In preparation for the 2023 presidential election, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has said that it will print a total of 187million ballot papers.
This was made known by the National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye on Friday.
The Commission had said that preliminary registered voters in Nigeria now stand at 93.5 million, noting that 9,518,188 new voters were added to the existing register of 84,004,084 voters.
Okoye who stated this at a Roundtable with Bureau Chiefs/ Editors in Abuja said 93.5 million ballot papers will be used on the 25 February 2022 for the presidential election and the remaining 93.5million ballot papers will be for run off of the presidential election in a case where there is no clear winner. The same, he said, would be applicable to states.
According to him, the Commission decided to print 187 million ballot papers for the presidential elections, as it will be difficult to engage printers at a short notice and also the issue of logistics.
Okoye said, “As of today, 18 political parties will participate in the 2023 general election and the law has outlined how candidates will emerge and how a presidential candidate will emerge in Nigeria.
“Because of the limited time on the Commission and by the law; in case a candidate does not emerge from the first ballot, the Commission prints ballots for run-off elections (second election) when we are printing ballots for the main election.
“In other words, if 93million Nigerians are on the ballot for the presidential election, we will print 93million ballots for the first election and at the same time, print 93million ballots for the run-off election in case a winner does not emerge from the first ballot.
“If at the end of the day, there is no runoff, when election petitions are disposed of, the Commission will destroy the 93million ballots printed for the runoff. This is because the law gives the Commission just 21 days within each to engage in reverse logistics and conduct a runoff election in case there is no winner.
“Moreover, as of the time of the conduct of the Presidential election, the governorship elections and State Assembly elections are still pending. So for the governorship election, the Commission will print at least run-off ballots for four governorship elections in case we have challenges in terms of a winner not emerging in the first ballot in some of the states of the federation.
On how a president emerges and the conditions that may necessitate a second election, Okoye said “Section 134 (2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which is the fundamental law of the land makes it mandatory that before anyone can be deemed to have been elected as a president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, that candidate must secure the highest number of votes cast at the election and must also secure a quarter of the votes cast in two-thirds of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory. It is mandatory.
“Now, if no candidate secures this highest number of votes and the mandatory threshold, the constitution says we must have a second election within a period of 21 days. Not all candidates are going to participate in this second election. 18 candidates will be on the ballot for the first election. If no candidate emerges from the first ballot, only two candidates will contest in the second election.
“The constitution has made it very clear that two candidates will be on the ballot one amongst the candidates who scored the highest number of votes at the election. The second candidate that will be on the ballot will be; one of the remaining candidates who have a majority of votes in the highest number of states. The constitution did not say that one who came second will be in the second election.
“The Commission is prepared for the second election if the situation arises taking into consideration the fact that it will be difficult to engage in reverse logistics and then begin to look for printers to print 93million ballots before we start thinking of how to move them to the states, local governments, wards, and polling units.
“We will print a ballot for the main election and a ballot for the runoff election at the same time. That is what the Commission will do,” he said.
Former President Jonathan accepts ambassadorial role
Former President Goodluck Jonathan has been accepted as Africa’s Agricultural Technology Ambassador by the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF).
Making the announcement after meeting with the former President in Yenagoa, Bayelsa South-south during the week, the AATF Executive Director, Dr Canisius Kanangire, said the appointment was informed by the former President’s track record of championing agricultural transformation on the continent.
AATF, in a statement by its Communications Officer, Alex Abutu, described Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan as a Nigerian politician who served as the President of Nigeria from 2010 to 2015 and had since been at the forefront of agricultural improvement on the continent.
In his acceptance speech, Dr Jonathan said that as a former Head of State, his interest in serving the continent is driven by the interest he has in driving food security and transformation for a better quality of life in Africa.
Kanangire said: “Dr Jonathan’s commitment to uplift agriculture on the continent was exemplified by the Agricultural Transformation Agenda he pursued and diligently implemented in Nigeria during his tenure as President.
“The agenda targeted increasing efficiency and profitability in about 12 selected key agricultural commodities, which include: cotton, cocoa, cassava, oil palm, maize, soya bean, onion, rice, livestock, fisheries, tomato and sorghum.
“Under the agenda, about 3.5 million new jobs were created based on the selected key products, while many more jobs were created from other value chain activities, with over N300 billion of additional income in the hands of Nigerian farmers and rural entrepreneurs. In addition, over N60 billion (US$380 million) was injected into the economy from the substitution of 20% of bread wheat flour with cassava flour.
“Another critical element of Dr Goodluck’s agricultural legacy as President of Nigeria was his ability to cut down on the importation of food that can be produced locally, thereby, saving the nation well over N1.3 trillion per annum on the importation of foodstuff.
“Dr Jonathan was able to demonstrate in Nigeria that agriculture should be treated as a business and supported by relevant policies for the improvement of the livelihoods of our growing farming population.”
AATF’s boss further said that Dr Jonathan is a Pan-Africanist who had stood for the eradication of rural poverty and the peaceful coexistence of the continent, hence his involvement in peaceful conflict resolution on the continent.
“As AATF’s Ambassador, Dr Jonathan will advocate for the advancement of Africa’s agricultural goals and economic growth through the application of innovative technologies and enhanced investment in agriculture. AATF is honoured to have the former president as our Ambassador, whose role will accelerate ongoing efforts to improve our agricultural terrain.”
Wike, Ortom challenge Buhari to expose governors stealing LG funds
Nyesom Wike and Samuel Ortom, governors of Rivers and Benue states, have challenged President Muhammadu Buhari to expose Nigerian governors responsible for stealing local government funds.
The governors, who are part of the five Integrity Governors among the governors of the Peoples Democratic Party, threw the challenge to the President on Friday during the inauguration of the Mgbuosimini Internal Roads in Rivers State.
President Buhari had earlier in a speech at the presidential parley for members of the Senior Executive Course 44 (2022) of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS) at the State House, said that state governors steal allocations meant for local governments.
But reacting to the allegation, Governor Wike denied ever taking funds meant for the local government since he assumed office as governor in 2015. He challenged the president to name governors that are doing that as his statement could be termed class defamation.
“I want to challenge Mr. President, Mr. President you are a leader and we believe as leaders you must come out and tell Nigerians, who are those committing this offence? You said the governors are taking local government funds, I want to say in the name of Almighty God I have never touched local government funds one day, I have never and I have no reason to do that.
“So Mr. President who are those people? You know them, tell us. It is not good to say what you call class defamation, you say, governors, please I am not one of those governors, so Mr. President please spare me, tell Nigerians that the Integrity governors are not part of them, we have integrity, we are not part of them,” Wike said.
He added that as local government Chairman under Governor Peter Odili, his funds were never touched by the governor and therefore he has no reason to tamper with any money meant for local governments as governor.
Corroborating his colleague’s remark, Governor Ortom also denied touching funds meant for local government, saying that their funds go to them directly from the federation account.
Ortom said, “It is a logical fallacy to say that all governors are criminals; all governors are stealing from local government. I join governor Wike to say from 2015, let EFCC come, let ICPC come, let every other agency that can unearth this, as far as Benue State is concerned let them bring it out so that we know the people, there is no point generalising that all of us are evil people.
“I don’t do it, I didn’t like it when the Federal Government enacted something and said local government should have financial autonomy, but from that day all monies are paid to the local government, and no single naira has been paid through anyone, all monies that come from the federation account go straight to the individual councils.”
Despite allure of office, I won’t take over from my father – Akeredolu’s son
Babajide Akeredolu, son of Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, on Friday, dispelled rumours that he plans to take over from his father, Rotimi Akeredolu, after the expiration of the latter’s tenure.
He said despite the allure of office, he had several sectors where he could venture into and become extremely successful than being in government.
Babajide, who is currently a Special Adviser and Director-General, Performance and Project Implementation Unit, Office of the Governor of Ondo State, revealed this at a press conference in Lagos State.
He said, “I don’t have any plan to run for office. It is interesting people speculate this, but I have multiple pathways to success. I don’t need to stay in government to be successful.
“Power is never something that gingers the Akeredolu family. I’m not looking for that (governor’s seat), but I’m just looking for opportunities to make young people thrive.
“I have never thought of being a governor. That thing is stressful and I don’t want to go through it. People that are build for that, I wish them well.”
He added, “There are multiple cards to success for me. I am lucky I have a strong surname with a lot of options before me. So, I really don’t bother about what’s coming next, but I just focus on the present and how I can help the younger generations.”
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