10th July, 2018
Only the people of Ekiti State will determine its next governor, Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu has said.
Speaking before an impressive audience comprising candidates, civil society groups, traditional rulers and party supporters at the Election Stakeholders’ Meeting, held at the Great Eagle Hall, Ado-Ekiti on 9th July, Prof. Yakubu affirmed that only the choice made by the people of Ekiti State and nothing else, will determine the outcome of the election.
He assured the audience that INEC would not take any action to the advantage or disadvantage of any political party or candidate. His words: “No election material will be tampered with. If anything, we have introduced additional safeguard to protect the integrity of our manual and electronic processes and procedures.”
He added: “After the votes have been sorted out and counted, a copy of the result sheet at each polling unit (Form EC8A) will be given to party agents as usual. However, since the Anambra State Governorship election held in November 2017, we have introduced an additional measure of transparency. The same result recorded on EC8A will be entered into a poster (EC60E) and pasted at the polling unit for public information.”
The INEC Chairman also disclosed that both ad-hoc and full time officials of the Commission have been placed under strict instruction to remain neutral. He recalled that INEC began preparations for the election with the release of the timetable and schedule of activities on 5th October 2017, in which 14 activities were identified based on extant laws and the Commission’s regulations and guidelines.
He averred: “So far, 12 of these activities have been successfully implemented. These include the official publication of notice for the election, conduct of party primaries and nomination of candidates, presentation of the official register of voters to political parties, publication of the final list of candidates and the submission of the names of party agents to the Commission. The only two outstanding activities are the last day of campaign scheduled for 12th July and the election holding on Saturday 14th July 2018.”
The Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) for the state, Prof. Abdulganiy Raji also assured the voters of a credible governorship election on Saturday. He however announced an extension of the collection of Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs) to Wednesday 11th July to enable more citizens who have not collected theirs, have an opportunity to do so. He revealed that out of the 913,333 registered voters in the state, only 667,064 have so far collected their PVCs, leaving a balance of 246,270 uncollected.
He warned politicians not to induce election officials or engage in any action that could disrupt the electoral process.
The Inspector General of Police, Mr Ibrahim Idris disclosed that a total of 30,000 police officers would be deployed for the election, to be supported by 4,390 others from the Armed Forces, Nigeria Immigration Service, Nigeria Prisons, Customs and the Security and Civil Defence Corps.
“With this arrangement, it is expected that the election will be peaceful and credible,” he assured.