INEC chief charges staff on Edo guber poll

The chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, Friday, charged the commission’s staff to remain neutral and exhibit professionalism in the conduct of the September 19 governorship election in Edo state.

He gave the charge in Benin during a meeting with electoral officers and heads of units of the 18 local governments of the state.

He said neutrality and professionalism were very important to deliver free, fair and credible election.

“We are not supporting any political party or candidate and we are not against any political party or candidate either.

“Our concern is the integrity and transparency of the process.

“The choice of who becomes the governor of Edo State is entirely in the hands of Edo people and we are going to protect the process,” he said.

On transparency, Yakubu said the commission had introduced new innovations in order to deepen transparency in the result management process of the election.

“The innovation commenced with the Nasarawa State by-election,” he said.

Prof. Yakubu noted that the new innovations would enable Nigerians to see polling unit results on line.

“In addition to the card reader authentication, we going to deploy a tablet with a camera, which after voting has been concluded and ballots sorted out and counted, the picture of the ECFA (result sheet) would be taken and transmitted to a dedicated portal so that Nigerians can view the polling unit results live and direct,” he said.

He added that the commission did same in Nasarawa State Central by-election and that before the declaration of results Nigerians were able to view some clean results of some the polling units.

He said the commission was looking forward to availability of ECFA for public viewing on election day.

He assured that the election would be conducted in strict compliance with COVID-19 protocols, adding that it was working in collaboration with Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 to get infra-red thermometers.

Earlier, the state Resident Electoral Commissioner, Johnson Alalibo Sinikiem, said the card readers had been supplied and were being configured for the election.

He noted that the training of security men among others had been concluded, adding that the only challenge they had was the reduction of their budget.

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