* INEC may monitor the election through virtual situation room
Zoom, a virtual visual communication system where all parties can see one another, may come handy in the Edo State governorship election coming up this Saturday, September 19, 2020.
This is as the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said it would monitor the governorship election through a zoom situation room.
The chairman of the commission, Mahmood Yakubu, made the disclosure during an expanded stakeholders’ meeting organised by INEC in Benin.
Yakubu said the zoom situation room will also allow the commission to receive live reports from the field.
He said accredited observers and the media will also be invited to join at intervals.
He noted that the zoom situation room would enable the commission to receive first-hand information during the election.
The INEC boss, however, warned that electoral violators would face the consequences of their actions, if caught during the governorship election.
Yakubu listed some of the infractions to include vote-buying, ballot box snatching and stuffing, multiple voting, hijacking and diversion of election materials among others.
“Edo people must be allowed to freely vote for their preferred candidate without inducement or harassment.
“We have been assured by the security agencies that thugs and their sponsors will not have the freedom to move around freely to disrupt the election or collation of results”, he said.
The INEC chairman, who reassured Edo people that their votes would count, added that only the choice made by the people of Edo would determine the outcome of the election.
He explained that the commission would not take any action to the advantage or disadvantage of any political party or candidate.
“Our focus is on our processes and procedures. Nothing more! Be assured that Saturday’s election will be credible.
“The Commission would be deploying magnifying glasses and braille ballot guides to assist Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) to vote unaided.
“INEC policy for the conduct of election in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and Code of Conduct has been translated into braille in order to ensure greater participation of all citizens in the electoral process irrespective of disability,” he added.
He however, added that as a result of the already charged atmosphere in Edo State ahead of the election, the commission will not deploy a new technology not yet fully satisfied with.
Yakubu also added that the Commission has expanded the result viewing portal to accommodate almost two million viewers at the same time without clogging.
While explaining that the use of Smart Card Readers would be used for voter’s verification and authentication, he added that where it is deliberately avoided to undermine the integrity of the electoral process, the result for the affected polling unit will be declared void in line with the Commission’s regulations and guidelines.
In his remarks, the Inspector- General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, said a total of 31,000 police personnel have been deployed to the state for the protection of personnel and assets of the Independent National Electoral Commission, electorate and residents of the state before, during and after the elections.
Adamu, added that election security threats assessment have been undertaken and all the flashpoints and actors engaged in, or planning to threaten the electoral process have been identified and plans have been perfected to deal with the situation.
“This massive deployment is not only to deter misguided political actors that might be bent on threatening the elections through acts of thuggery or other conducts that violate the provisions of the electoral act.
“But to also serve as a strong warning that the government is determined to bring such characters to justice should they advance their ignoble, undemocratic and unpatriotic intents”, he added.
Also speaking, the Director General of of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), Shuaib Ibrahim, appealed to all stakeholders to ensure the safety and security of all corps members deployed for the election.
Ibrahim, who was represented by the South-South Supervisor of NYSC, Benjamin Ayodele, thanked INEC for the confidence reposed on the corps
The Representative of the Benin Monarch, Chief Osato Bazuaye, called on INEC and the IG of police to ensure that the election was free, fair and peaceful.
“We want you to write your name in gold. Ensure that this election is one of the best. It is a test for INEC, the Police and all of us,” he stated.