Chuks Okocha in Akure
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has called on security agencies to ensure that it raises the set standard of professionalism and election security in the forthcoming Ondo State governorship election.
The INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, gave the advice yesterday when he met with the security agencies at the Inter Agencies Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) meeting in Akure, the state capital.
Yakubu said INEC had raised the bar of professionalism for peaceful election in Edo State and should not lower it in Ondo State.
According to Yakubu, “Edo State had a good election. We are all very proud of what we achieved. The security agencies were professional so too were INEC staff members. So the challenge for us now is not to lower the bar.
“Ondo State should be better because there are lessons we have learned from the Edo Staten election. We should strive to ensure the Ondo State election is better than Edo State’s, and that in subsequent elections, we keep improving. That should be our commitment to the country and to the electorate.
“Security is of critical concern to all of us. You know we can’t conduct free, fair and credible elections unless the environment is secure for us.”
He said part of the meeting agenda was to discuss the identified flash points and security threat areas, and try to see how they could respond, as well as identify difficult terrains and how to manage movement of personnel and material.
“There are two local government areas that are essentially riverine-Ilaje and Ese-Odo. We know the kind of challenges we had in the previous election. This commission conducted the last governorship election in Ondo State in 2016.
“We worked very closely with the Navy in both deploying and retrieving personnel and materials from llaje and Ese-Odo. 270 polling units are actually in the riverine space in the two local government areas. So our arrangement has to be good,” INEC boss stated.