Ahead of the general elections coming up on February 16 and March 2, the Osun State Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mr. Olusegun Agbaje, has expressed the commission’s readiness to conduct a free, fair and credible poll.
He stated this in Osogbo, while making case for media and other stakeholders’ support in achieving the purpose.
“Let me use this opportunity once again to reiterate the commission’s determination more than ever before to conduct a very peaceful, free, credible and acceptable election that will meet the aspirations of all and sundry. It is, however, important to point out that if this broad objective must be achieved, all stakeholders must join hands with the commission by playing their various roles in accordance with the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 and the Electoral Act 2010 as amended,” Agbaje said.
“While commending the media for the various roles geared towards collaborating with the commission in its efforts towards deepening the country’s democracy, I want to urge you to begin to positively engage the political class and make them see reasons to shun all electoral vices and embrace good conduct in politics,” he added.
Agbaje who disclosed that the commission had concluded arrangements to take PVCs to the rural areas for collection by their owners, stated that the collection would take place between Wednesday, January 16 and Monday 21.
He advised those that were yet to collect their PVCs to use the opportunity to do so.
He insisted that only those that had valid PVCs would be allowed to cast their votes during the election, stressing: “No PVC, no voting.”
The commissioner, however, disclosed that a total of 1,253,484 PVCs had been distributed out of 1,681,930, leaving a total of 428,446 uncollected.
Agbaje called on the political parties, leaders, contestants and their supporters to shun all acts capable of hampering the smooth conduct of the elections, particularly the use of thugs to disrupt the electoral processes, snatching of ballot boxes, intimidation of electors and officials and vote-buying, among others.
He warned against vote-buying, lamenting that politicians had started engaging in the menace and other illegalities ahead of the elections stressing that it must be strictly discouraged.
He, however, called on the registered voters “to come out en-masse with their PVCs on the election days to vote for the candidates of their choice peacefully.”
Agbaje warned that during the exercise, “anyone who runs contrary to the Electoral Act 2010 as amended would be dealt with in accordance with the relevant section of the law.”