Bayelsa Bye-Election: Yakubu’s Departure, Others Won’t Affect INEC Activities, Says Muazu
The acting Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Air Vice Marshal Ahmed T. Muazu (retired), has said that the departure of Professor Mahmood Yakubu and other National Commissioners from the commission will not affect electoral activities.
He disclosed this on Monday during an interactive session with election stakeholders in Bayelsa State ahead of the December 5 bye-elections in the state.
“This is our first major outing since the temporary exit of the Chairman of the Commission Professor Mahmood Yakubu and the constitutional exit of other National Commissioners,” he said.
“We assure all the stakeholders that the activities of the Commission have not been affected by the departures.
“This is also the first election being conducted in Bayelsa State in the context of the pandemic and the Commission has made adequate arrangements in conformity with the protocols and guidelines issued by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 and the Nigeria Center for Disease Control.”
SEE FULL STATEMENT HERE:
OPENING REMARKS BY THE ACTING CHAIRMAN, AVM AHMED T. MUAZU AT AN INTERACTIVE SESSION WITH ELECTION STAKEHOLDERS IN BAYELSA STATE PREPARATORY TO THE CONDUCT OF DECEMBER 5, BYE-ELECTIONS.
- On behalf of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) I welcome you to this interactive session.
- This is our first major outing since the temporary exit of the Chairman of the Commission Professor Mahmood Yakubu and the constitutional exit of other National Commissioners. We assure all the stakeholders that the activities of the Commission have not been affected by the departures. This is also the first election being conducted in Bayelsa State in the context of the pandemic and the Commission has made adequate arrangements in conformity with the protocols and guidelines issued by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 and the Nigeria Center for Disease Control.
- The leadership of the Commission is in Bayelsa State to assess the readiness of its staff and processes relating to the two Senatorial bye-elections holding on December 5, 2020. We want to be sure that all the non-sensitive materials have been deployed. We want to be sure that all categories of ad-hoc staff have been recruited and trained. We want to be sure that the voters are sensitized and remobilized for the election. We also want to be sure that all the stakeholders have keyed into the plans of the Commission.
- This Commission is inclusive and consultative and this informs our constant engagement with the critical stakeholders in the electoral process. In this regard, the Commission has made adequate arrangements for Persons Living with Disability (PWD), the elderly and pregnant women. We believe that it is important for all the stakeholders to understand the processes and procedures of the Commission which is constantly evolving based on new innovations and creative application of new technologies in the electoral processes. The sensitive materials for the election will be here on time and stakeholders will have the opportunity of being at the Central Bank to view and audit the materials before they are moved to the Local Government Areas.
- The Bayelsa Central Senatorial Bye-Election will be conducted in three Local Government Areas with 43 Registration Areas and 860 Polling Units and Voting Points involving a total of 418, 109 Registered Voters, and a total of 395,554 Permanent Voters Cards collected. In this regard, the Commission will deploy a total of 3589 election staff. The Bayelsa West Senatorial District election will also be held in two Local Governments with a total of 26 Registration Areas and 410 Polling Units and Voting Points. It will also involve a total of 234,649 registered voters with a total of 229,022 Permanent Voters Cards collected. The Commission will deploy a total of 1716 election staff.
- We implore all the voters in these two Senatorial Districts not to lower their guards in terms of the COVID-19 protocols. All registered voters must come to the polling units with their facemasks as the policy of the Commission remains NO FACEMASK NO VOTING. The Commission will also implement the two-tier queuing system involving an inner cordon and outer cordon as well as the strategic and targeted deployment of infrared thermometers to polling units and Collation Centers.
- The Commission will activate and deploy the Z-pads for the purposes of real time uploading of Forms EC8A (Polling Unit Results) using the INEC Result Viewing Portal. We are committed to transparency and accountability in the electoral process and will keep upgrading the processes and procedures of the Commission to achieve free, fair and safe elections.
- We implore all the critical stakeholders to reeve up and accelerate voter and civic education and get out the votes. The value of the vote must on no account be diminished and mandate is compromised when a negligible proportion of the people exercise their democratic franchise.
- We assure the voting population that adequate security will be provided at the polling stations and the collation centers. We have improved our collaboration with security agencies and this synergy assisted in the good conduct of the Edo and Ondo governorship elections. The Commission and the security agencies will activate a joint situation room for smooth and timely coordination of security and electoral operations and necessary interventions when the need arises. We have the assurance of the highest echelon of the security agencies that they are prepared for the election and that their state structures will be activated to aid the process.
- We urge all the critical stakeholders to remain law-abiding and be assured that in this and all elections, the votes of the people will be the sole determinant of who gets elected to office. We received tremendous support from the voters in Edo and Ondo States and we expect nothing less from the voters in Bayelsa.
23rd NOVEMBER, 2020