INEC fixes presidential/N’Assembly supplementary elections March 9

The Independent National Electoral Commission has said it will conduct supplementary elections on Saturday, March 9 in places where elections did not take place and where returns could not be made during the just-concluded presidential and National Assembly polls.

It said the elections would be conducted alongside the governorship, state Houses of Assembly and the Federal Capital Territory Area council elections on Saturday.

The commission also claimed that its officials were victims of threats, harassment, intimidation, assault, abduction and rape. It, therefore, directed its Resident Electoral Commissioners to submit comprehensive reports of the incidents to the commission for appropriate action.

These were part of the decisions taken in Abuja on Thursday by the INEC during a top management meeting with Resident Electoral Commissioners to review the just concluded elections.

According to a statement on Friday by the INEC’s National Commissioner and Chairman of its Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, the meeting was also to assess the preparations for the governorship and state Houses of Assembly elections scheduled for Saturday, March 9, 2019.

The statement reads, “The meeting acknowledged the delays in the commencement of elections in a number of polling units, which necessitated the extension of the closing of polls in the affected areas. The commission is determined to rectify the identified challenges before the elections on March 9.

“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 readers, contrary to the lNEC’s 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 and/or where returns could not be made on Saturday, March 9, 2019 alongside the governorship and state Houses of Assembly elections.”

It adds, “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 lnspector-General of Police within the ambit of the lnter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security in preparation for the governorship, state Houses of Assembly and the FCT Area Council elections.

“Although the elections were generally peaceful, the meeting observed and decried the high level of violence in a few places, which regrettably led to fatalities in some states, in addition to the subjugation of some of our electoral officials to threats, harassment, intimidation, assault, abduction and even rape.”

While condoling with the families of its ad hoc staff who lost their lives during the exercise and other Nigerians who died in the course of the elections, INEC expressed its regrets and sympathy to victims of the violence.

“We stand with them in these difficult times,” it said.
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