The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says the Nasarawa Central State Constituency by-election in Nasarawa State next Saturday will be used to test-run the conduct of governorship elections in Edo and Ondo states.
INEC Chairman Prof. Mahmood Yakubu disclosed this on Wednesday when he undertook a working visit to Nasarawa local government in Nasarawa State to assess the state of preparedness for the exercise.
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According to him, the by-election was very important to the commission because it would be the first to be conducted by INEC under the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This is a very crucial election to us. It will be the first election to be conducted in this COVID-19 pandemic. And this election will show us how to conduct Edo and Ondo elections,” Yakubu said.
He also met with leaders of the two contending political parties, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Shortly after leaving the commission’s area office, Prof. Yakubu and his entourage paid a courtesy visit on the Emir of Nasarawa, Alhaji Ibrahim Usman Jibril.
He added that strict compliance with COVID-19 protocols would be the hallmark of the election, including wearing of facemasks by voters.
He said, “No face mask, no voting but there is need for clarification on this. The commission is not insisting on surgical face mask. Any face covering would do as the voter approaches the voting point. So yes there has to be a face covering, it doesn’t have to be a surgical mask.”
In his welcome remarks, the Emir of Nasarawa, Alhaji Ibrahim Usman Jibril, pledged the readiness of the entire Nasarawa Emirate for peaceful and orderly exercise.
No room for violence in Edo
The INEC boss, Prof. Yakubu also vowed to put an end to the constant threats of mayhem by politicians ahead of the Edo governorship election.
He said an emergency meeting with political parties, candidates and campaign councils to that effect would be summoned soon.