The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Monday said it would provide braille ballots to guide visually challenged persons for Saturday’s governorship election in Edo State.
Mahmoud Yakubu, chairman of INEC, said this in Benin City during an expanded stakeholders’ meeting organised by the commission.
The meeting had in attendance the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, chairpersons of the 14 participating political parties in the election and their candidates, civil society organisations, among others.
Mr Yakubu said the commission would be deploying magnifying glasses and braille ballot guides to assist persons who need it so as to vote unaided.
“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 to ensure greater awareness and effective participation of all citizens in the electoral process irrespective of disability,” Mr Yakubu said.
He assured the people of Edo that their votes would count in the September 19 governorship election, adding that it is the people’s choice that would determine the outcome of the election.
According to Mr Yakubu, electoral violators will face the consequences of their actions if caught during the governorship election.
Mr Yakubu, who promised that the election would be credible, free, and fair, however listed some of the infractions to include vote-buying, multiple voting, hijacking, and diversion of election materials as well as ballot-box snatching and stuffing, among others.
“Edo people must be allowed to freely vote for their preferred candidate without inducement or harassment. We have been assured by the security agencies that thugs and their sponsors will not have the freedom to move around freely to disrupt the election or collation of results,” he said.
The INEC chairperson also disclosed that the national headquarters of the commission would monitor the election throughout the state through a ‘zoom’ situation room.
“This zoom situation room will allow us to receive live reports from the field. Accredited observers and the media will also be invited to join at intervals. By doing so, the commission will receive first-hand information as the election is going on.
“The votes of the eligible voters will count. Only the choice made by the people of Edo will determine the outcome of the election. Our focus is on our processes and procedures. Nothing more. Be rest assured that Saturday’s election will be credible,” Mr Yakubu said.
In his remarks, Shuaib Ibrahim, director-general of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), appealed to all stakeholders to ensure the safety and security of all corps members deployed for the election.
Mr Ibrahim, who was represented by Benjamin Ayodele, the South-South supervisor of NYSC, thanked INEC for the confidence reposed in the corps.
Osato Bazuaye, a representative of the Oba of Benin, called on INEC and the Inspector General to ensure that the election was free, fair, and peaceful.