Governor Goodwin Obaseki of the PDP and Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, alongside 12 other governorship candidates are to signed peace accord tommorow ahead the governship election slated for September 19.
Former Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar (rtd) is to Chairman and supervise the Peace Accord while Oba of Benin, Oba Ewuare II has agreed to witness the signing.
This was the agreement reached at a meeting of stakeholders in the nation’s electoral system, where they all agreed thatas part of steps toward ensuring credible, violent-free, fair, peaceful and transparent governorship election, candidates must all sign the Peace Accord.
Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Professor Mahmood Yakubu who harped on the importance for the candidates and chairmen of the two major political parties, as well as others parties to sign the Peace Accord, promised that the Commission would not take any action to the advantage or disadvantage of any political party or candidate.
He said, “Our ultimate objective is to ensure that the choice of who becomes the next governor of Edo State is entirely in the hands of the voters.”
He reassured the electorate, the participating political parties and their candidates that their votes would count, stressing that the only choice made by the people of Edo State would determine the outcome of the election.
Prof. Mahmood disclosed the resolve of the electoral body to deploy the use of its portals in accreditation of election observers and the media as part of measures to deepen the use of technology in the conduct of elections.
“We have delivered all non-sensitive materials for the election. Voter education and sensitisation is ongoing. We have made arrangements for the movement of personnel and materials to all polling units on election day. The Commission has taken every step and made every arrangement for the election holding this weekend,” he added.
He continues, “We will deploy the same platforms for all subsequent elections, including the forthcoming bye-elections in 15 constituencies across 11 states of the Federation scheduled for 31st October 2020. We are working to ensure that in future elections, even the accreditation of polling agents nominated by political parties will also be done online.
“The Commission has dynamically expanded the result viewing portal to accommodate almost two million viewers at the same time without clogging. To view the uploaded results, please visit our website (www.inecelectionresults.com) to register and create an account.”
“To underscore our commitment to a credible and transparent electoral process in Nigeria, the Commission is determined to deepen the deployment of technology in elections. It is for this reason that the Commission recently built portals for the nomination of candidates by political parties as well as the accreditation of election observers and the media. We have used the portals seamlessly in preparing for the Edo Governorship election. The same applies to the Ondo Governorship election.
“I wish to reassure you that your votes will count and only the choice made by the people of Edo State will determine the outcome of the election. The Commission shall not take any action to the advantage or disadvantage of any political party or candidate. Our focus is on our processes and procedures; nothing more.”
In addition, he said the Commission is deploying magnifying glasses and braille ballot guides to assist Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) to vote unaided, adding that “earlier, the Commission translated and published its policy of conducting elections in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the Voters’ Code of Conduct into braille in order to ensure greater awareness and effective participation of all citizens in the electoral process irrespective of disability.”
Also, he said the smart card readers would be used for voter verification and authentication as this is a mandatory requirement and where it is deliberately avoided to undermine the integrity of the electoral process, the result for the affected polling unit would be declared void in line with the Commission’s regulations and guidelines.
The Commission’s boss pointed out that the most critical of the recent innovations introduced by the Commission is the use of the z-pad which is a new innovation designed to serve as a secondary means of achieving full biometric accreditation using facial image of the voter in support of the fingerprint authentication by the Smart Card Reader.
“Secondly, the camera on the tablet will be used to take a picture of the polling unit result (EC8A) and to upload same on a dedicated portal (INEC RESULT VIEWING – IReV) as this would enable all those interested in viewing the results to do so in real time.”
While assuring on the Commission’s neutrality in the election, Mahmood said all categories of ad hoc staff have been vetted and the integrity of the process would not be compromised as there would be no partisan infiltration.
“As the eligible voters in Edo State go to the polls on Saturday, I wish to renew my appeal to all political parties, candidates and their supporters for peaceful conduct. Your votes will count. Polling unit level results will be uploaded for public view.
“However, this will not happen where the process is disrupted by violence or malpractices. The commission is determined that no one will benefit from impunity or rewarded for bad behaviour such as vote-buying, ballot box snatching and stuffing, multiple voting, hijacking and diversion of election materials, disruption of collation, falsification of results, attack on INEC officials or compelling them to declare unofficial results.”
“The people of Edo State must be allowed to freely vote for their preferred candidate without inducement or harassment. We have been assured by the security agencies that thugs and their sponsors will not have the freedom to move around freely to disrupt the election or collation of results,” he stated.