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INEC’s integrity sinks further with controversial Nov 11 elections in Kogi, Imo

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Off-cycle gubernatorial elections took place on November 11, 2023, across three states in the country. The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had assured the public of an improved, seamless, and transparent process leading up to the elections. However, the aftermath of the polls in Bayelsa, Imo, and Kogi states mirrored the disappointments experienced during the February 25 Presidential Election, where promises made by INEC turned out to be unfulfilled.

The year 2023 had already been marred by electoral challenges, with the Presidential and National Assembly elections on February 25 marked by disruptions, impunity, and criticisms from both local and international observers. Despite high expectations and trust in INEC, the general election was considered one of the worst in the country’s history.

Before the off-cycle elections, INEC, under the leadership of Professor Mahmood Yakubu, had implemented measures such as the Electoral Act Amendment Bill, the use of technological devices to prevent rigging, and the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS). The enthusiasm of the youth population led to a significant increase in voter registration.

However, the positive anticipation was shattered as INEC failed to transmit the election results as promised, leading to a series of legal challenges. Despite INEC’s post-election promises to improve conduct, enhance transparency, and learn from past mistakes, the off-cycle elections on November 11 were marred by controversies, allegations of pre-written results, disruptions, and security agencies aiding ballot box snatching.

Various political parties, including the Action Alliance (AA), PDP, and SDP, rejected the election results in Kogi and Imo states, citing fraud, ballot box snatching, and irregularities. Despite widespread criticism and allegations of compromised elections, INEC declared the winners in favor of the APC candidates in both states.

Public confidence in INEC eroded further, with observers and political analysts expressing disappointment in the conduct of the off-cycle elections. The incidents of pre-filled result sheets, alleged manipulation, and the absence of electronic transmission of results raised concerns about the effectiveness of INEC in delivering free and fair elections.

As the nation grapples with the fallout from the November 11 elections, calls for electoral reform, a shift from the winner-takes-all system, and a move towards proportional representation have been suggested as potential solutions to address the persisting challenges in the electoral process.

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PHOTO: Gov Makinde Host Nigeria Police Games

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1: Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde (left) and Inspector General of Police, Olukayode Egbetokun, during the opening ceremony of the 14th Biennial Nigeria Police Games, host by Oyo State Government, held at Adamasigba Stadium, Ibadan. PHOTO: Oyo Gov’s Media Unit.

2: From left, Deputy Governor of Oyo State, Barr Bayo Lawal; Governor Seyi Makinde; Inspector General of Police, Olukayode Egbetokun and his wife Elizabeth, during the opening ceremony of the 14th Biennial Nigeria Police Games, host by Oyo State Government, held at Adamasigba Stadium, Ibadan. PHOTO: Oyo Gov’s Media Unit.

3: Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde (left) take a salute from the Police Mascots, during the opening ceremony of the 14th Biennial Nigeria Police Games, host by Oyo State Government, held at Adamasigba Stadium, Ibadan. PHOTO: Oyo Gov’s Media Unit.

CREDIT: Oyo Gov Media 

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Economic crisis: Find more ways to improve your IGR – President Tinubu to universities

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The Nigerian government has called upon universities in the country to broaden their sources of funding amidst economic challenges. President Bola Ahmad Tinubu made this assertion during the 6th & 7th combined convocation ceremony of Federal University, Dutse, which took place on Saturday.

Speaking through Professor Kabir Bala, the Vice-Chancellor of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, who represented him at the event, President Tinubu stressed the government’s dedication to facilitating a conducive environment for universities despite resource limitations.

He urged universities to actively explore alternative funding channels, underlining the significance of self-reliance in the prevailing economic circumstances. The President also encouraged universities to seek international funding opportunities for research, advocating for collaborations and the attraction of funds from global sources.

President Tinubu emphasized that government alone cannot shoulder the financial burden of universities, particularly amid economic challenges and competing demands from various sectors. Nonetheless, he reiterated the administration’s commitment to providing the necessary support within the available resources to ensure universities function as pillars of educational advancement and national development.

He further urged universities to pursue innovative strategies for generating revenue and to tap into international research funding opportunities. He assured that his administration remains dedicated to supporting universities in achieving their objectives as outlined in the Renewed Hope Agenda.

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Contempt threat against NLC, TUC leaders over public protest uncalled for – Femi Falana replies FG

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Human rights advocate and constitutional lawyer, Femi Falana, has clarified that the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) have every right to organize the nationwide public protest scheduled for February 27 and 28, asserting that it does not constitute contempt of court.

As a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Falana emphasized that Nigerian workers are entitled to freedom of assembly and expression as enshrined in the country’s Constitution. He urged the federal government, in a strongly worded letter to the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, to ensure maximum security for the workers and to participate in the protest.

In response to the AGF’s threat of contempt charges against the NLC and TUC leaders, Falana’s letter dated February 24 countered the threat, arguing that it lacked legal basis.

Falana pointed out the history of negotiations between the government and the labor unions following the removal of fuel subsidy in 2023, which resulted in court orders restraining the unions from striking. Despite compliance with these orders, the unions challenged them, and the contempt proceedings initiated by the government were subsequently withdrawn.

He highlighted subsequent legal actions initiated by the government against the unions, noting that these actions were contested by the unions on grounds of abuse of court process and lack of jurisdiction. Falana emphasized that since the contempt proceedings were withdrawn, there is no basis for the government’s threat of contempt charges regarding the planned protest.

He cited legal precedents affirming citizens’ rights to protest on matters of public interest without the need for police permits, emphasizing the democratic importance of freedom of speech and assembly.

Falana urged the government to respect these fundamental rights and directed the Inspector-General of Police to provide adequate security for the protesters in accordance with the Police Establishment Act.

In conclusion, he called on the government to reconsider its stance and assured that the protests would be conducted peacefully.

The federal government had previously warned of invoking relevant laws to charge the NLC leadership with contempt if the protest proceeds, citing it as a breach of agreement and a challenge to the court’s authority. The AGF, Prince Lateef Fagbemi, conveyed this warning in a letter to Falana, urging the NLC to abandon the protest to avoid violating the court’s order.

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