The state-level elections will be done alongside supplementary elections, supplementary National Assembly elections in 14 states of the federation. That is besides the Federal Capital Territory, FCT elections.
The INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu who disclosed this yesterday in Abuja at a meeting of the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Security ICCES held in Abuja also pledged the commission’s readiness to partner with security agencies for the prosecution of electoral offenders.
“On Saturday 9th March 2019, Nigerians are once again going to the polls to elect Governors in 29 States, 991 members of Houses of Assembly in all the States of the Federation, 6 Chairmen as well as 62 Councillors for the Area Councils in the FCT. A total of 1,082 candidates will be elected by citizens across the country.
“Learning from the experience of the presidential and National Assembly elections held two weeks ago, the commission has effectively tackled the challenge of logistics.
“Materials for the election have been delivered to all States and the FCT. Movement to the Local Government Areas will be completed today. By tomorrow, all materials and relevant personnel will arrive at the Registration Area Centres RACs. With this arrangement, we are confident that all polling units will open at 8.00 am nationwide.
“In addition to elections into 1,082 constituencies nationwide, the Commission will conduct supplementary elections in 14 States of the Federation covering 7 Senatorial Districts and 24 federal constituencies. elections in the affected areas were disrupted mainly by acts of violence involving ballot box snatching, abduction of INEC officials, over voting and the failure to adhere to regulations and guidelines.
Prof. Yakubu said, for Senatorial Districts and Federal Constituencies in which winners have already emerged, the Commission will issue their Certificates of Return next week.
“Preparations for the elections holding this weekend into 1,082 constituencies require the full attention of the entire Commission. We reckoned that the elected candidates are also busy campaigning in their constituencies for the remaining elections”, he said.
Accordingly, the Certificates of Return shall be presented at the International Conference Centre, Abuja, on Thursday, March 14 for Senators Elect and later same day for Members of the House of Representatives-elect.
“Certificates of Return for Governors and Deputy-Governors-elect, Members of State Houses of Assembly-elect and Chairmen and Councillors for the FCT shall be presented in each State of the Federation by the Supervising National Commissioners and the Resident Electoral Commissioners RECs on a date to be announced next week.
On behalf of the Commission, I extend our deepest condolence to the families of those who lost their lives, including personnel of the security agencies. We are glad that the Police has made several arrests and investigation is ongoing. I wish to assure Nigerians that the Commission will work closely with the Police to ensure the diligent prosecution of all violators of our electoral laws. Citizens are asking for effective but non-intrusive protection before, during and immediately after the elections in which their rights are respected and their choices safeguarded.
“The Commission is concerned that many of our materials, including ballot boxes, voting cubicles, voters’ registers and Smart Card Readers were lost to acts of hooliganism and thuggery in the elections held two weeks ago. Most worrisome is the attack on electoral officials. Some of our staff were abducted and taken hostage in an attempt to disrupt elections or influence the outcome. In fact, some of the supplementary elections I referred to earlier were caused by such acts of thuggery.
Under our Regulations and Guidelines, there are clear penalties for the deliberate failure to deploy them on the part of our staff. Where such happens with the connivance of communities, the result of election in the polling unit(s) will be cancelled and zero vote recorded.