…As INEC sends sensitive material to State Oct 5
By Lateef Ibrahim, Abuja
Ahead of the October 10 governorship election in Ondo State, the General Abdulsalami Abubakar-led National Peace Committee, NPC, has resolved to storm Akure, the State capital, on October 6 to commit the various governorship candidates to signing peace accord.
The Chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Prof Mahmood Yakubu confirmed this yesterday during an interactive session with the media in Akure.
This is even as Prof Yakubu disclosed that sensitive materials for the election will arrive the State capital on October 5, this year.
The INEC Chairman explained that the National Peace Committee chaired by the former Head of State, retired Gen. Abubakar, rtd, would be organising the signing of peace accord among the candidates in Ondo state, as it did in Edo.
He explained that the peace accord will take place on Oct. 6 in Akure, while INEC regular stakeholders meeting with the political parties and their candidates will hold on Oct. 5.
Among the leading candidates for the election are; the incumbent governor and candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Chief Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Mr Eyitayo Jegede, SAN, and flag bearer of the Zenith Labour Party and sitting Deputy Governor, Mr Agboola Ajayi.
The INEC Chairman revealed that
sensitive materials for the election will arrive Akure, the State capital, on October 5.
Prof Yakubu stated that the non-sensitive materials for the election had been delivered.
He stressed further that the commission had moved enough card readers to Ondo State for the conduct of the election.
The card readers, he added were being configured and charged in Akure.
According to to him, “We have delivered all, but a few of the non-sensitive materials required for the elections. “What remains can be accomplished within the days remaining to the polling.
“It is exactly 16 days to the election. If we exclude the election day, which is Oct 10, we have 15 days. So, we have two weeks and a day to the election.
“The sensitive materials for the election are ready. The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) will deliver them to their branch here in Akure on Monday, Oct. 5,’’ Yakubu said.
akubu said that the Z-pad used in Edo for the transmission of Polling Units (PUs) results to the commission result view portal would be deployed to Ondo State.
His words, “As we speak, we are moving the z-pads from our state office in Benin City to Akure. The z-pads will arrive in Akure this afternoon (Thursday).
“So, we will deploy the same technology to upload results, real time, from all the 3, 009 polling units, all the 203 Wards and the 18 Local Government Areas of Ondo state,”, je assured said.
The Chairman therefore urged media organisations to sensitise electorate to the need for peaceful election, voters turnout and adherence to the COVID-19 protocols.
Prof Yakubu expressed worry over incidents of violence involving supporters of some of the political parties in the state.
Commenting on the level of awareness already provided, he said that INEC had produced many voter education materials for the print and electronic media to educate the voters to turn out en mass to vote.
In his words, “No effort is too small and no effort is too much to continue to engage and educate and inform the voters.
“That is why the commission has always appreciated the partnership with the media and would like to strengthen it
“Learning from the experience in Edo state, we should continue to emphasise the message of peaceful election.
“The importance of obeying health instructions in the era of COVID-19. No face mask, no voting; orderly queue in the polling units, including the observance of social distancing.
“Every eligible voter, who is on the queue before 2.30 p.m. will be allowed to vote even if voting goes beyond 2.30 p.m. No one will be disenfranchised.
“Expose vote buyers during the election. There are still some people who would attempt to compromise the integrity of the process, where that happens, please help us to expose them. We will be very grateful if you do so.
“As journalists, we are not only reporters, but citizens with responsibilities.
“Kindly report to the commission using our social media platforms, any malpractice you witness early enough so that we can respond immediately as the election is going.
“Ahead of the governorship election on Oct.10, there may be some observations you have for us to improve our communication and outreach on voter education.
“I am aware the office here in Ondo State is already doing a lot but we need to do a lot more,’’ Yakubu said.
Yakubu said that out of the 14 activities scheduled for Ondo State governorship election, 12 had been accomplished remaining submission of the list of polling agents or political parties and the conduct of the election.
He said the commission would remain professional and neutral in the election, saying the electorate would determine the next governor of Ondo state.