November 15, 2017
Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu has assured all the political parties and voters taking part in the Anambra governorship and Idemili North State constituency elections scheduled for 18th November that the Commission will uphold the people’s choice at the end of the exercise.
But he debunked the insinuation in certain quarters about a possible postponement of the elections, with a declaration that the date fixed for the exercise remains “sacrosanct.”
Speaking before an impressive audience of politicians and civil society organisations at the Stakeholder Meeting held at the Women Development Centre, Awka on 14th November, Prof. Yakubu also described as untrue another allegation that sensitive materials for the election had already been delivered to the state and “compromised.”
He said: “I wish to assure all stakeholders that the materials are arriving Awka in strict compliance with the logistic arrangements for their delivery for the elections. These materials will remain in the custody of the Central Bank of Nigeria with all the security and protection accorded our national currency. The process of taking delivery of the materials from the Central Bank and distribution to the local governments, Registration Areas (wards) down to the Polling Units (PUs) will be done openly and transparently, involving the oversight of all stakeholders. We have enhanced the security features on the sensitive materials for the Anambra election to make a counterfeit easily detectable”
On how results will be processed, Prof. Yakubu affirmed that each party agent will be given a copy of the result at the PU after the counting of ballots, while the results of each PU will be entered into a special poster called Form EC60E and pasted at each PU immediately ballots have been counted as an additional measure to ensure transparency of the process and protect the integrity of the figure to be delivered at the Collation Centres.
Reiterating the Commission’s readiness for the polls, Prof. Yakubu said: “We wish to reassure especially the political parties, candidates and the people of Anambra state of the Commission’s readiness for the election and continuing neutrality. All parties and candidates have equal status. The decision on who becomes the Governor of Anambra State rests with the people of the state. We shall uphold their choice without favour or ill will. INEC is neither for nor against any political party or candidate. INEC has no candidate in this election.”
According to the INEC Chairman, the impending polls are unique in several respects. He explained that with 37 political parties fielding candidates, the governorship election will be the first to be contested by the largest number of political parties in the history of elections in Nigeria. And with 2,158,171 voters, he added, it will also count as the election with the largest number of registered voters and Permanent Voter Cards collected in the history of Anambra state to date. ” Besides, he observed, “it is the first off-season governorship election in Nigeria to be combined with a State Constituency By-election.”
He commended the stakeholders for maintaining a peaceful atmosphere throughout the electioneering campaign period, saying that the attention of security agents and the Inspector General of Police (IGP) had already been drawn to possible threats to the conduct of the elections.
The state’s Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Dr Nkwachukwu Orji said the procedures for accreditation and voting on 18th November will take place between 8am and 2pm in all PUs, while voters in the queue by 2pm will be allowed to complete accreditation and voting.
The process began on 23rd February, this year when the Commission officially released the Timetable and Schedule of Activities for the elections. A total of 14 activities were lined up out of which 12 have already been undertaken. The last two activities are the last day of campaigns scheduled for 16th November and the Election Day proper holding on 18th