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 INEC, YDP and 2015 elections

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PostSubject: INEC, YDP and 2015 elections   2015-03-11, 04:13

First topic message reminder :

The judgment of Justice Ahmed
Mohammed of Abuja Federal High
Court last Wednesday to the effect
that Young Democratic Party, a
hitherto political association, be
accorded due rights and privileges
of a political party came to many as
a surprise. The learned judge had
posited that the YDP was deemed
registered when the Independent
National Electoral Commission
failed to inform its promoters ý of
its decision not to register it as a
political party within 30 days of
receiving its application, as
required under Section 78 (4) of the
Electoral Act 2010ý, as amended.
INEC was said to have received the
association’s application on April 1,
2014 but only notified the applicant
of its decision not to register it on
September 15, 2014. I am saddened
by this news. I believe the electoral
commission should have known
better rather than delay the
communication of the defect of the
application of the political
association to its founders within
the 30 days stipulated by law.
At a press conference on March 5,
the new party gave INEC two
options namely: to either reprint
its ballot papers and include the
party with a view to
accommodating the party’s
candidates or shift the elections. “If
INEC does not have the
appropriation for logistics for
reprinting of its ballot papers, then
INEC ought to, within the
constitutional provision, further
reschedule the general elections
so as to accommodate our party,”
the party’s national publicity
secretary submitted. Meanwhile, in
compliance with sections 85 and 87
of the Electoral Act, the party said it
had fixed its governorship/House of
Assembly and Presidential and
National Assembly primaries for
March 26 and 27 respectively.
When I wrote about my disapproval
of the poll shift on this column four
weeks ago, I did not foresee this
latest development. Had it been
that the elections had held on
February 14 and 28 as originally
scheduled by INEC, this court
judgment would not have had any
impact whatsoever on the 2015
polls. However, the election
postponement allowed the new
party to make mockery of our
electoral planning. Just imagine,
INEC should shift the polls to
accommodate its yet-to-be-
nominated candidates or shift the
polls! What would be the electoral
fortune of this party even if INEC
were to put it on the ballot? This is
a party whose primaries are
scheduled for March 26 and 27. That
is on the eve of the national
INEC did mess up on the issue at
hand. If its staff in charge of party
registration had done their job
professionally, the country would
not have been put in this
precarious situation. Can the
electoral management body afford
to ignore the part’s boastful
requests? What valid, legal options
are available to the commission in
handling this sensitive matter? I
read that it is going to ask for stay
of execution and appeal the high
court decision. Good, but is that
satisfactory? What if it goes on
appeal, conducts the elections on
March 28 and April 11 only for
higher courts to later rule that the
elections were null and void for
unlawful exclusion of the
candidates of the new party? We
have had a similar situation in 2007
when the Supreme Court, without
minding that INEC had printed
about 65 million ballot papers,
ordered that former Vice President
Atiku Abubakar had been unlawfully
excluded and that he should be on
the ballot. That decision came five
days to the 2007 presidential poll
and INEC had to reprint the ballots.
The commission therefore should
learn from history.
It may be true that the YDP may be
playing the political card of other
vested partisan interests beyond
its own as revealed by this
newspaper in its last Saturday
edition. However, if we must blame
the hawk for wickedness, let’s also
scold the mother hen for exposing
her children to danger. If INEC had
handled the administrative side of
the party registration according to
the dictates of the law, the YDP will
not have any legal right to call for
the postponement of the elections
or reprint of about 70 million ballot
It must be stated that the
implications of INEC acceding to
either of the requests made by the
YDP are grave. Should the election
management body agree to reprint
the ballot papers, where will it get
the funds to do that? Was that
planned for? If the funds are even
available, what about the
procurement bottlenecks? The
commission cannot reprint about
70 million ballot papers without
getting due process certification
from the Bureau of Public
Procurement. Can this be done in
the two weeks remaining to the
national elections date? If it
otherwise postpones the elections,
will it be on the basis that it hopes
to get supplementary budget to
reprint the ballot papers from the
government? The socio-economic
and political costs any further poll
shift will cause this country are
better imagined than experienced.
Already tension is brewing in the
country as the air of uncertainty
pervades the air. The economy is
haemorrhaging as investors’
confidence in Nigeria’s markets
(trade, investment, financial)
becomes shaky. Billions have been
lost to capital flight at the Nigeria
Stock Exchange while the naira
continues to depreciate against
international currencies such as the
dollar, pound and euro. Public
confidence in INEC to deliver
credible elections will dip should
there be a further shift. More and
more court injunctions may be
procured by some political
interests against some aspects of
the electoral plans such as banning
of the use of the Permanent Voter
Cards and Smartcard Readers. There
could also be heightened
insecurity as a result of the raging
We must not also forget that as a
result of the deregistration of 28
political parties on December 6,
2012, some of these political parties
went to court to seek revalidation
of their recognition as registered
political parties. In fact, in a suit
filed by Fresh Democratic Party and
its presidential candidate in the
2011 presidential election, Rev.
Chris Okotie, a Federal High Court in
Abuja presided by Justice Gabriel
Kolawole on July 29, 2013 nullified
the deregistration of political
parties by INEC. The court also
declared Section 78 (7) (ii) of the
Electoral Act 2010, as amended,
which says parties must win seats
in the state and National Assembly
elections as null and void. INEC has
appealed this decision and should
the Court of Appeal uphold the high
court judgment and order the 28
deregistered political parties to
also be on the ballot like the YDP,
then INEC may have to reprint the
ballot papers for the third time.
I do not know how INEC will handle
the conundrum of the YDP’s
request. Whichever way it does,
this is an avoidable mess and
someone or some persons within
the commission must be made
answerable for putting this country
in this tight and unpleasant
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peter pan

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PostSubject: Re: INEC, YDP and 2015 elections   2015-03-11, 18:20

People must talk
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Location : Abk

PostSubject: Re: INEC, YDP and 2015 elections   2015-03-11, 18:48

No, changes in govt.
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