INEC meets ICCES ahead of March 18 polls

INEC meets ICCES ahead of March 18 polls

By Kennedy Nnamani

THE Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, said on Tuesday that it met with the Inter-agency Consultative Committee on Elections Security, ICCES, in Abuja, ahead of the March 18 Governorship and States Assembly election.

The meeting, which was summoned by Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, chairman of the commission, was to review the security architecture of the February 25 Presidential and National Assembly election as well as brainstorm on how to leverage on the lessons learnt for the state government elections.

Addressing the committee, Prof Yakubu said: “I wish to express the Commission’s appreciation to the security agencies and other members of ICCES for the professionalism of personnel and the generally peaceful conduct of the elections.

“We look forward to improved performance in the elections holding this weekend.”

According to INEC Chairman, the Governorship election will hold in 28 States of the Federation, excluding Anambra, Bayelsa, Edo, Ekiti, Imo, Kogi, Ondo and Osun States.

He, however, noted that the March election, which will be conducted in all the 993 State constituencies nationwide, involves more constituencies than the national elections.

“Unlike the last elections involving 470 constituencies (1 Presidential, 109 Senatorial Districts and 360 House of Representatives seats), the State elections will involve 1,021 constituencies (28 Governorship and 993 State Assembly seats).

“There will also be more candidates involved and more collation centres to protect.

“They are also local elections involving keen contests,” Prof Yakubu said.

While assuring the public of their preparedness, INEC boss revealed that the commission has held a virtual meeting with all the Resident Electoral Commissioners, RECs, in which they reviewed preparations for the state elections as regards election technology, logistics as well as security issues.

Yakubu lauded the directive of the Inspector General of Police, IGP, to the state commands to handle all cases of electoral offences expeditiously.

He therefore disclosed that INEC state offices have made available to the Nigeria Police Force the delimitation details for both the Governorship and State Assembly elections, including locations of Polling Units and Collation Centres to enhance a coordinated deployment plan in synergy with other security, intelligence, law enforcement and safety agencies.

“We look forward to receiving the case files. We will immediately set up a legal team to handle such cases in earnest,” he said.

While calling on all candidates and their agents to respect the electoral processes, Prof Yakubu noted that the election “is a contest and not war” and thus, “they should refrain from acts of violence that may mar the elections or compromise the security of our personnel, observers, the media and service providers.”