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2023 General Elections: INEC Announces New Dates

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INEC Chairman Prof Mahmood Yakubu
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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), this weekend announced new dates for the 2023 General Elections.

The Chairman of the commission, Professor Mahmood Yakubu made the announcement at a news conference in Abuja.

According to him, the Presidential and National Assembly elections will now hold on Saturday, February 25, 2023, while governorship and state houses of assembly elections will hold on March 11, 2023.

Yakubu explained that the new date is to allow for conformity with the provisions of the Electoral laws which stipulates that elections notice be published at least 260 days before the elections.

The INEC  Chairman also said the Electoral guidelines will also be published in due course.

From the adjusted electoral timetable distributed to journalists, all political parties are expected to conduct party primaries and resolve all disputes arising from the primaries between April 4 to June 3, 2022.

The submission of nomination forms by political parties is scheduled as follows:

Presidential and National Assembly: 10th June to 17th June 2022

Governorship and state assemblies: 1st July to 15th July 2022

For Record, below is the full statement by the INEC Chairman

STATEMENT AT A PRESS CONFERENCE BY THE HONOURABLE CHAIRMAN OF THE INDEPENDENT NATIONAL ELECTORAL COMMISSION (INEC), PROFESSOR MAHMOOD YAKUBU, ON THE RELEASE OF THE TIMETABLE AND SCHEDULE OF ACTlVITIES FOR THE 2023 GENERAL ELECTION HELD AT THE CONFERENCE ROOM, INEC HEADQUARTERS, ABUJA, ON SATURDAY 26TH FEBRUARY 2022

Ladies and Gentlemen of the Press.
1.​ As you are aware, yesterday, Friday 25th February 2022, the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria signed the Electoral Bill 2022 into law.

This is historic being the fourth time since the restoration of democracy in Nigeria in May 1999 that the Electoral Act was repealed and re-enacted.

The 1998 – 1999 elections were administered by transitional decrees until the 2001 Electoral Act was passed into law.

Then, the Act was repealed and re-enacted as the Electoral Act 2002 which was in turn repealed and re-enacted in 2006, 2010 and now we have the 2022 Electoral Act.

2.​ You may recall that in 2017, the Commission decided to establish fixed dates for General Elections in Nigeria.

This decision was based on our determination to create certainty in the electoral calendar and to enable all stakeholders in the electoral process (the electoral commission, political parties and candidates, security agencies, observers, the media etc.) to prepare adequately for elections.

By that decision, Presidential and National Assembly elections shall hold on the third Saturday of the month of February of each General Election year, while Governorship and State Houses of Assembly elections shall follow two weeks later.

Consequently, the 2023 General Election was scheduled to commence on 18th February 2023 with the Presidential and National Assembly elections, followed by the Governorship and State Houses of Assembly elections on the 4th of March 2023.

However, the Commission could not release the detailed Timetable and Schedule of Activities for the General Election, as it normally would, because of the pending enactment of the Electoral Act 2022. The Bill has now been signed into law.

3.​ Therefore, the Electoral Act 2022, together with the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), form the legal basis for conducting all elections in Nigeria.

In particular, the Electoral Act provides strict timelines for the implementation of electoral activities based on the date of the General Election.

One of the significant timelines is the publication of Notice of Election not later than 360 days before the day appointed for holding an election which has now lapsed for the 2023 General Election.

4.​ Consequently, the Commission has decided to adjust the dates of the 2023 General Election to ensure compliance with the provisions of the new law.

Accordingly, the Presidential and National Assembly elections will now hold on Saturday 25th February 2023 while the Governorship and State Houses of Assembly elections will hold two weeks later on Saturday 11th March 2023.

With this adjustment, the 2023 General Election is now 363 days away.

5.​ Under the law, there are critical timebound activities from the publication of Notice of Election to the Conduct of Polls which form the Timetable and Schedule of Activities for elections.

Some of the critical activities and their dates of implementation are as follows:

i. Publication of Notice of Election – Monday 28th February 2022.

ii. Conduct of party primaries, including the resolution of disputes arising from them – Monday 4th April 2022 to Friday 3rd June 2022.

iii. Submission of nomination forms to INEC via the online portal for Presidential and National Assembly election – 9.00am on Friday 10th June 2022 to 6.00pm on Friday 17th June 2022.

iv. Submission of nomination forms to INEC via the online nomination portal for Governorship and State Assembly elections – 9.00am on Friday 1st July 2022 to 6.00pm on Friday 15th July 2022.

v. Commencement of Campaign by political parties for Presidential and National Assembly election – Wednesday 28th September 2022.

vi. Commencement of Campaign by political parties for Governorship and State Assembly elections – Wednesday 12th October 2022.

vii. Last day of campaign by political parties for Presidential and National Assembly elections – midnight on Thursday 23rd February 2023.

viii. Last day of campaign by political parties for Governorship and State Assembly elections – midnight on Thursday 9th March 2023.

6.​ The detailed Timetable and Schedule of Activities for the 2023 General Election will be circulated to the media at the end of this briefing.

Soft copies will also be uploaded to the Commission’s website and social media platforms immediately.

In addition, the Notice of Election will be published in our offices in all the States of the Federation as required by law on Monday 28th February 2022.

7.​ With the coming into force of the Electoral Act 2022, the Commission will work assiduously to conclude and publish new Regulations and Guidelines for the Conduct of Elections that are consistent with the Act.

These Regulations and Guidelines as well as Manuals issued by the Commission are all part of the legal regulatory framework for elections.

Their timely publication will enable all stakeholders in the electoral process to become conversant with their provisions as they prepare for the 2023 General Election.

8.​ On this note, I wish to remind stakeholders, especially the political parties, of their responsibility to adhere strictly to the timelines in this Timetable and Schedule of Activities, as well as all other timelines established by the Commission. It is necessary that all political parties comply with the extant legal framework, ensure proper organisation and management of party primaries and the nomination of qualified candidates in order to prevent unnecessary litigations and rancour.

9.​ I thank you for attending this conference and God bless.

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Bauchi Blasphemy: We ‘ll not accept this brutal way of murder – CAN

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Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN)
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Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria ( CAN) in Kaduna State, Rev.Joseph John Hayab has raised concern over the allegation of blasphemy in Bauchi, saying the challenge now is for Government authorities and security agencies to act fast to address abuse of the constitution before it leads to a more serious conflict that can not be handled.

He said in a statement on Saturday, that allegations of blasphemy have now become the new excuse by fundamentalists in Northern Nigeria to kill the remnant that bandits and terrorists have not yet killed.

“How can you justify the period of what happened in Sokoto, the allegation in Borno, the fake allegation on Babachir Lawal by one northern actor who we have on record how he made blasphemous remarks about
Jesus Christ but quickly went and brought it down on the internet to cover himself before coming out to falsely accused  Babachir Lawal the former SGF and today we are seeing another carnage in Bauchi under the excuse of blasphemy, “He said.

“We know and have evidence of how some of these allegations of blasphemy are false and just for blackmail or settling scores with perceived enemies or well-mannered young girls who have refused sexual advances by the opposite sex from another religion.”

“We are also aware of how fanatics have in the past raised lies in the name of blasphemy.”

“CAN wonder if the recent sermons we are getting from some Islamic clerics on what the Holy Quran says about what should be done if anyone is accused of blasphemy is unpopular amongst followers?”

“The challenge now is for Government authorities and security agencies to act fast to address this abuse of our constitution before it leads to a more serious conflict that can not be handled.”

“Nigeria Christians most especially those of Northern extraction have for ages exhibited tolerance despite many provocations and lack of reciprocation of our love and friendship but these new tactics for killing our people from any and every accusation of blasphemy are unacceptable to CAN and all Christian faithful.

We will not accept this brutal way of murder and inhuman treatment of our followers to continue.”

“Government and security agencies should come out to enforce the law on every murderer hiding under religion.

We will also wish to appeal to Christian leaders and parents to guide their children to resist any ungodly provocation that will make them says things that blood-thisty fundamentalist can easily use to kill them.”

“CAN is appealing to religious leaders from both religious divides to intensify teachings about the evil of taking the laws into one hand and killing another person for whatever reason.

Allege offenders should be reported to security agencies or taken to any competent court of law for judiciary pronouncement.
Nigeria is not a banana republic but a nation we believe should be governed by the rule of law,” he said.

 

 

 

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Oyetola bags Vanguard 2021 ‘Governor of The Year Award’ for Good Governance 

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Osun State Governor Adegboyega Oyetola
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says ‘award is a challenge to impact more on humanity
In recognition of his achievements and outstanding performance in office, Governor Adegboyega Oyetola of Osun, on Friday night, received yet another award, as he was crowned the Vanguard Newspapers’ Governor of The Year 2021 for Good Governance.
He received the award at a colourful event tagged ‘Vanguard Personality of the Year 2021 Award’ which held at the Eko Hotel and Suites, Lagos.
Recall that Oyetola had in the recent past won the Business Day Best Governor of the Year award, Blueprint Newspaper Governor of the Year, DAAR Communications Outstanding Leader in Governance, Nigerian NewsDirect 2021 Best Governor of the Year and Man of the Year award, among others.
The governor described his latest award as a challenge to impact more on humanity just as he dedicated it to the people of Osun for giving him the opportunity to prove that governance can be done better with utmost fear of God and for the sake of humanity.
According to the management of the Vanguard Newspapers, the choice of Governor Oyetola for the Good Governance award was basically on empirical facts and indisputable statistics on the geometric transformation that Osun and her people had witnessed under his watch since assumption of office.
It explained that the philosophy of the award is to recognise and celebrate excellence, national pride and service to humanity.
“Since assumption of office you have delivered the dividends of democracy without loans. It is on record that you have prudently managed available resources while your Administration has kept faith with the people and maintained fidelity with your electoral promises.
“We also noted the crisis in the education sector and how brilliantly the Governor has resolved it. One other thing we have seen is the character of Mr. Governor: no crisis, no rancour. In fact, we have seen the highest level of decorum in governance.
“Generally, this nomination for the award of Governor of the Year for Good Governance is actually an encouragement award on how the Governor has raised the pedestal of governance for the people of Osun and beyond,” the award organisers added.
Speaking shortly after receiving the award, Governor Oyetola thanked the management of the Vanguard Newspaper for recognising the modest achievements his administration had made to transform Osun. He dedicated the award to the people of the State for giving him the opportunity to serve them.
Oyetola said: “I am highly elated to accept this award of Governor of the Year for Good Governance by one of the nation’s frontline and integrity-savvy newspapers. This a reward for hardwork and I accept it wholeheartedly.
“Ordinarily, good governance in itself answers to unblemished demonstrable service to the people and its factors for service are economic buoyancy, transparent and inclusive governance, equitable service delivery and political will; and all are seemingly mutually inclusive.
“However, achieving good governance and winning nomination in a depressed economy in a country where some of the competitors are way richer than us, makes our story somewhat different.
“We came in when no one gave us a chance. We inherited a financially challenged State and one that could not pay its bills. We were however resolved to make a difference. And the difference we have so far made through prudent management of resources, including plugging waste and cutting costs.
“Through creative and innovative alternative project funding, we have built and rehabilitated roads that had been abandoned for three decades or more.
“Our service distribution is anchored on quality and equitable service delivery. From infrastructure to health and education, security to welfare, projects and service have been equitably distributed to all the wards in the nine Federal Constituencies and three Senatorial Districts of the State.
“In these three and a half years that we have been in the saddle, we have proved as a government that good governance and service delivery is possible in a depressed economy; that we can execute projects without borrowing; that we can look inward to pay salaries.
“We have spent over three and a half years in government building a solid foundation for a sustainable economy. The remaining years shall be spent to build bricks that will deliver a strong and prosperous Osun and a happy and productive people. This is our mission in government. This is the least we owe our people.
“I, therefore, dedicate this award to our people wherever they are, for giving us the opportunity to prove that governance can be done better with utmost fear of God and for the sake of humanity.
“To the staff and management of Vanguard Newspapers, we thank you for recognising our modest achievements as we continue to keep our eyes on the ball. We appreciate you for giving us this award to encourage us to do more”.
Earlier in his remarks, the Chairman of the occasion and former Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Obong Victor Attah, lauded the leadership of the newspaper for promoting excellence, hard-work, competence, integrity and character through it daily reportorial and yearly award of excellence.
Attah also charged Oyetola and other awardees to continue to be the source of inspiration and perfect examples for those behind.
Other award recipients are: Ogun State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun; Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki; Nasarawa State Governor, Alhaji Abdullahi Sule; Gombe State Governor, Muhammed Inuwa Yahaya, foremost Legal Luminary, Aare Afe Babalola among others.
Governor Oyetola was accompanied to the event by his wife, Mrs. Kafayat, his children, Speaker, Osun House of Assembly, Hon. Timothy Owoeye, Secretary to the State Government, SSG, Prince Wole Oyebamiji, Chief of Staff, Dr. Charles Akinola, Finance Commissioner, Bola Oyebamiji, Information Commissioner, Mrs. Funke Egbemode, former member of House of Representatives, Hon. Ayo Omidiran and other friends and well-wishers.
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LAGOS EXPLAINS OKADA CLAMPDOWN

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Lagos State Government has described the ongoing enforcement of restrictions on the operations of commercial motorcycles, popularly called okada, in certain parts of the State as a necessary step to curb their indiscipline, save lives and improve security.

Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Gbenga Omotoso, spoke on Channels TV Sunrise Daily about the new enforcement order given by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu and the backlash recorded in a part of the State.

According to Omotoso, the resurgence of Okada operations and acts of indiscipline being exhibited by riders have become a serious source of concern as many people have lost their limbs and lives through Okada accidents.

His words: “Our doctors are complaining that more and more people are coming with Okada-related emergency. About 1,712 accidents have been recorded in Lagos in the first quarter of this year. Out of this figure, about 45 percent; to be precise, 767 of the accidents were caused by Okada. And it is shocking to know that about 54 percent of the victims are between the ages of 30 and 39. These are our able-bodied young people who are getting cut down like that all because they mounted okada.”

Attributing the high fatality rate of riders and passengers to plying about 500 highways, major roads and bridges, which the Road Traffic Law prohibited, Omotoso affirmed that Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s order was to reinforce the law and give the riders an opportunity to move out and find some other things to do.

He said: “There is a Law that lists all the routes commercial motorcycles are restricted from plying. The Law is still there; it has not been repealed. So, the enforcement is not new and it is going to continue as the June 1st deadline stands.”

Describing as unfortunate the insecurity in some parts of the country that has forced many people to migrate to Lagos to make ends meet by riding Okada, the Commissioner explained that the development led to complaints from residents who have expressed their rejection of okada.

“Lagosians are worried about the mystery of Okada; they don’t know where they come from; the riders are unknown; they don’t even have number plates. They don’t come for LASRRA registration, so we can’t account for them,” he said.

Speaking further, the Commissioner described the approach to the renewed enforcement as well planned and strategic because the State expected the kind of backlash the exercise has generated, but assured all that it was an experience the law enforcement agents were used to.

On possible increase in crime rate, following the enforcement, Omotoso said “everything the law enforcement agencies need in terms of equipment, welfare and encouragement would be provided for them to step up enforcement and security of lives and property.”

The Commissioner expressed the determination of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu to ensure full enforcement and allayed fears that the government would want to go back because of politics.

He said: “Mr. Governor is a man of integrity; he is a man of his words. He is going to ensure that whatever it takes to enforce the law will be done. We have been encouraged by Lagosians who have seen the danger and who feel that moving with Okada from one place to another because it is very fast cannot be compared to the security threat they pose. The goal is to have a Lagos without motorcycles because there is no megacity in the world that you go to and find this kind of mode of transportation.

“It is also preposterous for anybody to say for our votes come and mess up Lagos. No, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the Governor, is not going to do that. This is the last time we are going to have this as the bikes are being crushed to show people that we are very serious, and communicate to those bringing them in, that enough is enough.”

Omotoso advised okada riders to look for something else to do as there are so many opportunities in Lagos for anyone who wants to stay in Lagos and wants to be law-abiding.

“You should go and collect your LASRRA card and be an official resident of Lagos and find something to do. Artisans who left their jobs to ride Okada should find a reason now to go back to their jobs,” he said.

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