7th May 2020.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) will on 14th May release modalities for the resumption of official engagements with political parties, civil society organisations, the media and other stakeholders for the Edo and Ondo Governorship elections scheduled for 19th September and 10th October 2020 respectively. The Commission will also ramp up activities in the two states and liaise with security agencies and health authorities after the resumption of work.
According to a statement issued at the end of the Commission’s meeting held today and signed the National Commissioner in charge of Information and Voter Education Committee (IVEC), Barrister Festus Okoye, the comprehensive guidelines for first phase of the Commission’s planned resumption will be posted on its notice boards and uploaded on its website on 11th May 2020.
But first, a thorough decontamination of the Commission’s headquarters, annex at Blantyre street, Area 10 office complex housing its staff clinic and Electoral Institute all in Abuja, will be carried out. This will be followed by the training of its staff, particularly the cleaners and office assistants on cleaning protocols and strict compliance with the Federal Government guidelines and its own specific procedures for resumption, which will include providing infrared thermometers, soap and water at entrances and installing hand sanitizer dispensers at strategic points in the Commission.
Directors and other designated staff of the various Departments are expected to resume on 13th May after the decontamination of the premises and provision of necessary amenities. However, only staff members below 58 years of age with no serious underlying health issues will be allowed to resume. Pregnant women, nursing mothers and all other staff with underlying health conditions will be excused for the time being.
The Commission had on 19th March postponed the Bayelsa Central, Bayelsa West, Imo North and Plateau South Senatorial bye-elections following the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic. It also suspended regular activities on 23rd March for the same reason. Despite the health emergency however, the Commission did not postpone the Edo and Ondo Governorship Elections.