…I remain APC Candidate for AMAC, says Murtala

Omeiza Ajayi, Abuja

Ahead of the February 12 Area Council election in the Federal Capital Territory FCT, the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC has met with security chiefs and media executives to deliberate on strategies aimed at ensuring a hitch-free exercise and also out in place measures to enhance mass participation.

At the meeting with representatives of heads of security agencies, the INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu the police have identified flashpoints in the territory.

“More immediately, the Area Council elections in the FCT is holding on 12th February 2022, which is just 23 days away. As early as next week, the INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner and the Commissioner of Police will brief us on the state of preparation with emphasis on the identified flashpoints and the security situation generally in the FCT. At that meeting, the Commission will provide an overview of our readiness for the election involving 68 constituencies (6 Area Council Chairmen and 62 Councillors)”, he stated.

While meeting with the media, Yakubu drew their attention to the distribution of voters to Polling Units in the FCT, particularly the fact that 593 out of 2,822 (or 21%) of the total, do not have voters.

“This is because voters failed to take advantage of the expansion of access to transfer to these new Polling Units. The list of Polling Units having 0 – 50 registered voters in the FCT is among the documents in your folders for this meeting.

“The Commission looks forward to the support of media organizations to encourage voters who wish to transfer from their present Polling Units to new ones created as part of the Commission’s expansion of access polling units across the country. After all, your support was crucial to the success of the recent expansion of voter access to polling units for the first time in 25 years since the initial delimitation in 1996”, he said.

Yakubu added that the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System BVAS will be deployed in the FCT elections which is the second major election after the Anambra Governorship election held in November last year.

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According to him, the 68 constituencies cover extensive urban and rural locations sharing a border with five States in the North Central and North Western parts of the country.

“This is yet another opportunity to pilot the efficacy of the BVAS in a different geographical, geopolitical and electoral context. The same technology will be deployed in all forthcoming elections across the country. Similarly, for all elections going forward, Polling Unit results will be uploaded in real-time on the INEC Result Viewing (IReV) portal”, he stated.

Meanwhile a chieftain of the ruling All Progressives Congress APC in the territory, Hon. Usman ‘Yamarayi’ Murtala has declared that he remained the candidate of the APC for the Abuja Municipal Area Council.

Murtala who emerged during the APC primary last year was however taken to court by his opponents who claim that he was not validly nominated.

He said his case is currently before the Supreme Court and no other person can lay claim to his ticket until the apex court decides otherwise.

At a news conference in Abuja, Murtala said; “It might interest you to know that I won the primary APC conducted some time ago. The party took my name to the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC but my opponents went to court and I won. They went to the Appeal and the appellate court ruled in their favour but my name is still with INEC because the case is currently before the Supreme Court and I remain the candidate of the APC until the judgment of the Supreme Court.

“It is important to let people know that I am the authentic candidate for AMAC.
We are here and someone is parading himself as the candidate. We are making consultations and campaigning ahead of the February 12 election and I remain the candidate of the APC.

“I am seriously bothered that we are divided but the most important thing is for us to secure the mandate of the people. We cannot preempt the court but we know that the people are praying for us”, he said.

Murtala explained that the party leadership has tried to mediate, but that some people are hellbent on ensuring that the party loses at the poll.

“For us, the most important thing is that we get the mandate of the people. APC must not lose this election”, he stated.

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