The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has explained why it resumed electoral activities despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
The INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, gave the explanation yesterday during the first virtual consultative meeting with Civil Society Organisations (CSOs).
According to him, the nation's democracy and electoral process could not be truncated due to the pandemic, thus the need to proceed with electoral activities in the country.
He said the engagement with CSOs remained at the core of the electoral process and assured that the commission would continue to deepen such engagement.
"Clearly, conducting election under the current global health emergency is novel. Apart from the general policy directions provided by some international organisations that support democracy around the world, only a few countries have conducted elections under the COVID-19 pandemic. There is, therefore, little international best practice to guide election managers in this regard.
"However, since health authorities have issued guidelines on how public institutions in Nigeria can protect their workforce and safely serve the public interest, we consider it imperative to proceed with electoral activities in Nigeria. Our democracy and electoral process cannot be truncated due to the pandemic," Yakubu said.
He further said drawing from the guidelines issued by the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 anchored on the advisory from the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and global health authorities such as the World Health Organisation (WHO), INEC had released a policy document on how electoral activities could proceed while mitigating the risk to all involved.
He added that there were several elections to be conducted in the next few months, including the Edo and Ondo governorship elections scheduled for September 19, 2020 and October 10, 2020, respectively.