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Governor urges INEC, police on credible poll

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Edo State Governor Godwin Obaseki yesterday attended a meeting organised by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for security agencies, candidates of parties and other stakeholders in Benin City, ahead of Saturday’s governorship election.

The governor was accompanied by his deputy and running mate, Philip Shaibu; Chairman of Edo State PDP Campaign Council, Chief Dan Orbih and the Chairman of Edo State Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Dr. Tony Aziegbemi, among other members of the Edo PDP Campaign Council.

Obaseki, in his comment at the stakeholders’ forum, urged INEC and the security agencies to ensure that the election is free, fair and credible.

He said: “Does INEC rules permit the use of equipment like drones with cameras to be flying in a problematic voting centre so that we can have recordings in those areas?

“On the Internet, there are accusations and insinuations that some people are writing results due to their access to result sheets. As an assurance, is it possible that the 192 result sheets for ward collation, the 18 local government collation centres and the result sheet for the state be authenticated?”

The Chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, reassured the electorate that their votes would count.

According to him, “as eligible voters in Edo State come out for a peaceful election on Saturday, your votes will count. Polling unit results will be uploaded for public view.

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“However, this will not happen when the electoral process is disrupted by violence or malpractices. The commission is determined that no one will benefit from impunity or rewarded for bad behaviour.

“The commission will not tolerate vote buying, ballot box snatching, multiple voting, hijacking of election materials, distraction of collation, attack on INEC officials or compelling them to declare unofficial results.

“The people of Edo State must be allowed to truly vote for their preferred candidate without inducement or harassment.”

“Thugs and their sponsors will not have the freedom to move around freely to disrupt the election process or collation of results.”

The chairman said that the national headquarters of the commission would monitor the election throughout Edo.

The Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, said that the Edo State election would be free, fair and credible, noting that the personnel of the Nigeria Police would remain professional in the discharge of their duties.

“All the flash points and actors engaged in or planning to threaten the electoral process have been identified and plans have been perfected to deal with the situation accordingly.

“As part of our election and security plans, the three senatorial districts, 18 local government areas of the state, 192 wards and 2, 627 polling units across the state have been mapped out and adequate deployment will be made to ensure security,” the IGP said.

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