NCDC issues Election Guidelines

NCDC issues Election Guidelines
Election Guidelines

In particular as the COVID-19 pandemic threatens, the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) has issued a guideline for the safe conduct of state and local government elections.

It urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), parties, politicians, and election monitors to put a premium on the electorate’s lives by strictly adhering to the guideline and considering that the deadly virus thrives in mass gathering.

The government encouraged all to comply with protective measures – limiting mass gathering, ensuring physical distancing of at least two metres, promoting hand hygiene and a mandatory use of face masks.

NCDC Director-General Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu disclosed this in Abuja yesterday during the COVID-19 briefing of the Presidential Task Force.

He said: “Today we are announcing and launching a new guideline for the conducting of elections during the COVID-19 outbreak in Nigeria.

“Some states will be holding state and local government elections this year, being the first time we are holding elections of this significance during the pandemic.

“Therefore, we have developed this guideline to support everyone involved – parties, INEC, but most critically, Nigerians that will be going to vote in this difficult times.

“Voting still remains a civic responsibility and although we are in the middle of a pandemic, we have to find a way of doing this safely and we have to adapt to the new normal.

“As we know, the virus thrives in mass gathering, so there is a challenge we have in the way we have conducted our elections –  pre-elections, during elections and post-elections. So, in doing this guideline, we try and offer advice on how to do this safely.”

The NCDC boss also added: “We strongly encourage the use of television, radio, mobile vans, social media and other forms of communication as our politicians solicit votes.

“We advise careful adherence to mass gathering guidelines. Unfortunately, the virus doesn’t recognise whether we are conducting elections, religious gatherings or business settings – it just thrives when people come together.

“We have provided specific guidelines for theses settings and none of them will be surprising and we’ll be explicit about it.

“We urge our political leaders to take responsibility and lead by example. Leadership will be critical in this era and we advise them to think of the lives of the electorate first. The electorate staying alive is much more important than any vote you can win.”

Also read: COVID-19: NCDC boss, reveals when life will return to normal

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