About nine days to the election of six Area Council Chairmen, Vice Chairmen and Councillors in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), on February 12, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has discovered that 593 Polling Units are currently without registered voters.
Dropping this hint today at a meeting with stakeholders in Abuja, the chairman of the INEC, Professor Mahmood Yakubu expressed surprise that such situation arose despite that the Commission gave voters the opportunity to transfer to some of the new polling units.
“Unfortunately, voters did not take advantage of this opportunity as we had expected in all cases.
“Consequently, there are 593 polling units in the FCT without registered voters, 1,328 polling units with between 0-50 voters and 546 polling units with over 1,000 registered voters.”
Professor Yakubu said that the Commission had already informed political parties, civil society organisations, the media and security agencies at the national level about this development.
He said that the Commission has decided that no election will take place at the polling units without registered voters.
“No materials have been produced for these units and no personnel will be deployed to them.
“However, voting will take place in all the other polling units.
“For congested polling units, the Commission will deploy more than one BVAS to facilitate a speedy accreditation of voters.
“We will also deploy additional staff to these locations. We also agreed with the security agencies to deploy more personnel to ensure peace and order.”
He said that after the period for substitution and withdrawal of candidates as provided by law, the Commission has listed 473 candidates sponsored by 14 political parties for the forthcoming elections.
“In all, 110 candidates (Chair and Vice Chair) are vying for the leadership of the six Area Councils while 363 candidates are competing for 62 councillorship positions.”
The INEC chairman said that with only nine days to the election, major activities have been concluded.
“Right now, the Commission is only putting the finishing touches to our preparations. Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) was conducted over a period of six months.
“Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) have been printed and made available for collection.
“There are enough ad hoc staff engaged and trained for the election. Non-sensitive materials have been deployed to the various Area Councils.
“Non-pharmaceutical materials have been procured to protect voters and personnel from COVID-19 in line with the Commission’s policy based on the protocols prescribed by health authorities.
“Voter education and publicity are ongoing. Transport arrangements have been made, including motorcycles for remote locations and boats for riverine areas.
“We have had several meetings with the security agencies in the area councils, the FCT and the national level on how to address potential threats to the election and secure the process.
“They have also been trained on the code of conduct for security personnel on election duty to ensure their neutrality and professionalism.”
He commended the FCT Minister for convening the meeting and inviting him to speak on the preparations of the Commission for the election.
The stakeholders meeting was convened by the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Malam Muhammad Musa Bello.