APC supports INEC postponement of elections, affirms Tinubu’s credibility; NRC, LASEMA hold driver accountable for Lagos train-bus crash | 5 Things That Should Matter Today

  • APC supports INEC postponement of elections, affirms Tinubu’s credibility
  • INEC to challenge court ruling mandating voting without PVCs for two Nigerians
  • NRC, LASEMA hold driver accountable for Lagos train-bus crash
  • DSS warns Nigerians of post-gubernatorial election unrest plot
  • Wike pledges to expel Atiku and Ayu from PDP

Across Nigeria’s 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory, these are the five top Nigerian news stories you shouldn’t miss:

APC supports INEC postponement of elections, affirms Tinubu’s credibility

The All Progressives Congress (APC) has issued a statement expressing its respect for the decision of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to postpone the governorship and state house of assembly elections. The national exercise was previously scheduled for Saturday 11th March but has been moved to Saturday 18th March 2023.

The shift was necessitated by the ruling of the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal, which affected the reconfiguration of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) used for the presidential election. While it may have caused some inconvenience to stakeholders and the general public, the APC appreciates INEC’s efforts to ensure a free and fair election by taking this step.

The APC noted that INEC has assured the public that data from the previous presidential and national assembly elections would be backed up properly on its cloud facilities. In this regard, the party urges the commission to preserve and protect the integrity of the extracted data from BVAS. It is essential to ensure that the information is adequately secured and made available for future audits or analyses.

The ruling party believes that INEC can use the opportunity presented by the postponement to address any gaps or hitches identified during the last poll. The party hopes that such an exercise will help to build public confidence in the electoral process and improve the credibility of the outcome.

The APC is, however, unwavering in its belief that President-elect, Bola Tinubu, emerged as the “overwhelming choice of Nigerians in the presidential election which was free and fair” in accordance with the Electoral Act. The party encouraged its supporters and other Nigerians to double down on their support for the great party and its candidates next Saturday.

INEC to challenge court ruling mandating voting without PVCs for two Nigerians

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says it will appeal a court order asking it to allow two Nigerians to vote with their temporary voter cards (TVC).

Kofoworola Olusegun and Wilson Allwell, in the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/180/2023 and filed on February 8, had challenged INEC on the position that only a permanent voter card (PVC) can be used in an election.

Delivering judgment on Thursday, Obiora Egwuatu, presiding judge of the federal high court in Abuja, said the applicants should be allowed to use their TVCs in the absence of the PVCs.

Egwuatu determined that neither the 1999 constitution nor the electoral act contained any language stipulating that only PVCs could be used for voting and that instead, section 47 of the statute allowed for the use of a voter’s card.

“An order is made compelling the defendant (INEC) to allow the plaintiffs to vote using their temporary voter cards issued by the defendant, the plaintiffs having been duly captured in the national register of voter’s database,” the judge held.

“This court makes a declaration that the plaintiffs, having fulfilled all necessary legal requirements to register and having consequently been captured in the defendant’s (INEC’s) central database and manual, printed paper-based record or hard copy format of the defendant’s maintained register of voters, the plaintiffs are entitled to vote using their Temporary Voter Cards in the  forthcoming 2023 general election.” 

Reacting in a statement on Thursday by Rotimi Oyekanmi, chief press secretary to the INEC chairman, the commission said it would appeal the judgement.

“The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has been served a copy of the judgement delivered today by the Federal High Court, Abuja Division which ordered it to allow two Plaintiffs to vote with their Temporary Voter’s Card (TVC),” the statement reads.

“The Commission is taking immediate steps to appeal against the judgement of the trial court.”

NRC, LASEMA hold driver accountable for Lagos train-bus crash

On Thursday, a fatal train accident occurred in the PWD area of Lagos state, killing six people and injuring 96. The accident was caused by a collision between a passenger train and a Lagos State Government staff bus.

The Nigerian Railway Corporation and the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA) have both blamed the driver of the staff bus for the deadly crash.

The LASEMA Permanent Secretary, Dr. Olufemi Oke-Osanyintolu, told journalists that the driver ignored signals from NRC officials and was in a hurry to cross the rail. Similarly, the NRC stated in a press release that the driver failed to obey the corporation officials’ instructions as he overtook other vehicles waiting for the train to pass.

The ill-fated bus was on its way to connect the Government Residential Area, Ikeja, en route to the state secretariat, Alausa, when it collided with the train at the PWD rail crossing.

Read also: Train accident claims six lives, blood donors urgently needed

Eyewitnesses reported that the train dragged the bus on its rail for about 100 metres from PWD to Sogunle before getting stuck. Passengers of the bus, especially those close to the exit doors, reportedly made frantic efforts to jump off the bus being dragged by the train. By the time the train and the bus finally stopped on the rail, the bus passengers fell upon one another in their attempts to find their way out of the trapped vehicle.

According to reports, two passengers died on the spot, and others sustained various degrees of injuries. Rescue workers who were mobilized to the scene evacuated the victims and rushed them to the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Ikeja. The Federal Government has ordered an investigation into the accident to determine the cause and prevent future occurrences.

DSS warns Nigerians of post-gubernatorial election unrest plot

The Department of State Services, DSS, has said there are plans to cause a total breakdown of law and order in the country.

The secret police said the plot was designed for execution after the governorship and state assembly elections.

In a statement released on Wednesday by Peter Afunanya, DSS spokesperson, the DSS decried the “unnecessary palpable political tension” in parts of the country.

The statement read:  “It is observed that some of the players are at daggers drawn with one another. The development holds dire consequences for national peace and stability. It is in view of these that the Service warns politicians and their supporters to engage constructively.

“Everyone is advised to shun fake news, hate speech, and such other utterances that may be inimical to peaceful co-existence. The election should not be seen as a do-or-die affair. There is no basis for anyone to take laws into their hands.

“This is even more so that aggrieved persons can take advantage of our courts and seek redress. We should have faith in our institutions. Over this election period, the Service has remained committed to providing a conducive environment for peaceful exercise.

“In this regard, it separately and in collaboration with sister agencies, carried out mop-up operations to thwart nefarious plans and activities of undesirable elements to outrightly undermine the electoral processes.

“For hitch-free gubernatorial and State Assembly elections, the Service has partnered with relevant stakeholders to ensure that the required peace is maintained before, during, and after the exercises.

“For the avoidance of doubt, the Service will work to make sure that no person or group, no matter how highly placed, disrupts the scheduled elections in any part of the Federation. It is committed to the safety and security of citizens who may wish to go out to exercise their civic responsibility.”

The DSS called on all Nigerians to abide by the rules of the Electoral Act and extant guidelines.

Wike pledges to expel Atiku and Ayu from PDP

Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike has vowed to chase the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, the National Chairman of the PDP, Iyorchia Ayu and some other leaders of the party out of the PDP.

Gov. Wike made the vow at the commissioning of a road project in Ikwerre Local Government Area of Rivers State on Thursday.

Wike blamed the loss of the PDP in the just-concluded presidential election on those who he said refused to obey the Constitution of the PDP. He promised to chase them out of the party and start the process of rebuilding it.

The governor described the move as the “second phase of the war.”

According to him: “These people left our party in 2014-2015, our party lost; again they came back, our party has lost again.

“They have destroyed our party. We are going to chase them away from our party. They have no role to play for our party.”

Wike also slammed the leadership of the PDP for accusing the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission of not following election guidelines when they (PDP) allegedly refused to follow the party’s constitution.

He further mocked the PDP leaders for staging the protest against INEC describing the party leaders as “students unions.”

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