INEC Boss presents final document of Regulations, Guidelines for all elections in Nigeria

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By Joy Odor

The Chairman, lndependent National Electroal Commission ( INEC), Professor Mahmood Yakubu has confirmed the finalization of the Regulations and Guidelines that will be used for all the elections in Nigeria.

Professor Yakubu presented the Regulations and Guidelines ready document to the members of lnter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) at their special meeting on Friday in Abuja to review security arrangements for Ekiti Governonship election fifteen days from now.

The INEC Chairman informed that with the release of the Regulations and Guidelines, and the publication of the Strategic Plan (SP) 2022-2026 and Election Project Plan 2023 earlier, the Commission has virtually concluded the planning processes for the 2023 General Election nine months ahead of the election.

“With the coming into force of the Electoral Act 2022, it has become necessary to review the Commission’s Regulations and Guidelines to govern the conduct of elections.

The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), the Electoral Act 2022 and the Regulations and Guidelines constitute the electoral legal framework.

“On several occasions, the Commission has assured Nigerians that we are finalizing the Regulations and Guidelines for the elections. I am glad to announce that the document is ready and will be presented to Nigerians shortly. The soft copy will be uploaded to our website with the link shared on our social media platforms.

“With the release of the Regulations and Guidelines today, and the publication of the Strategic Plan (SP) 2022-2026 and Election Project Plan 2023 earlier, the Commission has virtually concluded the planning processes for the 2023 General Election nine months ahead of the election. In the next couple of weeks, the training manual will also be presented to Nigerians. Going forward, the Commission will focus on election administration: logistics, training, voter education, technology, sensitization against vote buying, inclusivity measures and, above all, security. ICCES will continue to play a critical role and the Commission appreciates the support of all security agencies” he said.

The INEC Chairman said in the next few weeks, the training manual will also be presented to Nigerians, stressing that, the Commission will focus on election administration: logistics, training, voter education, technology, sensitization against vote buying, inclusivity measures and, above all, security.

Professor Yakubu noted that with only 15 days to the Ekiti Governorship election, all the major activities that are supposed to be carried out at this stage have been successfully undertaken.

According to the INEC Chairman, he had led a team of INEC National Commissioners to Ekiti State to assess the Commission’s preparations for the elections, visited its offices in several Local Government Areas, held meetings with staff, had audience with the Council of Obas to solicit the support of their Royal Majesties for peaceful elections and met with the security agencies.

He also observed the ongoing training of ad hoc staff and the deployment of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) for mock accreditation of voters in some Polling Units across the three Senatorial Districts of the State.

“With only 15 days to the Ekiti Governorship election, all the major activities that are supposed to be carried out at this stage have been successfully undertaken. I led a team of INEC National Commissioners to Ekiti State early this week to assess the Commission’s preparations for the elections. We visited our offices in several Local Government Areas, held meetings with our staff, had audience with the Council of Obas to solicit the support of their Royal Majesties for peaceful elections and met with the security agencies. We also observed the ongoing training of ad hoc staff and the deployment of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) for mock accreditation of voters in some Polling Units across the three Senatorial Districts of the State.

We will again return to Ekiti State shortly to meet with the stakeholders and for the signing of the Peace Accord by political parties and candidates under the auspices of the National Peace Committee.

As the Commission is getting ready for the Ekiti State Governorship election, we have also gone far with similar preparations for the Osun State Governorship election holding next month i.e. Saturday 16th July 2022. At the same time, the Commission continues with preparations for the 2023 General Election. On this note, let me seize this opportunity to address two critical aspects of our preparations for the forthcoming General Election” he added.

Continuous Voter Registration (CVR)

Nigerians may recall that the ongoing CVR started a year ago. For the first time, the Commission introduced the online pre-registration as well as physical registration at designated centres. As the deadline for the suspension of the CVR i.e. 30th June 2022 approaches, long queues are building up, especially in some States in the South East, Lagos, Kano and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). The Commission had anticipated the last-minute surge and therefore established additional centres and deployed more machines to register citizens.

Unfortunately, the security situation in many parts of the country has not allowed full deployment as planned. In some States of the Federation, INEC registration officers were attacked resulting not only in the unfortunate destruction of buildings and loss of equipment, but even worse, the death of a staff. This has forced the closure of some of the registration centres.

However, in view of the surge, additional machines will be deployed to some of the most congested areas to ease the surge. Similarly, the Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) have been directed to liaise with the security agencies and stakeholders on the possibility of reopening some of the centres earlier closed because of insecurity, but in doing so, they must always bear in mind the safety of registrants and registration officials. Furthermore, the RECs are directed to do more to provide information, increase awareness of the processes and more promptly respond to genuine complaints by citizens.

The therefore commended the support of partners and critical stakeholders in mobilising citizens to register and looked forward to such partnership to encourage registered voters to collect their PVCs and for increased voter turnout on Election Day.

Professor Yakubu pointed out that the ICCES would continue to play a critical role and the Commission appreciates the support of all security agencies.

In his address, the National Security Adviser (NSA), Retired General Mohammed Babagana Monguno urged all ICCES members to breast off and be fully prepared to ensure that act capable of undermining the smooth conduct of elections are forestall.

Represented by Alhaji Sanusi Galadima, the NSA informed that it has abreast via the security situation in the state especially from the ops order of the IGP and other intelligence communities.

According to him, the two ops order received are encompasses everything that will pose a security threat in the state election, adding that the they are optimistic that the election will be conducted smoothly without any rancho.

The NSA also prayed that the elections that will come off in Ekiti in the next three weeks or less than three weeks will be even more better than the Anambra elections that we had peaceful.

“NSA has asked me to express his appreciation to INEC chairman, his national commissioners and the ICCES members for the wonderful collaboration they have been having to ensure hitch free election.

“He also directed me to tell other security agencies with ICCES members and all those that will be involve in the Ekiti election and subsequent election of Osun state, they have nothing to fear.

“The federal government is fully in their support, and all other logistics and other issues concerning the election will be provided. Let me also use this opportunity to also commend the IGP and other security agencies of the wonderful ops order irrespective of the election.

“He also asked me to convey his appreciation to the existing collaboration, cooperation in the previous elections that we had. He said political activities are now going on, to round off primary elections towards the 2023 elections. It is obviously expected that party campaigns will commence in earnest immediately after the primary party primary elections” he said

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