Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu has put the Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) on notice that the 2023 General Election must be better than all the previous general elections conducted by the Commission.
To achieve the dream, the RECs have been directed to compile and submit an inventory of all election materials in their possession in order to determine existing shortfalls and take early, proactive steps to fill the gaps.
Prof. Yakubu, who spoke today in Abuja at the Commission’s second quarterly meeting with the RECs this year, also noted that the decision to begin preparations well ahead of time was intended to enable the Commission address some of the logistics issues that had become a recurring decimal in the conduct of previous elections.
His words: “As we continue to plan for the next General Election, the RECs have been directed to compile and submit an inventory of all election materials in order to determine shortfalls and take early steps to ensure their adequacy and availability.
“Only a few States are still outstanding. I wish to remind the States that are yet to make their submissions to do so by the end of this week. This will enable us to address some of the logistics issues that have become a recurring decimal in the conduct of elections in the past. The 2023 General Election must be different formal previous elections in terms of our preparations and readiness”.
Prof Yakubu also described the current engagements with stakeholders over the proposed expansion of voter access to polling units as well as the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) as “inter-related.” He revealed the plan to conclude the ongoing consultations and the actual work on the polling units to enable INEC make the new locations public for eligible registrants to choose where they wish to register and vote on Election Day.
He also said that those who wish to replace their lost or damaged Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs) and the already registered voters but who may wish to apply for transfer of their registration from one location to another will be able to do so as provided by law.
Reiterating the Commission’s commitment to deepening the culture of planning for elections, Prof Yakubu said: “The current five-year plan covering the period 2017-2021 expires this year. For this reason, a Committee involving the participation of some Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) was inaugurated a few weeks ago to review the Strategic Plan (SP) and the Strategic Programme of Action (SPA) to cover the next cycle of five years from 2022-2026. The Committee is making good progress. Its report should be submitted by the end of this month to enable the Commission engage stakeholders for its validation and subsequent implementation. I want to assure Nigerians that this will be accomplished long before the expiry of the current plan at the end of this year.”
The INEC Chairman commended the RECs and staff of the Commission for ensuring the that the two elections conducted so far in 2021 met the standard for credible elections. He urged them to strive to do even better in the Ekiti East State Constituency 1 bye election scheduled for 20th March and the Aba North/Aba South Federal Constituency bye-election in Abia state holding on 27th of March.
He added: “Similarly, with the recent declaration of vacancy by the Delta State House of Assembly, I wish to assure the people of Isoko North State Constituency that the timetable for the bye-election to fill the vacancy in the State House of Assembly will be released before the end of this week”.
In attendance at the meeting were National Commissioners: Mr. Mohammed Kudu Haruna, Barrister May Agbamuche-Mbu, Festus Okoye Esq., Air Vice Marshal Ahmed Tijjani Mu’azu (Rtd), Dr Adekunle Ogunmola, and Prof. Okechukwu Ibeanu.
Others include the Chairman’s Technical team comprising the Chief Technical Adviser, Prof. Bolade Eyinla, Special Adviser, Prof. Mohammad Kuna and Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Rotimi Oyekanmi as well the Secretary to the Commission, Mrs Rose Oriaran-Anthony, the Director General (DG) the Electoral Institute, Dr. Sa’ad Idris and other Directors of the Commission.
Bandits Chase Residents Out Of Kaduna Village For Failing To Pay Tax
Residents of Kidandan community in Giwa Local Government area of Kaduna State were chased out of their ancestral homes in their hundreds over the weekend for failing to pay tax to bandits.
The bandits had raided their community for hours, shooting indiscriminately, resulting in the killing of many residents and abduction of many others.
Some survivors told reporters that the bandits, who had previously terrorized the community, increased their aggression after some farmers failed to pay the levies imposed on them.
The Kaduna State Police Command did not respond to the inquiries made about the incident, as the Command’s spokesman, ASP Mansur Hassan, promised to call our correspondent back but had not done so at press time.
A resident, who preferred anonymity, said: “For the past six days, bandits have been frequenting Kidandan. But this attack was particularly devastating. They instilled terror, stole belongings, and abducted our people.
“Every resident of Kidandan lives in extreme fear. Our women and children are leaving in large numbers. The sudden and unplanned exodus is striking. They seek safety, heading to Zaria and other seemingly secured areas to stay with friends and relatives.”
It was alleged that instead of a permanent security presence, patrols were the only form of occasional security in the community.
This, it was alleged, allowed the bandits to strike whenever they sensed the absence of security operatives.
The Kaduna Bombing Incident Will Not Be Swept Under The Carpet – Ribadu
The National Security Adviser (NSA) Nuhu Ribadu has visited the Tudun Biri village of Igabi Local Government Area of Kaduna State to commiserate with the people over bombing incident.
While 85 persons were confirmed dead in the strike and scores were injured in the most recent military mishap, Ribadu and the lawmakers are commending the commitment of security agencies to reducing the security challenges in the region.
The NSA who was in the village on a fact-finding mission, assured that the bombing incident will not be swept under the carpet. He promised that a holistic investigation would soon commence to avert the recurrence of such an incident.
“We are here to physically see and also talk directly to the people, victims, and families and make an assessment for the Federal Government. It is a tragedy and misfortune. But it has happened. What matters is: how we move forward, what we going to learn from here, and what exactly we need to do,” Ribadu added.
He commended Governor Uba Sani of Kaduna State for his display of maturity and leadership in handling of the unfortunate incident, particularly in providing relief materials and other logistics to the victims.
Kaduna Bombing: Northern Lawyers Vow To Sue FG
Lawyers, under the auspices of the Concerned Northern Forum, have vowed to institute legal action against the Federal Government, demanding the payment of adequate compensation for the victims of Tudun Biri bombed by the military airstrikes in Kaduna State.
Recall that over 120 villagers were killed while celebrating Maulud last Sunday night.
Speaking for the Northern Lawyers Forum, Barrister Nafi’u Abubakar, noted that the forum would ensure that the families that suffered irreparable loss as a result of this unfortunate incident get justice.
Nafi’u, while addressing newsmen in Kaduna on Saturday, urged the Federal Government to take immediate and decisive action to ensure a thorough and independent investigation into this incident.
“It is imperative that those responsible are held accountable for their actions, and measures are put in place to prevent any recurrence of such incidents in the future.
“We also urge the Nigerian Army to reevaluate its rules of engagement and training procedures to prevent the loss of innocent lives during military operations. It is vital that the Nigerian Army, as a defender of the nation, exercises utmost caution to avoid any further instances of collateral damage and civilian casualties,” he said.
The forum, with over 600 members, extended their deepest condolences to the families who lost their loved ones during the tragic incident.
“We stand united with them in their grief and pledge our unwavering support in ensuring justice is served.
“The Concerned Northern Lawyers Forum will work tirelessly to pursue legal means to claim the compensation that is owed to the victims,” he said. Vanguard.
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