Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Yakubu Mahmood, has urged journalists to always cross check their facts from several channels available to them at the Commission before going to press.
He said because accuracy is one of the hallmarks of professional journalism, it was necessary for the media to ensure its reports are unbiased.
Prof Mahmood also said, “The Commission welcomes and appreciates constructive criticism, which will help us grow since no Election Management Body is perfect.”
Speaking at the 12th all Nigerian Editors’ conference (ANEC) held in Port-Harcourt, Rivers State, last Friday, the INEC Chairman, represented at the occasion by the Chief Press Secretary, Rotimi Oyekanmi, noted that the Commission was aware of the unprecedented attention and scrutiny it had gotten from the press following the conduct of recent elections through several articles that had been published or aired on what INEC did or did not do.
The INEC Chairman reiterated the challenges that have hampered the smooth conduct of elections in recent times, which the Commission had constantly, spoken against and tried to mitigate.
“The most daunting problem encountered by the Commission in conducting elections thus far is violence, which manifests in many ways: physical attack (sometimes leading to unfortunate death) on INEC staff (ad-hoc and regular), intimidation, completion of result sheets under duress and sundry electoral malpractices. At times, violence takes the form of attack on our offices, facilities and public institutions used as polling centres,” he said.
He re-affirmed INEC’s willingness and readiness to conduct elections in any part of the country, but stressed that: “the environment has to be conducive for us to perform our duty. Under no circumstance will INEC conduct an election where our permanent and ad-hoc staff, voters, local and international observers, local and international journalists face the imminent danger of being killed or maimed. No election is worth the life of a human being and we take the safety of our staff and all stakeholders very seriously. The Commission will never conduct or conclude any election that has not met the minimum threshold of credibility under our laws.”
He used the opportunity to correct the wrong impression that all recently conducted elections under his watch were inconclusive. He explained that: “over the last eight months, INEC has conducted over 83 re-run elections, 7 by-elections and three end of tenure elections.
“Of these, 58 were successfully concluded, contrary to the insinuation that all our elections have been inconclusive. It is instructive to note that 22 of the remaining inconclusive elections arose from the March 19 elections in Rivers, which all stakeholders agreed were marred by violence, demonstrated by the untimely death of a youth corps member.”
Professor Yakubu further explained that: “We have thus always ended up with inconclusive elections in all the areas where violence took place. In instances where the Commission could not vouch for the credibility of the process or its outcome, elections were either cancelled in the entire constituency, relying on Section 26 of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended), or in selected Polling Units, relying on Section 53 of the Electoral Act (as amended)”.
On the Commission’s plans to consolidate on the gains of the 2015 general elections and improve the electoral process ahead of the 2019 general elections, the INEC Chairman disclosed that: “The Commission is also looking at ways by which election results can be transmitted electronically from the Polling Units to the Collation Centres in the interest of security, sanctity of the ballot, speed and accuracy. Similarly, we have designed a portal from which all registered voters can confirm and verify their registration online ahead of elections.”
The workshop was attended by various Editors from media organizations across the country with the Commission also being represented by the Commission’s Director of Voter Education and Publicity, Oluwole Osaze-Uzzi, Deputy Director in Charge of Publicity, Nick Dazang and the Assistant Director of Publicity, Chinwe Ogbuka.
NIN Enrollment Jumps to 92.63 million in November 2022
By Adedapo Adesanya
The National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) has revealed that enrollment for the National Identification Number (NIN) rose to 92.63 million as of November 28, 2022.
In the latest data released by the commission, a total of 1.95 million new NIN enrollments were in November, as the database grew by 2.2 per cent from the 90.68 million at the end of October.
In terms of gender distribution, the NIMC data revealed that 52.1 million people, representing 56 per cent of Nigerians so far captured in the NIN database, are male, while the remaining 40.5 million (44 per cent) are female.
According to the statistics, Lagos State has so far recorded the highest number of enrolments in the country, with 10.3 million Nigerians captured in the State. This was followed by Kano State, which recorded 8 million registered NIN.
Other states that made the top ten in terms of the number of enrolments include Kaduna with 5.4 million, Ogun with 3.8 million, Oyo with 3.6 million, FCT with 3.2 million, Katsina with 3.1 million, Rivers with 2.7 million, Delta with 2.4 million, and Bauchi also with 2.4 million NIN registrations.
The NIMC data shows that the ten states with the lowest NIN enrolments are Zamfara with 1.6 million total enrolments as of November, Akwa Ibom with 1.5 million, Imo with 1.5 million, Enugu with 1.5 million, Yobe with 1.3 million, Taraba with 1.3 million, Cross River with 1 million, Ekiti with 971,712, Ebonyi with 744,869, and Bayelsa with 583,323.
The commission had recently pledged to scale up enrolment and issuance of the unique National Identification Numbers (NIN) to Nigerians and legal residents, from 500,000 to 2.5 million records monthly in a renewed commitment towards the provision of Identity services to the nation.
Pursuant to Act No. 23 of 2007, amongst others, create and manage the National Identity Database, enrol citizens and legal residents and issue them a unique NIN, a general multipurpose card, as well as harmonize and integrate existing identification databases in government agencies into the National Identity Database.
Section 27(1) and (2) of the Act, 2007 also mandates all government and private agencies providing services as captured in the NIMC Act to make the NIN a prerequisite for service provision to Citizens and Legal residents.
The NIN not only affirms the identity of an individual, but it also avails the government necessary information needed for national planning, the creation of social intervention initiatives, tracking and monitoring crime, curb corruption nationwide, and other numerous benefits.
Experts, Others to Discuss Potential Risks in Real Estate Transactions in Lagos
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
The Lagos State Real Estate Regulatory Authority (LASRERA) has invited critical stakeholders in the real estate market to the 3rd Real Estate Market Place Conference and Exhibition.
The two-day event will commence on December 6, 2022, at the Eko Hotel and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos, with Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu expected to declare it open.
According to the organisers, participants will discuss The Lagos Real Estate Emerging Markets – Mitigating Potential Risks.
They will focus on potential risks in real estate transactions, laws that protect real estate investment transactions, and policies and guidelines about Lagos State real estate sector.
Recall that on February 7, 2022, Mr Sanwo-Olu signed the LASRERA bill into law in a bid to regulate, sanitise, and protect individuals from illegal real estate transactions and fraudulent persons/organisations, monitor the activities of real estate transactions and ensure real estate transactions in the state conform to global best practices.
This conference is sponsored by a luxury property development company, The Address Homes, as part of its contribution to the growth of the real estate sector in Nigeria.
“The partnership between Address Homes and Lagos State Government on this conference and exhibition would further propel the already existing collaboration to promote integrity, professionalism, customer satisfaction and safety in the real estate industry in Nigeria,” the Marketing Manager of The Address Homes, Mr Segun Ogunbiyi, noted.
He said the company is also a major exhibitor of the programme, showcasing real estate development with a combination of high-class, contemporary architectural design and high-level finishes with respect to designs and styles that meet consumer passion, taste and comfort.
Rising Electoral Violence Cases Frighten CNPP
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
The Conference of Nigeria Political Parties (CNPP) has expressed concerns over the spate of attacks on facilities of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and campaign rallies across the country.
Nigerian heads to the polls in February 2023 to elect a new President, governors and lawmakers.
Ahead of the general elections, there have been pockets of violence at political rallies, with attacks on politicians and their followers becoming rampant, in a few cases, leading to death.
In a statement issued on Monday, CNPP feared that the exercise is under threat despite assurances by relevant stakeholders, including INEC, that the poll would not be shifted.
The group, in the statement signed by its Secretary General, Mr Willy Ezugwu, warned that “unless political thugs were treated as enemies of the state, the ongoing attacks on political opponents would gravely endanger the credibility of the 2023 elections.”
“Despite the recent matching orders to the security agencies by President Muhammadu Buhari, which was reiterated by the National Security Adviser (NSA) to the President, Mr Babagana Monguno, to the effect that the President has given the go-ahead to all security agencies to deal decisively with individuals or groups trying to prevent peaceful conduct of the 2023 general election, the hope of a violent free electioneering campaign may be dashed.
“Our major fear is that from the records of the federal government, as revealed by the NSA that Nigeria recorded 52 acts of political violence across 22 states in one month, between October 8 and November 9, 2022, there seems to be gross inaction on the part of security agencies, particularly the Nigeria Police Force to arrest and prosecute the perpetrators of this violence.
“Worse still, after the recent emergency meeting of the Inter-agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES), organised by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Abuja, Nigerians have seen nothing but inactions by security agencies in preventing or arresting and diligently prosecuting perpetrators of the ongoing electoral violence and their sponsors.
“Every lover of Nigeria and her future knows that, as far as violent attacks on political opponents and opposing political parties in states is concerned, the situation is becoming alarming as one of the elementary security measures is crime prevention.
“For instance, last week, there was a suspected politically motivated assassination of Victoria Chintex, the Labour Party women leader in Kaura Local Government Area of Kaduna State, who was reportedly killed last Monday after gunmen invaded her residence and shot her.
“At the weekend, there were reports that the Labour Party’s rally in the Lakowe town area of Lekki, Lagos State, was visited with violence by suspected political thugs allegedly sponsored by the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the area.
“In November, suspected APC supporters attacked supporters of the Peoples Democratic Party presidential candidate, Atiku Abubarkar, in Maiduguri, Borno State, just as on October 17, suspected thugs also disrupted the campaign train of the PDP in Kaduna State.
“In the same month of October, some supporters of the APC in Oyo State were reportedly injured in Ibadan during a campaign rally when some hoodlums in some vehicles allegedly launched an attack on the crowd.
“In Ebonyi State, a State Government sponsored security outfit, Ebubeagu, has been severally reported to have been unleashing against political opponents of the APC leadership in the state, among other several incidents of political violence in other states across the country”, the CNPP recalled.
“If truly President Muhammadu Buhari has given his directive through the NSA to all the operational intelligence and law enforcement agencies to ensure that the 2023 elections are held in an atmosphere devoid of any rancour, as the NSA has disclosed recently, why are we not seeing security agencies discouraging political thuggery in the country?
“We, therefore, call on all political party leaders at all levels to restrain their supporters both online and offline from carrying out violent activities against oppositions.
“This has become imperative as retaliations and counter-attacks by victims of the ongoing violence could degenerate the issues and worsen the current security situation in the country.
“We call on President Muhammadu Buhari, who was said to be extremely pleased with the outcome of the results of elections in Anambra, Ekiti and Osun states to ensure a repeat of such performance in 2023, both by INEC and all security agencies, including the anti-graft bodies because an election is not war”, the CNPP stated.
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