Court orders INEC to issue Okorocha certificate of return

Breaking: Court orders INEC to issue Okorocha certificate of return
by Agency Reporter   

Rochas Okorocha

Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court on Friday ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to issue Rochas Okorocha, a Certificate of Return.

The Court ruled that the decision to deprive Okorocha of the certificate was a “lawless decision.”

Abang held that only the returning officer of the INEC had the constitutional authority to declare a winner.

He held that any person declared a winner by the returning officer remains a winner until petitioners succeed in upturning the declaration at the election tribunal.

The court further ruled that Mr Okorocha had no business being the originator of the petition at the election tribunal.

Justice Abang, who ruled that the federal high court had exclusive jurisdiction to decide on the matter, described INEC’s decision as “lawless and a complete nullity.”

The electoral body had said it refused to give Okorocha certificate of return after the returning officer for Imo West senatorial district said he was compelled to declare Okorocha winner.

INEC declares PDP Winner of Zamfara election

BREAKING: INEC declares PDP Winner of Zamfara election

The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has declared the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP as the winner of the governorship election held in Zamfara state.

INEC chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, made the announcement during a press conference in Abuja on Saturday.

He also said the PDP won in all elective positions in the state.

He said this followed the supreme court decision sacking all candidates of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the general election.

The Supreme Court on Friday declared that the APC had no candidates in the 2019 general elections in Zamfara state.

The five-member panel of justices, in a unanimous judgment on Friday, held that the party in the state failed to conduct primaries in accordance with the party rules.

In the lead judgment by Justice Paul Adamu Galinji, the apex court held that all votes cast for the APC as “wasted votes” and declared that all political parties with the second highest votes in the elections and the required spread, are elected to the various elections.

Zamfara: Appeal Court rules in favour of APC candidates

Zamfara APC Becomes Beneficiary of Postponed Elections

Appeal Court paves the way for party to field candidates
Alex Enumah in Abuja

The Court of Appeal in Abuja Thursday set aside the judgment of the Federal High Court in Abuja, which affirmed the decision of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to bar the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) from fielding candidates in the general election in Zamfara State.

Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu of the Federal High Court in Abuja, had in a judgment delivered on January 25, 2019, held that INEC was right to have delisted the names of candidates APC presented for the elections.

She stated that the APC failed to conduct a valid primary within the period scheduled by the electoral body.
But three-man panel of the appellate court, led by Justice Abdul Aboki, held that the trial court lacked the jurisdiction to have entertained the suit, adding that it was an abuse of court process.

He stressed that the suit at the Federal High Court was filed out of time and that the Electoral Act provides for 14 days to institute a suit after the cause of action had arisen, the suit was filed 15 days after, and therefore rendered the action incompetent.

After listening to the arguments of M. A. Maagaji SAN, who lead other senior lawyers, the court held: “The cross-appeal partly succeeds on the issue of jurisdiction. The suit of the 1st cross-respondent in suit No FHC/ABJ/CS/1279/2018 between the All Progressives Congress vs Independent National Electoral Commission and Others is hereby struck out for lack or want of jurisdiction on the part of the lower court.

“The judgment of the lower court is hereby set aside. There shall be no order as to costs.”
On many occasions INEC had insisted that the APC Zamfara State would not field candidates for the 2019 general election.

In a leaked memo, the commission informed the ruling APC that it would not be allowed to field candidates for elective positions in Zamfara in the 2019 elections.

Its acting Secretary, Mr. Okechukwe Ndeche, in a letter to the APC said that the party was barred from fielding candidates for governorship, National Assembly and state assembly elections.

The commission said this was because APC failed to comply with Sections 87 and 31 of the Electoral Act of 2010.
Parties, according to the Act, were expected to comply with the timetable and schedule of INEC, which says that the conduct of primaries must be held between August 18 and October 7.

INEC said it received reports from its Zamfara office indicating that no primaries were conducted in the state, “notwithstanding that our officials were fully mobilised and deployed.”

The APC National Chairman, Mr. Adams Oshiomhole, later responded to INEC in a statement and said that the party had already arrived at a consensus before the deadline.

Oshiomhole said that following the high level of friction, disagreements and threats of violence by various political camps before the primaries, all the aspirants met at City King Hotel, Gusau, to find a truce.
He said: “After hours of intense horse-trading, a consensus was reached within the spirit and context of the Electoral Act and the constitution of our party.

“This was done in strict compliance with Section 87 (6) of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended).”
He said that the claim by INEC that no primaries were conducted could only be referring to its officials’ observation that actual voting did not take place.

The APC chairman said that conduct of primaries was not the only mode prescribed for producing candidates in the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended).

“We, therefore, affirm that indeed, primaries took place in Zamfara State,” Oshiomhole said.
The party chairman also noted that PDP had similar issues in Kano State and wondered why INEC did not bar the opposition party from fielding candidates.

Credit: ThisDay

How inexperience, INEC infighting messed up Feb 16 elections

THE INSIDER: How INEC’s in-fighting, inexperience messed up Feb 16 elections

INEC chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu

by Malik Abdulganiy

By Wednesday, February 13, 2019, experienced members of staff and management of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) knew that the February 16 presidential and national assembly elections would not hold — no matter the magic. But because of the pervading atmosphere of mutual distrust and suspicion at the commission, people went about their businesses in hushed tones, preparing for the worst.

Several INEC insiders told TheCable over the weekend that based on the experience from elections organised by the commission, the signs were already there that something was going wrong. But many of the commissioners were not comparing notes or even talking to each other, thereby compounding a situation that would lead to the embarrassing postponement of the elections. The prevailing atmosphere of in-fighting, inexperience of the logistics committee and poor preparations was further compounded by poor co-ordination by the leadership of INEC, insiders told TheCable.

“Typically,” a senior member of management told TheCable, “we take delivery of sensitive electoral materials, including ballot papers, two weeks to any given election. We then warehouse them with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). One week to the election, we send the materials to state offices of INEC. Basically, seven days to any election, all the sensitive materials are already at the states.”

At this stage, the official said, the resident electoral commissioners and electoral officers at the state level hold a pre-election conference with party agents and all who will be involved in the elections just to brief them and lay out the procedures.

“We also inform them about the state of preparations, that the materials have arrived and that they are ready to be distributed. This is routine. We take questions and observations and roll out the rules and regulations. It is like a normal stakeholders meeting,” the official told TheCable.

The official said the materials are then moved from the CBN zonal or state offices to various INEC offices in the state on the Tuesday preceding the elections, sometimes on Wednesdays — depending on how big the state is.

“By Friday, the materials are usually already at the ward levels, and then they are distributed to the polling units by Saturday morning. That is how things run on a good day,” the official said.

WARNING SIGNALS

Another INEC commissioner told TheCable that he sensed there was going to be trouble when the materials were yet to get to the states.

“Some of us, including INEC staff, knew things were not going to run smoothly when as at Wednesday, the materials were still at the airports in Port Harcourt, Lagos, Abuja and Kano. These are materials that should have been at the states in some cases and even local governments by then. It is incredible that we did not take a decision to reschedule until four hours to the commencement of the voting processes,” he said.

“Many of us were also amazed that the media did not pick up the warning signals. Even the observers, both local and international, did not ask INEC these questions. Why were the materials still stuck at the airports one day to voting? How on earth were we going to reach all the 119,000 polling units across 774 local government areas and 36 states in less than 24 hours? That was practically impossible, but the media and observers appeared to be focusing on trivial issues.”

INEXPERIENCE AND INFIGHTING

A member of INEC staff, who spoke at length on the logistical nightmare, said there is an atmosphere of mutual suspicion and distrust among national commissioners and this played a major role in disrupting the elections.

“Amina Zakari used to be in charge of logistics. Because of the controversy over her relationship with President Muhammadu Buhari, the chairman moved her to another department. That is not supposed to be a problem if she was replaced with someone else who can do the job well,” he said.

Although the INEC commissioner in charge of electoral operations and logistics is Okechukwu Ibeanu, he was only heading the standing committee. For the election proper, Mahmood Yakubu, the INEC chairman, inaugurated the ad hoc committee for logistics on January 3, 2019. The 17-person committee was specifically for the general election.

The chairman is Ahmed Tijjani Mu’azu, a retired air vice marshal. Other members are: Abubakar Nahuche, Mohammed Haruna (both INEC national commissioners), representatives from CBN, customs service, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, Federal Road Safety Corps, immigration service, police, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, DSS, army, navy and air force. Other are the INEC directors of electoral operations department, estate works and transport, procurement, and stores.

THINGS FALL APART

Mu’azu was new on the position and did not have any experience to fall upon when it comes to INEC electoral operations, according to insiders.

“Most of the commissioners were kept in the dark when things were going wrong, and because of the polluted atmosphere, people decided to keep quiet so as not to be accused of trying to usurp other people’s jobs. However, the INEC chairman is also conducting a general election for the first time, so he probably trusted the Mu’azu committee to deliver. Yakubu did not have the benefit of institutional memory which helped his predecessor, Prof. Attahiru Jega,” the insider told TheCable.

“Normally, Mu’azu should be giving regular updates to the INEC management on the situation on ground. He did not. The job of the committee was basically to clear and move materials within timelines. Going by the way things worked for us in the past, we should all know that if materials were not at the states by the preceding Saturday, there was going to be a major crisis. But a day to the election, the materials were still at the airports.

“Some states got materials. Katsina and Adamawa, for instance, were not affected. But states in the south-east were affected. Imagine if elections had gone ahead without the south-east. We all know how the narrative would have been shaped by now.”

Mu’azu used to help INEC with movement of materials before he retired form the air force and it was thought by the INEC leadership that he would do a good job if he was saddled with the task for the general election, an insider said.

“But that was a big mistake. Being put in charge of organising logistics for over 100,000 polling units is not the same thing as helping get some air force aircraft to help INEC transport materials. AVM Mu’azu was permanently at the airports as the crisis worsened, but what could he do?” the insider asked.

SLOW DECISION-MAKING

When it became glaring that elections could not take place all over the federation at the same time, INEC was also too slow in taking a firm decision and communicating it to Nigerians.

The senior member of management who spoke to TheCable said there was no need to wait till close to 3am on Saturday to announce the postponement.

“As soon as the emergency meeting of national commissioners started, it was clear that we needed to take a decision quickly and communicate this to Nigerians. We knew before the meeting was called that elections would not hold. For some weird reasons, the meeting kept dragging and dragging till past 2am,” he said.

Yakubu, addressing stakeholders on Saturday over the postponement, blamed it on sabotage and poor weather which he said disrupted flights on the eve of the elections.

However, Hadi Sirika, the minister of aviation, has debunked Yakubu’s claim that weather affected flights. The Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) also said there were no disruptions caused by poor weather.

“The agency in line with the directive of the Honourable Minister of State (Aviation), Sen. Hadi Sirika, had earlier ensured a 24-hour operation at all Nigerian airports on Friday 15th February 2019 to facilitate the transportation of INEC materials nationwide,” NAMA said in a statement issued on Sunday.

WILL ELECTIONS HOLD ON FEBRUARY 23?

Now that the elections have been rescheduled for February 23 — amidst anger expressed by Nigerians — there are still fears that the polls might be postponed again.

However, the INEC chairman has assured Nigerians that the fiasco will not repeat itself.

INEC insiders also told TheCable that they expected things to run better since materials would be at the locations on time.

“Initially, we were pushing for Monday or Tuesday to be picked as the new date, but the tech guys said they would need to re-programme the card readers and they would need six days to do that. Except the tech guys fail us, we are good to go now,” the senior member of management told TheCable.

Credit: TheCable

INEC’s bolt from the blue

INEC’s bolt from the blue

INEC chairman, Professor Mahmud Yakubu

by Simon Kolawole

When your wife is pregnant and gives birth at the end of nine months, you cannot claim you were caught unawares and so you couldn’t buy items for baby delivery ahead of time. Since 2015, we had known that we were going to hold another general election in 2019. It is every four years. It is there in the constitution. We knew we would need ballot papers, ballot boxes, ink pads and result sheets. We knew the geography of Nigeria. We have meteorologists who forecast the weather all the time. We knew that some locations have peculiarities at a particular time of the year. We knew we would need to fly materials earlier for ease of distribution. We knew. There is nothing new under the sun.

The postponement of the 2019 general election by one week — even if by one day — is yet another spectacular testament to the pathological incompetence ruining our country. The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) told us a million times that it was ready for the elections. Literally a million times! Unlike in 2015 when the postponement was forced by the military hierarchy who said they needed more time to “diminish” Boko Haram, most Nigerians never saw the latest one coming — a few of hours to the opening of the polling stations! Is there any other country in the world where elections are scheduled and routinely postponed every four years?

The two things we should normally worry about in our elections are rigging and violence. We have a history of stuffed ballots, voter suppression, ballot-snatching, violence and killing. Since the colonial masters left our shores in 1960, almost every election we have conducted by ourselves is filled with all these shenanigans. Only God knows how many Nigerians have been maimed or killed in electoral violence. Our elections are usually a do-or-die affair. But, increasingly, we now have to add a third worry: uncertainty of electoral timetable. It has become a recurring decimal. Since 2011, we have been postponing elections despite having all the time in the world to prepare.

In 2011, we had actually started voting in the federal parliamentary elections when Prof. Attahiru Jega, then-INEC chairman, asked us to calm down. INEC had discovered, midway, that we didn’t have enough result sheets. The elections were moved twice. Four years later, we did not keep to the timetable again, this time at the instance of the security chiefs who curiously requested more time to fight Boko Haram. Many were convinced that the PDP was afraid of losing the polls. Senior INEC figures would later confess in private conversations that the postponement saved the umpire from a disastrous outing. They were not ready for the original February date, they said.

It was more dramatic in 2007. We almost did not have an election. To put it more bluntly: we practically did not have an election. What we eventually did was a charade, so much so the results were merely written after the self-inflicted chaos. As it was, President Olusegun Obasanjo did not want his vice-president, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, to succeed him. The two had publicly fallen out before the 2003 presidential election. Obasanjo was virtually forced to pick Atiku as his running mate for the second term, but he immediately set out to neutralise his deputy after the general election. The killer punch was branding Atiku as “corrupt” — a nickname that has stuck since then.

Obasanjo set up an administrative panel headed by Prof. Ignatius Ayua, with Mrs Oby Ezekwesili as a notable member, to probe Atiku over the Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF) affair. It indicted Atiku and barred him from holding public office. INEC, under the inimitable Prof. Maurice Iwu, quickly disqualified Atiku from the 2007 elections because of the indictment. It was at this stage that the judiciary stepped in and declared that any indictment must be accepted by a court of law. It stopped tyranny on the one hand but castrated INEC on the other. Today, INEC cannot disqualify candidates even if they present forged certificates. It has to be the courts.

Atiku fought all the way to the Supreme Court to fight his disqualification after the corruption charges against him had been quashed by a high court. On the day the judgement was to be given, Obasanjo declared a public holiday so that the court would not sit. In the interim, INEC had printed the ballot papers without including Atiku. (In those days, pictures of candidates were also on the ballot.) A senior government official reportedly asked Iwu: “What if Atiku won his court case and has to be on the ballot?” Iwu dismissed the possibility. However, five days to the election, the Supreme Court ruled that Atiku must be on the ballot.

Shamelessly, INEC rushed to South Africa to start printing 65 million ballot papers overnight. The Nigerian contractor instantly made billions of naira from the turmoil. Eventually, more than half of the ballots did not make it to Nigeria before election day. In fact, they were later abandoned at a warehouse in South Africa. A South African newspaper made fun of us. It is not today that the South Africans started disrespecting us. Even the ballots that made their way to Nigeria did not have serial numbers, and many polling units did not have voting materials. A military aircraft flying materials overnight crashed, killing the pilot and INEC officials.

In the end, Iwu simply blessed Alhaji Umaru Musa Yar’Adua (PDP) with 24,638,063 votes, awarded 6,605,299 to Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (ANPP) and allocated 2,637,848 to Atiku. Iwu also took time out to tongue-lash the opposition parties for complaining about the shoddy elections. He reminded them that only PDP had billboards and posters across the country and they should not complain about Yar’Adua’s 24.6 million-vote windfall. Yar’Adua, it must be said, acknowledged that the election was a mess and promised to carry out electoral reforms. For all intents and purposes, we did not hold a presidential election in 2007, no thanks to INEC. We simply wrote the figures.

Things have certainly improved between 2007 and 2019, but we are still far from getting things right. Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, the INEC chairman, has given us cause to worry and doubt his pledge to conduct credible elections. For a man who told Nigerians again and again and again and again that INEC was ready and that nothing would make him postpone the elections, this is nothing but a big let-down. His budget was passed as presented to the National Assembly; nothing was cut. This was to forestall excuses. I also understand that all his requests to the president were treated within 24 hours. He assured all of us —Nigerians and foreigners alike — that all was set.

What does it take to get materials to locations? Do we need God to come and help us take ballot papers and result sheets from Abuja to Kaura Namodia and Ikot Ekpene? It is all about logistics. It is about meticulous planning. Plan A, Plan B, Plan C and even Plan D. It is all about painting scenarios, simulating movements and asking the big question: WHAT IF? Someone said Nigeria is very big, geographically, so it presents a logistical challenge and I am asking: so how many years do we need to distribute voting materials across Nigeria? We continue to advertise our incompetence to the whole world. It is one of the reasons we are hardly respected in the comity of nations.

The best way Prof. Yakubu can compensate for this disappointment is to organise a transparently free and fair general election. I agree that he deserves a second chance. After all, Prof. Jega started on a shaky note but ended up on a creditable note. I will not write off Yakubu just yet. But he has to realise that he has dropped the ball. We should be getting better with every election, not going backward. The town is filled with rumours over Yakubu’s motives, with both the ruling party and the opposition accusing him of working for one side or the other. Millions of Nigerians have also suffered economic losses because of this postponement. We deserve much better.

This unfortunate turn of events has, predictably, provided a golden opportunity for fake news entrepreneurs. One of such is that Mrs Amina Zakari, President Buhari’s “blood niece”, is the INEC commissioner in charge of electoral operations and logistics and — you know it — she was the one that sabotaged the elections. In fact, the commissioner in charge of logistics committee is Mr. Okechukwu Ibeanu, not Amina. The re-assignment was done as far back as October 2018! (Ahmed Tijjani Mu’azu is the chairman of the ad-hoc committee on logistics for the elections proper.) For me, I want the general election done and dusted so that we can face other national issues. It has become a serious distraction. Let’s just do it and move to the next phase of our lives!

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AND FOUR OTHER THINGS…

MINION MALAMI

Mallam Abubakar Malami is arguably the most substandard attorney-general Nigeria has ever had. It is not just a problem of crass partisanship but also gross incompetence. Sections 158(1) and 160 of the 1999 Constitution specifically declare the operational independence of INEC in simple English, yet Malami, a senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN), audaciously directed the electoral umpire to postpone elections in Zamfara state in favour of his party, the APC. Pray, is he the attorney-general of APC or the attorney-general of the federation? This same minister comically swore in Mr. Adams Oshiomhole as APC national chairman in 2018. Shame.

CROWD CONTROL

One of the most amusing aspects of electioneering in Nigeria is the crowd at rallies. The “my crowd is bigger than yours” game is regularly played by the two leading parties. People will see a stadium filled with supporters and scream: “This man has support.” Meanwhile, it may be just about 100,000 people in a state with two million registered voters! Even if everybody at the stadium votes for you, it still does not mean you would win. The sad part for me, though, is the poor crowd management skills of the Nigerian security agencies. There will always be stampede and suffocation. It is a regular feature. I look forward to an election season when there will be zero death at rallies. Paramount.

CREDIBLE WHAT?

How can we have credible elections when security agencies continue to participate actively in intimidating and harassing the opposition? In Lokoja, Kogi state, on Friday, police surrounded the home of the former governor, Alhaji Ibrahim Idris, who was playing host to PDP leaders across the senatorial zones ahead of the now-postponed elections. The street was cordoned off. In Akwa Ibom, same day, the army withdrew soldiers from the government house — a clear signal of “you are on your own”. On Thursday, in Niger state, the EFCC arraigned the PDP governorship candidate, Mallam Gado Nasco, and Dr. Aliyu Babangida, ex-governor, for fraud. Level-playing field? Indeed.

AND FINALLY…

The postponement of the general election has elicited a lot of comments from the social media. No matter what, Nigerians will always find something to cheer them up in the midst of the gloom and the anger. Indicting INEC, one Twitter user wrote: “They should just sack every one at @inecnigeria and hire 10 event planners from Lagos, you will see how the elections will happen today today!” Another user said: “INEC, with its ₦189 billion budget and four years to prepare, managed to behave no differently from a Nigerian tailor who collects ₦15,000 for your wedding outfit but switches off his phone on the day he is supposed to deliver.” Comical.

Credit: TheCable

How courts, sabotage caused postponement of election, INEC

INEC blames burning of offices, late court judgements for postponement

Independent National Electoral Commission Chairman, Professor Mahmud Yakubu

Eniola Akinkuotu, Abuja

The Independent National Electoral Commission has blamed the burning of its offices in Plateau, Anambra and Abia states for the postponement of elections.

INEC also said some late judgements which ordered the commission to include some parties on already printed ballot papers altered its plans for the elections.

The INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, said this while addressing stakeholders in Abuja on Saturday.

He said the commission was able to address some of the unforeseen challenges but they had a negative effect on the overall planning of the polls.

Yakubu added, “There have been delays in delivering ballot papers and result sheets for the elections which are not unusual. However, one must emphasise that all the ballot papers and result sheets were ready before the elections despite the very tight legal timeframe for the nomination of candidates and dealing with the spate of legal challenges that accompany it.

“In this regard, the commission has been sued or joined in over 640 court cases arising from the nomination of candidates. As of today, there are 40 different court orders against the commission on whether to add or drop candidates.

“The net effect of these is that there is usually roughly a one-month window for the commission to print ballot papers and result sheets and either fly or transport them to several destinations until they finally get to each polling unit.

“Unfortunately, in the last one week flights within the country have been adversely affected by bad weather. For instance, three days ago, we were unable to deliver materials to some locations due to bad weather.

“We therefore had to rely on slow-moving long haulage vehicles to locations that can be serviced by air in spite of the fact that we created five zonal airport hubs in Abuja (North Central), Port Harcourt (South South and South East). Kano (North West), Maiduguri and Yale (North-East) and Lagos (South-West) to facilitate the delivery of electoral logistics.

“Apart from these logistical challenges, we also faced what may well be attempts to sabotage our preparations. In a space of two weeks, we had to deal with serious fire incidents in three of our offices in Isiala Ngwa South Local Government Area of Abia State, Qu’an Pan Local Government Area of Plateau State and our Anambra State Office at Awka.

“In all three cases, serious disruptions were occasioned by the fire, further diverting our attention from regular preparations to recovery from the impact of the incidents. In Isiala Ngwa South, hundreds of PVCs were burnt, necessitating the recompiling of the affected cards and reprinting in time to ensure that the affected voters are not disenfranchised. I am glad that all the cards were quickly reprinted and made available for collection by their owners.”

“In Qu’an Pan Local Government Area, our entire office was razed, destroying all the materials prepared for the elections printed register of voters, ballot boxes, voting cubicles and several electricity generating sets. ll Registration Areas and over I00 polling units were affected by the tire. We recovered quickly and have since replaced everything destroyed. In addition, we secured a suitable building from which to conduct the elections.

“Perhaps the most serious was the fire incident in our Anambra State Office at Awka, which destroyed over 4,600 Smart Card Readers being prepared for the elections. These Card Readers take at least six months to procure. Despite this setback, we have practically recovered from this by mopping up every available.

Credit: The Puncy

Breaking: INEC postpones elections

UPDATED: INEC reschedules presidential, NASS elections

Presidential, NASS elections hold February 23
Governorship, State Assembly elections hold March 9
Friday Olokor, Abuja

The Independent National Electoral Commission has announced the postponement of the Presidential and National Assembly elections earlier scheduled for today (Saturday) by one week.

Consequently, the commission has rescheduled the Presidential and National Assembly Elections to Saturday, February 23, 2019 while the governorship, State Houses of Assembly and Federal Capital Territory Area Council polls earlier fixed for March 2 would now be conducted on Saturday, March 9 2019.

The chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, who read a five-paragraph statement by 2:50 am on Saturday morning attributed the decision to logistic reasons, but refused to entertain any question.

He said, “The Independent National Electoral Commission met on Friday, February 15, 2019, and reviewed its preparations for the 2019 General Elections scheduled for Saturday, February 16 2019 and Saturday, March 2 2019.

“Following a careful review of the implementation of its logistics and operational plan and the determination to conduct free, fair and credible elections, the commission came to the conclusion that proceeding with the elections as scheduled is no longer feasible.

“Consequently, the commission has decided to reschedule the Presidential and National Assembly Elections to Saturday, February 23 2019. Furthermore, the Governorship, State House of Assembly and Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Area Council Elections is rescheduled to Saturday, March 9 2019. This will afford the commission the opportunity to address identified challenges in order to maintain the quality of our elections.

“This was a difficult decision for the commission to take, but necessary for the successful delivery of the elections and the consolidation of our democracy.

“The commission will meet key stakeholders to update them on this development at 2pm on Saturday 16 (today) February 2019 at the Abuja International Conference Centre.”

Obasanjo writes another letter, accuses Buhari of planning to rig election

Buhari behaving like Abacha, planning to rig elections – Obasanjo

Dimeji Kayode-Adedeji

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo on Sunday attacked President Muhammadu Buhari, accusing him of plotting to rig the general elections.

Mr Buhari is seeking re-election on the platform of his party, APC. The presidential and National Assembly elections will hold on February 16.

In an open letter titled “Point for Concern and Action” which he distributed to journalists at a press conference held at his house at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library, Abeokuta, Mr Obasanjo also alleged that the president was acting like a former military dictator, Sani Abacha.

“Buhari has succeeded in deceiving us the first time and we will be fools to allow ourselves to be deceived the second time,” Mr Obasanjo wrote.

“Buba Galadima, who knows Buhari very well as a confidant and National Secretary of Congress for Progressive Change,CPC, the Buhari’s party before it joined in forming All Progressives Congress, APC has warned us this time around that no matter what he promises, he cannot change his character and attitude.”

Mr Obasanjo was one of the millions of Nigerians who supported Mr Buhari in the 2015 presidential election. He has since withdrawn his support for the president, accusing him of incompetence and nepotism.

In his letter, the former president said Mr Galadima “describes him (Mr Buhari) as inflexible, insincere, dubious, intolerant, never accepts responsibility when things go wrong and impervious to reason and advice for change. If you cannot change your mind, you cannot change anything is the assertion of George Bernard Shaw.”

Mr Obasanjo then claimed that what is happening in Nigeria under Mr Buhari can be likened to what Nigerians witnessed under a late military dictator, Sani Abacha.

Mr Abacha, who ruled Nigeria between 1993 and 1998, died in office while trying to perpetuate himself in office.

“He went for broke and surrounded himself with hatchet men who on his order and in his interest and at high costs to Nigeria and Nigerians, maimed, tortured and killed for Abacha. Buhari has started on the same note on the same path in mad desperation,” Mr Obasanjo claimed.

He then alleged that the president and his party are recruiting collation officers who are already awarding election results.

“It is the sole reason he has blatantly refused to sign the revised electoral bill into law. His henchmen are working round the clock in cahoots with security and election officials to perfect their plan by computing results right from the ward to local government, state and national levels to allot him what will look like a landslide victory irrespective of the true situation for a candidate who might have carried out by proxy presidential debate and campaigns.”

He said the current plan is to drape the pre-determined results with a toga of credibility and also use violence of unimaginable proportion which will be unleashed in high voting population areas across the country to precipitate re-run elections.

“We are monitoring them and we call on all democrats across the world to keep an eye on the unfolding anti-democratic agenda of President Muhammed Buhari. This is the time for preventive measures to be taken otherwise Nigeria may be presented with a fait accompli with impunity and total disregard of all pleas.”

Mr Obasanjo’s letter comes despite repeated promises by President Buhari to ensure free and fair elections.

The presidency is yet to react to Mr Obasanjo’s latest outburst.

BELOW IS THE FULL STATEMENT BY MR OBASANJO

POINTS FOR CONCERN AND ACTION
By Chief Olusegun Obasanjo
I am concerned as a democrat who believes that with faithful and diligent practice of democracy, we can get over most of our political problems and move steadfastly and surefootedly on the course of stability, unity of purpose, socio-economic growth and progress for all.
Democracy becomes a sham if elections are carried out by people who should be impartial and neutral umpires, but who show no integrity, acting with blatant partiality, duplicity and imbecility. For all democrats and those carrying out the process of elections, there must be the redline that must not be crossed in tactics and practices of democracy.
I personally have serious doubt about the present INEC’s integrity, impartiality and competence to conduct a fair, free and credible election. And if the INEC is willing, will the ruling party and government allow it? From what we saw and knew about Osun State gubernatorial election, what was conclusive was declared inconclusive despite all advice to the contrary.
The unnecessary rerun, if viewed as a test-run for a larger general election, would lead people to expect incidences of deliberately contrived, broken or non-working voting machines or card readers, confusion of voters as to their voting stations, inadequate supply of voting materials to designated places, long line to discourage voters and turning blind eyes to favour the blue-eye political party of INEC because the Commission’s hands will be tied to enable hatchet men and women to perform their unwholesome assignment. The transmission and collation of results are subject to interference, manipulation and meddling. If the INEC’s favourite political party wins with all the above infractions, the result will be conclusively declared and if not, there will be a ‘rerun’, the result of which is known before it is carried out. I know that I am not alone in being sceptical about the integrity of INEC and its ability to act creditably and above board. But we are open to be convinced otherwise.
The joke about INEC would seem real. The INEC was asked if the Commission was ready for the election and if it expects the election to be free, fair and credible. The INEC man is reported as saying in response, “we are ready with everything including the results!” God save Nigeria! It is up to Nigerians to ensure that the redline is not crossed in safeguarding our fledgling democracy. And if crossed, appropriate action must be taken not to allow our democracy to be derailed.
A friend of mine who is more credulous and who claims to be close to the Chair of INEC keeps telling me that INEC will retrieve its image and reputation by conducting the coming elections with utmost integrity and impartiality. I am not sure as I believe more in action than in words and in past record than in promise. The track record of the present INEC is fairly sordid and all men and women of goodwill and believers in democracy must be prepared for the worst from INEC and their encouragers and how to get Nigeria out of the electoral morass that the Commission is driving us into. To be forewarned is to be forearmed. A battle long forewarned does not embroil the cripple nor catch him unawares. A word is sufficient for the wise. The labour of Nigerian democracy heroes must not be in vain.
Some men of God would hold President Buhari to his word on free, fair, credible and peaceful elections. I am a realist and I reiterate that I go by track record. Therefore, I am not persuaded by a track record of hollow words, impunity, insensitivity and ‘I-couldn’t-care-less’ attitude, or by the sanctimonious claims of any candidate and his campaign staff. I will only believe what I see. This is a time for vigilance to fight to safeguard our votes and defend our democracy. The price of liberty and sustenance of our democracy is eternal vigilance and appropriate reaction to ward off iniquities. We must all be ready to pay that price and not relying on hollow words of callousness. The derailment of Nigerian democracy will be a monumental disaster comparable to the disaster of the Nigerian first military coup.
While Nigerians must not allow such a disaster to happen nor take such an affront lying low, the international community who played an admirable role in warning INEC, of course, to no avail on the Osun State gubernatorial election and who have been warning all political parties must on this occasion give more serious warning, send more people to the field to observe and work out punitive measures against INEC and security officials especially the Police and politicians who stand to gain from INEC’s misconduct, which is obviously encouraged by the Executive Arm of Government and who must be held responsible for the violence that will follow. Such measures can vary from denial and withdrawal of visas from the people concerned and from their families to other more stringent measures including their accounts being frozen and taking them to International Criminal Court, ICC, if violence emanates from their action or inaction. Nigeria must not be allowed to slip off the democratic path nor go into anarchy and ruin. No individual nor group has monopoly of violence or gangsterism. And we must not forget that in human interaction, reactions are normally greater than action, though opposite.
It is no use, at this juncture, to keep lamenting about the failure, incompetence, divisiveness, nepotism, encouragement and condonation of corruption by Buhari administration as there is neither redeeming feature nor personality to salvage the situation within that hierarchy. You cannot give what you don’t have. Bode George put it bluntly in his statement of December 3, 2018 when he said:
“The other day, the Vice-President of Nigeria, Professor Yemi Osinbajo – a learned man, an enlightened person in all parameters – was seen at various markets in Lagos State and Abuja distributing N10,000 each to market women. What an absurdity! It was indeed an obscene display of executive recklessness and abuse of office. Pray, where did the money come from? Was it budgeted for in the appropriation law? In more civilised nations, Osinbajo would have been impeached and prosecuted for gutting our collective treasury.”
What an act by a Senior Advocate of Nigeria lawyer, number 2 man in the Executive hierarchy; and what is more, a pastor of one of the Christian movements led by a revered, respected and upright church leader, Pastor E. A. Adeboye. Osinbajo must have gone for, “if you can’t beat them, join them”. A great pity indeed and which makes people ask the questions, “Any hope?” Yes, for me, there is hope.
Osinbajo has shown the human weakness and proved the saying that the corruption of the best is the worst form of corruption. His explanation that it was their government programme can only be construed to be very shallow and lopsided, if not an outrightly idiotic programme.
Traders in rural and sub-urban areas of Nigeria are many more than those in urban areas and they are much poorer than traders in Lagos, Abuja and other cities. They need more attention and greater help. Are they to be confined to the heap of perpetual poverty? What of those who are not traders? They are not entitled to hand-out and they can languish in penury? And what about millions who have lost their jobs in the last three and a half years? The timing is also suspect. Those who criticise the action are called evil but they are not evil as they know what they are doing and saying, and they love Nigeria and Nigerians not less than the likes of Osinbajo. They are not devils incarnate; they are patriots.
What is the connection between taking the number of PVC (Permanent Voters Card) of the recipient of the N10,000 doled out to ‘traders’ and the forthcoming election? There is something sinister about it, and Professor Osinbajo, of all people, should know that. With collusion of the INEC officials and card readers not made to work, anybody quoting the PVC number may be allowed to vote as the revised Electoral Bill was not signed. And if that happens all over the country, it will be massive rigging indeed. The Chairman of INEC must stand firm and carry out his duties with competence and unbending neutrality. Card readers must be used without fail and accreditation must be completed and number ascertained and made public before voting commences as was done in 2015.
Amina Zakari has become too controversial a figure to be able to give assurance of free, fair and credible election for INEC. President Buhari and her family have declared that there is no blood relationship but there is relationship through marriage and that is more than enough for the good lady to step aside. A judge does not sit in judgement over a case once he or she becomes a cause for controversy or one side in the case has strongly objected to the judge.
Madam Amina Zakari should, in honour, stay out and not be seen as a source of contamination of the election. Otherwise, it will be difficulty to deny the rumour that she is being assigned to Collation Centre for one duty only – to write out figures that are not results of the voting in the field on fake results sheets without water mark or on genuine results sheets which she will have access to as a Commissioner. Amina Zakari is not the only Commissioner that can be in the Collation Centre. Let the INEC Chairman act boldly and impartially and prove his absolute neutrality and responsiveness to contribute to make the election peacefully free, fair and credible. His integrity needs to be transparently demonstrated.
We should remember that there had been reports of INEC sponsored rigging in the past, and also with INEC officials through collation and with officials being put in party coordinators’ dresses and working for the political party favoured by INEC and also putting the dresses of other parties on INEC-favoured parties and police uniforms on INEC-favoured parties to rig all the elections for the favoured party. Like all of us, INEC knows all these and it should devise means to make sure they do not happen. But will they? One way will be to only allow card readers to be means of authenticating voters and where there is no such authentication, it should mean no voting. The second is to use only identity cards with watermarks issued by INEC itself to party officials only for identification of political party coordinators, officials and agents and not political parties dresses or arm and wrist bands which anybody can wear for purposes of identification on election duty or function. Both the Presidency and the National Assembly must so far be commended for adequately providing funding as confirmed by INEC, and therefore funding cannot be an excuse for poor performance by INEC.
President Buhari and his hatchet men in the coming election think that the judiciary must be primed in their favour. Hence, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen, has been harassed and prosecuted for non-declaration of his assets without following the Constitution and the law, just to make him conform or set him aside for a Buhari man to take over or act, as President Buhari and his people believe no stone should be left unturned to rig Buhari in. It seems to be a ploy to intimidate the judiciary as a whole in preparation for all election cases that will go before them. Where and how will all these stop?
Typically, with overwhelming outrage and condemnation, we are told that the Presidency denied knowledge of the action. But the Vice-President told us that the President knew of the action on Saturday night for everything that has been prepared for Monday morning. Haba VP, it doesn’t happen that way. Nobody should take such measure against any of the four in hierarchy below the President or any of his ministers without his knowledge and indeed his approval. But if that can happen to the Chief Justice of the Federation, the fifth man in the hierarchy of government, without the knowledge let alone the approval of the President, then it speaks for the type of government we have which means the President is not in charge let alone being in control and no Nigerian must take anything for granted. We are all unsafe and insecure under such an administration. And enough of it! Buhari’s apologists will not stop at anything to try to cover up his administration’s inadequate performance and character. A constitutional liberal democracy cannot thrive without an independent and insulated judiciary from the executive and the legislature.
Nigerians must wake up and stop these acts of wanton desperation tantamount to mental incapacity to run the affairs of Nigeria wholesomely.
Life and living are anchored on trust. But if I trust you and you deceive, cheat or disappoint me the first time, it is shame on you. However, if I allow you to do so the same thing for me the second time, I do not only have myself to blame, I must be regarded as a compound fool.
Buhari has succeeded in deceiving us the first time and we will be fools to allow ourselves to be deceived the second time. Buba Galadima, who knows Buhari very well as a confidant and National Secretary of Congress for Progressive Change, CPC, the Buhari’s party before it joined in forming All Progressives Congress, APC, has warned us this time around that no matter what he promises, he cannot change his character and attitude. He describes him as inflexible, insincere, dubious, intolerant, never accepts responsibility when things go wrong and impervious to reason and advice for change. If you cannot change your mind, you cannot change anything is the assertion of George Bernard Shaw.
Even when figures, facts and statistics are made clear to Buhari, he keeps repeating what is untrue, either because he cannot understand or for mischief purposes and that places him on the level of a pathological liar. He believes he can get away with impunity and deceit as he seems to have done on many occasions in the past. Buba Galadima’s position is well complemented by Dr. Auwalu Anwar on the APC, CPC, TBO and Buhari’s character and attitude in his yet to be launched book, “Politics As Dashed Hopes in Nigeria”. It is also a stunning revelation. Anwar clearly pointed out, “the brazen display of incompetence, insensitivity and irresponsiveness by delusional party, CPC, leadership at all levels”.
Buhari was the leader of the party. Bola Tinubu’s statement about Muhammadu Buhari in 2003 is fairly prophetic, “Muhammadu Buhari is an agent of destabilisation, ethnic bigot and religious fanatic who, if given the chance, would ensure the disintegration of the country. His ethnocentrism would jeopardise Nigeria’s national unity.”
Junaid Mohammed was eloquent on the issue of nepotism. But if as we were told that Buhari is nepotic because he does not trust others, why should others trust him to continue to put their fate and life in his hand.
Trust begets trust. They cannot be trusted for ‘sensitive’ appointment but they can be sent out to campaign for his re-election. Who is fooling who?
What is happening under Buhari’s watch can be likened to what we witnessed under Gen. Sani Abacha in many ways. When Abacha decided that he must install himself as Nigerian President by all means and at all costs, he went for broke and surrounded himself with hatchet men who on his order and in his interest and at high costs to Nigeria and Nigerians maimed, tortured and killed for Abacha. Buhari has started on the same path in mad desperation.
From available intelligence, we have heard of how Buhari and his party are going about his own self-succession project. They have started recruiting collation officers who are already awarding results based on their projects to actualise the perpetuation agenda in which the people will not matter and the votes will not count. It is the sole reason he has blatantly refused to sign the revised Electoral Reform Bill into law.
His henchmen are working round the clock in cahoots with security and election officials to perfect their plan by computing results right from the ward to local government, state and national levels to allot him what will look like a landslide victory irrespective of the true situation for a candidate who might have carried out by proxy presidential debate and campaigns.
The current plan is to drape the pre-determined results with a toga of credibility. It is also planned that violence of unimaginable proportion will be unleashed in high voting population areas across the country to precipitate re-run elections and where he will be returned duly elected after concentration of security officials as it happened in Osun State. We are monitoring them and we call on all democrats across the world to keep an eye on the unfolding anti-democratic agenda of President Muhammadu Buhari.
This is the time for preventive measures to be taken otherwise Nigeria may be presented with a fait accompli with impunity and total disregard of all pleas.
His scheme bears eloquent testimony to this road similar to Abacha whom he has praised to high heavens and as an arch-supporter and beneficiary from Abacha, he has seen nothing wrong done by him. It is clear from all indications that Buhari is putting into practice the lessons he learned from Abacha. Buhari has intimidated and harassed the private sector, attacked the National Assembly and now unconstitutionally and recklessly attacked and intimidated the Judiciary to cow them to submission.
I was a victim of Abacha’s atrocities against Nigeria and Nigerians – high and low. At the height of Abacha’s desperation for perpetual power, he did not brook any criticism because Nigeria was seen as his personal property. You must go along with him or be destroyed. All institutions for ensuring security, welfare and well-being of Nigeria and Nigerians particularly the Police, the Military and the Department of State Services (DSS) were abused and misused to deal with critics of Abacha and non-conformists with Abacha.
Today, another Abacha Era is here. The security institutions are being misused to fight all critics and opponents of Buhari and to derail our fledgling democracy. EFCC, Police and Code of Conduct Tribunal are also being equally misused to deal with those Buhari sees as enemies for criticising him or as those who may not do his bidding in manipulating election results. Criticism, choice and being different are inherent trade mark of democracy. If democracy is derailed or aborted, anarchy and authoritarianism will automatically follow.
Today, as in the day of Abacha, Nigerians must rise up and do what they did in the time of Abacha. Churches and Mosques prayed. International community stood by us Nigerians. I was a beneficiary and my life was saved. Well-meaning Nigerians took appropriate actions and made sacrifices, some supreme, some less than supreme but God had the final say and He took the ultimate action.
God of Nigeria is a living God and a prayer-answering God. Nigerians must cry out to God to deliver Nigeria. Here again, I have been threatened with arrest and extermination but I will not succumb to intimidation or threats. Maybe I should remind those who are using probe as a threat that I have been probed four times by EFCC, ICPC, House of Representatives and the Senate and Buhari has access to reports of these probes. But I have also challenged Buhari and the criminals around him to set up a probe on the same allegations and I will face such probe in public. But I know that these criminals cannot withstand a Police inquiry let alone clinical probe on the past public offices they held. My fervent prayer is that President Buhari may live to see the will and purpose of God for Nigeria.
My final appeal to him is to desist from evil with manipulation and desperation because evil has repercussion especially as man who should watch and be mindful of his self-acclaimed and packaged integrity.
At the end of the day, those who goad you on will leave you in the lurch. You will be left alone, naked and unheralded. In defeat, which must be Buhari’s fear leading to desperation, he and his co-travellers can still maintain modicum of decency, and exhibit fear of God in their actions. We have been told that governance has been abdicated to a cabal. Now, campaigning has been abdicated to ‘jagaban’. And it is being authoritatively stated that he would not join any presidential debate. Nigerians will not allow the elections to be abdicated to INEC and Police to give us false and manipulated results. I personally commend the President for yielding to popular outcry to let the former Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Kpotun Idris, go when he is due as he had the track record and history of being assigned to rig elections for the incumbent. It was alleged that he was sent to Kano for that purpose in 2015. He was already deploying his Commissioners of Police on similar mission before his exit. We must all encourage the new Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, to tread the path of professionalism, even-handedness, respect and new image for the Police.
While Nigeria must appreciate Buhari for the little he has done and allow him to depart for home in peace if he allows free, fair, peaceful and credible elections, we must also tell ourselves that Nigeria deserves better at this point in time than what Buhari is capable of offering. History will note that he has been there. Nigeria now needs a man with better physical and mental soundness, with an active mind and intellect.
Let me say again that Nigeria belongs to all Nigerians and exists for the benefit of all Nigerians and non-Nigerians who desire to live or do business in and with Nigeria. The attitude of “it is my turn and I can do what I like” with impunity will not last because Nigeria is created by God and it will outlive all evil machinations and designs against the overall interest of Nigeria.
Before I conclude, let me assert that the security situation has deteriorated with kidnapping everywhere and Boko Haram more in action and nobody should deceive Nigerians about this.
With the teaming up of Boko Haram and Islamic State’s West Africa Province (ISWAP), Boko Haram is stronger today militarily than they have ever been. Boko Haram has also been empowered by the Nigerian government through payment of ransom of millions of dollars which each administration disingenuously always denies. With ISIS being liquidated in Iraq and Syria, Africa is now their port of concentration. Soon, they may take over Libya which, with substantial resources, is almost a totally failed state. When that happens, all African countries North of Congo River will be unsafe with serious security problems. The struggle must be for all West African, Central African, North African and most East African States. Nigeria has to play a vanguard role in this struggle as we have much to lose. This administration has reached the end of its wit even in handling all security issues, but particularly Boko Haram issue, partly due to misuse of security apparatus and poor equipment, deployment, coordination and cooperation.
Finally, those Nigerians that are being intimidated or threatened by this Administration must trust in God and stand firm. Tough times do not last forever, but tough people invariably survive tough times. This is a tough time for almost all Nigerians in different respects, but the people’s will shall triumph. All people who have registered to vote with their PVCs must never allow anybody or anything to deny or deprive them of the right of performing their fundamental civic duty of voting and sustaining democracy. Establishment of democracy and its sustenance is second to attainment of independence in our political life, leaving out the victory of the civil war. We shall overcome.

INEC releases seven-step Voting Procedure

INEC releases 7-step Voting Procedure

By Omeiza Ajayi

ABUJA: The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has outlined a seven step voting procedure for next month’s general elections.

The procedure, which was posted on its website, lists the steps as follows and they are not substantially different from those used in recently conducted elections.

The steps as stated by INEC are:

Step 1:

Upon arrival at the polling unit, join the queue and present yourself to the INEC official (APO111) at the polling unit who will determine whether you are at the correct polling unit and check if the photograph on the Permanent Voter Card (PVC) matches your face. If satisfied, he/she will direct you to the next INEC official (APO1).

Step 2:
The official (APO1) will request for your PVC to confirm that your card is genuine and your details, using the smart card reader. He/she will ask you to place your finger on the card reader to confirm that the PVC belongs to you by ascertaining, the card reader will contains the name, photograph and finger prints of all those registered in their polling unit.

Step 3:
You will then meet the next official (APO11) who will request for your PVC to confirm that your name and details are in the voters register. Your name will be ticked and your PVC returned to you. He/ she will then apply indelible ink to the cuticle of your appropriate finger for that election to show you have been accredited to vote. (If your name is not found on the register, you will not be allowed to vote).

Step 4:
The presiding officer (PO) stamps, signs and endorses the date at the back of the Ballot Paper. The PO will roll the ballot paper inwardly with the printed side inwards and give to you. He /she will then direct you to the voting cubicle where you vote in secret.

Step 5:
You will stain your appropriate finger for the election with the ink provided then use your stained finger to mark the space or box provided on the ballot paper for your preferred candidate/party. Roll the marked ballot paper (in the manner the PO gave to
you).

Step 6:
Then leave the voting cubicle and drop the ballot paper in the ballot box in full view of people at the polling unit.

Step 7:
You will then leave the polling unit or wait if you so choose in an orderly and peaceful manner to work the process up to declaration of result.

N.B. The result of each polling unit shall be pasted at the unit and for everyone to see.

Lagos, Kano have highest voters as INEC releases voters’ figure

Lagos, Kano have highest voters as INEC releases voters’ figure

2019: Lagos, Kano top list of registered voters

Lois Ugbede
The voter register presented by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to party leaders on Monday showed that Lagos and Kano States have the highest number of registered voters with 6.5 million and 5.4 million respectively.

Bayelsa and Ekiti States have the least number of voters with 923,181 and 909,967 respectively.

The total number of registered voters stands at 84 million, 15 million more than the figure in 2015 which stood at 68 million.

In 2015, Lagos and Kano States also had the highest registered voters with 5.8 million and 4.9 million respectively.

At the regional level, INEC figures show that North West currently has the highest number of registered voters, with 20 million voters constituting 24 per cent of the total.

It is followed by the South West, which has 16 million voters, constituting 19.39 per cent.

Other regions include: South-South with 12 million, South East- 10 million, North-East- 11 million and North-Central- 13million registered voters.

Under age distribution, the document shows that youth between the ages of 18 and 35 years constitute the highest with 51.11 per cent, which is 42,938,458 voters.

Those between 36 and 50 years closely follow, constituting 29.97 per cent, which is 25,176,144.

Those between 51 and 70 years constitute 15.22 per cent, with 3,100,971 voters; while over 70 years constitute 3.69 per cent.

Below is the breakdown of voters by states:
Abia 1,932,892

Adamawa 1,973,083

Akwa Ibom 2,119,727

Anambra 2,447,996

Bauchi 2,462,843

Bayelsa 923,182

Benue 2,480,131

Borno 2,315,956

Cross River 1,527,289

Delta 2,845,274

Ebonyi 1,459,933

Edo 2,210,534

Ekiti 909,967

Enugu 1,944,016

FCT 1,344,856

Gombe 1,394,393

Imo 2,272,293

Jigawa 2,111,106

Kaduna 3,932,492

Kano 5,457,747

Katsina 3,230,230

Kebbi 1,806,231

Kogi 1,646,350

Kwara 1,406,457

Lagos 6.570,291

Nasarawa 1,617,786

Niger 2,390,035

Ogun-2,375,003

Ondo-1,822,346

Osun 1,680,498

Oyo 2,934,107

Plateau 2,480,455

Rivers 3,215,273

Sokoto 1,903,166

Taraba 1,777,105

Yobe 1,365,913

Zamfara 1,717,128