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INEC Faces 1,069 Election Lawsuits, *109 new political parties apply for registration

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Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is facing 1069 election law suits, Daily Asset has learnt.

This is as 109 political associations have applied for registration as political parties with INEC.

 INEC National Commissioner, Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Mr.

Festus Okoye  who spoke at an electoral reform round-table organised by the Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room and the Kofi Annan Foundation in Abuja on Thursday, revealed that currently, INEC is slammed with 1069 election lawsuits.

He said: “One of the biggest challenges facing the commission is the large number of pre-election matters that are still pending in various courts of law.

“As at today, the commission has a total of 809 pre-election matters while we have just 800 post-election matters, so the implication is that we have more pre-election matters than post-election.

“As at yesterday, the commission has withdrawn and reissued over 70 certificates of return that were previously issued to those who were elected into the various states and national assembly positions.

“There are more that we are still withdrawing and more that we are still re-issuing, some of these things arose from the not too transparent party primary elections that were conducted by the various political parties.

“It is really a source of concern that up till today, there are still a number of cases arising from pre-election matters in courts,” he said.

Okoye said one of the things the commission is looking at is whether the fourth alteration to the Constitution of Nigeria would properly address the issue of pre-election matters.

He said this is because the fourth alteration, gave the court of first instance a total of 180 days within which to determine cases and issues arising from pre-election matters.

“But 180 days from the period of the conduct of party primary elections and the end of substitution period dovetailed into the conduct of elections and even beyond.

“This more or less distorts what the commission’s activities and also puts it on edge in terms of knowing which political parties would be on the ballot and which would not,” he said.

He said the commission is looking at a situation where it could shorten the regime of the determination of pre-election matters to make it possible for it to have some level of sanity before going into any major election.

On new political parties, he said the number of political associations waiting to be registered are more than the existing ones adding that if they are registered Nigeria would have over 200 parties in 2023 elections.

Okoye said that the issue of the number of political parties is a challenge because the ballot papers are getting longer and the result sheets are getting bigger and creating a big challenge for the voters.

He said: “So I think we need to have a national conversation to see whether we really need the number of political parties in existence in the country or not.

Meanwhile, Nigeria used about two million tonnes of paper to conduct the 2019 General Elections, an official of INEC has said.

“For the first time, we used close to two million tonnes of paper for the conduct of elections, that is paper that will fill about 60 and 70 aircrafts, Prince Adedeji Soyebi, INEC National Commissioner in charge of South West, said on Tuesday.

Soyebi, also the Chairman, Board of the Electoral Institute, INEC, raised the concern in Lagos at the INEC 2019 State Level Post Election Review Retreat.

The meeting had in attendance INEC management staff including heads of departments, electoral officers and their assistants and some collation officers in the state at the 2019 elections.

Soyebi said elections in the country had been too expensive due to mistrust among the stakeholders.

“We must look for a way to perfect the system. The build up to the election was very rancorous,’’ he said.

According to him, the number of woods cut to produce huge paper used for ballots, perfecting security features to currency standard, logistics and others, call for concern.

“Most of the things we do here are due to lack of trust. When we print out ballot paper, we print it up to currency quality with a lot of security features.

“We transport them as if we are transporting money with fully armed security apparatus, keep in central bank as if they are currency; all these are prices of mistrust among ourselves.

” This mistrust is costing the country very hugely. All these we must address as a nation; we cannot continue this wasteful expense because we don’t trust ourselves.

”It is just appropriate for us to take stock after a major exercise like this. In the history of elections in Nigeria, this is the first time we will be confronted with huge logistics problems,” he said.

Soyebi , who also frowned at huge number of petitions and litigation arising from party primaries and general elections, said that the country had a long way to go.

He said that full electronic voting would tackle most of Nigeria’s electoral challenges.

“Time waits for nobody; we need a dynamic electoral system. The dynamics of politics and elections keep changing in Nigeria every time.

“We have been clamouring for what is called full electronic voting. By now, our register is electronic; accreditation by the smart card readers is electronic.

“Honestly, in my opinion, if we can have electronic balloting, it will help the system, it will rest a lot of things,’’ he added.

He said in 2015, the total number of registered voters was about 70 million, and in 2019, about 84 million.

“If we project into 2023, we should expect about 100 million registered voters.”

Soyebi congratulated INEC staff for their performances in the 2019 elections in spite of challenges.

He said that the commission had started making preparation for 2023 general elections, adding that the first ballot would be cast in 2023, exactly 1, 332 days away.

“What we are here to do is to find out things that went right and look at those things that went wrong and find ways of correcting them.

“This review is going to translate into relationship with other stakeholders to find out what went right and what went wrong.

Mr Sam Olumekun, the Resident Electoral Commissioner of INEC in Lagos State, said at the event that there was the need for stakeholders to consider addressing voter apathy before 2023 elections.

Olumekun said that the meeting was aimed at conducting a postmortem of the 2019 elections.

He said that the objective was to review operational framework and provide a platform for knowledge sharing.

According to him, there are reports and comments on the conduct and outcomes of the elections, including those abusing INEC and those supporting it.

He said: “We need to look at all these reports and, in good conscience, comment on these reports. There have been massive allegations of inducement of voters and vote-buying.

“In my humble opinion, this is the effect of processes in the system, but must we not ask the question: If there is an effect, what is the cause?

“Another important issue is voter apathy. We have close to 6.6 million registered voters in Lagos.

“In each of those elections, we recorded barely one million people turning out to vote.

“This is a very important issue that we must look into. How can we mitigate this development?”

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Edo 2024: Ighodalo Wins PDP Guber Ticket with 577 votes

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By Dasvid Torough, Abuja

All efforts to make the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship primary election in Edo State came to naught as two aspirants lay claim to victory on Thursday.

Dr Asue Ighodalo was announced the governorship candidate of the PDP for the Sept.

21 guber election.

The Chief Returning Officer and chairman of the Edo Governorship Primary election Committee, Gov.

Dada Lawal of Zamfara State, declared Ighodalo as winner after he garnered 577 votes to defeat six other aspirants.

The primary was co-chaired by Gov.

Sheriff Oborevwori of Delta

The governorship primary was held at the Lawn Tennis Court of the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium in Benin.

The Edo Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Dr Anugbum Onuoha, led officials of INEC to monitor the process.

Ighodalo scored 577 votes to defeat other aspirants, including Deputy Gov. Philip Shaibu, who scored one vote.

In his acceptance speech, Ighodalo who thanked the delegates for the confidence reposed in him, promised prosperity for all Edo people.

He added that he would make deliberate efforts to tackle poverty and deliver good governance to the people.

Two former House of Representatives members, Mr Omoregie Ogbeide-Ihama and Omosede Igbinedion, stepped down minutes before the primary.

The other aspirants Anslem Ojezua, Felix Akhabue, Martin Uhomoibhi, Hafia Hadizat Umoru, Osaro Onaiwu and Arthur Esene, all scored zero vote.

Earlier, the State Chairman of PDP, Tony Aziegbemi who welcomed the Edo Governorship Primary Election Committee to the state, said the PDP was ready for the Sept. governorship election.

Aziegbemi said a total of 594 adhoc delegates were elected by party members.

Similarly,  the Edo State Deputy Governor, Philip Shaibu emerged factional candidate for the same election.

It was reported that Shaibu scored 3000 votes in a parallel primary election held at his residence on Commercial Avenue, Benin City.

The Returning Officer, Bartholomew Moses declared that Shaibu won with an overwhelming majority of votes.

It was said that some delegates who went to Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium were denied entry.

These delegates returned to the deputy governor’s lodge for the primary election.

Shaibu reportedly addressed the delegates and advised them to remain peaceful, promising to speak with the primary electoral committee chairman.

It was later resolved that a parallel exercise should hold and Shaibu emerged candidate of the election.

Delegates from 12 local government areas reportedly elected Shaibu as the candidate.

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FAAC Shares N 1.149trn Jan Revenue to FG, States, LGs

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By Tony Obiechina, Abuja

The Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) has shared a total sum of N1.149trn Jan. Federation Account Revenue to the Federal Government, States and Local Councils.  

The revenue was shared at the Feb. meeting of the FAAC chaired by the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Wale Edun.

According to a communique issued by FAAC, the N1,149trn total distributable revenue comprised distributable statutory revenue of N463.

079 billion, distributable Value Added Tax (VAT) revenue of N391.787 billion, Electronic Money Transfer Levy (EMTL) revenue of N15.
922 billion and Exchange Difference revenue of N279.
028 billion.  

Total revenue of N2.068 billion was available in the month of Jan. Total deductions for cost of collection was N78.412 billion, total transfers, interventions and refunds was N639.926 billion and savings was N200.000 billion.  

Gross statutory revenue of N1.151 billion was received for the month of January 2024. This was higher than the sum of N875.382 billion received in the month of December 2023 by N 276.426 billion. 

The gross revenue available from the Value Added Tax (VAT) in January 2024 was N420.733 billion.  This was lower than the N492.506 billion available in the month of December 2023 by N71.773 billion.  

The communique stated that from the N1,149.816 billion total distributable revenue, the Federal Government received a total of N407.267 billion, the State Governments received N379.407 billion and the Local Government Councils received N278.041 billion.

A total sum of N85.101 billion (13% of mineral revenue) was shared to the benefiting States as derivation revenue.

From the N463.079 billion distributable statutory revenue, the Federal Government received N216.757 billion, the State Governments received N109.942 billion and the Local Government Councils received N84.761 billion. The sum of N51.619 billion (13% of mineral revenue) was shared to the benefiting States as derivation revenue.

The Federal Government received N58.768 billion, the State Governments received N195.894 billion and the Local Government Councils received N137.125 billion from the N391.787 billion distributable Value Added Tax (VAT) revenue.

The N15.922 billion Electronic Money Transfer Levy (EMTL) was shared as follows: the Federal Government received N2.388 billion, the State Governments received N7.961 billion and the Local Government Councils received N5.573 billion.

The Federal Government received N129.354 billion from the N 279.028 billion Exchange Difference revenue.  The State Governments received N65.610 billion, and the Local Government Councils received N50.582 billion. The sum of N33.482 billion (13% of mineral revenue) was shared to the benefiting States as derivation revenue.

In the month of January 2024, Companies Income Tax (CIT), Import Duty, Petroleum Profit Tax (PPT) and Oil and Gas Royalties increased significantly, while  Value Added Tax (VAT), Export Duty, Electronic Money Transfer Levy (EMTL) and  CET Levies decreased considerably.     

The balance in the ECA was $473,754.57.

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Hardship: Military Warns Coup ‘Advocates ‘, Vows Consequences 

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The Military yesterday sent a stern  warning to those calling for coup over the hardship in the land occasioned by fuel subsidy removal and  foreign exchange crisis.

Nigeria is currently facing one of its worst economic crisis in history, triggering protests in different parts of the country.

Some persons have said if things do not get addressed on time, the military could oust the government of President Bola Tinubu, which is less than one year in office.

Reacting to this, Chief of Defence Staff, General Christopher Musa, said those insinuating such do not mean well for the country amd warned that the law would catch up with them.

Musa said the Armed Forces would continue to do their best to protect the country’s democracy.

He spoke while responding to questions from newsmen shortly after he commissioned the main entrance of the 6 Division, Nigerian Army and Officers Transit Accommodation, both at the Division Headquarters in Port Harcourt, the  Rivers State capital.

While admitting that the country was experiencing some challenges, he said coup calls were improper because nations achieve more and develop faster under a democracy.

Musa said, “Whoever is making that calls does not love Nigeria. We want to make it very clear that the Armed Forces of Nigeria are here to protect democracy.

“We all want democracy and we do better under democracy. And so we will continue to support democracy. And any of those ones that are calling for anything other than Democracy are evil people and I think they don’t mean well for Nigeria.

“And they should be very careful because the law will come after them. We can see that with democracy a lot of things are happening in Nigeria. Yes we are going through trying periods, I mean in life nothing is hundred percent.”

He emphasized that what is needed is for citizens to be patient and give their support to the government to succeed and put the enemies of state to shame.

“Everybody goes through a trying period in life, and it is what you do with them. You can see the government putting efforts to ensure that we come out better. And it is when you go through difficulties and come out better you will really appreciate what it is to build a nation. And so we are going through our trying period, but I can assure Nigerians that it will get better.

“All we need is for all of us to put our hands together to ensure that we defeat those enemies of the government, those enemies of this country that don’t want us to succeed. We will surely succeed and the Armed Forces are here to support the Government in ensuring that we develop, we succeed and to see that there is peace in Nigeria.”

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