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INEC plans membership verification, may disqualify parties

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INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu

Ahead of the primaries of political parties scheduled to end on June 3, the Independent National Electoral Commission says it will authenticate the membership registers submitted to it by the parties. It, however, warns that any political party that falsifies its figures or has multiple registrations on its register may have its candidate(s) disqualified.

It said whether the parties choose to adopt direct or indirect primaries, the commission would verify their delegates’ lists against the registers they submitted, adding that no infraction would be tolerated from the 18 registered political parties.

Section 77 of the Electoral Act, 2022 mandates all political parties to maintain membership registers and submit the same to the commission not later than 30 days before their respective primaries.

Subsection 2 of the Act states, “Every registered political party shall maintain a register of its members in both hard and soft copies,” while the subsection 3 reads, “Each political party shall make such a register available to the commission not later than 30 days before the date fixed for the party primaries, congresses or convention.”

 

INEC had fixed party primaries for between April 4 and June 3, and most parties have scheduled their primaries for May. This means the parties have till Tuesday, May 3, 2022, to submit their registers.

Findings, however, revealed that the parties preferred to schedule their primaries towards the deadline set by INEC so as to be able to keep an eye on one another. Another reason, according to party sources, is to limit the drastic options open to persons aggrieved during the primaries.

For example, the ruling APC said its presidential primary would hold between May 30 and June 1; Senate, May 24; House of Representatives, May 22; state Houses of Assembly, May 20, while the governorship primary would hold on May 18.

The party, which is in power in 22 states, claimed about 40 million members in the register it submitted to INEC.

Also, the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party, which is in power in 12 states, said it would hold its presidential primary on May 28 and 29; governorship primary, May 21; Senate, May 14; House of Representatives, May 12; and state Houses of Assembly, May 7.

In his response to enquiries from one of our correspondents, Mr Rotimi Oyekanmi, who is the Chief Press Secretary to the INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, said, “The Independent National Electoral Commission will authenticate the membership register of political parties that opt for direct primaries for nominating their candidates.

“For the indirect primary mode, political parties are also required to give their lists of delegates to the commission.”

The APC and PDP, for example, have yet to indicate the option they will adopt between direct, consensus and indirect primary, but there were strong indications that the parties may adopt the indirect form of primary, eliminating the likelihood of consensus.

The consensus arrangement initiated by northern presidential aspirants in the PDP was believed to have failed as Governor Aminu Tambuwal and another aspirant, Mohammed Hayatu-Deen, have distanced themselves from the emergence of Dr Bukola Saraki and Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State as the consensus candidates. Former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar was not part of the arrangement.

With the calibre of aspirants expressing interest in the APC, most claiming they discussed with the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), and that he gave them the go-ahead, there were also strong indications that consensus may not be an option for the party.

INEC may disqualify parties with doctored registers, multiple registrations

Meanwhile, INEC has warned that any party found to have doctored its membership register or has multiple registration risks being excluded from the election in accordance with Section 84 (13) of the Electoral Act.

Responding to an inquiry on the issue, Oyekan said, “Section 84 is clear about this. If, for instance, a political party opts for the direct primary mode for its presidential primary, all registered members of the party shall vote for the aspirant of their choice. However, if a political party falsifies its membership register, this will be a direct contravention of Section 84(13). Such a party risks not having its candidate included in the election for the position in view.”

Section 84 (13) of the Act read, “Where a political party fails to comply with the provisions of this Act in the conduct of its primaries, its candidate for election shall not be included in the election for the particular position in issue.”

13 parties have yet to submit register

Barely three days to the deadline for the parties to submit their registers, only five have so far submitted their membership registers to the commission. The Electoral Act mandates all parties to submit their registers not later than 30 days to their primaries.

Given that the deadline for primaries is June 3, it implies that all the parties have till Tuesday, May 3 to submit their registers.

“Five political parties have submitted their membership registers so far,” Oyekanmi said when asked on Wednesday how many parties have submitted.

Meanwhile, the former Chairman of the Social Democratic Party, Olu Agunloye, who resigned his position on Wednesday, said the party had submitted its membership register to INEC, adding that parties had ample room to include new members and expunge the names of defectors.

“The party register has been submitted and I have INEC’s acknowledgement letter already,” he added.

Asked how many members the party had on its register, he said, “I have no idea; we didn’t count the members. Party register is not about how many people. During the week, INEC admitted that it could never be a final thing. We took a batch there yesterday (Thursday) and another time, we will submit another. The batch that we took last week, for instance, some of the people may have died or resigned from the party.

“Today, from Oyo State, three new people joined the party and their names are not on the register. A former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives also called me through a mutual friend that he wants to join the SDP. His name is not on the register as we speak, but he joined today (Friday).

“INEC agreed that this is an ongoing thing, which will be updated. That is why the soft copy is very important. In the soft copy, it is easier to delete and add. For the hard copy, the first batch that was submitted last week didn’t enter the booth of the car; some were put on the back seat of the car. We are setting up a department because we are collating them seat by seat and local government per local government.”

Also, the Peoples Redemption Party said it had submitted its register and that it had about 200,000 members.

The Special Adviser to the party’s National Chairman, Mohammed Ishaq, who spoke on behalf of his principal, said, “INEC demanded it and we have submitted it, but I need to confirm further. We have about 200,000 members nationwide.

“So far, seven members have indicated an interest in picking the presidential forms, but only two have so far bought the forms. They are Mrs Patience Key and Colonel Gboluga Mosogu (retd.).”

Kola, the son of the winner of the annulled June 12, 1993, presidential election, Chief Moshood Abiola, joined the party on April 14 and indicated interest in the presidential ticket.

In the African Action Alliance, the party’s Public Relations Officer, Sylvester Cletus, noted that the register was not ready as of Thursday night, adding that the National Chairman, Leonard Nzenwa, was doing the final sorting.

On the number of members, he said there were over 50,000, but the register was currently being updated as more members continue to join the party.

“We are compiling the register. Thursday was the deadline for submission to the national headquarters in Abuja and every state chairman did that. So, we are doing the final sorting,” Nzenwa added.

Asked how many presidential aspirants the party has, he said, “Claro Nwosu is the only one for now. Somebody expressed an interest but has yet to buy the forms.”

The Chairman of the National Rescue Movement, Abubakar Jikamsi, also said the party submitted its register on Wednesday, but he declined giving further details.

Commission to create unit, hire prosecutors for electoral offences

Meanwhile, in its Strategic Plan 2022-2026 with the theme, ‘Consolidating free, fair, credible and inclusive elections, which was launched about two weeks ago, the commission said it would create a new unit and hire prosecutors to facilitate the prosecution of electoral offences.

“In order to facilitate effective prosecution of electoral offenders, reduce impunity and enhance deterrence, the commission will establish a prosecution unit staffed with trained prosecutors to facilitate quicker and efficient prosecution of electoral offences,” it said.

Some of the offences captured in the Electoral Act include those relating to finances of a political party, registration, nomination, buying and selling voter cards, offences relating to the register of voters and offences on election day, and the latter is captured in Section 126 of the Electoral Act.

The section indicated that offences on election day to include canvassing for votes or persuading a voter not to vote for a particular candidate, being in possession of any offensive weapon, wearing any dress, having any facial or other decoration, which in any event is calculated to intimidate voters; loitering, snatching or destroying any election materials and blaring siren; and putting on or carrying any badge, poster, banner, flag or symbol relating to a political party or to the election.

PUNCH.

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LAGOS STATE CHAPTER OF NIGERIA UNION OF PENSIONERS ENDORSE ASIWAJU BOLA AHMED TINUBU FOR PRESIDENT AND BABAJIDE OLUSOLA SANWO-OLU FOR SECOND TERM

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The Lagos State Chapter of Retirees and Pensioners Association on the 30th January, 2023 made an open declaration in support of the Presidential Candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and the second term bid of Governor Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu at NECA House, Alausa CBD ,Ikeja.

Prior to the declaration of support, the members of the union had in their hundreds took a walk of about 200 meters in which various banners were displayed showing inscriptions in support of the All Progressives Congress candidates.

Representing the Governor was the Secretary to the State Government Mrs. Folashade Sherifat Jaji who thanked the gathering for deeming it fit to throw their support behind Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu.
She reminded them of the need for all registered voters to have their PVCs collected.

On her part, Mrs. Ajibola Ponle who is the Commissioner for Establishment, Training and Pensions highlighted the positive impacts the State Governor Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu had made and what he is doing in the state in the area of Infrastructural Development, Education, Health, Transportation and many more.

Other speakers were Mr. Kola Peregrino the Deputy Director General who represented Mr. Tayo Ayinde the Director General of Independent Campaign Council. Peregriho attributed the successes recorded in Lagos State as the brainchild of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. He submitted that Governor Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu has truly performed beyond expectations since he assumed office three and half years ago.

Furthermore, the Chairman of Nigeria Labour Union Lagos State chapter Ms Agnes Sesi addressed the gathering in a more pragmatic way, saying the Lagos State workers remain far ahead their counterparts across the country in terms of governmental support. She was bold on this because according to her, she compares notes from time to time with other states’ Labour Union leaders. She, therefore, urged the pensioners to vote for Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu as president and work for the re-election bid of Governor Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu.

Also, in his remarks, the Chairman of Nigeria Union of Pensioners Lagos State enclave Rev. Remi Johnson acknowledged the steadfast commitment of government to the plight of pensioners. He advised all his colleagues – pensioners to get their Permanent Voter Card (PVCs) and vote for the candidates of All Progressives Congress in the coming elections.

The event was facilitated by the Directorate of Grassroots Engagement of Independent Campaign Council for Tinubu-Shetima and Sanwo-Olu-Hamzat (ICC) ably led by Hon. Ladi Balogun.

Dignitaries who witnessed the endorsement were Secretary to the State Government Mrs.Folashade Sherifat Jaji, Commissioner for Establishment, Training and Pensions Mrs. Ajibola Ponle, Commissioner for Physical Planning Dr. Tayo Bamgbose-Martins, Deputy Director General ICC Mr. Kola Peregriho, Chairman NLC Ms. Agnes Sesi, Chairman Nigeria Union of Pensioners Lagos State Rev. Remi Johnson, and Director Directorate of Grassroots Engagement ICC Hon. Ladi Balogun among others.

#BAT2023
#SanwoLekansi

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Sponsored Protests Cannot Change Your Status As Sacked State Governor

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Adeleke

– Osun APC chairman Tells Adeleke

The Osun State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has told Senator Ademola Adeleke to leave up to the reality of his Friday’s sack as the governor of the state by the virtue of the explicit judgement of the state Governorship Election Petition Tribunal.

According to a statement issued by the Acting State Chairman of the APC, Sooko Tajudeen Lawal, in Osogbo yesterday,, the sponsored protests of both Adeleke and his party, the PDP, which were shamelessly staged in some of the states yesterday could only worsen their case instead of adding positive value to it at the appelate court.

Lawal stated that it was strange and unbelievable that Adeleke and his party could choose the option of denigrating the judiciary simply because the tribunal judgement did not go their way.

The state acting APC chairman said it was saddening that the sacked Governor Adeleke could be applauding and commending his sponsored protesters who went out to inflict inconvenience and violence on the inhabitants of the state under the guise of protesting the tribunal judgement that was not in the favour of the PDP candidate.

Lawal hinted that his own appraisal of the Adeleke-sponsored protests was an unmistakable conclusion that the sacked governor and his party are bad losers who are thinking that they can whip up the undeserved sentiment of the people in order to curry unmerited favour from the court of the public.

The state acting APC chairman said that the Adeleke sponsored protests were without any effect as there is no nexus between justice and sentiment because the law will always take its cause without the heavens coming down.

He reminded the embattled Senator Adeleke that it should dawn on him by now that he remains a sacked governor until the contrary is stated by a court of competent jurisdiction which is the Court of Appeal in this circumstance.

Lawal stated that no matter the magnitude of Adeleke’s sponsored protests and vilification and denigration of the judiciary, his current status as a sacked governor has the stamp of the law of the land.

The state acting APC chairman stated that whoever has recommended the sponsored protests for Adeleke to make up for his terrible loss at the tribunal is bereft of qualitative advice needed for someone like him who has crashed from his fraudulent political height that was witnessed at the tribunal on Friday.

In his words: “One needs not be a soothsayer to observe and conclude that you have lost this political battle and there is no known political short cut for you to get out of this self-inflicted political conundrum which has irredeemably defied any known remedy.

“I must expressly state here that it is still within the purview of your fundamental human right to approach the Court of Appeal for redress instead of sponsoring violent protests in some states across the state.

“Based on the Friday’s tribunal judgement, it is absolutely illegal for Adeleke to be talking about any mandate as the authentic election results of the July 16, 2022 governorship election has expressly shown that the PDP candidate has no mandate to flaunt to talk less of claiming any.

“It should be known that the incidence of over-voting, basis upon which Adeleke was purportedly declared the winner by the INEC as established by the tribunal, is nothing but unfair play which if left unturned is capable of setting a very bad precedent for our democracy.

“Adeleke should emulate the spirit of sportsmanship and maturity such that was displayed by the APC and Alhaji Isiaka Gboyega Oyetola having felt cheated, chose lawful and legal way through which they became victorious today”, Lawal counseled.

The state APC acting chairman stated that the protests were by the sacked governor’s sponsored thugs and not the electorate who have been happy and joyous all over the state over the judgment.

 

e-SIGNED:

Sooko TAJUDEEN LAWAL, Acting Chairman, Osun State APC.

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VIDEO: JANDOR UNLEASHES TERROR ON INNOCENT LAGOSIANS

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Our attention has been drawn to the reign of terror unleashed on innocent and law abiding citizens of Lagos state by the gubernatorial candidate of the PDP in the forthcoming national elections, Jide Adediran, otherwise known as Jandor in the course of his campaign in Surulere Local Government Council of the state.

The incident left in its wake several maimed victims and three people reportedly sent to their untimely death.

We condemn in strong terms the unwarranted and unprovoked resort to violence on the citizens of the state in the name of electioneering campaign.
Lagos cherishes it’s enviable status as the safest state in the country which has been as a result of long running and painstaking investment in security through the provision of the wherewithal and incentives for security agencies.

We view this attack as a ploy to instill fear in the hearts of voters as we count down to the elections.
It’s pathetic to note that a candidate seeking to govern the state could be seen actively promoting anarchy and violence to disrupt the peace of the citizens.

It will be recalled that the suspect has been busy in the past days crying wolves in the media as he perfected his evil plans which manifested at his rally.

While we can imagine the untold misery and frustration that his faltering campaign might have visited on him, it ought not to result in the thirst for the blood of potential voters.
We hereby call on the law enforcement agencies to thoroughly investigate the incident , bring the culprits to book and beef security across the state with the obvious desperation of the opposition PDP in order to forestall a reoccurrence.

We urge Lagosians to remain calm and law abiding as the state government remains irrevocably committed to its onerous duty of ensuring the safety of lives and properties of all and sundry.

watch video here 

Hon. Seye Oladejo
Lagos State APC Spokesperson
27/01/23.

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