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Delimitation Of Constituencies Impossible Without Accurate Data, Says INEC Boss



Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, has said that the delimitation of constituencies cannot take place without accurate population data.

Speaking during a courtesy visit by top officials of the National Population Commission (NPC), led by their Chairman, Alhaji Nasir Isa Kwarra to the INEC headquarters in Abuja at the weekend, Prof Yakubu explained that while it was the Commission’s responsibility to review the division of the States into Senatorial Districts, Federal and State Constituencies as well as Wards in the Area Councils of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), the absence of accurate population data had been partly responsible for its inability to delimit constituencies in Nigeria since 1996.

According to him, INEC has the mandate to undertake the activity at an interval of not less than 10 years,when States are created through an Act of the National Assembly or when a population census is conducted. He noted that the NPC is required to, among others, periodically undertake the enumeration of Nigeriansthrough census and provide information and data on the country’s population to facilitate national planning and economic development.

His words: I am glad to report that over the years, the two Commissions have embarked on one of the most imaginative and extensive inter-agency collaborations in Nigeria in the area of delimitation of boundaries of electoral constituencies. Over the years, the two Commissions undertook a joint project to demarcate the boundaries of INEC’s Registration Area/Wards (RAs) with NPC’s Enumeration Areas (EAs). This initiative is known as the RA/EAD Project.”

He continued: “The idea is to enable INEC to easily delimit and periodically review Electoral Constituencies based on NPC’s figures whenever there is a new population census. This cannot be achieved without accurate population data. This is partly why no constituencies have been delimited in Nigeria since the last exercise was carried out 25 years ago in 1996 by the defunct National Electoral Commission of Nigeria (NECON). Working together with the Population Commission, we are determined to make a difference this time around, just as we solved the problem of voter access to Polling Units in Nigeria. We have already prepared and produced a Discussion Paper on Electoral Constituencies in Nigeria, looking at the issues more broadly, including the imperative of a new population census. We will share copies of the Paper with the NPC at this meeting”.

Prof. Yakubu observed that so far, both Commissions have jointly covered 261 LGAs within the framework of the RA/EAD, while the NPC has covered more LGAs. “Going forward, we are finalising a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) which will be signed very soon,” he said. “In the MoU, we have clearly defined the scope and duration of our collaboration as well as the responsibilities of the two Commissions. I want to reassure the NPC that we shall continue to strengthen our existing collaborations.”

The INEC Chairman also told the visitors that the Commission had been periodically cleaning up the National Register of Voters. However, he said INEC was interested in how the NPC could provide it with data to enhance the register’s credibility further.

His words: “Of immediate interest to INEC is how the NPC can provide data that will assist us in further enhancing the credibility of the National Register of Voters. We are happy that today, INEC has the largest biometric register of citizens in Nigeria, complete with photographs and fingerprint information for voter authentication. We have also introduced facial biometric authentication of voters, successfully piloted in the recent bye-election in Isoko South 1 State Constituency in Delta State.

Hon. Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu (right) presents the Commission’s Paper on “Electoral Constituencies in Nigeria” to the Chairman, National Population Commission (NPC), Alhaji Nasir Isa Kwarra, during the latter’s courtesy visit to the Commission on Friday 24th September 2021. PHOTO: TAIWO MAKANJUOLA
“To make the voters’ register more robust, we have been periodically cleaning it up by removing ineligible persons or multiple registrants from it using a combination of technology, i.e. the Automatic Biometric Identification System (ABIS) and information provided by citizens during the display of the register for claims and objections as required by law. However, we need to do more. At present, technology cannot help us identify and remove dead persons from the voters’ register.”

Prof. Yakubu appealed to the NPC Chairman to use his capacity as the registrar of births and deaths in Nigeria to periodically avail INEC of the data of deceased Nigerians to enable the Commission to use the information to clean up the voters’ register further.

He said, “Perhaps you may wish to start by availing us with the list of prominent Nigerians who have passed on, civil and public servants compiled from the official records of Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies and other Nigerians from hospital and funeral records across the country. We appreciate that this is a Herculean task, but that is partly why we have a National Population Commission. We are confident that NPC has the capacity to do so. This information is critical for INEC to enhance the credibility of the National Register of Voters.”

Speaking earlier, Alhaji Kwara said the team’s visit was in continuation of NPC’s engagements with sister agencies performing similar functions and to appraise INEC of the developments taking place.

He said the NPC had been unable to conduct a national census for over 16 years but recently got the President’s nod to conduct one. He said the NPC had been working towards the objective by demarcating the entire landscape.

He averred: “We started in 2014, and by October (2021) ending, we will complete the demarcation of all the local government areas in the country.” He acknowledged the joint operations between INEC and NPC, which he described as successful. He also revealed that the NPC had established a national framework for conducting the next census and continuous registration of births and deaths. He hinted that the next census might take place in 2022. He commended the INEC Chairman and staff of the Commission for deepening democracy by providing Nigerians with efficient electoral services.

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2023: ‘He’s Our Familiar Customer’, Festus Keyamo Reacts To Atiku’s Emergence As PDP Flagbearer



….Northern Solidarity Gave Atiku Victory, Says Omokri

Festus Keyamo, Nigeria’s Minister of State for Labour and Employment, has congratulated Atiku Abubakar on his victory at the presidential primary of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, on Saturday.

Keyamo said he welcomes a ‘familiar customer’ to the 2023 presidential race.

The minister said this on his Twitter page.

Keyamo wrote: “Congratulations to Atiku on his emergence as the candidate of @OfficialPDPNig for the 2023 Presidential election.

“Unlike in 2019, we face different permutations and different circumstances for the general elections this time around. We welcome this familiar ‘customer’ to the race.”

Atiku polled a total of 371 votes to defeat his closest rival, Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State who garnered 237 votes.

Details of the votes scored by other aspirants are as follows: Bukola Saraki – 70, Udom Emmanuel- 38, Bala Mohammed -20, Pius Anyim- 14, Sam Ohabunwa -1, and Olivia Tariela- 1.

In the same, a socio-political activist, Reno Omokri has attributed the victory of former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar at the just concluded Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, presidential primary elections to “Northern solidarity”.

According to a post on his verified Facebook page, Reno explained that Atiku emerged winner of the presidential election following the decision of Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State to step down for the former Vice President.

Wike had supported the presidential ambition of Governor Tambuwal in the 2019 presidential election against Atiku.

Reno stated that the South needs to learn from the North on how to play such politics.

He wrote, “The South has a lot to learn from the genuine brotherly love and unity displayed by Northerners.

“Consider that though Wike backed Tambuwal against HE Atiku in 2019, the same Tambuwal has turned around to back HE Atiku against Wike in 2022. Northern solidarity! It is something that the South lacks.

“Tambuwal has shown that Northern solidarity is thicker and stronger than financial solidarity”.

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Akeredolu’s Wife Quits Imo East Senatorial Race Over “Intimidation”



Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu, the first lady of Ondo State and an APC senatorial candidate for Imo East, has revealed that she has withdrawn from the race.

According to her, the move became imperative following alleged intimidation meted out on her, as well as her supporters.

She announced her decision to quit the race in a statement entitled, “Notice of withdrawal from Senate race”, which she issued in the early hours of Sunday.

In a viral video on Saturday, the First Lady had cried out over plots to shut her out of the process, adding that she approached Governor Hope Uzodinma over the situation.

According to Akeredolu, information at her disposal revealed that arrangements had been concluded by some “high authorities within the party” to pick a particular aspirant.

“I must, at this juncture, appreciate Ada Owere team, all my friends and supporters who stood by me during this period. Special thanks to the delegates who believed in me but were denied the opportunity to express their support,” she said.

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APC Is Fractured Beyond Redemption, Says Obono-Obla



Former special assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on prosecution, Chief Okoi Obono-Obla has asserted that the ruling party in Cross River State, the All Progressives Congress, APC, has been fractured beyond redemption.

He also stated that the party had completely deviated from the ideals of the founding fathers.

In a public statement, Obono-Obla, who lost out during the Cross River central senatorial APC primaries yesterday, said that the powers that be were at a crossroads on what to do with him and had devised crude and inferior methods to edge him out.

The APC primary election for the Cross River Central Senatorial ticket for next year’s general election was won by the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Eteng Williams, who polled 152 votes.

He was followed by former chairman of Nigeria Ports Authority, Akin Rickets with 109 votes, while Obono Obla got 19 votes and Mary Ekpere got 35 Votes.

“The APC has completely deviated from the philosophy of its founding fathers. Let us see how the anointed aspirants will deliver the Party in Cross River State. As it stands, the Party is fractured beyond redemption,” he said.

Recall that there were allegations of doctored delegate lists to favour the “anointed aspirant“.

Obono-Obla said, “Every politically informed person was aware that a particular aspirant was the favorite of the powers that be. The brandishing of the name of one particular aspirant as the favored one weeks before the election amounts to intimidation.

“The potentate makes sure that you must have his endorsement before you can aspire to become a candidate.

“Aspirants that did not have the endorsement of the potentate, had sorts of obstacles thrown along their paths. I was the target from day one.”

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