We Sue INEC If They Doesn’t Investigate ‘Vote Buying By APC, PDP’ Within 14 DAYS-SERAP

SScreen-Shot-2018-07-14-at-10.19.04-e1531560009356hi ocio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has given the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) 14 days to “promptly, thoroughly and effectively investigate allegations of vote buying by both the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) during last Saturday’s governorship election in Ekiti State”.

In an open letter to Professor Mahmood Yakubu, Chairman of INEC, the organization said if this is not done, it would institute legal proceedings to compel Yakubu and INEC to discharge their “constitutional and statutory responsibilities in the public interest”.

SERAP also urged INEC to collaborate with the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in any such investigation.

It implored INEC to “prosecute anyone suspected to be involved and/or complicit in the alleged vote-buying, if there is relevant and sufficient admissible evidence of electoral bribery and abuse of the electoral and democratic process against them”.

In the open letter, dated July 17 and signed by its Adetokunbo Mumuni, its Executive Director, SERAP said: “It is the responsibility of INEC as an independent body to take meaningful steps and action to minimise electoral bribery by politicians, ensure political equality and prevent unfair electoral competition. No body politic worthy of being called a democracy entrusts the selection of leaders to a process of auction or barter.

“Vote buying amounts to undue influence and improper electoral influence. When politicians buy votes, they reinforce social subjugation and do long-term damage to poor voters, as vote buying impairs voters’ already limited political power and participation in governance. Offering and giving poor people money to buy their votes is the hallmark of political disrespect, as it implies that politicians perceive voters as lacking autonomy.”

The letter, copied to both the ICPC and the EFCC, read in part: “Investigating the allegations and prosecuting all those suspected to be involved would indicate your agencies’ willingness to exert your authorities and act as a deterrent against breaches of the electoral process, Nigeria’s anti-corruption legislation and international standards.

“SERAP therefore urges you to carry out investigation and prosecution of vote buying in Ekiti election but also in the elections in Anambra State, Edo State and Ondo State, in collaboration with the ICPC and EFCC of the allegations of vote buying, as highlighted above, and to send a strong message to politicians that INEC under your leadership would not tolerate any infringement of the electoral process ahead of the 2019 general election.

“Turnout of poor voters may decrease if they view a wealth-driven electoral system increasingly stacked against their interests. It is inconsistent and incompatible with the principles of democracy, the rule of law, transparency and accountability for politicians to use vote buying to perpetuate systems of regular patronage, knowing that such acts would purchase them sympathy and support, especially from socially and economically vulnerable communities.

“Vote buying amounts to undue interference in the free exercise of the right to vote, as it implicitly aims at influencing or attempting to influence a voter not to vote or to vote in a particular manner. Specifically, the alleged giving of N3,000 or N5,000 to voters during the Ekiti election or payment into the bank accounts of voters is corruptly intended, and clearly aimed to influence their choice of candidates and voting intention. This practice seriously undermines the right of voters to freely vote according to their convictions.”

“Further, vote buying gives wealthy politicians an advantage in election campaigns and outcome greater than what they already possess, and it biases political decisions in favor of the wealthy. Our democracy cannot be sustainable when the electoral system inordinately prioritises the rights of political parties and their candidates in elections over and above those of the ordinary voter.”

“When politicians buy votes from the poor, political equality will suffer. If voters choose candidates for public office at least in part based on the voters’ economic interests, and these economic interests vary depending upon one’s wealth, candidates chosen in elections where the wealthy buy the votes of the poor more likely will reflect the views of the wealthy. Thus, economic disparities will translate into political disparities in the election of candidates.”

“According to reports, agents of the APC and the PDP allegedly openly engaged in vote buying in some polling units during Ekiti Governorship election. Many voters were videoed moving in numbers to ‘cash collection points’ in lieu of their votes. Others received credit alerts on their mobile phones.”

“We consider allegations of vote buying as political corruption, because it is the promising or giving of value in the form of money, in return for a promise of a vote.  We are concerned that the failure of INEC to rein in electoral bribery is illustrated by the fact that the body has failed and/or neglected to investigate and prosecute similar incidents of vote buying in places like Edo State; Anambra State and Ondo State.”

“SERAP is seriously concerned that vote buying undermines the ability of INEC to discharge its responsibilities under Section 153 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and paragraph 15(a) of the third schedule of the Constitution, the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) and under the UN Convention against Corruption to which Nigeria is a state party.”

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Breaking News :Rotimi Amaechi Receives Blueprint Award

The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi on Tuesday received Blueprint Newspapers award for his contribution to the rail development and building of the first monorail system in Sub-Sahara Africa.

Amaechi received the award at the maiden edition of Blueprint Impact Series/Awards with the theme: “Tolerance, Unity and Security: Building a Legacy for National Development held in Abuja.

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According to the citation, Amaechi is a shining star in his current appointment as the minister of transportation. “The ministry has set to work to bring extensive changes to the country’s transportation framework; the nation’s railway network has received attention under this administration. “It has now become a beacon of hope for both highly placed and common Nigerians. As a former Governor of Rivers, Amaechi built the first monorail system in Sub-Sahara Africa.’’ Receiving the award, Amaechi urged Nigerians to vote All Progressives Congress (APC) in the next general elections. Speaking with newsmen in an interview after receiving the award, Amaechi appreciated the Blueprint Management for recognising his contributions to national development. The minister, however, said that the award would inspire the recipients to do more in their various fields.

rotimi-amaechi“I am grateful to blueprint, the management and the board, the award is to task us further to do our best in our various assignments and fields. “ Among other dignitaries that received awards were Gov. Ibrahim Dankwambo of Gombe, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Godwin Emefiele and Senator Shehu Sani representing Kaduna Central.

ANA

Buhari Designates Banire, Tukur AMCON, FCSC chairpersons

In a letter to the Senate, President Buhari also sought the approval of the appointment of Bello Tukur as Chairman of the Federal Civil Service Commission (FCSC).

buhari-usaBuhari also nominated 12 other commissioners into the FCSC. The letter reads thus:

“Dear distinguished Senate President, “Constitution of the governing board of the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) “In compliance with section 10(1) of the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) Act 2010, it is my pleasure, to forward, for confirmation by the senate, the name of Mr Banire Muiz Adeyemi as chairman of the governing board of the Asset Management Cooperation of Nigeria. His CV is hereby, attached.

“It is my hope that the distinguished senate will consider and confirm the nominee in the usual expedious manner.

“Please accept, distinguished Senate president, the assurances of my highest consideration” and; “Dear distinguished Senate President, “Request for confirmation of appointment of the Chairman and twelve commissioners for the Federal Civil Service Commission.

“In compliance with the provision of section 154(1) of the constitution of the federal republic if Nigeria 1999 as amended, I write to request the confirmation by the senate, the appointment of the following nominnes as Chairman and commissioners in the Federal Civil Service Commission.

Their CVs are attached herewith.

Dr Bello Tukur – Chairman (Katsina, New Appointment)

Moses Musa – Commissioner (Adamawa, New Appointment)

Waziri Umaru – Commissioner (Borno, New Appointmennt)

Ahmed Bello Mahmud – Commissioner (Jigawa, New Appointment)

Arc. Ahmed M. Sama – Commissioner (Kebbi, New Appointment)

Princess Iyabode Odulate Yusuf – Commissioner (Ogun, New Appointment)

Shehu Umar Danyaya – Commissioner (Niger, New Appointment)

Fatai Adebayo Lafaye – Commissioneer (Oyo, New Appointment)

Chief Michael Chukwuemeka – Commissioner (Anambra, New Appointment)

Joe P. Philip – Commissioner (Rivers, New Appointment)

Alhaji Ibrahim Muhammed – Commissioner (Kaduna, Renewal of Appointment)

Prof. Aminu Saidu – Commissioner, (Kogi, Renewal of Appointment)

Simon Etim – Commissioner (Akwa Ibom, Renewal of Appointment)

“It is my hope that the distinguished senate will consider and confirm the nominees in the usual expedious manner. “Please accept, Me Senate president, the assurances of my highest consideration.”

President Muhammadu Buhari’s 18 Special Keynote Address at International Criminal Court at Netherland

Keynote Address Delivered By His Excellency Muhammadu Buhari, President Of The Federal Republic Of Nigeria, On The Occasion Of The 20Th Anniversary Celebration Of The International Criminal Court, The Hague, Netherlands.

1.am honoured to be with you here today to celebrate the anniversary of this vital global institution. I say “vital” because the world needs the ICC.

2. Let me start by congratulating you, Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji, on your election as President of the International Criminal Court, and also thank the judges of the Court for electing you, a cherished son of Nigeria. Nigeria is very proud of you, Mr. President.

3. Let me also express my gratitude to the International Criminal Court for inviting me to speak on this occasion.

4. As we know, the International Criminal Court was established twenty years ago as a global court, inspired by the Nuremberg trials of World War II war criminals, to hold people accountable for crimes against humanity, war crimes, crimes of genocide and aggression.

5. In addition to preventing impunity, promoting adherence and respect for the rule of law and fundamental freedoms worldwide and to punishing those in leadership positions responsible for the most appalling crimes and atrocities, the ICC has given hope for justice to so many, by demanding strict adherence to the rules of international humanitarian law.

6. With the alarming proliferation of the most serious crimes around the world, the ICC, and all that it stands for, is now needed more than ever, in ways that were unforeseeable to its founders. The ICC may have been created at a time of optimism that it would not need to be utilized frequently, but, unfortunately, the increase in international crimes has only increased the Court’s relevance.

7. Indeed, while limits on the ICC’s jurisdiction mean that it cannot presently act with regard to some of the dire crises of the day in states that are not parties, by acting where it can, the ICC reinforces the demand for justice far beyond its own cases.

8. A strong and effective ICC has the potential to send a powerful message about the international community’s commitment to accountability, a message that will be heard by both victims and perpetrators. Equally, a strong and effective ICC demonstrates the international community’s commitment to the rule of law.

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9. A strong and effective ICC can also act as a catalyst for other justice efforts, expanding the reach of accountability. These could include serious cases of corruption by state actors that severely compromise the development efforts of countries and throw citizens into greater poverty. These could also include cases of illicit financial flows where countries are complicit and obstruct repatriation of stolen assets. As the African Union Champion on Anti-corruption, these are issues dear to my heart.

10. The Rome Statute created more than a court; it created the outline for a system of justice for horrific crimes rooted first in national courts doing their job, and where they fail to do so, the ICC stepping in only as “the court of the last resort”

11. The ICC also needs increased cooperation and financial resources from its member states. State parties should express their commitment to increasing efforts in these areas, including pledging concrete assistance.

12. The twenty years of the Court’s existence have witnessed several challenges, some of which had threatened the very existence of the Court itself. Most notable were the withdrawals and threats of withdrawals of membership of the Court by some States, as well as accusations of bias in the exercise of the jurisdiction of the Court. Thankfully, the Court has addressed these challenges in a dignified and commendable way.

13. Nonetheless, the Court needs to take on board all constructive criticisms and allay lingering fears and concern through targeted messaging, awareness raising and possible modification of some legal provisions. If properly articulated, communication and awareness raising would surely engender trust and encourage greater cooperation of Member States with the Court and even encourage non – Member States to decide to become Members. It must avoid even a hint of bias or political motivations.

14. The goals and responsibilities of the Court are no doubt very challenging and daunting but with the cooperation of all, coupled with the high calibre of Judges and staff of the Court, the challenges are not insurmountable. I, therefore, urge all States not to politicize the decisions of the Court but to always bear in mind the rationale for the establishment of the Court in the first place.

15. I urge all States that have not yet done so to, as a matter of deliberate State policy, accede to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court so that it can become a universal treaty.

16. Nigeria has cooperated with, and supported the Court at all times. This, we have demonstrated by our full and transparent cooperation on matters on which we are being investigated and also in our several Country statements at the sessions of the Court. Our cooperation with the Court is borne out of our strong belief in the respect for the rule of law and human rights, and in our firm commitment to the sanctity of fundamental freedoms at international and domestic levels, as ingrained in the objectives for establishing the Court.

17. In conclusion, let me intimate you that Nigeria is preparing to conduct general elections in 2019. Contrary to the tragic incidents that characterized the 2011 general elections in Nigeria which necessitated preliminary investigations by the International Criminal Court, I assure you that all hands are on deck to prevent any recurrence of such tragic incidents. We shall do everything possible to ensure that Nigeria witnesses the conduct of free, fair and peaceful elections in 2019.

18. Again, I congratulate the Court on its 20th Anniversary and wish it continued growth, relevance and success in the years to come in its vital role as a bulwark against man’s inhumanity to man. Thank you for your attention.

The leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has moved to prevent Samuel Ortom, Governor of Benue State, from leaving the party

The leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has moved to prevent Samuel Ortom, Governor of Benue State, from leaving the partyGov.-Ortom.

On Monday, Ortom announced his departure from the APC, saying he had been red-carded out of the ruling party and was now standing outside the football pitch “as a free man”.

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“As for party, I have been given red card and I’m outside the pitch. So, if I have been given red card and I’m standing outside, I’m a free man,” he said.

“So I don’t know what will happen next but I’m waiting. If others approach me, then I will tell the Benue people that I’m joining another football club. I’m a child of destiny and it’s only God that will decide what I will be.”

It has now emerged that Lawal Shu’aibu, Deputy National Chairman (North) of the APC, reached out to Ortom as well as George Akume, a former Benue Governor — the two men involved in the tussle for the state leadership of the party — for an “urgent meeting” in Abuja.

Earlier on Monday, Adams Oshiomhole, National Chairman of the party, had refused to accept that Ortom had indeed left the party, saying it was all “rumours”.

“This party will not comment on the basis of rumours and I am sure eventually we will find out the fact of the matter and based on those facts we would act,” Oshiomhole ha said.

“I know that Governor Ortom is a prominent member of the party. He has said repeatedly to me one on one that he will not leave the APC unless he was pushed out.

“I have since assumed the chairmanship of this party along with my brothers and sisters in the National Working Committee and I know that we have not shut out any Governor, certainly not Governor Ortom. So in these days of social media, I will not want to make comment on unverified report.”

INEC DARE PROF KOLAPO OLUSOLA DECISION TO TO COURT

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has dared Prof. Kolapo Olusola-Eleka, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate in last Saturday’s Ekiti governorship election, to challenge the result in court

All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, Kayode Fayemi, won the election.

However, Olusola-Eleka’s boss, Governor Ayodele Fayose, faulted the outcome of the poll and described Fayiemi’s victory as temporary, adding that it would be upturned at the tribunal.

INEC has now insisted that the result of the election was a reflection of the will of the people.

The agency’s Director of Voter Education and Publicity, Mr. Wole Osaze-Uzzi, said: “INEC welcomes the decision of Prof. Eleka to go to the tribunal on the outcome of the governorship election. That is the proper thing to do.

“Legal process is a better resort than making inciting statements and engaging in media trial. We welcome judicial intervention on disputes arising from the election. Just like in the case of Edo State, it is left to Eleka to prove his case before the tribunal.”

Osaze-Uzzi rated the outcome of the election as “good and a fair reflection of the will of the people of Ekiti State. Even international and local observers rated the conduct of the poll as good.

“We have been receiving preliminary reports from the accredited Civil Society Organisations (CSOs). Most of those in the so-called Coalition of Civil Society Groups were not accredited for the poll by IN

EC.

“The materials and logistics were on spot and accreditation of voters started as and when due in more than 92 per cent of the polling units.”

President Muhammadu Buhari, on Monday sympathized to the death of several Nigerians owing to flood in his home state, Katsina, and other parts of the country

buhari-usaIn a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, the President pledged the Federal Government’s support for the victims of the disaster.

Buhari said he had been saddened to observe the devastation and loss of lives caused by flood in Katsina State and other parts of the federation.

He said he had accordingly directed the National Emergency Management Agency to do everything possible to bring succour to the victims wherever they were.

“As rescue and prevention efforts continue, let me express the sincere condolences of my family, the government and people of Nigeria to all the victims of the destruction by the floods.

“Let me assure you that we stand ready to provide, within available resources, every assistance that is needed to bring comfort to those in distress,” the President said.