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INEC involved in 419 court cases – Mahmood Yakubu
The Independent National Electoral Commission on Tuesday said it had been involved in 419 court cases over election matters from 2016 to date.
The Chairman of the commission, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, said this in an interactive session with a group of civil society organizations, under the umbrella of the Situation Room, on Tuesday in Abuja.
Yakubu said: “Between 2016 and 2017, till this week, we have appeared for 419 cases in four different courts; so, I will say that in the last two years INEC has been dragged to court 419 times.
“Conversely, 187 of them are at Federal and state high courts while 141 are at the Court of Appeal. Sixty-one of them are at the Supreme Court and two at the Industrial Court.”
Yakubu said that the political atmosphere in Anambra was quite peaceful as compared to recent elections, adding: “Up till today, we have no case in court on the nomination of any candidate.”
He said though the situation was unusual, it was rarely amazing in the context of litigation since the 2015 general elections.
The chairman said 37 political parties were participating in the November 18 Anambra State governorship election, which was a record for any governorship election in the country.
Yakubu said INEC monitored all the political party’s primaries and that 35 of them complied with the rules except for two that changed their candidates after the primaries, which was not allowed.
He said Anambra State has 21 local government areas, with 326 wards, 468 polling units, 724 voting points and 2,154,738 registered voters, including 203,681 new registrants.
Yakubu said that INEC had printed Permanent Voter Cards for all registered voters in the state, and that the cards would be delivered on Saturday to the state so that the process of collection could commence.
He said that arrangement had been made for collection of the PVCs at the ward level so that it would be closer to the polling units.
The chairman said that INEC had delivered all the non-sensitive materials to Anambra, down to the local government areas.
He said that logistics were okay because the infrastructure in the state was reasonably good as there was no part of the state that could not be reached in 30 minutes.
He said that the commission was confident with the security arrangement on ground, explaining that “we have engaged with the security agents and we want the deployment to follow the needs of the commission”.
Yakubu said that INEC had made provision for hand-held magnifying glasses for albinos as requested by the Albino Foundation to help them see the party logos.
He added that all funds had been provided and remitted to the state for the conduct of the election.
Yakubu reassured indigenes of Anambra State of early commencement of election, adding that the commission had made provision for ad hoc staff to stay the night at the polling areas.
Earlier, the Convener of Situation Room, Clement Nwankwo, said the meeting was organised in order to clear the concerns of civil society organisations regarding the election.
Nwankwo said CSOs were concerned with the safety of the electoral materials, ad hoc staff and the people.
He urged INEC to allow the CSOs to have access to monitor the collation centres to enhance the credibility of the final results that would be announced.
He advised the commission to continue to monitor the ballot paper to prevent some political parties conniving with the printers to omit their names or party’s logo to cook up legal cases.
Nwankwo also urged political parties to abide by the rules and regulations of the commission in order to have a free and fair election.