By Remi Johnson
Ahead of the Area Councils Polls, Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Mahmood Yakubu has reiterated the commitment of the commission to provide a level playing field for all parties and electorates to choose their leaders in a free and credible election.
Prof. Yakubu who gave this assurance during an Expanded Security Stakeholders meeting organised by the FCT Administration in Abuja, said election would not hold in 593 polling units that are without registered voters in the territory.
He expressed concern that FCT residents did not take advantage of the polling centers to get themselves registered, as expected.
The INEC Boss explained that 1,328 polling units have between 0-50 voters and 546 polling units with over 1,000 registered voters.
According to him “no materials have been produced for those units and no personnel would be deployed to those units”.
Speaking on the commission’s preparedness,Prof. Yakubu said INEC would deployed more than one BVAS , and additional staff to enhance speedy accreditation of voters in congested polling units.
“Our eyes are on all our officials, be they adhoc or regular staff, to ensure that they strictly abide by the rules. All parties, candidates and their supporters should do the same… to ensure that voters in the FCT and indeed all Nigerians are aware of these polling units…We need the support of traditional, community and religious leaders to ensure that these polling units are populated ahead of the 2023 general election.” Yakubu said.
The INEC Boss commended the FCT Minister Malam Muhammad Musa Bello for calling the stakeholders meetings, just as he lauded the peaceful conduct of political parties, and described “grassroots democracy in the FCT as the leading light”.
Earlier, the FCT Minister said members of the security meeting had discovered that the collaborative security efforts with neighboring states of the FCT was yielding good result.
“And this is one aspect that we will continue to improve upon because that is where all the security agencies within the FCT and their counterpart in neighboring states of Nasarawa, Niger and Kogi work together.”
The FCT Minister pledged FCTA’s readiness to work closely with INEC commissioners and security agencies to ensure success in the election.
In a remark, Senator representing FCT, Philip Aduda was emphatic that the FCT under the able leadership of FCT Minister, Muhammad Musa Bello and the support of INEC Chairman has what it takes to have credible polls, devoid of problems.
Senator Aduda therefore appealed to INEC to ensure that the people’s votes count, come February 12th.
The expanded security meeting had in attendance, the Permanent Secretary, FCTA, Mr Olusade Adesola Executive Secretary FCDA, Engr. Shehu Hadi, top FCTA Management Staff, Traditional rulers from the seventeen chiefdom, Religious leaders and Heads of various security agencies.
By Remi Johnson