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Let’s Make FCT Election Another Shining Example, Yakubu Urges Security Chiefs

Hon. Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu. PHOTO: BASIL NWAGUGU.

1st February 2022

Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, has urged the country’s security agencies to partner with the umpire to make the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Area Council Election scheduled for 12th February 2022 another shining example of a peaceful election.  

Prof. Yakubu made the appeal today at the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) meeting, held at the INEC headquarters in Abuja, the second in a fortnight, as part of the final arrangements for the election. Both the Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mr Yahaya Bello and the Commissioner of Police for the FCT, Mr Babaji Sunday, are to brief the meeting on the security situation and the state of readiness for the election.

The INEC Chairman said: “In the next few days, the Commission will intensify its engagement with stakeholders, particularly party leaders and candidates, traditional and religious leaders, transport providers, civil society organisations and the media. We will work with all stakeholders to ensure that the forthcoming election is peaceful and our processes credible. That is why this meeting is crucial.”

He added: “Securing the environment is the foundation for a peaceful, well-organised and credible election. This was clearly demonstrated in the peaceful conduct of the recent Anambra State Governorship election. Let us make the FCT Area Council election another shining example of a peaceful election.”

Prof. Yakubu further stated that the Commission had been evaluating the risk to the election, using the Election Violence Mitigation and Advocacy Tool (EMVAT). According to him, the aim is to identify early warning signals that could assist the security agencies and other stakeholders in devising and deploying appropriate mitigation strategies.

He stated that the Commission, among other areas of concern, focused on threats specific to geographical locations, the proliferation of small arms and light weapons, the issue of hard drugs, the presence of insurgents and armed groups, intra and inter-party conflicts and incidents of hate speech.

Prof. Yakubu also talked about the six other bye-elections fixed for 26th February 2020 and the Ekiti and Osun governorship elections holding on 18th June and 16th July 2022 respectively.

 In the case of Ekiti State Governorship, he said that the period earmarked for the conduct of party primaries ended three days ago on 29th January. All the 18 political parties served notices for their party primaries to elect candidates for the election and invited the Commission to monitor them.

His words: “One party adopted the direct method for electing its candidate while 16 parties opted for the indirect method. However, from our field report, the Boot Party (BP) did not hold its primary election at any venue known to and monitored by the Commission. 

“Consequently, we do not expect the party to nominate a candidate for the Ekiti State Governorship election. On this note, let me once again warn political parties to strictly adhere to the Commission’s timelines for all activities, including the conduct of primaries and nomination of candidates. These timelines are firm and fixed. No deviation or violation will be allowed.”

Representative of the National Security Adviser (NSA) and Co-Chairman of ICCES, Gilbert S. Tobin, commended security agencies for their professionalism during the Anambra State Governorship Election. 

National Commissioners in attendance include Prof. Sani Kalla, Prof. Adekunle Ajayi, Prof. Abdullahi Zuru, Prof. Muhammad Adam and Dr. Baba Bila.

Secretary to the Commission,  Rose Oriaran –Anthony, Director-General of The Electoral Institute, Dr. Sa’ad Umar Idris and some Directors were also present.