The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Monday unveiled the policy mechanism for the conduct of elections under the current COVID-19 pandemic ahead of the Edo and Ondo governorship elections slated for later this year.
The Edo State governorship election will take place on September 19 while the Ondo gubernatorial poll has been fixed for October 10.
In the document signed by its Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, INEC said the purpose of the policy was to enable officials and staff of the commission understand and respond adequately to the challenges of conducting elections in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and its health and financial implications.
According to the document, Section 160 (1) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) empowers INEC to by rules or otherwise, regulate its own procedure or confer powers and impose duties on any officer or authority for the purpose of discharging its functions.
The Commission is also empowered by Section 153 of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) to issue regulations, guidelines, and manuals for the purpose of giving effect to the provisions of the Act.
It added that the policy shall apply to all elections and electoral activities of the Commission during the COVID-19 pandemic.
It read: “The COVID-19 pandemic has had an extensive impact on the electoral process in Nigeria. Not only has it led to far-reaching disruptions in the electoral system, but it has also specifically led to the postponement of elections and created uncertainties about scheduled ones.
“The Commission, cognizant of the profound impact of the pandemic on the electoral process, extensively deliberated on how best to respond to the impact of the pandemic on election administration. The situation is made worse by the global economic impact of the pandemic and its knock-on effect on the Nigerian economy, which has seen a decline in funding for government activities.”