THE Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) has assured all stakeholders in the forthcoming Edo governorship election of free, fair and credible polls.
Mahmood Yakubu, INEC Chairman who gave the assurance in a stakeholders’ meeting in Edo on Monday said the Commission’s ultimate objective is to ensure that the choice of who becomes the next governor of Edo State is entirely in the hands of the voters.
The governorship election is scheduled to hold on Saturday, September 19.
“I wish to reassure you that votes will count and only the choice made by the people of Edo State will determine the outcome of the election,” Yakubu said.
“The Commission shall not take any action to the advantage or disadvantage of any political party or candidate. Our focus is on our processes and procedures. Nothing more,” he added.
The INEC chairman stated that the Commission has addressed the allegations of fake Ad-hoc staff who have been supposedly recruited to scuttle and manipulate the election saying that it has diligently vetted all the staff it recruited for the election.
“The Commission is also aware of the concern expressed in some quarters about the neutrality of our staff, in particular, the ad hoc staff engaged for election duty,” he said.
“We have heard allegations that some ad hoc staff were recruited in such a manner as to compromise the election. In response, the Commission deployed two National Commissioners who reviewed the process for strict compliance with the guidelines for such recruitment.”
“I want to assure you that all categories of ad hoc staff have been vetted. The integrity of the process will not be compromised and there will be no partisan infiltration.”
In addition, Yakubu noted that INEC would deploy its new tablet Z-pad technology for a secondary means of achieving full biometric accreditation using the facial image of the voter in support of the fingerprint authentication by the Smart Card Reader.
He noted that due to some of the technical faults the machine developed during the Nasarawa bye-election, the Commission will not fully deploy some of its function.
“Perhaps the most critical of the recent innovations introduced by the Commission is the use of a tablet now popularly called the Z-pad. It is a new innovation introduced to serve as a secondary means of achieving full biometric accreditation using the facial image of the voter in support of the fingerprint authentication by the Smart Card Reader.”
Yakubu stated that the camera on the tablet would be used to take a picture of the polling unit result (EC8A) and to upload the same on a dedicated portal (INEC RESULT VIEWING – IReV).
“This will enable all those interested in viewing the results to do so in real-time,” he said.
He appealed to all stakeholders in the election to conduct themselves in manners that will guarantee free and credible polls.