WITH elections due in some parts of the country between August and October, the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 said it is working with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to work out guidelines and protocols to protect voters.
In his Monday briefing, PTF Chairman and Secretary to the Government of the Federation Mr Boss Mustapha said: “The elections will begin with the August 8 by-election in Nasarawa State, to be followed by Edo and Ondo states elections in September and October respectively,” according to INEC.
He implored “parties’ leaders, aspirants, members and their supporters to remain mindful of the virulent nature of COVID-19 during electioneering and other election processes.
“We need to remain alive to enjoy the benefits of our democracy.”
He also stated that the PTF would continue to push forward with the community engagement, risk communication and support to the states.
“There is an ongoing surveillance in the high-burden local government areas, just as we ramp up our precision efforts.
“Similarly, the Federal Government is supporting the states to firm up their Incidence Action Plans, preparatory to their accessing the World Bank facility for the fight against COVID-19.”
Meanwhile, the SGF said that the PTF would submit its Sixth Interim Report to President Muhammadu Buhari.
According to him, subject to the President’s approval, the report would be presented with the way forward to Nigerians at the next briefing on August 6.
The National Statesman recalls that in a document released in May 2020, ‘Policy on Conducting Elections in the Context of the COVID-19 Pandemic’ the chairman of INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, stated that the election protocol regime will take notice of social distancing, wearing of face masks and personal hygiene.
Although he pointed out that no voter will be allowed at any polling unit without a mask, he said that, “the Assistant Presiding Officer (APO) II in checking the Register of Voters may request removal of mask to prevent voter impersonation.”
At every polling unit, tables and chairs shall be routinely disinfected same as the Card Readers, which shall be cleaned after a voter’s fingerprint is decoded, while every polling worker will have safety clothing and any other relevant personal protective equipment (PPE).