Ahead of Edo and Ondo governorship polls scheduled for September and October 2020, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has said it is determined to test run its modified processes with some pending bye elections.
Chairman of the commission, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, made this known, at the opening of the commission’s first virtual meeting with Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs).
The INEC chairman noted that, like every national institution in Nigeria, the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the commission’s activities.
“For instance, further engagement with the National Assembly and stakeholders on electoral reform as well as the conduct of some off-season elections had to be suspended because of the global health emergency”.
He said: “Happily, the presidential Task Force (PTF) has issued guidelines on protective measures for the gradual restoration of normalcy nationwide. On that basis, the commission recently released its own policy on conducting elections in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. The commission is convinced that electoral activities can resume but in full compliance with the advisory issued by health authorities. Consequently, the end of tenure governorship elections in Edo and Ondo states scheduled for 19th September 2020 and 10th October 2020 respectively will proceed as planned”.
Yakubu further stated that: “The commission is determined to hold some of the bye-elections ahead of the two major governorship elections in Edo and Ondo states to enable us test run and fine-tune our modified processes in view of the COVID-19 pandemic. Already, the commission has directed the RECs for the nine states where the bye-elections will hold to begin preparations in earnest. At the same time, we are also studying reports of recent elections conducted under the COVID-19 pandemic, especially in places such as Mali and South Korea, for any lessons that will strengthen our processes and protect all those involved”.