INEC Reschedules Election Rerun On March 9th
IThe Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has declared that they would hold supplementary elections, in all areas where elections did not take place or where returns could not be made, at the last presidential and National Assembly elections which held on February 23, 2019. And so the commission has fixed Saturday, March 9, 2019 as the day for the rerun, alongside the governorship and State Houses of Assembly elections.
INEC National Commissioner and Chairman Voter Education and Publicity, Mr. Festus Okoye, said this while also stating that INEC as a body also decried the high level of violence that characterised the February 23 polls. INEC also expressed serious concern over the conduct of some security agencies in some states during the last elections. This much was made known during an in-house meeting of INEC executives on Thursday, where INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu and Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) reviewed the February 23, 2019 presidential and National Assembly elections. Okoye said the meeting was also used to assessed preparations for the governorship, State Houses of Assembly and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Area Council elections slated for Saturday, March 9, 2019.
He stressed that the commission having identified all challenged witnessed I the last elections, is determined to rectify those challenges before the elections on 9th March. Okoye stated: “The meeting noted a number of cancellations in certain areas due to violence, which prevented the Commission from deploying personnel and materials for the elections in a number of locations, it could not conclude the elections due to disruptions and deliberate non-compliance with the use of the Smart Card Reader (SCR), contrary to the INEC Regulations and Guidelines for the conduct of elections.
“Consequently, the meeting decided that supplementary elections will be conducted in all areas where elections did not take place or where returns could not be made on Saturday, 9th March 2019 alongside the governorship and State Houses of Assembly elections.
“The meeting also assessed the role of security agencies in the elections. While acknowledging their professionalism in the deployment of election personnel and materials in a safe and timely manner, the conduct of certain members of the security agencies in some states is a matter of serious concern to the Commission.
“This matter will be further discussed directly with the Inspector General of Police within the ambit of the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES), in preparation for the governorship, State Houses of Assembly and PCT Area Council elections.”
The commission which voiced out its displeasure over the high level of violence, the subjugation of threats on some of its officials, harassment, intimidation, assault, abduction and even rape. It
condoled with the families of its ad-hoc staff who lost their lives during the elections, as well as other Nigerians who died in the course of the elections. It also expressed deep regrets to and sympathy for all victims of the mindless violence, saying “we stand with them in these difficult times.”