Cross River elections: Commission deploys 8,000 personnel

By Eme Offiong, Calabar

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The Cross River State Independent Electoral Commission, CROSIEC, has deployed 8,000 ad hoc staff, besides its personnel, for the conduct of the 2020 local government elections.

The chairman of the commission, Dr. Mike Ushie, told newsmen in Calabar, the capital of Cross River State that three ad hoc staff had been assigned to each of the polling unit.

Observing COVID-19 regulations
Ushie said that CROSIEC was conducting the council election in line with the guidelines of the Independent National Electoral Commission for the conduct of post COVID-19 elections.

He said other arrangements have been concluded for the polls on Saturday, May 30, 2020.

He stated, “We have 8,000 ad hoc staff FOR Saturday’s election. These will be at the 2,266 polling units in the 18 local government areas. We have arranged for three ad hoc staff to be at each of the polling units. All these arrangements follow the INEC guidelines on the conduct of the election as well as the NCDC (Nigeria Centre for Disease Control) protocol on COVID-19”.

“INEC and the NCDC insist that the two states, Cross River and Benue, conducting post COVID-19 elections must provide hand sanitizers, hand washing kits and ensure physical distancing. As you can see we have procured the buckets and soap for hand washing, we also produced our own hand sanitizers,” disclosed Ushie.

According to the chairman, more than 5,000 hand sanitisers and 3,000 buckets for hand washing will be distributed across the polling booths in the State.

On the strategy for physical distancing, Ushie stated “we will have two queues on Saturday because we cannot afford to contravene NCDC guidelines on social distancing. So, what we will do is call in the people from one queue to the next rather than have just one line as before.

“I need to emphasise that we have adopted simultaneous accreditation and voting. We don’t want to accredit people, keep them before the voting. That strategy would not promote the principle of social distancing. So, that is the preferred option – simultaneous accreditation and voting,” the CROSIEC boss explained.

Completed Plans
Ushie further disclosed that only 5 political parties including the All Progressives Congress, APC, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and Young Progressives Party, YPP would be participating in Saturday’s elections.

The chairman also hinted that non-sensitive electoral materials have been distributed to the various local government council headquarters for onward distribution to the different polling booths, while sensitive materials would be dispatched on Friday, May 29th.

He expressed the confidence that chairmanship and councillorship elections would be devoid of violence, stating “we are adhering strictly to Nigeria’s electoral laws and expect all accredited voters to support the commission by going to the polls to freely vote candidates of their choice”.

Meanwhile, the commission has held meetings with representatives of political parties and security agencies to ensure free, transparent, credible and peaceful elections this Saturday.

It could be recalled that local government elections were earlier scheduled for March 28, 2020 and had to be postponed to the outbreak of the coronavirus in Nigeria.

 

Confidence Okwuchi