By; BAYO AKAMO, Ibadan
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Oyo State on Monday insisted on its determination to conduct free, fair and credible elections in the state this Saturday, February 16, and March 2 respectively.
INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in charge of Oyo state, Barrister Mutiu Agboke gave the assurance at a stakeholders election forum with the theme : Level of preparedness for 2019 general elections, held at the Commission’s headquarters in Ibadan.
Barrister Agboke disclosed that as part of the commission’s effort towards ensuring a free, fair and credible polls, 7,336 smart card readers are presently with the commission out of which 6,390 will be required to take care of all voting points in Oyo state, adding that there are 4,783 polling unit, while the commission created additional 1,607 voting points to make a total of 6,390 voting points.
Speaking further, the REC said the Commission has trained Adhoc and permanent staff, security agents at all levels, 478 supervisory Presiding Officers (APOs), while that of the 28,352 Presiding Officers/ Assistant Presiding Officers have been concluded, and that INEC has also recruited and train 351 Registration Area Technical Support Staff expected to man each ward.
“I have engaged various critical stakeholders in the electioneering process , Academic community, security, NGOs religious and community leaders, women and youth organisation, Civil Society Organisation (CSOs) as well as visited the executive, legislative and judiciary for mobilization and sensitization exercise.” he said.
Barrister Agboke also hinted that
INEC has signed an MoU with the NURTW and NARTO for easy transportation of human and materials to their various place of primary assignment on election day without any stress and that all sensitive materials such as ballot papers and result cheats are been kept at the CBN, with their serial numbers.
Disclosing that INEC will make use of public schools for the elections, he maintained that one agent per party will be required at the polling centres and collation centres to prevent rowdiness.
On PVC , the REC stressed that the Commission will not tolerate any scene creation at the polling units on election day saying, if your PVC is rejected by the smart card, then you cannot vote adding that prohibition of the use of smart phones is a serious offence, no electoral violence, intimidation adding that
While advising politicians to give peace a chance before. during and after the general elections, Barrister Agboke said “election is like a football match, its your skill that will determine the way you win, politicians and their followers should not kill or attack each other.
If votes counts its the collective efforts of all the stake holders.
Only INEC is authorised to announce election result, not REC”
Debunking allegations by some political parties that electoral officers in some local governments are colluding with politicians to perpetrate electoral fraud, he cautioned politicians against fake news or announcing elections results before INEC, saying, doing so will be dangerous and might cause chaos.
Oyo state Police Commissioner, Mr Shina Olukolu in his goodwill message said “for a credible elections to hold, there must be a peaceful environment, “vote no fight, election no be war”.
Represented by ACP Abimbola, CP Olukolu stressed that everyone irrespective of their positions should avoid violence, hate speech, vote buying and fake news, and that the parties should mobilize and advice their supporters to do the right things so that they will not blame the policce
Director of NOA, Oyo state, Mrs. Dolapo Dosunmu in her message stated that electioneering issues has Gone far beyond sensitization, voter education, rather its now a collective decision to do the right things so that we can have a credible free and fair elections.