IGP bars police escort from VIPs on Election days

Chairman Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Professor Mahmood Yakubu   has  assured Nigerians and the international community that  no elections would be postponed.

Yakubu said this Thursday during a stakeholders’ meeting organised by INEC in Abuja.  

He said the commission was dragged to court 640 times and received 540 applications
for the certified true copy of documents.

The INEC boss spoke against the backdrop of the many litigations arising from the primaries of political parties..

 Yakubu said the commission would continue to obey all court orders and would not be deterred in the discharge of its functions.

“Court cases arising from the conduct of congresses and primaries have risen to 640. INEC has been dragged to court 640 times, we have received 540 requests for certified true copy of documents, we have received 186 petitions over the conduct of congresses and party primaries.

“It is the policy of INEC to obey court orders. People ask if the judgements from these courts are decided close to elections if INEC will postpone the elections, INEC will not postpone any elections but we will make contingency arrangements in case some of the orders came
close to elections.” 

The INEC chairman also told stakeholders he would “never fail Nigeria and Nigerians.”
He stated that smart card reader would be deployed in the 2019 elections, saying many Nigerians complained of not collecting their PVCs at the centres.

Yakubu further stated that the commission printed 14.2 million PVCs after voter registration and the cards ready for collection.
He said the commission would meet with a view to possibly reviewing the deadline for collection.

“Let me assure the nation and the stakeholders that smart card reader will be deployed in the 2019 elections. The next big issue for us is the voter register and the availability of the PVC.
“We have heard so many complaints by citizens that they have been to collection centres but we are surprised to hear that in some centres they were told to come back that the cards were not printed.

“We have 14.2 million new voters; the commission printed 14.2 million cards. The commission is going to meet today (Thursday) and where it is necessary, we will review the arrangements for the collection of PVC.”

He told the transport companies to ensure polling units received the electoral materials at 7:30 am and voting should commence at 8.00am.

The INEC boss also said priority had been given to the elderly, visibly pregnant women and the physically challenged persons to vote at the polling units or voting points..

He said while magnifying glasses and brails were provided for the visually impaired to aid them during the exercise, Form EC30 containing bold instructions on how the deaf should cast their votes were pasted at every polling unit as well as the voting points.

Yakubu also stated that the list of returning officers from the nation’s tertiary institutions would be vetted to ensure partisan members of academic staff were not included.

The INEC boss said his commission had approved 148 observer groups comprising 119 domestic observer groups and 29 foreign observer groups.

He said the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in other states would only be allowed to vote in the presidential election.

IGP speaks
Addressing the gathering; Inspector General of Police (IGP) Mohammed Adamu said no
VIP would be allowed to move around with police escort on election day, stating that any policeman who contravened the rule would be arrested.

“No escort of VIPs on election day, any policeman who contravenes this order would be arrested”, the IGP said.
The police boss said the Commissioners of Police had identified flashpoints in their various domains with a view to bringing such places under control.

Jonathan, Abdulsalami

And with just eight days to the polls, former President Goodluck Jonathan and former Head of State General Abdulsalami Abubakar have said politicians should put the country’s interest above their ambition and imbibe lessons of 2015.
The duo stated this at a one-day peace conference organised by Goodluck Jonathan Foundation in Abuja Thursday.

At the conference themed “Peaceful elections and national development,” Jonathan also called on INEC and security personnel to be professional in the discharge of their responsibilities before, during and after the elections. 

“For democracy to endure and be productive on the continent, African politicians and other stakeholders must realise that true heroes of leadership are not those whose desperation to
impose their will endangers society, but those who have the humility to subjugate their personal ambitions to the collective interest of their nations.

“Our political leaders must realise that the greatest and most enduring legacy to leave behind is that of peace and development,” he said. 

“We are convinced that any one, either in government or outside government, who truly loves Nigeria, will not want to play the role of the villain by lending his support to any action that instigates crises.

“There is no gainsaying that when politicians resort to desperate measures in the bid to occupy important political positions, they run the risk of plunging their countries into serious crises that often lead to loss of lives, degradation of values as well as destruction of private and public assets.”

On good governance, he said, “We know that good governance is the fertile ground upon which peace and sustainable economic growth are planted. In this regard, it is important to point out that in a democracy, periodic, credible and peaceful elections are the necessary gateways to improved governance and people-oriented development.

“It is on record that despite the marked improvement on the regularity and number of democratic nations, election-related violence has continued to be experienced in many African nations often to the detriment of peaceful co-existence, economic growth and
sustainable development.”

In his remarks, General Abubakar (retd) and chairman, National Peace Committee, charged
those seeking elective positions to imbibe the lessons of 2015. 

He said: “We all recall the tension in Nigeria during the 2015 elections where the doomsayers were predicting the balkanisation of Nigeria. But thank God through the action of Nigerians and the then president, Goodluck Jonathan; they were proved wrong because the gentleman kept his word that his Presidency was not worth the blood of any Nigerian and he graciously conceded defeat at that election.” 

Special Guest of Honour Professor Amos Sawyer said the presence of world leaders in Nigeria was not an intrusion, stating that elections in Africa’s most populous nation meant a whole lot to the West African sub-region.

The former Liberian president said: “Nigeria’s role in West Africa makes election in this country is very critical. So elections in Nigeria cannot be seen solely as a Nigeria’s affairs.”

He the trouble currently rattling the nation’s judiciary should be resolved in accordance withthe provisions of the law.

“Nigerian judiciary has been in the news for quite sometimes now in a manner that is of deep concern. It is our hope that the issues involved are resolved in a manner that will leave the integrity of the judiciary intact.”

Dignitaries present at the event included Special Representatives of the United Nations Secretary General for West Africa and the Sahel Mohammed Ibn Chambas, Liberian Ambassador to Nigeria, Professor Al-Hassan Conteh, Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Matthew Hassan Kukah, former IGP Solomon Arase, erstwhile Adamawa state Governor, Boni Haruna and former Defence Minister, Bello Haliru.

Mrs. Patience Jonathan, ex-Chief of Staff to former President Jonathan and former Edo state Deputy Governor, Mike Oghiadomhe, a one-time Minister of State (Finance), Bashir Yuguda, and popular entertainer cum activist, Charles Oputa (Charly Boy) among others, were also in attendance.

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