….As INEC inspects election materials
By Lateef Ibrahim, Abuja
The Chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Prof Mahmood Yakubu has assured, concretely, that strict compliance with COVID-19 protocols would be the hallmark of the Saturday’s Nasarawa Assembly poll.
This, Yakubu further promised, will be applicable to other elections that are fast approaching.
The INEC Chairman said this yesterday when led others on an inspection visit to Nasarawa local government in Nasarawa state to assess the state of preparedness for the Saturday’s exercise.
Yakubu noted that the commission was set to conduct a credible exercise in accordance with the laws of the land.
The INEC Chairman, who paid a courtesy visit on the Emir of Nasarawa, His Royal Highness, Alhaji Ibrahim Usman Jibril, explained that the strict compliance with COVID-19 protocols during the election, will include wearing of facemasks by voters.
According to him, “This is the first election we are holding since the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic.
“We thought we should come to check the level of preparations and I am happy we are joined by the Liaison Officer of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19.
“The lessons that will be learned from this election will help us in Edo, Ondo governorship elections and so many bye-elections to be conducted by INEC.
“As far as the headquarters is concerned, everything that Nasarawa state INEC office requires for the election has been provided.
“So, we want to see how ready they are to deploy for Saturday election,” Yakubu said.
According to him, the visit was also for the commission to meet with traditional rulers in the constituency as well as relevant stakeholders in the by-election including security agencies.
His words, “This is an extra-ordinary election. So, we are visiting the palace of Emir of Nasarawa to ask for their support.”
Some of the non-sensitive materials inspected include Voters Register, voting cubicles, ballot boxes, hand sanitizers, generating sets, facemasks and jackets for electoral and presiding officers, stamp and other voting materials.
The election is set take place in seven wards, 44 polling units and other voting points. Total number of registered voters is 71,919.
Two political parties, the All Progressives Congress, APC, and the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, cleared candidates are to participate in the exercise.
In his welcome remarks, the Emir of Nasarawa, His Royal Highness, Ibrahim Usman Jibril thanked his visitors and pledged the readiness of the entire Nasarawa Emirate for peaceful and orderly exercise.
While describing Nasarawa local government as a huge land mass, the monarch expressed optimism that Saturday’s exercise would provide invaluable lessons that would help the commission prepare well for the September 19 and October 10 governorship elections in Edo and Ondo states respectively.