● As INEC meeting with APC, PDP, Labour Party chiefs turns rowdy
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has deployed nine additional Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) in Imo for Saturday’s governorship poll.
The Chairman of the commission, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, disclosed this at a stakeholders’ meeting in Owerri on Monday.
The meeting was attended by governorship candidates, chairmen and secretaries of the political parties participating in the election as well as representatives of Civil Society Organisations.
Yakubu, represented by a National Commissioner in-charge of the South-East, Mr Kenneth Ukeagu, said the RECs were drawn from Cross Rivers, Niger, Plateau, Bauchi, Oyo, Katsina, Gombe and Yobe States.
He also said that the Administrative Secretary of the Commission in Ekiti was among those deployed to provide supervisory support at the local government level.
Fielding questions from the stakeholders, the INEC boss allayed the fear that the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) had been compromised.
“We have configured the BVAS and carried out mock accreditation in the state.
“There will be no foreign figures in the BVAS at the polling units.
“We are confident that BVAS will work effectively,” he assured the participants.
Yakubu also debunked insinuations by some stakeholders that the collation centres had been moved from designated centres to Local Government Headquarters.
The INEC chief further announced that non-sensitive materials had been conveyed to the commission’s offices in the 27 Local Government Areas of the state.
“The commission has mobilised the National Union of Road Transport Workers to ensure timely movement of election materials to the polling units,” he said.
On the agitation for the redeployment of.the state REC, Prof. Sylvia Agu, the chairman said that such transfer or removal could only be done, if there was evidence of the allegations against her.
“We have to be convinced with evidence that she has done wrong before we can take action.
“As it stands now, we have no reason to remove the Imo REC,” Yakubu said.
He appealed to voters to turn out en masse to exercise their franchise, assuring them that the commission was determined to ensure that their votes count.
Speaking on behalf of the Police, ACP Musa Abdullahi, urged voters and residents of the state to disregard calls for a lockdown by the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra.
“We are prepared to defend and protect lives and property as much as we can with the resources available,” Abdullahi said.
The meeting had earlier turned rowdy, when INEC chairman’s representative requested journalists to leave the venue.
However, members of the Peoples Democratic Party and Labour Party kicked against the request and insisted that the media must cover the interaction or they would stage a walkout themselves.
Ukeagu later restored normalcy in the hall when he finally bowed to the pressure to allow the media at the meeting.