By: Oluwatosin Adesola
The Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC), Prof Mahmoud Yakubu today declared that all sensitive materials for October 10 governorship election in the state will be moved to Akure on October 5, 2020.
Prof Yakubu also declared that a special stakeholders and security meetings would be held in Akure on the 5th October in order to ensure hitch-free election in the sunshine state.
SUNSHINETRUTH gathered that the election sensitive materials would be taken to CBN Branch in Akure for safe keeping.
At an interactive session with journalists at the commission’s headquarters in Akure, the INEC boss explained that the commission was fully ready to conduct Ondo governorship election to be transparent and seamless even more than that of 2016 poll.
He said INEC would continue to conduct elections that the outcome would be difficult to challenge in at the election petition Tribunals.
Prof Yakubu said INEC would conduct more credible and acceptable election in Ondo state comes October 10.
Yakubu said that the non-sensitive materials for the election had been delivered.
“We have delivered all, but a few of the non-sensitive materials required for the elections. What remains can be accomplished within the days remaining to the polling.
“It is exactly 16 days to the election. If we exclude the election day, which is Oct 10, we have 15 days. So, we have two weeks and a day to the election.
“The sensitive materials for the election are ready. The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) will deliver them to their branch here in Akure on Monday, Oct. 5,’’ Yakubu said.
He said that the commission had moved enough card readers to Ondo State for the conduct of the election, adding that they were being configured and charged in Akure.
Yakubu said that the Z-pad used in Edo for the transmission of Polling Units (PUs) results to the commission result view portal would be deployed to Ondo State.
“As we speak, we are moving the z-pads from our state office in Benin City to Akure. The z-pads will arrive in Akure this afternoon (Thursday).
So, we will deploy the same technology to upload results, real-time, from all the 3, 009 polling units, all the 203 Wards and the 18 Local Government Areas of Ondo state,’’ Yakubu said.
The chairman urged the media organisations to sensitise the electorate to the need for a peaceful election, voters turnout and adherence to the COVID-19 protocols.
Yakubu expressed worry over incidents of violence involving supporters of some of the political parties in the state.
On awareness, he said that INEC had produced many voter education materials for the print and electronic media to educate the voters to turn out en mass to vote.
“No effort is too small and no effort is too much to continue to engage and educate and inform the voters.
“That is why the commission has always appreciated the partnership with the media and would like to strengthen it
“Learning from the experience in Edo state, we should continue to emphasise the message of a peaceful election.
“The importance of obeying health instructions in the era of COVID-19. No face mask, no voting; orderly queue in the polling units, including the observance of social distancing.
“Every eligible voter, who is on the queue before 2.30 p.m. will be allowed to vote even if voting goes beyond 2.30 p.m. No one will be disenfranchised.
“Expose vote buyers during the election. There are still some people who would attempt to compromise the integrity of the process, where that happens, please help us to expose them. We will be very grateful if you do so.
“As journalists, we are not only reporters but citizens with responsibilities.
“Kindly report to the commission using our social media platforms, any malpractice you witness early enough so that we can respond immediately as the election is going.
“Ahead of the governorship election on Oct.10, there may be some observations you have for us to improve our communication and outreach on voter education.
“I am aware the office here in Ondo State is already doing a lot but we need to do a lot more,’’ Yakubu said.
Yakubu disclosed that the National Peace Committee chaired by the former Head of State retired Gen. Abdulsalm Abubakar would also be organising signing of the peace accord in Ondo state as it did in Edo.
He said the peace accord will take place on Oct. 6 in Akure, while INEC regular stakeholders meeting with the political parties and their candidates will hold on Oct. 5.
Yakubu said that out of the 14 activities scheduled for Ondo State governorship election, 12 had been the accomplished remaining submission of the list of polling agents or political parties and the conduct of the election.
He said the commission would remain professional and neutral in the election, saying the electorate would determine the next governor of Ondo state