By Emmanuel Oloniruha/Abuja
A record 48 political parties filed nominations for the Sept. 22 governorship election in Osun, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) disclosed on Wednesday.
INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, said this at the swearing-in of two Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) at the commission’s headquarters in Abuja.
Yakubu said that the commission was currently processing the nomination forms.
“Our preparations for the Osun governorship election continued in earnest.
“Nomination of candidates closed yesterday (Tuesday) in line with the timetable and schedule of activities released by the commission in October, 2017.
“A record number of 48 political parties have nominated candidates for the election. The commission is currently processing the nomination forms,” Yakubu said.
The two new RECs were Garba Madami and Ahmed Mahmud.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that President Muhammadu Buhari had earlier on Wednesday sworn in Mr Festus Okoye, a human rights activist, as INEC National Commissioner.
Yakubu said that with the new RECs, INEC now had the full complement of 12 National Commissioners and “all but two RECs”.
He expressed optimism that the new RECs would bring their knowledge and experience to bear in the conduct of free, fair and credible elections in Nigeria.
The Chairman advised them to quickly familiarise themselves with the relevant provision of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended), INEC’s plans, guidelines and regulations as well as established processes and procedures.
“On the practical side of your work, you must immediately interact with your staff and pay attention to their welfare.
“Also visit the local government offices in your states and assess the various facilities and critical requirements for the 2019 general elections, ranging from the recruitment and training of ad hoc staff, logistics and more.
“Within the confines of the law, I encourage you to be imaginative in responding to the needs of the electorate and add value to the electoral process.
“In doing so, always seek for clarification and, where necessary, the approval of the commission.”
He said that Madami would be deployed to Kwara while Mahmud would work in Kebbi state.
Yakubu disclosed that INEC has also received additional declaration of vacancies from the Rivers and Taraba Houses of Assembly.
These, according to him, were in respect of Port Harcourt III State Constituency and Takum I State Constituency in Taraba.
“Since the law requires the commission to conduct the elections within one month from the declaration of vacancy, the bye-elections in Rivers and Taraba will be held simultaneously on Aug.18.
“The timetable and schedule of activities for the two elections will be released tomorrow after the weekly meeting of the commission.
“With this development, the commission will be conducting six bye-elections before the Osun Governorship election scheduled for Sept. 22.