From Victor Ogunje in Ado Ekiti
In spite of the disquiet among the ranks of politicians in Ekiti State that the July 14 governorship election may not be marred by malpractice, the Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC) has reassured
Nigerians that no individual or group would have room to truncate the poll.
The body said it was partnering with European Centre for Electoral Support (ECES) for the training of staff that would be used for the
election to get acquainted with modern and digitalised electoral process using the Election Monitoring and Support Centre (EMSC) implementers workshop.
The electoral commission also disclosed that it was compulsory for the members of the National Youth Service Corps serving in Ekiti to serve as electoral officers in the election, describing the poll as a critical national assignment that was a statutory obligation of any corps member.
INEC also said some staff and students of some federal institutions in the state would be deployed to make up for the shortfall recorded in the number of NYSC required to conduct the election, saying this is not an attempt to vitiate or compromise the
integrity of the election.
Speaking at the Ekiti State EMSC Workshop organized for INEC staff in Ado Ekiti on Thursday, the National Commissioner in charge of Ekiti, Oyo and Osun States, Prince Adedeji Soyebi, commended ECES for taking
interest in those things that would boost the integrity of Nigeriaâ€™s elections.
â€œThe EMSC is a programme specially conceived to give skills to staff of this commission. We have passed through many trainings but this is very special and important, so we appreciate the European Union for
On the allegations by Ekiti State Governor, Mr Ayodele Fayose, that it was wrong to draw students of Federal University, Oye Ekiti to
conduct the election, Soyebi said: â€œI donâ€™t need to join issues with them at this level because that is the standard practice anywhere.
â€œWe want to draw them into the election to supplement the shortfall in the number of corps members to be used. We started this is 2011 and they have to be students and staff of federal universitiesâ€.
Soyebi said those accused of illegally purchasing Permanent Voter Cards(PVCs) from owners were wasting their time and resources, saying, â€œno one can vote for anybody by proxy, because we will test the
The INEC chief added that a more voter-friendly enhanced Smart Card Readers will be deployed for the conduct of Ekiti election.
The Resident Electoral Commissioner in Ekiti, Prof Abdulganiy Raji, assured that INEC will be neutral in the election.
Lending credence to the position maintained by Soyebi on the use of students as electoral officers, Raji said, â€œWe needed 10,500
youth corps members and we have 6,500 in Ekiti as of now out which 1,500 will be discharged by July 7.
â€œWith this, we need additional 5,500 staff and these we can only get through students and staff of federal schools. We are in the sixth week of training for them. They are being screened and trained to get the required skills.
â€œIt is a compulsory exercise and they have to participateâ€, the REC stated.
The Director of ECES , Mr David Le Notre, praised the INEC for taking a giant step to rebrand the countryâ€™s electoral system.
Notre said the body would continue to lend support to Nigeria to overcome challenges impeding the conduct of credible poll that meets international standard, for Nigeria to join the league of nations with credible electoral system.