By Kola Adeyemi
Ibaji (Kogi State) – The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), says it will soon resume its continuous voter registration (CVR) exercise, aborted few months ago by the outbreak of COVID-19.
Prof. James Apam, Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), in Kogi announced this on Wednesday at Onyadega, Ibaji Local Government Area of the state.
Apam, who was addressing stakeholders in preparation for the coming by-election in the local government, blamed the inability of the commission to register Nigerians of voting age in the area on the pandemic.
He assured that the commission would resume the exercise next year and appealed to those who would not be able to vote in the by-election to show understanding and bear with the commission.
He said that the by-election was necessitated by the sudden death of Mr John Abah, who was representing the council in the state house of assembly sometime in June.
He said that the by-election to fill the vacant seat would hold along with others nationwide on Oct. 31, asking the people of the area to get ready to participate fully.
Unlike previous elections, he said that the time schedule for the election would be 8:30 am to 2:30pm, adding that it would hold strictly under the guidelines stipulated to curb the spread of Coronavirus.
Accordingly, he said that INEC will provide, water, hand sanitisers, methylated spirit and infrared thermometers at all the 148 polling units where the election will hold.
He said that similar arrangements will also be in place at all the collation centres.
Apam further explained that voters, electoral officials and security agents would be made to put on face masks during the election, appealing to parties and candidates to also spread the message to their members and followers.
He said that 10 political parties, including the APC, PDP, ADC, Labour Party, SDP, ACP, AA, AAC and Accord Party had indicated interests to participate in the election.
The REC further disclosed that 78,575 voters would participate in the election while arrangements were being made to organise training for the ad hoc personnel and the commission’s staff members that would conduct the election.
He appealed to leaders of political parties, candidates and other stakeholders to allow peace to reign before, during and after the election.
The REC promised that enough logistics would be provided to ensure a violence-free and successful election.
Also speaking, Mr Marvelous Okoriovbe, the Assistant Commissioner of Police in charge of operations in the state, warned candidates to avoid use of hate and provocative statements during their campaigns.
He assured that the police would provide enough personnel in all the nooks and crannies of the local government throughout the election period.
Stakeholders who spoke at the meeting expressed fears that flooding might impact negatively on the conduct of the election.
They appealed to INEC to deploy enough logistics and provide for the welfare of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), members that would serve as ad hoc staff.
The stakeholders also demanded free and fair election and called on the police to provide security before and after the election.
The meeting was attended by political parties, candidates, traditional rulers, security agencies, observers and religious groups.