Ekiti Guber, 2019 Elections Will Be Better than Previous Polls, Says INEC

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By Victor Ogunje in Ad Ekiti

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has assured Nigerians that the July 14 governorship election in Ekiti State and the 2019 general election will be better than the previous polls conducted by the
commission.

The state Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Prof. Abdulganiy Raji, said part of what will make Ekiti gubernatorial election a huge success is the fact that Ekiti is ranked the best state in Nigeria in terms of peaceful conduct during elections based on the outcome of the 2014 governorship election.

INEC disclosed that the commission might not need to deploy large numbers of security personnel in polling booths in future elections, if the achievements recorded by the commission in the conduct of elections, which the global community may acknowledge to be largely transparent and credible could be maintained.

The electoral body said this in Ado Ekiti on Saturday during a voter education programme tagged : ‘Vote not Fight’, ‘Election No Be War’ organised by a non-governmental organisation under the aegis of New Generation Girls and Women Development Initiative (NIGAWD).

The programme was co-funded by the United Kingdom Agency for International Development (UKAID), United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Nigeria Democratic Institute (NDI).

Raji, who was represented by the commission’s Public Relations Officer in Ekiti, Taiwo Gbadegesin, said: “The 2015 general election which people said were largely successful will be nothing compared to the elections that will be conducted in Ekiti and 2019.

“During the June 21, 2014 governorship election in Ekiti, there was no case of ballot snatching, no killing and this had made the INEC to rank Ekiti the best in Nigeria. As we speak, Ekiti is leading on INEC records.

“Let me advise Ekiti people and Nigerians to have confidence in us.
They should forget the noise that the election will be rigged. No election can be rigged again in Nigeria with the kind of technology we have put in place.

“INEC Chairman, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, and our REC are distinguished academics and they have said no pressure can make them rig elections.

“We appeal to our governorship candidates and particularly the youths
to be good ambassadors of this state, so we can have a hitch-free election in Ekiti,” he advised.

The Commissioner of Police, Ekiti Command, Mr Bello Ahmed, who was represented by the Area Commander, Ado Ekiti, Mr. Segun Chijioke, assured the people that his men will be neutral in the provision of security before and during the poll.

Ahmed said: “We have started working by supervising campaigns all over the state. Our work is purely professional and we are saying that we will not be partisan.

“INEC had trained our men in the best way to monitor elections and we shall key into this. We are battle ready to arrest electoral offenders and remove all those things that could serve as stumbling blocks to make this election a success.”

NIGAWD Executive Director, Miss Abimbola Aladejare, revealed that the progamme was targeted at educating the candidates, youths and other stakeholders on the need to refrain from violence before and during the election.

“We told them that their obligation during elections is to vote and not to cause violence or kill. They should vote according to their conscience not by collecting money and selling their future to bad politicians,” she said.