By Nefishetu Yakubu
Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, the National Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), said on Thursday that the commission was fully prepared and ready for the conduct of the Sept. 19 Edo governorship election.
Yakubu made this known during a meeting with the Inter Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES), in Benin.
“The whole purpose of this visit is to see firsthand the level of preparation. Yes, we received reports at the headquarters but we feel that it is important to come to Benin and see for ourselves what is on the ground.
“On Feb. 6, 2020, the commission released a timetable and schedule of activities for Edo and Ondo governorship elections. We gave seven and eight months notices for the Edo and Ondo elections respectively.
`And we itemised 14 activities in the timetable and schedule of activities to be carried out on specific dates beginning with the publication of the notice of election and ending with election day proper.
“I am happy to say that so far we have carried out 10 of the 14 activities on schedule. Not one activity was rescheduled for a minute.
“The last one was the presentation of the voter’s registers to the 14 political parties fielding candidates for the election,’’ he said.
According to him, the four outstanding activities are the publication of the notice of poll which will be done on Tuesday, followed by the submission of polling agents by the political parties on the same day.
“End of the campaign which is by law 24 hours to the campaign; so, the campaign will stop by midnight of Thursday before the Saturday of election and then the election day itself.
“So, in terms of readiness, we are fully ready for this election,’’ he added.
The INEC chairman noted that the Edo election would be the first major election the commission would be conducting amid COVID-19 pandemic.
He added that the commission had come out with a policy on how to conduct an election in a pandemic.
“We test run the policy in small bye-election in Nasarawa state and we are ready with the big one in Edo.’’
He said the commission was committed to ensuring a safe environment for the peaceful conduct of the election hence the meeting with ICCES, stakeholders and electoral officials in Edo.
Yakubu assured that the commission would make the system open and transparent.