By Nathaniel Gana
The Anambra State governorship election fixed for 18th November this year expectedly topped the agenda at the first quarterly consultative meeting of the Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs), held at the Independent National Electoral Commission’s headquarters, Abuja on 28th September.
But the Commission’s Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu also seized the opportunity to inform the audience that the timetable and schedule of activities for the end-of-tenure governorship elections of Ekiti and Osun states would be announced on 5th October, in accordance with the Commission’s tradition of giving all stakeholders ample time to prepare.
The announcement is coming on the heels of a similar declaration earlier in March, that the next Presidential and National Assembly elections would hold on 16th February 2019, while the Governorship, State Assembly and Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Area Council elections was scheduled for 2nd March.
The INEC helmsman gave an update on the on-going Continuous Voter Education (CVR) exercise that began in March this year. He said: “So far, 2,786,405 citizens have registered in the ongoing CVR, out of which 1,619,513 (representing 58%) are male, while 1,166,892 (representing 42%) are female. In addition, 108,752 unclaimed Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) were collected. The Commission has also recorded 132,431 requests for transfer from original places of registration to new locations, as well as 261, 429 requests for replacement of PVCs that were damaged, defaced or had wrong entries of personal and other details.”
Prof. Yakubu also told the RECs that the Commission’s important responsibility “is the conduct of free, fair and credible elections.” He observed that since the time the RECs were sworn-in, the Commission had conducted a number of by-elections, “ the latest being the Dukku North State Constituency in Gombe state.” According to him, “the next by-election is the Eti-Osa State Constituency in Lagos State this weekend.”
He added: “Only yesterday (27th September), we received the official declaration of vacancy by the Speaker of the House of Representatives for the Kware/Wamakko Federal Constituency in Sokoto State. The Commission will conduct the by-election before the end of October. The timetable and schedule of activities will be released next week.”
The INEC Chairman assured Nigerians that the Commission would continue to explore ways to improve on the processes associated with the CVR exercise.