Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Prof Mahmood Yakubu has said that the choice of who become the next Governor of Imo, Kogi and Bayelsa states rest solely with voters.
To ensure a credible election, the INEC boss said the Commission is deploying 2 National Commissioners and Nine Resident Electoral Commissioners and Administrative Secretaries to supervise the elections in each of the three States.
In a message to the people of the three States, Yakubu asked all INEC deployed officials (both regular and ad hoc staff) to display the highest level of professionalism and patriotism throughout the period of the election.
He also assured that election results will be uploaded in the INEC Result Viewing portal, insiating that the commission was not a political party and has no candidate in the election.
Tie statement reads “In less than 24 hours, 5,169,692 Nigerians who collected their Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs) are expected to vote in off-cycle Governorship elections. This 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).
“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.
“We have delivered all sensitive and non-sensitive materials for the elections.
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.
“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.
“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”.
By Tony Akowe
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