INEC assures of successful exercise

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Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Mahmood Yakubu has once again reiterated the commitment of the electoral body to conduct a hitch-free, free and fair governorship election in Anambra on Saturday.

Speaking at a meeting with the staff of the commission in Awka, the state capital, before he embarked on a tour of four local government offices, Yakubu underscored the historic nature of the exercise saying, “there has never been a governorship election in the history of Nigeria in which 37 political parties are contesting.”

He said, “A good election is a source of pride to all of us, while a bad election is a source of worry to all of us. In the field out there are many people who will be happy for INEC officials to do the wrong thing. I want to tell you that while I believe in my staff and I support and do whatever I can to put smiles on their faces, when you run foul of the law, I will have no problem whatsoever getting rid of you from this organization.”

The INEC boss also reminded the staff of the “very special responsibility” they carry as election managers, just as he described their work as “extra-ordinary” and “not just like any other job.” He praised the staff for their commitment to duty over the years and assured them of the Commission’s determination to continuously improve their welfare.

He said, “I have absolute confidence that the people standing before me are conscientious people. The Commission places high premium on the staff because you are what makes the Commission thick. But the Commission is also aware that for the assets to serve better, you need to be motivated, and one area of motivation is welfare. You have seen the little we have done in the past two years, and let me assure you that it is just the beginning.

“We are one agency that pays salary promptly and on time and we will continue to do so. But to put more smiles on the faces of staff requires more than just putting a little bit of money into your pockets. We also have to do something about the working environment and as you can see from this office, we have started. We will continue to improve on the working environment and we will also continue to give you the opportunity to build your capacities.”

The Resident Electoral Commissioner for Anambra State, Dr Nkwachukwu Orji, who resumed duty last July, also described the staff as “hardworking” and “reliable.” While he commended the Commission for providing money for the renovation carried out so far at the state headquarters, he also drew the Chairman’s attention to the accommodation constraints facing the state.

Three National Commissioners – Prof. Okechukwu Ibeanu, Alhaji Baba Shettima Arfo, Mrs. Amina Zakari and the Technical Team accompanied the Chairman on the tour of Anaocha, Njikoka, Oyi and Anambra East Local government offices, where they witnessed the distribution of Permanent Voter Cards to their owners and also met with the respective Electoral Officers to ascertain their state of preparedness for the poll.

In another development Yakubu has urged politicians contesting in the exercise to avoid any form of inducement to influence poll officials.

A statement from the commission’s Abuja office quoted the INEC boss as saying this at a stakeholders’ meeting in Awka.

It would be recalled that Yakubu, on several occasions, had emphasized the commitment of INEC to upholding the guiding principles of neutrality, transparency and accountability on all electoral processes and to all parties and candidates at elections.

He however called on the voters to ensure that they hold strongly to their PVCs and present it at their respective polling units to enable them vote.

Yakubu explained that the law and procedures for election recognizes only persons who present their PVCs at the polling units; and therefore urged prospective voters in the election to visit their polling units with their PVCs on the Election Day. ‘No PVC; No Voting’, he added.

He noted the current peaceful atmosphere in the state and urged all stakeholders to contribute to its sustenance beyond the election.

In his remark, the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, assured citizens of adequate security during the exercise and advised them to share information with the police on any threat to peace.

Earlier in his address, the National Commissioner in-charge of Anambra State Prof Okechukwu Ibeanu, commended candidates and parties for the civility they demonstrated so far, describing it as the right step to heal after elections.

The Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), in the State, Dr Nkwachukwu Orji, spoke on the procedures for the exercise, saying, “the election procedure, accreditation and voting will take place between 8am and 2pm in all polling units. Voters in the queue at 2pm will be allowed to complete accreditation and voting.

“Votes will be counted, results announced and published immediately after the election at the polling units.”



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