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Leading highlight of the 2019 election guideline released by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, which is the simultaneous accreditation and voting, has been opposed by 61 registered opposition parties.
The documents which listed incidences that may warrant postponement or cancellation of elections among others, also stated that accreditation of voters and voting would hold simultaneously between 8am and 2pm.
Yakubu, who signed the document, made it clear that the policy review was introduced in exercise of the powers conferred on the commission by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) and the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended).
It was explained that the section on the method of voting also prescribed that the Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) and Smart Card Reader (SCR) shall remain instruments of identification of prospective voters.
The guideline insisted that no person shall be allowed to vote at any Polling Unit/Voting Point/Settlement/Voting Point other than the one at which his/her name appears in the Register of Voters and he/she presents his/her PVC to be verified by the SCR, or as otherwise determined by the Commission.
The guideline equally bars the usage of telephones and other electronic devices capable of taking pictures in voting cubicles.
“Voters may come to the Polling Unit with telephones and other electronic devices provided that they do not take them to the voting cubicles or take pictures of other voters while they are voting,” it said.
INEC said “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 weeks thereafter.
“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 Councillors of the Area Councils shall be combined with election for Governor and Deputy Governor and the State Houses of Assembly.
“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 Vice Chairman and Councillors of the Area Councils shall hold on Elections to which these Regulations and Guidelines apply,” the guideline reads in parts.
INEC guideline listed voters (at Polling Units only), INEC officials on election duty, security agents, candidates or their accredited polling agents, accredited journalists/media; and accredited domestic and foreign observers as the only ones that shall be allowed access to the electoral material distribution centres, Polling Units, polling stations and collation centres.
INEC was quick to clear the fact that whereas voters are free to remain within the vicinity of the Polling Unit to witness the sorting and counting of votes and the announcement of results, this should be done orderly.
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