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Senate passes electoral offences commission, offenders risk 20-yr jail term

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The Senate on Tuesday approved up to 20-year jail term for anybody convicted of snatching a ballot box during an election.

The Upper Chamber also okayed a fine of at least N10million or both for any officer or executives of any association or political party that engages in electoral fraud.

The Senate approved at least 15-imprisonment for any person who conveys voters to and from the poll and three- year imprisonment for any employee who directly or indirectly exerts undue influence on a voter in his employ.

It also approved three -year and not more than five- year imprisonment for any person who provide false information in any material particular to a public officer.

It also approved at least 10-year imprisonment or at least N20 million fine or both for any person who uses hate speech to stir up ethnic, religious or racial hatred, social or political insecurity or violence against anyone or group of persons.

Also, any candidate or agent who damages or snatches ballot boxes, ballot papers or election materials before, during and after an election without the permission of election official in charge of the polling station attracts at least 20- year imprisonment or a fine of at least N40 million.

Read Also; Media anti-bill campaign a blackmail, says Senate spokesman
These resolutions of the Upper Chamber, among others, were contained in a Bill, which seeks to establish the “Electoral Offences Commission and for other related matters, 2021,” passed by the Upper Chamber at plenary.

The passage of the bill followed the consideration of the report of the Committee on Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The Upper Chamber adopted the Committee’s recommendation of 15- year imprisonment for any person involved ballot box snatching, supplying voter’s card to persons without due authority, unauthorized printing of voters’ register, illegal printing of ballot paper or electoral document, and importation of any device or mechanism by which ballot paper or results of elections may be extracted, affected or manipulated, and voting at an election when he is not entitled to vote.

The Senate in Clause 12 of the Bill approved at least five years imprisonment or a fine of at least N10million or both, for any officer or executives of any association or political party that engages in electoral fraud that contravenes the provisions of clauses 221, 225(1)(2)(3) and (4) and 227 of the 1999 Constitution as amended.

It also approved 10 years imprisonment for any person who sells voter’s card, or in possession of any voter’s card bearing the name of another person, or prepares and prints a document or paper purporting to be a register of voters or a voter’s card.

The Senate also okayed a term of at least 10- year upon conviction for any election official who “willfully prevents any person from voting at the polling station, willfully rejects or refuses to count any ballot paper validly cast, willfully counts any ballot paper not validly cast, gives false evidence or withholds evidence, and announces or declares a false result at an election.”

The Upper Chamber in Clause 20(2) approved at least 15- year imprisonment for any judicial officer or officer of a court or tribunal who corruptly perverts electoral justice, during or after an election.

It also prescribed at least 15- year jail term or N30 million fine for any security personnel or election official engaged by the Independent National Electoral Commission or State Electoral Commission who attempts to influence the outcome of an election.

In addition, any person found to disturb the public peace on “Election Day” by playing musical instruments, singing or holding an Assembly where a polling station is located shall be guilty of breaching electoral peace and liable to six months imprisonment or a fine of at least N100, 000 or both.

Also, any person acting for himself or on behalf of any organisation or political party or candidate or his agent with the intention of prejudicing the result of an election, damage or defame, in any manner, the character of any candidate in an election or his family member by making, saying, printing, airing or publishing in the print or electronic media false accusation on any matter shall be guilty of serious corrupt practice and liable on conviction to a term of at least 10 years or a fine of N10million or both.

Any person soliciting or giving votes for or against any political party or candidate at an election, or found to affix campaign materials on any private house, public buildings or structures, or prints posters and banners without the name and address of the political party to which the candidate or person belongs contravenes sub-clause (1) to (5) and guilty of an offence and liable to at least five years or a fine of at least N10million, or both.

The National Electoral Offences Commission Bill, 2021, prohibits any campaign against national interest.

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Kaduna LG Polls: APC floors PDP, Secures 15 chairmanship seats

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The All Progressives Congress (APC) has won the majority of the chairmanship and councillorship seats in the local government council elections held in Kaduna State on Saturday.

The ruling party won 15 of the 17 chairmanship seats whose results have so far been declared, while the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) won the other two.

The polls were postponed in four of the state’s 23 local government areas to September 25 over security concerns.

An initial sensation was recorded when the PDP won in Governor Nasir El-Rufai’s Unguwan Sarki polling unit in Kaduna North LGA.

However, the APC rallied to win the chairmanship and most of the councillorship seats in the council.

The APC also won in the home councils of top PDP chieftains, including of former Vice President Namadi Sambo and former Governor Ahmed Makarfi.

The deputy governor of the state, Hadiza Balarabe, also delivered Sanga Local Government in the PDP-leaning southern senatorial district to the APC.

The PDP picked its two chairmanship seats in Jana and Kaura local government areas.

The elections in Kachia Local government council was declared inconclusive by the returning officer, Haruna Ahmadu.

Postponed polls

The elections will hold in three weeks time in Birnin Gwari, Chikun, Zangon Kataf, and Kajuru LGAs following the postponement for security reasons.

See result as announced by returning officers for each local government council.

Kaura

The returning officer, Katoh Ishaya, announced the PDP candidate, Matthias Siman, as winner of the chairmanship election having polled 19,511 to defeat Adamu Donatus of the APC who polled 10,941 votes.

PDP also won nine out of the 10 councillor seats while APC won one seat.

Kagarko

The returning office, Musa Makarfi, announced that the APC candidate, Nasara Rabo, polled 20,558 to defeat the PDP candidate, Caleb Pius, who polled 14,494 votes

Kubau

Dayyabu Mohammed, the returning officer, declared Bashir Zuntu of the APC as winner of the election. He polled 23,973 votes to defeat Isah-Rabiu Imam of the PDP, who polled 9, 038 votes and Isah Yunusa of the SD who scored 530 votes.

Kudan

Returning officer Haruna Abdu declared Shuaibu Jaja of the APC as winner of the chairmanship seat, having scored 18,129 votes.

Ibrahim-Shehu Doka of the PDP recorded 16,123 votes and Umar Taba of the Labour Party 1,844 votes.

Lere

Abubakar Buba of the APC was declared winner of the chairmanship seat with 36,389 votes, defeating Dalhat Abu-Dadda’i of the PDP who got 24,294 votes.

Zaria

Idris Ibrahim of the APC was returned as the winner of the chairmanship seat with 34,006 votes. Yusuf Sambo of the PDP polled 14,019 votes.

Soba

Mohammed Usman of APC was declared winner after scoring 32,405 votes to defeat his closest rival, Abdu Bello of PDP, who scored 13,777 votes.

Sanga

Bisallah Malam of the APC was returned as winner of the chairmanship election with 21,854 votes. The PDP candidate scored 12,832 votes.

Jema’a

Yunana Barde of APC took the chairmanship seat with 24,251 votes, narrowly defeating the incumbent chairman and PDP candidate, Peter Averik, who polled 23,215 votes.

The returning officer, Dr. Sunday Ibrahim, announced the results.

Giwa

The ÀPC candidate, Abubakar Lawal, won the chairmanship seat with 22,896 votes His PDP rival, Awwal Kaya, scored 3,534 votes. Returning officer Godwin Ayuba also said the APC won all the 11 councillorship seats.

Kaduna North

Mukhtar Baloni of the APC emerged winner with 16,545 votes. Adamu Dattijo of the PDP scored 15,472 votes. But PDP won 6 out of the 11 councilor seats to APC’s 5 seats.

Makarfi

The returning officer, Garba Salisu declared the incumbent chairman, Kabir Mayare of APC, winner with16, 328 votes. Abubakar Makarfi of PDP scored 14,739 votes.

Igabi

Jabir Khamis of the APC is the winner of the chairmanship seat. He scored 29,804 votes to defeat PDP’s Ibrahim Yusha’u who scored 10,865 votes.

But the PDP chairmanin the area, Dan Azumi Maganda, said the PDP will challenge the result in court.

Jaba

Peter Omale, the Returning Officer, declared Philip Gwada of the PDP winner having recorded 9,012 votes to defeat the APC candidate, Benjamin Jock, who polled 5,640 votes.

PDP also won 8 of the 10 councillorship seats.

Kaduna South

The incumbent chairman, Abubakar Jarimi of the APC polled 7, 879to votes to defeat the PDP candidate who scored 4,765 votes.

Sabon Gari

Mohammed Usman of APC was declared winner by the returning officer, Abubakar-Mohammed Sadiq. Mr Usman scored 32,405 votes to defeat Abdu Bello of the PDP who had 13,777 votes.

Ikara

The APC candidate, Ibrahim Sadiq, scored 18, 974 votes to beat his PDP opponent who scored 13,416 votes.

Kachia

The chairmanship election in Kachia local government area was declared inconclusive. The returning officer said cancelled and uncast votes were over 13,000, more than the recorded votes.

According to the result announced, Allison Chitta of the PDP scored 24,482 votes to Aaron Bako of the APC’s 23,270 votes.

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2023: Only the best, popular candidate will emerge in Akwa Ibom – Iniama

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A stakeholder in the Akwa Ibom State politics, Mr James Iniama, has stated that the state would expect nothing but only the best and popular governorship candidate in 2023.

Iniama, in an interview with Journalists in Uyo over the weekend, noted the clamour by different groups for the Governor of Akwa Ibom State Governor, Mr Udom Emmanuel, to name his successor and said that the delay by the governor in announcing his prefered candidate could result in the imposition of unpopular candidate on the state.

He warned that the state would not tolerate any imposition without a level playing ground for aspirants to test popularity.

“I want to assure you that Akwa Ibom will get the best among the best, there is no anointed yet. The Governor cannot have a successor until elections are held. There will be an electoral process that would be published by INEC which will be followed,” he said.

Iniama recalled that the political build-up of the past regime was marred with fear, violence and hounding of a perceived political opponent.

“I support this movement, in fact, I am an apostle of peace. Whatever you are doing in life, you have to cohabit peacefully.

“I have been one of the Nigerians who have suffered grave injustice, I have been hunted and hounded in this state just because I was seeking for governorship and an opponent to a certain candidate. You were in this state and knew how unsafe the state was at that time.

“In 2007 many people left this state, many left for Cross River, I returned to the United States. The state is now safe, well, I support the movement but I don’t know if it is the vehicle for the governor’s succession plan but peace is a necessity.

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Secondus denies working against Southern Nigeria

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The embattled National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Uche Secondus, has denied the allegation that he is working against the interest Southern Nigeria.

Secondus stated this in a statement issued by his media adviser, Ike Abonyi, in Abuja on Friday.

It noted “the Media Office of Secondus will continue to respond to even laughable talks because of the danger of allowing disinformation to enter public space unchallenged.”

It stated that one of such piece of false information being dished out was the allegation from the Rivers State Chairman of PDP, Desmond Akawor, that Secondus was working against Southern interest and that he had not paid his dues to the party.

“We understand the frustration of the anti-Secondus crusaders who have become evidence shopaholics in their desperation to find points with which to achieve their ignoble goals.

“The Media Office sees their effort as a case of bad marketer selling a product, who puts in several efforts to convince buyers to no avail.

“Our response is that there is no truth in all the allegations and Southern interest will be grossly endangered if it is the likes of Akawor and his clique that are pushing it,” the statement said.

The office said that critical members of PDP, including discerning members of the public knew as a fact that “no one person, no matter his position, could determine singularly the position of offices in the party”.

“The Media Office will, however, continue to urge members of the public and the media to be wary of compulsive shoppers whose agenda is mainly to distract and destroy this party and remove its focus from retuning to power in 2023 as being yearned by Nigerians,” the statement said.

(NAN)

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