Rivers Rerun INEC urges electorate not to be intimidated

The INEC Chairman gave the advice while receiving the six newly National Commissioners of the commission on Wednesday.

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Mahmood Yakubu play

Mahmood Yakubu, INEC chairman

(Punch)
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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has advised electorate in Rivers not to be intimidated in exercising their civil responsibility in the Saturday legislative re-run election in the state.

The Chairman of the Commission, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, gave the advice while receiving the six newly National Commissioners of the commission on Wednesday in Abuja.

Yakubu said that heads of security agencies, especially the Inspector-General of Police, had assured the commission of securing the environment for deployment of election personnel and materials for the election.

He said “My advice to stakeholders in Rivers is that, they should come out and exercise their franchise. They should not be intimidated by some remarks.

“The security agencies have assured us that all trouble makers will be handled appropriately.

“Election is a civil, simple process and people should come out and vote in a peaceful atmosphere that the security agencies have assured us.

“We want to assure the people of Rivers that the processes will be free, fair and credible.’’

The INEC boss, who said that the commission was ready for the election, expressed satisfaction with the deployment logistics for the election.

He said “Every step that the commission suppose to take within its own responsibilities we have taken those steps.

“We have recruited ad hoc staff, we have trained them, deployed both sensitive and non-sensitive materials. So, we are ready for conclusive election in Rivers."

The INEC chairman also urged stakeholders in the exercise to ensure peaceful conduct of election.

He said “In Ondo there was nothing special that we did, only that the environment was conducive for the election.

“We have always said it that once the processes are not disrupted, Nigerians will exercise their franchise freely and that happened in our last couple of elections.’’

Yakubu assured that INEC would continue to improve on the use of technology, especially card readers to deepen the country’s democracy.

He said that the commission was already working on improving the efficiency of the card readers.

“We want to move beyond using it for authentication of voters at polling units to the possibility of exploring electronic collation and transmission of results.

‘’This is necessary so that speedily and accurately, the result of election would be announced as soon as possible, that is what is happening in other countries.’’

The chairman urged the new commissioners to bring their experiences on board in improving the country’s electoral process.

Yakubu said that the selection of the six new commissioners from different careers, including law, engineering, security, media among others would bridge the exiting knowledge gap in the commission.

“We have six new commissioners, each of them bringing their skills on board; we have a lawyer, engineer, air vice marshal, planning expert, media veteran and old hand in the commission.

“So, it will add tremendous value to the work of the commission."

Responding on behalf of the new commissioners, Mrs May Agbamuche-Mbu (South-South) pledged that they would do the work with ‘’justice, truthfulness and fairness.’’

She added that the commissioners would bring their experiences to bear in the execution of their duties and make Nigeria proud.

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The new national commissioners are; Dr Ogunmola Ladipo (South-West); Abubakar Nahuche (North-West); Prof. Okechukwu Ibeano (South-East); Mr Mohammed Haruna (North-Central) and retired Air Vice-Marshal Ahmad Muazu; (North-East).

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