Nigerians ready to elect PDP – Atiku; Ten days to go, no election funds yet – INEC | 5 Things That Should Matter Today

  • Nigerians ready to elect PDP – Atiku
  • Ten days to go, no election funds yet – INEC
  • DSS warns political parties to watch their comments after questioning Fani-Kayode
  • CBN releases guidelines for deposit of old notes
  • INEC to keep sensitive election materials with CBN

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

Nigerians ready to elect PDP – Atiku

Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), on Tuesday, took his campaign to Enugu state.

Speaking at the campaign ground in the state capital, Abubakar said Nigerians are ready to elect the PDP in the presidential election.

He asked the crowd at the campaign venue to join other Nigerians who are “geared towards” voting for the PDP.

“I want to let you know that this country is geared towards electing a PDP government. Do not be an exception and do not be a minority,” Abubakar said.

“I want to say that I am very pleased with the attendance and the crowd I have seen here in Enugu today.

“Whoever says there is no PDP in Enugu is not saying the truth. There is PDP in Enugu and Enugu has been PDP from inception and is still PDP today, and will continue to be PDP.

“When I came here a few months ago to attend a zonal conference of the south-east, I said to the Igbo that I am going to be the stepping stone to the Igbo presidency, and I mean it.

“Whether an Igbo man is from the south-east or south-south, it is the same race and today, my running mate is an Igbo man. It is a universal ethnic group; it is a universal race.

“So, my fellow brothers and sisters, the people of Enugu state, I want you to continue believing and I want you to continue supporting the PDP because PDP is Enugu and Enugu is PDP.

“The next government is going to be formed by the PDP. Therefore, as you have always been, be in the mainstream of Nigerian politics because that is the only way that can bring about the prosperity, economic development, peace, and security you are looking for in this part of the country and the country in general.

“So, we want to thank you very much indeed for turning up in great numbers to attend this rally and we promise you Enugu state will continue to receive the required attention it has always received.”

Ten days to go, no election funds yet – INEC

Ten days to the February 25 presidential and National Assembly election, cash for the mobilisation of ad-hoc staff for the polls is yet to be made available to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

Nigerians have been battling with the scarcity of naira notes following the redesign of N200, N500, and N1000 notes by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court will today continue hearing the suits by three state governments challenging the implementation of the currency swap deadline.

The Supreme Court had on February 8 restrained the federal government from enforcing the cash swap deadline of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) following the suit by the governments of Kaduna, Kogi, and Zamfara states challenging the currency policy.

The Chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, had penultimate Tuesday met with the governor of the CBN, Godwin Emefiele, where he requested concessions regarding the naira redesign policy with specific reference to the limitations placed on cash withdrawals and the need to make some cash available for some peculiarities that cannot be met with electronics transfer of monies. 

Emefiele had while responding, said he would ensure the CBN is not seen as an agent used to thwart the forthcoming general election, assuring that the apex bank would provide INEC needed naira notes as required. 

DSS warns political parties to watch their comments after questioning Fani-Kayode

DSS officials have requested that parties exercise caution in their public statements leading up to and during the election.

On Tuesday, Peter Afunanya, the spokesman for the secret police, issued the warning.

A former minister and director of new media for the presidential campaign committee of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Femi Fani-Kayode, was questioned about a tweet he posted hours before the warning was issued.

In the tweet, Fani-Kayode claimed that People’s Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar had secretly met with several army generals.

Afunanya warned political parties and their media managers on Tuesday not to make statements that may incite violence.

“Political parties and their media managers are advised to apply restraint in their utterances and public communication engagements prior to and after the general elections,” he said.

“This is to avoid heating up the polity and evoking tendencies that could lead to violent reactions as well as undermine peace and order.”

The spokesperson also said Fani-Kayode has been asked to return for further questioning on his claim.

“The DSS hereby informs the public that it invited Chief Femi Fani-Kayode to its National Headquarters, Abuja on 13th February 2023. The invitation was in respect of an investigation of some of his allegations and insinuations relating to issues relevant to national security,” he said.

“Chief Fani-Kayode faced a panel which interviewed him on the subject matter.

“Afterwards, the service granted him administrative bail and directed that he make routine returns to the Office with effect from Wednesday, 15th February 2023 till otherwise.

“The investigation, however, continues.”

CBN releases guidelines for deposit of old notes

The Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, has informed citizens that there will be no cash swap for old notes in any financial institution.

The CBN already declared the old N200, N500, and N1000 are no longer recognized as legal tender, despite a Supreme Court ruling.

The apex bank on Tuesday released the guidelines for the deposit of old notes at any of its branches across the country from February 15 and 17.

CBN explained that in exchange for the old notes, the bank account provided by the depositor will be credited after scrutiny.

“You will not be issued new notes; instead your bank account will be credited after your account is validated by law enforcement,” it said.

Noting that the process may take up to four weeks, the guideline said the deposited notes will be withheld if validation of the owner’s account turns out negative.

Also, deposits by a third party are not allowed; the account information provided must be that of the depositor.

Account owners are required to complete an online application form and generate a reference number before heading to the CBN.

In a case where a customer did not pre-fill their form, he/she will be given the opportunity to fill the form at the branch.

Requirements are the reference code generated from the CBN portal, an active bank account, Bank Verification Number, BVN, and a valid government identity card.

The advice added that the Cash Deposit Window is open to the public from today until Friday between 9 am to 2 pm daily.

INEC to keep sensitive election materials with CBN

The Central Bank of Nigeria is in possession of sensitive materials for the 2023 general elections, according to the Independent National Electoral Commission.

This was disclosed on Tuesday by Festus Okoye, National Commissioner and Chairman of the Information and Voter Education Committee at INEC.

In 2022, after reports surfaced that CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele was considering a run for president, many people expressed fear that sensitive election materials would be compromised if they were stored at the CBN.

The Chairman of INEC, Mahmood Yakubu, said on June 4, 2022 that the INEC will no longer use the CBN as a conduit for the transmission of sensitive electoral materials.

The INEC chairman said that there had never been a problem between the electoral organization and the CBN since the relationship began, but that owing to “present circumstances,” a different solution will be sought.

Okoye, however, said that the commission had already printed and delivered most of the sensitive materials, including results and ballot sheets, and had stored them with the CBN for distribution to the commission’s local government offices across the nation.

He also noted that INEC had almost concluded the delivery of the non-sensitive materials across the country.

Explaining the delivery of sensitive materials ahead of the forthcoming elections, Okoye said, “The commission is ready for the February 25 and March 11, 2023 general elections. The commission has taken delivery of the full complement of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System for the 176,846 polling units in Nigeria. The BVAS will be deployed to all the polling units except the 240 polling units that have zero voters. The commission has taken delivery of the redundancies for the 8, 809 Registration Areas and the 774 local government areas of the country.

“The commission has tested the BVAS and carried out mock accreditation and they are fit for purpose in terms of hardware and software upgrades. The process of configuration of the BVAS has commenced and the commission is satisfied with the progress made so far. The BVAS is a sensitive election material and they are in safe locations under heavy security. The BVAS is the ultimate arbiter and game-changer, and Nigerians expect it to perform optimally. The BVAS is the albatross of election riggers and identity thieves and those with false identities should keep away from the polling units.

“The commission has printed and delivered the bulk of the sensitive materials meant for the conduct of national elections, in terms of result sheets and ballot papers. These materials have been deposited with the Central Bank of Nigeria, awaiting movement to the various local government offices of the commission. The commission has almost concluded the delivery of the non-sensitive materials and they are presently being batched in accordance with the Registration Areas. The training of various categories of ad hoc staff has commenced and the commission is satisfied with the progress made so far.”

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