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INEC threatens zero votes for ballot box snatching in Bayelsa guber poll

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PHOTO: PIUS UTOMI EKPEI / AFP

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has threatened to record zero votes for parties in areas where there were violence or ballot box snatching during November 16, 2019 Bayelsa governorship poll.

INEC National Commissioner in charge of Bayelsa, Edo and Rivers, Mrs. May Agbamuche-Mbu, disclosed this at the round table discussion on the commission’s preparedness for conduct of the election organised by the Electoral Institute in Abuja yesterday.

Agbamuche-Mbu said INEC was set for the election.

“We are looking unto the political parties that they will be kind to the people of Bayelsa State by doing what they are expected to do.

“There will be no hijacking of ballot boxes because if they are hijacked, the area is going to get zero votes.

“We are going to use smart card readers and where they fail, which I believe they won’t, we will come back again because we are ready for this election and I pray that the political class will allow us do our work,” she said.

The INEC commissioner, who reiterated that the commission would work to ensure that the poll don’t result in inconclusive election, said the commission needed the co-operation of all stakeholders, especially political parties, for it to conduct credible election in the state.

The Lead Speaker, Dr. Sofiri Joab Peterson, said that several factors that may culminate in electoral crisis were identified in his research.

“These include the tendency for positional incumbents to manipulate state security and electoral officials to work for their re-election at all costs against the popular votes, among others,” he said.

He added that logistic challenge was also identified as what could mar the election and called on INEC to build capacities of its personnel.

He said that civic and voter education was central to the success of the election and urged stakeholders “to be combat-ready” and contribute their quota towards ensuring free, fair and credible poll.

Also, Director-General of the Electoral Institute, the research arm of INEC, Dr. Sa’ad Idris, said that the commission promised to make a difference in the Bayelsa and Kogi elections and was doing that by hearing from all stakeholders.

Idris said that non-sensitive materials required for the election had been supplied and deployed to the states, adding that the essence was to give them enough active windows to distribute them timely.

He said important training for ad-hoc members of staff had been conducted while the training for collation and returning officers was scheduled for November 10.

He said INEC was putting all measures in place to ensure that the electoral processes were improved upon and all mistakes corrected by engaging all stakeholders.

INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) for Bayelsa, Pastor Monday Tom, said that the number of smart card readers for the state were 2,337, out of which 86 were faulty and 2,251 functional.

Tom said the registered voters in the state were 923,182 and Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs) collected were 889,308.


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