- Amid coronavirus scourge, INEC said it has reeled out policy and modalities for conducting elections
- The electoral umpire, in a statement by its commissioner Festus Okoye, said the policy will be unveiled on Monday, May 25
- The disclosure was made ahead of the governorship elections in Ondo and Edo scheduled to hold in the later part of 2020
Ahead of the governorship polls in Edo and Ondo states scheduled for 2020, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) said it has approved policy and modalities to conduct elections during Covid-19 pandemic.
Festus Okoye, the electoral umpire's commissioner, made the disclosure in a statement on Thursday, May 21, in Abuja.
The commissioner, who also doubles as the chairman of Information and Voter Education Committee (IVEDC), disclosed that despite pandemic ravaging states of the country, the election scheduled will hold.
He stated that the "Policy on Conducting Elections in the Context of COVID-19 Pandemic” would be released on Monday, May 25, adding that INEC has put measures in places to tackle the challenges while protecting the voters.
Here is the full statement below:
POLICY ON CONDUCTING ELECTIONS IN THE CONTEXT OF THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC
"The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) met today, 21st May 2020, and approved its “Policy on Conducting Elections in the Context of COVID-19 Pandemic”.
"The general purpose of the Policy is to enable officials and staff of the Commission to understand and respond adequately to the challenges of conducting elections in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and to provide a guide for engagement with stakeholders as they prepare for elections.
"The clean copy of the policy document, which will be released on Monday 25th May 2020, covers health and legal issues, election planning and operations, election day and post-election activities, voter registration, political parties, election observation, electoral security and deployment of technology.
"Conducting elections in a pandemic such as COVID-19 is yet uncharted waters. Only very few jurisdictions have any experience with this.
"That notwithstanding, the Commission is committed to conducting all elections that are due within the extant legal framework. However, in so doing it will put a premium on public safety and mitigation of health risks from COVID-19.
"Citizens must be assured that they will be safe while participating as voters, candidates, and officials.
"The Commission remains committed to raising public confidence in the electoral process in spite of the challenges posed by the pandemic and to regularly communicate its actions and challenges to the public.
"In view of the end of tenure Governorship elections in Edo and Ondo States scheduled for 19th September 2020 and 10th October 2020 respectively, the Commission will flag off robust engagements with its critical stakeholders to present the Policy Document. To this end, the Commission will meet with:
Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) on Saturday, 30th May 2020;
Political Parties on Monday, 1st June 2020;
Civil Society Groups on 2nd June 2020; and
The Media on 3rd June 2020.
Conduct of bye-election
"It is to be noted that in addition to the Governorship elections in Edo and Ondo States, the Commission has received official declaration of vacancies for 4 Senatorial Districts and read reports of the passing of a Senator and 4 members of some State Houses of Assembly.
"As at today, the Commission is planning for nine (9) bye-elections across seven (7) States of the Federation as follows:
Bayelsa Central Senatorial District
Bayelsa West Senatorial District
Imo North Senatorial District
Plateau South Senatorial District
Cross River North Senatorial District
Nganzai State Constituency, Borno State
Bayo State Constituency, Borno State
Nasarawa Central State Constituency, Nasarawa State
Bakori State Constituency, Katsina State
The provisions of the Policy on Conducting Elections in the Context of the COVID-19 Pandemic shall also apply to the conduct of these elections.
In conclusion, the Commission urges all Nigerians to adhere strictly to the COVID-19 protocols issued by the health authorities.
Festus Okoye Esq.
National Commissioner and Chairman,
Information and Voter Education Committee.
Earlier, Legit.ng reported that All Progressive Congress (APC) has announced the timetable for its primaries ahead of the governorship poll in Ondo and Edo states,
The ruling party fixed Monday, June 22 and Monday, July 20 for its governorship primary elections in Edo and Ondo states respectively.
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