•US commends commission, others over Edo poll
By Chuks Okocha in Akure and Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja
Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, yesterday reaffirmed the readiness of the commission to conduct a smooth governorship election in Ondo State fixed for October 10.
This was coming as the United States Government has commended the commission and the Nigerian security agencies for the positive role they played in the just concluded Edo State governorship election.
Speaking with journalists yesterday at the commencement of his three-day meeting with stakeholders in Akure, the state capital, Yakubu stated that the commission has recovered the 5,000 smart card readers burnt in a recent fire outbreak at the commission’s head office in the state.
“The same preparations that we made for Edo, we have also made for Ondo; so, we are prepared for the election,” he said.
Yakubu said he would also meet with the council of traditional rulers, security agencies, and officials of the commission in the 18 local government areas of the state for the purpose of the election.
“This is the first visit. We are still coming back a week after for the main stakeholders’ visit and the signing of the peace accord,” he said.
In a statement earlier issued yesterday, the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) for Ondo State, Mr. Christopher Akeju, said the INEC chairman and the national commissioners would first meet with the media and the members of Ondo State Council of Obas.
Meanwhile, the United States Government has commended INEC and security agencies for the positive role they played in the recent Edo State governorship election.
It, however, expressed concern over reports of some violence, vote-buying and intimidation of both voters and civil society domestic observers during the election.
The US Mission in Abuja, in a statement issued yesterday, said it recognised the critical role that Governor Godwin Obaseki and Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu played in promoting peace, while also commending the civil society partners for their invaluable work in upholding democracy and accountability in this election.
It stated: “Congratulations to the people of Edo State on a credible and peaceful governorship election. We thank the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the Nigerian security services on the positive role they played in the election and commend their work in strengthening Nigeria’s democracy.
“The United States remains concerned with reports of some violence that did emerge during the election and by reports of vote-buying and intimidation of both voters and civil society domestic observers.
“We will continue to encourage all stakeholders, including INEC, political parties, and the security services, to improve the electoral process in the upcoming Ondo State governorship election.”
The US added that as a democratic partner of Nigeria, it remains committed to working together to achieve mutual goals of peace and prosperity for the citizens of both countries.