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Aftermath of Supreme Court judgements: Nigerians call for Electoral Act reform ahead 2027 polls

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Concerns about Nigeria’s electoral process have been raised by political observers in the wake of extensive judicial interventions in the aftermath of the 2023 general elections. Many are now calling for a review of certain provisions in the Electoral Act of 2022.

The judiciary played a prominent role in determining the outcomes of the 2023 elections, particularly in 15 governorship elections and the closely contested presidential poll, with the Supreme Court having the final say. This has sparked worries among Nigerians about the state of the country’s democracy.Interestingly, while a significant number of citizens express discontent with the election’s overall conduct, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) appears to give itself a positive assessment, considering the court verdicts as vindication.During a meeting with political party leaders on December 18, 2023, INEC chairman Prof. Mahmood Yakubu revealed that the courts had ordered rerun elections in 34 constituencies, comprising one senatorial district, 11 federal constituencies, and 22 state constituencies. These constituencies represent only 2.8% of the 1,191 petitions filed after the general elections.Despite the challenges, INEC asserts that it has performed well, especially as most of the court decisions upheld the victory of governors. However, questions have been raised about the effectiveness of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) and Election Result Viewing Portal (IREV) in preventing over-voting, leading to demands for result cancellations in several polling units.Civil society organizations, including Yiaga Africa and the Nigerian Civil Society Situation Room, have criticized the 2023 elections for failing to enhance electoral integrity and damaging public confidence in INEC. As a result, there is a growing consensus among political scholars that a thorough review of the Electoral Act 2022, particularly Section 135(1), is necessary ahead of the 2027 general elections. This section, which stipulates that an election shall not be nullified except for substantial non-compliance, is seen by some as a hindrance to addressing frauds and flaws in the electoral process.INEC, however, maintains an open-door policy, involving stakeholders in decision-making processes. Dr. Mary Nkem, INEC’s director of Voter Education and Publicity, has stated that reports and recommendations from the 2023 elections will be considered for implementation in future elections.Former INEC Commissioner Dr. Okechukwu Ibeanu emphasizes the importance of involving citizens and election management bodies in the review process, rather than leaving it solely to the National Assembly. Ambiguities in the Electoral Act, such as those related to the transfer and transmission of election results, electronic voting, voting hours, and diaspora voting, should be addressed to ensure legal clarity and administrative efficiency.

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BVN, NIN requirement: CBN keeps mum as deadline expires

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The Central Bank of Nigeria has kept mum as the deadline for banks to restrict customers’ accounts without a Bank Verification Number or National Identity Number has expired.

DAILY POST recalls that CBN, in a notice on December 1 last year, signed by the Director of Payments System Management Department, Chibuzo Efobi and Director of Financial Policy and Regulation Department, Haruna Mustapha, asked banks to restrict tier-1 accounts or wallets without NIN or BVN.

“For all existing Tier-1 accounts/wallets without BVN or NIN: Effective immediately, any unfunded account/wallet shall be placed on ‘Post No Debit or Credit’ until the new process is satisfied.

“Effective March 1, 2024, all funded accounts or wallets shall be placed on ‘Post No Debit or Credit’, and no further transactions will be permitted. The BVN or NIN attached to and/or associated with all accounts/wallets must be electronically revalidated by January 31, 2024”, the statement partly reads.

However, CBN acting spokesperson, Hakama Sidi has yet to respond to calls from DAILY POST on Friday over the fate of banks’ customers without NIN or BVN.

Meanwhile, in a telephone interview with DAILY POST, the President of the Bank Customers Association of Nigeria, Dr Uju Ogubunka, appealed to CBN for a deadline extension.

According to him, though many accounts have NIN or BVN, there are still many without the requirement.

“At this point, the best thing for CBN to do is extend the deadline for bank customers to have their NIN or BVN”, he told DAILY POST.

A source who preferred anonymity in a tier-1 bank told DAILY POST that no customer account had been restricted owing to the NIN or BVN requirement.

“At the moment, no customers’ accounts have been restricted. Customers in the last three days have trooped in to update their account”, he said.

DAILY POST reported that bank customers were in a last-minute rush to meet the NIN and BVN requirement deadlines as they besieged their respective banks.

CREDIT: DAILY POST

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Gov Mbah signs New Enugu City, ENSIEC bills into law

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On Friday, Governor Peter Mbah of Enugu State officially approved the New Enugu City Development Agency Bill, the Enugu State Geographical Information System Service Bill, and the Enugu State Independent Electoral Commission (ENSIC) Amendment Bill, turning them into law. The signing ceremony, witnessed by Enugu State House of Assembly Speaker Uchenna Ugwu at the Government House in Enugu, marked significant steps in the state’s governance.

Governor Mbah clarified the purposes of these laws during the signing event. He highlighted that the New Enugu City Development Agency Law grants administrative authority to oversee the development of a new city master plan, aimed at accommodating both present and future generations. The Enugu State Geographical Information System Service Law, on the other hand, focuses on automating and digitizing processes for service delivery, beginning with land-related matters.

Regarding the ENSIEC Amendment Law, Governor Mbah noted its alignment with constitutional amendments concerning electoral bodies, ensuring compliance with the evolving legal framework.

Explaining the rationale behind the New Enugu City Development Agency, Mbah emphasized the government’s forward-thinking approach to governance, addressing the need for urban expansion to accommodate the growing population. He underscored the significance of having a master plan for future generations to prevent urban congestion.

Furthermore, Mbah elaborated on the Enugu State Geographical Information System Service, emphasizing its role in fulfilling the administration’s promise to streamline land administration processes and provide efficient services. He highlighted the agency’s mandate to manage property information systems and facilitate digital platforms for accessing services and making payments.

Governor Mbah expressed gratitude to the State House of Assembly for their support and swift passage of these executive bills, acknowledging the importance of collaboration in driving the state’s development agenda forward. He emphasized that progress and success hinge on the collective efforts of all stakeholders, including the legislature.

In conclusion, Governor Mbah affirmed his administration’s commitment to fulfilling its promises and leveraging legislative support to enhance governance and service delivery in Enugu State.

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Tinubu’s presidency not by chance – Shettima

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Vice President Kashim Shettima asserts that Asiwaju Bola Tinubu’s rise to the presidency is not coincidental but a divine blessing due to the sincerity of his character. Shettima made these remarks during a courtesy visit by the Nigerian Christian Pilgrim Commission (NCPC) delegation at the Presidential Villa in Abuja on Friday.

“The path leading to Tinubu’s presidency wasn’t accidental. He is known for his consistent sacrifices for the nation’s welfare. His success is viewed as a divine reward for his genuine intentions,” Shettima stated.

He stressed the importance of leaders fostering unity, highlighting Tinubu’s significant role in offering an alternative political platform within Nigeria’s system.

“Tinubu has made sacrifices and facilitated unity. He provided a haven for those facing political persecution and offered an alternative platform when others struggled for recognition,” Shettima elaborated.

Shettima urged Nigerians to be patient with Tinubu’s leadership, emphasizing that his presidency is not a coincidence but a deliberate journey towards national success.

He also charged the newly appointed NCPC Board to demonstrate unwavering commitment to their duties and reminded them of the importance of religious dedication in addressing national challenges.

“All of you were selected based on your religious commitment. We cannot overlook the issues within our system. It’s essential for all of us to strive for positive change to achieve the Nigeria we envision,” he concluded.

Previously, Bishop Stephen Adegbite, the Executive Secretary of NCPC, expressed gratitude to President Tinubu for the opportunity to serve on the board and praised Vice President Shettima’s outstanding leadership, citing his support for the Church and peace efforts in Borno State.

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