Okodili Ndidi, Abuja
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), on Monday, said everything including sensitive and non-sensitive materials, manpower, and other essential logistics are fully in place for Saturday’s election.
Giving the assurance at the Edo Governorship Election Stakeholders’ meeting in Benin City, the Edo State capital, INEC National Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, disclosed that the Commission has dutifully carried out 12 out of 14 scheduled tasks contained in the timetable and schedule of activities for the election.
According to him, “we held many meetings with political parties and their candidates. We had several engagements with the security agencies at the national and state levels. We consulted with stakeholders. We sought for and received, the blessings of Royal Fathers and religious leaders. We have recruited, trained, and carefully screened all categories of ad hoc staff to be deployed to the field.
“We have delivered all non-sensitive materials for the election. Voter education and sensitisation is ongoing. We have made arrangements for the movement of personnel and materials to all polling units on Election Day. The Commission has taken every step and made every arrangement for the election holding this weekend”.
He continued, “our ultimate objective is to ensure that the choice of who becomes the next Governor of Edo State is entirely in the hands of the voters. I wish to reassure you that votes will count and only the choice made by the people of Edo State will determine the outcome of the election. The Commission shall not take any action to the advantage or disadvantage of any political party or candidate. Our focus is on our processes and procedures. Nothing more.
“In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, polling units will now open at 8.30 am (instead of 8.00 am) and close at 2.30 pm (instead of 2.00 pm). This has become necessary in order to accommodate the additional measures to protect public health necessitated by the global health emergency. However, all eligible voters who are in the queue by 2.30 pm will be allowed to vote in line with the Commission’s regulations. Other procedures for the election are clearly outlined in the Voters’ Code of Conduct (VCC) which has since been disseminated.
“Similarly, in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, we urge polling agents, election observers, and the media to ensure compliance with the requirements of the Commission’s policy, copies of which have been widely circulated and more will be shared at this meeting.
“As in previous elections, the Commission is deploying magnifying glasses and braille ballot guides to assist Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) to vote unaided. Earlier, the Commission translated and published its policy of conducting elections in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the Voters’ Code of Conduct into braille in order to ensure greater awareness and effective participation of all citizens in the electoral process irrespective of disability”.
requirement and where it is deliberately avoided to undermine the integrity of the electoral process, the result for the affected polling unit will be declared void in line with the Commission’s regulations and guidelines”.
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