Grassroots Democracy: FCT a leading light in Nigeria…INEC Chairman

Grassroots Democracy: FCT a leading light in Nigeria…INEC Chairman
February 04 12:30 2022 Print This Article

“In terms of grassroots democracy, the Federal Capital Territory, FCT has been described as a leading light in Nigeria with its regular and well-conducted Area Council elections”.

Those were the words of the Chairman of the Independent Electoral Commission, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu when he addressed an expanded version of the monthly FCT Security Committee meeting, which was held on Thursday, 3rd February 2022 in Abuja.

In his address to the meeting which was Chaired by the FCT Minister Malam Muhammad Musa Bello and had in attendance religious and traditional rulers, FCT elected officials, heads of the various military and paramilitary organisations and heads of the relevant Secretariats, Departments and Agencies of the FCTA, Prof Yakubu said that the Commission was happy with the behavior of political parties and candidates in the FCT.

In the words of the INEC Chairman, “the Commission is happy with the behavior of parties and candidates in the FCT. So far, there are no adverse reports of  clashes between supporters of different parties and not many incidents of hate speech”

“I commend the stakeholders for their advocacy for peaceful elections and I appeal to political parties and candidates to continue to show maturity and decorum” Prof Yakubu added.

Speaking on Area Council election which will hold on the 12th of February 2022, the INEC Chairman said that the Commission had made adequate preparations for the smooth conduct of the exercise.

He said” with only nine days to go to the election, major activities have been concluded. Right now, the Commission is only putting finishing touches to our preparations. Continuous Voter Registration was conducted over a period of 6 months and Permanent Voters Cards have been printed and made available for collection. He also revealed that there are enough ad hoc staff, who have been engaged and trained and non-sensitive materials have been deployed to the various Area Councils.

He also revealed that transport arrangements have been made, including motorcycles and boats for where they will be needed and meetings have been held with the security agencies at all levels on how to address potential threats and secure the process.

With regards to election technology, Prof. Yakubu said that the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) have been configured and ready to deploy and that election results will be uploaded to the INEC Result Viewing Portal (IReV) in real-time.

On the candidates vying for positions during the elections, Prof Yakubu said that following the period of substitution and withdrawal of candidates, the Commission has listed 473 candidates sponsored by 14 political parties consisting of 110 candidates for the positions of Chairman and Vice-Chairman, while 363 candidates are contesting for the 62 Councillorship positions.

The INEC Chairman also commended the FCT Judiciary especially the FCT High Court for standing firm to the antics of forum shoppers and litigation-happy individuals who often waste the Commission and court’s time by litigating even the most improbable cases.

Speaking after the security Committee meeting, the FCT Minister said that the meeting, which was the first in the year and attended by the 17 graded traditional chiefs in the FCT reviewed the security situation of the FCT in 2022.

He said that in the process of the review, it was discovered that collaborative security efforts with neighboring states to the FCT have proven to be very effective and will be intensified.

The Minister also said that the Committee appreciated the efforts of all the agencies and had also identified areas where additional support will be needed which he promised will be provided.

The Committee, the Minister said was reviewing its strategies to meet the challenges of banditry in the FCT and North Central zone of the country posed by criminals fleeing security onslaught in the northwestern zone.

Accompanying the INEC Chairman to the Security Committee meeting were national commissioners including Barr. Festus Okoye, Prof. Sani Kalla, Prof. Abdullahi Zuru, Prof Sani Adams (SAN), Dr Baba Bila and the FCT Resident Electoral Commissioner, Alh Yahaya Bello.

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