Off-cycle election: INEC tasks officials to demonstrate patriotism, professionalism


By Emmanuel Oloniruha

The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu has called on officials of the commission to demonstrate highest level of patriotism and professionalism during Saturday’s off-cycle governorship elections.

Yakubu, in his message issued on Thursday in Abuja said that the choice of who becomes the Governor of Bayelsa, Imo and Kogi is entirely in the hands of voters.this

“As we approach the election day, I wish to call on our officials, both regular and ad-hoc, to demonstrate the highest level of patriotism and professionalism.

“As I said repeatedly, not least during my recent readiness assessment visits to the three States, INEC is not a political party and we have no candidate in the election.

“Our responsibility is to safeguard the process and ensure a level playing field for all political parties and candidates.

“The choice of who becomes the Governor of Bayelsa, Imo and Kogi is entirely in the hands of voters, “ he said.

Yakubu said that INEC had delivered all sensitive and non-sensitive materials for the elections.

He added that Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) had been configured for deployment to Polling Units, and remained the only means of voter verification and authentication.

He added that polling unit results will be uploaded to the INEC Result Viewing (IReV) portal.

“All election duty officials have been trained. Arrangements have been made for land and maritime transportation to enable us commence voting on schedule.

“In spite of the extremely difficult terrain and physical infrastructure in some locations, we are determined to ensure that our officials are there waiting for voters rather than the voters waiting for our arrival,” he said.

Yakubu disclosed that two National Commissioners, nine Resident Electoral Commissioners and Administrative Secretaries, as well as additional staff from different states have been deployed to each of the three states to support the process.

The INEC Chairman said that the officials would be deployed across the senatorial zones in the three states.

Yakubu who described election as a multi-stakeholder responsibility, urged all stakeholders to play by the rules.

“As with every election, lessons have been learnt from recent elections. We will continue to ensure free, fair and credible and inclusive elections but INEC cannot do it alone,” he added.

Yakubu said that INEC had received assurances from the security agencies that the environment would be secured for electoral activities and the safety of voters, electoral officials, accredited observers, the media, polling and collation agents.

“Political parties and candidates have signed the peace accord under the auspices of the National Peace Committee (NPC).

“Let us maintain the peace and play our roles conscientiously. By doing so, we shall continue to consolidate our democracy.

“5,169,692 Nigerians who collected their Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs) are expected to vote in off-cycle Governorship elections in the three states.

“It is the first time in our history that these elections are held on the same day and across three geo-political zones of the country: North Central (Kogi), South East (Imo) and South South (Bayelsa).”(NAN)