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E-voting: INEC dashes 2019 hope

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FELIX NWANERI reports on the decision by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to rule out the electronic voting system in the forthcoming 2019 general elections, which many believe is capable of boosting the confidence of voters in the electoral process

 

 

Nigerians will vote in a general election in February and March next year. Expectedly, about 80 million voters will be heading to polling booths usually located at schools, town halls and other public buildings to thumb print put ballot papers that will have the logos of the various political parties that would be contesting for the respective positions up for grab. But, in a digital era, the process seems strangely archaic.

Bad weather can put people off going to vote, while others may decide to stay indoors as a result violence that has become a common feature of the country’s electoral process or might be unable to get to their registration centres because of restriction in movement during voting hours.

The question against this backdrop is: Couldn’t technology, especially adoption of the electronic voting system remove some of these barriers to participation in the democratic process by citizens? About 14 countries have used some form of electronic voting to enhance their electoral process, but there seems to be no end in sight to the long wait by Nigerians for the country to adopt the electronic voting system believed to be capable of building the confidence of voters in the electoral process if properly implemented as the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has foreclosed that in the 2019 general elections.

INEC chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, who confirmed this at a press conference to mark the end of the three-day international conference on “Opportunities and Challenges in the use of technology in Elections,” which ended in Abuja last Wednesday, said the commission will only deploy technology for purposes of collating and transmitting election results during the polls.

The conference was jointly organised by INEC, European Centre for Electoral Support (ECES) and Electoral Commissions Forum of Southern Africa Development Countries (ECF/SADC) and it drew participants from over 30 countries from west and southern African sub-regions, who brainstormed on the deployment of technology for elections. Ruing out electronic voting in the forthcoming general elections, the INEC chairman said: “I want to categorically say that the commission is not deploying electronic voting in 2019, but we will deploy technology for the collation and transmission of electronic results and we believe that by doing so, we will collate, transmit and declare results more speedily and more accurately.”

He pointed out that despite the challenges associated with technology, the commission will continue to do whatever is required to ensure that it retains the confidence of the people because elections at the end of the day is not just about technology but about the people and their confidence in the process. According to him, “technology is a facilitator it is never an end in itself.”

The e-voting concept Electronic voting, which is also known as e-voting encompasses several different types of voting. It embraces both electronic means of casting votes and counting them, which includes punched cards, optical scan voting systems and specialised voting kiosks (self-contained Direct-Recording Electronic voting systems – DRE) or transmission of ballots and votes via telephones, private computer networks or the internet.

Specifically, two main types of e-voting can be identified: e-voting, which is physically supervised by representatives of governmental or independent electoral authorities (electronic voting machines located at polling stations) and remote e-voting, where voting is performed within the voter’s sole influence without being physically supervised (voting from one’s personal computer, mobile phone, television or the internet). Findings by New Telegraph revealed that the electronic voting system has been in use since the 1960s, when punched card systems debuted. Its first widespread use was in the United States (U.S.), where seven counties switched to it for the 1964 presidential election.

The new optical scan voting system allows a computer to count a voter’s mark on a ballot. The DRE voting machines, which collect and tabulate votes in a single machine, are used by all voters in all elections in Brazil and India, and also on a large scale in Venezuela and the U.S. It has been used on a large scale in the Netherlands, but decommissioned after public concerns.

The internet voting system on the other hand, has gained popularity and has been used for elections and referendums in the United Kingdom, Estonia and Switzerland as well as municipal elections in Canada and party primary elections in the U.S. and France. Namibia is the only African country to adopt e-voting.

Arguments for and against While many believe that deploying technology to achieve accuracy will help curb electoral frauds such as multiple voting and ballot stuffing, which among others, have remained the bane of Nigeria’s electoral process, some stakeholders argue that e-voting would be hard to realise given the high level of illiteracy in the country as well as the deficiency of relevant infrastructure to drive it. Some political analysts even cited example of the U.S., where it has been contended that electronic voting, especially DRE voting, facilitates electoral fraud despite the country’s advancement in technology.

But, those in support of the system insists that it is high time Nigeria embraces it given the several challenges of conducting elections in a country with a population of about 150 million people,out of which are over 70 million registered voters, spread across 120,000 polling centres. Besides the huge voting population, they noted a towering number of political parties, which makes difficult to source and procure ballot materials; recruitment and training of personnel as well as transportation and movement of men and thousands of tonnes of election materials across varied and often difficult terrains during elections.

The analysts were quick to refer to the introduction of the Direct Data Capturing Machines (DDC) in the voters’ registration exercise, which according to them assisted a great deal in drastically reducing multiple registrations, which is usually the starting point in election rigging. But justifiable as the various positions may sound, there is the issue of constitutionality. Section 52(1)(b) of the Electoral Act 2010, makes it an offence for INEC to use e-voting during elections.

The section states: “The use of electronic voting machine for the time being is prohibited.” Merits and demerits No doubt, the benefits of e-voting are numerous. For instance, bulk paper work is eliminated; the system could be programmed for voters to vote from any part of the country for candidates of their choice, thus eliminating the risk, cost and stress of traveling from one place to the other to vote. The electronic nature of the system also moderates the level of human interaction with it, thus diminishing its disposition to election malpractices and errors. The fool-proof and adaptable technology can instantaneously give collated results if communication links are provided to all polling units from the local, state to national level.

There is also the belief that e-voting will attract more young people to take part in the electoral process and because the system is biometric based, there is no possibility of multiple voting and impersonation. Invalid votes as a result of ink smear in the traditional voting system is also eliminated, while real-time online view of results of votes cast makes it more transparent. Its major demerit stems from the fear of hacking, especially state-sponsored hackers like the cyber-attack on the U.S. Democratic Party in 2016, and lack of adequate infrastructure such as power and inadequate Information Communication Technology (ICT) access in some geographic regions of the country and the literacy level of the electorate.

Global trend In the U.S. and Western Europe, more states have been opting out of electronic voting systems and returning to paper out of worries over the number of glitches and the inability to verify that electronic votes or the software on machines have not been manipulated. In the 2012 U.S. election, 56 per cent of voters cast paper ballots that were optically scanned, while only 39 per cent used electronic voting machines. Similarly in Europe, only two countries – Belgium and France – use electronic ballots. Out of eight European countries that have experimented with electronic voting, six reverted back to paper ballots.

In contrast, developing countries in Latin America and Asia are embracing e-voting. They see moving to electronic polls as a way of boosting democratic credentials, possibly increasing voter engagement, and demonstrating technological progress. Following Brazil’s lead, Venezuela, Paraguay, Panama, Costa Rica and Mexico have all implemented some form of e-voting. India also uses electronic ballots across the country.

The problem is that these countries face the same issue of e-voting transparency, but there’s little movement to fix the issue. The greatest danger, according to a study group, Democracy Reporting International, is that these governments see electronic voting as a silver bullet to fix all of their electoral problems. Governments then divert public funds to expensive electronic voting experiments, instead of on ways to eliminate ballot buying, voter intimidation, and post-election violence – all of which can still happen in the context of e-voting.

Stakeholders react to INEC’s position The National Chairman of United Progressive Party (UPP), Chief Chekwas Okorie, who spoke on INEC ruleout of electronic voting in Nigeria’s 2019 general elections, told New Telegraph that it is a sad development as its adoption would have made the electoral process more participatory.

His words: “I am concerned about that position because some of the amendments to the Electoral Act and the Constitution have given INEC the liberty to adopt the electronic voting system, which can checkmate the manipulation of election processes and results to a very large extent. So, for INEC to come at this stage to rule out electronic voting system after it had made promises in the past is very worrisome as all of us know that the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) is very desperate to remain in office, especially now there is a grand coalition that is building up to vote it out of power. Also, there is a strong speculation the ruling party is bent on manipulating the outcome of the 2019 elections in its favour. “So, this signal coming from INEC is very suggestive and worrisome. We have seen what happened in recent elections, but let us watch and see what will happen in the governorship elections that will come up in Ekiti and Osun states before the 2019 general elections.

“Though the two elections will be months before the general elections, what I will tell Nigerians is that they should be prepared to defend their votes. The same way a former Chief of Army Staff, General Theophilus Danjuma, advised us to defend ourselves; I want to urge every Nigerian to defend his or her vote because it has become so obvious for even the blind to see that some people are out to cause anarchy.” On the commission’s position that it will deploy technology for collation and transmission of electronic results to ensure accuracy, Okorie described the stand as a contradiction.

He said: “It is unfortunate that INEC is trying to mislead the people because a similar promise was made before the November 17, governorship election in Anambra State. The secret ballot system, which the Electoral Act provided for was set aside by INEC as its staff encouraged votes buying.

The commission’s presiding officers allowed voters to show their ballot papers to would-be vote buyers for them to be sure that a voter had thumb printed at where he or she will earn a certain amount of money. “I think this INEC has not inspired Nigerians and 2019 is so critical to the survival of this country that the electoral commission has to rise to the occasion and assure the people that it will conduct free, fair and credible polls and that it means well otherwise I foresee danger.

“I say this because Nigeria is presently sitting on a keg of gun powder and the country is generally restive in all consideration. If the 2019 elections are not conducted in a manner that will give the people the satisfaction that they were the ones, who decided on who rules or represent them, this country will blow up and INEC would be held responsible.” But, the Executive Director of Rights Monitoring Group (RMG), Mr. Olufemi Aduwo, who said electronic voting is not feasible for now, cited the literacy level in Nigeria and poor infrastructure.

“Many Nigerians cannot read and write, so how are they going to participate in the electoral process? I believe that the best thing is for us strengthen what we have as many states in the United State, which we always want to copy have not embraced electronic voting.” He also cited constitutional restraints, which he said, explain why some results of the 2015 elections were cancelled because the card readers that were used to accredit voters are not known to the laws of the land. Aduwo, however, corroborated Okorie’s view on the doubt over INEC’s capability to conduct credible polls in 2019.

“This INEC that is raising all sorts of alarms on a daily basis cannot conduct free, fair and credible elections. Let us not deceive ourselves; they cannot deliver because the commission has been doing the same thing over the years. “What do they mean by electronic transmission of results? The Electoral Act stipulates that when voting takes place in a polling unit, you must collate the votes there and then you must move all collated materials to the local government. “So, what do they mean by electronic transmission? Are they saying that somebody will just transmit results by test messages to another person? Is that what the law says?

INEC should work within the framework of the law; they shouldn’t be talking outside the law. Some people are just talking to create an impression that INEC has come up with some innovations whereas it has not.” The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in its reaction said it will not accept the outcome of the 2019 general elections if it was manipulated through the use of technology. National Chairman of the party, Prince Uche Secondus, who stated the position when he received a delegation of the European Union (EC) ambassadors to Nigeria, led by Amb. Ketil Karlsen, said the PDP demands nothing, but free and fair elections from INEC in 2019.

“We want to assure you that we are law abiding citizens and follow constitution as we want to see this election free and fair, but if they use technology to manipulate it, it will bring problem,” he said. A pro-democracy and non-governmental organisation, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), on its part, faulted INEC for ruling out the use of electronic voting in the 2019 elections.

The group said the decision was illadvised and is meant to provide ample opportunities for politicians, who are incumbents of the two main political parties to use powers of incumbency and massive financial resources at their disposal to manipulate the electoral process to reach a pre-determined objective.

HURIWA also said the current management of INEC has proved not to be a reliable unbiased electoral umpire that is willing to conduct free, fair, credible and peaceful election comes 2019. A statement by the National Coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko of the group read in part: “The announcement by the electoral umpire that electronic voting will not be used in the 2019 general elections is a game plan to rig the presidential poll for the incumbent and the governorship for incumbents of all political formations, who can play ball. “We condemn this leadership of INEC for sticking to the primitive and manipulative way of manual conduct of elections as against global best practices and wondered why the electoral commission had in recent times spent billions to procure electronic voting machines.

“This sinister plot to manipulate the actual voting exercise by not using electronic voting system, but to adopt electronic transfer of results to rapidly issue and announce rigged results to achieve a fait accompli should be condemned totally. “INEC’s decision not to use electronic voting system is because the officials believe that millions of voters of northern origin maybe disenfranchised and since the ruling party has some of her largest support base in the North, INEC think the use of electronic voting system may work against the incumbent president who has indicated interest to seek re-election. “This decision is primitive, unconstitutional and will adversely affect the credibility of 2019 elections.

Why did INEC not embarked on sensitization and enlightenment process on the use of electronic voting machines since two years ago but decided to wait till now to make this odd announcement.” While electronic voting seems to have been shoved aside for now because there are likely to be problems, there is no doubt that there is the need to revolutionalise the country’s electoral process for its results to be less controvertible.

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Bode George to Oyinlola: You couldn’t have been governor without me 

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Former Deputy National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Olabode George, has warned a former governor of Osun State, Chief Olagunsoye Oyinlola, to desist from casting aspersions on him over comments he made about former president Olusegun Obasanjo’s newly formed Coalition for Nigeria Movement (CNM).
Reacting to Oyinlola’s statement that he should go and beg Obasanjo, the PDP chieftain said he bears no grudge against the former president.
George had in an interview over the weekend dismissed Obasanjo’s CNM movement ahead of the 2019 elections.
While stating that Oyinlola should have acted like a true born when he was sent a message to vilify him, George noted in a statement personally signed by him on Sunday that he was the one that introduced Oyinlola to Obasanjo.
The statement reads: “I read today the untidy, uncharitable and irritable vituperations of Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola against my good self. I was rather astonished at the level of uninformed , reckless, misleading verbiage against me.
“Prince Oyinlola was very junior to me in the military. I am very senior to him in age. It was my humble self and the late Chief S.M. Afolabi who introduced him to our former President and my Egbon Chief Olusegun Obasanjo.
It was through me and the grace of God Almighty that he was elected Governor of Osun State.”
George noted further that: “Oyinlola should not dabble into issues he does not know anything about at all. I have served several Generals with hundred percent loyalty. I have no grudge against our former President. I have a lot of respect for him. I greet him wherever we meet with deep respect and reverence as a well born Yoruba man.
“Oyinlola, please don’t start to open any can of worms that you do not know where it will widen and spill over. When one is sent a slave’s errand, you should behave like a true, well born,” the Atona Odua of Yorubaland said.

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Lai’s looters’ list is a comic relief -Orbih

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Chief Dan Osi Orbih is the Edo State chairman of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). In this interview CAJETAN MMUTA he speaks on some of the knotty issues on the gazing bill in the state, 2019 elections, the looters list and many more

 

What is the situation now with the bill sent by your party to the House of Assembly seeking the ban on open grazing in Edo State?

The situation is that Governor Godwin Obaseki has been playing politics with a very serious issue concerning the lives of innocent citizens of our state. Today, we are disturbed and challenged by the rising incident of herdsmen unwarranted attack on our people. We proposed a bill to the State House of Assembly to actually address this very serious problem. Having realised that the government was unconcerned about this ugly development they now instructed their members in the House who are in the majority not to treat the bill. The same government now rose to say that it is going to ban night grazing and we came out again to tell them that ban on night grazing cannot address the issue holistically. In Edo State, we educate the governor who maybe, is a stranger that cows don’t graze at night in the state, the people who are being attacked by herdsmen don’t go to their farms at night, but are attacked during the day. So banning grazing at night was not a solution to the problem.

 

The governor in a statement said they have started addressing the problem. To some extent, I am beginning to feel that the governor has suddenly realised that not taking steps to address this problem was not in the best interest of the state, but he is now in a situation where if he decides to take the step which we advised him to take people will say it is PDP that asked them do it.

 

If he decides not do it our people will continue to suffer. So it is based on this I want to call on him to play the role of a statesman and put aside the party that proposes the bill and put the interest of the state first in addressing the problem.

 

Just last week, he came with a policy that they are going to ban grazing both day and night in Odiguetue and Odighi communities and its environ. Why not go the whole hug? It will appear that it is PDP that is dictating policies of this government and that is why you are seeing the selective ban for 90 days.

 

I don’t think the partial embrace of our position is the way to go. What we proposed is an all-encompassing solution that will protect the interest of herdsmen and farmers. What about communities like Lampese, Ekperi, Agenebode and Ugboha where farmers are afraid to go to their farms and that will lead to famine in the state? I think he should put aside his ego problem and partisan politics. I think the right thing is for him to invite us to educate him on our position and that will put to rest the entire problem. Look at the unfortunate killing of Pastor Eromosele.

 

 

I expect the family of the late pastor to take legal action against the state government. It is not enough for Obaseki to pride himself as the chief security officer when he is not providing security for the people of the state. It is not enough for Obaseki to be collecting N400m security vote monthly, the money that should have been deployed to security agents to help in providing security in the state. People don’t feel safe in Edo State anymore.

 

 

2019 is around the corner and the All Progressives Congress (APC) is trying to consolidate in Edo Central where the PDP is strong. How do you react to this?

 

The APC has the right to say whatever it wants to say but we know the reality on ground. Today, I can frankly state that APC situation in Edo Central is worse than it was in the last election. Edo Central is one senatorial district it has denied everything politically. Look at all the appointments in the state. Edo is made up of three senatorial districts and each senatorial district has been well represented by previous administrations but today under Obaseki for reasons best known to him and Oshiomhole his political godfather determine and dictate what is done under his administration. For reasons best known to Obaseki, the position of the speaker was taken away and given to Edo North, Edo North that had a governor for eight years and now has the deputy governor. Is that what will make them consolidate their dream support in Edo central? That is one district they should not expect any support from the next election. It is very unfair to Edo Central people. It is an insult for the APC to even consider coming there to ask for votes.

 

 

Is your party going to give automatic tickets to your members at the state and national assemblies?

 

We have a party constitution, we have guidelines of party primaries, and anybody applying for any positions must subject himself to the party’s guidelines. That is not to say that where the people are very happy with their representatives based on their achievements, they cannot decide to return such person, I don’t see anything wrong with that. As a party chairman, date will be announced nationwide for party primaries to nominate candidates. For us, we will abide by the guidelines and wait for the approved date and forms for intending contenders will be made available. But till the close of nomination it will be difficult to say who will get what.

 

 

Don’t you think the release of looters list by the APC, will affect the chances of PDP in the 2019 general elections?

 

I see the release of looters list as announced by Lai Mohammed as one of those occasional moments when the man will go into a period of delusion just like he exhibited when he went to London and wore suit on top of agbada. He comes up with something comic. Let us face facts, we have all seen what is happening in Nigeria; all those who are members of PDP accused of corruption and looting, the moment they join APC they are now regarded as saints. I think it is hypocrisy of the highest order and it shows clearly that these people don’t have regard for the rule of law. One is not too surprised that the APC today is a party that came into power without preparing itself for governance. Little wonder that President Muhammadu Buhari came to power and it took him more than six months to name cabinet. The other day, elections were held in France and within 48 hours the President was able to assemble a cabinet and sworn into do the job. What we have seen in Nigeria is a party that was not prepared to govern and in the process was unable to proffer solution to the problem we are having today. Each time they are confronted with non-performance they blamed it on perceived looters and PDP. But you all know that it is not correct. Even the man who is shouting on top of the roof calling on Buhari to be ruthless, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, we said that Buhari should start with Oshiomhiole and he should be number on the list. Here was a governor who came with nothing and left with so much, we have vouchers that show clearly how money left the treasury. Petitions were written against him and nobody has called them to come and substantiate their allegations. Today, he is the man shouting that Goodluck Jonathan should have been in jail. Are you telling me that in drawing the entire looters list you don’t have any APC members who have looted? APC should find other reasons of telling Nigerians why they have failed.

 

 

Don’t you think that the PDP’s apology to Nigerians was a confirmation of its failure?

 

Fortunately, I was present at the event where that apology was purported to have been made. I want to state boldly that APC is taking what was said at an event they were not present out of context. Prince Uche Secondus, our National Chairman came out to say looking back memory lane some mistakes were made which is natural. If all was perfect then we will not be where we are now and the man said mistakes were made and apologized to party leaders to put the past behind and work for a brighter future. The apology was that we made mistakes that brought a government that is grossly incompetent. What is wrong with that? A situation where one pound now exchanges for N500; where $1 now exchanges for N350, at a seminar, PDP challenged them to name one project initiated and completed by the APC and till this moment they are yet to respond to the challenge.

 

 

Don’t you think Obaseki deserves some commendation especially his efforts to develop the state in the area of job creating and investment?

 

The present Obaseki’s government is the worst we have seen in this state. He has done nothing and he will do nothing. Few hours ago, I commended him for coming out with a statement that it is the primary responsibility of a state government to secure the lives and property of the citizen. Unfortunately, he has failed in that responsibility to protect lives and property. Every day, people are killed; he has failed in providing logistics for the security agencies in the state to up their security arrangements. Is that not commendation? When he came about banning night grazing what came to my mind was that the governor spends more time outside the state. He has travelled far more times than Oshiomhole did.

 

 

But saying Obaseki has done nothing maybe an unfair assessment or comment; some may argue that you are playing politics?

 

In every government there are praise singers. There are those who feel that the only way to have food on their table is to sing praises of Obaseki, so that they can get patronage, it is expected. Have you driven on the streets when it rains? Obaseki was the chief economic adviser to Oshiomhole who took N30bn to check erosion problem in Benin City. As we speak, the problem still persists. Can you name one single project started and completed by Obaseki? What we are seeing is patching of selected existing roads and that will never make us to credit him. He prides himself with ‘wake and see’. Have you seen anything?

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Young turks eyeing Buhari’s seat

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As the 2019 elections draw near, the move for generational power shift from older politicians to younger ones has continued to gain traction. Such agitation has been buoyed by the election last year of Emmanuel Macron (39) as President of France and also the emergence of Justin Trudean (46) in 2015 as Canada’s Prime Minister.

Most importantly is that provisions of the 1999 Constitution are being amended to reduce the age limit for specific political offices. One of such is the passage of the “Not-Too-Young-To-Run bill” also known as the Reduction of Age for Election bill, by the National Assembly, and consequent transmission of same to the president for his assent.

 

It allows the age qualification for the offices of the president and governor to be reduced from 40 to 35, and for Senate, House of Representatives and State Houses of Assembly seats to be reduced from 30 to 25 years.

 

Over 100 youths aspiring for various political offices in the 2019 elections had converged on Kaduna last week to brainstorm on how to bring the youths into Nigerian politics. They just concluded a four-day training workshop organised by Youngsters Foundation, with support from the FORD Foundation, West Africa.

 

Consequently, several individuals have shown interest in the Presidency and other top government offices.

Sen. Baba-Ahmed, 48

 

Pro-Chancellor of Baze University, Senator Datti Baba-Ahmed (48) has indicated his intention to run for the presidency in 2019. Baba-Ahmed, who holds two Masters Dergrees and PhD, had earlier served as elected member of the House of Representatives, and was later elected senator of the upper legislative chamber.

 

Baba-Ahmed, who is seeking the highest office on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) also established his own university with two other companies employing over 600 people from every state of Nigeria.

 

An on-line platform, abusidiqu, said: “Sen Datti Baba-Ahmed has built a solid reputation in credibility known to fearlessly speak against corruption, misgovernance, and societal problems. His unquestionable credentials are only matched by his firm commitment and proven ability to deliver on promises.”

 

He is said to epitomise modesty and “believes presidency is a transformative engine to promote good and suppress evil for the enonomic prosperity, social security, and political stability of Nigeria as he now solemnly presents himself for 2019 Presidential Election to achieve the desired noble objectives.”

 

A couple of days ago, he accused the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration of failing Nigerian youths through its inability to address the challenges in the country. In his reaction to President Buhari’s statement regarding Nigerian youths at the meeting of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in the United Kingdom, he described the comments as unfortunate.

 

Baba-Ahmed said the comments portend a lot of negative consequences for Nigeria’s young people, who seek to forge ahead in different fields of endeavour. He is from Zaria in Kaduna State.

 

 

Hon Ibuzo, 46

 

The member, representing Onitsha North II Constituency in Anambra State House of Assembly; Hon. Edward Ibuzo, is also interested in running for the presidency in 2019.

Hon. Edward Ibuzo (46), a member of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), lamented poor performance of President Muhammadu Buhari’s government, describing it as a tragedy.

 

He wondered why “an educated, refined, well travelled young Nigerian should not govern the country.” On why he wants to rule the nation, Hon. Ibuzo said that he is a Nigerian citizen and so eminently qualified to run for any public office in Nigeria.

 

He said Nigeria will be better for his presidential aspiration considering the recurrent accusation of Igbo marginalization, adding that he is qualified and prepared to deliver modern governance obtained in Western countries.

 

The well-travelled lawmaker, who had lived in Germany, England, Canada, Netherlands, United States of America, said: “In all honesty, I am 46 years old. I was born in 1972 and after the civil war which ended in 1970 till now, we have not had any Igbo president and Igbo people are of age to run the affairs of the Nigerian nation.”

 

Stating why the present crop of old leaders should relinquish political power to the younger generation, he said President Muhammadu Buhari was younger than him in 1983 when he became military Head of State.

 

 

Fela Durotoye, 46

 

Motivational speaker and leadership trainer, Adetokubo Olufela Durotoye, (46), is one person who has formally declared his ambition to run for the Presidency, come 2019. Last February, he was at the office of the Alliance for New Nigeria, a party recently registered by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), where he obtained membership card and declared his intention to run.

 

He put his intention clearly on his twitter page: “I stand here on behalf of this generation of leaders to declare that we are now willing, able; ready to serve our nation through the elective office; we are not too young to run.

 

“We are young, but we are strong; we are ready to deliver the quality of leadership; governance required to build a new Nigeria.

 

“To build the Nigeria of our dreams would require exceptional candidates who would emerge from a pool of excellent; credible aspirants chosen by the people to represent them at the general elections. And so, over the last few months, I have researched into several political parties to determine if their ideologies, vision and values resonate with mine.

 

“I am glad to announce that one party has resonated more with me than any other in sharing common ideology, principles and a truly democratic internal political process that is open to all to aspire…

 

“A party that provides a level playing field for the best candidates to emerge at all levels for Legislative and Executive offices. That party is the Alliance for New Nigeria. It Is Our Time… And together, we will deliver the future”. God Bless You all. God Bless our Alliance For New Nigeria. And May God Bless our Federal Republic of Nigeria,” he said.

 

Durotoye, an alumnus of the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University in the United States, holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Computer Science with Economics, Masters degree in Business Administration (M.B.A) and a Master of Philosophy Degree (M.Phil) in Strategic Management, from the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, Osun State.

Yul Edochie, 36
Nollywood actor, Yul Edochie (36), has also declared his intention to run for the presidency in 2019, after his unsuccessful bid in the last Anambra State governorship election.

 

At the governorship election, the younger Edochie, who was the candidate of the Democratic People’s Congress (DPC), could only muster 145 votes in the race that pitched him against 36 other aspirants.

 

Using the auspicious moment of his birthday to make his interest known, Edochie said in a video posted on Instagram that he might seek election as Nigeria’s president in 2019.

 

He said: “So, it’s my birthday today, January 7, 2018. I just turned 36, so happy birthday to me. 2018 is just unfolding, we pray for more blessings so let’s just keep our fingers crossed. Who knows, I may just decide to run for president of Nigeria this time, in 2019, and I will win.”
The last of six children of veteran actor Pete Edochie, Yul attended the University of Port Harcourt where he studied Dramatic Arts.

 

He hails from Nteje, the headquarters of the Oyi Council Area of Anambra State

Omoyele Sowore, 47

 

One time Students’ Union President at the University of Lagos from 1992-1994, and CEO of Sahara Reporters is one of the youths who are latching on the clarion call. He said since the establishment of Sahara Reporters in 2006, he had used it as platform to fight corruption both in Nigeria and other African countries.

 

Regarding why he wants to be President, he said: ” http://themomentng.com/index.php/2018/04/20/zinox-boss-bets-on-keystone-bank/ There are three reasons why. ‘Firstly, I understand Nigeria and I have worked tirelessly for our nation’s progress. For the last 30 years, I have been an activist that has worked to build alliances across Nigeria – across all religious and ethnic groups – with one aim in mind, which is to move Nigeria forward, to protect the welfare of its great people and to help to unleash the immense creativity and capabilities of the Nigerian people. I have been tried and tested. My resume in this regard bears no dispute. Many Nigerians already know my story. My body bears the scars of arrest, detention and torture over the years. My work at Sahara Reporters has helped to safeguard our democracy and amplified voices that were hitherto unheard.

 

“Secondly, I have the leadership skills and the political will needed to move this nation forward. I have no godfathers. No godmothers. There are no sacred cows, snakes, monkeys or goats. In 30 years of service to this nation through principled activism, I have established a track record as a straight shooter and truth teller that operates strictly based on principles.

 

“When our constitutional order was in jeopardy – I worked to ensure that the legitimate transfer of power to Goodluck Jonathan occurred. Our work in 2015 to shine a light on the electoral process through real-time electoral results reporting helped the opposition led by Muhammadu Buhari to win. Between 2010 and 2011, some said I was working for Jonathan. In 2015, the same people said I was working for Buhari. What they all missed was that I work only for the Nigerian people using my conscience as a GPS- no matter whose feet are stepped upon, and regardless  of whose ox is gored, I have been an equal opportunity offender.

 

“Thirdly, I am a proven manager of people and resources. In 12 short years, I have worked to build a globally-acclaimed media platform whose influence stretches across the African continent and the world.” He said he is not just an activist, but also an entrepreneur and a teacher as well

 

Speaking on the development, Alhaji Yerima Shettimas, who has been the National President of Arewa Youths Consultative Forum, and recently, he became the National Co-ordinator of the Coalition of All Youths Wing of Ethnic Nationalities in the country, said youths should take up the challenge.

 

Yerima, who is giving close consideration to seeking election into the Senate, said this is time for youths to throw their hearts into the ring.

 

In a recent interview with Sunday Telegraph, he said: “To be fair I want to say there are pressures on me to represent my people, the Kaduna Central at the Senate, but I am still consulting with my people and family. I am reaching out to friends and political allies too. That is why I call it a call to serve and very soon, I will make my position clear to all Nigerians but I am still considering a lot of things.”

 

He said development in the international arena and the fact that youths must take the driver’s seat in the issue of governance drive him into this. “Look at what has happened in France, Canada and very close here – Liberia. They have scores of youths occupying legislative and executive positions. So our case should not be different from that and that is why I continue to clamour and call on the younger generation to buckle up, to get their PVCs, especially the youths who constitute about 70 per cent of the voting population.

 

“And that is why I say the 2019 election is going to be a war between the older generations and the younger ones. That is what will come into place in 2019. That year will witness the battle line between the youths and the older elements. That is the way our nation will keep pace with the generational shift that is taking place all over the world. I am talking about not just younger elements, but those ones that are tested and trusted, because some of our youths, if elected into office can also perform worse that the older generation. We need young leaders who are committed to the growth of the country, who are detribalized Nigerians.

 

“There have to be alternatives so that at the end of the day Nigerians can have a choice, but I must emphasise, the battle line in 2019 is going to be between the older and younger generations. I am not saying the old people should be completely wiped out, because there are some older ones whose ideas and advice can be tapped into, but anyone who is above 50 should go to his farm and stay with his family so as to allow the Nigerian people to use the newer generation to lead the nation.

 

Otherwise we will continue to move in circles because you don’t expect anyone to give you what he does not have. Hence we must be upbeat this time around. In fact 2019 serves a better time for us as Nigerians, but Nigerians will have to decide.”

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