The Independent National Electoral Commission says in preparation for the Osun State governorship election today, the commission has recruited 16,000 ad hoc staff, including National Youth Service Corps members and students of the Obafemi Awolowo University.
The state’s Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mr Olusegun Agbaje, said the commission had adequately prepared to ensure a free and fair election that would serve as a model for future elections in the country.
Agbaje said, “These (ad hoc staff) will work in different categories during the election. They were sourced from the National Youth Service Corps members in Osun State and students from the OAU, Ile-Ife; the Federal Polytechnic, Ede; as well as staff of federal establishments in the state.
“We have trained both the ad hoc staff and permanent staff of the commission, including the REC, administrative secretary, heads of departments, electoral officers and assistant electoral officers ahead of the election.
“In addition, the security personnel that will be used during the election were trained at the state and senatorial levels in readiness for the election.”
The INEC REC also warned politicians against twisting the commission’s electoral rules for their selfish aims.
While reacting to the allegations that the commission had placed a total ban on the use of mobile phones and camera devices around polling units, Agbaje said it was not true that the commission had asked the voters not to carry their phones to the polling units.
He clarified that the commission only asked voters not to carry their phones inside the voting cubicles, in a bid to curb vote-buying, a phenomenon that has marred the elections in the past.
“It is important to once again clear the air on some baseless allegations being peddled around by some critical stakeholders, such as the banning of phones and other cameras at the polling unit; giving out of uncollected PVCs to a certain political party; preparing the Smart Card Readers to favour a particular political party; and that INEC will be biased during the election.
“The allegations are not true. They are figments of imagination of those that made them, as they have not been able to substantiate them as I speak to you. INEC did not place a ban on phones and other
He added, “What INEC said is that voters should not carry their phones or other camera devices into the voting cubicles where the voter will mark the ballot so as to safeguard the secrecy of the ballot. Voters are free to come with their phones and other camera devices; what we are saying is that at the cubicle where they will be casting their votes, they can’t be allowed to go in with anything except voting materials,” he added.
The REC also warned politicians and the electorate against selling and buying of votes, saying the commission was ready to unleash the full wrath of the law against anyone found doing so.
Agbaje said, “The commission has no plan whatsoever to give the PVCs that were not collected by owners to any political party as they are being kept in the INEC’s strong room at the state office as we speak. The commission’s Smart Card Readers are not also designed to favour any political party.
“Let me therefore reiterate for the umpteenth time that the commission will exhibit the highest level of transparency, integrity and impartiality while availing all the 48 political parties that have nominated candidates equal opportunity to participate in a level playing field during the election.
“I therefore strongly advise all stakeholders in the election, especially the political parties’ leaders and contestants to desist from making unguarded utterances and unfounded allegations, as these constitute distractions to INEC and unnecessarily overheat the polity.
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