• Insists Edo, Ondo Guber Elections Will Hold As Scheduled
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said it would draw some lessons from Mali and South Korea on how to conduct elections safely during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The commission said it would deploy lessons from these countries in conducting the governorship elections in Edo and Ondo states, fixed for September 19, and October 10, 2020, as well as other by-elections.
INEC chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, stated this yesterday at the first virtual meeting with Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs). The Guardian reported that both Mali and South Korea held their parliamentary polls in April, despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
The South Korean health authorities reported that there was no recorded local transmission from the conduct of the parliamentary poll in an election held amid strict safety measures.
Yakubu explained that while the commission takes the COVID-19 pandemic seriously, the nation’s democracy and electoral process could not be truncated because of the virus.
Saying that the commission was convinced that electoral activities could resume, though in full compliance with the advisory issued by health authorities, the INEC boss insisted that the Edo and Ondo governorship elections would go on as planned.
He disclosed that there were over six million registered voters for the Edo and Ondo guber polls, as well as the five senatorial and four State Assembly by-elections spread across nine states of the federation.
He said the number of voters in the off-season polls is equivalent to holding general elections in Liberia, Guinea Bissau, Sierra Leone and Cape Verde put together.
He said the commission was determined to conduct some of the by-elections ahead of the two major governorship elections to enable it test run and fine-tune its modified processes, in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Yakubu said: “Like every national institution in Nigeria, the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted our activities. For instance, further engagement with the National Assembly and stakeholders on electoral reform, as well as the conduct of some off-season elections had to be suspended because of the global health emergency. Happily, the PTF has issued guidelines on protective measures for the gradual restoration of normalcy nationwide. On that basis, the Commission recently released its own policy on conducting elections in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic