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Court Stops INEC from Ending Voter Registration

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By Adedapo Adesanya

The Federal High Court in Abuja has stopped the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from ending voter registration on June 30, 2022.

Justice Mobolaji Olajuwon (Court 10) on Monday granted an order of interim injunction following the hearing of an argument on motion ex parte by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP).

Business Post had reported that SERAP and 185 concerned Nigerians earlier this month filed a lawsuit against INEC asking the court to “declare unconstitutional, illegal, and incompatible with international standards the failure of the electoral body to extend the deadline for voter registration to allow eligible Nigerians to exercise their rights.”

In the suit, SERAP had asked the court for “an order restraining INEC, its agents, privies, assigns, or any other person(s) claiming through it from discontinuing the continuous voters’ registration exercise from the 30th June 2022 or any other date pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice.”

At the court today, Justice Olajuwon after granting the interim injunction, adjourned to June 29, 2022, for the hearing of the motion on notice for interlocutory injunction.

SERAP and others went to court after INEC extended the deadline for the conduct of primaries by political parties by six days, from June 3 to June 9 but failed to also extend the online pre-registration which ended May 30, 2022, and the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) ending 30 June 2022.

In the suit number FHC/L/CS/1034/2022 filed at the Federal High Court, Lagos, and transferred to Abuja, SERAP wants the court to determine “whether the failure of INEC to extend the deadline for voter registration is not a violation of the Nigerian Constitution, 1999 [as amended], the Electoral Act, and international standards.”

SERAP is asking the court for “a declaration that the failure of INEC to extend the deadline for voter registration is a violation of eligible Nigerians’ rights to participate freely in their own government, equality and equal protection.”

Adedapo Adesanya is a journalist, polymath, and connoisseur of everything art. When he is not writing, he has his nose buried in one of the many books or articles he has bookmarked or simply listening to good music with a bottle of beer or wine. He supports the greatest club in the world, Manchester United F.C.

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Hakeem Baba-Ahmed’s Comments on Peter Obi Soothe Igbo Pressure Group

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By Aduragbemi Omiyale

The Director of Publicity and Advocacy of the Northern Elders Forum (NEF), Mr Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, has been praised for his comments on the presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP) in the 2023 general elections, Mr Peter Obi.

Pan-Igbo socio-political pressure group, the South East Revival Group (SERG), in a statement signed by its national coordinator, Mr Willy Ezugwu, said Mr Baba-Ahmed is a patriot, who has the interest of Nigeria at heart.

After a meeting with the former Governor of Anambra State recently, the NEF spokesman tweeted, “I spent valuable time with Mr Peter Obi this morning. I wish those who see him as an ethnic candidate can get to know him better.

“I also wish those who try to sell him will tone down his ethnic identity. I hope the nation will see the candidates up close, we could see a revolution.”

These words were soothing to SERG and described them as a “rare patriotic view” of Mr Baba-Ahmed, who the group said “never spoke as a politician but as a patriot and courageous statesman.”

“We commend the rare patriotic view of the Director of Publicity and Advocacy of the Northern Elders Forum (NEF), Dr Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, on Mr Peter Obi’s presidential bid and anyone who thinks otherwise is either a typical politician with a vested interest or an ethnic bigot who should not be taken seriously.

“Nigerians yearned for change in 2015 based on what was presented to them by a political party but they have so far been disappointed by the choice that was made.

“Ahead of the 2023 general elections, the ordinary citizens of Nigeria, irrespective of political and religious affiliations, have taken charge and made a choice of a presidential candidate they deserve after the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) disappointed them by their wrong choices.

“No patriotic Nigerian can approach the presidential bid of Mr Peter Obi from ethnic or religious perspectives. Support for Mr Obi is a vote for competence and accountable leadership.

“On his part, the Convener of the Northern Elders’ Forum (NEF), Prof Ango Abdullahi, nailed it when he clearly stated that neither Atiku Abubakar, the Presidential Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) nor Asiwaju Bola Tinubu of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) can fix Nigeria’s challenges.

“Therefore, we urge all lovers of good governance, rule of law, infrastructure development, national unity, security of lives and property, as well as quality education to key into the Peter Obi Movement ahead of the 2023 presidential election for the sake of the future of Nigeria and her peoples of all tribes and religion,” the statement read.

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Reps Invite PenCom, PTAD Over Failure to Pay Pensioners

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By Aduragbemi Omiyale

The Director-General of the National Pension Commission (PenCom) and the Executive Secretary of the Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD) have been asked to explain to the House of Representatives Committees on Pension and Public Service Matters why they have failed to pay federal civil service retirees their pensions for nine months.

This directive was given to the officials after a lawmaker from Edo State, Mr Sergius Ose-Ogun, moved a motion on the matter on the floor of the lower chamber of the National Assembly in Abuja on Tuesday.

Also to appear before the panels are the Head of Service (HoS) of the federation and the Accountant-General of the Federation (AGoF).

Presiding over the plenary today, the Speaker of the House of Reps, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila, directed the teams to investigate the alleged non-payment of pension to the retirees by PTAD within four weeks and report back to the lower parliament with their findings.

While moving his motion today, Mr Ose-Ogun described as “unacceptable” the claims by PTAD that the non-payment was caused by technological glitches, specifically from the AGoF and the Government Integrated Financial Management System (GIFMIS).

According to him, the failure of the agency to pay pensioners’ monthly pensions and gratuities under the “Defined Benefits Scheme for the said period of nine months…amounts “to gross incompetence and ineffectiveness” as Section 32(b) of the Pension Reform Act Cap P4 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 saddles PTAD with the responsibility of carrying out functions aimed at ensuring the welfare of pensioners.

He said emphasised that Section 14(2) (b) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) provides that the security and welfare of the people of Nigeria shall be the primary purpose of government.

He used the opportunity for the House to look into the matter based on Section 88 (1) and (2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), which empowers the National Assembly to conduct investigations into the activities of any authority executing or administering laws made by the National Assembly.

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INEC Gives Tinubu, Obi July 15 Deadline to Confirm Running Mates

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By Adedapo Adesanya

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has given presidential candidates of the various political parties partaking in the 2023 general elections until July 16, 2022, to confirm their running mates.

Nigerians head to the polls next year to elect someone to replace President Muhammadu Buhari, who leaves office on May 29, 2023, after he must have served a two-term of eight years.

Early this month, most political parties held their presidential primaries and while names have been submitted to the electoral umpire, there are speculations that things may still change.

The latest announcement is coming after the electoral body released the list of candidates of political parties for the 2023 general elections and it includes names of presidential candidates and their vice-presidential selections, as well as senatorial and House of Representatives candidates.

Presidential candidates on the list are Mr Bola Tinubu of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and his running mate, Mr Ibrahim Masari; and Mr Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and his running mate, Mr Ifeanyi Okowa.

Others are Mr Peter Obi of the Labour Party (LP) and his running mate, Mr Doyin Okupe; and Mr Osita Nnadi of the Action Peoples Party (APP) and his running mate, Mr Isa Hamisu.

The other presidential candidates are Mr Abiola Kolawole of the Peoples Redemption Party (PRP) and his running mate, Mr Ribi Marshal; Mr Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso of the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP) and his running mate, Mr Johnson Oladipupo; Mr Yabagi Sani of the Action Democratic Party (ADP) and his running mate, Mr Udo Okey-Okoro; Mr Ado-Ibrahim Abdulmalik of the Young Progressives Party (YPP) and his running mate, Mr Enyinna Kasarachi.

Also are Mr Omoyele Sowore of the African Action Congress (AAC) and his running mate, Mr Garba Magashi; Mr Mamman Dantalle of the Allied Peoples Movement (APM) and his running mate, Mrs Ojei Princess; Mr Chukwudi Umeadi of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and his running mate, Mr Koli Mohammed; Mr Oluwafemi Adenuga of the Boot Party (BP) and his running mate, Mr Turaku Mustapha; Mr Daberechukwu Nwanyanwu of the Zenith Labour Party (ZLP) and his running mate, Mr Ramalan Abubakar; Mr Dumebi Kachikwu of the African Democratic Congress (ADC) and his running mate, Mr Ahmed Mani; and Mr Hamsa Almustafa, presidential candidate, Action Alliance (AA) and his running mate, Mr Chukwuka Johnson.

The duo of Mr Tinubu and Mr Obi, while submitting their running mates, claimed they may still change them after consultations with key stakeholders.

The timetable and schedule of activities for the 2023 general elections released by INEC indicate that political parties have less than 20 days to withdraw or replace their candidates and running mates for the presidential and National Assembly elections.

Nigeria’s presidential and National Assembly elections have been slated for February 25, 2023, while governorship and state assembly elections will be held on March 11, 2023.

Initially, February 18, 2023, was chosen for the presidential poll but the date was amended after the signing of the amendments to the Electoral Bill by President Buhari.

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