INEC to issue Certificate of Return to 98 Senators, 325 House of Representatives

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By Joy Odor

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has informed that the Certificates of Return will be issued to the new 98 Senators Elect and 325 Members of the House of Representatives elect next week.

The INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu gave the information at a meeting with Resident Electoral Commissioners, (RECs) in Abuja on Saturday to review performance on the conduct of the 2023 Presidential and National Assembly elections and assess preparations for the Governorship and State Assembly elections holding next Saturday.

According him, the 98 out of 109 seats had been declared as seven Political Parties won Senatorial seats while in the House of Representatives 325 out of 360 seats had been won by eight Political Parties.

The breakdown of the winners, Prof Yakubu said in Senate, APC won 57 seats, APGA , LP 6, NNPP 2, PDP 29, SDP 2 and YPP 2, while for the House of Representatives, ADC won 2 seats, APC 162, APGA 4, LP 34, NNPP 18, PDP 102, SDP 2 and YPP 1, making a total of 325 seats.

INEC Chairman explained that for effective crowd management each Senator and Member Elect would be accompanied by a maximum of two guests.

Speaking on the just concluded Presidential election Prof. Yakubu said, the Commission had received reports, complaints and petitions, from INEC State offices as well as political parties and candidates.

The INEC Chairman maintained that the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) would be deployed for voter accreditation and result management on the forthcoming governorship and State Houses of Assembly elections.

According to him, the Commission had intensified the review of the technology to ensure that glitches experienced, particularly with the upload of results are rectified.

He added that Election Day logistics would be finalised days before the election and handled by the Electoral Officers (EOs) at Local Government level.

Prof Yakubu warned that the RECs would be held responsible for any untidy arrangement or the failure to deploy electric power generators to collation centres or polling units where such facilities are needed while refresher training would also be conducted for the ad hoc staff that participated in the last election.

“A lot of lessons have been learnt. Of immediate concern to the Commission is how the identified challenges can be addressed as we approach the concluding phase of the General Election involving the largest number of constituencies i.e. 28 State Governorship elections and 993 State Houses of Assembly seats.

“No doubt, last week’s national elections raised a number of issues that require immediate, medium, and long-term solutions. The planning for the election was painstakingly done. However, its implementation came with challenges, some of them unforeseen.

“The issues of logistics, election technology, behaviour of some election personnel at different levels, attitude of some party agents and supporters added to the extremely challenging environment in which elections are usually held in Nigeria” he said.

Professor Yakubu opined that the forthcoming Gubernatorial elections would involve 28 State Governors and 993 State Houses of Assembly seats and urged the RECs to initiate disciplinary action where they had evidence of wrong doings.

He called on the staff of the commission to work harder to overcome the challenges experienced in the last election.

“Nothing else will be acceptable to Nigerians. All staff found to be negligent, whether they are regular or ad hoc officials, including Collation and Returning Officers, must not be involved in forthcoming elections. RECs must also immediately initiate disciplinary action where prima facie evidence of wrongdoing has been established.

“Since last week, the Commission has intensified the review of the technology to ensure that glitches experienced, particularly with the upload of results are rectified. We are confident that going forward the system will run optimally’ he noted.

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