By Sylvanus Okpe
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has assured Nigerians that it will deliver sensitive election materials for the November 16 Bayelsa governorship election to the state this weekend.
INEC chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, stated this on Thursday during a consultative meeting with stakeholders at the state capital, Yenagoa, according to a statement by the commission.
”The commission has also delivered all non-sensitive materials to our office here in Yenagoa long ago. They have all been sorted out, categorised and batched, ready to be delivered to the LGAs, wards and polling units,” he said.
”The sensitive materials are also ready and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is delivering them to Bayelsa State this weekend.
”The normal process of inspection and distribution within the state will be done in the presence of party agents, security agencies, observers and the media.
”The Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) for Bayelsa State will give the date and time for the inspection and the itinerary for deployment in line with the commission’s standard practice for the inspection and movement of sensitive materials.
”The Smart Card Readers (SCRs) have been configured and will be added to other sensitive materials and delivered together. Once again, let me reiterate that it is mandatory to use the SCRs for voter accreditation and authentication.”
The Commission had earlier announced plans for the upcoming Bayelsa and Kogi governorship elections. The elections will be held simultaneously in the two states on November 16.
Recall that the Inspector-general of Police, Adamu Mohammed had earlier disclosed in October to have said that over 30,000 security officers would be deployed for the election in Bayelsa State.
He also assured that the police force will make phone numbers available for members of the public to report emergencies on the day of the election.
On voter inducement & violence, The commission’s chairman also maintained that the use of mobile phones and other photographic devices would not be allowed in the voting cubicles.
Mr Yakubu also charged the stakeholders to continue to eschew violence and maintain peaceful conduct during the election.
He further urged party agents to desist from voter inducement and vote-buying at polling units.
”Let me also reiterate that voter inducement in all forms, including vote-buying at polling units, is a violation of the law,” he said.
”The ban on the use of mobile phones and other photographic devices in the voting cubicles is still in force and will be strictly enforced and monitored.
”I urge all stakeholders to continue to eschew violence and maintain peaceful conduct during the election. It is our collective responsibility to safeguard the process and to protect all election duty staff including the Youth Corps members who serve at the polling units which is the basic level of the voting process.
”It is also our collective responsibility to extend the same protection and allow freedom of movement and unimpeded access to polling and collation areas for accredited observers and the media during the election.”