Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Mahmood Yakubu has said his Commission was fully ready for the Osun State Governorship election.
Yakubu made the declaration at the weekend in Abuja at a special meeting of the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security, (ICCES) to review security arrangements ahead of the election in the southwest state.
The INEC Chairman said the Commission would next week deploy a readiness assessment team to Osun State to assess preparations for the elections. While he expressed concern over the growing security threat likely to frustrate seamless conduct of Voters’ Registration, Yakubu assured that no eligible voters would be disenfranchised.
He said:” We will visit some of our Local Government offices in the State, hold meetings with our staff, brief the Council of Traditional rulers to solicit the support of their Royal Majesties for peaceful elections and meet with the security agencies and transporters.
We will also observe the mock accreditation of voters in some Polling Units across the three Senatorial Districts of the State to test the functionality of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS).
A few days after the election, we will return to Osun State to meet with the stakeholders and for the signing of the Peace Accord by political parties and candidates under the auspices of the National Peace Committee.
“Arising from the experience of the recent Ekiti State Governorship election, the Commission is keeping a close watch on the security situation in Osun State.
Although it is generally calm at the moment, we are nevertheless concerned about reports of clashes in some places. In one recent example, the collection of Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) was disrupted in Erin Oke and Erin Ijesha Wards of Oriade Local Government Area resulting in the loss of 46 PVCs.
While the matter is being investigated by the police, the collection of PVCs for the affected Wards is now taking place in the INEC office in Ijebu-Jesha. “Meanwhile, the State office has compiled the Voter Identification Numbers (VINs) of the cards and the Commission has already reprinted the PVCs for the affected voters.
I would like to assure all valid registrants in Osun State that no one will be disenfranchised on account of such an incident. It is futile for anyone to attempt to vote using another person’s PVC. The BVAS biometric accreditation will expose such fraud and persons apprehended will be prosecuted under the law.”
The INEC Chairman who expressed disappointment over the incident of vote-buying that trailed the recent Ekiti State governorship election vowed that his Commission would follow up on the prosecution of alleged votes buyers apprehended in Ekiti State.
“Again, arising from the experience in recent elections, vote-buying remains a major area of concern.
We appreciate the role played by the anti-corruption and security agencies in apprehending some of the perpetrators of this brazen assault on our democracy. In particular, we are working with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to ensure the prosecution of persons arrested in the recent Ekiti governorship election.
Action will commence as soon as the EFCC completes its investigation. I appeal to all security agencies to continue to join hands with the Commission to tackle this menace.”
The National Security Adviser Babagana Monguno, who was represented by Alhaji Sanusi Galadima commended the INEC and other security agencies for the success achieved in the Ekiti election. He however tasked the Commission to improve voters’ awareness to stem the tide of poor voter turnout as witnessed in Ekiti State.
“Records from the conduct of the last Ekiti State Governorship election indicated an impressive performance by the INEC as well the ICCES member agencies as there was no any major incident of security concern recorded during and after the election.
However, more needs to be done in terms of enlightenment campaigns to encourage voters to come out and cast their votes on the day of the election. This is because of the low turnout recorded during the election compared to the total number of registered voters in the State.
“Consequent upon the above, the NSA enjoined INEC, through the Department of Voter education/publicity, to redouble efforts ahead of the Osun State Guber election and the forthcoming general elections in 2023.
The NSA also urged ICCES members to build on the successes recorded from the Ekiti election as some disgruntled politicians may attempt to sabotage the process for their selfish gains, through vote-buying and other forms of voter inducement as well as political thuggery. He also commended the INEC for the extension of the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) exercise which hitherto had officially stopped on the 30th June 2022. A development which he said would enable eligible voters to obtain their voters’ card.”
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