Lagos collapsed building kills pupils

Punch Newspaper Headline (22nd February,2019)

  • INEC chair rejects resignation call, says 72,775,502 PVCs collected

With less than 48 hours to the Presidential and National Assembly elections, the total number of Permanent Voter Cards collected by Nigerians for this year’s elections, presently stands at 72,775,502, the Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, has said.

The breakdown of the figure which was released on Thursday, represented 86.63 per cent of the total PVCs collected.

The commission which had about 84,004,084 registered voters, also said a total of 11,228,582 PVCs representing 13.37 per cent were uncollected.

Yakubu, who stated this in Abuja during the fourth daily press briefing on the preparations for the polls, also ruled out the possibility of resigning his appointment as the INEC chairman.

He said, “The last day for the collection of PVCs was Monday, February 11, 2019, out of the 84,004,084 registered voters, the total number of registered voters stands at 72,775,502, which represents 86 .83 per cent of the PVCs.’’

Yakubu, however, said that a total of 11,228,582 printed PVCs or 13.7 per cent were uncollected.

“Out of this figure 7,817,905 PVCs were carried over from the 2014 to 2016 registration exercise, while 3,410,677 are from the last CVR held between April 2017 and August 2018.

“All uncollected cards have been deposited with the CBN for custody.’’

In 2015, before the commission held the presidential election, 68,833,476 Nigerians were registered, out of which, 56,431,225 collected PVCs.

  • More Nigerians registered for 2019 Elections

The figure represented 81.9 per cent of the registered voters.

However, the figure released by the commission in Abuja on Thursday indicated that more Nigerians would take part in the elections this year.

For example, the figure indicated that 84,004,084 Nigerians were registered for election while 72,775,502 of this number picked their PVCs this year.

This figure also showed an increase of 16,344,272.

The increase cuts across all the 36 states of the federation, and the Federal Capital Territory.

  • Lagos leads with the highest number of collected PVCs

However, the 2019 figure indicated that Lagos has overtaken Kano with the highest number of registered voters with PVCs.

In 2015, while Kano came first with 4,112,039 while Lagos came second with 3,799,274. The reverse is the case with the figure released on Thursday.

The 2019 figure shows that Lagos State now has 5,531,389 voters with their PVCs while Kano State is trailing behind with 4,696,747 as number of registered voters with their PVCs.

The INEC chairman also assured Nigerians that he would conduct the 2019 general elections, saying he would not heed the call of those calling for his resignation.

He said, “Well, I see no reason to even contemplate resigning. There is no reason whatsoever to even contemplate resigning. We’ll stay focused as a commission, we’ll do the job that is there for us to do for our country.

“Well, the last time I checked and that is the situation as we speak, I am the chairman of INEC, Nigeria and constitutionally, the Chief Electoral Commissioner of the Federal Republic and the Returning Officer for the Presidential election. So my status hasn’t changed and I am proceeding on the basis of those powers I draw from the constitution for the position I am privileged to serve for the 2019 general elections.

  • APC has no candidates in Rivers, Zamfara- INEC

Speaking on the position of the commission on whether the APC candidates in Zamfara and Rivers states would participate in other elections apart from the presidential poll, the INEC chairman said the party had no candidate in the two states in the remaining elections.

Yakubu said, “The position of the commission on Zamfara and Rivers still remains the position before now that the parties in question by court order and by our understanding and interpretation of judgements of two courts of coordinate jurisdiction delivered in the case of Zamfara cannot field candidates in the 2019 general elections for the National Assembly, Governorship and State Assembly elections.

“That does not include the presidential election and the position of the commission has not changed. Once the court of law makes pronouncement all persons and authorities in the Federal Republic of Nigeria are duty bound to obey. I think the judgement is from the Supreme Court. That is the end to litigation,” the INEC chairman said.

On the deployment of election materials, Yakubu disclosed that 19 states had fully deployed election materials including the non-sensitive materials to the local government areas, except for Bayelsa State where materials would be deployed directly from the state INEC office.

“There is no state that has not commenced deployment to local government areas. In fact, 19 states have fully deployed. By the end of the day, all states and the FCT would have deployed, expect Bayelsa State which is moving direct from our state office in Yenagoa to Registration Area Centres (RACs) tomorrow (today).

“Tomorrow activities at the ward level will commence with the activation of the RACs at 9 am, while the movement of personnel and materials will commence at the midday.

“This is the last scheduled course to the last deployment to 119, 973 polling units leading to the opening of polls at 8am in the morning of Saturday,” the chief electoral officer said.

  • INEC will provide essential basic amenities for NYSC Adhoc staff

On the welfare of the members of the National Youth Service Corps participating in the election, Yakubu said that the commission was not happy about images on social media where NYSC members were seen sleeping on the floor.

He said the commission would provide water, electricity and other facilities needed as well as security for the NYSC members.

  • INEC is working with NIS to extend visa for foreign observers

He also said that the commission was working with the Nigeria Immigration Service to extend the date for international observers who were on short term entry visa, as well as ease their re-entry if they wanted to go and return to observe state elections scheduled for March 9.

“In order to make the process easier, the NIS is working with the commission to grant visa extension to all international observers that required such facility.

“Similarly, the Immigration Service is also granting re-entry visa to all who may wish to travel out of the country and return for the second part of the election.

“In this regard, the service has requested me to convene the decision to wave the visa fees and all grants of such request expeditiously.

“The extension of stay or re-entry into the country will be granted gratis.’’

Yakubu said all the affected international observers could approach the INEC headquarters to get their visa renewed or extended gratis.

  • US Embassy closes Lagos, Abuja offices for Election

Meanwhile, the US Embassy says its Abuja office and Consulate General in Lagos will be closed on Friday (today) in recognition of the work-free day declared by the Federal Government.

The embassy said this in a statement on Thursday in Abuja.

The Federal Government has declared Friday (today) as a work-free day to enable Nigerians to prepare for the rescheduled Presidential and National Assembly Elections tomorrow.

“In recognition of this declaration and to encourage all our Nigerian employees to exercise their right to vote, the US Embassy in Abuja and the US Consulate General in Lagos will be closed.

“No consular services will be available. If you already have a regular visa or ACS appointment for that date, you will be contacted for rescheduling,” the embassy stated.

  • Youth and Pupils signed elections peace accord

Meanwhile, a group of youths and schoolchildren representing the six geopolitical zones on Thursday signed a peace accord ahead of the elections.

The schoolchildren and youths said the peace accord was a declaration that they would resist any attempt to use them for thuggery during the elections.

The exercise was organised by the Guard Nigeria Image and Values Initiative, in conjunction with the Nigeria Youth in Diaspora Engagement Forum, New York and was attended by political and youth leaders.

They warned that any politician, who contravened the terms of agreement and engaged children and youth in carrying out election violence, would be called out and shamed.

According to them, they were no longer available to be used as tools by politicians.”