The Nigeria Centre For Disease Control (NCDC) has released new guidelines for the conduct of elections in Nigeria in view of the rampaging COVID-19 pandemic.
1st News reports that the guidelines provide key public health guidance to be considered while conducting elections.
Equally important, the wide-ranging documents delivers specific action points to be observed by political parties, the electorate, election monitors as well as the electoral umpires, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and its ad-hoc staff.
Specifically, the guidelines come ahead of the Edo and Ondo states gubernatorial elections.
According to 1stnews, The document, which provide recommendations and actions to be taken to reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19; especially for all voters, electoral officers, candidates and other participants; was designed in consideration of the ongoing community transmission of COVID-19 in Nigeria.
One of the most critical recommendations is the advice to politicians to rely more on mass media channels; such as radio, television and social media to campaign for votes. The NCDC said the use of these channels, rather than the previous methods of canvassing for votes; which involves mass gathering, would help check the spread of new COVID-19 infections.
Another critical recommendation is the call for strict adherence to its guideline on mass gatherings.
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‘‘Mass gatherings during elections will likely occur during campaigns and election days. The only way to conduct elections without putting any one at risk of contracting COVID-19 is to comply with all protective measures at all times. These include limiting mass gatherings, ensuring physical distancing of at least two metres; promoting hand hygiene by providing handwashing facilities and a mandatory use of face masks. Wearing your face mask incorrectly is as good as NOT wearing a mask at all.’’
Further, the NCDC implored politicians to consider the safety and lives of the people.
“We urge our politicians to take responsibility and lead by example. We ask you to please think of the lives of the electorate first. Your electorate, staying alive, is much more important than any vote you can win.
“The guideline is to support critically, Nigerians that will be going to vote. The virus thrives in mass gathering and there is a challenge that we have in the way we have conducted our elections before, during and post.
“In this guideline, we try and offer advice on how to do this safely,’’ it explained.
You can access and read the full guidelines here: