INEC expresses readiness for Osun Governorship election

Samuel Adegoke, Osogbo

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says it is ready to conduct Osun State Governorship Election slated for Saturday, July 16, 2022.

Chairman of INEC, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, stated this at an Election Stakeholders Meeting held in Osogbo, Osun State capital on Tuesday.

Yakubu said that with preparing INEC already at its zenith, the Commission was ready to deliver a free, fair, and credible election to state residents.

The chairman, who reiterated the Commission’s commitment to ensuring a level playing field for all candidates, said the political parties could count on its transparency in the election.

He said: “as in previous elections, various stakeholders would like to be given assurances in two critical areas. First is the election’s transparency, inclusivity, and credibility, and second is its security and peaceful conduct. We are taking both issues seriously.” 

Yakubu also assured stakeholders that all pre-election activities of INEC preparatory to the 16th July election had been concluded, adding that the Commission would not disappoint the state.

“Our focus is on the processes and procedures as provided by law. So far, we have successfully implemented 12 out of 14 activities in the Timetable and Schedule of Activities for the election. 

“The only two outstanding activities are the last day of the campaign by political parties, which ends at midnight on Thursday 14th July 2022, and Election Day activities on Saturday July 16 2022,” he said.

 

PVC Collection Strategy

The INEC Chairman explained that the Commission took drastic measures to ensure residents collected their permanent voter cards before the election on Saturday.

He said the Commission not only devolved PVC distribution from Local Government Offices to the 332 wards across the state but also mandated its staff to work all days of the week, including weekends and public holidays.

He added that the last day for collecting PVCs would be 24 hours before the election: Thursday, July 14, 2022—to ensure participation of the electorate on election day.

The INEC Chair also intimated that of the 1,955,657 registered voters in Osun State, 1,479,595 people, representing 76%, have collected their voter cards as of Sunday, July 10, 2022, noting that the figures would continue to rise till Thursday, July 14.

 

Drive For Inclusiveness

While speaking on the readiness of INEC for the Osun Governorship Election, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu also touched on the need to foster greater inclusiveness in the nation’s electoral processes.

He said the Commission had committed fully to inclusivity in its electoral processes by providing props to aid PLWDs in voting.

His words: “To underscore our commitment to an inclusive, credible, and transparent electoral process, the Commission is deploying assistive devices for Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) to have a more pleasant voting experience on Election Day. 

“Magnifying glasses, Braille Ballot Guide, and Posters for voters with hard-of-hearing conditions will be deployed at the polling unit level in areas of need based on data collected in collaboration with the PwD community. 

“Similarly, our revised Regulations and Guidelines provide priority to be accorded at polling units to PwDs without waiting in long queues during voting as with elderly people, pregnant women, and nursing mothers.” 

 

Pioneering Change and Inclusiveness

INEC said to bring about change within the nation’s electoral space, the Commission itself had to be the change by driving and pioneering it.

For that reason, Yakubu said the Commission had gotten competent PLWDs involved in election administration to promote their inclusiveness.

“In this regard, the 2022 Osun State Governorship election will also make history, being the first election in which INEC is deploying PwDs as ad hoc staff.

“Thirty-five (35) serving NYSC members with one form of disability have been identified, trained, and engaged as ad hoc staff at the polling unit level. 

“I appeal to all stakeholders to cooperate with and protect them, as well as all other ad hoc staff, to make our electoral process more inclusive and participatory.”

 

Use of Technology

The INEC Chair reiterated the Commission’s commitment to using technology as a matter of practice and law requirement.

Noting that its Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) would be deployed for voter accreditation and uploading election results on the INEC Result Viewing (IReV) portal on Election Day.

Earlier in his welcome address, INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner for Osun State, Prof Abdulganiy Raji, said that with the preparation for the Osun Governorship Election, the Commission was poised to beat its record in Ekiti by announcing Osun Election results in less than 12 hours.

In the same vein, the Inspector General of Police, Usman Alkali Baba, assured stakeholders of adequate deployment of police personnel to maintain law and order.

In his remarks, the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, Ojaja II, appealed to all candidates to maintain peace during the election and after, stressing that the state is a more significant entity than any one person.

He urged Osun residents to display the omoluabi ethos for which they know the state and charged them to conduct themselves with decorum and honour while exercising their franchise.

 

S.O

 

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