The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) said on Wednesday that 173,381 voters would participate in the August 11 bye-election to fill the vacant Lokoja/Kogi Federal Constituency position in Kogi State.
The state Resident Electoral Commissioner, Prof. James Apam, who disclosed this in Lokoja during a stakeholders meeting, said that the number of voters comprised 125, 770 from Lokoja Local Government and 48, 611 from Kogi Local Government.
Recall that the seat became vacant following the death of the Hon. Umar Baba Jibrin on March 30.
Apam said that the election would hold in 310 polling units/voting points across the two local governments, with accreditation and voting holding simultaneously on the Election Day.
Apart from those who registered for the 2015 elections, the Commissioner said that those who registered during the ongoing Continuous Voter registration between April and December 2017 are eligible to vote during the election.
According to him, nine political parties: Accord Party, African Democratic Party, All Progressives Congress, Democratic Alternative, Labour Party, Mega Party of Nigeria, National Conscience Party, Peoples Democratic Party and Social Democratic Party are fielding candidates in the election.
He said that 1,500 ad hoc staff, comprising corps members, and senior officers of the commission, would be deployed to the various polling units.
The Commissioner said that adequate security measures had been put in place to ensure a hitch-free election, reiterating the INEC’s resolve to create a level playing ground for all contestants.
He also allayed fears being expressed over the use of money to induce voters, saying that anybody caught sharing money within the vicinity of polling units would be arrested and prosecuted.
While stating the readiness of the INEC to conduct the election, he said that non-sensitive materials like ballot boxes, voting cubicles, generators and others had been deployed, while sensitive materials will be deployed on Aug. 10.
He solicited the support and understanding of all stakeholders to enable the INEC to conduct a free and fair election that will be acceptable to all.
Apam said that the ongoing Continuous Voter Registration would be suspended on Aug. 17, while the issuance of old and newly printed voter cards would continue until a week before the 2019 elections.
Some of the stakeholders at the meeting, including representatives of political parties, civil society organisations and religious groups, urged the INEC to remain neutral in the election.
They also demanded transparency and openness from the voting points to the collation centres, to make the outcome of the exercise acceptable.