Ahead of the 2023 general election, political parties in the country yesterday told the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to hold all the elections, including the chairmanship/ councillorship of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja on the same day.
This, according to the parties, is in order to address dwindling turnout of voters after the first election as well as increase the zeal to elect credible leaders. “This will save cost, ensure the emergence of quality leadership, the integrity of the ballot, large voter turnout and guarantee improved security on Election Day,” the parties stated in a communiqué.
The parties spoke at a roundtable on the review of the conduct of the 2019 general election held in Abuja. Organized by Centre for Transparent Advocacy (CTA) in conjunction with chairmen of political parties that participated in the last general election, the roundtable, however, passed a vote of confidence in INEC. About 75 political parties attended the roundtable, which also has the immediate past vice president of Sierra Leone, Alhaji Sam Sumana, as the guest of honor.
The roundtable noted that INEC tried to assert its independence during the elections, citing the denial of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to field candidates in Rivers and Zamfara states.
But the group blamed operatives of security agencies, particularly the military and the police, for whatever shortcomings that might have been witnessed in the election. It condemned what it described as the hypocrisy of the leadership of the security agencies as well as the unprofessional conducts of security agents, which it noted manifested in the partisan deployment of police and security personnel to polling station/ voting point.
“The roundtable condemned the role of some overzealous police officers and soldiers who compromised standards and engaged in acts contrary to their calling. Such erring officers should be identified and punished in accordance with the law,” it demanded. The communiqué further noted that given the number of registered parties and presidential candidates, INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu “did very well under a very difficult circumstance.”
“The roundtable noted that INEC executed the election within its mandate in terms of monitoring campaigns by political parties, distribution of electoral materials, polling, and counting of ballots, but had pitfalls at the collation stage and announcement of results,” the parties stated. While commending the commission for the conduct of the elections, the roundtable called on INEC to strengthen the capacity of its polling staff through training and retraining, particularly on the handling of the card readers, “assisting voters as well as other electoral procedures to ensure transparency and credibility during future elections.”
Supreme court dismisses Atiku server suit
The Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed the appeal by the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the February 23 election, Atiku Abubakar, seeking to Inspect the central server of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for lacking in merit.
The apex court held that the request lacked merit because it was brought by Atiku after the parties had joined issues on the existence or otherwise of the server.
According to the unanimous judgment delivered by Justice Chima Nweze, the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal was in order in refusing to grant Atiku’s request at the time it was made so as not to prejudice other parties in the matter.
In addition, the apex court held that the appeal lacked merit because the appellants failed to prove how the decision of the tribunal was unfair to them.
Justice Nweze said a party can only complain of the lack of fair hearing when discretion of court was wrongly or arbitrarily used by the court, adding that in this instant case the tribunal used its discretion judicially and judiciously.
“I see no reason to depart from the decision of the lower court, the appeal is lacking in merit and is hereby dismissed,” the judge held.
Supreme Court set to rule on INEC server
The Supreme Court has suspended proceedings to rule on an appeal by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate in the last presidential election, for permission to be allowed access to a supposed server owned by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) had on June 24, 2019, dismissed an application by Atiku and the PDP requesting permission to have access to the central server, which they claimed INEC used for the February 23 poll.
It is the decision of June 24 that Atiku and the PDP now appealed at the Supreme Court.
A panel of the Supreme Court (led by Justice Datijo Mohammed after taking arguments from Eyitayo Jegede, SAN, (for the appellants); Yunus Usman, SAN, (for INEC); Wole Olanipekun, SAN, (for President Muhammadu Buhari) and Charles Edosomwan, SAN, (for the All Progressives Congress), rose briefly to consider the arguments and return for its decision.
The Election Petition Court, at the Court of Appeal, Abuja, had, while dismissing the application by Atiku and the PDP, held that INEC, having denied the existence of the said server and insisted that results of the election were not electronically transmitted into any server as claimed by the petitioners (Atiku and PDP), granting the application would amount to deciding the central issue in the petition at the interlocutory stage.
The court’s Presiding Justice, Justice Mohammed Garba, who read the ruling, added that granting the application would imply that the court had “indeed recognised and found out that there is a central server into which results of the held on February 23, 2019 were electronically transmitted by the 1st respondent (INEC).”
Buhari tasks ministers on team work
President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday in Abuja told ministers-designate that they must work as a team, stressing that his administration would rely on them to implement policies and programs to lift Nigerians out of poverty.
The president also described as frightening Nigeria’s “looming” population status, which he put at 200 million today but has been estimated by the United Nations (UN) to rise to 411 million by 2050.
He told the would-be ministers in Abuja at the opening of the two-day retreat for them that “working as a team demands that we know what the next person is doing.”
The retreat is to familiarise the incoming cabinet members with governance process and to let them know expectations of them.
The retreat also began on a day the Federal High Court, sitting in Abuja, refused to grant an order by indigenes of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) seeking to stop the president from swearing in the 43 ministers-designate.
In his speech at the retreat, Buhari said: “As ministers, I am counting on you together with advisers and Nigerians willing and able to contribute to building upon our road map of policies, programs, and projects that will lift the bulk of our people out of poverty and set them on the road to prosperity.
“Our administration’s eight years will have laid the grounds for lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years. This outcome will fundamentally shift Nigeria’s trajectory and place us among the world’s great nations.”
The president also told participants at the retreat to see their appointments as a great privilege and to ensure that they put in their best because Nigeria needs frontline individuals to address its many challenges.
He warned them to prepare for arduous commitments, which would require long hours of work and acute labor all geared towards optimal performance.
Buhari seized the occasion to give account of activities of his administration in the first term.
He said: “First – we have rolled back the frontiers of terrorism; we are actively addressing other challenges such as kidnappings, farmer-herder violence, improving the safety of our roads, railways, air traffic and fire control capacities.
“Second – we are steadily turning the economy round through investment in agriculture and manufacturing, shoring up our foreign reserves, curbing inflation and improving the country’s infrastructure.
“Third – on corruption, we have recovered hundreds of billions of stolen assets and are actively pursuing control measures to tackle leakages in public resources. We will not let up in fighting corruption.”
BREAKING: S’Court strikes out Atiku, PDP suit
The Supreme Court has struck out an appeal filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate in the last presidential election.
The appeal marked SC/738/2019 was filed against a ruling of the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC), in which it held that the Atiku and the PDP do not have a reply to an application filed on May 14, 2019, by the All Progressives Congress (APC) seeking among others, the dismissal of their (Atiku and the PDP) challenging President Muhammadu Buhari’s victory at the last presidential election.
In a ruling on Tuesday, a five-man panel led by Justice Datijo Mohammed struck out the appeal for having become statute-barred.
Science & Technology3 days ago
Pumped Hydro-Electricity Storage (PHES) for backup and Bulk energy storage capacity planning in Nigeria
Local News1 day ago
Ekiti begins public shaming of sex offenders
Legal1 day ago
EFCC: Former petroleum minister, Diezani legally request her 2,149 pieces of jewelry
Politics1 day ago
Head of service of the federation resigns over fraud allegation