INEC pledges transparency and credibility of Ekiti election, says choice of next governor entirely in hands of voters

WorldStage Newsonline– Ahead of the slated Saturday Ekiti State Governorship election,  Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said that the choice of next governor of in the state is entirely in the hands of voters.

INEC Chairman,  Prof. Mahmood Yakubu said at a Governorship Election Stakeholders meeting in Ado-Ekiti that there will be  transparency and credibility of the election; and its security and peaceful conduct.

According to him, “For us in INEC, let me reassure political parties, candidates and the electorate that the choice of who becomes the next Governor of Ekiti State is entirely in the hands of voters. INEC will not take any action to the advantage or disadvantage of any political party or candidate.

“Our focus is on the processes and procedures as provided by law. In this regard, the election holding this weekend is historic being the first Governorship election that the Commission will be conducting based on the provisions of the Electoral Act 2022 which came into force about four months ago on 25th February 2022.

“It is also the first election to be conducted based on our revised Regulations and Guidelines anchored on the provisions of the new Electoral Act. We have also revised our Training Manual to reflect the provisions of the new Electoral Act as well as the Regulations and Guidelines.”

Prof. Yakubu, said voter registration was carried out all over the State, including the devolution of the exercise to the 177 Wards across the State, he added that INEC have printed printed and delivered the Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) for all valid registrants in Ekiti State and collection of the cards by voters is ongoing.

He said, “I am happy to note that many citizens have already collected their cards. Of the 988,923 registered voters in Ekiti State, 749,065 (or 76%) have collected their cards as at yesterday Monday 13th June 2022. However, in the last few days, the Commission has received several inquiries from citizens who are yet to collect their PVCs and are demanding to know when the collection of cards will be suspended before the election.

“In response to these enquiries, I wish to announce that the collection of PVCs will continue in all our 16 Local Government Area Offices until Thursday16th June 2022 to allow us one day (i.e. Friday 17th June 2022) for movement to the Registration Area Centres. I appeal to all registered voters that are yet to collect the PVCs to seize the opportunity to do so.

 “To underscore our commitment to an inclusive, credible and transparent electoral process, the Commission is deploying a number of assistive devices for Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) to have a more pleasant voting experience on Election Day. Magnifying glasses, Braille Ballot Guide and Posters for voters with hearing conditions will be deployed at polling unit level in areas of need based on data collected in collaboration with the PwD community.

“Similarly, our revised Regulations and Guidelines provide for priority to be accorded at polling units to PwDs without waiting in long queues during voting as is the case with elderly people, pregnant women and nursing mothers.”

He said, the Commission continued to deploy technology in the electoral process both as a matter of practice and a requirement of the law, and added that the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) will be deployed for voter accreditation and uploading of election results to the INEC Result Viewing (IReV) portal on Election Day.

He explained that the devices had been configured and charged for the election and, “Steps have been taken to ensure that the BVAS machines function optimally during voter accreditation based on lessons learnt from the conduct of recent elections. A few weeks ago, mock accreditation exercise was conducted in polling units across the three Senatorial Districts of Ekiti State.

“ I personally observed the mock exercise in Ado, Ikere and Irepodun/Ifelodun Local Government Areas. We are encouraged by the successful outcome of the exercise. We have also trained enough Registration Area Technical Support (RATECHs) staff and made adequate transportation arrangements for their rapid response in the event of reported glitches on Election Day.

“The Commission has accredited Polling Agents nominated by political parties for all the 2,445 polling units, 177 Ward collation centres, 16 Local Government Area collation centres and the State Collation Centre where the final declaration of result will be made. As a testimony to the intense national and international interest in the 2022 Ekiti State Governorship Election, 87 observer groups (79 domestic and 8 international) have been accredited to observe the election.

“ Similarly, 483 journalists representing 91 media organisation were accredited to cover the election as at yesterday afternoon.”

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