The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, on Friday urged Electoral Officers (EOs) from the 18 local government areas of Edo to be neutral and professional in handling the state governorship election scheduled for September 19.
Yakubu made the call during a meeting held with the EOs, Heads of departments, (HODs), heads of Units (HOUs)and other members of staff of the Commission in Benin .
He said “ I am here to draw your attention to a few things you need to know. Neutrality is absolutely very important. I am excited about what the Resident Electoral Commissioner REC said about neutrality and professionalism.
“We are not supporting any political party or candidate, and we are not also against any political party or candidate either.
“Our concern is the integrity of the entire process. The choice of whom becomes the governor of Edo is entirely in the hands of Edo people”.
According to the Chairman, ” We are going to guide and jealously protect the process.”
The INEC boss also informed the EOs that the Commission had introduced new innovation in order to deep transparency of the results Management process.
He noted that the commission had introduced a new results viewing portal which was piloted in Nasarawa
Central state Constituency bye-elections.
” In addition to the smart card readers for voter authentication, there will be new tablet with camera in all the polling units and voting points.
“At the close of voting, sorting, counting and recording of ballots, pictures of form EC8A will be taken and transmitted to a dedicated portal.
” So that Nigerians can view the polling units results even before a declaration is made. We did it in Nasarawa bye-election.”
This is the next major election, so you are going to set the pace for major elections. We look forward to availability of the form EC8As on the portal for the public to view on election day,” Yakubu added.
The Chairman also emphasised the need for INEC officials to be punctual to their various polling units and voting points and begin the process at the stipulated time of 8.30am and close voting by 2.30pm.
He said, “You have to address the issue of logistics particularly transportation. You have to engage the vehicles and boats owner early enough.
“Please take note that boats and vehicles should only carry 50 percent of the installed passenger capacity because of social distancing and COVID-19 policy, Which means you will be needing more means of transportation.
“I am confident that you will not let the Commission down. One of the lessons we learnt in the 2016 Edo governorship election is that, we must speedily conclude the process and declare the results in good time.
“The longer it takes to declare the results, the more problematic it becomes for us to manage public perception. So, you have to get logistics right in order to speedily conclude the process”.
Earlier, The State Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Johnson Alalibo, said the card readers for the election have been supplied and are being configured for the election.
He noted that the Commission’s mantra for the conduct of the Edo governorship election was professionalism, neutrality and non- partisan