All Set As FCT Goes to Poll Saturday

Residents of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, go to the poll on Saturday, February 12 to elect chairmen and councilors for the six local government councils in the territory. Fourteen out of the 18 registered political parties in the country are taking part in the election.

The local government areas, LGAs, of Abuja Municipal Area Council, AMAC; Abaji, Bwari, Gwagwalada, Kuje and Kwali will elect six chairmen and 68 councillors for the 68 wards in FCT. The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, confirmed that a total of 473 candidates across 14 political parties will participate in the poll.

The parties, especially the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, and opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, put finishing touches to their campaigns on Thursday.

To ensure a peaceful exercise, the representatives of the 14 political parties and candidates on Tuesday February 8, signed a peace accord at the Nigerian Air Force Conference Centre, Abuja, and committed to a violence-free election.

The Federal Capital Territory is the only part in the country where INEC is mandated by law to conduct local government elections due to its status as an autonomous territory. Mahmood Yakubu, INEC chairman, confirmed that all the major activities relating to the conduct of the election had been completed. All the non-sensitive election materials had been deployed to the area councils while the sensitive materials were delivered on Thursday by the Central Bank of Nigeria to the FCT INEC office in Area 10, Garki, Abuja.

“There are enough ad hoc staff engaged and trained for the election. Non-sensitive materials have been deployed to the various area councils. Non-pharmaceutical materials have been procured to protect voters and personnel from COVID-19 in line with the Commission’s policy based on the protocols prescribed by health authorities. Voter education and publicity have been carried out. Transport arrangements have been made, including motorcycles for remote locations and boats for riverine areas.

“We shall deploy assistive devices such as Braille ballot guide and magnifying glasses for the physically challenged voters. We had several meetings with the security agencies in the area councils, the FCT, and the national level on how to address potential threats to the election and secure the election,” Mahmood said.

The APC and PDP are keenly contesting the election. Presently, APC controls five councils and the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, one, while the PDP is struggling to upstage them. The PDP has a 35-member high-profile campaign team for the poll co-chaired by Governors Samuel Ortom of Benue State, and Seyi Makinde of Oyo State.

The FCT administration has announced a restriction of movement from Friday night till after the election on Saturday.

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