The Independent National Electoral Commission [INEC] says it was not contemplating of postponing Saturday’s Ondo State governorship election.
Mahmood Yakubu, the National Chairman of INEC, made the confirmation on Tuesday at a stakeholders’ interactive meeting in Akure.
He said the commission had already put the necessary measures in place to ensure a credible and transparent election.
“We are fully prepared,” he affirmed. “We see no reason to activate the provisions of section 26 or section 36 of the Electoral Act and there is no other ground in Law to postpone an election.”
He added that INEC would abide strictly by the provisions of the law in the conduct of the election, which has 28 political parties participating.
“Our responsibility is to ensure that, as a legal process, elections are conducted strictly in conformity with the provisions of the law.
“We have taken every step within the powers of the commission to ensure that the election this weekend is held as scheduled and that it is free, fair and credible.”
Mr. Yakubu noted that the commission was aware of the dispute in the nomination of the candidate of the crisis-ridden Peoples Democratic Party [PDP], stressing that INEC was duty bound by law and would be neutral in its conduct before, during and after the election.
“Where an intra-party dispute becomes the subject of litigation resulting in specific orders of the court, INEC shall obey such orders until they are set by a superior court,” he said. “We remain guided by this principle”.
The INEC Chairman further disclosed that there would be simultaneous accreditation and voting on the day of the election, and that the Smart Card Readers (SCRs) would be deployed for the exercise.
“The stage is therefore set for eligible voters to choose the next Governor of this state from the list of 28 political parties participating in the election”.
He also explained that the commission would be partnering with the security agencies through the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security [ICCES] to ensure the safety of materials and officers.
According to him, INEC personnel, who would be assisted by members of the National Youth Service Corps in conducting the election have already been deployed throughout the state.
He warned that the commission will not condone any brigandage from unscrupulous politicians who might be planning to disrupt the peaceful conduct of the poll.
“I wish to reiterate that no voter entitled to security protection should be accompanied by armed escorts to the polling unit on Election Day,” he added.
Segun Agbaje, the Resident Electoral Commissioner in the state, said a total of 1,659,186 are registered voters in the state.
He explained that 1,280,580 Permanent Voters Card (PVCs) have been distributed, leaving 378, 606 cards available to be collected in the state office of the commission.
He added that the commission had already distributed non-sensitive materials for the election and that sensitive materials are now in the safe custody of the Central Bank of Nigeria.