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p15 edited Unbundling of INEC underway – Momoh By Abbas Jimoh The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) will be unbundled and restructured to enhance its…

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Unbundling of INEC underway – Momoh

By Abbas Jimoh

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) will be unbundled and restructured to enhance its capacity for electoral management and to deepen the nations’ democracy.

The director general of The Electoral Institute (TEI), Professor Abubakar Momoh, stated this in Abuja yesterday, at a stakeholders’ meeting and policy brief on “Election Violence and Mitigation Tool (EVMT)” organised by the Cleen Foundation, UKAID and TEI.

“INEC is already overburdened and many believe that there is need for its restructuring. The commission is working on the unbundling process, looking at the Electoral Act to make its findings and recommendations to the National Assembly,” Momoh said.

He said the increasing clamour for special courts to fast-track prosecution of electoral offences was also being worked at by INEC.

Momoh said it was difficult for the commission to prosecute electoral cases in normal courts due to the large number of litigations, those involved and the financial resources needed for the exercise.

He said INEC chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, would not spare any staff indicted for electoral malpractices in the just concluded Rivers State rerun elections or any other one for that matter.

He added that INEC had always been supportive of the Justice Mohammed Lawal Uwais’ electoral reform committee recommendations, but lamented that powerful interests were making its implementation difficult.

Among the key recommendations of the Uwais report is the unbundling of INEC, setting up of election offences commission and stopping the president from appointing INEC chairman among others.

Acting executive director of the Cleen Foundation, Benson Olugbuo, said the EVMT policy brief was meant to streamline and harmonise the existing instruments or policies on mitigating electoral violence.

He said the theme of the meeting, “Intervention for Preventing and Mitigating Electoral Violence in Nigeria: Issues and Policy Recommendations” was meant to predict the risk of violence in the electoral process, and evolve adequate policy and advocacy to prevent and control such violence.

Also, human rights and public affairs analyst, Jide Ojo, said the design and standardised instruments posed different policy implications for different electoral stakeholders, especially government, INEC, political parties, civil society organisations (CSOs) and the media among others.

PDP chieftain cautions Sheriff against tenure elongation

From Ahmed Mohammed, Gombe

The Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Barr. Abdullahi Jalo, has cautioned the national chairman of the party, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, not to listen to people who are advising him to elongate his tenure to 2019.

Jalo, who stated this yesterday while addressing a press conference in Gombe, faulted Ekiti State governor, Ayodele Fayose, and other politicians from the southern part of the country for suggesting that Sheriff should remain in office beyond the three months agreed by various organs of the party.

He said following a directive by the National Executive Council (NEC) of the party, Sheriff had accepted to serve for a specific period in line with the zoning formula agreed upon.

Jalo said already, it was proposed that the presidential candidate of the party would come from the northern part of the country and the national chairman from the southern.

“Sheriff should not make a U-turn since he had pledged that he would not stay beyond 21st May, 2016,” he said.

N/ Assembly ‘corrects’ portrait showing Mark as Senate president

By Ismail Mudashir

The portrait of the immediate past Senate president, David Mark, at the National Assembly, which was reading “Senate President from 2007 to date” has been corrected.

Our correspondent had exclusively reported that the portrait of Sen. Mark at the entrance of the new wing of the Senate was showing that the Benue senator was still the Senate president.

Mark’s tenure as Senate president terminated when Senator Bukola Saraki (APC, Kwara Central) emerged as the Senate president last June, when the 8th Senate was inaugurated.

Our correspondent reports that Mark, who had been at the Upper Chamber since 1999, was the 12th Senate President and had reigned for eight years (2007 to 2015).

Yesterday, our correspondent observed that a white strip of paper with the inscription “Senate President 2007 to 2015” was pasted over the former inscription in the portrait.

Election: Beninese in Nigeria applaud peaceful polls

Judd-Leonard Okafor

Beninese resident in Nigeria have congratulated their country, Benin Republic’s president-elect, Patrice Talon, after his March 7 victory.

The Union of Beninese Resident in Nigeria also praised the Benin Republic’s election agency, the Commission Electorale Nationale Autonome (CENA), and other international bodies for contributing to the success of the election.

Peace ambassador and national president of the union, Honore Hounkpatin, described the election as “well conducted, free and fair and devoid of violence.”

Speaking at a press conference in Abuja, Hounkpatin commended the outgoing president, Zinsou Lionel, for “his show of maturity by accepting the outcome of the election and his show of sportsmanship by congratulating Patrice Talon even before he was declared winner.”

At least 11,000 Benin nationals resident in Nigeria voted at the Benin Republic’s consulate-general’s premises in Lagos.

Mission wants Rivers’ rerun cancelled

By Zulei Mohammed

Amb. Sokari Afiesmama, the Chief Executive Officer, Mission for Rescue of Nigeria’s Socio-Cultural Environment, has faulted the Rivers’ rerun legislative elections and specifically called for the annulment of the one for Phalga Constituency 1 in Port Harcourt.

He said the election, held on March 19 was fraught with irregularities.

In a statement issued in Abuja, he said the mission was interested in promoting peace and developed environment, noting that such environment could be sustained by acceptable elections.

He alleged that elections in Ward 4, Ward 6, Ward 7, Ward 19 and Ward 20 in Phalga Constituency 1, Port Harcourt, were disrupted by violence.

The statement said although the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had cancelled the rerun elections held in eight out of the 23 local government areas in the state, election in Phalga should be cancelled also.

“We are concerned about the widespread violence on a simultaneous sequence in the three senatorial districts which marred the election process.

“We are calling on the federal government to immediately step up security and track those that instigated the violence to ensure free, fair and credible election in the future,” he said.

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