By Dayo Johnson
THE Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has identified 16 areas of improvement on the Edo governorship election for the Saturday election in Ondo state.
National chairman of the commission, Prof Mahmood Yakubu said this at the Ondo state governorship election stakeholders meeting in Akure, the state capital.
Yakubu said that Edo was a success and we must not go lower but improve on it. Ondo is going to be better than Edo.
” The Commission has reviewed the last Governorship election in Edo State.
“We are determined to continue improving our performance. For this reason, we identified 16 areas of improvement, including logistics, prompt response to Smart Card Reader hitches on Election Day, the menace of vote-buying during elections and compliance with COVID-19 protocols.
Yakubu assured that votes would count in the Ondo election.
” Our commitment is to ensure that the choice of who becomes the next Governor of Ondo State is entirely in the hands of the voters.
“I wish to assure all eligible voters that every vote will count and only the choice made by the people of Ondo State will determine the outcome of the election.
“I want to assure political parties and candidates that we will remain focused on our processes and procedures.
” Let me reiterate to all stakeholders that the Commission will not take any action to the advantage or disadvantage of any political party or candidate.
“To further underscore our commitment to a credible and transparent electoral process in Nigeria, the Commission introduced the z-pad to upload polling unit level results on a dedicated portal.
” This technology was first deployed in the Nasarawa Central State Constituency bye-election and, most recently, in the Edo State Governorship election.
“The same technology will be deployed for the Ondo State Governorship election this Saturday.
The chairman appealed ” to all political parties, candidates and their supporters for peaceful conduct. Votes will count.
“The Commission is determined that no one will benefit from impunity or be rewarded for bad behaviour such as vote-buying, ballot box snatching and stuffing, multiple voting, hijacking and diversion of election materials, disruption of collation, falsification of results, attack on INEC officials or compelling them to declare unofficial results.
” The people of Ondo State must be allowed to freely vote for their preferred candidate without inducement or harassment.
” We have been assured by the security agencies that thugs and their sponsors will not have the freedom to move around freely to disrupt the election or collation of results.
” l must quickly add that the Smart Card Readers will also be deployed for voter verification and authentication.
“This is a mandatory requirement and where they are deliberately avoided to undermine the integrity of the electoral process, the result for the affected polling unit will be declared void in line with the Commission’s regulations and guidelines.
The chairman said that the National Peace Committee under the leadership of our former Head of State General Abdulsalami A. Abubakar will today in Akure, the state capital sign a Peace Accord with political parties and candidates.