The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mahmoud Yakubu, has warned its officials, ad-hoc and regular staff to be professional, apolitical and non-partisan in discharging duties assigned to them during the forthcoming Ondo State governorship election.
Mr Yakubu gave the warning on Monday in Akure during a stakeholders’ meeting with political party officials, traditional rulers, election observers and other officials.
The chairperson, who said that voter education and sensitisation are currently going on, explained that the commission had made arrangement for personnel and materials to polling in all 3,009 polling unis and 203 electoral wards across the state.
”We warn our officials, ad-hoc and regular staff to be professional and non-partisan in the discharge of their duties assigned to them during the 10 October State governorship election.
“Our commitment is to ensure that the choice of who becames the next governor of Ondo State is entirely in the hands of the voters.
“I wish to assure all eligible voters that every vote cast will count and only the choice made by the people of Ondo state will determine the outcome of the election.
“I want to assure political parties and candidates that we will remain focused on our processes and procedures.
“Let me reiterate that the commission will not take any action to the advantage or disadvantage of any political party or candidate.
“All eligible voters will be given equal opportunity to exercise their right to vote in order to ensure greater awareness and effective participation.
Mr Yakubu, who said that the commission had reviewed its performance at the last governorship election in Edo State, said that it is determined to continue to improve on its performance.
According to him, “we have identified 16 areas we will improve upon, including logistics, prompt response to issues of faulty card readers, vote-buying and other vices.
He, therefore, appealed to all election officials, transport providers, polling agents, election observers and the media to ensure compliance with the advisory by health authority.
The chairperson, who said that the same procedure used in Edo State would be adopted in the Ondo state, said that result would be uploaded at the polling units through the Z-Pad into the INEC portal.
“To further underscore our commitment to credible and transparent electoral process in Nigeria, the commission introduced Z-pad to upload polling unit level results.
“Commission is determine that no one will benefit from impunity or be rewarded for bad behavior such as vote buying, ballot snatching, multiple voting, diversion of election materials and others,” he noted.
In his welcome address, Rufus Akeju, the Resident Electoral Commissioner of INEC, said that only 1,478,460 voters, who collected the permanent voters’ card, are expected to come to the various voting points to exercise their franchise on Saturday.
Mr Yakubu said accreditation and voting will be done simultaneously, running from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., adding that all voters on the queue as of 2:30 p.m. will be allowed to vote.
“The number of registered voters in Ondo State is 1,822,346 and 1,478,460 voters’ cards were distributed while 343,886 cards remain uncollected.
“The implication is that only 1,478,460 voters who collected the permanent voter cards are expected to come to the various voting points to exercise their franchise on Saturday,” he warned.
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