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2023 General Election: INEC Promises to Apply Electoral Laws Without Fear, Favour

INEC has said that it will apply the laws, especially the Electoral Act, of 2022 without fear.

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INEC-PVC- Investors King

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said that it will apply the laws, especially the Electoral Act, of 2022 without fear or favour to ensure free, fair, valid, thorough, and transparent elections in 2023.

The electoral body affirmed that it was important for all stakeholders, especially the political parties to note the crucial features introduced by the new Electoral Act 2022 and the likely implications of those changes on the approaching elections.

INEC chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, revealed this at the 4th Abubakar Momoh Memorial Lecture with the theme, “Electoral Act 2022: Imperatives for Political Parties and the 2023 General Election,” in Abuja on Wednesday.

The helmsman of the Commission identified some of the vital changes put forward by the new electoral law to include: The conduct of early party primaries, technological differences in the electoral process, the commission’s power to evaluate the decision of returning officers, and over-voting based on the number of accredited voters.

Represented by the chairman of the Board of Electoral Institute, Abdullahi Zuru, the INEC chairman confirmed that the umpire has no chosen party or candidate and it shall only guarantee that valid votes count and the winners are determined solely by the voters.

The usage of electronic devices such as Bimodal Voters Accreditation System (BVAS), INEC Voter Enrolment Device (IVED), INEC Results Viewing Portal (IRev), and other technological devices, are now lawfully allowed in the accreditation procedure for voters, collation of results and in the general conduct of elections.

“Please be guaranteed that these innovations are aimed at deepening the Electoral practice in our country and their optimal achievement in the just completed gubernatorial election in Ekiti and Osun States is an expressive testimony to their electoral significance. We shall only do more to strengthen their deployment in our election,” he said.

He expressed hope that the political parties would be devoted to assuring that the 2022 general election is “devoid of intentional violations to the 2022 Electoral Act, basically by enabling the electoral process to run smoothly thereby, cultivating a rich democratic culture and satisfactory election outcome.”

Yemi Akinseye-George, the guest speaker, put forward that politics is not anarchy and a game of disorderliness.

According to him, “Politics is no anarchy; it is not disorderliness; it must be punctuated by justice, fairness and orderliness.”

The professor of law also emphasized that politics must not be seen as a dirty game, indicating optimism that the 2023 general election would hold against all odds and referring to the passion shown for voter registration as an indicator of the fact.

While claiming that political parties must obey their own rules, he said: “the Supreme Court has agreed on numerous cases that political parties must heed their constitutions as the court will not permit them to act arbitrarily or as they like.”

Akinseye-George clarified that the lecture concentrated on the political parties because they constitute the major pillar on which democracy is established.

Indeed, the achievement or otherwise of our democracy is related to the degree of enlightenment and ability of the political parties to accept the rule of law in their operations,” the scholar said.

He emphasized the constitutional requirements associated with political parties; selection of candidates and political party’s finances as empowered in the Electoral Act, 2022 as well as appointed leading judicial pronouncements on political parties and elections.

Also speaking, the convener of Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room, a body of over 70 Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), Ene Obi, petitioned INEC to reopen the halted Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) exercise at least for one month.

Obi noted that such a window would encourage those willing to participate in the exercise, but could not due to technical issues and other glitches.

She said: “The civil society organizations are endorsing and petitioning INEC to open registration because a lot more want to register and we don’t want to shut down their enthusiasm. So, they must reopen it even if it is for one month.

“More than 11 million of those who conducted their forms online were unable to complete their registration. That means you are losing 11 million electorates. That’s a lot, and INEC should address it. We are still soliciting that more of them can still register. They should open it even if it is a window of one month.”

Earlier, in his welcome statements, the director general of the Electoral Institute, Sa’ad Idris, said the theme for this year’s lecture was carefully selected considering the condition and requirements for executing the 2023 general elections under a new law (Electoral Act, 2022).

Idris said the speech aims to look at the significance of the new electoral law for not only the Commission but also, in particular, the 18 political parties that will be fielding nominees for the numerous elective offices in the next year’s polls.

He said, “This topic is also very apt, to train the Executives (National Chairman and Secretaries) of the 18 Political Parties on the several Sections of the new Act and the crucial implications ingrain in many of its Sections.

“The tragic prevalence of many legal cases occurring even from the pre-election period up till after the conduct of the elections, indeed have at many times gave rise to a lot of challenges to the electoral process and our country’s political advancement at large.”

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Iran Mourns: Helicopter Crash Claims Lives of President Raisi and Foreign Minister Amirabdollahian

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Ebrahim Raisi

A tragic helicopter crash has claimed the lives of President Ebrahim Raisi and Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian, sending shockwaves across the nation and plunging the country into mourning.

The fatal incident occurred in Iran’s East Azerbaijan province, where the helicopter carrying the two senior officials and several other passengers crashed, resulting in the loss of all on board.

The crash site, now a scene of charred wreckage, stands as a somber reminder of the untimely demise of these key figures in Iranian politics.

President Raisi, who assumed office in August 2021, was widely regarded for his commitment to serving the Iranian people and advancing the nation’s interests on the global stage.

His tenure as president was marked by efforts to strengthen Iran’s position in regional affairs and enhance diplomatic relations with neighboring countries.

Foreign Minister Amirabdollahian played a pivotal role in shaping Iran’s foreign policy, particularly in fostering closer ties with neighboring nations in the Middle East, including Arab countries across the Gulf.

His diplomatic acumen and dedication to advancing Iran’s interests earned him respect both domestically and internationally.

The news of their tragic deaths has elicited an outpouring of grief and condolences from leaders and citizens alike, both within Iran and abroad.

Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim expressed his deep sadness over the loss, highlighting President Raisi’s commitment to justice, peace, and the upliftment of the Muslim world.

Similarly, the European Union extended its sincere condolences to the families of President Raisi and Foreign Minister Amirabdollahian, acknowledging the profound impact of their untimely passing on the Iranian nation.

The helicopter crash not only robbed Iran of two of its most prominent leaders but also left a void in the country’s political landscape.

As the nation grapples with this immense loss, tributes pour in from all corners, commemorating the contributions of President Raisi and Foreign Minister Amirabdollahian to the advancement of Iran’s interests and the well-being of its people.

The legacy of these esteemed leaders will endure in the hearts and minds of Iranians, serving as a guiding light for future generations as they navigate the complexities of governance and diplomacy in an ever-changing world.

Iran mourns the loss of two of its finest sons, whose dedication and service will be remembered for years to come.

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DR Congo Thwarts Coup Attempt: Leader Killed, Several Arrested

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Vital Kamerhe

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) found itself on the brink of chaos as an attempted coup unfolded in its capital, Kinshasa.

The government swiftly acted to quell the insurgency, resulting in the death of the coup leader and the arrest of several others involved.

The assault, which occurred on Sunday morning, sent shockwaves through the mineral-rich central African nation, already grappling with political instability and external pressures.

The target of the attack was the residence of Vital Kamerhe, a prominent political figure in Congo’s landscape and a candidate for the head of the National Assembly.

Led by Christian Malanga, the self-exiled leader of the New Zaire movement, the attackers descended upon Kinshasa in two groups, initiating their assault on Kamerhe’s residence.

Despite the initial skirmish that claimed the lives of two police officers, the attempted coup lacked the military support necessary to pose a significant threat to the government’s stability.

After the failed attempt to seize power, Malanga and his cohorts proceeded to the office of President Tshisekedi, where they brazenly defaced Congolese flags and hoisted the banner of the former Zaire.

However, their actions were swiftly met with resistance from the Republican Guard, resulting in a fatal confrontation that claimed the lives of multiple attackers, including Malanga himself.

The involvement of three American citizens among the assailants adds a layer of complexity to the unfolding situation.

While details surrounding their participation remain murky, the revelation has drawn the attention of both Congolese authorities and the U.S. government, signaling potential diplomatic ramifications.

Vital Kamerhe, the intended target of the coup, emerged unscathed from the ambush on his residence. However, his absence from public discourse following the incident leaves many questions unanswered regarding his stance and potential involvement in the foiled insurgency.

The failed coup underscores the fragile political landscape of the DRC, where power struggles and external interests converge amid the backdrop of immense mineral wealth.

As the nation navigates the aftermath of this brazen attempt to destabilize its government, concerns over internal cohesion and foreign intervention loom large on the horizon.

In the wake of the thwarted coup, Congolese authorities are expected to intensify efforts to maintain stability and root out any remnants of dissent.

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Netanyahu Stands Firm as US Halts Bomb Shipment Over Rafah Invasion Warning

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Netanyahu

Amidst escalating tensions between Israel and the United States, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has adopted a defiant stance following the US decision to halt a shipment of bombs and warned against Israel’s potential invasion of the southern Gaza city of Rafah.

In a bold statement, Netanyahu declared, “If we have to stand alone, we will stand alone,” emphasizing Israel’s resolve to pursue its objectives despite opposition.

The Prime Minister’s comments, delivered via social media and a subsequent interview with American talk show host Dr. Phil, underscore Israel’s determination to address security threats posed by the Gaza Strip, particularly by Hamas militants operating in Rafah.

Netanyahu reiterated the necessity of military action in Rafah to eliminate the remaining Hamas battalions, condemned Hamas’s history of violence and reiterated Israel’s commitment to achieving victory and ensuring the safety of its citizens.

The US administration, led by President Joe Biden, expressed concerns over the potential humanitarian impact of an Israeli invasion of Rafah, prompting the decision to withhold additional offensive weapons shipments to Israel.

Biden’s statement echoed broader international apprehensions about the escalation of violence and civilian casualties in the conflict-stricken region.

However, Netanyahu remained resolute in Israel’s approach, asserting the country’s right to defend itself against security threats. He emphasized Israel’s efforts to minimize civilian casualties and facilitate the evacuation of civilians from Rafah before any military action.

Despite the US’s decision to pause the bomb shipment, Netanyahu affirmed Israel’s commitment to its longstanding alliance with the US. He acknowledged past disagreements between the two nations but expressed optimism about resolving current tensions through dialogue and cooperation.

In response, White House officials reiterated the US’s support for Israel’s security while urging restraint and emphasizing the need to avoid actions that could exacerbate the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

The administration clarified that the decision to halt the bomb shipment was aimed at preventing potential civilian casualties in Rafah.

The confrontation between Israel and the US underscores the complexity of navigating regional conflicts and balancing strategic interests. As tensions persist, both nations face the challenge of reconciling their respective security imperatives with broader humanitarian concerns, seeking to avert further escalation while addressing the root causes of the conflict in the Middle East.

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