As the July 14 governorship election in Ekiti State approaches, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has promised that it has no reason to fail the electorate in view of the preparation it had rolled out to ensure hitch-free exercise.
The INEC National Commissioner in charge of Ekiti, Osun and Oyo States, Mr. Solomon Soyebi, and his counterpart in charge of Election Operations and Logistics, Mrs. Amina Zakari, said the commission is prepared to surmount all challenges to ensure that the exercise is free, fair and credible, adding that every polling unit would open for the election by 7am.
They stated this in Ado Ekiti on Monday at a pre-election preparation workshop organised for electoral officers, assistant electoral officers and head of departments.
Soyebi said: “There will be no room for excuses. Any local government where this does not happen, the EO will be responsible.
“You must share responsibilities with your assistants to avoid one-man show. You must also watch your utterances so as to safeguard the integrity of the exercise.”
Zakari, a former INEC acting chairman, debunked an allegation by Governor Ayodele Fayose that she had been hired by the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Dr. Kayode Fayemi, to rig the election in favour of APC.
She challenged the governor and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to back their allegations with evidence, saying it is impossible for an individual to rig an election.
“They should prove that beyond reasonable doubt. I doubt it if an individual can rig an election when there are over 20,000 personnel to conduct the election.
“They should back their allegation with fact and figures. We (INEC) have nothing to hide. I see no reason why INEC would want to go back to the bad old days. We are moving forward ever and we remain focused to ensure a credible election for Nigeria,” she said.
Zakari said the workshop would review the work done so far and expose officials to new ideas, processes and approach to a successful election conduct.
“The workshop is to ensure proper preparations for the election. This is the practice over the years. It is to ensure there is no gap between policies and implementation.
“It is to aid direct interaction with departments that initiate policies and to collect ideas that will help in reshaping policies and procedure.
“I have no doubt that this will be well organised and it will be adjudged as the most successful election ever conducted,” she said.
The Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Ekiti, Prof. Abdul-Ganiyu Raji, said the workshop was to ensure information flow between policy formulators and the implementors towards a successful conduct of the election.