The tenure of the present local government council chairmen and councillors in Akwa Ibom State to terminates in December 2020.
The chairman of Akwa Ibom State Independent Electoral Commission(AKSIEC), Elder Aniedi Ikoiwak disclosed this in Eket at the mini retreat for some Commission members and Electoral Officers held to review the last election and preview the upcoming election.
The AKSIEC Boss, in his welcome address appreciated the Akwa Ibom State Governor, Udom Emmanuel and the state committee on COVID-19 for containing the spread of the virus and ensuring recoveries of affected persons in the state.
“Let me specifically acknowledge and appreciate the State Governor, His Excellency Deacon Udom Emmanuel and COVID-19 committee in our dear state for doing a good job in containing the deadly virus and its spread. As can be noticed,the rate of recovery in the state has been encouraging due to pragmatic approach of His Excellency in putting adequate measures in place even before the recording of index case(s) in our state. Furthermore, the state government had provided Public Protection Equipments(PPEs) like buckets with taps,soap, facemasks and hand sanitizers to Akwa Ibom people and indeed other residents of the state.This was followed by palliatives to our people to cushion the effect occasioned by the lockdown due to COVID-19.”
Elder Ikoiwak, said AKSIEC has been supporting government’s effort by the provision of infrared thermometer, hand sanitizers, hand washing points with soap and water for staff of the Commission and visitors to their headquarters in Uyo since March 20, saying that all the 31 local government area offices provided with buckets with taps and facemasks. He advised staffers of the Commission to maintain social distancing as the pandemic knows no sex, religion and social status.
He assured that the coming election would be free, fair and credible based on international best practice.
“As we all know that the tenure of the present local government is gradually coming to an end, specifically in December 2020. There is need for us to be alert to our responsibilities, knowing fully well our roles and duties in conducting a local government election that will be free, fair and credible based on international best practice.”
AKSIEC Boss reiterated that the Commission would not tolerate sabotage and indiscipline from electoral officers and staff, urging that all election materials must be sorted, identified and kept in good shape, directing Electoral Commissioners to plan and visit the Area Offices under their supervisory jurisdiction.
In a communiqué issued and adopted at the end of the mini retreat, with the theme “strategic planning- a panacea for a credible local government election”, the Commission amongst others, commended Gov. Udom Emmanuel for contending the novel COVID-19 pandemic in the state, and sought the enhancement of synergy between the Commission and the security agencies for protection of personnels and electoral materials before, during and after election.
The communiqué signed by the Commission’s chairman, Elder Aniedi Ikoiwak, said the training of Ad-hoc staff would be in batches,to promote physical distancing in line with the order by National Centre for Disease Control(NCDC) protocol on coronavirus.
The Commission also sought the prompt approval and release of funds as it would ensure effective operational planning and logistics, urging government to take the funding of the Commission as necessary for the smooth conduct of local government election in the state.
On the AKSIEC law, the communiqué recommended the amendment of AKSIEC law 2007 as most sections of the law contradict the provision of section 135(2) of the Electoral Act 2010(as amended)and the sixth schedule of the 1999 constitution of Nigeria.
The release said proper remuneration and motivation of staff of the Commission would increase productivity and encourage them to do more for the state.
Earlier, Pharmacist Emmanuel Okolie delivered lecture on ways of preventing coronavirus.
The mini retreat of the Akwa Ibom State Independent Electoral Commission had in attendance, commissioners, head of departments and electoral officers in all the local government areas in the state.