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Prof Yakubu Issues directive to parties to Submit membership registers

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To comply with the new Electoral Act 2022, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has directed all registered political parties to submit copies of their membership register to the commission, 30 days before their primary elections.

The Chairman of the commission, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, gave the directive at the second regular quarterly meeting of Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) in Abuja, on Thursday.

Yakubu indicated that the new Electoral Act made it mandatory for political parties to submit their registered members to the commission 30 days before their primaries.

“Let me also seize this opportunity to remind political parties that by the provision of Section 77 of the Electoral Act 2022; each party is required to maintain a membership register in hard and soft copy and to make such register available to the Commission not later than 30 days before the date fixed for primaries, congresses and conventions.

“So far, only one political party has complied. It is a mandatory requirement of the law and all parties are required to comply.

“Doing otherwise is like going into an election without the register of voters. There can be no credible primary or general election without a credible register of voters,” Yakubu said.

Yakubu also admonished RECs to thoroughly study the new Electoral Act, saying a credible election is anchored on the law.

“As you are aware, the Electoral Act, together with the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) and our Regulations and Guidelines for the Conduct of Elections, constitute the electoral legal framework for elections.

“As election managers, it is incumbent upon us to familiarise ourselves with the legal framework.”

Yakubu said that a total of 2,673 centres had been activated nationwide for the ongoing Continuous Voter Registration (CVR)

According to him, in the last one week of the exercise, 405,587 eligible Nigerians had completed the registration at the various centres.

This, he said represents about 31 per cent increase on the average figure of 125,000 weekly registrations since the exercise commenced in June 2021.

Yakubu indicated that INEC is expecting a surge in new registrations as it approached its June 30 deadline, adding that it was prepared for it.

He, however, said that INEC was concerned about the safety of prospective registrants, INEC personnel, equipment and materials, including the printed Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) made available for collection by registered voters.

Yakubu, who said that recent incidents involving INEC staff and facilities were worrisome, recalled that following the unfortunate attack on INEC staff in Imo State last week, the Commission suspended the CVR in all the 54 additional centres in the State.

“The exercise is now restricted to our State and Local Government offices except Ihitte Uboma, Njaba and Osu where the exercise had been suspended for the time being.

“Similarly, based on the urgency of the situation in Anambra State, the CVR has been suspended in all the 42 additional centres and confined to our State and Local Government offices except Nnewi South and Ogbaru LGAs where the exercise had also been temporarily suspended.

“Furthermore, in Kaduna State, the exercise had been suspended in Jema’a and Kaura as well as large areas of Birnin Gwari and Giwa on account of insecurity in the four LGAs.

“ In addition, two of our staff were abducted by bandits but later released in Isa LGA of Sokoto state while on voter registration duty.”

Yakubu said that the commission would keep monitoring and reviewing the situation nationwide, always bearing in mind the imperatives of ensuring the safety and security of INEC staff and registrants.

However, he said that in spite of the security challenges, INEC remained resolute in its determination to conduct the 2023 General Election as scheduled.

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More troube for Abure as aggrieved LP candidates demand prosecution

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***Insist he forged their purported withdrawal letters to substitute them

There seem to be no respite yet for the embattled Labour Party (LP) national chairman as two governorship candidates and a House of Representatives candidate of the party in the 2023 General election have called for his prosecution having allegedly established forgery allegation against him
The aggrieved candidates; LP governorship candidates for Ebonyi State and Plateau States, Eze Oko Splendour and chief Yohana Yilpwan Margif respectively and the House of Representatives Candidate for Edo Orhionmwon/ Uhunmwode Federal constituency Imasuen Paul Murphy said they have established the forgery allegations through Police investigation for which Abure was detained.

Each of the candidates at a joint press conference in Abuja on Wednesday narrated their ordeals stating how they were fraududlently substituted with their forged Signatures, documents, Withdrawal Letters submitted to INEC.
They highlighted others other illegal acts of Abure to include their Unlawful Substitution of LP Candidates submitted to INEC, Fake & Forged Sworn Affidavits of FCT High Court Receipts, Seals and Oaths.
They also accused Abure of collecting N30m as bribe from each of their alleged substitutes.

Comrade Splendour said he won the LP primary for Ebonyi state but what should have been a straight forward democratic process was marred by criminality, deceit, and manipulations orchestrated by the party’s national chairman.

“Despite numerous attempts by Abure to evade accountability, the diligent efforts of law enforcement officials led to his eventual apprehension.
“However, the investigation was not without its Significant challenges as the former Chairman consistently attempted to obstruct justice and evade arrest through corrupt and deceitful means after months of rigorous information gathering, cross examinations and forensic analysis, the police investigation conclusively determined that Mr. “Abure criminally forged my signature to perpetrate his illegal scheme.

“Throughout the investigation process, I cooperated fully with law enforcement authorities, providing them with all necessary evidence

to substantiate my claims of forgery and electoral malpractice.
“Despite
the complexities and obstacles encountered along the way, the FCID remained steadfast in their pursuit of justice, ultimately recommending the prosecution of Abure for his criminal actions.
“The case file has since been forwarded to Federal Ministry of Justice for charges to be instituted but up until now, there has been no movement on the matter.
“This has begun to agitate my mind as the perception is that the former Chairman can get away with brazen and unbridled criminality which has further emboidened him to become
even more reckless, believing that he is a “sacred cow”.

“Having received the case file and recommendations from the FCID, I am hereby appealing most passionately to the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation to ensure justice is served. The events described herein underscore the critical importance of upholding the rule of law and ensuring accountability within our democratic institutions.
“Those who seek to subvert the electoral process and undermine the integrity of our democracy must be held accountable for their actions.
“The prosecution of Abure is not only a matter of justice but also reaffirmation of our commitment to the principles of transparency,
fairness and accountability in governance.
“As the Chief law officer of the federation, a renowned staunch
advocate for the rule of law and a firm believer in the principles of
democracy, you have a sacred duty to uphold the rule of law without fear or favour.

“The police recommendation for criminal charges against the Chairman and others, must be treated with the urgency and diligence it deserves.
“We must send a strong message that our democracy cannot flourish where internal party processes are corrupted and electoral integrity is recklessly subverted.
“I kindly implore you to use your highly esteemed office to ensure that charges are filed against Mr. Abure and others without further delay.

Chief Margif said, ”

“I passed through the primaries successfully, the primary was witnessed by INEC, I scaled through as the flag bearer, I was given certificate of return by Julius Abure to run the race but after one month while I was doing campaign there was a planned arrest by police, I was taken to police custody only to hear that there is another primary going on the 5th of August purporting that I have withdrawn from the race.

“The letter of withdrawal was forged which they submitted 5th August 2022, Knowing very well I was in detention on 5th How can I sign withdrawal letter while in detention.
According to Murphy, “I did not at any time wrote a withdrawal letter nor deposed to any affidavit to that effect, this further made my lawyer to equally write a letter to the Federal High Court Abuja to confirm the authenticity of the affidavit
“Again the Court replied that the affidavit was never deposed to in that court, which means that they forged my signature, Court affidavit, court revenue receipt and some other documents, which prompted my petition to IGP to investigate this criminal act by the national chairman, Secretary and some other LP officials that may be involved in this criminal

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Edo PDP chieftain tackles Bauchi Governor over claim of rancor free PDP primary

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Gov Bala Muhammed
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A prominent chieftain of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) from Edo North, Joseph Ado, has called out the chairman of the PDP Governors Forum, Governor Bala Mohammed over claim that the PDP Congress held two weeks ago in Edo was rancour free

Ado who reacted through a statement issued on Tuesday said he finds it disheartening that Gov Bala Mohammed would make such a statement, considering that the Congress was previously condemned by the Senator Seriake Dickson panel of enquiry as flawed and one-sided.

“It is perplexing to Mr. Ado how Governor Bala Mohammed can overlook such glaring evidence and assert that there was no rancour during the Congress.

“In Mr. Ado’s view, a true leader ought to stand by the truth and not be partisan, even when trying to show solidarity with fellow governors. He firmly believes that the paramount concern should be the unity of the party. By disregarding the valid concerns raised by nine out of ten aspirants who participated in the Congress and vehemently condemned its flawed nature, Gov Bala Mohammed is failing in his role as a leader within the party.

Furthermore, Mr. Ado also expresses his doubts regarding Governor Bala Mohammed’s potential Presidential ambition. He expressed the believe that by supporting such a flawed Congress, Gov Mohammed has demonstrated his inability to gather the necessary support for his Presidential ambitions.
Ado firmly asserts that relying on the backing of Governor Godwin Obaseki will prove to be futile.
As a dedicated member of the PDP and a stakeholder in the Edo North region, Mr. Ado called on Governor Mohammed and other party leaders to prioritize the party’s unity above personal ambitions and affiliations.
“The PDP must foster an atmosphere that is fair, transparent, and inclusive in order to strengthen its position ahead of upcoming political challenges.

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Don’t allow growing anger, discontent to reach volatile point, Lamido tells Tinubu

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Sule Lamido
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A former Governor of Jigawa State, Alhaji Sule Lamido has tasked the All Progressives Congress( APC) led administration of President Bola Tinubu not to allow the growing anger and discontent to reach point of violence

He asked the President to take preventive measures against the general discontent in the country arising from poverty, high cost of living and the insecurity currently bedevilling the nation to avert an impending disaster.

Thousands of citizens in Minna, the Niger State capital, had taken to the streets in protest against what they described as severe hunger and escalating cost of living in the country.

There were similar protests in Kano, Plateau and Kogi States.

Lamido who was a foreign Affairs minister under former President Olusegun Obasanjo on his verified Facebook wall wrote using two analogies by two famous persons to capture the near disaster awaiting to happen if Nigerian government does not take an immediate preemptive measure

“The first of the two famous people is Fidel Castro. He narrated a story of a rich man on a holiday in his luxurious yatch. While indulging in the upper deck of yacht with all the comfort money can buy, his workers were groaning in the heat of the engine room. 

“The commotion coming from the engine room arising from the unbearable heat started shaking the yacht violently! It was a signal to the rich man and his friends in the upper deck to either respond to the commotion from the engine room or risk the yatch overturn.

“The other famous man is our very own Bishop Kukah. During the the era of our blessed PDP, there were cries of hardship arising from the increase of the pump price of fuel and the then serious insecurity from Boko Haram culminating in the abduction of Chibok girls in Yobe State. 

“There was general outcry all over the country from the then opposition APC, organizing protests  against the PDP government. I vividly recall when Buhari, Tinubu, Bisi and other big wigs of the APC poured out and filled the streets of Abuja chanting and condemning our government for allegedly failing to secure Nigeria and unleashing hardship on the citizens!

“That was when my good friend Bishop Kukah presented his paper allertig of the impending danger should the  government fail to take urgent action! 

“He gave as an analogy of the American coal mining in the 18th century by taking a canary in a cage into the mining pit. The canary according Bishop Kukah has a very weak respiratory system and can easily suffocate in low oxygen area. 

“Deep in the mining pit when the oxygen is getting exhausted, the canary will begin to shiver and the miner gets the message and quickly scrambles out of the pit. That was the miner’s ‘early warning system’!

“In Nigeria today, the hardship is so unbearable that tell tails of ‘early warnings’ are manifesting all over the country. In Lagos and Minna women are demonstrating over the high cost of living. 

‘Women in Plateau State are demonstrating on the cost of their favorite local brew called ‘burkutu’ now selling for 3 Naira a cup which they drink to drown their hardship and sorrow thereby getting temporary relief. Above all there is hunger everywhere and people are starving!
According to him, the two analogies quoted above and and the manifestation of the seeming tension arising from these local protests and demonstrations and the likely spread of these nation wide is enough to make the government take urgent action!

“It must not be allowed to reach a combustion point.”

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