THE Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has deployed 18,511 electoral officials to Edo State ahead of the Saturday’s governorship election in the state.
Mahmood Yakubu, national chairman of the INEC, disclosed this at a Stakeholders’ Forum on the election, organised by the commission in Benin on Wednesday, September 7.
Yakubu said that majority of the personnel were drawn from “the pool of young Nigerians on national assignment through the National Youths Service Corps Scheme”.
The INEC boss said their service, would be complemented by other patriotic Nigerians. He promised that the commission would continue to remain neutral in in handling elections, saying that the Edo exercise would be free, fair and credible.
Besides, he said that the electoral officials had been warned to operate strictly within the confines of the law and our guidelines, adding that: “All election duty personnel have sworn to an oath of neutrality and fairness to the process, and any infraction will attract severe sanctions from the commission’’.
Yakubu appealed to political parties and their supporters to eschew violence and intimidation of electoral officials and should avoid ballot-snatching and falsification of results.
“It is unfortunate that already, one smart card reader was snatched at one of the training centres recently. It was a futile effort because the card reader had not been configured to any polling unit for the election. It was nevertheless a disturbing incident; security agencies are the trail of the snatchers,” he said.
Similarly, he warned high profile personalities in the state to ensure that they complied with the law by avoiding acts of perambulation during the election. He said, like other voters, they are expected to vote and then go home and that if they must stay around, they must also maintain a reasonable distance from the polling centres.
Besides, Yakubu reminded them: “No orderly may accompany these high profile personalities to the polling centres, but where they escort them, they are not expected to display their arms.”
The INEC boss used the occasion to appreciate the contributions of stakeholders to the INEC’s preparations for the elections and reiterated its continued commitment to conducting a credible and conclusive governorship election.
— Sep 7, 2016 @ 16:10 GMT