Edo Guber: We’re Documenting Violence, Hate Speeches, Says INEC 

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By Chuks Okocha
The  Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Saturday said that it had started documenting all incidences of violence and hate speeches in Edo state for necessary action.
INEC was reacting to the comments by the Peoples Democratic Party that the commission was playing to the gallery because it knows the party perpetuating violence in Edo state.
Speaking with THISDAY,  the INEC National Commissioner in charge of Voter Education and Information, Festus Okoye,  said that “the  Commission   is   documenting   incendiary   statements aimed   at   inflaming   passion.   The   Commission   is   also documenting   violent   acts   and   threats   to   the   smooth conduct of elections in Edo and Ondo State”.
According to Okoye,  “In the coming days,   the   Commission   will   engage   the   leaders   of   the political parties, the campaign councils, the candidates in the election, traditional and religious leaders, civil  society groups   and   organizations   as   well   as   the   Inter   Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security with a view to   deescalating   and   degrading   the   level   of   violence in both state”.
Okoye explained that the the Commission was a regulatory agency and will continue to encourage all the  registered   political   parties   to   toe  the path of peace and electoral transparency.
He stated that there were 18 registered political parties and all of them had equal registration  and  in   the  eyes  of the Commission and the law of political parties were equal.
Accordingly,   he said,  “The   Commission   is   documenting   incendiary   statements aimed   at   inflaming  passion.   The   Commission   is   also documenting   violent   acts   and   threats   to   the   smooth conduct of elections in Edo and Ondo States. In the coming days,   the   Commission   will   engage   the   leaders   of   the Political Parties, the Campaign Councils, the candidates in the election, traditional and religious leaders, civil  society groups   and   organizations   as   well   as   the   Inter   Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security with a view to   deescalating   and   degrading   the   level   of   violence   in both states.
 “All the political parties participating in the election must comply with the extant laws and regulations relating to the conduct of campaigns and rallies. The Commission is resolutely focused on the conduct of both elections and will not be drawn into partisan political issues. We will continue to emphasize and reiterate that the Commission is a regulatory agency and not a political party and has no partisan political leaning. Political Parties must realize and come to terms with the slippery   constitutional   timelines   embedded   in   section178(2)   of   the   constitution.
“The   Commission   will   not condone   the   present   slide   towards   violence   and   the present   escalation   of   abusive,   intemperate,   slanderous and base language designed to provoke violent reactions”, the INEC Commissioner stated.
INEC also clarified that the recently inaugurated results viewing centre  does   not   connote transmission   of   results   that   would   go   to   a   server.
Okoye explained that  the uploaded result goes to a portal where it can be viewed by the public.
According to the INEC National Commissioner, “We are simply uploading results from the polling units for public viewing purposes only. The main drive   is   to  further   strengthen  our   result  management processes  and  procedures and  enhance transparency of the System.
“The   collation   of   results   from   the   polling   units   to   the Registration Area Collation Centers will be done manually and in accordance with existing law and the Commissions Regulations   and   Guidelines.
“The   iRev   falls   within   the ambit of Form EC60 E that is displayed at the polling units for public viewing and any member of the public can snap and post same on any platform. The Commission is just uploading Form 60E series that are posted at the polling Units after elections for public view. The   Commission   will   continue   to   deepen   the   use   of technology in the electoral process”, Okoye explained. .
According to Okoye,  the Commission will continue   to   provide   robust   leadership   in   the   use   of technology for elections given the global pandemic that is reshaping ways and means of doing things, explaining that the    innovation   will   be   extended   to   all   subsequent elections that will be conducted by the Commission.
He also said that INEC  will continue its creative innovations aimed at   deepening   the   use   of   technology   in the   electoral process   and   guaranteeing   transparency   in   results transmission.