We Are Prepared to Proceed – INEC Chairman, Yakubu, Gives Latest Update on Readiness

The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof Yakubu Mahmoud, has given an updated overview of the commission’s readiness for the off-cycle governorship elections in Bayelsa, Imo, and Kogi States.

According to NAIJALOADED, within the next 24 hours, 5,169,692 Nigerians who have collected their Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs) in the concerned states will cast their votes in their respective polling units to choose their next governors.

Prof Yakubu highlighted the historic nature of these simultaneous elections taking place for the first time in Nigeria’s history, spanning three geopolitical zones: North Central (Kogi), South East (Imo), and South-South (Bayelsa).

He emphasized the importance of INEC officials, both regular and ad hoc, exhibiting the highest level of patriotism and professionalism. He reiterated that the Commission is impartial, being neither a political party nor having any candidate in the election.

“Our responsibility is to safeguard the process and ensure a level playing field for all political parties and candidates,” he said in a statement he personally signed.

“The choice of who becomes the Governor of Bayelsa, Imo, and Kogi States is entirely in the hands of voters.”

“We have delivered all sensitive and non-sensitive materials for the elections. The Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) has been configured for deployment to polling units as the only means of voter verification and fingerprint/facial biometric authentication of voters.

“Polling Unit results will be uploaded to the INC Result Viewing (IRe) portal. All election-duty officials have been trained.

“Arrangements have been made for land and maritime transportation to enable us to commence voting on schedule. In spite of the extremely difficult terrain and physical infrastructure in some locations, we are determined to ensure that our officials are there waiting for voters, rather than the voters waiting for our arrival.

“For these off-cycle elections, the Commission is deploying two National Commissioners, nine (9) Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs), and Administrative Secretaries (ASs), as well as additional staff from different states to each of the three states to support the process. They will be deployed across the senatorial zones in the States.

“Election is a multi-stakeholder responsibility. As with every election, lessons have been learned from recent elections. We will continue to ensure free, fair, and credible and inclusive elections, but INEC cannot do it alone.

“We have received assurances from the security agencies that the environment will be secure for electoral activities and all participants: voters, electoral officials, accredited observers, the media, and polling and collection agents.

“Political parties and candidates have signed the peace accord under the auspices of the National Peace Committee (NPC). Let us maintain the peace and play our roles conscientiously. By doing so, we shall continue to consolidate our democracy.”