The federal government Monday announced new guidelines for the conduct of elections in the country during the coronavirus pandemic.
Director-General of the National Centre for Disease Control (MCDC), Dr Chike Ihekweazu, who made the announcement at the daily briefing of the Presidential Task Force on the Control of COVID-19, said political parties should use electronic media for campaigns.
He said political parties should also make use of mobile truck with everyone onboard wearing face masks, maintaining physical distance and making frequent use of hand sanitisers.
““Today, I’ll take on two very important topics; one is today, we are announcing and launching a new guidelines for the conducting of elections during the COVID-19 outbreak in Nigeria.
“As you’re all aware, some states will be holding state and local government elections this year being the first time we are holding elections of this significance during a pandemic.
“Therefore, we’ve developed these guidelines to support everyone involved political parties, INEC, but most critically Nigerians as we are going to vote in these difficult times, voting still remains a civic responsibility and even though we’re in the middle of a pandemic we have to find a way of doing this safely.
“We have to adapt to the new norm and as we know the virus thrives in mass gatherings, so there’s a challenge that we have in the way. We have conducted elections, pre-election, during election, post-election.
“In these guidelines, we try and offer advice on how to do this safely. We strongly encourage the use of TV, radio, mobile vans, social media, and other forms of communication as we solicit for votes as a politician solicits for votes.
“We advise careful adherence to mass gathering guidelines. Unfortunately, the virus doesn’t really recognise whether we’re conducting elections, whether were religious gatherings, whether we are in business settings, it just thrives when people come together.
“Let’s take that into consideration, look at this new guidelines that have been very well considered and consulted on and I hope they can lead us to safe elections as these are from a public health perspective,” he said.
He said the NCDC has also launched a free COVID-19 Online Course on Infection Prevention and Control (IPC).