By Joy Odor
The Independent National Electoral Commission (lNEC) has commenced distribution of sensitive electoral materials to local government areas in Edo State ahead of Saturday’s Governorship Election in the state.
A statement by the INEC National Commissioner and Chairman of Information and Voter Education Committee, Barrister Festus Okoye on Thursday said the Commission has opened a dedicated link to allow for further recruitment of members of the National Youth Service Corps NYSC Scheme as ad hoc staff in Ondo state.
According to him, they have also reviewed preparations for the Edo and Ondo States Governorship elections as well as all outstanding bye-elections.
“All sensitive materials for the said election have left the custody of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Benin City for the various Local Government Areas in the State.
“Agents of the political parties involved in the election as well as those of the accredited Observer Groups observed the distribution of the sensitive materials.
“The Commission implores all the relevant stakeholders to continue to observe the distribution of the sensitive materials as they are moved further down the chain to the Registration Area Centres (RACs)”, INEC said
“On the October 10 Governorship election in Ondo state, INEC recalled how as a result of the disruption of normal processes in the electoral process occasioned by the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, it could not get the full complement of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) members required as ad hoc staff for the exercise and so had to broaden its net to recruit the required ad hoc staff from tertiary institutions.
“However, the NYSC authorities recently informed the Commission that they are now in a position to mobilize more corps members for the Ondo State Governorship Election.
“Meanwhile, the portal for the recruitment of ad hoc staff for the said election had closed since 21st August 2020.
“After due consideration and to restore the corps members to their role in the electoral process, the Commission has decided to allow the recruitment of these additional NYSC members only.
“A special link to the registration form has therefore been provided to NYSC authorities to be used for this purpose.
The Commission notes with appreciation the commitment of the NYSC leadership in sustaining the patriotic and crucial roles being played by corps members in the conduct of elections”, the electoral umpire stated.
On the outstanding bye-elections holding in 14 Constituencies spread across 11 states and slated for October 31, INEC said; “Of all these bye-elections, six are to fill vacancies in Senatorial Seats and right are to fill vacancies in State Constituencies.
All the 18 existing political parties gave notices of participation.
However, one political party, the Boot Party, conducted primaries but did not collect the Access Code for submission of the list of nominated candidates.
“Another political party, Zenith Labour Party (ZLP), conducted primaries, collected the Access Code for the nomination of candidates but made no submission.
“Two political parties, the All Progressives Congress APC and the Peoples Democratic Party PDP submitted nominations for all the constituencies being contested.
“The remaining 14 political parties nominated candidates in some Senatorial Districts and some State Constituencies” he said”.