COVID-19: INEC may not alter dates on conduct of Edo, Ondo governorship elections
• Orders resumption
Despite speculation, the Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC) offered no hint of an intention to adjust timetable for the conduct of governorship elections in Edo and Ondo states.
Before the outbreak of the pandemic, the elections had been fixed for September 19 and October 10, 2020 in Edo and Ondo states, respectively.
A memo addressed to staff of the Commission ahead of their resumption, “Guidelines for Resumption of COVID–19 Lockdown,” and made available to newsmen on Wednesday in Abuja directed the immediate reopening of its offices in Ondo and Edo states, due to the upcoming gubernatorial elections.
It, however, urged its senior officials in the affected states to consult with the relevant State Governments for issuance of necessary permits.
The memo further gave a proviso:” Re-opening of State and Local Government Area (LGA) offices will depend on existing lockdown guidelines issued by the respective State Governments. ”
In compliance with the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control guidelines on physical distancing measure, INEC said the “workspace distancing of at least two (2) metres should be adopted within offices, in the premises and the Commission
“There should be no loitering in the premises of the Commission by staff/visitors
“Under no circumstances shall visitors or contractors be allowed into the Commission except on authorized invitation by the Commission. Visitors’ books must be maintained at each entry point and all floors, with contact details of all visitors. Wearing of identification cards and tags shall be strictly enforced.
” Invitation regarding entry by visitors and contractors should be communicated to the main gate through a dedicated phone line. Congregational prayers in the Mosque and Chapel are prohibited for the time being.”
For meetings that are compulsory, INEC maintained that ” a combination of virtual and physical meetings should be held to minimize physical contacts; Zoom, Skype, Webinars and other Virtual interactive techniques will be explored and employed to meet internally and with external stakeholders. “