By Timothy Agbor, Osogbo
Exactly a week to the August 9 governorship election in Osun state, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has assured that adequate security would be provided at the polling units during the poll in order to guarantee an acceptable result.
The Residential Electoral Commissioner in the state, Mr. Olusegun Agbaje disclosed this on Friday, 1st August, 2014, during a press conference at the commission’s office in Osogbo with a warning to stakeholders, especially political parties to shun any act calpable of truncating the efforts of the electoral body at conducting a free, fair, credible and acceptable election in the state.
According to Agbaje, an Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) has planned for three security agents at each polling unit and other identified flash points or hot spots across the 30 local government areas of the state on election day.
Agbaje while stating that only 450, 560 eligible voters had collected their Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) out of 1, 410, 684 PVCs received in the state as at 31st July, 2014, urged registered voters to collect their PVCs it is the only means of voting during the poll.
Assuring electorate of early arrival of election materials thus aiding timely commencement of voting exercise, the REC said his commission has resuscitated 202 Registration Area Centers (RACs) for the camping of election officials along with the electoral materials and security personnel close to their respective poling units.
He revealed that the commission has recruited 10,432 ad hoc staff who will work as presiding officers, assistant presiding officers, supervisory presiding officers, registration area collation officers and returning officers during the election.
According to him, “these ad-hoc staff were sourced from the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) members serving in Osun, Ekiti, Kwara, Oyo, Ondo and Kogi states; students of Federal Polytechnic, Ede and Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife; and staff of federal establishments in Osun state.”
He said that INEC has distributed non-sensitive materials to the 30 local council offices of the commission for effective and timely preparations adding that the electoral body has also created 3,379 voting points to accelerate the process of accreditation and voting processes.
Agbaje while debunking the allegations that INEC is requesting for political party a voter belongs before such person is given his PVC, said “the allegations are figment of the imagination of those that made them as they have not been able to substantiate them.”
He however warned individuals or political parties on electoral offences saying that penalties will be melted out on offender as stipulated in the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended).