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Ekiti: Heavy deployment of security agents not to scare voters – IGP

Four days to the conduct of the Ekiti State governorship election, the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Usman Alkali Baba, has clarified tha...

Four days to the conduct of the Ekiti State governorship election, the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Usman Alkali Baba, has clarified that heavy deployment of security agencies in the state is not intended to scare voters and cause apathy on election day.

Baba stated that the deployment was geared towards protecting the sanctity of the ballots and make the outcome of the election credible and acceptable to all stakeholders.

In the same fashion, the Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, appealed to participants to eschew violence and allow the votes of the people to count.

The duo spoke in Ado Ekiti, on Tuesday, during an Election Stakeholders’ Meeting organised by INEC with major players and participants in the coming governorship poll in the State.

Baba said no individual with invidious and parochial interest would be allowed to vitiate the outcome of the election, through violence, vote buying and other actions that can taint the credibility of the poll.

Addressing the gathering graced by candidates of political parties and heads of security formations, Baba warned his men against professional misconduct that can mar the results of election or disrupt the process.

Baba assured the voters that adequate security personnel are on ground to ward off any security threat that can hinder them from exercising their franchise during the poll.

The police chief said: “All the 177 wards and 2,445 polling units will be manned by appropriate manpower. Let me say this, the massive deployment is not to scare the citizens, but to protect the sanctity of the ballots and the provisions of the Electoral Act.

“Those who wan’t to constitute a clog in the will of progress will face the consequences of their actions. National security should be of priority and uppermost in our minds. Let us conduct this election in the most civil manner.

“All the parties must embrace the virtues of democracy. We will not allow any person or group of persons to disrupt this election no matter how highly placed. Let all the contenders provide the moral leadership, so that we can achieve success together.”

The INEC Chairman, Prof Yakubu, assured the stakeholders that the commission will maintain and protect the transparency and security of the process.

“Let me assure political parties and voters that the task of electing a new governor will be left in the hands of Ekiti voters. We won’t take any action that would put any party and candidate in a vantage position. We are going to do everything according to the constitution and provisions of the Electoral Act,” he said.

Yakubu stated that four National Commissioners and eight Resident Electoral Commissioners have been deployed to ensure conduct of credible election, adding that a total of 749, 065 voters representing 76 percent have collected their Permanent Voter Cards(PVCs).

“To underscore how prepared we are, we have provided magnifying glasses and brale ballot papers for visually impaired citizens wihile the Bimodal Voters Authentication System Machines(BVAS) will be used for accreditation.

“We are not unware that vote buying is a destroyer of electoral process. To show how determined we are to stop this menace, we have changed the configuration of the ballot boxes in all polling units to prevent vote buying .

“We are also partnering the operatives of ICPC and EFCC to deploy their men and deal with vote buyers and sellers according to the law,” he stated.

In his submission, the Resident Electoral Commissioner, Ekiti State, Dr. Adeniran Tella, revealed that pregnant women, people living with disabilities and the aged, will be given priority to vote on election day.

Tella added that safeguarding protocols relevant to Covid-19 pandemic will be applied at polling units, to prevent the spread of the lethal disease.

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