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FG released N313.4bn to INEC for 2023 General Elections – INEC

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says the Federal Government released N313.4 billion for the conduct of the 2023 general elections.

The commission in its 2023 General Election Report released on Friday, said that out of the N355.b approved for the conduct of the elections, the sum of N313.4 billion was only released as at September 2023,.

According to the report, based on the key activities in the approved Election Project Plan for the 2023 general election, INEC proposed a budget of N305 billion for the conduct of the elections.

The breakdown of this amount showed that the commission asked for N159.7 billion for electoral operations; N117. 3 billion for electoral technology; and N20.4 billion for electoral administrative costs.

It also showed that N7.4 billion representing 2.5 per cent of the election operation, technological and administrative costs was set aside for unforeseen electoral expenses.

The report stated that in line with the provisions of the 1999 Constitution, the commission’s budget proposal for the 2023 general election was submitted to the presidency and duly transmitted to the National Assembly for approval.

“Consequently, the commission appeared before Senate and House Committees on INEC as well as the Senate and House Appropriations Committee in a joint session during which the INEC Chairman presented the expenditure layout of the budget and answered all questions and queries from Committee members.

“The National Assembly approved and appropriated the sum of N303.1 billion for the conduct of the 2023 general election,” it stated.

It, however, stated that by January 2023, it was clear that the approved amount would not be enough for the conduct of the election due to the inflation rate and consumer price index as well as the widening differentials in the foreign exchange rate.

It added that INEC was also faced the necessity to rebuild or relocate its operations from its buildings that were destroyed or burnt and replace lost election materials due to arson attacks and fire outbreak.

It also noted that INEC suffered more than 50 attacks on its facilities and vandalisation of properties and election material between 2019 and 2022.

These three factors, according to the report, negatively impacted on the procurement of domestic goods and services and the purchase of offshore electoral equipment and materials.

“The commission was therefore compelled to request for supplementary appropriation in the sum of N52.billion from the presidency.

“The request was duly considered and approved for appropriation by the National Assembly bringing the total funds approved and appropriated for the conduct of the 2023 general election to N355.2 billion.

“The breakdown of the appropriated amount on the basis of the Average Cost per Registered Voter Index (COVI), for the 93,469,008 registered voters in Nigeria is N3,801 (US$6.72) per voter.

“This is well within the internationally acceptable Average Cost per Registered Voter (ACRV) of $4 to $8 that is deemed adequate for the conduct of election in transitional democracies.

“In fact, the ACRV for the 2023 general election is less than the actual cost of $9.62 and US$7.38 cost per voter for the 2015 and 2019 general election respectively and very reasonable in comparison to the cost per voter in other transitional democracies such as Ghana and Kenya,” the report stated.

It added that consequent upon the appropriation of the election budget proposals by the National Assembly, INEC engaged with the Minister and officials of the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning for the release of funds as stipulated in Section 81(2,3&4) of the 1999 Constitution.

“This led to the cumulative release of the sum of N293.4 billion in tranches between February 2022 and February 2023.

“A further amount of N20b was released to the Commission in August and September 2023.
“The sum of N61.8 billion is outstanding as of October 2023,” the report said.

It also stated that INEC also receives support from development partners for electoral activities.
The support according to the commission was tailored around training, capacity building, civic and voter education, production of information, education and communication materials and engagement with stakeholders.

These supports are directed at the provision of technical assistance, information dissemination, strengthening the integrity of the electoral process, promoting citizens’ participation, and enhancing advocacy for inclusivity with reference to women, youths, persons with disability and other marginalised groups.

“To be clear, the commission does not receive any direct cash transfer from development partners.

“Rather, these partners are required to hold on to their funds and undertake the direct implementation of any activity requested by the commission that are usually directed at meeting urgent and sometimes unanticipated needs or to augment the cost of enhancing electoral integrity, “ it stated.

Section 81(2,3&4) of the Constitution provides that the required funding to meet INEC expenditure be issued directly from the Consolidated Revenue of the Federation to the commission i.e on a first-line charge to the consolidated revenue.

The section also stipulated that any further funding required by the commission should be presented to the National Assembly for supplementary appropriation if the amount in the original budget is insufficient or if no amount was provided for in the original budget to meet unforeseen expenditure.

The Section also stipulated that funds due to the commission for any general election should be released not later than one year before the election and gave INEC the power to disburse such funds in accordance with its financial rules and regulations.

Also the Federal Government of Nigeria is solely responsible for providing funding to the Commission as a sovereign responsibility.

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Kano Court sacks Ganduje as APC Chairman

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The Kano State High Court has sacked Abdullahi Ganduje as the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

The Court granted an ex parte order restraining the Ganduje from parading himself as a member of the party.

Subsequently, the court ordered that henceforth, Ganduje should desist from presiding over all affairs of the National Working Committee of the APC.

The application granted by Justice Usman Na’abba on Tuesday followed an ex parte motion filed by Dr. Ibrahim Sa’ad on behalf of two executive members of Ganduje’s ward, Dawakin-Tofa Local Government Area, the Assistant Secretary, Laminu Sani and Legal Adviser, Haladu Gwanjo (plaintiffs), who were part of the nine ward executives who suspended Ganduje on Monday.

The court directed the four parties (respondents) joined in the matter, including the APC, NWC, APC Kano State Working Committee, and Ganduje, to henceforth, maintain status quo ante belum as of April 15, 2024, pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit on April 30, 2024.

Justice Na’abba, also held as prayed, stopped State Working Committee APC Kano from interfering with the legally and validly considered decision of executives of Ganduje ward, essentially on action endorsed by a two-thirds majority of the executives as provided by the party constitution.

The ex parte order read, “An order is hereby granted directing all parties in the suit APC (first), APC National Working Committee (second), Kano State Working Committee APC (third), Dr. Abdullah Umar Ganduje (fourth), to maintain status quo ante belum as of April 15, 2024.

“The order thereby restraining the first respondent (APC) from recognising the fourth respondent (Ganduje) as a member of APC and prohibiting the fourth respondent (Ganduje) from presiding over any affairs of the NWC and restraining the state Working Committee from interfering with the legally and validly decision of the ward executives of Ganduje ward.

“That the fourth respondent (Ganduje) is prohibited from parading himself as a member of APC or doing any act that may portray him or seem to be a member of APC pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit.”

Nine members of the Ganduje ward proclaimed the suspension of the National Chairman of the APC over the allegation of corruption slammed on him by the Kano State Government.

The nine APC executives said they were prompted to act following a petition written by one Ja’afaru Adamu, a member of the APC from the National Chairman’s polling unit.

In the petition, Adamu complained over allegations of corruption charges against the former governor just as he urged the ward leaders to investigate the matter to redeem the dented image of the party and the implication on President Bola Tinubu’s fight against corruption.

Although the chairman and secretary of the ward failed to act on the petition filed on April 8, 2024, nine members of the executives, led by the legal adviser, acted upon the petition, a decision that led to Ganduje’s suspension.

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Ogun Assembly passes Assembly Commission Amendment bill

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The Ogun House of Assembly on Wednesday passed the State House of Assembly Service Commission (Amendment) Bill, 2024.

The passage of the bill followed  presentation of the Committee’s report by the Chairman, House Committee on Establishments and Public Service Matters, Mr Babatunde Tella at plenary in Abeokuta.

Tella moved the motion for its adoption, seconded by Mr Adeyanju Adegoke and supported by all the members.

The bill was later read and adopted clause by clause before the Committee of Whole.

The Majority Leader, Mr Yusuf Sheriff, moved the motion for the third reading of the bill, seconded by the Minority Leader, Mr Lukmon Adeleye and supported by the Whole House through a unanimous voice vote.

Consequently, the Deputy Clerk of the House, Mrs Funmilayo Adeyemi, took the third reading of the bill before the lawmakers.

The Speaker, Mr Oludaisi Elemide, directed that the clean copy of the bill be forwarded to Gov. Dapo Abiodun for his assent.

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Abuja court gives EFCC go-ahead to arrest ex-Kogi Governor, Yahaya Bello

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A Federal High Court, Abuja, on Wednesday, ordered that a warrant be issued to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for immediate arrest of former Governor of Kogi, Alhaji Yahaya Bello.

Justice Emeka Nwite, in a ruling on EFCC’s ex-parte motion, held that after listening to the submission of commission’s counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, SAN, and reading the affidavit in support of the motion, including the exhibits and written address, he was inclined to grant the application.

It was earlier reported that a High Court sitting in Lokoja on Wednesday, restrained the EFCC from arresting, detaining and prosecuting Bello

Justice I.A Jamil, who gave the order in a two-hour judgment delivered in suit no HCL/68/M/2020, held that infringing on Bello’s “fundamental human rights is null and void.”

The judge, who dismissed the commission’s application challenging the jurisdiction of the court, said: “By this order, the EFCC is hereby restrained from arresting, detaining and prosecuting the applicant.

“This is a definite order following the earlier interim injunction given.”

However, in a ruling delivered by Justice Nwite on Wednesday, the judge ordered that a warrant be issued to the commission for Bello’s immediate arrest.

He also directed that the former governor be produced before the court on April 18 for arraignment.

“It is hereby ordered as follows:

“That an order of this honourable court is hereby made directing and/or issuing a warrant for the immediate arrest of the defendant for the purpose of bringing him before this honourable court for arraignment.

“That case is adjourned to 18th day of April, 2024 for arraignment,” he declared.

NAN reports that the EFCC, in the motion ex-parte marked: FHC/ABJ/CR/98/2024 dated April 16 and filed April 17, sought six orders.

These include “an order granting leave to the complainant/applicant to effect service of the charge together with the proof of evidence on the defendant by substituted means to wit; by pasting the charge at the last known address of the defendant within the jurisdiction of this honourable court being: 9, Benghazi Street, Wuse Zone 4, Abuja.

“An order directing and/or issuing an arrest warrant for the immediate arrest of the defendant for the purpose of bringing him before this honourable court for arraignment.”

In the alternative, the anti-graft agency sought an order issuing and directing the publishing of a public summons requiring/ commanding the defendant to appear before the court on a named date, among others.

The conflicting orders came after the EFCC had appealed against the initial order, and the appeal was scheduled for hearing on April 22 in Appeal No: CA/ABJ/CV/175/2024 between EFCC and Alhaji Yahaya Bello.

The Yahaya Bello Media Office had, in a statement signed by Onogwu Mohammed, alerted the nation to a siege on the former Governor’s Abuja residence.

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