Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, has called on security agencies to provide adequate security during the upcoming bye-elections and rerun elections in some areas across the country.
Yakubu made the call at a meeting of the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security, ICCES in Abuja on Tuesday.
He noted that there are two categories of elections coming up in February, first, according to him, are the bye-elections arising from the death or resignation of members of the National and State legislative houses affecting two Senatorial Districts, four Federal and three State Assembly Constituencies.
He said the second category is the re-run elections ordered by the Election Petition Appeal Tribunals.
Recall that during an extraordinary meeting with leaders of political parties last month, the INEC boss reported that the elections affect 35 National and State Constituencies.
He said on Tuesday that since then, four additional orders of the Court of Appeal have been served on the Commission in respect of Yabo/Shagari Federal Constituency of Sokoto State, Madara/Chinade State Constituency of Bauchi State as well as Kudan and Kauru/Chawai State Constituencies of Kaduna State.
“This brings the total number of affected constituencies to 39 which translates to 2.6% of the 1,491 Constituencies for which elections were conducted nationwide in the 2023 General Election,” he said.
“The nine bye-elections are fresh elections covering the entire constituencies.”
“However, except for three Constituencies (Plateau North Senatorial District and Jos North/Bassa Federal Constituency in Plateau State and Kachia/Kagarko Federal Constituency in Kaduna State), the re-run elections are to be held in a few Polling Units. In some cases, only one Polling Unit is affected in an entire Federal or State Constituency,” he said.
“Your task as members of ICCES is to ensure security for the elections. For this reason, the Commission has already provided to the Nigeria Police Force, as the lead agency in election security, the full information of the locations where the elections will be held broken down by States, Local Government Areas, Registration Areas/Wards and Polling Units.
“We have similarly provided the number of registered voters and Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs) collected in each Polling Unit.
“The same information will be shared at this meeting with other members of ICCES. The updated information will also be uploaded to the Commission’s website and social media platforms for public information immediately after this meeting.
“As security agencies, it is your responsibility to secure the environment to enable us deploy personnel and materials, the protection of observers, the media as well as the polling and collation agents representing the political parties and candidates. Without a secure and peaceful environment, the conduct of credible elections is imperilled.
“From experience, the conduct of isolated elections such as bye-elections and re-run elections can be very challenging. We must pay attention to the potential for disruptive behaviour by some candidates and their supporters.”