BY Jesupemi Are
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says it will deploy 46,084 staff for the November 11 off-cycle governorship elections in Bayelsa, Imo and Kogi.
Mahmood Yakubu, INEC chairman, spoke on Friday at the commission’s regular quarterly meeting with resident electoral commissioners (RECs) in Abuja.
Yakubu also said 137,934 party agents representing the 18 political parties and comprising 130,093 polling and 7,841 collation officers will be at the polling units.
“While we are leaving no stone unturned in other areas of preparation for the governorship elections, the commission plans to deploy a total of 46,084 regular and ad hoc staff for the election,” he said.
“We have so far accredited 126 national and international organisations and currently deploying 11,000 observers for the election.
“Although the portal for media accreditation closes on Tuesday, Oct. 24, we have received applications from 80 media organisations seeking to deploy 1,203 personnel made up of journalists and technical/support staff to report on the elections.
“The 18 political parties participating in the elections are deploying 137,934 agents made up of 130,093 polling and 7,841 collation agents.
“We are also finalising arrangements for vehicles and boats for land and maritime movement of personnel and materials.”
The chairman said the commission is concerned about the prevailing insecurity and election-related violence in the three states.
He added that INEC had been reassured of adequate deployment of security operatives.
“On our part, we will continue to deepen our engagement with the security agencies and more meetings are planned in the next few days,” he said.
“Similarly, the commission will hold a series of meetings with stakeholders at the national level in addition to ongoing engagements at the state levels.”
Yakubu expressed confidence that the bimodal voter accreditation system (BVAS) would perform better in the off-cycle polls.
“Last week, we conducted a mock accreditation involving actual voters in designated polling units in the three states; we had two objectives for the exercise,” he said.
“First is to test the efficacy of the BVAS for biometric authentication of voters; secondly, to upload the result to the INEC result viewing Portal (IReV). Both tests were successful.
“We look forward to improved performance of the BVAS in voter accreditation and result uploading in the forthcoming elections.”