By Yemi Adeleye
#TrackNigeria: The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Lagos State says supplementary elections will hold in six federal constituencies of the state on Saturday, alongside the governorship and state house of assembly elections.
Mr Sam Olumekun, the state Resident Electoral Commissioner of INEC disclosed this at a news conference on the Gubernatorial, State House of Assembly and National Assembly supplementary elections on Wednesday.
The briefing was held at the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Lagos State Council Press Center in Ikeja, Lagos.
Olumekun said that the federal constituency supplementary elections would be held in 148 Polling Units (PUs) of 76 Registration Areas across five local government areas of the state.
“After a careful, thorough and painstaking review of the Presidential/ National Assembly elections in the state, the commission observed that six federal constituency elections were inconclusive.
“This was as a result of political thuggery, violence, snatching and disruption of ballot papers and boxes, manual voting and over voting in some polling units.
“Rerun elections will hold in 76 Registration Areas, and 148 polling units with a total of 43, 660 registered voters,” Olumekun said.
According to him, the commission is holding the supplementary elections in conformity with Section 33(e), Section 26 and 53 of the Electoral Act.
He said that where the margin of the lead between the two leading candidates in an election was not in excess of the total number of voters registered in polling units where elections are not held or voided, the returning officer shall decline to make a return.
Olumekun said that this would hold until polls had taken place in the affected polling units and the results collated into the relevant forms for Declaration of Return.
He said that the affected federal constituencies comprised Oshodi-Isolo I and II, Ojo, Somolu, Eti-Osa and Ajeromi-Ifelodun Federal Constituencies.
The INEC boss said that the supplementary elections would hold in 28 PUs across three Wards of Oshodi-Isolo I with a total register voter of 21, 881 as well as 20 PUs across five Wards of Oshodi-Isolo II with a total registered voter of 24, 614.
According to him, the rerun will also hold in five PUs across four Wards in Ojo with a total registered voters of 4, 146 and eight PUs across six Wards of Eti-Osa with a total registered voters of 9, 867.
He said that the rerun would hold in 16 PUs across seven wards of Somolu with a total registered voter of 8,413 as well as 71 PUs across eight wards of Ajeromi-Ifelodun with total registered voters of 8,984.
Olumekun commended Lagos residents for their peaceful conduct in the last Presidential and National Assembly elections on Feb. 23, even though there were pockets of violence.
The INEC boss, who noted that the commission had commenced reconfiguration of Smart Card Readers (SCR) for accreditation on March 9, said that INEC was prepared to deliver free, fair, credible and acceptable elections.
He said that the rate of void votes was a source of concern to the commission, urging all stakeholders to collaborate with INEC in voter education.
Olumekun said that the commission would use SCRs for accreditation in the upcoming elections, saying that failure to use it would amount to cancellation of elections in such areas.
According to him, members of the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) involving all security agencies have assured the commission of security before, during and after elections.
The official said that all the ad hoc staff that performed below expectation had been replaced.
He said that refresher training would hold for ad hoc staff on Friday at Registration Area Centres.
According to him, dialogue is ongoing with the leadership of transport unions for better performance and prompt delivery of men and materials on Election Day before 8:00am.
He said that materials for the governorship and house of assembly elections were available and in safe custody at the Central Bank of Nigeria.
Olumekun urged eligible voters to come out en masse and exercise their franchise and conduct themselves in peaceful manner.
He sympathised with the victims of electoral violence in the last election. (NAN)