The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, and the Inspector General of Police, Usman Baba, on Tuesday, assured the Ekiti electorate that necessary arrangements had been put in place to ensure transparency and security on Saturday’s governorship election in the state.
While Yakubu reassured the Ekiti people that the decision of who would become the next governor of the state would be that of the electorate through their votes, Baba said necessary security deployment had been made so that people could cast their votes without fear of molestation and that the votes would count.
The INEC chairman and the police chief spoke in Ado Ekiti, the state’s capital, during the Election Stakeholders’ Meeting on Ekiti State Governorship Election attended by party leaders and candidates of participating parties, security agencies, and civil society organisations.
The INEC boss said, “Let me assure political parties and voters that the task of electing a new governor will be left in the hands of Ekiti voters. We won’t take any action to the advantage or disadvantage of any particular party or candidate. We are going to do everything according to the constitution and provisions of the Electoral Act.”
Yakubu said that four INEC national commissioners and eight Resident Electoral Commissioners had been deployed to ensure the conduct of credible election, adding that 76 per cent of the 988,923 registered voters in the state had collected their Permanent Voter Cards as of Monday and that they still had the opportunity to obtain the PVCs till Thursday.
The INEC chief, who described vote-buying as “a threat to the nation’s democracy”, said, “To show how determined we are to stop this menace, we have changed the configuration of the ballot boxes in all polling units to prevent vote-buying.
“We are also collaborating with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission to deploy their men and deal with vote buyers and sellers according to the law,” he said.
INEC’s Resident Electoral Commissioner, Ekiti State, Dr. Adeniran Tella, said that pregnant women, people living with disabilities, and the aged, would be given priority to vote on election day.
The IGP, who assured of adequate security before and after the election, disclosed that different security agencies including the military had deployed personnel for the Ekiti election, not to intimidate law-abiding citizens, but to ensure a hitch-free exercise.
He said that the 177 wards and 2,445 polling units would be manned by appropriate manpower. Assuring, he said, “Let me say this, the massive deployment is not to scare the citizens, but to protect the sanctity of the ballots and the provisions of the Electoral Act.
“Those who want to constitute clog in the wheel of progress will face the consequences of their actions. National security should be of priority and uppermost in our minds. Let us conduct this election in the most civil manner.
“All the parties must embrace the virtues of democracy. We will not allow any person or group of persons to disrupt this election no matter how highly placed. Let all the contenders provide the moral leadership so that we can achieve success together.”