Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has revealed that 35 political parties that nominated candidates for the Ekiti State governorship election have been cleared as at the deadline date.
Chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmoud Yakubu, made the disclosure when he received a delegation of the ECOWAS Female Parliament Association (ECOFEPA), in Abuja on Tuesday.
While noting that the details of the political parties would be published in Ekiti State as required by law, he said: “The nomination has closed and 35 political parties are fielding candidates for governorship election in July 14.”
He further added that the commission on Monday closed the nomination of candidates by political parties for the June 2 Ibarapa Oyo State House of Assembly bye-election and seven political parties also submitted nomination forms.
Yakubu assured that the commission is ready for the election, pledging that all registered voters in Ekiti and Osun would get their Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) before the election days.
“In the cases of Ekiti and Osun, remember INEC conducted Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) not only in 2017, but also in 2018 and at ward level.
“We have assured citizens in Ekiti and Osun that all those who registered will get their PVCs ahead of the elections.
“We have already delivered PVCs in the two states for 2017 and 2018. We are mopping up for those who registered at ward level during the devolved CVR,” he noted.’
The INEC boss denied the allegation by the Peoples Democratic Party PDP) that the All Progressives Congress (APC) sponsored the accredited observer groups by INEC for the Ekiti election.
“As far as Ekiti election is concerned, we have not accredited observers for the Ekiti election. There is a procedure and it is known. It is even on our website, the guidelines for elections observation.
“We have received quite a number of applications, even yesterday the applications kept coming in, but we have not accredited any group for election observation in Ekiti and Osun. Very soon we will do that and as usual we will make it known to public,” he said.
Addressing the ECOFEPA delegation, Prof. Yakubu pledged to use his position as the President of ECOWAS Network of Electoral Commissions (ECONEC) to advocate for more women participation in politics.
He explained that INEC was a gender friendly commission, stressing that out of 11 national commissioners in the commission three were women.
“INEC has a workforce of 16,000 staff and women constituted over 32 per cent of it,” he noted, adding that; “the commission already had its Gender Policy and was working with political parties to ensure more women’s participation in politics.”
The first Vice President of the ECOWAS Female Parliament Association (ECOFEPA), Hon. Aissata Daffe, from Conakry, decried the low level of women participation in politics and their number in elective positions in the sub-region.
Daffe said that women constituted over 52 per cent of the Nigeria’s population yet only about six per cent are represented in decision making levels, while Senegal had 42 per cent.
Dr. Sintiki Ugbe, of ECOWAS Commission Abuja, presented the ECOFEPA’s ECOWAS Gender Election and Startegic Framework document to Yakubu and said they were on advocacy visit to INEC.
Ugbe expressed confidence that the document would serve as tool for election management bodies in ECOWAS, urging all other stakeholders to integrate gender in their electoral processes.