…Calls for neutrality of INEC
The Independent National Electoral Commission has deployed additional officers to Bayelsa, Kogi and Imo states ahead of this Saturday governorship elections.
This was as the Chairman of the Commissikn, Prof. Yakubu Mahmood warned officers to be neutral in the polls.
Mahmood also reminded its officers that they are merely umpires and not participants in in polls.
No fewer than 5,169,692 Nigerians who collected their Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs) are expected to vote in off-cycle Governorship elections.
The INEC boss also pointed out the significant of the polls as it is the “first time in our history that these elections are held on the same day and across three geo-political zones of the country: North Central (Kogi), South East (Imo) and South South (Bayelsa).”
He therefore urged “As we approach the Election Day, I wish to call on our officials (both regular and ad-hoc) to demonstrate the highest level of patriotism and professionalism. As I said repeatedly, not least during my recent readiness assessment visits to the three States, INEC is not a political party and we have no candidate in the election. Our responsibility is to safeguard the process and ensure a level playing field for all political parties and candidates. The choice of who becomes the Governor of Bayelsa, Imo and Kogi States is entirely in the hands of voters.”
He also added, “For these off-cycle elections, the Commission is deploying two (2) National Commissioners, nine (9) Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) and Administrative Secretaries (ASs) as well as additional staff from different States to each of the three States to support the process. They will be deployed across the senatorial zones in the States.”
He also hinted that all sensitive and non-sensitive materials for the elections have been delivered.
Adding, “The Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) have been configured for deployment to Polling Units as the only means of voter verification and fingerprint/facial biometric authentication of voters. Polling Unit results will be uploaded to the INEC Result Viewing (IReV) portal. All election duty officials have been trained. Arrangements have been made for land and maritime transportation to enable us commence voting on schedule. In spite of the extremely difficult terrain and physical infrastructure in some locations, we are determined to ensure that our officials are there waiting for voters rather than the voters waiting for our arrival.
He also posited, “Election is a multi-stakeholder responsibility. As with every election, lessons have been learnt from recent elections. We will continue to ensure free, fair and credible and inclusive elections but INEC cannot do it alone. We have received assurances from the security agencies that the environment will be secure for electoral activities and all participants: voters, electoral officials, accredited observers, the media and polling/collation agents. Political parties and candidates have signed the peace accord under the auspices of the National Peace Committee (NPC). Let us maintain the peace and play our roles conscientiously. By doing so, we shall continue to consolidate our democracy.”