credible elections with the hope that the major players will appreciate the importance of playing by the rules and ultimately accept that no political office is worth the precious life of any human being. All is vanity.”

US right, military usurping Buhari’s power, says PDP

However, the main opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party, supported the position of the US on the conduct of the 2019 elections.

It alleged that the military were sharing power with President Muhammadu Buhari.

The party said the involvement of the military in the conduct of the elections had shown that the President had either abandoned his job or that the military were no longer ready to face their constitutional roles of defending the territorial integrity of the country.

The PDP National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, who stated this while reacting to the US assessment of the elections, said the military were behind the states whose elections were declared inconclusive by INEC.

He said the military practically took over the control of the elections by allegedly determining who should vote and whether such votes should count in many states or not.

He added that in some states like Rivers and Bauchi, the military took over collation centres and even barred some officers of the commission from gaining access to the centres where votes were meant to be counted and collated.

Secondus said, “It is not only the US that is disappointed; millions of Nigerians are also sad with the conduct of the elections. This is the first time in the history of elections in Nigeria that the military will be dictating the pace and whether the votes will count or not.

“We have all seen the report of INEC on Rivers State and others. It is obvious that the military have been sharing powers with the President. If this is not true, how can the military be the one to determine which results would be allowed into the collation centres?

“The military have abandoned their constitutional roles of defending the territorial integrity of the nation. They have become an arm of a political party. This is dangerous for the nation.

“The military are helping the ruling party to kill the opposition in order to have a one-party state. If that is allowed, then we may not have democracy again but a one-party state. That are shameful and unacceptable.

“The military are the one determining which state election is to be declared inconclusive with their actions.

“Democracy without opposition is no longer a government of the people by the people. Rather, it is a dictatorship government. We should all rise up and caution both the President and the military.”

Nigeria now, worse than during civil war – Says Obasanjo

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, has lamented over the current state of disunity in Nigeria.

Obasanjo said that Nigeria was not as divided as this during the civil war in comparison to the worst situation of things as they are now.

The former president said this while Speaking at a one-day ‘2019 annual retreat/conference and general meeting’ of members of Association of Chief Audit Executives of Banks in Nigeria (ACAEBIN) held at Park Inn, Abeokuta in Ogun State yesterday, Obasanjo,

The former president urged Nigerians to partner one another at home, within communities, states, countries, sub-African region and African continent, adding that Nigeria was in danger if “we don’t take partnership seriously.”

“When we look at this country today, even during the civil war, we were not as divided as we are now. Today, we are in danger if we don’t take partnership serious. That partnership should be within our people, Africa and the rest of the world.

“As chief audit, it is defined by virtue of what you are doing as a profession. If the audit is awry, banking business will not be right.

“What I want to emphasise is that it is a must as Nigerians and Africans that we have certain elements that we have to take very seriously which I put as 5Ps.

“The first is politics which is governance. Unless we get governance right, any other thing we are trying to do will not be right.

“The second is population. Our population at independence was estimated to be 45 million, but today we are almost 200 million. By the year 2050, we will be over 400 million. Normally, population should be an asset but looking at the condition we are in now, when in the North-east of Nigeria, the percentage of adult literacy is about 53 percent, and education being the basic of all human development, you can see that we have a problem.

“How do we think of setting education to be useful? Those people who will make our education over 400 million people in many years’ time are already born, and you cannot unborn them. So the problem is here, what do we do?

“We must provide education for them, housing, healthcare and most importantly, employment for them.

“One thing that I believe will help us is to provide employment is agricultural business. And you in the banking business must pay attention to how we build the agriculture sector. I am not talking of horticulture, I am talking of the whole value chain, from land preparation to the end product. And if we are able to get that right, maybe we will be able to get the issue of employment for our teeming youths right as well as rural development right.

“The next one is prosperity. I am not being bothered about Nigeria or Africa’s poverty. We have everything to generate wealth. We have God-given resources under our soil. We also have human resources. If we bring these together, then we will definitely get prosperity

“Another one is security. People must be protected in all aspect. Protection of lives and property is most important.”

Legal battles, muscle flexing as PDP threatens boycott in coming Election

Lalong, Useni trade words in Plateau

We’re ready, says Kano REC

IG deploys 23 senior police officers

Legal battles raged yesterday over supplementary elections in Bauchi and Adamawa states.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared the March 9 polls inconclusive in six states.

All three stakeholders in the elections – INEC, All Progressives Congress (APC) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) – were trading arguments in court over  Bauchi and Adamawa, two of the states expected to undergo tomorrow’s makeup polls.

In other states – Sokoto, Benue, Kano and Plateau – the APC and the PDP were flexing muscles as the electoral umpire said it was ready for the elections.

The Federal Government has ordered the closure of land borders around the affected states.

Interior Minister Lt.-Gen. Abdulrahman Dambazau directed land borders in Adamawa, Benue, Bauchi, Sokoto, Plateau and Kano states to be closed from noon today. The borders are to reopen by noon on Sunday.

Gen Dambazau, in a statement issued in Abuja by the Comptroller-General (CG), Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Muhammad Babandede, said the measure was taken to restrict movements across the states on Election Day.

But the extension of an order by the High Court in Yola, barring the INEC from conducting the makeup poll, yesterday ruled out the possibility of conducting the election in Adamawa State.

Justice Abdul-Azeez Waziri fixed March 26 for ruling on a motion challenging the jurisdiction of his court to entertain the case restraining INEC from conducting tomorrow’s supplementary governorship poll in Adamawa.

Before the adjournment, the Judge had extended an interim injunction the court granted on March 14 restraining INEC from conducting the election pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice, which will also be ruled upon on March 26.

The Adamawa chapter of the Movement for the Restoration and Defence of Democracy (MRDD) and its governorship candidate, Rev. Eric Theman, had sued the electoral umpire over the absence of its logo on the ballot paper of the inconclusive election.

At the resumed hearing yesterday, INEC counsel Mr Tanimu Inuwa (SAN) challenged the court’s jurisdiction, citing Section 285 (2) of the constitution and the electoral Act.

Inuwa also argued that MRDD did not have a governorship candidate as Rev. Eric Theman was not validly nominated, adding that Form CF002 was the prescribed form for nomination, which was not filled by MRDD.

“Mere submission of a letter does not transform to nomination,’’ Inuwa argued.

He, therefore, urged the court strike out the case as the plaintiffs have “no locus standi’’ to file it, adding that there was need to avoid a constitutional crisis as the governorship election must take place not later than 30 days to the expiration of the incumbent governor’s tenure.

Responding on point of law, counsel to the plaintiffs – MRDD and Theman, Mr. Yemi Pitan, argued that the court had jurisdiction on the matter, citing Section 251 of the constitution and Section 315 of the Electoral Act.

Pitan urged the court to grant his clients’ prayers and among others, suspend the inconclusive governorship election in Adamawa to enable INEC do the needful by including the MRDD logo on the ballot paper.

Adjourning the case for ruling on March 26, Justice Waziri assured all that it would be handled within the necessary period that would not give room for any constitutional problem.

In Bauchi State, the PDP threatened to boycott the election as INEC said it would comply with an ex parte order not to collate results in the Tafawa Balewa Local Government Area, but conduct supplementary election in other areas not covered by the court order. The makeup poll will hold in 15 local government areas where 22,759 votes were cancelled, the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Ibrahim Abdullahi, confirmed yesterday at a news conference at the Prof. Mahmood Yakubu Conference Hall, INEC Headquarters in Bauchi.

The APC said its members are ready for the exercise.

According to the REC, the election will hold in 36 Polling Units (PUs) covering 29 Registration Areas (Wards) in the 15 affected local government areas.

He said the election will not hold in Tafawa Balewa Local Government Area until after the ruling of the Federal High Court in Abuja.

The REC appealed to members of the public, especially, the people of Tafawa Balewa Local Government Area, to be calm and wait for the outcome of the court ruling.

The Bauchi State chapter of the PDP, however, described the supplementary election as a sham, threatening not to participate in the exercise.

Its Chairman Hamza Koshe Akuyam told reporters after the INEC news conference: “The supplementary election is a sham, INEC  wants to conduct rerun because 22, 759 people were disenfranchised in 15 local government area, meanwhile 139, 240 were disenfranchised in Tafawa Balewa Local Government Area.”

“I don’t know what INEC is up to; maybe they are reading somebody’s script. We are not going to participate in this election.

“Our legal team will look at this matter. Though it is not just about going to court, but for INEC to do the right thing.”

The PDP chair said that the party will go to court and seek a redress.

But the APC said its members were set for the supplementary election.

Chairman Ubah Nana, said the “party is readily prepared for the rerun”.

He went on: “Fifteen will be having rerun this Saturday and we are participating. Though the proper thing to be done was for the rerun to be held in the 15 council areas and Tafawa Balewa, but, unfortunately, that is not the case.

All the same, we are fully prepared. I don’t know why some people seem not to be fully prepared. I don’t know why they are afraid. Let the game be played according to the rules.”

The Tafawa Balewa Local Government is excluded from tomorrow’s rerun in INEC’s compliance with a court order restraining it from resuming the collation and announcement of results in the area.


All was set yesterday for the supplementary election scheduled for 136 PUs across 22 local government areas.

Incumbent Governor and PDP candidate Aminu Tambuwal was at the Kebbe Local Government Area, believed to be a stronghold of the APC, with at least 35 PUs where the election will hold.

Tambuwal’s visit was preceded by a similar visit by Wamakko, the APC candidate, Ahmed Aliyu Sokoto, his running mate, Faroyk Malami Yabo.

Though the trio attended a wedding (fatiha), they took advantage of the event to reaffirm their dominance and to solicit for support.

The INEC and and security agencies, particularly the police, promised a hitch-free exercise.

A stakeholders’ Town Hall meeting for the peaceful conduct of the election was also staged by the Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar-led National Peace Committee (NPC).

Shortly after the traditional opening prayers, IRI State Coordinator, Hajiya Aisha, noted that the success of the 2015 Peace Accord led to the reactivation of the NPC ahead of this year’s general elections.

“It’s a wake-up call the affected states to reinforce the message of peace and to implore residents to participate in the re-run elections by exercising their rights to vote.

“These events were organised in anticipation of the 2019. Although relatively peaceful, these elections exposed some fault lines in Nigerian states as there were numerous reports of voter disenfranchisement, voter inducement, electoral violence, over a militarisation of the elections, among others.

“In recognition of these incidences, and in acknowledgement of the potential for the escalation of violence in state gubernatorial and state house of Assembly Elections, the NPC developed a regional peace initiative you deliver the message of peace to flashpoint states.

“This initiative included a visit to five states (Anambra, Imo, Kano, Adamawa and Gombe) ahead of the state elections to organise a high-level dialogue on the need to uphold peace during and after the elections.

Key stakeholders, including INEC, security agencies, political parties, traditional and religious leaders, civil society groups, youth and women’s groups, as well as the general public attended the peace parley.”

Bishop Mathew Hassan Kukah said there should be no basis for disruption “as we are not having people from Niger, from Chad and from Cameroon or another country contesting elections”.

The cleric said: “We are indigenes of Sokoto, who are struggling to find somebody who is going to be the governor. It is not people from another country.”


Leader of the APC in Benue State Senator George Akume said the results of the previous elections did not reflect the strength of the party in the state, describing tomorrow’s supplementary poll as a great opportunity for the party to show its strength.

In a statement in Abuja, Akume, who was the first two-time governor of Benue, emphasized that his party was convinced that a rigorous scrutiny at the election tribunals would soon set aside some of the victories ascribed to other parties in the state.

The Benue North West senator appealed to APC supporters to come out en masse and vote for the party.

The statement reads: “We remain the party to beat in Benue and the results as announced by INEC for the National/Presidential and Governor/ State Assembly elections do not reflect the reality on the ground in Benue State.”

According to him, the judiciary, as the last hope of the common man, would address what he described as “the glaring cases of injustices” against the APC.

He said: “President Buhari, who is the Commander-in-Chief of the Nigerian Armed , has assured all voters to come out freely and vote; our supporters should therefore take advantage of this assurance from our president and come out to exercise their civic responsibilities.”

Governor Samuel Ortom, who is the PDP candidate, will be slugging it out with APC challenger Emmanuel JIme.

Ortom polled 410,576 votes to beat Jime to the second position with 329,022 votes on the first ballot on March 9.

The governor’s Senior Special Assistant on Special Duties, Kwaghngu Abraham, said the supplementary election would permanently put an end to distractions.

The APC deputy governorship candidate, Sam Ode, told The Nation, said tomorrow “is a day of liberation for Benue people”.

Lalong, Useni trade words

Plateau State Governor Simon Lalong yesterday said tomorrow’s governorship rerun election in the state would be a ‘mere formality’.

A statement by his Information Commissioner, Yakubu Dati, said the main election reflected the wishes of the electorate.

The APC incumbent led his closest opposition rival, Jeremiah Useni, of the PDP by over 40,000 votes, according to the results announced.

Useni told reporters that he was sure of victory in the rerun. His APC counterpart, Lalong, described the claim as ‘self –delusion’.

Dati said: “No doubt the PDP tried by scoring a handful of votes in the elections by a margin thought to be impossible considering the manner it mismanaged the state in the past years, but to claim that it can defeat and APC administration that has cleared the mess it visited on the people of Plateau State is the worst form of self –delusion.”

In Useni’s words, “The results released by INEC showed that PDP maintained very good scores across all the LGAs.

“This is in spite of the widespread thumb-printing, vote-buying and outright intimidation by some Security men who had absolutely no business with the election.

“In one instance, I personally went out to Tudun Wada Collation Centre and freed voters who were made to lie down on the ground by some security men.

“Civil servants and our traditional rulers were threatened to either deliver to APC or lose their jobs or be dethroned.”

INEC ready for Kano

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) yesterday said it was set for the supplementary governorship election in Kano State.

Addressing reporters at the Kano INEC headquarters, the Resident Electrical Commissioner (REC) in charge of the state, Prof. Riskuwa Shehu Arabi, said the election would take place in 75 registration areas, involving 207 polling units and 279 voting points.

According to him, 128, 324 eligible voters would participate in the election. He added that INEC would deploy 207 card readers for the election, adding that enough man power have also been mobilised, with three RECs from Zamfara, Kebbi and Ogun states to assist so as to have a successful election.

PDP alleges plot by

military to hijack

supplementary polls

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday raised the alarm over an alleged clandestine plot by the military  and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to hijack the supplementary elections in six states.

At a news conference in Abuja yesterday, the spokesman for the PDP, Kola Ologbondiyan, said the alleged plot was hatched at a meeting the Presidency held with security agencies and officials of INEC.

Describing the alleged plot as obnoxious, the PDP said its candidates were already leading and coasting to inevitable victory in all the states where the supplementary elections are billed to hold, vowing that nothing can alter this reality.

The PDP alleged that part of the plot was a directive by a top military chief to the INEC chairman of INEC, Prof Mahmood Yakubu not to declare the Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike as winner of the March 9 election.

The PDP said: “Our party is informed of how a top Army officer, at the meeting, directed the INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, not to ever declare Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike as winner of the Rivers governorship election, even when it is clear to all that he won the election.

”We also have details how a top military officer, who is from Bauchi state, at the meeting, directed INEC Chairman not to declare our victorious Bauchi state governorship candidate, Sen. Bala Mohammed, as the winner of the Bauchi state governorship election.

“The PDP is also privy to how a Director of one of our security agencies, who was at the meeting, undertook to use his agency to deliver Kano state to the APC.”

21 Mar 2019

FULL LIST: Lagos, Ebonyi… supplementary elections will hold in these 18 states

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says Saturday’s supplementary elections will take place in 18 states.
A document released by INEC on Thursday showed supplementary governorship polls will hold in five states including Bauchi (14 LGAs), Benue (22 LGAs, Plateau (9 LGAs) Kano (29 LGAs) and Sokoto (22 LGAs)
It said although an Adamawa state high court directed the suspension of supplementary election in the state, the exercise will hold for two constituencies for the house of assembly election.
“In Adamawa state, elections will hold in Nassarawo-Binyeri State Constituency of Mayo Belwa LGA, which was countermanded as required by the Electoral Act following the death of a candidate on the eve of the Governorship and State assembly elections held on 9th March 2019,” the document read.
“Supplementary election will also hold in Uba/Gaya State Constituency in Hong LGA. In Bauchi State, supplementary elections will hold in Kirfi State Constituency of Kirfi LGA.”
The commission said supplementary  election for state constituencies will hold in 18 states.
TheCable observed the total number of voters to participate in the supplementary election for state constituencies stand at 585,138.
Below is the list of states, affected LGAs and number of registered voters there:

  • Bauchi (one LGA, 1,111 voters)
  • Bayelsa (three LGAs, 58,270 voters)
  • Benue (nine LGAs, 91,141 voters)
  • Ebonyi (three LGAs, 45,905 voters)
  • Edo (one LGA, 6,764 voters)
  • Ekiti (one LGA, 2,244 voters)
  • Kaduna (one LGA, 7,514 voters)
  • Adamawa (two LGAs, 49,588 voters)
  • Kano (one LGA, 40,821 voters)
  • Kogi (three LGAs, 24,637 voters)
  • Imo (five LGAs, 118,372 voters)
  • Lagos (one LGA, 12,711 voters)
  • Nasarawa (four LGAs, 43,874 voters)
  • Osun (one LGA, 2,485 voters)
  • Plateau (one LGA, 5,501 voters)
  • Sokoto (two LGAs, 24,492 voters)
  • Taraba (two LGAs, 19,912)
  • FCT (four LGAs, 29,796 voters)

EFCC attacks U.S. govt over report criticising Buhari administration’s anti-corruption efforts

The anti-graft agency, EFCC, has criticised the U.S. government over a report by the State Department criticising Nigeria’s anti-corruption efforts.

The U.S. Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor in its ‘Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2018’ states among others that “there is a climate of impunity in the President Muhammadu Buhari government that allows officials to engage in corrupt practices with a sense of exemption from punishment.”

The U.S. agency also said, “In their prosecution of corruption cases, law enforcement and intelligence agencies often failed to follow due process and arrested suspects without appropriate arrest and search warrants.”

In a statement on Sunday by its management, the EFCC said the “report is not only outdated and false but misleading.”

The anti-graft agency listed some of its achievements under President Muhammadu Buhari.

Read the full EFCC statement below.

                             *US Report over anti-graft war false, misleading – EFCC

                            *Agency secured 943 convictions between 2015 and 2018

                            *Recovers Billions of Naira, Foreign Currencies, Properties

The attention of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has been drawn to a misleading report of the United States Department of Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labour over Nigeria’s anti-graft war, published in ThisDay Newspaper of March 17, 2019 entitled: “Nigeria: Massive, Pervasive Corruption At All Levels of Govt – US Report”.

The report, among other things, said that “there is a climate of impunity in the President Muhammadu Buhari government that allows officials to engage in corrupt practices with a sense of exemption from punishment”. The Bureau, in its Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2018, said Nigeria had made little progress in efforts to limit corruption in its public service. This report is not only outdated and false but misleading.

The report is unfounded on the grounds of Nigeria’s remarkable achievements in the last four years as the war against corruption is on course.

The EFCC’s commitment to the fight against corruption in the last four years is not in doubt to any discerning and genuinely concerned observer. This commitment is benchmarked by the unprecedented record of convictions, non-conviction based forfeiture and stolen assets recovery.

We are surprised that the US report could ignore or downplay our convictions in such a brazen manner when it claimed that the EFCC secured only 13 convictions in 2016. That is false and far from the truth.

Remarkable Convictions

For the avoidance of doubt, the EFCC has secured 943 convictions since 2015 till date. The agency recorded 103 convictions in 2015, secured 195 convictions in 2016, got 189 convictions in 2017. It is important to state that the EFCC secured 314 convictions in 2018 including two former state governors who were sentenced to 14 years imprisonment without option of fine. It is instructive to note that the two former governors serving their jail terms in prison are members of the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC). The Commission has so far recorded 142 convictions as at March 19 this year. These are verifiable facts.

We wish to state unequivocally that these convictions being celebrated included high profile persons among who were top ranking military personnel and other politically exposed persons.

It is instructive to state that no other agency in Africa has this record of convictions and recovery of stolen assets which were achieved in spite of great encumbrances faced by the Commission in the discharge of its assignment as it has come to be known that when you fight corruption, corruption fights back.

Assets Recovery and Forfeitures

As a quick reminder, the Supreme Court of Nigeria had on Friday, March 8, 2019 in a unanimous judgement, dismissed the appeal of a former First Lady and wife of former President Goodluck Jonathan, Patience, against the interim forfeiture order of a Federal High Court, Lagos, for $8, 400, 000 (Eight Million Four Hundred Dollars) traced to her by the EFCC and believed to be proceeds of illegal activities.

Subsequently, on March 14, 2019, the Supreme Court dismissed another application by Mrs. Jonathan, seeking to upturn the interim forfeiture order by a Federal High Court, Lagos placed on the sum of N2.4 billion linked to her.

Also of interest is the fact that the former Chief of Defence Staff, the late Alex Badeh forfeited six choice properties and $1, 000,000 (One Million Dollars) to the Federal Government, few days ago on the order of Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court, Abuja.

It could also be recalled that the EFCC on Friday, March 1, 2019, secured the final forfeiture of the sum N732.85 million being proceed of fraud perpetuated by 17 individuals in the Presidential Amnesty Programme Office. These are no rhetoric, but hard facts!

We further wish to state that in the area of convictions, Air Vice Marshall Tony Omenyi (retd), was jailed by Justice Nnamdi Dimgba of a Federal High Court, Abuja, on Thursday, February 28, 2019. He was found guilty of the amended three-count charge brought against him by the EFCC and was sentenced to seven years imprisonment without an option of fine.

Justice Dimgba, also ordered Huzee Nigeria Limited, a concern owned by Omenyi being a corporate entity to forfeit N60, 000, 000 (Sixty Million Naira) to the Federal Government.

Indeed, the EFCC has revolutionized the process of assets tracing and recovery. From the available records, the Commission recovered assets worth several billions of naira and different foreign currencies between 2015 and 2017.

Breakdown of the recoveries for the three year period (2015- 2017) show that N676, 522, 889, 647.05 (Six Hundred and Seventy Six Billion, Five Hundred and Twenty Two Million, Eight Hundred and Eighty Nine Thousand, Six Hundred and Forty Seven Naira and Five Kobo); $254, 563, 877.27 (Two Hundred and Fifty Four Million Five Hundred and Sixty Three Thousand Eight Hundred and Seventy Seven Dollars, twenty Six Cents); 486, 736.82 Pound (Four Hundred and Eighty Six Thousand Seven Hundred and Thirty Six Pounds Eighty Two Pennies); Euro 8, 136, 071.13 (Eight Million, One Hundred and Thirty Six Thousand and Seventy One Euro and Thirteen Cents); 80, 931, 500 CFA; 3, 729.50 RMB/YUAN; 452, 175 DIRHAM; 90, 956SR; 117, 004 CAD$ (ONE Hundred and Seventeen Thousand and Four Canadian Dollar); 120, 141.50 YEN; 5, 000Francs and 2, 000 Ruppies.

In 2018 alone, various sums amounting to billions in Naira and other foreign currencies were also forfeited to the Federal Government through the unrelenting efforts of the EFCC. The sums are: N171, 131, 700, 541.17 (One Hundred and Seventy One Billion, One Hundred and Thirty One Million, Seven Hundred Thousand Five Hundred and Forty One Naira and Seventeen Kobo); $14, 490, 174.49 (Fourteen Million, Four Hundred and Ninety Thousand One Hundred and Seventy Four Dollars Forty Nine Cent); 873, 278. 09 Pounds (Eight Hundred and Seventy Three Thousand Two hundred and Seventy Eight Pounds and Nine Pennies); 298, 055 (Two Hundred and Ninety eight Thousand, and Fifty Five Euros); 391, 838 (Three hundred and Ninety One Thousand Eight Hundred and Thirty Eight Riyals) and 10, 135 Dirham (Ten Thousand One Hundred and Thirty Five Dirham). These recoveries are unprecedented as no other agency can boast of such record.

Judging by the dexterity with which the Commission has prosecuted its cases from the High Court to Court of Appeal up to the Supreme Court, the Commission is by far the major contributor to case law and jurisprudence in Nigeria. The major Law Reports are replete with successfully concluded cases by the Commission. Again, these facts are verifiable!

Burden of Proof Now Resides With Defendant

Until recently, the practice has been that the burden of proof in criminal prosecution resides with the prosecution. But that was overturned in FRN v. YAHAYA which was decided on January 25, 2019. SC.645/2014.

This was a case in which the Supreme Court upheld the argument of the EFCC that the burden of proof had now been shifted from the prosecution to the defendant in terms of ill gotten wealth.

The apex court further held that the defendant would have to show that his income was in tandem with what he acquired otherwise such ill gotten wealth and properties would be forfeited to the Federal Government.

This is a landmark decision with potential to improve the fight against corruption in Nigeria. It is regrettable that this feat failed to impress the United States Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labour.

Worrisome Report with Inaccuracies

Indeed, the US report’s portrayal of the work of the EFCC which is replete with inaccurate information is worrisome considering the close relationship between the Commission and some US entities.

Agencies of the US Government, especially the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), US Securities and Exchange Commission, Post and Telecommunications Department and the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) have very strong collaboration with the EFCC in the delicate task of tracing and seizing assets stolen but stashed abroad by rogue Nigerian officials. We also have FBI agent domiciled in the EFCC.

Even as many of those assets are still stashed in US financial and property markets, these US agencies are familiar with the determination and passion with which the Commission is going about the fight against corruption.

10 Different Countries Seek Mutual Legal Assistance from EFCC

Unfortunately, the US Report does not reflect this deep knowledge of the EFCC and its work, which is enough reason to be suspicious about the motives behind the publication.

To underscore the important role which EFCC is playing in the fight against economic and financial crimes, no fewer than 10 countries on Monday, March 18, 2019, requested for Mutual Legal Assistance (MLA) with the Commission. This is unprecedented in the history of any agency in Africa in general and Nigeria in particular.

Malabu’s case

The prowess of the EFCC’s investigative power is worthy of note in the celebrated Malabu’s case. The historic trial of prominent major oil companies- Shell and ENI in Milan, Italy by the public prosecutor was made possible by the political will of President Muhammadu Buhari and dexterity of the EFCC.

The comprehensive investigation of the commission and evidence generated in prosecuting the corrupt deal formed part of documents used in prosecuting the criminal aspects of the notorious deal by the Milan prosecutor.

The EFCC recorded another first in Africa with its prosecutor appearing in the Milan trial as a witness, the first of such to happen in Italian prosecution.

Some individuals including an Italian, Gianlura Di Nardo and a Nigerian, Emeka Obi, were last year convicted in the matter while the Dutch prosecutor just recently notified Shell of his readiness to prosecute the oil giant over the controversial deal.

US Report, a Disservice to EFCC

From the foregoing, it is clear that the report authored by the American agency has done a great disservice to the work of the EFCC in particular and the fight against corruption under the leadership of President Buhari, an administration that is globally acknowledged for the enormous political will it has brought to the fight against corruption in Nigeria.

We are conscious of our past with previous government officials’ involvement in corrupt practices with impunity but that history is being re-written by this government and the commission.

The rest of Africa appreciate the administration’s work in terms of fighting corruption in Nigeria which was the impetus behind the designation of President Buhari as the Anti- Corruption Champion early last year by the African Union (AU). In that capacity, President Buhari is saddled with the responsibility of leading the rest of Africa out of the corruption quagmire.

At the level of the EFCC, the Acting Chairman of the commission, Mr Ibrahim Magu, attained the leadership of the Heads of Anti- Corruption Agencies in Commonwealth Africa (HACACA) in May 2018. This was based on his antecedents and acknowledged track records in the fight against corruption.

There can be no greater validation of the revolutionary impact of the fight against corruption in Nigeria in the last four years than these milestones achievements. But for those who cannot see any good in what Nigeria is doing, it is better to leave the country alone than distract it with bogus reports.
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