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By: Hilary

Prince Tajudeen Oyedeji, a rights’ advocate, has urged the authority of the Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC) to conduct credible and generally acceptable governorship election slated for July 14th this year in Ekiti State,saying that conduct of credible election was the bedrock of good governance in any democratic society.

Prince Oyedeji also maintained that the electoral umpire and other players should conduct themselves in a manner that would not hinder
the progress of free,fair and transparent election in the State,maintaining that Ekiti and later Osun State guber elections would be the litmus test for the Yakubu Mahmood led-INEC for the 2019 general elections.

According to him,through a Press statement made available to newsmen on Thursday,he disclosed that the call became imperative as all eyes were on Nigeria democracy under the present leader and former Military junta,President Muhammadu Buhari,urging the opposition in the country to be constructive in their criticisms of the present administration.

Oyedeji who is Executive Director,Centre for Good Governance and Rights Advocacy (CENGGRA) called on the political actors in Ekiti State to abide by the rules of the election by playing the game according to the lay down laws and regulations as enshrined in the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria(as amended) and Electoral act in order to have peaceful atmosphere before,during and after the guber election in the State.

His words: “The electoral process is one of the bulwarks of democracy with voters as major stakeholder in the process. This is because, if the people lose confidence in the process, democracy as a system of populace participation in government will become a sham.The aim of an electoral process should be free, fair and devoid of any form of intimidation where the the candidate with highest votes wins.

“However, the voters must know their rights and roles in making the electoral process credible. Knowing rights is not enough without a corresponding support from the governmental agencies that will ensure the preservation and protection of such rights especially during the electoral process.

“Voting is a vital mechanism of election and electoral process, and it is the fundamental civic right of citizens, and this right is granted through the principle of universal adult suffrage as contained in the Article 21 of the United Nations Charter on Human Rights which was also corroborated by the Nigerian constitution.

“It is on the basis of this, that our organization, Centre for Good Governance and Rights Advocacy (CENGGRA), having considered the electoral history in Nigeria and that of the 2014 gubernatorial election in Ekiti State in particular, call on the people of Ekiti State to participate actively in the governorship election in the
State, and also call on the participating political parties to play the game in accordance with the rules and tenents of democracy and respect the will of the people.

“We strongly warn the security apparatus to steer clear of any act that can jeopardize the smooth conduct of the process. The call for the militarization of the State as a revenge for the 2014 act of intimidation perpetrated by the then ruling partly is condemnable, capable of jeopardizing the process and miles backward to the attainment of civilized society.

“It is our candid belief that, a free, fair and credible election lays a foundation for good governance and good governance is achieved when rights of all are respected”.

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Election shift: I’m deeply disappointed with INEC —Buhari

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President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed deep disappointment over the postponement of the presidential and National Assembly polls by the Independent National Electoral Commission.

The President lamented that, despite giving all the necessary support to the electoral umpire, the exercise was postponed just hours to voting and after Nigerians had taken the pains to travel to vote.

“I am deeply disappointed that despite the long notice given and our preparations both locally and internationally, the Independent National Electoral Commission postponed the presidential and National Assembly elections within hours of its commencement,” Buhari said in a statement he signed on Saturday morning in Daura, Katsina State.

However, he asked INEC to ensure the safety of election materials already distributed and appealed to Nigerians to remain law abiding.

Buhari also stated that he had decided to relocate to Abuja from Daura to ensure that the meeting INEC called to hold with stakeholders was successfully.

His statement reads further, “We now urge INEC to ensure not only that materials already distributed are safe and do not get into wrong hands, but that everything is done to avoid the lapses that resulted in this unfortunate postponement, and ensure a free and fair election on the rescheduled dates.

“While I reaffirm my strong commitment to the independence, neutrality of the electoral umpire and the sanctity of the electoral process and ballot, I urge all political stakeholders and Nigerians to continue to rally round INEC at this trying national moment in our democratic journey.

“I, therefore, appeal to all Nigerians to refrain from all civil disorder and remain peaceful, patriotic and united to ensure that no force or conspiracy derail our democratic development.”

Source: Punch Newspaper

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President Buhari’s statement on postponement of elections by INEC

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STATEMENT BY PRESIDENT BUHARI ON THE POSTPONEMENT OF GENERAL ELECTIONS BY INEC

I am deeply disappointed that despite the long notice given and our preparations both locally and internationally, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) postponed the Presidential and National Assembly elections within hours of its commencement.

Many Nigerians have traveled to various locations to exercise their right to vote, and international observers are gathered.

INEC themselves have given assurances, day after day and almost hour after hour that they are in complete readiness for the elections. We and all our citizens believed them.

This administration has ensured that we do not interfere in any way with the work of INEC except to ensure that all funds were released to the commission.

We now urge INEC to ensure not only that materials already distributed are safe and do not get into wrong hands, but that everything is done to avoid the lapses that resulted in this unfortunate postponement, and ensure a free and fair election on the rescheduled dates.

While I reaffirm my strong commitment to the independence, neutrality of the electoral umpire and the sanctity of the electoral process and ballot, I urge all political stakeholders and Nigerians to continue to rally round INEC at this trying national moment in our democratic journey.

I, therefore, appeal to all Nigerians to refrain from all civil disorder and remain peaceful, patriotic and united to ensure that no force or conspiracy derail our democratic development.

I have decided to move back to Abuja to ensure that the 14.00 hrs meeting called by INEC with all stakeholders is successful.

Muhammadu Buhari

Daura, February 16, 2019

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Election postponement: I’m disappointed….Balarabe Musa

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Former Kaduna State Governor, Balarabe Musa, on Saturday expressed disappointment over the postponement of the general elections, but declared that INEC was never prepared for the exercise in the first place.

INEC had announced the postponement a few hours to the kickoff of the February 16 presidential and National Assembly polls.

Chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, while announcing the postponement in Abuja, attributed the step to “overwhelming logistics and operational challenges.”

The Commission fixed February 23 and March 9 as new dates for the presidential and National Assembly elections; and the governorship and state Assembly polls respectively.

But Musa, in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Kaduna on Saturday, said he was disappointed, but not surprised, at the development.

“I am not surprised because INEC was never ready for the exercise, given the level of its preparations.

“INEC had serious funding challenges; what was appropriated to the Commission by the National Assembly was not adequate and everyone knew it.

“We are not even sure if the approved amount was released to the electoral body by the Federal Government.

“The logistics and operational challenges are glaring. There are also serious security challenges that may affect the agency in the course of the elections.

“The security services are facing the same funding crises and most of them are living in fear.

“You can also see the serious challenges being faced by the Judiciary, who are supposed to play a major role in the election process,” Musa said.

“So, I must say that I am disappointed; but, again, as I said, I am not surprised. I hope that all the stakeholders will take the necessary measures to help INEC address the issues before February 23, the new date for the presidential polls, because the President can only hand over power to an elected person.”

Musa called on Nigerians to remain calm as they prepare towards the new dates for the polls.

(NAN)

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