The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said it will proceed with governorship elections in Edo and Ondo states even as the Coronavirus pandemic sweeps through Nigeria.
Chairman of the commission, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, revealed this on Saturday during INEC’s first virtual meeting with Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs).
Yakubu acknowledged that the virus has drastically slowed down operations in Nigeria. He however noted that the PTF has now issued guidelines on protective measures for the gradual restoration of normalcy nationwide.
On this basis, he noted that the Commission recently released its own policy on conducting elections in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The Commission is convinced that electoral activities can resume but in full compliance with the advisory issued by health authorities”, he said.
“Consequently, the end of tenure Governorship elections in Edo and Ondo States scheduled for 19th September 2020 and 10th October 2020 respectively will proceed as planned.
“While the Commission takes the COVID-19 pandemic seriously, our democracy and electoral process cannot be truncated for this reason, particularly because health authorities have advised on measures to protect the public from the virus, including all those involved in elections,” Yakubu added.
Speaking on the preparations for the elections, Yakubu said some of the registered political parties have notified the Commission concerning dates for their party primaries leading to the nomination of their candidates for the two elections.
INEC Preps For Bye-Elections Across Nine States
Inec is also preparing to conduct nine legislative bye-elections. The Body says vacancies have been declared by the Senate President in respect of four Senatorial Districts (Bayelsa Central, Bayelsa East, Imo North and Plateau South).
Similarly, the Speaker of the Nasarawa State House of Assembly has declared the seat for Nasarawa Central State Constituency vacant. Information reaching the Commission also indicates the existence of vacancies for the Cross River North Senatorial District, Nganzai and Bayo State constituencies of Borno State and Bakori State constituency of Katsina State.
“The Edo and Ondo Governorship elections, as well as the five Senatorial and four State Assembly bye-elections, are spread across nine states of the Federation involving a cumulative number of 62 Local Government Areas (LGAs); 687 Registration Areas (RAs); 9,149 Polling Units (PUs) and 6,454,950 registered voters.
Put in the context of our sub-region, the number of registered voters for these off-season elections is equivalent to holding General Elections in Liberia, Guinea Bissau, Sierra Leone and Cape Verde put together,” Yakubu said.