Nigerian singer, Simisola Ogunleye-Kosoko, simply known as Simi, has described as a joke, the 300 billion Naira budget for the 2023 general elections.
The mother of one stressed that it would have been better for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to “just used finger to point at the people you wanted to select.”
She made this known via her Twitter handle while calling out INEC on Monday, March 20. Evidently disappointed, Simi said it would have been better if the exorbitant amount was used to fix hospitals and schools in Nigeria. She tweeted:
“300 billion naira budget for this joke of an election. @inecnigeria you might have as well given them back the money to fix some hospitals and schools and just used finger to point at the people you wanted to select.”
“The blatant rigging and nobody in power addressed it. Lol. Giant problem of Africa. Anybody that saw the disenfranchisement and didn’t condemn it better keep their prayers for Nigeria. She doesn’t need prayers from people like you.”
Ahead of the March 18 governorship and House of Assembly elections in Lagos State, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has dismissed allegations that it removed Igbo and South-South individuals from the list of ad hoc staff.
This comes following rumours circulating on social media that the electoral body in Lagos had removed all personnel from these regions from participating in sensitive election duties on March 18th.
In response, the INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner in Lagos State, Mr Olusegun Agbaje, issued a statement on Wednesday evening through the Head of Department, Voter Education and Publicity, Mrs Adenike Tadese, refuting the claims as fake news that should be disregarded.
“INEC Lagos State read with great surprise and concern on the social media in respect of the removal of all Igbo and South-South staff in Lagos State from participating as ad hoc staff in the state during the forthcoming governorship and House of Assembly elections on March 18.
“It has become imperative to correct the erroneous accusations in some quarters and put the record straight that the ad hoc staff (collation officers) engaged during the presidential and National Assembly Elections on February 25 in Lagos State were 738 in number, bearing in mind that three elections were held.
“The forthcoming governorship and House of Assembly will only require the services of 427 collation officers because only two elections are involved.
“It is pertinent to state unequivocally that members of staff that are Igbo were all returned to work as collation officers in the forthcoming elections while SPOs (Supervisory Presiding Officers) maintained their positions,” Agbaje said.
Agbaje added that he never had a phone conversation with the ‘Obidients, Sanwo-Olu, and Tinubu’ and emphasized that he did not possess their contact numbers.
He encouraged the public to disregard false news, incorrect information, and deception and to enable INEC in Lagos to concentrate on the upcoming elections to achieve the intended outcomes.
“Whoever has information concerning the day and time of the said telephone conversation should not hesitate to make it public.
“The commission will continue to uphold the fundamental principles of equity, fairness, transparency, credibility and accountability in line with the vision and mission to be a pre-eminent leader in deepening electoral democracy as an unbiased election management body,” he said.
Election: INEC Suspends Abia State REC
The Independent National Electoral Commission INEC has suspended Ike Uzochukwu, its Resident Electoral Commissioner REC in Abia State.
Abia State was one of the states where the February 25 Presidential and National Assembly elections did not commence as scheduled, following a logistical failure.
Vanguard reports that following the suspension, INEC has consequently directed its Administrative Secretary in the state, Clement Ohia to immediately assume office and ensure the smooth conduct of this Saturday’s Governorship and State Assembly election.
The commission had on March 6 suspended its Resident Electoral Commissioner REC in Sokoto State, Dr. Nura Ali, and directed its Administrative Secretary in the state, Hauwa Aliyu Kangiwa, to take over its affairs.
The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has dismissed allegations that it disobeyed the Appeal Court order to allow aggrieved political parties to inspect election materials.
INEC National Commissioner for Information and Voter Education, Festus Okoye, made the clarification, when he appeared as a guest on Arise TV on Sunday.
Okoye advised lawyers of the aggrieved parties, to channel their request appropriately, so that, “the issues can be handled expeditiously.”
He added that INEC, at the national level, does not conduct elections, but rather elections are conducted at the state and local government level.
The INEC Commissioner also stated that the commission will direct the parties to the appropriate place where they will find the materials they want.
He said, “The commission will not deliberately or flagrantly disobey the order of a properly constituted court of law, and in this case, the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal sitting at the Court of Appeal.
“I think that what the parties involved in this election should do, is to send lawyers who understand the trajectory of the electoral process and request for some of these materials.
“If you are requesting to scan ballot papers used during the election, ballot papers are not in the headquarters of INEC.
“Some of these ballot papers are still in our local government offices and so the proper place to scan them will be at our local government offices.”
Okoye said INEC is only resetting the BVAS, to recognize the new date for the forthcoming election.
He explained that the BVAS will not allow itself to reconfigure until all the data in it has been uploaded to the commission’s server.
Okoye ruled out the possibility of INEC allowing individuals to witness the reconfiguring of the BVAS, saying the device contains sensitive information of biometrics of other individuals.
The Labour Party has issued a new threat to the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
The party threatened that it will call on its members to occupy offices of INEC nationwide for allegedly frustrating its petition against the outcome of the 2023 presidential election.
The party’s Presidential Campaign Council chief spokesman, Tanko Yunusa, disclosed this in a statement.
According to Yunusa, INEC refused to allow its lawyers and agents inspect the Bimodal Voter Authentication System (BVAS) machines alongside other electoral materials.
He added that the electoral body has decided which court orders to obey and which to disregard.
The spokesman wondered why INEC disobeyed the order of the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal directing the electoral umpire to grant the party and its presidential candidate, Peter Obi, access to the certified true copies of materials used in the conduct of the poll.
The statement read, “The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) with greatest impunity have refused, neglected and failed to obey the Order of the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja made on the 03rd day of March 2023, directing it to grant the Labour Party and its presidential candidate H.E. Peter Gregory Obi leave to apply and receive from INEC, certified true copies of materials used in the presidential election held on 25th February 2023.
“It will be recalled that the aforesaid Order of the presidential election petition tribunal was duly served on INEC on the 3rd of March 2023 despite the fact that they were present and represented at the tribunal when the Order was made.
“Not minding the service of the said Order on INEC, and a reminder letter dated the 6th day of March 2023 and delivered same date at the INEC Headquarters Abuja, the electoral umpire has continued to ignore and or disobey the valid Order of such magnitude till NOW.
“It should be noted that in a democracy like ours, rule of law must triumph not only in our legal system but also in our body polity as a whole. Parties to a litigation like in the instant case must accept and obey every order of court in good faith and no party should be seen to employ self-help to disparage or disrespect an order of court which if not checked and curtailed could possibly undermine our democracy, rule of law and constitutionalism.
“The action of INEC under reference also constitutes for all intent and purposes, an act of judicial insubordination and willful refusal to comply to the order of court. As we speak INEC has chosen to obey the court order given to it to reconfigure the BVAS machine, which they doing right now and ignoring the order granted to us to inspect electoral materials.
“We therefore call on the general public to note the level of lawlessness and brazen disobedience to a lawful order of a court by an important statutory agency such as INEC, and which is a well calculated attempt to undermine and frustrate the presentation of the Petition by the Labour Party and its Presidential candidate before the tribunal in good time.
“We therefore want to state that we will not fail to call our supporters to march to INEC offices nationwide in a non-violent protest which is allowed by law. This is to curtail the flagrant disobedience to court orders by INEC.”
Oluwole Osaze-Uzzi, a former INEC Director, Voter Education and Publicity, has stated that Nigerians have little or no trust in the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Some Nigerians had criticised the conduct of the February 25 presidential and National Assembly elections as below the expectations of citizens and stakeholders at home and abroad.
“You could not envisage a situation with the tension of the country. With the uncertainty and all that has happened in the last 10, 12 day, I don’t think INEC could afford doing any wrong again,” Osaze-Uzzi, said on Channels Television’s Politics Today on Thursday, March 9.
“Things went awry last time around and confidence, I think, is at an all-time low. Some people may begin to get over it, but I think the vast majority of Nigerians are satisfied.”
“Trust is a fragile thing,” Osaze-Uzzi stated.
“INEC conducted elections in 1998, 1999 – people just wanted to get rid of the military, it wasn’t perfect but it was acceptable. In 2003, people were not happy. 2007 was the epoch of it all. Trust was next to zero,” he said.
Osaze-Uzzi however added that with the changes in personnel and reforms brought into place, trust began to build up, leading up to 2022.
“By the time you brought more technology, by the time you conducted Osun, Edo, Ekiti, Ondo, and then they saw the way technology improved the process, Osun was picture-perfect. People [said], ‘They could really do this.’
“Expectations were now high and people were ready to forgive the sins of the past. I think at that time, INEC became one of the most trusted public institutions,” he said.
“There was a call to be made: Do you delay things and ensure you follow the process to the letter, even if it means delaying this thing for a week or whatever period of time?
“Or do you save time, save tension, just go ahead and bypass some of the processes laid down in your regulations? I think it took the former. This time around, I think process triumphed over timing,” he said.