INEC Chairman Prof Mahmood Yakubu during pre-election Stakeholders meeting in Ekiti State. Photo: Kayode Oyedare
The Chairman Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC Professor Mahmood Yakubu, has assured political parties, candidates and the electorate that only voters will determine who becomes their next governor this Saturday in Ekiti State.
Professor Yakubu gave the assurance at the traditional pre-election Stakeholders’ Meeting, in Ado Ekiti against the backdrop of various concerns on credibility, transparency and security of the election.
He said the Commission would not take any action to the advantage or disadvantage of any political party or candidate.
Professor Yakubu also stressed that the commission had held meetings with political parties and their candidates, the security agencies at the national, State and Local Government levels as well as stakeholders for the success of the poll.
According to him, all non-sensitive materials for the election have been delivered and Voter education, as well as sensitisation, is ongoing while arrangements for the transportation of personnel and materials to all polling units on the Election Day have been concluded
For more effective supervision of the process, Professor Yakubu said the commission had deployed 4 National Commissioners, 8 Resident Electoral Commissioners and many senior officials to support the State office in Ekiti State to deliver credible elections.
On several inquiries from citizens who are yet to collect their PVCs and who would like to know when the collection of cards will be suspended before the election, Professor Yakubu explained that collection would continue in all the 16 Local Government Area Offices until today Thursday 16th June 2022.
To underscore the Commission’s commitment to an inclusive, credible and transparent electoral process, Prof. Yakubu said some assistive devices for Persons with Disabilities PWDs will be deployed to give them a more comfortable experience on the election day.
Specifically, he revealed that Magnifying Glasses, Braille Ballot Guide and Posters for voters with hearing conditions will be deployed at the polling unit level in areas of need based on data collected in collaboration with the PWD community.
He stressed that the revised Regulations and Guidelines provide for priority to be accorded at polling units to PWDs without waiting in long queues during voting as is the case with elderly people, pregnant women and nursing mothers.
The INEC Chairman also stated that the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System BVAS will be deployed for voter accreditation and uploading of election results to the INEC Result Viewing, IReV portal on election Day.
He affirmed that the devices had already been configured and fully charged for the election, just as steps have been taken to ensure that the BVAS machines function optimally during voter accreditation, based on lessons learnt from recent elections.
He said a mock accreditation exercise was conducted in polling units across the three Senatorial Districts of Ado, Ikere and Irepodun/Ifelodun Local Government Areas of Ekiti State.
The INEC boss said adequate technicians have also been trained for Registration Area Technical Support, RATECHs staff and adequate transportation arrangements for their rapid response in the event of reported glitches on Election Day have been made.
According to Professor Yakubu, the Commission has accredited Polling Agents nominated by political parties for all the 2,445 polling units, 177 Ward collation centres, 16 Local Government Area collation centres and the State Collation Centre where the final declaration of result will be made.
According to him, on Election Day, the national headquarters of INEC in Abuja will monitor the election throughout the State from the Zoom Situation Room that will be activated.
He stressed that accredited observers and the media will be invited to join the Commission at intervals to provide live reports from the field. At the same time, citizens can contact the Commission through its various platforms such as the toll-free INEC Citizens Contact Centre ICCC telephone line in addition to Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts.
On the menace of vote-buying, Professor Mahmood was emphatic that the Commission was deeply worried by the use of money to induce voters on Election day which
is a threat to the electoral process
He said the commission had changed the configuration of polling units to bring the ballot boxes closer to the voting cubicles and also banned the use of mobile phones and photographic devices by voters while in the voting cubicles.
Prof Yakubu said INEC has also intensified collaboration with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission EFCC and the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission ICPC to deal with both the buyers and the takers under the law.
Reporting by Kayode Oyedare Editing by Marian Benjamin; Abdullahi Lamino