By-elections: INEC Insists on COVID-19 Protocols

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Chuks Okocha in Abuja

Ahead of the bye-elections in 11 states scheduled for December 5, 2020, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has insisted that voters must wear facemasks/face coverings as well as maintain the recommended social distance at all polling units.

This is just as the commission reminded voters and all stakeholders that the COVID-19 pandemic is still very much active in the country.

Consequently, INEC reminded everyone that will be involved in the elections of the subsisting guidelines and protocols as clearly contained in the commission’s policy on the ‘Conduct of Elections in the Context of the COVID-19 Pandemic’.

This was made known by the National Commissioner and Chairman of Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, after a meeting with Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) from 11 states where bye-elections are scheduled to hold on December 5, 2020, as well as several RECs who will support them.

He noted that the security agencies have all reassured the commission that they would continue to provide professional support to the commission for the upcoming bye-elections devoid of any partisan inclinations in order to reproduce the quality of elections that the country experience in the Edo and Ondo States’ governorship elections.

Okoye disclosed that the commission has decided that in order to forestall deliberate disruption of collation of results, the collation of local government level results will not take place in the constituency.

“Instead, after collation of results at the Registration Areas, all results shall be moved to the state headquarters of the commission in Owerri, Imo State, for local government collation and declaration of results.

“This is consistent with the powers of the commission to designate collation centres and inform stakeholders,” he stated.

The INEC appealed to all stakeholders in the constituency to cooperate with its officials, including security agencies, to ensure that the decision is implemented peacefully, adding that it would not hesitate to apply relevant sanctions to individuals or political parties that may disrupt the
process.

Okoye assured stakeholders and partners that the 15 bye-elections in 11 states taking place on December 5, 2020, would be free, fair, credible and safe.