By Nathaniel Gana
November 2, 2018
As electioneering campaigns by political parties for the 2019 Presidential and National Assembly elections get underway, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said it will closely monitor how the parties conduct their activities to ensure compliance with the extant laws and regulations.
Chairman of the Commission, Professor Mahmood Yakubu made the declaration at the regular Commission’s meeting with Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs), held on 23rd November in Abuja. But he expressed satisfaction with the focus of the campaigns by the political parties since the commencement on 18th November, which, he observed, have been based on policies rather than personalities.
The INEC Chairman disclosed that the meeting would discuss important areas of preparations for the 2019 general elections. He said: “at today’s meeting, we will also discuss with the RECs the progress made on the collection of outstanding Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) by citizens, as well as new modalities for a more efficient administration of the collection process.
He continued: “Similarly, the meeting will consider the recruitment and training of election duty staff, discuss the ongoing review of the framework for voting by Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), explore additional assistive measures in support of Persons Living with Disabilities (PWDs) in the electoral process, examine additional ways to safeguard the sanctity of the ballot against the menace of vote buying at polling units, appraise issues relating to electoral logistics and generally assess facilities and preparations for the General Election”.
Prof. Yakubu also spoke on the Commission’s strides since the last meeting with RECs in September. He said, “since then, we have been working on the clean-up of the voters’ register, being the foundation for the conduct of credible elections. As required by law and in line with the Timetable and Schedule of Activities for the 2019 General Elections, the Commission recently displayed the register at all polling units nationwide for claims and objection by citizens.
“The objective was for citizens to help the Commission identify any ineligible registrants, such as persons below the statutory age of 18 years, non-Nigerians who may have registered, deceased persons and multiple registrants. At today’s meeting, the Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) will report on the outcome of the exercise in their various states”.
The INEC Chairman also promised to share the outcome of the discussion on the display of voter register exercise with the public next week.
Besides, Prof. Yakubu spoke on the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) elections, scheduled to hold alongside the governorship and state Houses of Assembly elections on March 2, 2019. He said the list of candidates for the elections into 68 constituencies in the FCT will be published at the INEC FCT office, as well as the six Area Council offices from 21st November.
He appealed to citizens to exercise their civic responsibility by checking the personal details of the Chairmanship and Councillorship candidates that seek to represent them for each of the 68 constituencies.
The INEC Chairman expressed regret over the recent loss of some of its staff. His words: “on a sad note, the Commission lost four members of staff in Kogi state and one in Edo state to road accidents last week.
“Similarly, two of our staff survived road accidents in Katsina state during the bye-election last weekend and one election duty staff suffered a head injury following attack by hoodlums, who destroyed election materials at a polling unit in Kwara state.”
“While we pray for the repose of the souls of those who lost their lives and wish the injured speedy recovery, we will work with the security agencies to ensure the arrest and prosecution of those involved in the attack on our staff and vandalisation of election materials”.