The Inspector-General of Police (I-G), Ibrahim Idris and the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahooud Yakubu, have assured Nigerians and political stakeholders that the Osun Sept. 22 Governorship election would be credible based on efforts put in place.
The I-G and INEC chairman both gave the assurance while speaking at the “Election Stakeholders Forum on the 2018 Governorship Election”, organised by INEC on Monday in Osogbo.
Yakubu in his address said the commission had improved on the functionality of the commission’s technological innovations to safeguard the integrity and credibility of elections.
He said INEC would ensure that personnel and election materials arrived promptly at polling units, the smart card readers functioned optimally and that counting of ballots, collation and declaration of results would be prompt, open, transparent.
“Our ultimate objective is to ensure that the choice of who becomes the next governor of Osun is entirely in the hands of the voters.
“Votes will count and only the choice made by the people of Osun and nothing else would determine the outcome of the election,” he said.
He said the commission had overcome past challenges associated with elections malpractices in the country, and as the process of election could no longer be corrupted, those that want to subvert it had now made the electorate their target through vote-buying.
The INEC chairman said the commission had reviewed the administration of the polling units to make it difficult for voters to expose their marked ballot papers to intending vote-buyers.
He said that though people could not be banned from taking their cell phones to the polling units because it would be difficult for them to take pictures and report malpractices to INEC as requested of the people, but the electorate from point of accreditation and voting, would not be allowed to be with his/her cell phones.
Idris on his part, assured the people of adequate security before, during and after the election, saying that constant forums orgainsed by INEC ahead of elections would always help the police in strategising and providing formidable security.
Idris said the police, complemented by other security agents would provide the needed security for the election, adding that 18, 426 police officers would be deployed to Osun for the election.
“Arrangements have been concluded to deploy over 18,426 police personnel, including conventional and PMF units, Intelligence and technical teams to provide security.
“This number excludes the support services to be provided by other security personnel from the Armed Forces, the Immigration Service, the Prisons, the Custom and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps to complement the efforts of the police.
“Our brother politicians and their supporters are advised to desist from actions that may precipitate violence before, during and after the election.
“The police officers deployed for this election have been lectured and educated on electoral conducts, behaviours, laws and offences, and are therefore expected to conduct themselves in a highly ethical manner,” Idris said.
He disclosed that the Federal Government had provided funds for the payment of the officers allowances.