Election Update


US applauds INEC on National Assembly polls
United States, Assistant Secretary of State in charge of African Affairs, Ambassador Johnnie
Carson has applauded the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) over the
conduct of last Saturday’s parliamentary elections. Carson spoke yesterday when he visited
INEC and the foreign affairs ministry.
He congratulated INEC and the people of Nigeria for the successful polls saying, “I do so, on
behalf of the government of the US and my boss, Hillary Clinton.”
He said the US government will continue to support the commission in its task of conducting
elections because “there is no job more important in democracy than to conduct credible
election where the people have the opportunity to elect leaders that will govern their affairs.”
Carson however tasked the commission to improve of some of the technical and security
lapses noticed during the conduct of the national assembly elections in order to surmount
such before the Saturday’s presidential polls.
In his response, INEC Chairman, Professor Attahiru Jega assured the US government that the
commission is ready to conduct credible polls and will not disappoint the people.
At the foreign affairs ministry, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Odein Ajumogobia said
Nigeria is committed to getting the electoral process right this time.
State Security Service (SSS) operatives on Monday arrested the senator, after the
Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) admitted that its declaration of Senator
Heineken Lokpobiri as the winner of last Saturday’s Bayelsa West Senatorial District election
was done in error.
Lokpobiri was arrested while addressing journalists at the Press Centre of the Nigeria Union
of Journalists (NUJ), Yenagoa, over the confusion trailing the result of the senatorial district.
INEC at the weekend announced Senator Lokpobiri as the winner of the election, however
in a statement rescinded its decision, INEC said the announcement was done in error as the
election was fraught with “widespread irregularities”.
According to the statement signed by INEC’s Public Affairs Officer, Priscilla Imoudu Sule,
it said: “This is to inform the general public that whatever election result that was
declared in respect of Bayelsa West Senatorial District and Sagbama/Ekeremor Federal
Constituency were declared in error.”
Lokpobiri at the media chat accused the National Security Adviser (NSA), Gen. Andrew
Aziza (Rtd), of being behind INEC’s action, saying the commission had no legal right to
nullify any result that had already been declared by a competent authority.
Senator Lokpobiri vowed to challenge any illegality relating to the declaration of the result
in the court of law, the senator said he had available evidence to back his victory, adding that
the people of Bayelsa West Senatorial district had given him another four-year mandate to
represent them at the National Assembly.
He added that the 2011 Electoral Act had made provision for any aggrieved candidate to
channel his/her grievance to the Election Petition Tribunal.
He said it was wrong for the commission to base its findings on the purported security report
allegedly written by the NSA, Gen Azazi (Rtd).
INEC releases final results
in Edo – Final results of the
National Assembly election
in Edo State have been
released, with the Action Congress of Nigeria clinching the remaining senatorial seat.
In the results released late Sunday, Senator Ehigie Uzamere defeated Mrs. Daisy
Danjuma to retain the Edo South Senatorial District, the News Agency of Nigeria
Uzamere scored 135,346 votes as against 70,725 polled by Danjuma.
NAN reports that Danjuma represented the area in the Senate between 2003 and 2007.
For the Ovia Federal Constituency, Mr. Isaac Osahon of the ACN, who polled 25,800 votes,
defeated his PDP opponent, Charity Amayaewma, who scored 17,659.
ACN has secured two senatorial seats in the state and six House of Representatives slots,
while the PDP won one senatorial seat and two House of Representatives seats.
The result of the House of Representatives seat in Akoko-Edo is still outstanding as the
election is scheduled for April 26.
International observers praise conduct of Legislative Elections
The recently held National Assembly election has drawn praise from major international
observer delegations including the Commonwealth and the American-led National
Democratic Institute.
Ahead of the presidential and governorship election, both teams yesterday in Abuja
separately issued formal preliminary verdicts on the April 9 Legislative poll now acclaimed
as one of Nigeria’s most peaceful and well conducted.
European Union
delegation leader, Joe Clark (l), meeting with the INEC chairman, Attahiru Jega, over
elections in Abuja on Monday 10 April 2011
“In our experience, the National Assembly elections generally took place in a peaceful
and orderly manner. The required staff and stakeholders were present and the
various stages of the electoral process on polling day broadly proceeded smoothly
and transparently,” – Festus Mogae, former president of Botswana, leader of the
Commonwealth mission.
The American NDI said in a statement, “In contrast to past elections in Nigeria, last
Saturday’s National Assembly polls provided a real opportunity for citizens to exercise their
right to vote.”
The NDI team comprised Joe Clark, former prime minister of Canada; Antonio Monteiro,
former president of Cape Verde; Mahamane Ousmane, former president of Niger; Jon
Corzine, former US senator, Marietje Schaake, Dutch member of the European Union,
Natasha Despoja, former Australian Senator and Kenneth Wollack, NDI president.
While both teams hailed Nigerians for their conduct while condemning the relatively small
cases of violence, they singled out the Independent National Electoral Commission for
Speaking in Abuja at a press conference, Mr. Wollack said although INEC has achieved a
milestone in the conduct of the elections, there were a few weaknesses.
He noted that increased citizens awareness, public confidence in the leadership of election
authorities and greater engagement by political parties and civil societies have provided the
basis for a break from previous failed elections, adding that the commission justified the
initial setback with the April 2 postponement. “Such problems were simply ignored in the
2007 elections. At the same time, the failure to hold polls as originally scheduled caused
widespread disappointment, which in part may explain what appears to be a lower voter
turnout on April 9,” the institute said.
Pointing out the problems observed by the institute, the delegations said it discovered
instances of significantly late openings of polls, inaccurate, incomplete or missing voter lists,
inconsistent application of procedures, underage voting; overcrowding of polling sites, lack
of ballot secrecy, failure to post results at polling sites and missing essential materials.
However, the Commonwealth said it did not believe the “several logistical and procedural
deficiencies” it noticed on Saturday across the country, called into question the credibility of
the process. Mr. Mogae said the concerns would be made known to the electoral body at a
meeting before presidential elections.
The NDI, recommended that the commission should, as a matter of urgency, improve
logistics plans to ensure on-time opening of polls, up-date the voter register along with
instructions on its use to polling officials before the April 16 presidential poll to reduce
instances of voter disenfranchisement, enforce vigorously the law against underage voting,
improve the security and management of collation centres, take immediate steps to prosecute
those responsible for election violence and fraud, among others. The NDI’s delegation had
50 observers from 23 countries, who were deployed throughout the country on election day,
and they observed more than 230 polling units in 77 local government areas across 18 states
and the Federal Capital Territory within the six geopolitical zones.

Author: nmmin

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