By Lateef Ibrahim
Ahead of the 2019 elections, the Independent National Election (INEC) has appealed for support from the United Nations to enable the commission carry out capacity building for staff, voter education and sensitization as well as the electoral legal framework.
The Chairman of the Commission Prof Mahmood Yakubu who made the appeal on Monday in Abuja, equally called for the support of the UN for “capacity building for political parties, electoral conflict mitigation, inclusiveness, particularly of women, youths and persons with disabilities.”
Prof Yakubu made the call at a meeting with the United Nations Need Assessment Mission on the 2019 general election.
The INEC Chairman recalled that over the years, the UN has been providing critical support to INEC in the commission’s effort to introduce and sustain reforms of the electoral system in Nigeria.
He informed the UN officials that their visit was auspicious as the 2019 general elections is only 389 days away added that the commission has issued timetable and a schedule of activities for the election.
While assuring the UN of the commissions total commitment to the consolidation of democracy in Nigeria by conducting free, fair and credible elections, he said INEC has registered over 74 million voters promising that the number will rise.
According to the INEC chairman, the number of registered political parties stands at 68 while the commission is processing over 90 fresh applications seeking registration as political parties.
He also informed the visiting UN officials that there are 119,973 polling units, 8,809 electoral wards and 1,553 constituencies for which elections will be conducted in 2019.
The INEC chairman further said: “Over the last two electoral cycles (2010-2015 and 2015-2019), the Commission has deliberately and purposefully embarked upon far-reaching reforms of the electoral system not only in terms of operational procedures (e.g. changes in voting procedures, enhancing the physical security features on the ballot papers, ballot boxes and result sheets, the reorganization of the Commission’s administrative structures, capacity building and professionalization for the staff; instituting the long term planning processes; introduction of technology such as biometric registration and authentication process (permanent voters’ cards and smart card readers), collation and results management as well as the trafficking and monitoring of electoral activities.”