INEC identifies 16 areas of improvement as materials arrive Ondo
Chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu who stated this at a stakeholder meeting in Akure, said the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had concluded plans to deliver all sensitive materials for the election to its Akure branch.
According to him, areas identified include logistics, prompt response to Smart Card Reader glitches on election day, the menace of vote-buying, compliance with COVID-19 protocols, among others.
Yakubu specifically said there had been intense engagement with security agencies in dealing with the menace of vote-buying.
He said the commission in response to the fire incident last month in which all Smart Card Readers in Ondo State were lost had moved enough replacements from its Oyo office and configured them for the Saturday poll.
He said: “We have engaged with land and maritime transport owners for forward and reverse logistics to and from land and riverine locations. We have engaged an additional 104 Registration Area Technical Support (RATECHS) staff to respond rapidly to issues with Card Readers on Election Day.
“We had useful discussions with the security agencies and anti-corruption agencies on how to deal with vote-buying during elections. Working with health authorities, we will continue to enforce safety measures at polling units, including the compulsory wearing of face masks and the provision of non-pharmaceutical interventions such as hand sanitizers and infra-red thermometers at polling locations and collation centres.”
Yakubu noted that to ensure a transparent electoral process, the Z-Pad technology used for the Edo election would also be deployed for the Ondo governorship election adding the deployment of Smart Card Readers voter verification and authentication was compulsory.
While assuring the Ondo people that their votes would count, the INEC chair warned politicians against violence.
He said: “As the eligible voters in Ondo State go to the polls on Saturday, I wish to renew my appeal to all political parties, candidates and their supporters for peaceful conduct. Votes will count. Polling unit-level results will be uploaded for public view. However, this will not happen where the process is disrupted by violence or malpractices.
“The commission is determined that no one will benefit from impunity or be rewarded for bad behaviour such as vote-buying, ballot box snatching, and stuffing, multiple voting, hijacking and diversion of election materials, disruption of collation, falsification of results, attack on INEC officials or compelling them to declare unofficial results. The people of Ondo State must be allowed to freely vote for their preferred candidate without inducement or harassment. We have been assured by the security agencies that thugs and their sponsors will not have the freedom to move around freely to disrupt the election or collation of results.
“Our commitment is to ensure that the choice of who becomes the next Governor of Ondo State is entirely in the hands of the voters. I wish to assure all eligible voters that every vote will count and only the choice made by the people of Ondo State will determine the outcome of the election. I want to assure political parties and candidates that we will remain focused on our processes and procedures. Let me reiterate to all stakeholders that the Commission will not take any action to the advantage or disadvantage of any political party or candidate.”
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