FCT: INEC assures residents of credible election

The Independent National Electoral Commission on Saturday expressed optimism that it would not disappoint residents in the conduct of the forthcoming Federal Capital Territory Area Council election scheduled for February 12.

The commission also said it would deploy all necessary human, material and managerial resources to ensure that the election remained free, fair, credible, peaceful, inclusive and transparent.

INEC National Commissioner and Chairman (Planning, Monitoring and Strategy Committee), Abdullahi Zuru, gave the assurance in Abuja during the Election Monitoring and Support Centre Red Zone implementers’ workshop in preparation for the FCT poll, organised by the European Centre for Electoral Support.

According to him, the FCT election would be a model for the forthcoming State and federal constituencies bye-elections, the Ekiti and Osun governorship elections and the 2023 general Election.

Zuru said, “We must keep in mind that when electoral risks are not understood and addressed, they can undermine the credibility of and end two weeks to an election. The 12 days Red Zone consist of nine days to Election, Election Day and two days after the Election.

“The process and the results it yields with possible devastating violence. I, therefore, appeal to you to listen attentively to the resource persons, understand what they are saying or doing and also share your thoughts with them: personal experiences of an environment are invaluable assets for ERM prevention and mitigation strategies.

“Let me reiterate the Chairman, INEC by minding us that the FCT election is unique in the sense that it is the only Local Government level election being conducted by utmost Election Management Body in the country, the West African subregion and indeed Africa as a whole.

“We simply cannot afford to under perform in the conduct of this election. Therefore, the Honourable Chairman of INEC has declared it as “the commission’s election.”

He stressed the need to scan the FCT environment and those of the adjoining States to identify the internal and external factors that have the potential to impact negatively on the elections, analyse the factors and evolve effective preventive and/or mitigating measures.

The ECES Project coordinator, Hamza Fassi-Fihri, said the FCT election was important for INEC to draw lessons for future elections including that of off-cycle governorship elections in Ekiti and Osun and the 2023 General Elections.

“In this context, the EMSC is very instrumental, being an innovative election management system that monitors critical occurrences along the electoral cycle.

“The phased monitoring of the processes that it offers is a critical factor of success. It helps election managers adjust to evolving and uncertain contexts and take appropriate action to avoid glitches and delays, leading to successful outcomes.

“I’m sure the EMSC tool is playing its role in helping the INEC identify gaps, risks and lapses in the process, and is useful in addressing the same.

“In addition to this important role of identifying issues ahead of time, monitoring also ensures accountability and transparency in the electoral process, thereby inspiring stakeholders’ confidence and acceptability of outcomes”, he stated.

Fassi-Fihri commended INEC for demonstrating strong commitment towards comprehensive, scientific and evidence-based monitoring of the electoral process through the innovative tool of the EMSC.

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