The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has revealed that it has opened a special link in the registration form to allow the recruitment of additional corps members as adhoc staff for the October 31 Ondo state governorship election.
The Commission in a statement issued by National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, after a meeting on Thursday, said that the decision was based on the promise by the National Youth Service Commission (NYSC) authorities to mobilize more corps members for the poll.
Explaining the decisions the Commission took on Ondo State governorship election, it noted in the statement: “As a result of the disruption of normal processes in the electoral process occasioned by the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Commission could not get the full complement of the NYSC members required as ad hoc staff for the Ondo State governorship election scheduled for October 10, 2020.
Consequently, the Commission had to broaden its net to recruit the required ad hoc staff from tertiary institutions.
“However, the NYSC authorities recently informed the Commission that they are now in a position to mobilize more corps members for the Ondo State governorship Election. Meanwhile, the portal for the recruitment of ad hoc staff for the said election had closed since August 21, 2020.
“After due consideration and to restore the corps members to their role in the electoral process, the Commission has decided to allow the recruitment of these additional NYSC members only.
“A special link to the registration form has therefore been provided to NYSC authorities to be used for this purpose.
“The Commission notes with appreciation the commitment of the NYSC leadership in sustaining the patriotic and crucial roles being played by corps members in the conduct of elections,” it noted.
On Edo State governorship election, INEC, in the statement noted: “The Commission has made adequate preparations for the Edo State governorship election scheduled for Saturday September 19, 2020. All sensitive materials for the said election have left the custody of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Benin City for the various Local Government Areas in the State.
“Agents of the political parties involved in the election as well as those of the accredited Observer Groups observed the distribution of the sensitive materials.
“The Commission implores all the relevant stakeholders to continue to observe the distribution of the sensitive materials as they are moved further down the chain to the Registration Area Centres (RACs),” it read.
The Commission equally gave updates on the October 31outstanding bye-elections, noting: “We had earlier announced October 31, 2020 as the date scheduled for all outstanding bye elections holding in 14 Constituencies across 11 States.
“Of all these bye elections, six are to fill vacancies in Senatorial Seats and Eight are to fill vacancies in State Constituencies. All the 18 existing political parties gave notices of participation.
“However, one political party, the Boot Party, conducted primaries but did not collect the Access Code for submission of the list of nominated candidates.
“Another political party, Zenith Labour Party (ZLP), conducted primaries, collected the Access Code for nomination of candidates but made no submission.
“Two political parties, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) submitted nominations for all the constituencies being contested.
“The remaining 14 political parties nominated candidates in some Senatorial Districts and some State Constituencies.
“By the time table and schedule of activities issued by the Commission, political parties conducted their primaries between August 24 and September 8, 2020 while the submission of the list of nominated candidates ended at 6pm on September 13.
“Today, September 17, is the last day for the publication of Form EC9 and the final list of candidates for the bye elections scheduled for 31st October 2020.
“In accordance with Section 31(3) of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended), the Commission has published the list of nominated candidates in their respective Senatorial Districts and State Constituencies. We urge individuals, political parties and interest groups to visit the INEC offices in the Senatorial Districts and Constituencies.
“Any person who has reasonable grounds to believe that any information given by a candidate in the affidavit and any other document submitted by that candidate is false may file a suit at the Federal High Court, High Court of a State or the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) against such person, seeking a declaration that the information contained in the affidavit is false.
“If the Court determines that any of the information contained in the affidavit or any document is false, the Court shall issue an order disqualifying the candidate from contesting the election.
“It is pertinent to note that eight political parties have provided notices for primaries for the Dass State Constituency election. The primaries by the political parties are on-going until September 19, 2020.
“We urge all stakeholders to support the Commission’s efforts to deliver free, fair and credible elections at all times,” the statement read.