The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said that the fate of the governorship candidates in Bayelsa, Kogi and Imo rests solely on the voters.
The INEC Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, made this statement on Friday ahead of the off-cycle elections in the three states.
Yakubu said that out of the 5,169,692 Nigerians who have their permanent voters’ cards (PVCs), only those who turn out to vote will determine the outcome of the elections.
He noted that this is the first time in Nigeria’s history that governorship elections are conducted simultaneously in three different regions of the country.
He also appealed to the INEC staff, both regular and ad-hoc, to uphold the highest standards of patriotism and professionalism during the elections.
“As I said repeatedly, not least during my recent readiness assessment visits to the three States, INEC is not a political party and we have no candidate in the election,” the statement reads.
“Our responsibility is to safeguard the process and ensure a level playing field for all political parties and candidates. The choice of who becomes the Governor of Bayelsa, Imo and Kogi States is entirely in the hands of voters.”
According to Yakubu the electoral umpire has delivered all sensitive and non-sensitive materials for the elections and that the bimodal voter accreditation system (BVAS) machines have been configured for deployment to polling units.
“Polling Unit results will be uploaded to the INEC Result Viewing (IReV) portal. All election duty officials have been trained,” he said.
“Arrangements have been made for land and maritime transportation to enable us 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 (2) 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 learnt 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/collation 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.”