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We’ll test-run new polling units with Anambra poll – INEC

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) said it would it commence conduct of elections in the newly created polling units with the November 6 governorship election in Anambra.

National Commissioner and Chairman Information, Voter Education and Publicity, INEC, Abuja Mr Festus Okoye, disclosed this in Awka during Implementation Meeting on Voter Enlightenment and Publicity ahead of the governorship election.

He underscored the premium the Commission placed on deployment of technology in elections conduct, expressing satisfaction on its tremendous impact on quality of elections in the country.

He further explained that youths were going to be major determining factor in the election in view of number of eligible voters within 18 to 34 years that had so far registered in the ongoing Continuous Voter Registration exercise.

“As some of you are aware, the new polling units created by the Commission, it will come into force during the November 6, 2021 Anambra governorship election.

“As at July 26, over 1,135,395 eligible voters have registered online during the Continuous Voter Registration exercise, out of which 740,063 are between the ages of 18 to 34.

“The implication is that Nigeria demography is changing and youths are going to be major determining factor in the election.”

Okoye revealed plans to deploy additional staff and materials to the state in the next few weeks to accelerate the continuous voters registration exercise.

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“There is no doubt that the deployment of technology in the delivery of over 26 bye elections since the 2019 general elections remarkably reduced the impact of human interferences in electoral outcomes.

“The Commission was able to show a clear capacity to deliver credible election, ensuring more especially that the results from the polling units were not tampered with and that they reflect the will of the voters,” he added.

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Expressing sadness over losses incurred during the recent inferno on its office in the state, the Commissioner however noted that the commission had substantially recovered from the inferno, saying, “the Commission is not permitted to wallow in self-pity in the face of Governorship election whose timeline is constitutionally circumscribed and cast in stone.”

While announcing August 8 as commencement of campaign for Political Parties in the state, Okoye warned against use of places designated for religious worship, police stations, and public offices for political campaigns, rallies and processions.

He said, “t is important for parties to bear in mind that the country is still within the web of a global health emergency.

“Political parties and candidates are required to strictly adhere to the COVID-19 protocol contained in the statement released by the Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19 on July 30, 2021.

“Political campaigns or slogans shall not be tainted with abusive language directly or indirectly likely to injure religious, ethnic, tribal or section feelings.

Earlier, State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Nkwachukwu Orji, listed
security, attitudinal change and CVR as major areas of focus for the commission to ensure a successful conduct of elections.

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Stakeholders including the State Coordinator, National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), Mrs Yetunde Baderinwa, Director, National Orientation Agency (NOA), Bar. Charles Nwoji and others attended the meeting.

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