Obey COVID-19 guidelines, INEC tells voters, stakeholders



The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has urged voters, political parties, candidates, their supporters and other stakeholders to obey all its new guidelines for conduct of election during COVID-19 pandemic on Saturday.


INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu made the call on Wednesday in Nasarawa, during the commission’s meeting with stakeholders ahead of the Nasarawa Central State Constituency by-election.


Yakubu advised all voters to use facemasks, saying ”no facemask no voting. Party branded facemask is not allowed. The commission is not insisting on surgical face mask, any face covering will be allowed.


“Social distancing and wearing of facemasks are very important to health of the people which is more important. Measures had been put in place to avoid crowd at the voting point”.


The INEC Chairman who said that smart card readers would be used for the election, added that mentholated spirit to disintegrate card readers and hand sanitiser would be provided.


He said that while all the non-sensitive election materials were ready, the sensitive materials had been delivered to the Central Bank in Nasarawa State, adding that card readers’ configuration had been concluded.


He said that the commission was ready for credible election, assuring that INEC has no vested interest in the election.


Yakubu described the election as an important to INEC because it would be the first election in the COVID-19 pandemic.


“We deliberately chose to start with Nasarawa central state bye-election so that we can learn the vital lessons we need to learn ahead of Edo and Ondo State governorship elections as well as 15 outstanding bye-elections,” he explained.


Yakubu expressed concern on the reports of violence in Edo ahead of the state governorship election.


“We are carefully monitoring what is happening in Edo and also Ondo State.The commission is meeting on Thursday, but given the urgency of what is happening particularly in Edo,  we need to call a meeting immediately, not only of the parties and candidates but also of the campaign councils.


“Whatever we need to stem violence or threat to it, particularly in Edo, we will do it. We will continue to speak to stakeholders, we will do that,” Yakubu said.


Speaking on the security arrangement for the election, the Assistant Commissioner of Police in Nasarawa State, Mr Fatai Akinyomi, said that more than 500 policemen would be deployed for the bye-election.


Akinyomi said that the police had mustered the number from four other commands.


“We do not have any problem and from what is going on, I can say that there will no be problem in the bye-election,” Akinyomi said.


He added that if need be, restriction of movement would be enforced in the areas where election would be held on the election day.


The Liaison Officer of Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 representative, Dr Hassan Assad, also stressed the need for people to obey guidelines on COVID-19, saying corona virus is not a respecter of individual, political parties or order.


He appealed to political parties and their candidates to sensitise their supporters to taking responsibility on the election day, adding that a team would be deployed to enforce compliance.


“It is not just about protecting yourselves. It is not just about your political parties, it is also about your aging and vulnerable people at home,” Assad added.


The Chairman, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Board of Trustee , Sen. Walid Jubrin, assured INEC that all the political parties would cooperate with the commission for peaceful election.


“There will be no panic. We are with you and we support whatever you do. I can assure you that your efforts in Nasarawa will not be wasted,” Jubrin said.


He stressed the need for INEC to be the only institution conducting elections in the country, including local government polls.


On his part, Ari Abdulmumuni, member representing Nasarawa/Toto Federal Constituency, who led the All Progessives Congress’s (APC) delegation, said that the party since the last two weeks had been sensitising its members on the need to observe social distance and obey all rules.

Abdulmumuni, also the Deputy Chairman, House Committee on Youth Development, said that APC would ensure peaceful election, as peace would be their watchword in the election.

Edited By: Ifeyinwa Okonkwo/Kayode Olaitan (NAN)


Edo election: Presiding officers insist on no face masks, no voting



Presiding Officers in the Edo governorship election have said that no electorate will be allowed to vote without wearing a face mask in compliance with the COVID-19 safety protocols.

They also insist on adherence to social distancing as provided in the guidelines for the conduct of the election by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

Mr Oyesanmi Ezekiel, the presiding officer at Central Primary School, Iruekpen, told the eligible voters to wear face masks before voting in units 3, 4 and 5 at Iruekpen.

As part of efforts to ensure compliance with social distancing, Ezekiel marked out areas that the electorate could stand before being allowed to vote.

He told NAN that as part of effort to stem against the spread of Covid-19 virus, INEC provided them with infrared thermometers, medicated spirit and hand sanitiser.

“The medicated spirit will be used to clean the card reader as well as fingers of each voters before voting,” he said.

The situation, however, was not the same at Ward 5 Uniit 2, where voters did not observe INEC guidelines on social distancing for the poll.

But in Emaudo Ward 4, Unit 14, Esan West Local Government, both voters and INEC officials complied with the protocols.

Hawkers of face masks used the no face masks no voting to make quick money across the various polling units visited.

The face masks sellers who sell each mask for N100, witnessed high patronage from voters who came without one.

Edited By: Abiemwense Moru/Kayode Olaitan
Source: NAN
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Edo 2020: Massive turnout of voters witnessed at polling units



As Edo elects its governor, a large turnout of voters has been reported across all polling units in Esan West Local Government Area of the state.

The News Agency of Nigeria , reports that most of the voters arrived the various polling units before officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

Some of the polling units visited by NAN correspondent included those in Ward 6 (Ogbomoide Primary School) with polling units 6, 7 & 8, and polling units 3, 4 & 5 (Central Primary School) all in Iruekpen, Esan West.

Others included polling Unit 2 in Ward 5 (Uhunmudumu Primary School) in Ekpoma which has six voting points.

Accreditation of voters and voting commenced on scheduled at these polling units.

NAN also learnt that electoral materials and officials arrived on time at the polling units.

Security personnel were visible in all the polling units visited.

Also at the polling units were Policemen as well as personnel of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC) and the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC).

Edited By: Abiemwense Moru/Ephraims Sheyin
Source: NAN
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Restriction order in Edo: Motorists, travellers stranded in Okpella



Many motorists and travellers are stranded at Okpella, Etsako West Local Government area of Edo, due to restriction of movement order during the governorship election.

The police directed a restriction order on movement of vehicles between 11:59 p.m. on Friday and 6:00 p.m on Saturday.

Articulated vehicles and others were on long queues on Benin-Auchi-Okene way, having been stopped and parked by the military officers on duty.

Some of the truck drivers who spoke to NAN said that they thought they could beat the restriction period before the beginning  of the election.

Mr Bello Abdulraman said: “I am coming from Abuja going to Benin with the intention to get to Benin before 8:30 p.m.

“I am surprised that getting to Jattu junction, we were stopped by the military officers who barricaded the road, refusing us to go through.

“They said we all will remain quietly here until after the election”.

NAN reports that several other security check points were noticed in Etsako West and other areas in Edo North Senatorial District.

The security agencies comprise the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), the police and Department of State Security Sevice (DSSS).

Edited By: Kevin Okunzuwa/Kayode Olaitan
Source: NAN
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Edo governorship election begins orderly amid massive securirty, movement restriction



The governorship election in Edo begins peacefully with impressive voters’ turnout in most wards across the state, the News Agency of Nigeria reports.

Although the situation does not suggest the likelihood of violence, there is massive security presence in cities, town and villages.

With total compliance with restriction movement across the state, the processes of making the election peaceful and credible is uninterrupted.

Major streets, especially in Benin, don’t witness the usual traffic as the residents move to their respective polling stations for accreditation.

Also reports from other areas of Edo, such as Uzzebba, Igueben, Auchi, Ososo, Ekpoma, Jattu and Ughoton, among other towns and villages, say there is impressive turnout and orderly situation. Edo has 193 wards  with 18 local government areas.

In most polling units, security operatives arrived in their duty points to enforce restriction on movement of people and vehicles during election.

NAN correspondents that went round observed that security operatives were present as early as 6a.m. in strategic locations in the city centres of the three senatorial districts of Edo South, Central and North.

Bondaries, including Edo South — Idogbo, Etete/Adesuwa, Oluku, Upper Siluko, Ologbo and Eyean — are supervised by security personnel that ask motorists without movement permit to park and check for Permanent Voter Card (PVC) to pass.

The situation is similar in Ekpoma, Iruepken in Edo Central, Okepella, Jattu junction and Agbede in Edo North.( NAN)


Edited By: Kevin Okunzuwa/Kayode Olaitan
Source: NAN
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