Professor Mahmood Yakubu, the Chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has assured that the 2019 general elections will be the most widely covered event in Nigeria.
Yakubu, who gave the assurance on Friday in Abuja at the 67th World Congress of the International Press Institute (IPI), also assured the World that INEC was committed to credible elections.
“The Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria (BON) has regularly conducted election debates involving candidates at national level.
“A number of media organisations have given similar opportunities to candidates at State level, including off-season Governorship elections on their own initiatives. This is most commendable.
“We have also been approached by a number of television stations in Nigeria requesting for partnership in setting up facilities for live coverage of our activities from the INEC Headquarters in the run-up to the 2019 general elections.
“At least one international broadcast organisation has also recently approached us with a similar proposal.
“We welcome this development and for this reason, we are refurbishing our media centre, including two editorial suites for the convenience of the media,” he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the INEC boss extended invitations to any international media that wish to cover the 2019 general elections, adding that commission would provide logistics.
He also assured that the elections would be different from all previous elections in many respects:
He said the elections would involve the largest number of registered voters in history with over 80 million registered voters.
Yakubu said the election would unprecedentedly field the highest number of political parties.
“There are 68 political parties at present. However, with 138 applications from associations seeking registration as political parties, the number is set to rise higher.
“The political parties will contest in elections into 1,558 National, State as well as Local Constituencies in the Federal Capital Territory.
”From the statistics of new voter registration nationwide, youths will play a far greater role in the election and processes thereof in 2019 than in previous elections.
“There is also increasing determination by marginalised groups such as women, youths and Persons With Disabilities (PWDs) for greater participation than never before,” he said.
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Yakubu said that INEC had been test running its plans in the off-season elections it had conducted so far and the results had been positive.
“So far, we have conducted elections into 180 constituencies, the last one about three weeks ago (Ibarapa East State Constituency in Oyo State) and the next one in three weeks (Ekiti Governorship election scheduled for 14th July 2019).
“Each of the elections we have conducted so far is a remarkable improvement on the previous one.
“The improvements are in terms of preparations and outcome, ranging from the deployment of personnel, functionality of technology and the speedy collation, transmission and declaration of results.
“There is also a remarkable reduction in pre- and post-election litigation challenging the outcome of the elections.
“Most remarkably, elections are won and lost irrespective of incumbency at State level,” he said.
Yakubu assured the Congress that the will of the Nigerian voters will continue to prevail and nothing but the votes cast by citizens would determine the outcome of elections.
Legit.ng earlier reported that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said that the forthcoming general elections in 2019 may be contested by over 100 political parties.
The disclosure was made at an elections stakeholders' summit in Abuja on Thursday, June 21 by the chairman of the commission, Mahmood Yakubu.
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