By Lateef Ibrahim, Abuja
A total of thirty-five registered political parties nominated candidates for the forthcoming Ekiti State governorship election as at the expiration of the deadline set by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC .
The deadline set by INEC lapsed last week Tuesday.
The Chairman of the Commission, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu disclosed this while answering questions from Journalists shortly after receiving a delegation of the ECOWAS Female Parliament Association (ECOFEPA), on Tuesday in Abuja.
The names of the political parties which met the deadline and their candidates, Yakubu, said further, will be made public on Tuesday in Ekiti as required by law.
According to the INEC Chairman, “The nomination has closed and 35 political parties are fielding candidates for governorship election in July”.
He equally said that the INEC on Monday closed the nomination of candidates by political parties for the June 2 Ibarapa State House of Assembly bye election and seven political parties also submitted nomination forms.
Prof Yakubu, while categorically assuring that INEC was fully ready for the election, pledged that all registered voters in Ekiti and Osun would get their Permanent Voter Cards before the election days.
His words, “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 for 2017 in the two states for 2017 and 2018. We are mopping up for those who registered at ward level during the devolved CVR.’’
The Chairman however dismissed the allegation by the leading opposition party in the country, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, that accredited observer groups by INEC for Ekiti governorship election were sponsored by the All Progressives Congress (APC)
His words, “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 this and as usual we will make it known to public”, he said.
While addressing the ECOFEPA delegation earlier, the INEC Chairman 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, saying 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 said.
Yakubu added that the commission already had its Gender Policy and was working with political parties to ensure more women’s participation in politics.
The 1st 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 but only had six per cent representation 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.
Dr Ugbe expressed hope that the document would serve as a tool of election management bodies in ECOWAS and all other stakeholder to integrate gender in their electoral processes.