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Gentlemen of the Press, events in the legislative chambers of our dear Country in the recent past, particularly in the regards of elections and electoral processes have put dire burden on all men and women of goodwill in this Country, as well as organizations to act/take step(s) to checkmate what could aptly be designated as the (most potent and) hugest threat to Transparent and Credible polls in Nigeria, today. The reason or reasons for this are clear; Credible Elections not just elections, are at the heart of Democracy and so does any threat to this portend not just great danger, but risk to the sustenance of the said democracy. This threat cum risk patently extends to the stability, peace, and security of the Country itself.
The orchestrated plot against the electronic transmission of votes in Nigeria by anti-democratic elements who have no iota of love or interest of Nigeria or the common man at heart and being arrow-headed by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) is a case in point that aptly captures this threat-scenario.
Nigerians watched in awe as officials of the NCC, including ranking ones; its Executive Vice Chairman, Prof Umaru Danbatta and Executive Director, Maska Ubiale, who ordinarily were expected to know better and act with greater sense of responsibility and patriotism, took to the floor of the National Assembly to unleash a rehearse of groundless fabrications, deliberate falsehoods, including self-contradictions with the sole purpose of taking down proposed electronic transmission of votes, a key and critical element pivotal to credible elections in Nigeria and of which the National Assembly had slated for deliberation and passage. The N.C.C officials, in their blind quest to achieve their insidious agenda, contradicted all factual and evidential prognosis, data, etc that clearly point to the fact that electoral votes can be effectively transmitted electronically.
The benefits of electronic transmission of votes cannot be over emphasized, they are as myriad as they are profound; transmitting votes electronically drastically reduces credibility issues associated with manual transmission of voting tallies during elections; it reduces costs in very significant levels and same as associated risks to persons (ad hoc) and officials handling manual transmission.
All over the globe, Countries and enduring democracies have toed this line of practice. Here in Nigeria, the electoral body INEC has courageously stated that votes can be transmitted electronically, and that it has the capacity to carry out this. This stance it declared after due and exhaustive synergetic works and consultations with all machineries and entities relevant to the process including, the N.C.C.
It is therefore the height of perfidy for the Vice Chairman of NCC, in collusion with the Commission’s Executive Director and other officials of the NCC to embark on deliberate falsehood, hoodwink and mis-lead of gullible lawmakers and by extension Nigerians on the electronic transmission of votes in Nigeria, up to the point of the Commission over-reaching itself even on verifiable facts as on broadband penetration, etc that are within public domain cum knowledge, all in a bid to satisfy certain entrenched political interests.
What the N.C.C officials have done is a huge betrayal of public trust and therefore criminal. They have also treated the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria under which they swore on oath of honesty before the floor of the NASS, with contempt and scorn. Both are serious infractions that need be held to account.
We therefore strongly and unequivocally demand as follows.
i. That the National Assembly blacklists the NCC officials who colluded and presented falsified information and falsehoods to mislead it on a matter as critical to sustainable democracy and national stability as the electronic transmission of electoral votes.
ii. That the Inspector General of Police promptly sets in motion, machinery to arrest, investigate and prosecute all the N.C.C officials who participated in this ignominious perfidy at the floor of the National Assembly including the arrowhead Mr Ubiale Manzo. This action should be extended to any other external collaborators who participated in this criminal plot.
iii. That the Inspector General of Police must within 14-days from today carry out the above duty, failure of which Nigerians will be mobilized across all divides to promptly pursue other course or courses within our powers as citizens of this country to compel him to act as should.
iv. That the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, should ignore all the orchestrations of anti-democratic shenanigans and courageously dedicate itself to conducting a free, fair and credible elections and importantly transmit voters tallies electronically as they have the backing of Nigerian Citizens.
v. That Nigerians knowing now who their real enemies are, should mobilize against all their representatives that voted against electronic transmission of vote tallies.
vi. That Mr. President should only give ascent to the Electoral Act Amendment Bill 2021 after:
a) The deletion of the proviso to Section 52(2) that requires transmission of election results by INEC to be subjected to the clearance of NCC and NASS since that fly on the face of every known norm or practice in any electoral process globally especially as it erodes the independence of INEC and will ultimately lead to electoral crises which he must not allow to happen.
b) The deletion of Section 65 that has removed the powers of INEC to review results declared under duress or in contravention of electoral law and guidelines.
c) The deletion of Section 88 which has completely monetized the democratic process as only moneybags can contest elections in Nigeria as campaign expenses for the presidential election have been increased from N1 billion to N15 billion; the governorship election, from N200 million to N5 billion; Senate poll, from N40 million to N1.5 billion; House of Representatives, from N30 million to N500 million; and the State House of Assembly election, from N10 million to N50 million. In a country where the national minimum wage is N30,000 only the stupendously rich who may have stolen public fund or sponsored by drug barons can run for public offices.
1. Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria – Chima Williams
2. Social Development Integrated Centre (Social Action) – Vivian Bellonwu
3. Centre for Environment, Human Rights and Development – Styven Obodoekwe
4. Campaign for Transformative Governance – Jaye Gaskia
This statement is further supported and endorsed by:
1. The Peoples Alternative Political Movement (TPAP-M) – Omotoye Olorode
2. Liberation Party – Awopetu Idowu
3. Health of Mother Earth Foundation – Nnimmo Bassey
4. Centre for Accountability and Public Participation Africa – Philip Jakpor
5. Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre – Auwal Ibrahim Musa
6. Socialist Congress of Nigeria – Akin Fasoranbaku
7. Centre for Information Technology and Development – Y. Z. Ya’u
8. Tubali Development Initiative – Hauwa Mustapha
9. Caring Heart Initiative for Advocacy, Development & Empowerment – Grace Ese Obakina
10. Cee-Hope Nigeria – Betty Abah
11. Centre for Human Rights and Social Advancement – Yusha’u Sani Yankuzo
12. African Centre for Media & Information Literacy – Chido Onuma
13. Host Communities Network of Nigeria – Prince Barbs Preye Pawuru
14. Good Talk Development Initiative – Otto Ikpe
15. Civil Liberties Organization, South South Zone – Karl Uchegbu
16. Kebethkache Women Development and Resource Centre – Emem Okon
17. Centre for Media, Environment and Development Communication – Constance Meju
18. Socio Economic Research and Development Centre – Tijani Abdulkareem
19. Rainbow Watch Development and Resource Centre – Michael Gbarale
20. Centre for Basic Rights Protection and Accountability Campaign – Prince Wiro
21. Arise for Gender and Livelihoods Initiative – Deborah Effiong
22. Pius Dukor Foundation – Pius Dukor
23. Disabilities Awareness Welfare Development and Rights Initiative – Sharon Chidiebere Ohaka
24. Community Outreach for Development and Welfare Advocacy – Taiwo Otitolaye
25. ANPEZ Centre for Environment and Development – Everest Nwankwo
26. Initiative for Community Development – Benjamin Ogbalor
27. Centre for Transparency Advocacy – Faith Nwadishi
28. Koyenum Immalah Foundation – MacDonald Ekemezie
29. Network on Good Governance – Peter Nwadishi
30. Lekeh Development Foundation – Nbani Friday Barilule
31. Community Development Advocacy Foundation – Benin Richard
32. Solomon Shepherd Foundation – Iyobhebhe S. O.
33. Kallop Humanitarian and Environmental Centre – Kadu Anthony Aalo
34. Gbolekekro Women and Youth Empowerment and Development Organization – Cynthia Buluebiere Bright
35. Egbema Voice of Freedom – Evaristus Nicholas
36. Community Forest Watch – Ajele Sunday
37. Ethics and Corporate Compliance Institute of Nigeria – Chike Jideani
38. Re-educating Africans on the Risks and Dangers of Unplanned Journeys Abroad & Empowering the Youths – Evans Ehiremen
39. Center for Development Support Initiatives – Mina Ogbanga
40. Association of Rural Chiefs for Peace and Development – Alagbo Nengi James
41. Civil Liberties Organization Bayelsa State Branch – David West
42. Niger Delta Development Monitoring Group – Okorobia Gideon
43. Peace Point Development Foundation – Umo Isua-Ikoh
44. Women Rights and Empowerment Initiative – Onwuka C.C.
45. Protest to Power Movement – Motunde Nathaniel
46. Take Back Nigeria Movement – Godwin Frank
47. Grassroots Development and Empowerment Foundation – Patrick Amah
48. Foundation for Good Governance and Social Change – Austin Osakue
49. Mothers And Marginalized Advocacy Centre – Chioma Kanu
50. Youths Against Disaster Initiative – Abubakar Jimoh
51. One Love Community Development – Agboro Andrew
52. Development Outreach International – Okpara A. Ndidi
53. Policy Alert – Nneka Luke-Ndumere
54. Final Push (Nig) Movement – Friday O. Ogierhiakhi
55. Africa Centre For Environmental and Rural Development – Nohwo Fred
56. Centre For Rural Emancipation Economic & Social Development – Christian C. Okororie
57. Organization for the Sustainance of the Nigerian Environment – Angela Okoye
58. Community Initiative for Enhanced Peace and Development – Egondu Esinwoke
59. Jamessira Centre for Development – Bagbi K. Innocent
60. Rivers Community Content Initiative – Henry Eferegbo
61. Media Awareness and Justice Initiative – Okoro Onyekachi Emmanuel
62. Hands to Help International Foundation – Mercy Awhana Alakis
63. Okerio Okoro Anthony Development Foundation – Joy Okerio
64. Reed Center – Voke Ighorodje
65. Value Rebirth and Empowerment Initiative – Edewor Egedegbe
66. Global Women for Quality and Sustainable Development – Kadiri A. Mariam
67. Initiative for Peace and Stability – Joy Tobele
68. Hope 4life Initiative – Ogana Johnson
69. Participatory Initiative for Peace and Development – Robert Osahor
70. Centre for Community Excellence – Adamu Abubakar Kotorkoshi
71. Society for Women and Youths Affairs – Amanie Stella
72. MBA Okase Initiative – Patience Osaroejiji
73. Centre for Truth and Liberty – Olusesan Semaiye
74. Development & Integrity Intervention Goal Foundation – Ajah Chima Oliver
75. Human Rights and Conflicts Resolution Center – George Etamesor
76. Youths and Environmental Advocacy Centre – Fyneface Dumnamene Fyneface
77. More Action Less Talk – Alpha J. Marshall
78. Sunshine Progressive Youth Alliance – Joel Samuel Feyisola
79. Neighbourhood Environment Watch Foundation – Kelechukwu Okezie
80. Global Care Rescue Mission – Egbe Princess M. Elizabeth
81. Foundation for Environmental Rights, Advocacy & Development – Nelson Nnanna Nwafor
82. Great Gender Grassroots Foundation – Leah O. Solomon
83. Chiroma Yakubu Charity Foundation – Ahmed Bala Gassol
84. Women and Young People Awareness Initiative – Ovenaone Jennifer Uniga
85. Save Life Community Initiative – Joshua David Kaka
86. Dephee Peace and Community Development Initiative – Bulus Audu Daniel
87. Tansana Health and Community Integrated Development Initiative – Yoila Samari Raymond
88. Center for Peace Education and Community Development – Joseph Gimba
89. Peace and Development Projects – Francis Abayomi
90. Initiative for Women Empowerment and Development – Assumpta Nwakanma
91. Society for Economic Rights and Social Justice – Andy Orji
92. Initiative For Ideal Development and Leadership In Nigeria – Nwokocha Anozie Innocent
93. Our Lady of Perpetual Help Initiative – Loretta Ahuokpeme
94. Development Research and Synergy Initiative – Princess Victoria Umoh
95. Status for Youths Development and Total Health Initiative/Patriotic Leaders of Nigeria – Otobo Denis
96. Global Network for Peace and Development – Sylvester Okoduwa
97. The Southern Free Press Incorporated – Anthony Ita Etim
98. Legislative Media Advocacy Initiative – Kehinde Akintola
99. Association of Women Farmers of Nigeria – Joan N. Obazee
100. Public Enlightenment Projects – Lilian Ezenwa
101. Samsuji Global Rescue Foundation – Samuel Chibueze Osuji
102. Center for Human Rights Advocacy and Wholesome Society – Okoye Chuka Peter
103. Centre for Sustained Dialogue – Omotosho Hakeem
104. Take A Cue Development Initiative – Abiola Daisy Igaga
105. The Havids Centre for Environment & Development – Macmorrison Harry
106. Women Youths and Children Advancement Program – Agatha Osieke
107. Ndoki Youth Federation – Henry Okebugwu Nwigwe
108. Rural Health and Women Development – Regina Fabian
109. League of Queens International Empowerment – Idongesit Alexander
110. Women Initiative on Climate Change – Nne Umoren
111. Alauchi Women Development Initiative – Glory Alexander
112. Egi Women Human Right Environmental Justice Initiative – Precious Ibegwura
113. Uyo Iban Amplifier – Okoho Ene
114. Human Rights, Justice and Peace Foundation – Cassius Ukwugbe
115. Centre for the Advancement of Children and Women’s Rights – Naomi Onuoha
116. African Centre for Human Advancement and Resource Support – Amaka Biachi
117. Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law – Courage Nsirimovu
118. Foundation for Conservation of Nigerian Rivers – Irikefe V. Dafe
119. Get A ;ife Advocacy And Advancement Initiative – Happiness Ntuenibok O.
120. Centre for Citizenship Capacity Advancement & Development Alternatives – Boney Akaeze
121. National Coalition on Gas Flaring and Oil Spill in the Niger Delta – Edward O. Obi
122. Coalition Against Gas Flaring (CAGAF)
123. Alliance On Surviving COVID 19 And Beyond (ASCAB)
124. Green Alliance Nigeria (GAN)