Connect with us

Government

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.

Published

on

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.”

Continue Reading
Comments

Government

FG Awaits National Assembly’s Nod Before Take-Off of $800m Cash-Transfer to About 50m Poor Nigerians

Published

on

Zainab Ahmed Finance Minister

About 50 million poor and vulnerable households in Nigeria are eagerly waiting for the take-off of the National Social Safety Net Programme Scale Up which is aimed at alleviating their poverty through monetary provisions by the Federal Government.

Data from the National Social Safety Net Coordinating Office revealed that there were about 12.06 million poor and vulnerable households in the country, totalling 49.81 million persons.

Investors King reports that the social safety-nets are part of broader social protection systems comprising non-contributory transfers in cash or in kind, designed to provide support for the poor and vulnerable people in the country.

Through this scheme, which has already been captured by the Federal Government in its 2023 Budget, thousands of poor households would be supported with cash, while others in need of material provisions would also be included.

The Federal Government has said that in order to reach out to targeted persons, especially in the rural communities across the country, it will deploy Point-of-Sales agents for cash transfers during the programme billed to commence this year.

Already, the National Social Safety-Net Coordinating Office (NASSCO) which is collaborating with the World Bank has been working on building a National Social Register (NSR) that would contain poor and vulnerable Nigerians who are direct beneficiaries of the $800million earmarked for the project.

The programme, which is to be implemented by the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, has the approval of World Bank and it would run till June 30, 2024.

Announcing that POS agents would be co-opted to transfer the money to the needy, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Dr Zainab Ahmed, said the Federal Government was waiting for the approval of the National Assembly before the programme would commence.

Ahmed, who made this known while hosting the Executive Director, Angola, Nigeria, South Africa Constituency of the World Bank Group, Ms Ayanda Dlodlo, in Abuja last week Friday, said the social safety net would be expanded.

According to her, the NASSP-Scale Up has been approved by the bank and the Federal Executive Council, while the financial implications have been catered for in the 2023 Appropriation Act presented recently to the NASS by President Muhammadu Buhari.

To activate the project, the minister said the National Assembly must approve it, adding that there are efforts to expand the rapid response register to capture those who had slid into poverty of recent.

Also, she disclosed that the government is working with agents network in the banking system and other financial services for the cash transfer programme.

The minister said all of the database required have been worked upon for easy disbursement of the money by banks.

With the engagement of PoS agents, Ahmed pointed out that hard-to-reach communities and villages without banks would be covered in the programme.

Speaking, the Executive Director, Angola, Nigeria, South Africa Constituency of the World Bank Group, Ms Ayanda Dlodlo, canvassed the urgent need for government to tackle food insecurity and poor power supply in the country.

Dlodlo said about 600 million people in the African continent lack access to electricity, which she described as vital element to national development.

 

Continue Reading

Government

European Union to Donate €102.5m to Nigeria, Other African Countries

Published

on

European Union

An international organisation, European Union (EU) has disclosed that Nigeria and some other African countries will benefit from its €102.5m humanitarian aid.

The EU consists of 27 European countries with a common interest on issues pertaining to common economic, social and security.

Investors King reports that other countries marked to take part in the humanitarian aid of the European Union aside Nigeria are Chad, Niger and Cameroon amongst others.

The international organisation disclosed its decision during the third high-level conference on the Lake Chad Region held in Niamey on Monday and Tuesday.

According to the EU, the conference was organised to enhance regional, cross-border agreements and interactions to tackle the issues bedeviling the region.

It earmarked the assistance for the developing countries in order to provide food needs for its citizens especially those affected by conflicts or war.

This will in turn reduce the ravaging undernutrition problem in children under the age of five in the chosen African nations.

The Lake Chad region mapped out comprises the far west of Chad, northeast of Nigeria, Niger and Cameroon. It is popular for violent attacks, killings, displacement and other vices which have demoralised the region and retarded its development.

The European Union’s aid to underdeveloped countries will serve as its intervention for the social well-being of the nations hit by conflicts to reduce its awful impacts.

Investors King understands that the relationship between EU and Nigeria has been cordial through discussion platforms to address democracy, political issues, good governance, migration and security issues. Also, social-economic matters like trade, healthcare, water, sanitation, food security, climate change amongst others are jointly worked upon  as need arises.

Continue Reading

Government

Failed Gas Deal: Trial Begins in UK Firm’s Suit Against Nigeria Over Unpaid $11 Billion

Published

on

President Muhammadu Buhari - Investors King

Trial into the protracted lawsuit between a British Virgin Islands-registered firm, Process & Industrial Development Ltd. (P&ID) and the Federal Republic of Nigeria over the failure of the latter to pay the firm the whooping sum of $11 billion will commence this week before a United Kingdom High Court.

Investors King gathered that the case emanated from a failed gas deal between the firm and the Nigerian government that dated 2010.

Available facts revealed that Nigeria had in 2010 entered into an agreement with the firm to provide free processed gas for P&ID within a period of 20 years in exchange for an oil refinery facility that P&ID would build for the country.

The firm is said to have bided for the gas supply in order to generate electricity with it and also sell it’s remaining to interested buyers.

P&ID had claimed it failed to build the planned refinery because the Nigerian government failed to tap its natural gas and deliver to it as allegedly agreed during their contract signing.

Explaining why the country defaulted in honouring the agreement, the incumbent Nigeria’s government had accused the P&ID of bribing previous administration officials to secure the gas contract and colluded with former government lawyers and officials to put up what it described as a “sham defense” when the matter became a subject of litigation.

Checks by Investors King revealed that the deal was made during the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in 2010.

Its implementation was said to have got delayed till 2015 when Jonathan lost reelection to incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Following the change of power, the deal was stalled as the incumbent administration alleged that the deal came about through bribes to former government officials, and that the award should be revoked.

Buhari’s administration had directed the law enforcement agencies to investigate allegations of bribery surrounding the 2010 gas contract and insisted that bank records indicated that four government officials or their family members received bribes from P&ID before the contract was signed, and that one of them has admitted to overlooking “obvious deficiencies” in the company’s proposal.

Nigeria’s anti-graft agency has also charged the lawyer that represented the state during the arbitration for allegedly bribing public officials involved in the proceedings.

Not pleased with Nigerian government’s allegations, P&ID initiated arbitration in 2012 and claimed that attempts to resolve the issue privately had failed.

Meanwhile, in 2017, a closed-door arbitration court in the UK ordered Nigeria to pay $6.6 billion to the firm to compensate for lost profits over the failed facility project. The $6.6 billion awarded against Nigeria is said to have grown to over $11 billion with interest.

Ever since, P&ID, had been pressuring Nigeria to make the payment. In 2019, the stakes rose again when a UK judge issued an order enforcing the award.

P&ID had denied all allegations and described the Nigerian government’s claims of fraud as an attempt to dodge liability.

Meanwhile, as the case resumes this week in London, Nigerian government is expected to present its case and convince the court to quash the arbitration ruling.

UK high court judge, Ross Cranston had said in a 2020 ruling that there was a strong case to be made that for it to be convinced that the gas processing contract was procured by bribes paid to insiders as part of a larger scheme to defraud the country.

It was reported that Nigeria’s economy would suffer a deeper crisis if the country loses in London as P&ID has said it wold demand legal approval to confiscate Nigeria’s overseas assets, thus making it more expensive for Nigeria to raise money in international capital markets.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement




Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Trending