Political parties in Nigeria have been accused of often acting in desperation and devising various means of circumventing the Electoral Act and the constitution in a bid to have their way during the last general elections.
Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmoud Yakubu, who made the accusation at a media chat, disclosed that apart from the general malaise of lack of internal democracy leading to imposition of candidates on the electorate, certain political parties were in the habit of seeking to alter the list of their candidates even after the mandatory period allowed by the law.
Yakubu said that in the build up to the 2015 elections, some political parties went as far as deploying fraudulent tactics in a desperate move to substitute the candidates whose names had already been submitted to the election management body.
He said that at least in two instances, a certain political party had to declare some of its candidates dead and provided every necessary documentary evidence to support its claim only for the alleged “dead candidates” to resurface at the headquarters of the electoral commission like ghosts. “I will give you an example, but I won’t mention the state.
In one of the states, before the last general elections, a political party wanted to substitute its candidate after the expiration of the 40-day window for substitution and knowing full well that the only provision under the law is in the event of death.
So INEC received a letter from that party, the letter was accompanied by the following documents: a certificate of death for their candidate, testifying to the fact that that person was dead; the second one was a letter from the family of the deceased addressed to the political party to confirm that the person was dead.
“Based on the letter from the deceased’s family, the party approached the court and swore to an affidavit that the candidate was dead.
A few weeks later, the man appeared here to say, “I’m alive”. “In another state, a political party wrote to INEC claiming that four of their candidates were driving in a vehicle to a campaign rally, had an accident and all four of them died in the accident.
Later, one of them came and said “we never even travelled in the same vehicle, let alone dying together,” Yakubu said.
The INEC boss also admitted that the phenomenon of under-aged voters participating in elections in certain parts of the country was still a challenge to the commission. He said the commission will continue to explore avenues to eliminate the challenge of under-aged voters through the cleaning up of the voters’ register.
According to him, there was not only the need to clean up the voters’ register to ensure that Nigerians who have come of age since the last election got themselves duly registered to make them eligible to vote during the next election.
He, however, disclosed that the commission has also identified another challenge, which is the phenomenon of underaged candidates in certain elections.
Yakubu said that until recently when he came to INEC, he did not know that there was also another known as under-aged candidates.
He explained that though the constitution was very clear that you have to attain a certain age before being eligible to seek election into public office, there had been cases where people below the mandatory age have beat the checks in the electoral system to contest and even win an election.
In one of the instances, he recalled a candidate who was under-aged, contested and won. But his opponent went to court to challenge the election on the grounds that the winner ought not to have contested the election.
Buhari must order the arrest of Ango Abdullahi over his Fulani herdsmen comment – Deji Adeyanju
A pro-democracy and good governance group, Concerned Nigerians, has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to order the immediate arrest of Professor Ango Abdullahi, a former vice-chancellor, over his recent comment on herdsmen that sparked outrage and drew condemnation, especially from the Southern leaders.
In an exclusive interview with Sunday Vanguard last week, Prof. Abdullahi had said that the kidnap of a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Chief Olu Falae, was nothing extraordinary, even as he accused Southern leaders of a covert plot to split the unity of the north.
Adeyanju However, in a statement issued by its Convener, Deji Adeyanju on Tuesday, the group said it was surprised and disappointed in what it described as Professor Abdullahi’s brazen justification of the wanton killings of innocent Nigerians by herdsmen.
It said the Department of states Services, DSS, should invite the professor for questioning, maintaining that Abdullahi’s statement was hate speech capable of shattering the unity of the country.
According to the statement, “We have read Prof Ango Abdullahi’s alarming interview with the Vanguard Newspaper and are appalled that someone of his age, stature, education and professional qualification would provide brazen justification for the wanton and senseless murders of thousands of Nigerians by herdsmen.
“In his interview, Prof Abdullahi likened the killings of Nigerians by Fulani Herdsmen to a politically motivated ruse by “… the South…” to destroy the political unity of the North. He also made several other comments that are too incendiary to repeat here. “It is distressing that there are people who continue to politicise these senseless killings and who continually provide justification, and nuance, for them.
“It is also distressing that the political elite in the parts of the country continue to refer to colonial era grazing routes that involved the forceful acquisition and ceding of the ancestral homes and lands of the Nigerians in parts of the country, to cattle herders for use as grazing routes and continue to use such colonial-era machinations as justification for the disregard and disrespect for the constitution and laws of an independent Federal Republic of Nigeria and the human rights of her citizens.
“Shielding this brazen disregard for the property rights of whole peoples in intellectual garb is dangerous and provides a distressing setting for continued killings.
“In fact, Prof Abdullahi’s condemnable comments indicate more than just a passing knowledge of the killings, its organizers and what their objectives are. They indeed indicate a deep-rooted knowledge of these unfortunate events.
“We call on the Directorate of State Security (DSS) to invite Prof Abdullahi to reveal the extent of his knowledge behind the rationale for the killings. This is in keeping with similar invitations extended to others by the DSS to explain comments perceived by the DSS to be hate speech. “You will recall that the DSS even invited the spokesperson to a former military ruler, Ibrahim Babangida, for issuing a statement on behalf of his boss. “
Anything less will prove the fear expressed by many people across the country that there is institutional support for herdsmen to be true,” the statement concluded.
Sanusi, Miyetti Allah laud Fayose over anti-grazing law
The Emir of Kano, Alhaji Mohammed Sanusi 11 and the National President of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), Alhaji Muhammadu Kiruwa, have commended the Ekiti State Governor, Chief Ayodele Fayose for enacting anti-open grazing law in the state. They said the law would cater for the well-being of parties involved, especially the herders, farmers and host communities among others.
They spoke in Ado-Ekiti yesterday during a stakeholders’ meeting held at the Government House in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital. The Emir, who is a patron of the MACBAN, was represented by a former Kano State governor and Sarduana of Kano Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau. Sanusi, who spoke through Shekarau frowned at a situation whereby some criminal elements would hide under grazing of herd to perpetrate crimes.
He said: “My mission is not politics and it is about peace and peaceful coexistence of our nation. I am standing in here for the Emir and I am the Sarduana of Kano. The Emir mandated me to come over here with the leadership of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association and find out how we can work amicably.” But Fayose said “I also appreciate and commend our leader, Emir of Kano, and the Sultan of Sokoto.
They are life savers. I want all of you, irrespective of tribe to trust us as leaders. “Part of the problem of Nigeria is lack of trust as a result of misinformation and distrust and sometimes politics we have been divided against one another. Let me tell you today when governors of any party see each other, we hug and drink together. Whenever Buhari and I see, we will remain friends, don’t die for politicians.
“If you have correct money, you will not be cattle herder. You would prefer living abroad. It is out of fate and condition of your families that makes you this. To be a farmer is not easy, it involves a lot of hard labour. You have to be wise people and remember that you can do better than carrying arms. Any person or politician who has fear of God cannot carry arms to kill anyone.
FCTA loses N3bn from outdoor advertising
The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) loses about N3billion annually, due to its inability to organize its outdoor advertising sector towards effective internally generated revenue.
These facts to the came when the Department of Outdoor Advertising and Signage (DOAS) toured some major shopping malls in the city centre.
Deputy Director of DOAS, Hassan Abubakar, who led the team that carried out the unscheduled tour, further displayed the frustration of his agency towards taking advantage in the vast opportunities presented in the industry to boost its IGR, when he lamented how residents were not complying in paying their taxes and other outdoor advertising fees.
Abubakar, unwittingly lamented that illegally mounted billboards and Signages in some strategy positions within the city, have continued to litter the highways and streets of the territory without any recourse to the regulations.
“Long range visibility is impaired with resultant accidents at major junctions due to sight blockcelebrating ages by billboards and outdoor advertisement posts.’
“Painfully, we found that the existing administrative structure charged with the duty of regulating these practices was weak and in some cases, there were multiple standards as well as conflicting administering agencies,” he said.
However, the Director said the administration was working to reverse the situation, with the setting up of a taskforce team to coordinate Outdoor advertising.
According to him, the mandate of the body was to provide a standard for the control and regulation of advertisement and signage practice in FCT by ensuring global best practice, improving internal revenue and stemming the observed chaos
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