" Keep Eyes on Electioneering Process To Prevent Violent Attacks" - INEC To Security Agencies

The Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof Mahmood Yakubu on Thursday urged the security agencies to keep eyes on the electioneering process with a view to preventing violent attacks or negative mobilisation by political parties, candidates and their supporters during their campaigns and the forthcoming gubernatorial elections in Edo and Ondo states.

This is as he complained that the use of the power of incumbency to deny opposition parties and candidates access to public facilities such as Radio and Television stations, public buildings for campaigns and rallies or even outdoor advertising through the imposition of excessive fees and levies often result in the breach of the peace.

According to Prof Yakubu, the actions, including the mutual destruction of campaign materials and facilities, violate the provisions of Sections 91 to 97 of the Electoral Act 2022.

The INEC Chairman who give the advice during the Second Regular Quarterly Consultative Meeting with Inter-agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES), in Abuja affirmed that the security agencies have a duty to ensure the enforcement of the law.

He explained that the campaign in public by political parties commenced on Wednesday 24th April 2024 and will end at midnight on Thursday 19th September 2024 i.e. 24 hours before the date fixed for the election as provided by law.

“Wish to place on record my appreciation and that of the co-chair of ICCES (the National Security Adviser) for the proactive measures taken by the security agencies in ensuring the peaceful conclusion of the elections involving 4,904,627 registered voters spread across 80 Local Government Areas, 575 electoral Wards and 8,934 Polling Units.

“Following consultations with stakeholders, the Commission is remobilising to conclude the outstanding re-run elections in Enugu South 1 State Constituency of Enugu State and Ghari (formerly known as Kunchi Local Government Area) for the Ghari/Tsanyawa State Constituency of Kano State.

“Similarly, I would like to inform you of vacancies in four States of the Federation that will necessitate bye-elections in three State Assembly constituencies and one Federal Constituency, as a result of death or resignation of Honourable Members.

“As soon as necessary preparations are concluded, the Commission will announce the dates for bye-elections in Khana 2 State Constituency of Rivers State, the Bagwai/Shanono State constituency of Kano State, the Zaria Kewaye State Constituency of Kaduna State and the Garki/Babura Federal Constituency of Jigawa State.

“Again, we look forward to working with the security agencies to secure the environment for peaceful elections.

“In addition to these bye-elections, the Commission is preparing for two major off-cycle Governorship elections in Edo and Ondo States.

“The Edo State Governorship election is holding in the next four months on Saturday 21st September 2024 while the Ondo Governorship election holds in the next six months on Saturday 16th November 2024.

“There are two activities relating to the forthcoming Governorship elections that we need to draw your attention to.

“First is the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) in the two States that will enable eligible citizens who are not registered voters to do so.

“Similarly, those who are registered voters will also have the opportunity to transfer their registration from other States of the Federation to Edo and Ondo States or from one location to another within the States.

“Complaints about lost or damaged voters’ cards will be considered during the registration period

“The CVR will take place simultaneously in the two States from Monday 27th May 2024 to Wednesday 5th June 2024 from 9.00am to 3.00pm daily including the weekend.

“During the period, uncollected Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs) from previous registrations in the two States will also be available for collection by registered voters.

“The CVR will take place at Ward level and our State headquarters.

“This means that there will be 192 Ward registration centres in Edo State and 203 centres in Ondo State in addition to our State offices in Benin City and Akure, making a total of 397 registration centres in the two States.

“Each centre will be managed by two officials drawn from our regular staff and the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC).

‘The need security protection for the registrants, registration personnel, equipment, observers and journalists that will cover the exercise.

“The detailed locations of the registration centres have been compiled in a detailed 28-page document included in your folders for this meeting to guide your operational plans to secure the process.

“The Commission has published the final list of candidates for Edo following the conclusion of party primaries and the end of the period for withdrawal and substitution of candidates as provided in the Timetable and Schedule of Activities for the election” he said

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