By Nefishetu Yakubu
The National Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, on Monday warned that electoral violators would face the consequences of their actions, if caught during the Sept.19, Edo governorship election.
Yakubu gave the warning during an expanded stakeholders’ meeting organised by INEC in Benin.
He listed some of the infractions to include vote-buying, ballot box snatching and stuffing, multiple voting, hijacking and diversion of election materials among others.
“Edo people 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.’’
Yakubu also disclosed that the national headquarters of INEC would monitor the election throughout the state through a zoom situation room.
“This zoom situation room will allow us receive live reports from the field. Accredited observers and the media will also be invited to join at intervals.
“By doing so, the commission will receive first-hand information as the election is going on.’’
The INEC boss, however, reassured Edo people that their votes would count adding that only the choice made by the people of Edo would determine the outcome of the election.
Yakubu explained that the commission would not take any action to the advantage or disadvantage of any political party or candidate.
According to him, our focus is on our processes and procedures, nothing more, but be assured that Saturday’s election will be credible.
Yakubu further stated that the commission would be deploying magnifying glasses and Braille ballot guides to assist Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) to vote unaided.
“INEC policy for the conduct of elections in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and Code of Conduct have been translated into Braille in order to ensure greater participation of all citizens in the electoral process irrespective of disability.”
The Chairman also explained that a component of the z-pad which was supposed to be used for the election had been dropped.
He noted that all categories of ad hoc staff had been vetted adding that the integrity of the process would not be compromised.
Also speaking, The Director-General of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), Brig-Gen. Shuaib Ibrahim, appealed to all stakeholders to ensure the safety and security of all corps members deployed for the election.
Ibrahim, who was represented by the South South Supervisor of NYSC, Mr Benjamin Ayodele, thanked INEC for the confidence reposed in the corps.
According to him, I want to appeal to all stakeholders to protect our corps members during the election.
The representative of the Benin Monarch, Chief Osato Bazuaye, called on INEC and the I-G of police to ensure that the election was free, fair and peaceful.
“We want you to write your name in gold. Ensure that this election is one of the best. It is a test for INEC, the Police and all of us,” he said.(NAN)