Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu has assured residents of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) that the Commission will raise the bar of credibility in the conduct of the Area Council elections scheduled for Saturday, 12th February, 2020.


The INEC Chairman gave the assurance when he led the Commission’s management team on an on the spot assessment on the level of preparedness visit to the INEC FCT Office today in Abuja.


Professor Yakubu who used the occasion to meet with the INEC Management team in the FCT, also met with Electoral Officers (EOs) and Assistant Electoral Officers (AEOs) from the 6 Area Councils that make up the FCT.


Addressing the field officers, EOs and AEOs, the INEC Chairman said “we have done everything that we are suppose to do in terms of preparations, what remains is for me to hear from you and to assure the voters in the FCT that we have set the standard for conducting credible elections in Nigeria .  The FCT Area Council elections 2022 will not lower the bar. If anything, you will see an enhanced conduct of credible elections in the Federal Capital.”.


Counting down to the D-day for the Area Council elections, which he noted was just 16 day’s away, Prof. Yakubu explained that there will be series of activities going forward. According to him, “This is just the first, next we will go down to the Wards, and we will visit the Wards and engage with the EOs and their staff on the actual preparation on ground.”


He disclosed that the sensitive materials for the elections would be customized based on the number of constituencies and parties fielding candidates. The INEC Chairman said “we have 475 candidates nominated by the 17 political parties competing for 68 positions. We have already published the names of the candidates by constituencies. The sensitive materials have also been customized by the number of parties participating.”


Commenting on the deployment of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System BVAS as well as arrangement for the staff to man the devices, Prof. Yakubu said “Just like the last two elections, we will deploy the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) for the election. We will finish the configuration of the BVAS for all the Polling Units by Friday.”.


He continued, “We have the requisite number of staff, we have trained them, and we have the requisite number of technical support that will respond in the event of glitches on Election Day. We have made adequate arrangements so that the Registration Area Technical Support are able to move around on Election Day, in case their services are required.”


The INEC Chairman reiterated that the Commission will also upload the results from the Polling Units to the result viewing portal in real time, to enhance the credibility of the elections.  “Just like previous elections, we will upload the results for the Area Council elections in real time from the polling units, then when we declare, we will also do so. Not just for the Area Council Chairmen, but also for the Councilors,” he assured.


The Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) for FCT, Alh. Yahaya Bello, in his remarks affirmed the readiness of the Commission to conduct free, fair, credible and inclusive elections come February 12th, 2022.


He averred that the FCT INEC office had taken delivery of 90 percent of the non-sensitive materials needed for the elections and the same have been distributed to the 6 Area Councils with strict supervision. The REC assured that the remaining 10 percent will be delivered in the next few days.


The REC disclosed that an additional 28,633 new registrants were added to the register of voters to be used for the Area Council elections, bringing to a total, 1,373,492, registered voters in the FCT. According to him, “an analysis of the CVR shows that a total number of 21, 508 males and 21, 478 females were captured in the exercise, before it was suspended for clean up and printing of the Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) to be distributed ahead of the FCT elections. He said the Register of voters to be used for the elections have since been printed and soft copies presented to the political parties.


Speaking on the newly printed PVCs, Alh. Yahaya said “new PVCs printed are presently being collected at INEC Area Council offices including the Abuja Municipal Area Council office and the sub office in Area 10, Garki, Abuja. He revealed that “the total number of collected PVCs as of 24th January, 2022 is 103, 68 while uncollected PVCs is 265,868.”


On inclusivity, the REC disclosed that about 236 Persons with Different Disabilities, ranging from Albinism, Autism, Down Syndrome, small statue, physical impediment, blindness, deafness, Cognitive learning disabilities, and spinal cord injuries were captured in the CVR exercise in the FCT. He maintained that “all of these were done in a bid to ensure inclusivity”.


Alh. Bello also disclosed that the Commission has since been meeting and consulting with various stakeholders in the electoral process even at the grassroots. He said “the Commission engaged in and received a number of advocacy visits with stakeholders across board both at the state level and in Area Councils. Among these were stakeholders meetings with: NURTW, NYSC, Broadcast Media Practitioners, IFES, CSOs, PWDs, CBOs, NOA”.


He also said that training for about 12,700 ad-hoc personnel for the Area Council elections has commenced adding  that the actual ad-hoc manpower needed was about 11,700, but the extra 1, 000 was necessary as back up.


The Resident Electoral Commissioner expressed confidence that with the assurance gotten from stakeholders and the preparations on the part of the Commission, the polls would be opened by 8.30 am on Election Day in the FCT.


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