The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has assured the electorate that their votes will count in the governorship elections in Ekiti and Osun states.

The elections are billed for June 18 and July 16, respectively.

Festus Okoye, INEC commissioner of information and voter education, said preparations are in top gear to deliver free, fair, transparent, and inclusive elections in Ekiti and Osun.

According to him, the commission is not taking anything for granted in the preparations for the polls.

The INEC spokesman said the commission remains confident of the optimal performance of the accreditation machines, the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS).

“We are holding meetings and putting together strategies and tactics of making sure INEC conducts free, fair and transparent elections in both states,” Okoye said.

“We are confident that whatever issues there are with the BVAS have been resolved, and we are expecting to have a very good accreditation process at the elections.

“Those two elections may likely be the only off-season governorship election that we are going to conduct before the 2023 general election.

“We are preparing, and we are preparing very hard.

“We have also made it possible for people to have trust and confidence in the electoral process through the introduction of the BVAS.

“With the introduction of BVAS, people believe that ghosts will not come to vote. People believe that those who have quarantined permanent voter cards (PVCs) will not be in a position to use them. So, only the living will cast their votes in Osun and Ekiti.

“We are putting everything in place to make sure that we conduct a good election in both states. We are preparing for these two elections, and we are preparing well.

“People must have hope that the electoral management body will do what is right in terms of making sure that the only determinant of who gets elected and who does not get elected, will revolve around the votes of the people cast at the polling units.”

Okoye said the new electoral act would strengthen the commission to conduct a good election.

He said the commission had started recruitment of ad-hoc staff for the elections.

On the recurrent trend of voter apathy, Okoye urged political parties to join the commission in voter mobilisation.

“The conduct of elections and management of elections and ensuring that elections are free, fair, transparent and inclusive remain a multi-stakeholder venture,” he said.

“No individual, no agency, and no commission can do it alone. The main task of voter mobilisation remains with political parties.

“Civil society groups and organisations also have a role and a responsibility in this area. The same is with the media and other critical stakeholders.

“The issue of voter apathy must be tackled headlong and must be a multi-stakeholders aggressive venture. Nigerians must be made to understand that they hold the power through their votes and must shun selling their votes on election day.”

He said the commission had created additional polling units to ensure a seamless voting experience on election day.

Okoye said that INEC would hold top-level security meetings with different security agencies under the auspices of the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) to also build up confidence in people to vote without fear of violence.

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