July 2, 2022

About seven months after the 2019 general elections, only 72 (45.2%) out of the 159 accredited observer groups have submitted their reports, the Independent National Electoral Commission said on Wednesday.

The commission also stated that 135 domestic observer groups (67 for Bayelsa and 68 for Kogi) as well as 16 foreign observer groups (eight apiece) had been accredited for the November 16, 2019 elections.

The Chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, said this during a quarterly meeting with the members of the Civil Society Organisations in Abuja.

Yakubu added that the reports for the 2019 elections were not detailed and specific in their recommendations to enable the commission to identify locations, individuals or groups responsible for infractions with a view to taking appropriate measures.

The INEC chairman reminded all accredited observer groups for the two states and those yet to submit their 2019 general elections’ reports of the imperative of submitting their reports in line with their terms of accreditation.

He stated, “While we all have obligation to the public, accredited observers also have obligation to the commission.”

The INEC chairman also expressed concern that, out of 66 candidates fielded by various political parties for the Bayelsa and Kogi states governorship elections, no party nominated a person with disability as a candidate.

He said 45 candidates, made up of 42 males and three females, would stand for election in Bayelsa, while 23, made up of 21 males and two females, would be on the ballot in the Kogi governorship election.

Yakubu also said 14 candidates would be standing for the Brass 1 State Constituency supplementary election in Bayelsa, while 24 candidates would contest the Kogi West Senatorial rerun election, which would hold simultaneously with the governorship election.

The INEC chairman added that out of 14 activities, only four had yet to be implemented by the commission for the Kogi/Bayelsa governorship elections.

They are publication of the notice of polls and the last-day submission of names and addresses of polling agents by political parties, which he said, was fixed for November 2.

Yakubu said this would be followed by the last day of campaign on November 14 to be followed by the election on November 16.

He also told the CSOs that all non-sensitive materials for the elections had been delivered to the two states and had been appropriately batched in line with the INEC guidelines.

At the INEC quarterly consultative meetings with the media, the INEC chairman said the commission accredited 216 media organisations out of which 165 were domestic and 51 foreign.

He said the media organisations deployed 2,128 journalists: 1,787 domestic and 341 foreign, in addition to other media organisations that operated at the state, local government and community levels nationwide.

The representative of the President, Nigeria Union of Journalists, Amos Dunia, urged INEC to ensure that security agencies understood that the media is key in the conduct of elections.