By Emmanuel Oloniruha
Abuja, Jan. 26, 2022 (NAN) The Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, has challenged Electoral Officers of the commission in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) to ensure that they get the Feb. 12 area councils’ election right.
Yakubu gave the task during his visit and meeting with the Electoral Officers and other staff of INEC FCT office on Wednesday in Abuja on the forthcoming election in the territory.
Yakubu said that the FCT INEC had no any excuse to give Nigerians if it did not get the election right, as the commission headquarters had done everything it ought to do for the FCT office on the election.
He expressed optimism that with the array of experienced electoral officers in the INEC FCT who had handled previous elections, there would not be any excuse in the conduct of the area councils’ election.
“We have set a standard for conducting credible elections in Nigeria and the FCT Area council elections will not lower the bar.
“If anything, you will see an enhanced conduct of credible elections in the FCT,” he said.
Yakubu said that just like previous elections in Anambra and Delta, INEC would deploy the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) for the FCT election.
“We will finish configuration of the device for all the polling units in the FCT by Friday.
“We have the requisite number of staff and we have trained them. We have the requisite number of Registration Area (RA) technical support that will response in event of any glitches on election day.
“We have made adequate transportation arrangements so that they will be able to move around on election day in case their services are required.
“Just like previous elections, we will upload the results for the area council elections in real time from the polling units and then when we declare will also do so not just for the area council chairmen, but also for the councilors,” Yakubu said.
He added that the sensitive election materials had been customised by the number of parties participating in the election.
The INEC chairman added that there are 475 candidates in the election nominated by the 17 political parties competing for 68 positions.
Earlier in his remarks, the INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Alhaji Yahaya Bello, commended the INEC Chairman for prompt release of fund required for the conduct of the area councils’ election.
Bello disclosed that as at Jan. 24 the total number of collected Permanent Voter Cards (PVC) in the territory was 103,68 while the uncollected cards was 265,868.
He said that presently PVCs collection was on-going in all the six INEC Area Council offices and the commission headquarters in Area 10, adding that the collection will be suspended on Feb. 4.
The REC disclosed that the total number of registered voters in the FCT stood at 1,373,492.
Bello stated that as part of preparations for FCT election, the commission has started training of Supervisory Presiding Officers (SPOs), security officers and others.
He added that the commission in December 2021 opened recruitment portal for ad-hoc staff which was closed on Jan. 6, stating that “we have harvested applications from it, for various categories of ad-hoc staff and we are presently processing it.
“Since the opening of the portal on Dec. 6, we have been harvesting applications from interested candidates for the posts of SPO, Presiding Officer (PO) and Assistant Presiding Officer (APO).
After the closure of the portals on 7th of January, we were able to harvest our required number of SPOs which is 285 out of 638 that applied.
“In preparation for the FCT Area Council Elections, funds of varying categories were released to the Electoral Officers for hiring of vehicles in preparation of RACs, servicing and fuelling of generating sets, among others,” he said.
He disclosed that as at Jan. 25 more than 75 per cent of the non-sensitive materials for the election had been delivered to area councils, while voter education was in top gear.
Bello said that the commission shall henceforth devote its energy and dedication to ensure the conduct of free, fair, transparent and inclusive election in the February poll.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the INEC chairman later went into a closed meeting with the FCT INEC officials to firm the arrangements. (NAN)