The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said its commitment to free, fair and credible governorship elections in Ondo State was unwavering, assuring that successes in the exercise would surpass that of Edo State.
Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Oluwatoyin Akeju, said this on telephone that all arrangements have been made and voting materials moved to their various Registration Area Centres (RACs) for easy disbursement to respective polling units Saturday morning.
According to Akeju, the movement of both sensitive and none sensitive materials from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Akure to the local offices across the state on Thursday was without any hitch, adding that no complaints has been received on the evacuation of the materials to the RACs.
Akeju said that INEC moved the materials early enough to prevent hitches, adding that the idea was to make the electoral officials retire early in order to wake up early tomorrow and move to their respective polling booths.
“We have not only moved to the LGA offices but have successfully transferred the materials to the RACS. This is to ensure that they retire on time and wake up early enough, count and move the materials to the polling booths.
“We are being proactive this time around and we are sure that we will not make mistakes by the grace of God. So far so good, there has been no issues. There is calm here at the headquarters. Normally, if there were issues, they would have contacted us to report but we have not received any. That means there has been no issue.”
Asked how INEC intends to curb rigging and other electoral malpractices especially in Ondo South Senatorial District notorious for violence and rigging, Akeju said adequate arrangements have been made to curb illegality.
“This time, anybody that tries ballot box snatching will be dealt with accordingly. You need to go there to see what is on ground. Instead of two security operatives that we always have, we now have four.
“All our equipments are protected by ambitious police and naval officers and they have showed strong commitment to the process and loyalty. We have advocated for peace and also assured voters to have confidence in the process and not be afraid. We are going to do better than Edo.”
On vote buying, Akeju warned people to desist, stressing that both the buyer and seller would be made to face the law,” he said.
Our Correspondent who visited INEC’s Akure South Local Government Area office, observed that several cars were waiting outside the premises for their turn to load water, mats, ballot boxes, generator, card readers and other equipments needed, just as armed Police Mobile Force (PMF) operatives assigned to escort the vehicles were seated under a canopy inside the premises.
At Ward 7 RAC located at St. Martin’s Primary School, screening of adhoc staff was ongoing around 3pm with a handful of policemen restricting access into the premises.
Earlier at INEC’s headquarters in Akure, some observers were seen with their travel bags lamenting their inability to get accommodation in the state capital.