ODIEC Assures Of Credible Council Poll
Says No Use Of Card
Barely seven weeks to the April 23 council election in Ondo State, the State Independent Electoral Commission (ODIEC) has assured the electorate of its readiness to conduct a free, fair and credible election across the 18 council areas.
Though the main opposition party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Social Democratic Party (SDP), are planning to boycott the poll, the ODIEC chairman, Prof. Olugbenga Ige, insisted that there is no going back on the commission’s plans.
The parties claim that ODIEC will only be doing the bidding of the ruling party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), if it goes ahead with the planned election. They added that the suit instituted by the sacked council chairmen in 2009, still pending in the court, would not make the poll credible if it goes as planned, but the ODIEC chairman; Prof. Olugbenga Ige affirmed that nothing would change the election date as planned.
The planned boycott has caused a sharp division among the rank and file of the APC, where a faction supported the boycott, while others insisted that the party should participate in order to test its popularity ahead of the November 26, governorship election in the state.
The State chairman of PDP, Engr. Clement Faboyede said the litigation on the sacked PDP chairmen and councilors at the Supreme Court is an intra-party affair that has been settled. This was also confirmed last January by Ige during the announcement of the council election, saying it has been mitigated by the change of plea at the Apex Court.
According to Ige: “At the level of the commission, we have held several stakeholders, meetings, discussed with them about the way forward. It was attended by all security agencies in Ondo State. About 27 political parties also attended our stakeholders meeting and signified intentions to participate; but at the level of collection of the forms of intent to participate, only 15 political parties came to collect the forms and they have returned their forms.”
He said 15 political parties: Accord Party; Labour Party; National Conscience Party; Alliance for Democracy; Progressive Peoples Alliance; Peoples Party of Nigeria; Democratic Peoples Party; African Peoples Alliance; African Democratic Congress; Alliance Congress Party of Nigeria; Peoples Democratic Party; People for Democratic Change; Peoples Democratic Movement; and Unity Party of Nigeria, have obtained forms and have shown their readiness to participate.
“In terms of planning and preparedness, we are ready for the election. We have carried out sensitisation tour of the local governments, telling our people that election is not a do-or-die affair.
“We have been appealing to them for a peaceful election, and we have assured everybody of a level playing ground, so that the contest can be free, fair and credible,” he said.
He revealed that the staff and adhoc team that will be used for the election are well trained. He said; “Training is very important. We want all our staff that will participate in the election to be on the same page with us in terms of our vision and mission to deliver a credible election.”
He however, claimed that the electoral act does not permit the use of card readers in the guideline of SIEC, saying: “So for us, we are not going to use card readers. It is just meant for electronic accreditation, we are going to use manual accreditation and Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs).
“You come to the polling unit with your PVC, the Polling Officer (PO) will look at it and check the voters’ register. We have collected the voter register from INEC and that is what we are going to use. The latest voter register that was used for 2015 general election, is what we are using for this local government election,” he said.
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