Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu has expressed the readiness of the commission to review the 2023 general elections as demanded by some political parties “where absolutely necessary”.
The Peoples Democratic Party PDP and Labour Party LP had on Monday led some opposition parties to demand that the election be reviewed midway into the collation of the presidential results.
Yakubu had declined the request, on the grounds that the law was clear that the collation process has to be completed first before any process for review can be undertaken.
However, at the resumption of the collation exercise on Tuesday, Yakubu said he will stick to the law.
“In accordance with the new Electoral Act particularly under Section 65 of the Electoral Act, we will review the election where it is absolutely necessary”, he declared.
IPAC expresses support
Earlier, the Inter-Party Advisory Council IPAC had expressed support for the commission, urging it to not accede to the request to halt the process.
IPAC chairman, Yabagi Sani who spoke on behalf of the parties at the National Collation Centre , however acknowledged that there were challenges, but added that they were not enough to truncate the process.
He said; “We are here with most of the members of the council. We are here to express our delight that this process should continue, this is because when democracy fails, political parties are the first casualties and the politicians are the biggest losers.
“Democracy is crucial to the people of this country and we believe that the elections are the fundamental pillars of our democracy. So the mere fact that we held this election amid the current circumstances, we need to congratulate this country.
“We are not been mindful of the challenges in the country, but the commission and political parties experienced some of the unexpected development. From our findings, it is not uncommon to experience such in any technology usage.
“We believe that we are at a crossroads but Nigerians are highly resilient.
“Democracy is a journey and the journey so far we have to congratulate ourselves because Nigeria matters in things globally. We should sum up the courage to conclude this process.
“It is not that we are happy or we don’t understand the pains of our people but in a democracy according to the popular maxim ‘the show must go on’ not that we just wanted to have this as a show but this country is a country of greatness.
“Mr Chairman my members are here to encourage you to go ahead and ensure that the process is concluded and concluded well.
“Some of our members who have issues can now do what the constitution made provision for, which is to seek redress.
“So we want to say because of this country and the importance of this process to our country of course without prejudice to the position some of our members must have taken but we must be on the side of history that this process is concluded and Nigeria becomes greater”, he stated
On his part, National Chairman and Presidential Candidate of Zenith Labour Party ZLP, Chief Dan Nwanyanwu, cautioned against burning down the country for partisan interests.
“We have passed through many elections and I must say that there is no where in the world were there are no problems, not even in the US.
“Without prejudice to whatever challenges, we must not burn down Nigeria. Nigeria must exist first before we can become whatever we become.
“In this election, there were no problems with BVAS until the end of the election and it worked well throughout. it is the best option to go.
“So, go ahead with the process. We are confident with the process. Nobody should crucify the INEC chairman”, he declared.
BREAKING NEWS: PDP’s Diri Wins Bayelsa Gov Election
The incumbent Governor of Bayelsa State and governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Douye Diri, has been declared the winner of the State governorship election held last Saturday.
The Returning Officer, Prof Faruq Kuta, who is also the Vice Chancellor of the Federal University Of Technology, Minna, announced Diri winner of the poll at the collation centre of the election on Monday.
Diri polled 175,196 to defeat his closest rival, Timipre Sylva of the All Progressives Congress, who garnered 110,108 votes while the Labour Party polled 905 votes.
Plateau: Protesters Storm S’ Court Over Sack Of Four PDP Members From NASS
Over 1000 protesters, on Monday, besieged the Supreme Court to register their displeasure over the judgment of the Court of Appeal in Abuja, which sacked four members of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Plateau State, from the National Assembly, based on a pre-election dispute.
The placard and banner-wielding groups, under the aegis of Coalition for Justice in Africa, CJA, submitted a protest letter to the Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Olukayode Ariwoola.
According to the protesters, the appellate court, by its judgement, thwarted the wish of electorates in Plateau state, when it declared candidates that lost the National Assembly elections that held on February 25, as winners of the legislative seats.
Speaking with newsmen shortly after the protest letter was submitted to the CJN, the National President of the CJA, Dr. Daniel Okwa, maintained that the judgement of the appellate court was capable of causing a breakdown of law and order in the state.
He said the group was at the apex court to seek the intervention of the CJN, alleging that the verdicts that removed all the PDP federal lawmakers were influenced by some chieftains of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC.
The protest letter, which was obtained by Vanguard, read in part: “The Coalition for Truth and Justice believes that the judgment of the Appeal Court in Abuja is a case of injustice, else, how could one explain a situation where lawmakers of the All Progressive Congress (APC) would boast and predict the outcome of the Court of Appeal judgment even before the pronouncement.
“This is unacceptable and indicates that the justice regime in Nigeria has been thrown to the dogs. What happened in Plateau State is an aberration of immeasurable proportion. There is a distinction between a pre-election matter and a post-election matter.
“The Supreme Court has established this fact on several occasions. It is now a wonder why the Appeal Court would act otherwise and in a despicable manner that tends to truncate our nascent democracy.
“The Coalition for Truth and Justice entirely condemns the actions of the justices of the Appeal Court that sat in Abuja. They displayed insensitivity to the electoral choices of the people. This is a worrisome trend that the Chief Justice of Nigeria must address.
“This is on the heels that the Judiciary, the world over, is regarded as the last hope of the commoner. This presupposes that it is the only place the commoner can get justice. The function of the Judiciary is not to twist the truth or fabricate facts but to interpret the law. The consequence of the interpretation of the law is justice.
“However, what played out in Plateau state negates the Judiciary’s position as the common’s last hope. The Judiciary is for sale to the highest bidder in Nigeria, if such positions could be taken without recourse to the implication of such on the psychological state of the people.
“The Coalition for Truth and Justice is using this protest to drive the point that justice in Nigeria should not be reserved for a section of the country or any political party. What happened in Plateau should not be allowed to stand or repeat itself. The implication of such is that the reputation of the judicial arm of government would be eroded.”
It will be recalled that the appellate court had on November 7, in a unanimous decision by a three-member panel led by Justice Elfrieda Williams-Dawodu, okayed the nullification of the election of a Senator and three members of the House of Representatives in the state that emerged on the platform of the PDP.
The panel based its decision on failure of the PDP to fully comply with a court that was made in 2022, which it said directed the party to conduct congress in the 17 Local Government Areas in the state.
It, therefore, held that though the lawmakers won their respective seats during the National Assembly election that held on February 25, all the scores that were credited them, amounted to wasted votes.
It ordered that candidates that got the second majority lawful votes at the election, should be sworn in as winners of the legislative seats.
Canada’s Abuja, Lagos Visa Centres Open – High Commission
The Canadian High Commission in Nigeria has said its Abuja and Lagos visa application centres remain open for the processing of immigration, refugee and citizenship applications.
The Canadian High Commission had on Tuesday announced the suspension of operations in its Abuja office following a fire incident at its generator house, which claimed two lives on Monday.
Nigerians had expressed fear that the operations suspension would hamper visa application processes.
But in a statement posted on its X handle on Thursday, the Canadian High Commission clarified that its Abuja and Lagos visa application centres remain open and operational.
In the statement by its public affairs staff, Demilade Kosemani, the commission said, “As we continue to mourn the passing of our dear colleague from the High Commission of Canada in Abuja, please note the following information below:
“Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada clients: processing of applications continues. Regardless of the suspension of operations at the High Commission of Canada in Abuja, the Visa Application Centres in Abuja and Lagos remain open.”
Meanwhile, a travel agency, , TMT Travels and Tours Limited, has sympathised with the Canadian High Commission over the Monday tragic fire incident.
In a statement on Thursday the agency’s Chief Executive Officer, Collins Onukwubiri, said, “We at TMT Travels and Tours Limited shares in the grief and sense of loss of the Canadian embassy in Abuja. The partial burning of the Canadian embassy in Abuja and the death of two workers there was most unfortunate.
“Canada, as a major player in the Nigeria’s travel and tours business, is an integral player in Nigeria’s economy. We know how devastating this unfortunate incident is to them but we want to say that we stand with them in this time and always. We specially condole with the families of the two persons who died in the process.”