The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Attahiru Jega and the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar, have assured the people of the Ondo State that their respective organisations would do everything possible to ensure free and fair election in the Saturday’s exercise.
Messrs Jega and Abubakar gave the assurance at a stakeholders’ forum in Akure, the state capital.
The forum was attended by some candidates in the forthcoming election, their deputies and chieftains of their political parties.
The Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Akin Orebiyi, who was the first to brief the gathering on the preparation for the election, said the commission carried all the political parties along in the process of the preparation for the election as the INEC had organised not less than 10 meetings where stakeholders were briefed adequately.
Mr. Jega, who advised the political parties to play the game according to the rules, said the commission would not compromise on the Electoral Law adding that the commission had corrected the lapses noticed in the exercise conducted in Edo State in July.
He said dedicated telephone lines would be opened for people to report their observations and allegations but that complainants must be ready to back their allegations with evidences as the commission would not take interest in any spurious allegation.
The INEC chairman said the commission would investigate all allegations backed by verifiable evidences and that appropriate sanctions would be applied.
“INEC will comply with the law. Any staff who do anything contrary to the law, would be dealt with in line with the Electoral Act. There are improvements in the subsequent elections after 2007 because the commission was committed to the full compliance with the law”, he said.
Mr. Jega said not less than eight national electoral commissioners would be in the state while resident electoral commissioners from 18 states that are not Yoruba states would serve as electoral officers in the 18 local governments.
Mr. Jega advised political parties to appoint credible persons as agents and also educate them on their duties stating that results would be announced at polling units immediately after voting and the results pasted at units and copies given to agents and security on duty.
On security arrangements, the Inspector General of Police said no less than three secuirtymen would be at each of the 3007 poling units, adding that the security men would be drawn from the police, the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence (NSDC), tand he Immigration and Customs Service.
The IG said the state had been sectionalised in line with three senatorial districts in the state.
Abubakar said not less than 20 Armoured Personnel Carriers (APC) would be provided for the election saying that the marine mobile policemen deployed.
He warned that there would be no movement of unthorised people on the day of election as there would be restriction on movement of people including in riverine areas.
The IG also warned that there would be no fishing in the riverine areas during the election just as the force would not allow movement of any politician irrespective of status.
Mr. Abubakar, who announced the withdrawal of all security attached to politicians for one reason or another, said no politician or candidate would be escorted by police.
For each of the three senatorial districts, Mr. Abubakar said five units of mobìle policemen had been deployed while 10 mobile units of policemen would be in each of the18 local governmnts and one unit of mobile police to be on standby at each local government to ensure security of voters.
In addition said there would be restriction of movement into the state as police would mount roadblocks from 6.00pm on Thursday to 6 :00 a.m. on Friday and from 6:00p.m. on Friday to 8:00 p.m. on Saturday.
He added that soldiers would be on hand to quell any unrest while men of the State Security Services (SSS) would continue with their intelligence duty.
The duo of Jega and Abubakar, who advised politicians and other stakeholders to cooperate with relevant agencies of the election, said everything possible is being done to ensure Saturday’s election is free, fair and credible.
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