On behalf of the Commission, I heartily welcome Chief Executives of Media Organizations or their representatives to this quarterly meeting with the Commission. As you are all aware, the tenure of the Chairman INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu ended two days ago, 9th Nov. 2020. You are also aware that Mr. President had appointed him for a second term of 5 years, subject to and confirmation by the Senate. In the interim, I have been tasked with coordinating the affairs of the Commission. This is a very rare privilege and a weighty responsibility; I hope that we will all work together in our continuing efforts to ensure a credible electoral process as a step towards deepening democracy in Nigeria.
The purpose of this meeting is 2-fold. The first is to have the 4th Regular Quarterly Consultative Meeting with you, the esteemed Media Executives and two, to consult with you on the planned forthcoming bye-elections.
Regarding the forthcoming bye-elections, the Commission, you would recall, had fixed 31st October 2020 for the bye-elections into 15 constituencies across 11 states of the Federation. However, the elections could not hold as scheduled due to the security situation in the country as at that time.
The Commission promised to review the situation after 2-weeks. Having done so with the Resident Electoral Commissioners nationwide, it would be most appropriate, in the tradition of the Commission, to consult with all stakeholders and especially Media Executives, before finalizing arrangements for the bye-elections.
On the Edo and Ondo elections, the Commission must place on record, the tireless and sustained campaign by the media against electoral violence, before, during and after the elections. That level of campaign was unprecedented in our recent electoral history. The media, not only kept the imperative of peaceful election in the ‘front burner’ but also kept the spotlight on all political parties and their candidates throughout these elections.
The Commission acknowledges this positive contribution and looks forward to improved partnership and support, as we continue our collective strides towards the consolidation of credible elections and our democracy as a whole. During the course of discussion, the Commission would like to harvest your observations and comments on the two election on areas that could be improved upon.
On the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR), the Commission intends to roll out nationwide programme nationwide, in the 1st quarter of 2021. The Commission announced this at the National Assembly about a week ago at the 2021 Senate and House Budget Defence Hearings. Work is in progress at the Commission towards that goal. The Commission, will, as soon as arrangements are concluded for the CVR rollout, make details available to stakeholders and the general public.
Finally, on behalf of the Commission, you are once again, welcome to our quarterly meeting.