The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has stated that regular activities have been temporarily suspended following the outbreak of the pandemic coronavirus. Cases said to have been reported have reached 44 with the highest number already witnessed in Lagos State.
The National Commissioner and Chairman, Festus Okoye, INEC Information and Voter Education Committee, in a statement, revealed that the move by the apex electoral body was in compliance with the Federal Government. It is also in line with the advisory on social distancing from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).
Okoye noted that INEC has put in place measures such as, suspension of all regular activities which it stated will be effective from Tuesday 24th March 2020, in its headquarters and offices nationwide for 14 days in the first instance.
He said, “The regular quarterly meetings with Stakeholders, namely: Political Parties, Civil Society Organisations, the Media, Security Agencies and all other meetings, have been suspended until such a time when normalcy returns.”
He also added that INEC will no longer monitor the conventions, congresses, conferences or meetings of political parties until further notice.
However, it stated that it is open to all stakeholders in the event that they may need consultation and continued communication, but also implored all to understand the emergency situation that informed the suspension of contact engagements.
As an institution, it reiterated that the health and wellbeing of all INEC staff, officials and the general public are of paramount importance to the Commission.
Mr Okoye, noted that notwithstanding the measures outlined, the Commission will continue to meet via non-physical contact channels while communication between the Commission and its stakeholders will remain open.
However, he was optimistic, as he stressed that the new development does not affect the activities for Edo and Ondo governorship elections scheduled for 19th September and 10th October 2020 respectively.