FCT Election: INEC Commends REC, Staff on Preparations for Feb 12 Council Elections

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Chuks Okocha in Abuja

The Chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu yesterday commended the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Yahaya Bello and the management team on preparation so far, declaring that the commission has done its best for the FCT poll to be free, fair and credible.

The INEC chairman charged the FCT REC, Yahaya Bello not to do anything that would lead to lowering the bar of the standard INEC has carved for itself declaring that raising the standard remains what he wants to see and bear witness to on the day of the poll.

According to Prof Yakubu, “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.

Earlier, Bello had applauded and assured the INEC and the general public of their preparations for the FCT Area Council election for February 12th.

Briefing the national chairman and media organisations in a visit at the FCT Office in Area 10 by the INEC Chairman to ascertain their level of preparedness, the REC stated that they have been meeting with stakeholders including media, political parties, traditional and religious leaders to inform them of activities line up for the elections.

He disclosed that they have been using radio, print media, jingles, NOA, and a host of information dissemination channels to convey the REC messages, saying it appreciated the timely release of funds by the national headquarters for the smooth conduct of the Area Council poll.

He said: “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 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 HQs, 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.

“While we shall henceforth devout our energy and dedication to ensure the conduct of the free, fair, transparent and inclusive election, we thank you for concern and support. Please have a safe trip back to Maitama, stay very healthy and safe,”he said.