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W/African countries want INEC’s election monitoring tool — Yakubu

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INEC Logo and Chairman
INEC Chairman Prof Mahmood Yakubu
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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says  many countries in West African have shown interest in studying and adopting its innovative tool on election monitoring and support system for their use.

INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, disclosed this on Friday at the opening of a two- day retreat on ”the Optimisation of the Election Monitoring And Support Centre (EMSC) operational structure” held in Keffi, Nasarawa.

Yakubu said that the EMSC had become a vital tool in the monitoring, implementation and management of Nigeria’s electoral plans and activities.

He said when his led-commission was first inaugurated in November 2015, its resolve was to consolidate on the gains of the last commission (2010-2015) in building systems for the continuous and effective management of the electoral process.

Yakubu said the goals were not only to address the challenges encountered during the 2011 and 2015 general elections.

He said it was also to develop proactive and knowledge-driven systems that would address those challenges in 2019, as well as continue to support the commission’s efforts in the planning, conduct and management of elections.

”The continuous search for innovative and better systems for the management of our electoral process crystalised into the 2017-2021 Strategic Plan (SP)/Strategic Programme of Action (SPA), the 2019 Election Project Plan (EPP), as well as the EMSC.

”Consequently, the commission has, over the years, continuously expanded the frontiers of electoral management and governance by introducing innovations and knowledge-driven systems. The EMSC is one of such innovations.

”As an electoral early-warning, monitoring, implementation and management tool, the EMSC, relying on field offices and personnel across the 36 states and the FCT, alerts the commission to the challenges, identifies electoral risks/threats and provides real-time information on the status of an election.

”In doing so, the EMSC makes available to the commission the necessary information in making real-time interventions to avert or mitigate potential risks or threats to an election,” he stated.

Yakubu added that in the build-up to the 2019 general election, it became increasingly clear to INEC that a coordinated early warning, monitoring and implementation system was necessary.

This, according to him, was to track hundreds of inter-related electoral activities in the Election Project Plan for the 2019 general election.

He said that accordingly, INEC accepted the recommendations of the 2019 Election Project Plan Committee (EPPC) to integrate the three monitoring mechanisms of the commission into a single unit called the EMSC.

He listed the three monitoring mechanisms as the Election Management System (EMS),  Electoral Risk Management (ERM) and Election Operations Support Centre (EOSC).

”The EMSC has greatly helped the commission in managing the electoral process.

”As a testimony to its robustness as an election management tool, many countries in the West African Region and beyond have shown interest in studying and adopting the system for their use.

”The Ethiopian and Malawi Electoral Commissions are already considering the deployment of some aspects of the tool in the management of their elections.

”The EMSC may well be another contribution of INEC (and indeed Nigeria) to election management in the world,” he noted.

Yakubu said that pioneers and INEC needed to keep pushing the frontiers of the system, fortifying its strengths, addressing its challenges and expanding its reach, in the conduct and management of elections.

”Having deployed it for the 2019 general election, the commission has certainly seen its advantages as well as its challenges.

”The advantages need to be strengthened and improved upon while resolving the anticipated challenges before the 2023 general election, which is just 560 days away,” he said.

The INEC boss further  noted that the retreat was therefore crucial to the EMSC and the commission.

He urged participants to work round the clock during the period of the retreat, suggest novel ways of tweaking the EMSC, addressing its challenges and formulating comprehensive policy guidelines for its operation.

”It must be repositioned to discharge its most primary responsibilities of providing early warning, identifying threats/risks, monitoring the implementation of election activities.

“(It must) reposition in ensuring real-time and accurate information to the commission on all field-related activities that have a direct bearing on elections,” he stated.

Mr Hamza Fassi-Fihr, Project Coordinator, European Centre for Election Support (ECES), said monitoring of processes was integral to the success of any system and a commitment toward ensuring accountability and transparency.

Fassi-Fihri, who represented Dr Isiaka Yahaya, ECES Senior Electoral Administration Expert, commended INEC’s effort at ensuring effective electoral management and promotion of electoral integrity through the innovative tool.

”It is clear that the EMSC has come to stay as an indispensable and integral part of Nigeria’s electoral system and a process to be exported across EMBS in the African region and beyond,” he said.

On his part, Ahmed Mu’azu, National Commissioner and Chairman Planning, Monitoring and Strategy Committee (PMSC), said the retreat was critical as INEC prepared for the 2023 general elections.

Mu’azu said that the EMSC had been key to the process adding that that it was the reason it had remained in the fore burner for INEC,  since it had become a strategic implementation framework in the electoral process.

Also Prof. Ikechukwu Ibeanu, INEC National Commissioner, and Chairman Electoral Operations and Logistics Committee (EOLC), described EMSC as an important aspect of INEC commitment to the use of technology to deepen electoral process in Nigeria.

He said the adoption of technology had helped in tracking and ensuring compliance in the electoral processes.

Ibeanu noted that it had  also helped in improving efficiency, as well as reduced negative human interference in the electoral process.

INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner, in Nasarawa Uthman Ajidagba said the retreat was timely and apt as the commission prepared for the 2023 general elections. (NAN)

 

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APC primary: No cause for alarm – Oyetola’s aide

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Osun State Governor Adegboyega Oyetola
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Expresses confidence that Appeal court will set it aside

The Chief Press Secretary to Osun Governor, Adegboyega Oyetola, Ismail Omipidan, has appealed to supporters of the governor to remain calm in the face of the decision of a Federal High Court to nullify his candidature in the July 16 Governorship poll.

He noted that their team of lawyers would be challenging the decision at the Appeal Court, just as he expressed confidence that the decision would be set aside.

Omipidan further noted that the case was instituted by the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in spite of the fact there is a plethora of decisions flowing from the apex court that frowns upon such a decision.

He said that, for the records, the position of the law is that only members of the APC who participated in the primary election can approach the court to challenge the nomination of Oyetola as the candidate of the party.

“All these are part of the antics of the opposition PDP and some of their collaborators from within to distract us. But like every of their plans, this too has fallen flat on their faces.

“They want to distract us from the Tribunal case. But we shall remain focused until we take back our mandate. We have confidence in the Tribunal to do justice in the case before it, just as we have implicit confidence in the Appeal Court to set aside this latest decision of the Federal High Court,” Omipidan said.

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Nigeria @ 62: Southern Senators To Houses of Assembly, Speed up Review of Constitution Amendment

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Senator Michael Opeyemi Bamidele
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The Southern Senators’ Forum has asked the State Houses of Assembly across the nation to expedite action on the Review of the 1999 Constitution as transmitted to them by the National Assembly, adding that this would be an Independence anniversary gift to Nigerians if done as such.

The Chairman of the Forum , Senator Opeyemi Bamidele, made this known in a statement issued on the occasion of the commemoration of the 62nd Independence anniversary. Bamidele said he is optimistic that most of the challenges facing the nation will be a thing of the past if the salient report becomes law.

Bamidele also urged Nigerians to be optimistic about the future of the nation, notwithstanding the enormity of our current challenges, adding that there is yet light at the end of the tunnel if we have faith in God and take the much needed steps.

He pointed out that just like the political office holders and public servants in general, every citizen has a role to play in the nation building process and with determination, faith and persistence, Nigerians will surely witness a new Nigeria which is headed for growth and development and that is devoid of violence, hostilities, and acrimony.

The statement reads, ” As we celebrate 62nd Independence anniversary of our great nation, I will like to implore the State Houses of Assembly across the Federation to expedite action on the passage of the Review of the 1999 Constitution as transmitted to them by the National Assembly, because some of the problems facing the people of Nigeria are already being addressed in the amendment draft transmitted to the State Houses Assembly.

” The speedy passage of the amendment will serve as the most cherished and memorable anniversary gift you can give to the electorates who reposed confidence in you by voting you as their representatives in the Houses Assembly.

” We must also know that the process of nation building is a collective responsibility of both the leaders and followers in order for us to have the nation of our desire and Nigerians should continue to hope for greater future and with determination, faith and persistence, Nigerians will surely see a nation devoid of banditry, terrorism, kidnapping, ethnic hostilities and acrimony.

” Nigerians should not succumb their future in the hands of the pessimists who are always craving for negative news in the country, but put their trust in God, for He will surely see us through our challenges as a nation”.

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Senator Opeyemi Bamidele Bags National Honour

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Senator Micheal Opeyemi Bamidele
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President Muhammadu Buhari has approved conferment of national honour on the Senator representing Ekiti Central, in the the current Ninth National Assembly, Senator Micheal Opeyemi Bamidele.

The National Honours ceremony is billed for October 11, 2022 in Abuja

This was disclosed in a statement released by Senator Bamidele’s media office , stating that the Chairman Senate Committee on Judiciary is listed among the recipients of the 2022 National Honour Award of the Commander of the Order of the Niger (CON).

The letter conveyed the award was signed by the Minister of Special Duties and Inter-government Affairs, Senator George Akume signed on September 16, 2022.

The letter from the Minister reads, ““I have the honour to formally inform you that the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, His Excellency, Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, has approved the conferment of the National Honours on you, in the rank of CON, Commander of the Order of the Niger.

“The ceremony is scheduled to take place at the International Conference Centre, Abuja on Tuesday, October 11, 2022 at 9am.”

Bamidele is the Chairman of Southern , Senator Forum, and was in House of Representatives between June 2011 to June 2015). He served as Honorable Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Lagos State (July 2007 to February 2011), Honourable Commissioner for Youths, Sports and Social Development, Lagos State (July 2003 to May 2007, Special Adviser to the Governor on Political and Inter-Governmental Affairs, Lagos State (July 2000 to May 2003).

Bamidele obtained law degree in the University of Benun and graduated from the Nigerian Law School, he was called to the bar in 1992. He then proceeded to Franklin Pierce University where he received a master’s degree in law and was called to the New York Bar in January 1999.

Among the bills sponsored by Senator Opeyemi Bamidele is a bill for the Establishment of the Federal University of Medical and Environmental sciences in Ekiti. Also, his Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) Establishment Act Amendment Bill of 2021, seeking to strengthen and extend the life of AMCON, has already been assented to by President Buhari.

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