Go To Court, It’s Late To Bring Fresh Amendments To Electoral Act- Gbajabiamila
……Says Govt Can’t Fund Political Parties
The Speaker of the House of Representatives Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila has said that it is too late to bring amendments to the electoral Act
He stated in Abuja that such actions could bring tension on the polity and as well disorganise the electrical time table few months to the general elections in February next year
But alternatively, he urged those which such proposals or intention to go to court to seek redress, just as he said that it was not fashionable for government to fund political parties, because it is an interested party
The speaker argued that it was not fashionable to expect the Federal Government to fund political parties at this critical period of Nigeria’s democratic advancement.
According to him, using government’s money to run the parties was an indirect invitation for it to assume control of the political parties by dictating choices and policies that might be in conflict with the tenets of democracy.
Gbajabiamila, who argued that the international best practice was for parties to be self-funded, added that using government’s money would also lead to the proliferation of political parties.
He said while receiving a delegation of the Inter Party Advisory Council (IPAC) at the National Assembly in Abuja on Wednesday, Gbajabiamila noted that people would simply abuse the process by registering hundreds of political parties in the hope of cashing out on free government money.
He said, “I am not sure how many countries fund their political parties; we will have to do research and to be sure that it’s international best practice…
“Government is an interested party, if it will be providing the funds. That will also mean they can compromise the system.
“There is also proliferation (of parties) that will become a problem if the government begins to fund the parties, since there will be free money.
Gbajabiamila, who also reacted to requests for fresh amendments to the Electoral Act 2022, said it was not advisable to do so a few months before the 2023 general elections.
He explained that making new amendments to the law this period could disorganise election planning, create unnecessary tension in the polity and raise credibility questions.
The Speaker said the safest route would be to further amend the Act after the elections if a need arose, or in the alternative, aggrieved persons could approach the judiciary to seek an interpretation of any contentious provisions.
Gbajabiamila called for patience, urging parties to seize the opportunity of the upcoming polls to fully test the Act and determine the success of innovations such as electronic transmission of results, the deployment of the BIVAS, among others.
He added that upon a successful poll, other innovations such as electronic collation of results and Diaspora voting could also be considered.
The IPAC delegation was led by the body’s National Chairman, Engr. Yabagi Sani, who told the Speaker the purpose of the visit was to seek synergy and a good working relationship between IPAC and the National Assembly.
Among the issues he tabled before Gbajabiamila were the alleged flouting of Section 31 of the Electoral Act by the Independent National Electoral Commission, the funding of political parties, the urgency to establish the Electoral Offences Commission, electronic collation of election results, in addition to the electronic transmission of results, and the call for a change in the process of appointing the chairman of INEC.
For instance, he complained that while the law allowed political parties to replace candidates 90 days to election, INEC opted to shut its portal when the days had yet to elapse, preferring to use its rules and regulations in determining the fate of the political parties and their candidates.
“A lot of people are being disenfranchised because INEC says we can’t substitute anybody even though the 90 days haven’t elapsed.
“Do the INEC rules and regulations supersede the Electoral Act?”, Sani stated.
The IPAC chairman said since it was the legislature that made the Act, the body was reporting INEC to the House so that lawmakers could caution the commission or invite the leadership of the electoral umpire for questioning.
He expressed concern that the issue had led to much litigation against INEC already, saying that if not resolved quickly, some of the cases could cause a setback to the electoral system in the future.
On electronic collation of results, Sani said while it was commendable that the results would be transmitted electronically, the collation would still be done manually, which he feared might be compromised.
ANTI PARTY ACTIVITIES: Esan Central APC, Suspends Nine Leaders, Appoints Bello
Nine Leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Esan Central LGA have been suspended at an extraordinary meeting held this evening at Irrua, the LGA capital.
The suspended leaders include APC State Vice Chairman, Chief Francis Inegbeniki, Esan Central foremost Party Leader, Prince Willy Shaka Momodu, Ward Leader, Hon Abudu Ugbesia, among six others.
The suspended nine APC leaders are alleged to have held a clandestine meeting at a hotel in Eidenu, Irrua on the eve of the House of Assembly election and resolved to work against their party candidate for the House of Assembly election, Hon Victor Edoror. It is alleged that they were induced by the ruling party and their grand conspiracy to disallow Hon Edoror to get into the House and become the Speaker which might scuttle their agenda for Esan governor candidate from Esan Central LGA.
The meeting which was attended enmass by angry members and party executives of the party across the LGA appointed former LGA Councillior, and House of Assembly election aspirant, Hon. Bello Oyaziwolo, as the acting Leader, to oversee the affairs of the party pending the determination of the investigation into the degree of involvement of each of the suspended leader.
Interestingly, the Deputy Leader of the Party in Esan Central LGA and former Vice Chairman of the LGA, Hon Francis Ubene, was exempted from suspension because preliminary investigation revealed that he was in the meeting allegedly called by Chief Inegbeniki, but he refused to agree with their alleged plan to sabotage the election for Hon Edoror because according to him “I have forgiven him and if I have forgiven him, I cannot work against him or the party”.
Speaking with Hon Bello, after the appointment, the new LGA Leader said he was not interested in Leading the party for selfish reasons but would commit himself to helping the party rid itself of betrayals and inept leaders in the LGA and hopefully allow a free process to produce the next LGA Leader.
Delta: Oborevwori’s Victory, A Turning Point, Says Ebireri
Media Consultant, Henry Ebireri, has urged Delta State governor-elect, Rt. Hon Sheriff Oborevwori to embark only on programmes that are genuine, attainable, purposeful, durable and people-oriented.
He also urged him to make a significant impact at improving the lot of the masses.
In a statement in Sapele, the media consultant described the March 18 governorship election in Delta State as ‘’’a turning point, a landmark in the history of the oil rich state’’.
He appealed to Oborevwori to steer Delta State in the needed direction.
‘’There is a very high expectation from the governor-elect by the people. He must direct his energy towards inculcating the spirit of self-reliance among the citizenry through economic and empowerment programmes’’
The media professional listed security, youth and women empowerment, agriculture, health, education, infrastructural development, industrial revolution, cultural and tourism rebirth, communication and sports development as key areas to be addressed by the governor-elect.
The statement underscored the future of Delta youths infrastructure and security challenges.
He urged Oborevwori to be fair to all.
He also urged him to recruit only qualified, competent and meritorious hands to help him develop the oil-rich state.
‘’They should be people of integrity, honesty and trust. The team should comprise only tested, dedicated, loyal, courageous, selfless, focused and visionary men and women’’
Ebireri further commended Governor Ifeanyi Okowa for his immense contribution to the political development of Delta State.
Senator Ovie Omo-Agege Rejects INEC’s Declaration of Oborevwori As Winner of Delta Poll
A while ago, the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Delta State announced Rt. Hon. Sheriff Oborevwori, gubernatorial flagbearer of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as the governor-elect following the March 18 governorship election.
The declaration was made despite the myriad of infractions and acts of impunity on the part of the PDP in the course of the election. These were brought to the attention of INEC with incontrovertible proof.
The March 18 election was characterized by massive fraud, unprecedented vote buying and voter suppression perpetrated by the PDP in the course of the election.
The fraudulent nature of PDP’s so-called victory are just too damning and daring for it to be acceptable in any decent society. Most of those infractions are on the public domain and known to INEC officials and the security agencies involved in superintending the election.
In the February 25 Presidential and National Assembly elections, the results pointed to an unequivocal rejection of the PDP. Of the three senatorial zones in the state, APC won two while PDP controversially edged out the Labour Party in the Delta North Senate race.
It was an unadulterated verdict of Deltans on how they have fared under 24 years of governance of their state by PDP.
On the basis of the factors listed and more that will come later, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, governorship candidate of the APC in Delta State as well as the leadership of the party, unequivocally reject the declaration by INEC of Rt. Hon. Sheriff Oborevwori of the PDP as winner of the March 18 governorship election.
We will challenge this fraudulent result using all legal means.
As a democrat and Deputy President of the Senate, Omo-Agege will explore all lawful avenues to reclaim the mandate freely given to him by the good people of Delta State.
To the numerous supporters of APC and the entire public that share in Omo-Agege’s vision of building a new Delta State, we urge you all to remain calm, peaceful and law abiding.
I can assure all our teeming supporters and all Deltans that the PDP pyrrhic celebration of a stolen mandate will be short-lived.
By the grace of God and the clearly expressed wish of the people, this electoral heist will be reversed and Senator Omo-Agege will be sworn in on May 29, 2023 as the lawfully elected Governor of Delta State.
Chief Press Secretary to the Deputy President of the Senate and Governorship Candidate of APC, Delta State, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege
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