INEC ready for Imo North senatorial by-election — Muazu



Retired Air Vice Marshall Ahmed Muazu, acting chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), says the commission is ready to conduct the Imo North senatorial by-election slated for Dec. 5.

The seat became vacant following the death of Sen. Benjamin Uwajumogu in December 2019.

The election initially scheduled to hold on Oct. 31, was postponed due to the nationwide #EndSARS protests.

Acting chairman of the commission, Muazu, disclosed this at a consultative meeting with the state Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security in Owerri on Friday.

Muazu said that the exercise would be the first to be held in the state since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

He added that all non-sensitive materials for the election had been to the various Local Government Areas (LGAs) in Imo North senatorial district.

He also said that sensitive materials would be delivered to the Central Bank for inspection before they would be moved to the various Local Government Areas.

Muazu said that ad hoc staff members required for the election were trained and ready for deployment, while appealing to security agencies to be professional and secure materials and election personnel.

“We expect robust synergy between security agencies and the INEC.

“In this regard we propose that the various security agencies will maintain their operational commands while the commission will activate a joint situation room here in the state office.

“The commission is prepared for the election that will take place in six LGAs spanning 64 registration areas and a voter population of 389,245 persons,” he said.

He, however, stated that the commission does not have adjudicatory powers and urged any candidate or political party with legitimate complaints to approach a relevant court.

The chairman added that the commission was under statutory obligation to comply with any judgment given or order made by a court of competent jurisdiction in an election matter.

He urged candidates and political parties to have faith in the judiciary while assuring voters of a conducive environment where their votes would count.

Responding, the Commissioner of Police (CP) in the state, Mr Isaac Akinmoyede, gave the assurance that police were ready to embark on the exercise.

He was represented by the deputy commissioner in charge of operations, DCP Rabiu Husseni.

The CP called on political parties and their candidates to exercise restraint and abide by the rules of engagement.

In attendance at the meeting were representatives of the Police, Army, Navy, Air Force, Nigeria Immigrations Service, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps and the Nigeria Correctional Service.

Others were the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, National Youth Service Corps and the National Orientation Agency. (NAN)