The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC has assured Nigerians of its readiness to conduct free, fair and transparent elections, beginning with the Presidential election on Feb 16, 2019.
The National Electoral Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter education Mr Festus Okoye, while speaking with media executives on the preparations ahead of the coming Presidential, National Assembly, governorship and State Houses of Assembly elections, in Lagos, on Saturday, said a total of 84,004,084 million Nigerians, have been registered to participate in this year’s election which will feature 91 registered political parties.
According to him, the elections would take place in 1,558 constituencies and 774 local government areas, and result collation in 8,809 registration areas/wards, in 119,973 polling units and 57, 023 voting points nationwide.
Okoye said a total of 73 candidates had been cleared to contest the presidential election, while the governorship election will be contested by a total of 1,068 candidates in 29 states of the federation. The 109 Senate seats will be contested by 1,904 candidates, while 4, 680 candidates will jostle for the 360 seats in the House of Representatives.
The 991 state constituency elections will have 14,583 contestants, while 806 candidates would be jostling for the 68 area council seats in the Federal Capital Territory.
Okoye said INEC will be recruiting 17,618 senior academic staff of the various federal universities in Nigeria, to serve as collation and returning officers, as the commission, he said, have decided to have two collation officers or each of the 8,809 centres to facilitate timely collation of results.
These returning officers, according to Okoye, would be assisted by 814,453 ad-hoc staff, madeup of National Youth Service Corps, NYSC, and in some cases final year students in federal universities, who are currently being trained across all the states of the federation.
For logistics, the commission, Okoye disclosed has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Transport Workers Union, whose members are going to be deployed nationwide to deploy and retrieve election personnel and materials on the days of elections. He added that all the vehicles to be involved in the exercise across the states would be certified by the Federal Roads Safety Corps (FRSC), and all would have
The National Commissioner said Nigerians who are yet to collect their permanent voters cards have up to Feb 8, to do so at the local government offices of the commission nationwide, adding that all uncollected PVCs would thereafter be withdrawn for safekeeping pending the conclusion of the two strands of elections in the electoral calendar this year.
Okoye said; “All the state offices and local government offices of the commission have taken delivery of the non-sensitive materials for the conduct of the elections, while the various branches of the Central banks of Nigeria are presently receiving sensitive materials for the conduct of the elections.”