Chairman Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Professor Mahmood Yakubu has urged the FCT’s Resident Electoral Commission (REC) to do everything possible not to lower the bar of the standard INEC has carved for itself, noting that raising the standard remains the desirable at the February 12 area council election.
Prof Yakubu who stated this during a tour to the FCT INEC office Wednesday to ascertain the level of preparedness, commended the REC and the management team on preparation so far, doing their best for the FCT poll to be free, fair and credible.
“For us, we have done everything we are supposed to do for this election. What I need is for you to assure me and the voters in the federal capital that we have set the standards for conducting credible elections in Nigeria. The FCT Area Council election will not lower the bar. If anything, it will be an enhanced credible poll in the FCT.
“Just like the other two elections, we are going to deploy the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System for the election. By Friday, we will be done with the configuration of all the polling units in the FCT. We have the requisite number of staff that will respond in case of any glitches on election day. We have made adequate arrangements for transportation so that we can move around on election day.
“We upload the election results from the polling units. Will also declare the election results in the area councils. We have 475 candidates in the FCT. 17 out of 18 political parties are participating. And we have 475 candidates competing for 68 positions.
The only part of Nigeria, FCT where INEC conduct LGA elections. And the only part of Nigeria where INEC conduct bye-elections in a local government election either by court order or death. And they have regularity and security of tenure.
“The commission remain gender-sensitive and gender friendly. There are six Area councils or Local Government councils. And in each area council, we have an office. The REC has briefed us on the progress made. The headquarters has done what it is supposed to do. We will visit the wards, EOS and their assistants on the actual preparation on the ground. The FCT has six councils therefore it will elect six Chairmen. And 62 wards. Each of the six area councils has 10 wards except AMAC which has 12. And each ward is a constituency for the election of councillors”, INEC Chairman said.Welcoming the INEC chairman, the Federal Capital Territory REC, Alhaji Yahaya Bello had promised to devote energy and dedication to ensure the conduct of the free, fair, transparent and inclusive of Area Council election.
The REC said the office have been meeting with stakeholders including media, political parties, traditional and religious leaders to inform them of activities line up for the elections.
According to him, sequel to the issuance of election notice on 30th March 2021, a series of activities were, and are still being conducted.
He added that 508 males and 21, 478 females were captured in the enrolment process of CVR before it was terminated.
“Notably among them are concluded party primaries, publication of list of candidates, both chairmanship and councillorship. CVR Exercise was suspended and new PVCs Printed, and are presently being collected at Area Council HQs plus an AMAC sub-office in Area 10.
“The total number of collected PVC as of 24th January 2022 is 103,68 while uncollected is 265,868, the breakdown is attached.
“Similarly, the voter register has been printed and soft copies presented to the Political Parties.
“Presently the PVC collection is ongoing in all the six (6) INEC Area Council offices. It will end on February 4th, 2022 after the ABIS was conducted, with the total number of registered Voters in the FCT standing at 1,373,492 showing a difference of 28,636.
“An analysis of the CVR shows that a total number of 21, 508 males and 21, 478 females were captured. With regards to persons living with disabilities (PWD) statistics show 44 Albinos were registered.
“All of these in a bid to ensure inclusivity. You may recall the Expanded Voter Access to Polling Units that was conducted in April 2021, as a result of which our Polling Units rose from 871 to 2,822 presently. The presentation of the Register of Voters took place on January 12th at the Electoral Institute.
“On that day, 12 the Political Parties vying for elective positions collected their register”, he noted.
The FCT REC commended Professor Mahmood Yakubu and the general public of its preparations for the FCT Area Council election for February 12th.
On awareness campaign, Alhaji Bello disclosed that they have been using radio, print media, jingles, NOA, and a host of information dissemination channels to convey messages to the citizens.
The FCT REC thanked the timely release of funds by the lNEC Headquarters for the smooth conduct of the Area Council poll.
“Disbursement of funds: In preparation for the FCT Area Council Elections, funds of varying categories were released to the Electoral Officers for the hiring of vehicles in preparation of RACs, servicing and fuelling of generating sets among others.
“Engagement with our critical stakeholders including press conference; spot, interviews, participation in live TV and Radio programmes and spot interviews were done and still ongoing, both at Area Councils level and Area 10 Commission.
“While in Area Councils, traditional and religious leaders were already consulted and engaged, here we are poised to host them early February, before the Expanded Stakeholders’ Engagement to be addressed by the Hon. Chairman on 8th February 2022.
“On behalf of all of us here in FCT, let me express our profound gratitude and appreciation to the Hon. National Chairman and the members of the National Commission for several approvals of our request and those initiated at the INEC headquarters, the release of funds and guidance which has immensely contributed to the level of our preparedness today. May God Almighty reward you most abundantly Sir,” he said.