By Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja
Barely a week after the successful conduct of the gubernatorial election in Ekiti State, the Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, on Wednesday met with all the Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) to strategise on the forthcoming governorship election in Osun State and the 2019 general election.
Speaking at the meeting, the INEC chairman noted that the meeting would not only reflect on the recently conducted Ekiti election but also look forward to a number of other elections.
Yakubu also revealed that a total of 10,292,647 Nigerians have been registered as at Friday, July 13, 2018 in the ongoing Continuous Voters’ Registration (CVR) exercise, stressing that after wide consultations with stakeholders, the current exercise would be suspended on August 17, 2018.
He said that the commission had in the last few days received the official declaration of vacancies from the National Assembly in respect of Bauchi South Senatorial District, Katsina North Senatorial District and the Lokoja/Koton Karfe Federal Constituency in Kogi State, adding that a similar declaration was made by the Cross River State House of Assembly in respect of Obudu 1 State Constituency.
Yakubu noted that the commission is set to conduct by-elections to fill the vacancies in the four constituencies which have a total of over 2 million registered voters spread across 3,355 polling units in 234 wards and 22 local government areas.
He said that consultations with stakeholders in the affected states are ongoing, considering the requirement of the law that such elections shall be conducted by the commission within 30 days following the declaration of vacancy, adding that: “We are planning to conduct all the four elections on the same date.”
According to him, “The detailed timetable and schedule of activities will be released on Friday this week. These by-elections will offer the commission yet another opportunity to fine-tune our processes and procedures in preparation for the Osun State Governorship election and ultimately the 2019 general election.”
Continuing, Yakubu noted: “We wish to once again reassure Nigerians that the commission will continue to improve the quality of our elections drawing from the lessons learnt from the collective experience of having conducted elections into 181 constituencies since the 2015 general election made up of six governorship elections, 11 senatorial districts, 23 federal constituencies, 73 state constituencies and 68 area council constituencies in the Federal Capital Territory.
“At this meeting, our discussions will focus mainly on the ongoing Continuous Voters’ Registration (CVR) exercise. After wide ranging consultations with stakeholders, the current exercise will be suspended on 17th August, 2018. So far, a total of 10,292,647 Nigerians have been registered as at Friday 13th July 2018. Beyond the CVR, this meeting will also strategise on the issue of uncollected Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs).”