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INEC Releases Guidelines For Elections

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) yesterday released final regulations and guidelines for the conduct of elections in Nigeria.

INEC insisted that the new regulations and guidelines will remain until a new law is made.

Even though some political parties have filed legal action against INEC on the new guidelines, the commission said the released regulations was in accordance with the powers conferred on it by the1999 constitution (as amended) and the Electoral Act 2010 (asamended).

“The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) herein referredto as “the Commission” issues the following Regulations and Guidelinesfor the conduct of Elections (General Elections, Bye-elections, Re-runElections and Supplementary Elections),” Prof Mahmood Yakubu said in a33 pages document he personally signed.

“These regulations and guidelines are issued as a Decision Extract of the Commission of the 12th day of the month of January 2019. These Regulations and Guidelines supersede all other Regulations and/orGuidelines on the Conduct of Elections issued by the Commission and shall remain in force until replaced by new regulations or amendments supported by a Decision Extract of the Commission or an official gazette,” Yakubu said.

The INEC chairman also said the regulations and guidelines shall apply to the conduct of elections to the following offices: (i) President and Vice President; (ii) Governor and Deputy Governor; (iii) National Assembly (Senate and House of Representatives); (iv) State Houses of Assembly; (v) Chairmen and Vice – Chairmen of the Federal CapitalTerritory (FCT) Area Councils; and (vi) Councilors of FCT AreaCouncils Legislature.

“(a) Election to the office of President and Vice President as well as National Assembly shall hold on the 3rd Saturday in February of any General election year, while election to the office of Governor and  Deputy Governor and the State Houses of Assembly shall hold two (2)  weeks thereafter. (b) Whenever the end of tenure of FCT Area Council coincides with a General election year, election into the office of  Chairman and Vice Chairman and Councilors of the Area Councils shall be combined with election for Governor and Deputy Governor and the  State Houses of Assembly. (c) Where the end of tenure of FCT Area Council does not coincide with a General election year, the election to the office of Chairman and Elections to which these Regulations and  Guidelines apply Date of General Elections Vice Chairman and  Councilors of the Area Councils shall hold on the Saturday closest to  100 days to the end of tenure of the elected Who can vote officials of  the Area Councils.”

INEC said a person is eligible to vote at an election conducted by the Commission if: (i) he/she is a Nigerian; (ii) he/she is registered as a voter; (iii) his/her name appears on the Register of Voters; and (iv) he/she presents a valid Permanent Voter’s Card (PVC) at his/herPolling Unit. 3. (a) Voting in any election to which these regulationsand guidelines apply shall take place at Polling Units and VotingPoints. In the case of the FCT, voting takes place at Polling Units,Voting Point Settlements (VPS) and Voting Points. (b) Voting Points(VPs) are created out of Polling Units based on multiples of 500 and a maximum of 750 registered voters or as may otherwise be determined by the Commission. (c) Where a VP is created, it shall be treated as a Polling Unit. (d) As much as practicable, all voting locations shall be located within enclosures in public places accessible to every  voter, including Persons With Disability (PWDs). Where they are in open spaces, canopies will be provided. (e)  Public facilities include public schools, civic centers, town halls and communal open spaces. They do not include places of worship, palaces of traditional rulers and private homes.

Each Polling Unit (PU) will be manned by aPresiding Officer (PO) and three (3) Assistant Presiding officers  (APOs) namely, APO I, APO II and APO III.  Where Voting Points  are created, there will be for each Voting Point an APO (VP) and 3  APOs appointed by the Commission under the supervision of the   Presiding Officer. (b) The Presiding Officer shall delegate the  responsibility of accreditation, preparing and issuing of ballot  papers to the Assistant Presiding Officer APO (VP) in-charge of a Voting Point,” the document said.

“a) A political party sponsoring a candidate may by notice appoint one Appointment of person as its polling agent for each Polling Unit, one polling agent for each collation center and a representative at each  point of distribution of electoral materials in the constituency where  it is sponsoring candidate(s) for an election. (b) Where Voting Points  are established, political parties may appoint polling agents for each  Voting Point. (c) The notice referred to in sub-Clause (a) of this  Clause shall be in writing, signed, addressed and delivered to the: i.  ii. iii. Chairman of the Commission in the case of polling agents for  collation at the Presidential election;  Resident Electoral  Commissioner in the case of polling agents for Collation at the Governorship election; and Electoral Officer in all cases of polling  agents for Polling Units/Voting Point Settlements/Voting Points, and  polling agents for Registration Area/Ward and LGA Collation; (d) The  notice shall contain the names, addresses and recent passport  photographs of the polling agents and the respective Polling  Units/Voting Point Settlements/Voting Points or Collation Centers to   which they have been assigned and to be submitted not later than 14  days before the election. Any notice sent in late will be rejected.

(e) Only a Polling Agent whose name had been submitted to the  Commission in the prescribed manner shall receive a copy of the result  sheet at a Polling Unit or Collation Center.

On appointment of agents, INEC said: “No person shall be qualified to  be appointed or serve as a polling agent of any political party if,  being a person employed in the public service of the Federation or of  any State or Local Government/Area Council, he/she has not resigned or  withdrawn or retired from such employment at least 90 days before the  date of the election.”

“b. A Polling Agent who aids and abets election malpractices at a  Polling Unit or Collation Center shall be disqualified and on the  APO II who shall:  (i) request for the permanent voter’s card; ii) to the office of the Councilor of a Council Ward of an Area Council INEC said in managing the Margin of Lead principle, a number of practical and effective field responses and result management techniques have been found effective in minimizing the impact of the adverse implication of “number of registered voter outstanding.

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