…As Yakubu tasks staff on duty to be neutral
By Lateef Ibrahim, Abuja
Ahead of the forthcoming governorship election in Edo State, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has made request to the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 to provide it with about 3,000 Infrared Thermometer for polling units and voting points in the state.
This is even as the Commission has harped on the pertinent need for all its staff taking part in the forthcoming Edo State governorship to be neutrality and maintain professionalism in the election.
The Edo governorship election is slated to hold on Saturday, 19th September this year.
The Governor of the State, Mr Godwin Obaseki of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu of the All Progressives Congress, APC, are the two main contenders in the election which has attracted a lot of interest within and outside the country.
The Chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu stated these on Friday while addressing the staff of the commission in Benin, the State capital during a sensitization tour of the commission offices in the state.
According to him, “We have made compulsory the wearing of face mask and the use of hand sanitizers and we have made provision for that.
“So we have made a request to the PTF to avail us with about 3,000 Infrared Thermometer for polling units and voting points.
“On our own, we have made provision for 192 ward collation centres and when PTF is able to avail us, we would extend it to the collation center in the 18 local government and the state collation centres.
“At the collation centres we have made provision for Infrared Thermometer and we are working to extend this to polling units”, he said.
Prof Yakubu made it pointedly clear that neutrality and professionalism are some of the cardinal principles of the commission.
He cautioned the staff against supporting any particular political party or the candidate during the election.
In the words of the INEC Chairman, “In the same vain, we are not against any political party or the candidate either, our concern is the integrity and transparency of the process”.
He pointedly declare stated that the choice of who becomes the next governor of Edo state is entirely in the hands of the people in the state, urging them to protect the process.
Prof Yakubu explained that there were a number of new innovations the commission has introduced, saying, “I am sure you have seen the policy of conducting an election under COVID-19”.
Continuing, he said, “You are required to manage the polling unit in a manner that we have not been doing before as the cubicle would be demarcated in a manner that will give two-meter distance between voters since it is going to be accreditation and voting”.
On transparency, the Chairman said the commission has introduced new innovations in order to deepen transparency in the result management process beginning with the Nasarawa state constituency by-election.
His words, “In addition to the card reader authentication, we are going to deploy the zip with Z-file, it is a tablet with a camera, at the end of the process after voting has been concluded and sorted out, the ballots are counted, the picture of the ECFA would be taken and transmitted to a dedicated porter so that Nigeria can view the polling unit results live and direct by those close to the polling units.
“We did the same in Nasarawa state Central by-election and before the declaration of results Nigerians were able to view the few clean results of the polling units.
“It was a great enhancement over the previous elections and this is the major election after the Nasarawa state by-election.
“So, Edo will set the pace for the conduct of major by-election and we look forward to a successful not transmission but the availability of ECFA for public views on election day”.