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INEC tasks security agencies on early preparations for Edo, Ondo elections



The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has called for early security preparations for Edo and Ondo governorship elections, scheduled for Sept. 16 and Nov. 11 respectively.

The Chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, made the call at a meeting of the Inter-agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES), held by the commission on Friday in Abuja.

Yakubu said it was important to start security preparations very early, adding that, 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 Sept. 19, 2020 and in Ondo State on Oct. 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 said.

Yakubu said that the essence of the meeting was to brief the various security agencies on the commission’s preparations and delimitation details for the two elections, to enable early preparations for security deployment.

According to him, both Edo and Ondo 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 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 oarties have indicated interest in participating in the election,” he said.

Yakubu said that the meeting would also be used to stragetise ahead of re-mobilisation for re-run elections in two state constituencies in Enugu and Kano States, earlier disrupted by hoodlums in February.

NEWSVERGE reports that the meeting observed a minute’s silence and offered prayers in honour of officers and soldiers of the Nigerian Army recently killed in Delta State, while on a peace mission.

The INEC chairman, who condemned the act, said he was confident that the ongoing investigation would lead to the speedy arrest and prosecution of the perpetrators of the heinous crime.

He condoled the Army and the armed forces in particular, other security, intelligence, law enforcement agencies, all other members of ICCES and families of the fallen heroes for the colossal loss.

In his remarks, the National Security Adviser (NSA) and Co-Chair of ICCES,Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, assured Nigerians that the security agencies would replicate its previous successes in the forthcoming Edo and Ondo governorship elections.

Ribadu, represented by the Director of Internal Security in the office of the (NSA), Hassan Abdullahi, commended the professionalism of the security agencies in the rerun and by-elections.

“In the last rerun and by elections in 26 states, the deployment of security was quite impressive and largely received the support of the government. This shall be repeated in subsequent elections that will be conducted.

“I want to particularly commend the Nigeria Police for the fewer cases of violence that we recorded during the polls.

“I want to assure Nigerians that this same feat will be repeated during the subsequent election,” he said.

Also, the Inspector General of Police, Kayode Egbetokun, said that the force had already identified flash points in the two states ahead of the governorship elections.

Egbetokun, represented by Basil Ideagwu, Commissioner of Police in-charge of Election Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation, commended the performance of the security agencies and personnel in the last re-run and by elections.

Egbetokun said that deployment were made with threat analysis and cooperation among security agencies.

“Now leveraging on positive outcomes of elections we have had in the past, the police and other security agencies are ready to replicate their success in the coming off-cycle elections in Edo and Ondo states.

“We are working with the states commands, we have identified all the flash points and we have continued to work on the threat profiles in the state to ensure that we deployed in line with what is required to ensure peaceful elections.

“We will continue to bank on the support of INEC, Federal Government and other security agencies, to ensure that the police provide all that is needed for peaceful elections,” Egbetokun said.

Emmanuel Oloniruha

NEWSVERGE, published by The Verge Communications is an online community of international news portal and social advocates dedicated to bringing you commentaries, features, news reports from a Nigerian-African perspective. A unique organization, founded in the spirit of Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, comprising of ordinary people with an overriding commitment to seeking the truth and publishing it without fear or favour. The Verge Communications is fully registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as a corporate organization.



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