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From Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mahmood Yakubu, has informed the headship of the various security agencies that the commission will bank on them to conduct a peaceful governorship elections in Edo and Ondo states.
Yakubu made the appeal in his remarks at the meeting with the Inter-Agency Conservative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) at the commission’s headquarters in Abuja on Friday.
He specifically charged the security agencies to replicate their proactive approaches that led to the successful conduct of the last governorship elections in the two states on September 2020 and October 2020 respectively.
The electoral umpire boss equally revealed that while 17 out of 19 political parties have indicated interest in participating in the Ondo election, six parties have not yet uploaded the list of their candidates for Edo poll to the commission’s portal barely 24 hours to the deadline.
He said: “It is important to start security preparations very early. In particular, the number of personnel and other assets to be deployed to strategic locations should be determined and mobilised early enough.
“It was this proactive approach that led to the successful conduct of the last governorship election in Edo state on September 19, 2020 and in Ondo state on October 10, 2020.
“There were no security incidents, materials were delivered promptly, logistics deployed smoothly, Polling Units opened on time, voters attended to efficiently and results collated and announced transparently.
“Let us replicate the successful conduct of the last governorship elections in Edo and Ondo states. In fact, working together, we should ensure that the 2024 governorship elections in Edo and Ondo states are an improvement on the success story of 2020.
“In the next few months, there will be further engagements with the security agencies and other members of ICCES at both national and state levels. We look forward to your plans to secure the environment without which INEC cannot successfully conduct elections,” he stressed.
Giving further updates on the off-cycle governorship elections, Yakubu said: “The meeting with the security agencies will strategise ahead of our remobilisation for the two elections. Of course the major activities in the electoral calendar for this year are the two off-cycle governorship elections in Edo and Ondo states.
“The timetable and schedule of activities for the elections were released by the commission in September last year. The Edo governorship election will hold on Saturday, September 21, 2024 while that of Ondo state is scheduled for Saturday November 16, 2024.
“We have just six months to the Edo state governorship election and only eight months before the Ondo state governorship election. The election in Ondo state will hold two months after Edo. It is therefore appropriate to acquaint you with the delimitation details to enable early preparations for security deployment.
“Both Edo and Ondo states have 18 Local Government Areas each. At the moment, Edo has 2,501,081 registered voters, 192 Registration Areas/Wards and 4,519 Polling Units while Ondo State has 1,991,344 registered voters, 203 Registration Areas/Wards and 3,933 Polling Units.
“However, the terrain differs in the two states. While there are a few riverine locations in Edo State, two Local Government Areas in Ondo State (Ese Odo and Ilaje) are predominantly riverine.
“For Edo State, 18 political parties conducted their primaries monitored by the commission. They have since commenced the uploading of the list and personal particulars of their candidates to our dedicated web portal.
“The deadline is 6pm on Sunday, March 24, 2024 when the portal automatically shuts down. So far, 12 political parties have uploaded the list of their candidates to the portal.
“For Ondo state, political parties will commence their primaries in the next two weeks. At the moment, 17 out of 19 parties have indicated interest in participating in the election,” he said.