Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has assured electorate and all stakeholders that the choice of who becomes the next Governor of Osun state is entirely in the hands of voters.
During the stakeholders’ meeting held on Tuesday, July 12, INEC chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu stated that the commission will not take any action to the advantage or disadvantage of any political party or candidate.
Those in attendance include: the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) for Osun State, Professor Abdulganiy Raji, the supervising National Commissioner, Professor Kunle Ajayi, and the Inspector General of Police, Usman Alkali Baba.
,”Over the last few months, but especially as the election draws near, the Commission has carefully listened to stakeholders across the board. As was the case in previous elections, various stakeholders would like to be given assurances in two critical areas.
“First is the transparency, inclusivity and credibility of the election; and, secondly, its security and peaceful conduct. We are taking both issues very seriously. I will speak about our preparations for a free, fair, credible, transparent and inclusive election while I leave the issue of security to the Inspector General of Police.
Giving a status report, he said:
“When we visited Osun last week to assess our readiness for the election, concerns were expressed about the availability of the PVCs especially for those who applied for transfer of their registration to Osun State or to new locations within the State.
“I am glad to report that we have delivered the PVCs for fresh registrants, transfers and requests for replacement of cards as a result of loss, damage or incorrect personal details such as names, dates of birth etc. as provided by law,” he said.
The INEC boss revealed that as at Sunday, July 10, of the 1,955,657 registered voters in Osun State, 1,479,595 (or 76%) have collected their cards.
“To underscore our commitment to an inclusive, credible and transparent electoral process, the Commission is deploying assistive devices for Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) to have a more pleasant voting experience on Election Day.
“Magnifying glasses, Braille Ballot Guide and Posters for voters with hard of hearing conditions will be deployed at polling unit level in areas of need based on data collected in collaboration with the PwD community.
He disclosed that the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) will be deployed for voter accreditation and uploading of election results on the INEC Result Viewing (IReV) portal on Election Day.
Speaking about electoral violation, he said:
“It is obvious that the more the Commission and other stakeholders work hard to progressively improve the quality of national elections in Nigeria, the more some retrogressive elements try to undermine the process.
“While we will continue to work with the security and anti-corruption agencies to confront this challenge, our effort will be given a boost by the establishment of the Electoral Offences Commission and Tribunal as recommended by the Uwais Committee in 2009, reinforced by the Lemu Committee in 2011 and the Nnamani Committee in 2017.
“Happily, the Electoral Offences Commission and Tribunal Bill is under consideration of the National Assembly. INEC supports this initiative and appeals to the National Assembly for a speedy conclusion and passage of the Bill into law.”