By Yinka Kolawole Osogbo
Ahead of Saturday’s gubernatorial election in Osun State, the Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, has warned the electorate in the state to avoid snapping pictures of their paper ballots before dropping it in the ballot boxes.
Similarly, the Inspector General of Police (IG) Ibrahim Idris has disclosed that 18,426 policemen will be deployed for the Saturday governorship election in the state.
Speaking at a stakeholders’ forum in Osogbo, the state capital, the INEC boss threatened that the commission would not be merciful with whoever is caught snapping pictures of his/her paper ballot during the Saturday governorship election in the state.
Yakubu, who said the commission has partnered with security agencies to checkmate inducement of voters in the election, advised voters to resist any attempt by politicians to buy their votes.
He promised that the commission will not take advantage or disadvantage of any political party, saying: “Our ultimate objective is to ensure that the choice of who becomes the governor of Osun State is entirely in the hands of the voters.
“Our immediate response is to review the administration of our polling units to make it difficult for voters to expose their marked ballot papers between the voting cubicles where they vote in secret and the ballot box, where they cast their votes. We are working with security and other law enforcement agencies for a solution to this brazen violation of several provision of the Electoral Act,” Yakubu said.
He announced the extension of collection of PVCs to Wednesday 19th September, advising those that are yet to collect to seize the opportunity of the extension do so.
“The commission will never do anything that will diminish her current level of credibility, but conduct Osun State governorship election by exhibiting the highest level of transparency, integrity and professionalism,” he added.
Also speaking at the event, the IG stated that four policemen would be deployed in each of the 3,010 polling units in the state.
He said the policemen that would be deployed for the election had been trained properly, assuring Nigerians that the federal government has provided funds for the payment of the officers’ allowances.
“Arrangements have been concluded to deploy over 18,426 police personnel including conventional and PMF units, intelligence and technical teams to provide security.
“This number excludes the support services to be provided by other security personnel from the Armed Forces, the Immigration Service, the prisons, the Customs and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps to complement the efforts of the police.
“Our brother politicians and their supporters are advised to desist from actions that may precipitate violence before, during and after the election.
“The police officers deployed for this election have been lectured and educated on electoral conducts, behaviours, laws and offences, and are therefore expected to conduct themselves in a highly programme-ethical manner,” he said.
In his remarks, the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, urged the youths to avoid being used to cause violence in the election.
He said: “I’m imploring all the governorship candidates that they should know that they cannot be greater than the people of the state.”