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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“As at yesterday, the commission has withdrawn and reissued over 70 certificates of return that were previously issued to those who were elected into the various states and national assembly positions.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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Nigeria, Afreximbank Strengthen Ties on Economic Growth, Financial Integration

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By Tony Obiechina, Abuja

On the sidelines of the 6th AU Mid-Year Coordination Meeting of the African Union, the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Mr Wale Edun held bilateral talks with Dr. Benedict Okey Oramah, President of Afreximbank.

The meeting, which was held in Accra, Ghana weekend, reinforced the strong partnership between Afreximbank and the Federal Government of Nigeria, with a focus on driving economic growth and financial integration across Africa.

During the meeting, HM Edun acknowledged the fiscal policy measures implemented by the President Bola Tinubu-led Administration, which has significantly improved Nigeria’s revenue position.

He emphasized the critical need for comprehensive financial integration across Africa to drive intra-continental trade, investment, and development.

On his part, Professor Oramah reaffirmed Afreximbank’s unwavering commitment to supporting President Tinubu’s developmental objectives for economic growth.

 The bilateral talks underscored the importance of collaboration between Nigeria and Afreximbank in achieving shared economic goals.

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12 Storey Buildings at Risk of Collapse in Jos, Says Mutfwang

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From Jude Dangwam, Jos 

To forestall a recurrence, the Governor of Plateau State, Caleb Mutfwang yesterday inaugurated a Technical Committee to investigate the collapse a two-storey building that claimed lives of students and teachers of the Saints Academy, Jos, saying not less than 12 storey buildings are at risk of going down.

 He tasked the committee to thoroughly investigate the causes of the incident and examine the roles of all individuals involved in the construction and maintenance of the building.

Inaugurating the committee at the New Government House in Jos, the governor noted, “It is imperative that we understand why this incident occurred, identify any lapses in duty, and implement measures to prevent a recurrence.

“Reports indicate that around 12 other schools in the city are at risk of collapse, which necessitates urgent action.”

The governor said he remains committed to implementing stringent measures that will ensure the safety and integrity of buildings across the state.

“We will continue to enforce necessary changes with compassion, avoiding unnecessary hardship for our people.

“However, we cannot compromise on the safety of innocent lives. The loss of 24 children is a grave reminder of the urgency of our mission,” he stated.

Mutfwang directed the Secretary to the State Government to broaden the committee’s mandate to include the burnt Jos Main Market stressing that reports suggested that the remaining structure is also at risk of collapse.

He urged the committee to investigate the demolition process, the handling of materials, and the steps needed to ensure public safety.

Mutfwang called on the public to provide any information that could help prevent future building collapses in the state.

The chairman of the committee, Prof. Slim Matawal expressed gratitude to the governor for entrusting them with the critical task and assured that the committee would diligently work to prevent future incidents of building collapse in the state.

Members of the committee are: Prof. Slim Matawal as Chairman; Engr. Oke Ezema, Member; Arc. Olusegun Olukoya, Member; Bldr. Daniel Sani (NOIB), Member; Arc. Michael Yibial (ARCON) Member; Engr. Rose Daffi (COREN) Member; Arc. Barnabas Dafiel (JMDB) Member; Barr. Williams Habakkuk (MOJ) Member; ACP Dayyabu Ahmed (NPF) Member; and Mr. Yakubu Mallo (Director Administration, OSGS) as Secretary.A block of classrooms at the Saint Academy located in the Busa Buji community of Jos North Local Government Area caved in on July 12, killing as many as 22 school children and wounding others.

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Heed Voices of Aggrieved Populace to Avert Protest, Ajaero Tells Tinubu

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By David Torough, Abuja

In the countdown to the national protest against painful economic policies, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) yesterday called on President Bola Tinubu to heed the voices of the aggrieved populace to tackle the situation.

Speaking through a press statement, the NLC president underscored the urgent need for dialogue between government and protest organizers.

“These are dire times that call for dialogue, not discord,” Ajaero noted, urging compassion and understanding from the authorities.

He said the planned protest is not merely a political manoeuvre but a genuine expression of citizens’ anguish and demand for responsive governance.

He stated, “Nigerians deserve to have their voices heard without being dismissed as mere political dissenters,” adding that citizens are facing widespread frustration over economic conditions.

The NCL President added, “Millions of Nigerians are suffering under the weight of economic policies that have exacerbated poverty and deprivation.”

He condemned any hostility towards protesters, highlighting that such responses fail to address the root causes of public dissatisfaction.

“You cannot silence those suffering and expect peace,” he cautioned, urging a constructive approach to prevent further unrest.

The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) revealed that approximately 133 million Nigerians live below the extreme poverty line, with the International Rescue Committee (IRC) reporting acute hunger affecting 32 million people in 2024 alone.

Unemployment and underemployment further compound the problems, pushing countless families to the brink.

Central to the NLC’s stance are grievances against recent government policies, including steep increases in fuel prices, electricity tariffs, and user fees for essential services.

These measures have significantly burdened ordinary Nigerians while seemingly benefiting a privileged few, intensifying public resentment.

The nationwide protest is billed to hold from Aug. 1 to 10.

The leadership of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) has thrown its weight behind it.

The National Chairman of SDP, Shehu Gabam at a press conference in Abuja last week said the demonstration is in the interest of the masses.

However, the Chairman of Progressive Governors’ Forum and Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodimma exonerated Tinubu from the inflation and economic challenge ravaging the country.

He argued that the biting hardship is a global phenomenon and not limited to Nigeria.

Mr Bayo Onanuga, a presidential aide on Sunday accused supporters of the Labour Party candidate in the 2023 presidential election, Mr Peter Obi of planning the protest.Onanuga who is Special Adviser to President Bola Tinubu on Information and Strategy said that Obi would be held responsible for whatever crisis that may emanate from the action.

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