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‘Allow voters to decide’ — INEC chair warns staff against interference in off-cycle polls

‘Allow voters to decide’ — INEC chair warns staff against interference in off-cycle polls
November 10
10:03 2023

Mahmood Yakubu, chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has told the commission’s officials that the choice of who becomes governor in Bayelsa, Kogi and Imo depends entirely on the voters.

In a message on Friday on the off-cycle polls, Yakubu said 5,169,692 Nigerians who collected their permanent voters’ cards (PVCs) are expected to vote.

He added that this is the first time in the country’s history that these elections are held on the same day and across three geo-political zones of the country.

He called on INEC officials, regular and ad-hoc, to demonstrate the highest level of patriotism and professionalism during the elections.

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“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,” the statement reads.

“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 States is entirely in the hands of voters.”

The chairman said INEC has delivered all sensitive and non-sensitive materials for the elections and that the bimodal voter accreditation system (BVAS) machines have been configured for deployment to polling units.

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“Polling Unit results will be uploaded to the INEC Result Viewing (IReV) portal. All election duty officials have been trained,” he said.

“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.

“For these off-cycle elections, the Commission is deploying two (2) National Commissioners, nine (9) Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) and Administrative Secretaries (ASs) as well as additional staff from different States to each of the three States to support the process.

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“They will be deployed across the senatorial zones in the States.

“Election is a multi-stakeholder responsibility. 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.

“We have received assurances from the security agencies that the environment will be secure for electoral activities and all participants: voters, electoral officials, accredited observers, the media and polling/collation agents.

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

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

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