By Dayo Johnson
THE Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu has said that all the governorship candidates of the 17 political parties participating in the October 10 election would sign a peace accord next week Tuesday.
Yakubu who expressed concerns over the spate of violence in some parts of the state said this during an interactive session with newsmen in Akure, the Ondo state capital.
The chairman is on a three-day working visit to the state ahead of the October 10 election.
Yakubu said ” We are aware of the violence involving supporters of political parties. We will meet with the traditional rulers and the political parties over the issue of violence.
” I am also glad that the National Peace Committee under the leadership of our former Head of State, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar (rtd.), is going to intervene by organising the signing of the peace accord, similar to what we did in Benin.
“That is why we have a representative of the NPC committee to do the preparatory work.
“The signing of the peace accord will take place on Tuesday, October 6, 2020, here in Akure.
“Am happy to let you know that we have accomplished 12 of the 14 activities. This is exactly two weeks and two days to the election. Within the days remaining, there are exactly 16 days to the election.
“If we exclude the election day on Saturday, October 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 will deliver them to the (Akure) branch. On Monday, October 5, the sensitive materials for the election will arrive. We lost all our smart card readers to the unfortunate fire incident.
“But let me say that we have fully recovered from that incident. We have enough smart card readers from the neighbouring State of Oyo State. We are configuring and charging the card readers here in Akure.”
He called for the exposure of “vote buyers during election as there are people who want to compromise the integrity of the process. INEC will remain neutral.”
Yakubu reiterated the commissions call for the need by the National Assembly for the establishment of Electoral Offences Commission and Tribunal.
*** INEC seek Oba’s support on the establishment on electoral offences commission and electoral tribunal
Meanwhile, at another meeting with traditional rulers across the state, the chairman seeks the support of traditional rulers’ on electoral offences commission and electoral tribunal.
Yakubu called on the traditional rulers in the state to prevail on their representatives at the National Assembly to ensure passage of the bill for the establishment of Electoral Offences Commission Tribunal.
He said the commission as at now, rely on the police for the arrest, investigation and prosecution of electoral offenders, which in many cases hampered the ability of the INEC to bring to book it, electoral offenders.
However, the chairman said the commission, was able to prosecute 40 electoral offenders the in one of the South-West states but lamented that the commission, would have been happier if sponsors of the offenders, were arrested and prosecuted because the perpetrators are actually not the beneficiaries of the offences.
Yakubu, who promised that the commission, would continue to its best to discourage vote-buying, said politicians had been outsmarting the commissions by devising new method to ensure inducement of voters.
He, however, promised that the commission would improve on its achievements during the last week’s exercise in Edo State.
“The provisions of Electoral Law on issue of violence and cancellation fee of votes in the affected areas would continue to be implemented in line with Section 53 of the Law.
” The INEC shall conduct the election in line with the COVID-19 protocols and shall not allow any person without face mask to vote during the election.
“We shall allow the use of temporary voter card in place of Permanent Voter Card because the card reader can only read PVC and the commission cannot rely on the names on temporary voter card.”
Yakubu implored the traditional rulers and all respected voices to do all they can to ensure violence-free polls in their domains.
“The election in Edo State was good. We are determined to make the Ondo State Election better. The electorate in Ondo State are the one that will determine who their governor be.
” The INEC achieved 98 per cent use of Card Reader in Edo State Election. We are ready to improve on our performances in Edo State.
“It was in Ondo State isolated election that we first recorded an exercise that was not challenged in court. After that, we have conducted up to 10 other elections that were not challenged.
He “We are appealing to you as the custodians of customs to collaborate with the commission by talking to your subjects to ensure that we have free, fair and credible poll. INEC is ready to perform its functions.”
Responding, the chairman of the council of Obas, the Olugbo of Ugboland, Oba Frederick Obateru Akinruntan lauded the commission for the success of the Edo election and asked that same should be replicated in the state.