Posted by News Express | 15 June 2022 | 319 times
By TINA TIMOTHY
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has charged security agencies to deal with those who indulge in vote selling and vote buying, saying that the cankerworm has become a threat to Nigeria’s democracy.
INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, made the call while addressing a stakeholders meeting in Ado-Ekiti on Tuesday, June 14, 2022, ahead of governorship election in the state holding this Saturday, June 18, 2022.
“Like every conscientious Nigerian, the Commission is deeply worried by the use of money to induce voters on Election Day. Clearly, vote buying is a threat to our electoral democracy.
“To discourage the practice, we changed the configuration of our 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.
“We have also intensified our 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. I urge all stakeholders to join the Commission in tackling the menace,” Yaubu said.
Yakubu announced that the pending bye-election for Ekiti East 1 State Constituency which was suspended due to disruption last year would held together with the governorship poll.
Ekiti State has 2,445 polling units, 177 Ward collation and 16 Local Government Areas and 988, 923 registered voters.
He assured the stakeholders that INEC was ready to conduct free, fair and transparent election, adding that “the choice of who becomes the next Governor of Ekiti State is entirely in the hands of voters.”
“The election holding this weekend is historic being the first governorship election that the Commission will be conducting based on the provisions of the Electoral Act 2022 which came into force about four months ago on 25th February 2022.
“It is also the first election to be conducted based on our revised Regulations and Guidelines anchored on the provisions of the new Electoral Act. We have also revised our Training Manual to reflect the provisions of the new Electoral Act as well as the Regulations and Guidelines,” the INEC boss remarked.
He added that for a more effective supervision of the process, wthe Commission has deployed four National Commissioners, eight Resident Electoral Commissioners and many senior officials to support the State office in Ekiti State to deliver credible elections.
He expressed happiness that over 76 per cent of registered voters in the state have collected their permanent Voters Cards. “Of the 988,923 registered voters in Ekiti State, 749,065 (or 76%) have collected their cards as at yesterday Monday, 13th June, 2022,” Yakubu said, adding that collection of PVCs would continue in all the 16 Local Government Area offices of INEC until Thursday, 16th June, 2022.
According to him, Persons With Disabilities (PWDs) would have “pleasant voting experience” in Ekiti.
“To underscore our commitment to an inclusive, credible and transparent electoral process, the Commission is deploying a number of assistive devices for Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) to have a more pleasant voting experience on Election Day. Magnifying glasses, Braille Ballot Guide and Posters for voters with hearing conditions will be deployed at polling unit level in areas of need based on data collected in collaboration with the PWD community.
“Similarly, our 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,” Yakubu said.
“He disclosed that the Commission has accredited 79 domestic and 8 international groups to observe the election, just as 483 journalists representing 91 media organisation have been accredited to cover the election as at Monday afternoon.
“On Election Day, the national headquarters of INEC in Abuja will monitor the election throughout the State. Our Zoom Situation Room will be activated. We are working to ensure that accredited observers and the media are invited to join us at intervals to provide live reports from the field. At the same time, citizens can contact us on our various platforms such as the toll-free INEC Citizens Contact Centre (ICCC) telephone line in addition to our Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts,” he announced.
Yakubu assured that INEC was prepared to conduct a free and fair polls and enjoined security agencies to deal with people involved in any form of electoral malpractices within the ambits of the law.
“I wish to reassure you that the Commission has taken every step to ensure that the election this weekend is free, fair, credible, inclusive and safe,” he said.
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