By Omeiza Ajayi
The Independent National Electoral Commission INEC has expressed readiness for the conduct of bye-elections across 11 States this Saturday.
INEC disclosed this in a statement issued Tuesday night in Abuja after a meeting with Resident Electoral Commissioners RECs from the affected states.
National Commissioner and Chairman of INEC’s Information and Voter Education Committee, Barr. Festus Okoye in the statement said the Resident Electoral Commissioners briefed the Commission on the level of preparations in their States and the Commission is satisfied that preparations are going on very well.
“All the States have received all the non-sensitive materials, trained their staff, and received all the funds for the bye-elections.
”Most of the States have also had their sensitive materials delivered to the Central Bank Offices in their State Headquarters and the few remaining States will receive theirs by the end of work today.
”These situation reports were corroborated by National Commissioners who are already in the States to oversee the elections.
“The Resident Electoral Commissioners also reported that they have engaged fully with stakeholders on the bye-elections and the Commission wishes to thank all the stakeholders, especially communities where elections will hold and security agencies for their support.
”The security agencies have all reassured the Commission that they will continue to provide professional support to the Commission for the upcoming bye-elections devoid of any partisan inclinations in order to reproduce the quality of elections that the nation saw in the Edo and Ondo governorship elections”, he stated.
The Commission reminded voters and all stakeholders that the COVID-19 safety protocol would be strictly adhered to.
On Imo, INEC said it has had very difficult experiences managing elections in the Imo North Senatorial District over the years, particularly regarding repeated attempts to disrupt collation of results.
“The Commission has put in place additional measures to ensure that this does not happen again. One such measure is to beef up security in the Senatorial District during and in the immediate aftermath of polls.
”The Commission has also decided that in order to forestall deliberate disruption of collation of results, the collation of Local Government level results will not take place in the constituency.
“Instead, after collation of results at the Registration Areas, all results shall be moved to the State Headquarters of the Commission in Owerri for Local Government Collation and declaration of results.
”This is consistent with the powers of the Commission to designate collation centres and inform stakeholders.
”The Commission wishes to appeal to all stakeholders in the constituency to cooperate with its officials, including security agencies, to ensure that this decision is implemented peacefully and would not hesitate to apply relevant sanctions to individuals or political parties that may disrupt the process”, INEC added.