There are fears by the Independent National Electoral Commission over the possibility of crisis affecting party primaries ahead of the governorship elections in Edo and Ondo states scheduled for September 19 and October 10 2020 respectively.
The electoral umpire called on security agencies to act proactively to contain the threat, while advocating a “review of the security architecture,” in the light of the coronavirus pandemic. It urged them to “come up with clear guidelines as well as supplementary code of conduct for security personnel on election duty.”
The Chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, expressed these observations in Abuja on Friday during the first virtual consultative meeting of the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security.
He also said it was necessary for ICCES to evolve effective ways of securing and protecting the integrity of the electoral process as the COVID-19 pandemic would impact on the planning and deployment strategy for the conduct of elections generally.
The virtual meeting was also joined by the Resident Electoral Commissioners and Commissioners of Police for Edo and Ondo states.
Yakubu said, “INEC’s policy on conducting elections under the current global pandemic is anchored on the guidelines issued by the Presidential Task Force based on the advisory by health authorities.
“The guidelines provide for measures to protect the electoral process and the people involved, ranging from the election officials, observers, media and, above all, voters.
“Doing so will also increase public confidence and consequently enhance the credibility of the electoral process. To do so effectively, there is a need to review the security architecture in the light of the global pandemic and come up with clear guidelines as well as supplementary code of conduct for security personnel on election duty.
“We should, as a matter of urgency, come up with a policy and code of conduct for security personnel in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
According to Prof Yakubu, early engagement with political parties and aspirants is necessary to create the atmosphere for peaceful primaries and subsequently peaceful elections.