The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in the FCT, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, has said that 103,68 registered voters would decide the fate of 478 chairmanship and councillorship candidates in area council elections in the territory.
He said this on Monday in Abuja while receiving a delegation of INEC led by its Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, who visited the INEC FCT office to access the level of preparation of the February 12 council elections.
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He said that as at Monday January 24 the total number of collected Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) in the territory was 103,68 while the uncollected cards was 265,868.
He said that presently PVCs collection was on-going in all the six INEC area council offices and the commission headquarters in Area 10, adding that the collection would be suspended on February 4.
“The total number of registered voters in the FCT is standing at 1,373,492,” Bello said.
He also commended the INEC Chairman for prompt release of fund required for the conduct of the election.
He said that as part of preparations for the election, the commission has commenced training of Supervisory Presiding Officers (SPOs), security officers and others for the election.
He said, “After the closure of the portals on 7th of January, we were able to harvest our required number of SPOs which is 285 out of 638 that applied.
“In preparation for the FCT Area Council Elections, funds of varying categories were released to the Electoral Officers for hiring of vehicles in preparation of RACs, servicing and fueling of generating sets among others.”
Responding, Prof. Yakubu challenged Electoral Officers (EOs) of the commission in the FCT to ensure that they get the February 12 area councils’ election right.
He said that the FCT INEC had no any excuse to give Nigerians if it did not get the election right, as the commission headquarters had done everything it ought to do for the FCT office on the election.
He expressed optimism that with arrays of experienced electoral officers in the INEC FCT who had handled previous elections, there would not be any excuse in the conduct of the area councils’ election.
“We have set a standard for conducting credible elections in Nigeria and the FCT Area council elections will not lower the bar. If anything, you will see an enhanced conduct of credible elections in the FCT,” Yakubu said.
He said that just like previous elections, in Anambra and Delta states, INEC would deploy the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) for the FCT election.
He said, “We will finish configuration of the device for all the polling units in the FCT by Friday. We have the requisite number of staff and we have trained them. We have the requisite number of Registration Area (RA) technically support that will response in of any glitches on election day.
“We have made adequate transportation arrangements so that the they will be able to move around on election day in case their services are required.”
He added that the sensitive election materials had been customized by the number of parties participating in the election.
Yakubu said that there are 475 candidates in the election nominated by the 17 political parties, competing for 68 positions.
Daily Trust reports that the FCT council elections is the only local government election conducted by INEC, while other local government elections are conducted by the respective states electoral bodies.