Nigeria

We’re Working To Ensure Polls Open Early In Ondo – INEC

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says it is working to ensure early opening of polls and declaration of results, especially in the riverine areas, in the October 10 governorship election in Ondo State.

Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, INEC Chairman, stated this on Thursday in Akure when he met with the traditional rulers in the state in preparation for the election.

Yakubu said that INEC would pay particular attention to places that have difficult terrains, so that it could deploy materials early and get the results out of these places in good time.

“Just yesterday, we discovered that between Ese-Odo and Ilaje, we have 270 polling units that are riverine areas.

“So, we have to quickly mobilise the boats and to get the results out early.

“The last time we have the support that we need, because the boats that we use to move materials and to bring results back, have no headlights, so, they are hardly use at night, but the Navy provided support, because their boats have illumination.

“Fortunately, the law empowers the commission to seek the support of the military in moving materials to locations.

“So, I assure you that we are leaving no stone unturned in ensuring that we deploy promptly and will also get results out to the state capital in good time.

“The longer it takes to make a declaration, people will begin to assume something fishy is about to happen with the result.

“So, we will ensure that results are promptly deployed and declared to restore people’s confidence on the electoral system,” Yakubu said.

He said that the commission was also working to curb the issue of vote buying at polling units, through the reorganisation of its voting points and the ban on the use of mobile phone at the voting points.

“We will continue to take steps to ensure that we do so, but it is happening in a number of ways.

“We can only handle or attempt to solve this problem, while it happens at the polling unit level.

“But when it happens outside the poling unit, it is difficult to track the perpetrators now that we are aware that vote buying has gone digital.

“They now transfer money electronically ahead of the election, no longer during the election.

“So, we will continue to do whatever we can to ensure that people don’t buy votes at the polling units,” he added.

The INEC boss assured the people of the state of free, fair and credible election on Oct. 10.

“We are working towards addressing some of the challenges and we must make Ondo election better than that of Edo. We can only achieve that with your support,” he said.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the INEC chairman also met with the media and security agencies.

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