ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – United States Attorney Alexander M.M. Uballez announced today that Assistant United States Attorney (AUSA) Jeremy Peña will lead the efforts of his office in connection with the Justice Department’s nationwide Election Day Program for the upcoming November 8, 2022, general election. AUSA Peña has been appointed to serve as the District Election Officer (DEO) for the District of New Mexico, and in that capacity is responsible for overseeing the District’s handling of election day complaints of voting rights concerns, threats of violence to election officials or staff, and election fraud, in consultation with Justice Department Headquarters in Washington.
“Every citizen must be able to vote without interference or discrimination and to have that vote counted in a fair and free election,” said United States Attorney Uballez. “Similarly, election officials and staff must be able to serve without being subject to unlawful threats of violence. The Department of Justice will always work tirelessly to protect the integrity of the election process.”
The Department of Justice has an important role in deterring and combatting discrimination and intimidation at the polls, threats of violence directed at election officials and poll workers, and election fraud. The Department will address these violations wherever they occur. The Department’s longstanding Election Day Program furthers these goals and seeks to ensure public confidence in the electoral process by providing local points of contact within the Department for the public to report possible federal election law violations.
Federal law protects against such crimes as threatening violence against election officials or staff, intimidating or bribing voters, buying and selling votes, impersonating voters, altering vote tallies, stuffing ballot boxes, and marking ballots for voters against their wishes or without their input. It also contains special protections for the rights of voters, and provides that they can vote free from interference, including intimidation, and other acts designed to prevent or discourage people from voting or voting for the candidate of their choice. The Voting Rights Act protects the right of voters to mark their own ballot or to be assisted by a person of their choice (where voters need assistance because of disability or inability to read or write in English).
United States Attorney Uballez stated that: “The franchise is the cornerstone of American democracy. We all must ensure that those who are entitled to the franchise can exercise it if they choose, and that those who seek to corrupt it are brought to justice. In order to respond to complaints of voting rights concerns and election fraud during the upcoming election, and to ensure that such complaints are directed to the appropriate authorities, AUSA/DEO Peña will be on duty in this District while the polls are open. He can be reached by the public at the following telephone numbers: (505) 224-1451 and (505) 269-2038.”
In addition, the FBI will have special agents available in each field office and resident agency throughout the country to receive allegations of election fraud and other election abuses on election day. The FBI Albuquerque Field Office can be reached by the public at 1-800-CALL-FBI or (505) 889-1300.
Complaints about possible violations of the federal voting rights laws can be made directly to the Civil Rights Division in Washington, DC, by phone at 800-253-3931 or by complaint form at https://civilrights.justice.gov/ .
“Ensuring free and fair elections depends in large part on the assistance of the American electorate,” said United States Attorney Uballez. “It is important that those who have specific information about voting rights concerns or election fraud make that information available to the Department of Justice.”
Please note, however, in the case of a crime of violence or intimidation, please call 911 immediately and before contacting federal authorities. State and local police have primary jurisdiction over polling places, and almost always have faster reaction capacity in an emergency.
Free and fair elections are the cornerstone of American democracy. Individuals who oversee and participate in the administration of elections to include poll workers, volunteers, and election officers, help safeguard the integrity of the democratic process. The FBI continues to prioritize identifying, mitigating, and investigating threats targeting election workers and provides the following information to assist the public in reporting threats of violence against election workers.
Threats to Election Workers
Threats to election workers not only threaten the safety of the individuals concerned, but also jeopardize the stability of the US electoral process. The FBI defines “election workers” broadly as individuals who have responsibility over one or more aspects of election administration in the U.S., including elected officials, appointed officials, staff, volunteers, contractors, vendors and liaisons. Specific examples of election workers include, but are not limited to:
A Secretary of State or someone in their staff
An employee of a state or county’s board of elections
An individual volunteering at polling stations
Clerks handling and counting casted ballots
There are various means in which threats can be communicated to election workers, such as telephone communications, social media posts, e-mail communications, as well as in-person. Regardless of the manner in which the threat or harassment is conveyed, the FBI takes all threats of violence targeting election workers seriously.
What the FBI is doing
In June 2021, the Department of Justice, in close partnership with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, established the Threats to Election Workers Task Force (Task Force) to identify, mitigate, and investigate reports of threats targeting election workers. The Task Force receives and assesses reports of threats targeting election workers to determine next steps, in consultation with the Department of Justice.
Victim Reporting and Additional Information
The FBI encourages the public to report information concerning suspicious or criminal activity to their local FBI field office. For additional election-related assistance and resources, please visit the following FBI webpages:
Consistent with past practice, the FBI is providing this information to ensure that all qualified voters have the opportunity to cast their ballots and have their votes counted free of discrimination, intimidation and suppression in the upcoming Nov. 8, 2022, general election.
Seattle – U.S. Attorney Nick Brown today issued the following statement as Western Washington voters mark their primary ballots and prepare to use ballot drop boxes throughout the Western District of Washington.
“Voter intimidation is a federal crime and any attempt to harass or discourage citizens from voting at our state’s secure election drop boxes will be investigated and prosecuted in federal court, said U.S. Attorney Brown. “We recognize and revere the First Amendment right to free speech and political debate. But there is a time when protected speech turns into acts of intimidation or threats of violence. We will work with our law enforcement partners to investigate threats of violence, hate crimes, and any effort to intimidate voters or those tasked with ensuring free and fair elections in our state.”
Under federal law, it is a felony to intimidate or threaten other persons to discourage them from voting or for assisting others in voting. This crime is punishable by up to five years in prison. Federal law also prohibits bribing voters, buying and selling votes, impersonating voters, altering vote tallies, stuffing ballot boxes, and marking ballots for voters against their wishes or without their input. It also contains special protections for the rights of voters and provides that they can vote free from acts that intimidate or harass them. Further, federal law protects the right of voters to mark their own ballot or to be assisted by a person of their choice (where voters need assistance because of disability or illiteracy).
Through the primary and general election periods, the U.S. Attorney’s Office will have District Election Officer Seth Wilkinson working with the FBI and other law enforcement agencies to investigate and respond to any reports of voter intimidation or threats. Assistant United States Attorney Wilkinson can be reached at (206) 553-7970 and ask to leave a message with the Civil Rights complaint hotline. The local FBI field office can be reached by the public at (206) 622-0460.
The Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC) has fixed March 23, 2019 for supplementary elections in Adamawa, Bauchi, Benue, Kano, Plateau and Rivers state, where according to the commission elections were declared inconclusive.
But with the Osun state governsotrship elections still fresh in the minds of Nigerians, the electorate now interprete inconclusive elections to mean the installing of political office holders through other methods except the ballot.
The electorate lament the state of anarchy atmosphere, elections took place, while insisting that those who emerge from elections characterized by desperation, violence, killings, cover ups and rigging would never be able to ensure good governance since they would always be haunted by the process that facilitated their emergence.
Surprisingly, the powers that be still believe that Nigerians are gullible, which, if unfolding events are anything to go by, is no longer the case.
From the Presidential and National Assembly elections to the Governorship and State Houses of Assembly elections, all has not been well, the coming days and weeks shall give flesh this assertion.
Leaders Ought to Develop the Right Mindset for Good Governance. Read more-https://bit.ly/2UzjsVi
Despite Flawed General Elections Nigeria is Still One by the Grace of God-Grand Imam Shafauden-in-Islam Worldwide. Read more-https://bit.ly/2HivKi2
Nigerians will on Saturday go to their various polling units to vote for candidates of their choice in the Governorship and State Houses of Assembly elections.
Although the Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC) and the security agencies have assured Nigerians that the elections would be free, fair, credible, devoid of violence and killings, as was the case in the Presidential and National Assembly elections, the electorate are taking this assurance with a pinch of salt, just as they rest their hopes on God.
In this interview with Federationews2day, the Founder, Spiritual Head and Grand Imam of Shafaudeen-in-Islam Worldwide, Prof, Sabitu Olagoke appeals to INEC and the security agencies not to subvert the electoral process, while asserting that voters should be given the free will to vote for candidates of their choice without regard to any overbearing influence. Excerpts :
What are your words to the electorate as they prepare to vote for candidates of their choice in the Governorship and State Houses of Assembly elections on Saturday ?
Firstly, let's talk about the lessons that have been learnt from the outcome of the Presidential and National Assembly elections, which serves as a warning to the politicians in general and those elected into various offices to serve, that performance matters most, most especially in the area of service to humanity, which places emphasis on the electorate and the environment.
The failure to recognize this fact and meditate on it, was majorly responsible for the fall of some erstwhile political giants and their political parties at the polls. For example, after eight years in office, some state Governors fell by the way side, in their bid to get to the Senate. Those who did not fall, have been seen to be unpopular among the people.
For the Governorship and State Houses of Assembly elections, two episodes will play out, some will be voted for, by virtue of their credentials of credibility, even when the party is not liked and some will be voted for through party leanings, even when the substance of credibility is lacking in the candidates. Whatever way it occurs, Nigerians must be very careful not to lose their heads out of unnecessary passion.
So, we must not turn the situation into that of violence, because according to Gen. Abdulsalam Abubakar(rtd) Nigerians must embrace peace.
It should be noted that none of the politicians, the electorate will vote for, including their children would be affected, if the unexpected happens; rather the masses who constitute the majority of the electorate, would kill themselves, without any hope for compensation.
Nigeria must not play the fool of the tower of Babel, which was built with rigour and vigour, but got destroyed without the completion of the project, due to skirmishes, a fall out of disorganized information system and communication lag.
The Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC) must not be bought over for posterity sake, while the commission must retain its role as a credible umpire.
The issue of logistics and functionality of the Smart Card Readers(SCR)ought to have been resolved before the day of election, which is March 9, 2019.
In the case of the Observers, local and international, on ground for the election, Nigerians should take care not to wash their dirty linens in the open glare of the international community.
For the security agents who will protect the electorate, INEC staff and Ad Hoc staff, they must display a high level of maturity and professionalism.
They must be able to disarm trouble makers without the use of firearms. They must be able to provide adequate security at the various polling units, while also ensuring the safety of electoral materials and the offices of INEC.
Politicians have continually embarrassed their followers and supporters through the buying and selling of votes.
The implication of this ugly practice, is that our children may now imbibe pilfering as a culture, while also embracing examination malpractice as a way of life.
We must not forget that the mirror image of the society, which we are bastardizing through ungodly acts is a fall out of our attitudinal challenges, which is already having a direct effect on the psyche of the youth !
Is it not paradoxically funny that the political scientists continue to remain as fathers of politics in the Ivory Towers, even though they have failed to produce exceptional politicians for the society.
This is a direct challenge to the functionality of our educational status.
Above all, voters must not be harassed, intimidate, threatened or misled into voting against their conscience.
What should be of paramount importance to Nigerians today, is credible leadership and good governance, which can only emerge through voting according to the dictates of the voters' conscience and the fact that the votes must count.
My appeal therefore to Nigerians, is to give peace a chance, so that we can turn our various communities into environments of peace, where justice, equity peace and development shall be paramount in the minds of the emerging leaders for the states, whose activities in government shall be people oriented.
- By solomon2day
- On 04/03/2019
The March 9, Governorship and House of Assembly elections will definitely not have the credibility it deserves when the credibility and acceptability of the February 23 Presidential and National Assembly elections still hangs in the balance.
Indeed, most Nigerians are continually speaking out, that the results of the elections does not represent their will.
Sadly, the President Muhammadu Buhari led Government is determined to impose its desire on Nigerians, which is the basis of the confusion in most parts of the country.
Indeed, if the experience, credentials and leadership qualities of candidates, some unseen faces are vigorously making efforts to impose on the people in a number of states are anything to go by, the conclusion will be that the electorate must be careful on their choice of Governorship and state House of Assembly candidates.
Without doubt, candidates who possess the ability to deliver, are the flag bearers of the lesser known parties, while those who openly display the fact that they have the financial muscle to buy 'power' are in the so called 'big' Political Parties.
It is definite, that the people are making all efforts to free themselves from years of bondage, that is why caution can be the only word to guide them as they vote in another election to be conducted by the same Independent National Electoral Commssion(INEC), whose inability to conduct, free, fair and credible elections is now in the open
Re-Election of President Buhari Divine, But A Lot Still Has to Be Done-Grand Imam Shafaudeen-in-Islam
Nigerians woke up on Monday morning to receive the news that the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC) Prof. Mahmood Yakubu had declared President Muhammadu Buhari the candidate of the All Progressives Congress(APC)the winner of Nigeria's presidential election, a few minutes to 4.00 AM, while they were still in bed.However, the timing of the declaration, saved the country of widespread protests, as Nigerians continue to insist that the electoral process was not free, fair and credible, in addition they lamented that the whole process had been compromised long before the elections.Already, the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) Alhaji Atiku Abubakar has rejected the results and vowed to challenge the results in the law court, just as he promised to reclaim his mandate.In this interview with People, the Founder, Spiritual Head and Grand Imam of Shafuadeen-in-Islam Worldwide, Prof. Sabitu Olgaoke says the re-election of President Buhari is purely divine, even though a lot still has to be done. Excerpts :What is your reaction to the victory of the incumbent President at the just concluded presidential elections ?The battle for the prestigious and sensitive position of the President among the 73 presidential candidates has come and gone. But the real battle was between President Muhammadu Buhari and former Vice President Abubakar Atiku.Ideally, President Buhari was not supposed to have any problem, but an easy sail to victory, if his state Governors had performed up to expectation in their various states, where the ruling APC was supposed to have very close contact with the people, which would have resulted in a resounding impact on their lives.Sadly,contrary was the case and this could be seen in the outstanding performance of the PDP, in a number of states, including Oyo and Ondo states.In these two states particularly, people have been hurt and irredeemable damage inflicted on them by their expected saviour- the APC government in the states.Besides this , employment was toyed with by the APC government at all levels.The APC victory was based on the political passion and sentiments of the people for President Buhari, who was daily insulted by the opposition and whose party , the APC, was bedeviled by intrigues and pockets of civilian coup de Grace, if only the APC had lived up to expectation there would not have been any chance for the PDP to rise again to the level of wrestling power from the ruling party.The re-election of President Buhari is purely divine, because according to our yearly predictions from Shafaudeen-in-Islam Worldwide, it was revealed that the party and some of its big names would fall by the wayside, despite the efforts they might put up to save their faces, but President Buhari would be re-elected against all odds, the Chief Olusegun Obasanjo and other retired Generals factors notwithstanding.The prediction went on further to state that the former Vice President, Alhaji Abubakar Atiku would be deceived by some of his home men to play him out, his spending power notwithstanding.Besides all these, the campaign messages of the two parties influenced the pattern of voting.For example President Buhari said that he would continue to hunt for treasury looters, although Nigerians are not all that impressed with the anti-corruption fight.On the other hand the former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku declared that he would grant amnesty to treasury looters caught so far and that the NNPC would be sold, which brought back the memory of the privatization saga and the Halliburton scandal.Also, Former President Obasanjo's book ''My Watch'' which outlined the corrupt tendencies of the Former Vice President has not helped matters.Nigerians were therefore left to choose from the two. This ultimately resulted in the present situation, despite the fact that the electoral process was fraught with anomalies, which Prof. Yakubu considered not to be significant enough to declare the election inconclusive or null and void.What is most important now, is for INEC to perfect the shortcomings in logistics, the malfunction of the Smart Card Readers as well as the very major area of security, which must be strengthened for the Governorship and State Houses of Assembly elections, for it to be peaceful and without any hitch.The spirit of sportsmanship must be imbibed by all parties to give peace a chance.Equally important is for the emerging government to avoid party dictates that may be offensive to the possible formation of a strong government that would walk the talk.The winner takes all syndrome must be rejected because the functions and responsibilities of governance are in need of people who are serious, patriotic, disciplined and who have zero tolerance for corruption.Such people must be skill based, but unfortunately, no single party has a monopoly of these vital elements. These elements cut across party lines and also transcends political parties.This is the only way by which all congratulatory messages to Mr. President elect could be meaningfully justified in the next political dispensation.
- By solomon2day
- On 20/02/2019
The Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) has raised the alarm over the Oyo state Government's use of intimidation, threats and harrassment on the leadership of the Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC) in the state to cow it to compromise the electoral process.
The PDP made this revelation on Wednesday, through its Presidential Campaign Coordinator in Oyo state, Dr. Nureni Adeniran at a Press Conference in Ibadan, Nigeria.
'' It has been brought to our attention that the ruling party, APC has been threatening, intimidating and pressurizing the top echelon of the Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC) to do their unlawful bidding. APC through the Governor, was alleged to have approached the Resident Electoral Commissioner in Oyo state, Barr. Mutiu Agboke, to do their bidding and was harrassed and threatened that if he does not do their bidding, he would ensure that he is transferred out of Oyo state''
''Contrary to the directve that sensitive election materials should be returned to CBN, the Governor insisted it should be returned to Government House. Although it was resisted by the INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner, Barr. Mutiu Agboke. The fact that the effort was made by the Governor makes it bad enough for our Democracy at this auspicious time''.
''At the instance of APC and their cohorts, the smart card readers that were supposed to be configured at INEC office in Ibadan, concerted efforts were made to get it configured at the Agodi Government House, Ibadan through coercion''.
''Allegations of outright thumb printing at the Government House leveled against the Governor since last week, has not been refuted up till now. We demand investigation into this allegation since our campaign council was inundated with calls from different quarters'', Dr. Addeniran stated.
The PDP also called on staff of INEC and other agencies that would play roles in the general elections, not to ''succumb to pressure from the ruling party or anyone at all to carry out any illegal and untoward practices that could change the will of the people which can truncate our fledging Democracy''.
''We don't want a situation where they would subvert the will of the people. We should cry out on time so that the people of Oyo state will know what is going on'', he concluded
There is widespread discontentment across Nigeria, against the postponement of the Presidential, National Assembly, Governorship and the State Houses of Assembly elections by the Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC) .
Nigerians are fully convinced that there is a lot of foul play, regardless of the reasons put forward by the INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu.
Interestingly, the Minister of State for Aviation, Sirika Hadi insisted that the INEC Chairman's claim that bad weather contributed to the postponement of the general elections, was a lie, while stressing that airports across the country were directed to remain open round the clock.
Before the eventual postponement, Nigerians were subjected to funny treatment by INEC staff, in their bid to register and collect their Permanent Voters Cards(PVC) in several parts of the country.
Sadly, a large population of Nigerians are yet to collect their PVCs , just as INEC has refused to make public the total number of PVCs that have been collected by prospective voters nationwide.
Of note, is the fact that Prof. Yakubu has admitted that the Senatorial candidate of the All Progressives Congress(APC) for the Niger East Senatorial District of Niger state, Mohammed Sani Musa, was a registered contractor with the commission.
Musa's company, Activate Technologies, is responsible for the supply of the machines that INEC used to print the PVCs.
Even though Prof. Yakubu asserted that all is well, this is far from the truth, considering unfolding events that has made it very glaring that the electoral process has been compromised.
Of great worry, is that fact that the INEC headquarters has recalled all the Smart Card Readers(SCR) from all its state offices in the country. Why ?
This is the reality of the present time.
The electoral process had long been designed to suit the wishes of the ''POWERS THAT BE'' and the postponement was just a face saving strategy.
Most members of the National Youth Service Corps(NYSC) recruited as Ad hoc staff by the electoral umpire, had earlier on influenced their NYSC postings to choice states, while a negligible number of those who were lucky to be recruited by INEC, were stranded on the day of the postponed elections.
They had no accommodation, the commission did not release their allowances and most of them were unable to locate the polling units they were posted to.
In the Oyo state office of INEC, a day before the postponed general elections, Journalists and Observers were sighted in business centres making frantic efforts to laminate their passport photographs on the papers, officials of INEC gave to them as accreditation.
Sadly, these papers might have got into the hands of individuals who have perfected same for an unknown agenda, although the commission received adequate funds to facilitate a convincing accreditation exercise for Journalists and Observers.
A Lagos Lawyer argued that it was illegal for the Acting Inspector General to restrict the movement of people and vehicles during elections.
The action of the Acting Inspector General might have made the electorate to lose confidence in the system.
Also disturbing, is the issue of the head of the electoral body donning the face cap with the logo and colours of the ruling party in a Television documentary.
Top politicians, speaking incognito, argue that the letter the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami wrote to the commission, requesting for the postponement of elections in Zamafara state and the lingering crisis in the ruling party's Rivers state chapter, contributed to the sudden decision of the umpire to shift the date of the general elections.
Indeed, the decision of the commission to resort to postponement is a demonstration of the high level of incompetence of those who call the shots in the commission.
With several lapses still waiting in the wings to pop up and the pretense of the commission that it would correct the situation within one week , it is doubtful if one week would be enough for the commission to address the several shortcomings, man-made or designed, to enable Nigerians elect a new generation of leaders that would steer the troubled ship of governance for the next four years.
The Resident Electoral Commissioner(REC) in Oyo state, Mr. Mutiu Agboke h has assured the electorate that the Commission would not act in anyway that would compromise the Permanent Voters Cards(PVC) still in its custody.
Mr. Agboke gave this assurance on Tuesday during a Media Briefing at the Commission's office in Ibadan, Nigeria.
''There is no pressure that would make me to compromise your results, there is no pressure that would make me compromise your Permanent Voters Cards. Nobody has put gun in my ears, I am not going to sell your PVCs. Nothing will happen to your PVCs. We are going to harmonize the PVCs and those not collected would be put in the custody of the Central Bank of Nigeria'', he stated.
The Resident Electoral Commissioner also dislosed that the commission was taking the issue of security before, during and after the elections seriously, saying'' the commission is leaving no stone unturned in the area of security of both men and electoral materials on the day of election''.
''That is why the Inter Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security(ICCES), chaired by the Commissioner of Police and co-Chaired by me has been meeting regularly to identify grey areas and flashpoints in the state in collaboration with respective Electoral officers. Security is to be beefed up at both state and local government offices of INEC, inorder to forestall any security threats during election periods'', Mr. Agoke concluded.
The Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC)
The United States stands by the millions of Congolese voters who went to the polls across the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) on December 30 to participate in presidential, legislative, and provincial assembly elections. Since independence in 1960, the DRC has never experienced a peaceful, democratic transfer of power. The December 30 election was therefore one of the most important elections in DRC history.
The United States was deeply concerned by the DRC’s National Independent Electoral Commission (CENI) decision to deny accreditation to several international election observers and media representatives. We also noted that confusion on election day over the location of polling stations, the posting of voter lists, the late delivery of some election materials, and CENI's unfortunate decision to cancel elections in Beni and Butembo in eastern DRC disenfranchised voters. Nevertheless, despite these challenges, millions of Congolese citizens turned out peacefully across DRC on election day to cast their ballots and make their voices heard. CENI must now ensure that these voices and votes are respected.
As the Congolese people, the region, and the world await patiently for the results of these elections, the internet must be restored and the media allowed to report freely. We strongly urge the CENI to ensure that votes are counted in a transparent and open manner, with observers present, and that the results reported by CENI are accurate and correspond to results announced at each of DRC's 75,000 polling stations. We support the African Union Election Observation Mission to DRC’s expectation, expressed on January 2, that the announced results align with votes cast by the Congolese people. As official results are tabulated and reported, we continue to urge DRC government officials, leaders of the DRC security forces, opposition party leaders, civil society representatives, and stakeholders from all sides to respect the law and reject violence.
There are moments in every nation’s history when individuals and political leaders step forward and do the right thing. This is one of those moments for the DRC. Those who enable a peaceful, democratic transfer of power out of respect for DRC’s constitution and the results of this election will be hailed, while those responsible for undermining democratic institutions and processes, threatening the peace, security, or stability of DRC or benefiting from corruption will be held accountable. Those who undermine the democratic process, threaten the peace, security or stability of the DRC, or benefit from corruption may find themselves not welcome in the United States and cut off from the U.S. financial system.
On December 30, millions of Congolese went peacefully to the polls. Now is the time for CENI to affirm that these votes were not cast in vain by ensuring the accurate reporting of election results.
United States Department of State Washington DC
For over three and a half years now, Nigerians have contended with hunger, poverty, unemployment and insecurity. Sadly, government at all levels have done little to address these hydra like challenges which have not only demoralized the citizenry, but also prompted them to continually and relentlessly rein curses on the country's political office holders. A cross section of civil society groups allege that the three tiers of government have deliberately impoverished the populace, as a way of compelling them to sell their votes in the 2019 general elections.
Interestingly,a former Head of State, Gen. Abdulsalam Abubakar(rtd) has advised Nigerians to stop complaining about their pitiable condition, but vote out leaders who have not met their expectations . In this interview with Federationews2day, the Founder, Spiritual Head and Grand Imam of Shafaudeen-in-Islam Worldwide, Prof. Sabitu Olagoke says Nigerians should seek God's guidance in the choice of candidates they will vote for. Excerpts :
The insinuation is that the Federal and State Governments have deliberately impoverished Nigerians for the purpose of ensuring that vote buying is the trend in the 2019 elections. What are your views ?
The history of poverty in Nigeria started in 1960, when our poverty index was 15 per cent, followed by the second republic in 1979 to 1983 at 28 per cent. The military interventions worsened the situation as it rose from 42 per cent to 65 per cent.
Then, in 1999, it rose to 70 per cent almost till this moment.
Chief Obafemi Awolowo campaigned against impoverishing the poor masses, because according to him, Nigerians irrespective of their tribes and social class must have access to free education which would eventual liberate the children of the poor from the clutches of poverty. From his time to that of Bola Ige education took a large chunk to support structure, facilities and books, while having a good plan of allowing children to trek to and from school. One could imagine the then government was for all Nigerians, most especially the impoverished masses, whom the government intended to emancipate. Unfortunately, the dedication and commitment of our founding fathers, on the issue of the growth and development of the nation and general welfare of the people suffered a great set back during the civil war as well as the attendant agitations for true reconstruction, reconciliation and rehabilitation which was poorly managed to warrant the present insurgency, militancy, kidnapping and damages to the ecology of the oil producing areas, which were agitating for resource control and the South East's secession call.
It is unfortunate that this government inherited an already failed and recessed economy, which they were unable to manage at par with their campaign magic of the change mantra.
The bastardized environment, bad economy and disorganized society now continue to groan under poverty, which had been artificially introduced due to the era of endemic corruption and institutionalized indiscipline.
Under this condition, the political class, derailed from the focus of the goal of Democracy as a need to enthrone credible leadership for the purpose of institutionalizing justice and equity concepts in order that there would be peace and sustainable development.
The attendant consequence of gross mismanagement of the economy, the people and the environment, thereafter has resulted in the worrisome situation of insecurity and unbearable poverty tending to the abject level for many.
The 2019 general elections ought to focus on how best we would be able to vote in patriotic Nigerians with outstanding leadership qualities that would be able to arrest the menace of the present social upheaval, starting from working on the psyche of all Nigerians for better attitude in an environment of strict institutional discipline that would only be achieved through leadership by sacrifice, integrity and service.
Nigerians therefore, need to be mindful of God, without emphasis on religion in order that credible candidates, who will have passion for the restoration of our core values and see human rights issues as the ability to provide equal opportunities and equal access to the people of Nigeria, the downtrodden ones inclusive.
Nigerians have been advised to resist the moves by politicians to use money and foodstuff to influence their votes in the 2019 general elections.
This advice was given by the Governorship candidate of the National Interest Party(NIP) in Oyo state, Mrs. Bolanle Sarumi Aliyu in a chat with People, in Ibadan, Nigeria.
''If any politician comes with money, don't accept it, tell them to provide empowerment. Don't collect one or two ''Kongos' of rice, don't collect blood money. You should not sell your votes'',Mrs. Sarumi advised.
She also advocated for the participation of more women in governance, saying, ''we need more women in government. Women suffer most, women's rights and children's rights have not been adequately catered for. Do you think a woman would be the Governor and children would be hawking on the streets ? No way.''
Women in the state complain bitterly of inadequate representation in all sectors of governance.
Government agents in Zimbabwe have launced a manhunt for Opposition MDC-T National Chiarman Morgan Komichi over his refusal to accept the election results declared by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission.
Four unidentified armed men had visited the Harare residence of Komichi on Sunday night searching for him.
However, the Police stated that Komichi and the MDC Alliance principal Tendai Biti are wanted.
Komichi, in a chat with People, confirmed that his life was in danger.
"I now fear for my life and my family because I left home 10 minutes before the armed men pounded on my wife and children looking for me. Luckily, I had just driven out," Komichi said.
The Rwanda National Electoral Commission has said that more women have shown interest in becoming members of Parliament.
There are 326 women among the 537 candidates that have shown interest to contest in the election.
This disclosure was made by the, Electoral Commission Chairperson, Prof Kalisa Mbanda, who stated that this was an indication that there was gender balance in Rwanda.
"It is good news that more women are vying for such high positions," Prof Mbanda noted.
Women occupy 64 seats in the lower House and it is a constitutional requirement in the country that women should have 30 per cent of administrative positions.
In addition, there are 24 exclusive women seats which are decided in indirect election.
A total of 179 women have shown interest in the 24 seats reserved for women.
Three provinces, Eastern, Sothern and Western, have six women representatives while the Northern Province has four women representatives followed by the City of Kigali with two women, according to NEC.
The Parliamentary election have been slated for September 3 and 4 and all the 80 seats in the Parliament are to be vied for.
Zimbabwe President, Mr. Emmerson Mnangagwa has warned those who intend to instigate the break down of law and order as the 2018 harmonized elections in the country draw near to have a rethink as the full wrath of the law will be visited on them.
President Mnangagwa handed down this warning on Tuesday, while addressing thousands of Zanu-PF supporters at a rally at Mubaira Growth Point.
"If anyone causes anarchy, the rule of law will prevail. We will not allow chaos in our country. We want peace. All those that are contesting are encouraged to contest in peace because we want law and order in our country.
"People should be allowed to do what they want, while respecting others and respecting peace."
"We accept that people have divergent views. People should not be attacked or abused because they differ with you. No, we cannot all think the same," he said.
"We now have a certain party that says it wants to shut down Harare and to shut down the country. God forbid! We have asked ourselves what this small party intends to do and how it intends to do it and on what grounds. Kana wangova mukaka wawadya, ingodya mukaka wako ugute zvakanaka.
"We are preaching peace and we are saying everyone, including this small party, has the freedom to go around the country to woo the people's vote. No one will stop any party from asking the people to vote for them, the President concluded.
In recent times, MDC-Alliance leader, Mr Nelson Chamisa has repeatedly threatened to "shut down the country" and "cause chaos" if his party loses next week's poll.
The electorate in Nigeria have been advised to resist the temptations of selling their votes in the 2019 general elections.
This advice was given by the Oyo state Chairman of the Young Democratic Party(YDP)Mr. Chris Ayantoye, in an interaction with PEOPLE.
''It is very unfortunate that in present day Nigeria, Nigerian citizens are still been deceived to sell their votes for money. It is not only sad, but regrettable, when people are seen struggling to collect money for their votes. I call on Nigerians not sell their votes in the coming 2019 general elections'', Mr. Ayantoye advised.
The Oyo state chapter of the Young Democratic Party Calls on all the good people of Oyo state to Collect their Permanent Voters Cards(PVC) from the INEC offices nearest to them
For further information, contact 08068964410/08104658995/07035538970
In 1998, the apex Igbo socio-cultural organization,Ohaneze Ndigbo restructured, 12 months after, the structure became a platform to campaign for Igbo presidency.
Again,in 2004, the socio-cultural organization restructured,even though the general elections came up in 2007. Nigerians were of the opinion that the presidency was for all Nigerians.
Their arguments were hinged on the fact that no section of the country,was excluded from aspiring to the highest position in the land.
Indeed,there has never been and there is still no constitutional provision or clause that allows for the exclusion of any tribe to vie for the presidency.
Interestingly, Ohaneze, is a South East Geo-Political zone based socio-cultural organization, which projects the interests of Ndigbo in particular, and the rest of Nigeria in general.
Although, at a particular point in time the organization was accused of been elitist.
The objective, according to a cross section of those who are members of the organization, is to ensure that the ordinary man in the street is a member.
However,they argue that anybody who is Igbo or of Igbo extraction,within Igboland or in Diaspora,is considered a member of Ohaneze. Such individuals, according the organization can attend meetings without a third party making introduction.
'You can come to an Ohaneze meeting without anybody introducing you. If there is any need to introduce yourself, you get up and tell them who you are'', they stated.
Sadly, this is not the situation in the diaspora, including Oyo state.
In an interview in 2004, the President of the Anambra state chapter of Ohaneze, Dozie Ikedife,had insisted then, that restructuring was on course, irrespective of any presidential election.
'If it happens that no Igbo man is installed as President this time around, Ohaneze will still play its role to ensure that a President is installed in this country and that things move on peacefully with a sense of equity, fair play,justice and enhancement of the sense of belonging for all'', Ikedife had declared.
The then President of Ohaneze, Prof. Joe Irukwu was consistent in advocating for Igbo presidency, even though the hidden ambitions of his kith and kin at home and in diaspora militated against his advocacy.
However, a one time Governor of old Anambra state, Chief Christian Onoh,once observed that state Governors of the South-East geo-political zone have always worked at cross purposes, when it involved the Igbo Presidential project.
'We should tell ourselves the home truth-our Governors are not united',Chief Onoh had noted.
Sadly, some members of the political class in Igboland, project Igbo Presidency in broad day light, while vigorously facilitating an agenda at variance with the collective interests and aspirations of Ndigbo,under the cover of darkness, 'when NEPA don take light'.
Since no tribe or ethnic group has been excluded from Nigeria, the debate about who occupy the number one seat in 2019 and beyond,should be for all and sundry. Perhaps