INEC ‘studying foreign elections held amidst COVID-19’

INEC approves new policy for conducting elections amidst coronavirus

The electoral commission, INEC, says it will study recent elections held in other countries in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic that has ravaged the globe.

It said it will study the Malian and South Korean polls as it puts in place processes in conducting the forthcoming elections in Edo and Ondo.

The INEC chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, said this on Saturday during a virtual meeting with the Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs).

The details of the meeting were made available via a statement he signed.

INEC on Monday released new guidelines on conducting the elections. It had earlier said the commission would go ahead with the two elections but would align with directives from the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, and the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).

It said it would ensure voters and electoral officers comply with the protocols established by health authorities.

Mr Yakubu said INEC would conduct some bye-elections as test runs to enable it modify its processes in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Learning curve

On Saturday, the official added that the commission was studying elections conducted during the pandemic, especially in Mali and South Korea.

“The commission is determined to hold some of the bye-elections ahead of the two major governorship elections in Edo and Ondo states to enable us test run and finetune our modified processes in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“At the same time, we are also studying reports of recent elections conducted under the COVID-19 pandemic, especially in places such as Mali and South Korea, for any lessons that will strengthen our processes and protect all those involved,” Mr Yakubu said.

He disclosed that there are over six million registered voters for the Edo and Ondo elections “as well as the five senatorial and four state assembly bye-elections spread across nine states of the federation.”

South Korea and Mali both held elections in April, despite the pandemic.

According to an Aljazeera report, strict health, safety and social distancing measures were in place for the process in South Korea.