Ahead of the scheduled October 6, local government election, Nasarawa State governor, Engineer Abdullahi Sule, has unveiled the State Independent Electoral Commission (NASIEC) Regulations 2021, that will lead to the conduct of a credible, free and fair election.
Engineer Sule unveiled the NASIEC Regulations 2021, at a ceremony that held at the conference hall of the Ministry for Local Government, Community Development and Chieftaincy Affairs, on Wednesday.
According to the governor, the set of rules, will guarantee the independence of the state electoral body, while also ensuring the conduct of a credible, free and fair local government election.
While commending the commission for attaining the feat, with Nasarawa State being the first in the country to produce the set of regulations, Engineer Sule tasked NASIEC on the need to live above board, by abiding strictly to its regulation, in order to exercise its independence and earn the confidence of all and sundry.
“As an electoral body, the Commission must exercise neutrality and objectivity in the conduct of its statutory mandate. The Commission must not align itself with any political party, candidate or interest no matter the odds in the forthcoming and subsequent elections,” he stated.
The governor used the opportunity of the event, to appeal to political parties and candidates, to be law abiding during electioneering campaigns and throughout the election period, stressing that, politics is not a do or die affair, since in every contest, winners must emerge.
Engineer Sule further urged political actors to imbibe the culture of managing the joy of victory and agony of defeat.
The governor equally reiterated his earlier call for the people to ensure that only credible, competent, tested, transparent and accountable people are elected into the offices of the chairman and councilors of local government councils, adding that, this is the only way for the electorates can achieve the collective desire of transforming the local government system to play its role of galvanizing development at the grassroots.
Earlier, in an opening remarks, Chairman of the Nasarawa State Independent Electoral Commission (NASIEC), Barrister Ayuba Wandai Usman, said NASIEC Regulations 2021, came about as a result of the determination of the commission to put in place, procedures, rules and structures, that will enable it adequately and efficiently discharge its mandate.
Barrister Wandai noted that, in documenting the rules, NASIEC considered the sacred responsibility of an election management body, as well as the need to have set of rules aimed at optimal performance, in tune with modern election techniques, that will guarantee free, fair and credible election.
According to the NASIEC Chairman, as the commission approaches the October 6 local government election, it remain poised to deliver its mandate, in the most responsible manner.
Barrister Wandai took time to update the public on the activities of the commission, leading to the election.
The NASIEC Chairman used the opportunity to appreciate the governor, for his continuous support, towards ensuring a smooth conduct of the council poll, ensuring the independence of the commission, as well as giving approval for the NASIEC Regulations 2021.
Barrister Wandai also thanked the state House of assembly, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), security agencies, the European Center for Electoral Support (ECES), the Forum of State Independent Electoral Commissions of Nigeria (FOSIECON), IPAC, the press and other critical stakeholders, for their support and cooperation, towards a successful conduct of the election.
Also in an address, Mr. Manji Wilson, Deputy Project Coordinator, ECES, pointed out that, the level of credibility of local elections, the plurality of representation and effective service delivery, at the local level, influences the level of trust people have in democratic governance.
Wilson said his organization strongly believes that, the more consolidated and stronger SIECs are, the more they contribute to increase the legitimacy, not only of local government democracy, but that of the country in general.
ECES is an European not-for-profit foundation, promoting democracy and governance, specialising in providing technical assistance and guidance, to election management bodies globally.