Thursday 27th January 2022
Eleven weeks after successfully conducting the Anambra Governorship Election, Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, has assured residents of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) that the Area Council elections scheduled for 12th February 2022 would be free, fair and credible. The FCT is the only location where the Commission conducts local council elections.
At the same time, the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) for the FCT, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, has revealed that 10,368 Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs) have so far been collected by their respective owners between 6th and 24th January this year. However, a cumulative 265,868 PVCs, including outstanding figures from 2019 have not been collected.
Prof. Yakubu spoke yesterday at a meeting with Electoral Officers (EOs) and Assistant Electoral Officers (AEOs) during his visit to the FCT office. He told the EOs and AEOs that having established a high standard, the Commission could not lower the bar in the Area Council elections.
He charged the electoral officers to get their acts right, insisting that there was no excuse for non-performance since the Commission’s headquarters had done all it required for the FCT office to succeed.
He said: “We have set a standard for conducting credible elections in Nigeria, and the FCT Area Council elections will not lower the bar. If anything, you will see enhanced conduct of credible elections in the FCT.”
Prof. Yakubu noted just as it did in recent elections held in Anambra and Delta States, the Commission will deploy the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) for the FCT elections.
He also assured that the Commission has an adequate number of trained staff and Registration Area (RA) technical support teams to respond swiftly if any BVAS device deployed for the polls suffers glitches on election day. Firm transportation arrangements have also been made to facilitate easy movements to any area where their services are needed.
Prof. Yakubu said that results of the elections would be uploaded from the polling units to the INEC Result Viewing (IReV) in real-time. He added that sensitive materials for the elections had been customised per the number of political parties participating in the election. He revealed that 475 candidates nominated by 17 political parties are competing for 68 positions.
REC Affirms Readiness
Meanwhile, the REC gave a breakdown of various activities already undertaken in line with the Timetable and Schedule of Activities. According to Bello, following the issuance of the election notice on 30th March 2021, party primaries were held while the lists of both Chairmanship and Councillorship candidates were published. The CVR exercise was suspended, new Permanent Voters’ Cards were printed and are currently being collected by their respective owners at all the six INEC Area Council offices as well as the AMAC sub-office in Area 10.
He said the Register of Voters was presented to the political parties vying for elective positions on 12th January at the Electoral Institute, Abuja. In addition, the first tier of security personnel comprising 100 individuals across the board was trained between 17th and 18th January, while another 120 personnel were trained from 19th to 20th January.
Bello disclosed that the distribution of non-sensitive materials to the Area Councils started in September 2021.
He continued: “We have met with members of the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) to discuss further and proffer ways of dealing with issues of security needed for the FCT Area Council elections.”
On Voter Education, he said the Commission pursued the drive of sensitisation on several fronts. “Aside from having workshops with stakeholders such as Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), CBOs, NYSC and youth groups,” he stated, “we have also taken advantage of the social media to drive home the message by posting e-fliers, jingles and e-posters. We have flooded the radio and television with jingles on voting and voting procedures to sensitise the masses.
“In addition, several programmes and interviews have been done on both radio and television. Currently, we are mobilising the CBOs and youths in tertiary institutions to wake up to the roles”