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Former President, Goodluck Jonathan emerges as chairperson of International Summit Council for Peace

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Former President Dr Goodluck Jonathan has emerged as the chairperson of the newly inaugurated International Summit Council for Peace (ISCP), a body made up of mainly African former Presidents and ex-Heads of State.

Goodluck Jonathan

Former President Dr Goodluck Jonathan has urged African Union (AU) to set minimum acceptable standards for appointing the leadership of electoral commissions as a means of building citizen confidence and ensuring credibility of elections on the continent.

The former President stated this on Friday at the International Leadership Conference in Johannesburg, South Africa, where he emerged as the chairperson of the newly inaugurated International Summit Council for Peace (ISCP), a body made up of mainly African former Presidents and ex-Heads of State.

The two-day conference tagged ‘Africa Summit and Leaders Conference 2019’ has in attendance government officials, former African Heads of State, clergy and traditional rulers from across Africa. South African President was represented by Mr. Gwade Mantashe, national chairperson of the African National Congress (ANC) and minister of mines and energy.

In a keynote speech titled ‘The Need for Good Governance and Peaceful Electioneering Process in Africa’ former President Jonathan noted that the credibility and legitimacy of electoral processes are hugely dependent on the competence, impartiality and independence of electoral management bodies (EMBs).

He also stressed that many African nations face election-related crises in cases where the citizens have no confidence in the electoral process, especially when they suspect that the election umpires do the bidding of the partisan appointing authorities.

The former President said: “It is interesting that almost all the EMBs in Africa are identified with the prefix ‘Independent’, but the jury is still out on whether these agencies are truly independent as their names imply.”

As a means of deepening democracy on the continent Jonathan therefore urged the African Union to establish minimum standards and benchmarks for constituting electoral management bodies and encourage member-nations to ratify such declaration.

He said: “The AU should, through its Political Affairs Department, set up a team of electoral experts to study different models and recommend the system they consider best for the continent.

“Such benchmark should also take cognizance of the need to review the election of judicial processes to ensure that, where election tribunals are set up to specifically handle election cases, one judicial officer do not handle the role of appointing all members of the tribunals.

“Since neutrality of the security services is absolutely necessary in ensuring free and fair elections, it is also important that the Africa Union should establish a code of conduct guiding security officials in charge of elections. All these recommendations should be accommodated in AU’s procedures for elections that should serve as guidelines for election observers.”

Jonathan praised South Africans for the peaceful conduct of last May’s national and provincial elections, adding that the credibility of the process stemmed from the fact that all the stakeholders in the elections had confidence in the electoral commission and the security systems.

He said further: “Once you get to that point where all role players in elections can express confidence in the umpire and the security systems, you would have solved more than 70% of your electoral challenges. Sadly, not many African countries have got to this point. The point where they can beat their chest and boast of political freedom, inclusiveness, independence of the electoral management body and credibility of the political process.”

As the Chairman of International Summit Council for Peace the former President is expected to lead the charge for the association’s crusade for peace and good governance on the continent.

Speaking further Jonathan argued that “Africa’s leadership problem has more to do with weak institutions than the case of leaders serving in office for long periods of time. When the democratic institutions are strong they will develop firewalls that will resist attempts to alter the constitution and manipulate electoral processes for selfish reasons.”

According to the President: “Democracy is not about holding periodic elections but conducting credible, transparent, free and fair polls. African elections must meet minimum acceptable standards for democracy to be beneficial to the people of the continent.

“African nations must improve their electoral processes by establishing systems that will support and deliver credible elections. That is the impetus the continent needs to achieve lasting peace that will catalyse growth and sustainable development.”

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INEC continues to deny existence of server

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) yesterday insisted that the results of the 2019 general election were not transmitted electronically to its server, stressing that the commission only experimented with the technology during some staggered elections held in 2018.


The commission said that the clarification was necessary because of rising controversy on the transmission of 2019 presidential election results from states to the INEC server.

Speaking during the post-election retreat organized by the commission for its staff and ad hoc staff engaged for the last general elections in Osun State, INEC National Commissioner, Mr. Solomon Soyebi, explained that many factors forced the commission to drop the idea of electronic transmission of the results to a central server.

Soyebi added that INEC experimented with electronic transmission of results during Anambra, Sokoto and Osun States’ elections held before 2019 elections but the commission did not sustain the use of the technology during the 2019 general election.

He maintained that the late release of INEC’s budget for the 2019 elections and controversy over the Electoral Act, among other reasons, forced the commission to jettison the idea of using the technology to transmit results to the central server.

He explained: “We piloted the use of transmission of election results electronically in Sokoto, in Anambra, even in Osun. What happened was that we were trying to pilot to see the desirability of such technology in our electoral process.

“First, our budget came out very late; there was also issue (with) the Electoral Act. For these and some other reasons, the commission did not adopt that option. 2019 elections were conducted according to law.

“We used the Constitution of the Federal Republic; we used the Electoral Act and our guidelines for 2019 elections. If you look at the three instruments carefully, the issue of the server was not highlighted.

“Once in a while, you will see an experiment going on but we have to pilot it before we will deploy wholesale for election.

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More foreign observers knock 2019 general elections

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Two United States’ institutes that monitored the 2019 general elections said yesterday that the election did not meet previous standards and the expectations of Nigerians. In their Joint report, presented in Abuja, the National Democratic Institute (NDI) and the International Republican Institute (IRI) said that 2019 elections were marred by irregularities, such as intimidation of voters/electoral officials, vote buying and election-related violence.

They also condemned the suspension of the former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, saying the judiciary plays a crucial role in post-election matters.

“Although many new political parties nominated candidates for the 2019 elections, the polls were largely a contest between the incumbent All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP); the APC hoped to renew the mandate of President Muhammadu Buhari and consolidate its majority in the National Assembly and of governorship. However, the party faced internal wrangling and defections of some key figures in the months to the polls.

“The PDP fielded former Vice President Atiku Abubakar as its standard bearer and, entering the process for the first time as an opposition party, challenged the APC: record, claiming the ruling party not kept its campaign promises to fight corruption, improve security and boost the economy’’, the report said.
The IRI/NDI observation mission said that the 2019 elections did not meet the expectations of many Nigerians.

On security and elections related-violence, the report said, “Ahead of the 2019 polls, the poor security situation in Nigeria, mainly attributed to Boko Haram’s resurgence in the North-east, inter-communal violence in the Middle Belt and widespread crime and banditry, raised concerns about the safety of voters and candidates.

“Increased politically-motivated violence and conflict in the pre-election period was also a concern, especially around political party primaries in some areas.’’

The report further stated that for many Nigerians, the 2019 elections-the sixth since the country’s 1999 transition back to civilian democratic rule, were an opportunity to consolidate democratic gains and build on sound electoral practices.

‘’Significant improvements in the administration of the 2011 and 2015 elections boosted expectations in the 2019 electoral process. Moreover, Nigeria’s first peaceful transfer of power between political parties following the 2015 elections underscored for Nigerians that credible elections matter,” the report said.

The joint report further said that the last-minute postponement of the presidential and National Assembly elections on February 16 showed that INEC had underestimated challenges associated with the administration of the elections.

According to the report, “the commission did not communicate sufficiently with political parties and the public about election preparations. Such a late postponement likely depressed voter turnout and created confusion about the duration of candidate and party.

‘’Most significantly, the delay also undermined public confidence in INEC. After the one-week postponement, it increased its public outreach and communications through regular press briefings. Since the polls, however INEC has been slow to release information, including detailed results.’’

The report said that the last-minute postponement of the presidential and National Assembly elections on the morning of February 16, and delays in opening some polling units and other administrative challenges on February 23 undermined public confidence in INEC.

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Ex-minister’s son abducted at gunpoint

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Some unknown gunmen on Tuesday evening abducted Dayo Adewole, who is the son of the immediate past Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole. The military, the police, security agents and local hunters were already on the trail of the kidnappers as at press time.

Prof. Isaac Adewole

The ex-minister has, however, been forced to cut short his trip abroad.

The abductors were yet to contact the family on their motive and the condition of their victim.
According to a source, Dayo was ambushed at gunpoint on his farm in Iroko, near Fiditi in Afijio Local Government Area of Oyo State at about 6 pm.

Although there were some employees with Dayo, the abductors went for him as a prime target.

It was gathered that the kidnappers later took Dayo away to an unknown destination.

A source said: “The villagers were alerted by the staff who survived the ordeal. Local hunters were mobilized by the Oniroko of Iroko.

“The hunters were said to have located the car of the abductors along the road to Iware village near Iroko
“But they are yet to locate Dayo’s whereabouts. It was suspected that the kidnappers might have changed their vehicle following persistent announcement on the radio after Oniroko had raised the alarm on air.”

Findings confirmed that the military, the police, and security agencies have joined forces with the villagers to search for Dayo.

A top official of the Federal Ministry of Health said: “We are in sad mood over the abduction. Dayo was a graduate of agriculture and he opted for farming.

“He has been managing his farm peacefully in Iroko until he was abducted by some gunmen on Tuesday.”

Responding to a question, the official said: “The ex-minister left for abroad last Thursday for recess but he is on his way back. He has cut short his trip.

“The military, the police, and other security agencies are on top of the situation.”

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Imo Governor suspends LG chairmen

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Imo State Governor Emeka Ihedioha has suspended chairmen, vice chairmen, councilors and political appointees of the local governments for six months. The suspension is contained in the instrument signed by the Governor, pursuant to the recommendation made to him by the Imo State House of Assembly.

This is in pursuant also, to the provisions of Sections 4, 5, and 6 of the Local Government Administration (Amendment) law, 2019 and S.73(3) of Imo State Local Government Administration Law No 15 of 2000 (as amended) and all other laws enabling him.

He set up Interim Management Committees to manage the affairs of each Local Government.
Consequently, the Directors of Administration and General Services(DAGS) of each Local Government have been directed to take over management, pending the confirmation of Interim Management Committees by the State Assembly.

He also removed the chairman and members of the Imo State Independent Electoral Commission (ISIEC).

This is following a resolution supported by a two-thirds majority of the State Assembly rendered on 6th June 2019 seeking their removal from office.
The action is also in accordance with the provisions of S.7(1) of the Imo State Independent Electoral Commission Law and all other extant laws of the State.

The Commission will be reconstituted in due course to put in place the machinery for conducting a credible election into the local governments.

The Governor further directed that these officers handover to the most senior civil servant in the Commission.

The governor also dissolved all statutory boards, corporations, agencies, and parastatals. This is in line with relevant enabling laws of the state.

A statement by his Chief Press Secretary Chibuike Onyeukwu directed the chairmen and sacked to handover to the most senior civil servant in their various establishments.

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