Edo State Governor and candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr. Godwin Obaseki, on Monday, attended a meeting organised by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for security agencies, candidates of political parties and other stakeholders in Benin City, ahead of Saturday’s gubernatorial election in the state.
The governor was accompanied by his deputy and running mate, Rt. Hon. Comr. Philip Shaibu; Chairman of Edo State PDP Campaign Council, Chief Dan Orbih, and the Chairman of Edo State PDP, Dr. Tony Aziegbemi, among other members of the Edo PDP Campaign Council.
Obaseki, in his comment at the stakeholders’ forum charged INEC and the security agencies to ensure that the election is free, fair and credible.
The governor queried: “Does the INEC rules permit the use of equipment like drones with cameras to be flying in a problematic voting center so that we can have recordings in those areas?
“On the Internet, there are accusations and insinuations that some people are writing results due to their access to result sheets. As an assurance, is it possible that the 192 result sheets for ward collation, the 18 local government collation centers and the result sheet for the state be authenticated?”
In his remarks earlier, Chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, reassured the electorate in the state that their votes would count.
According to him, “As eligible voters in Edo State come out for a peaceful election on Saturday, your votes will count. Polling unit results will be uploaded for public view.
“However, this will not happen when the electoral process is disrupted by violence or malpractices. The commission is determined that no one will benefit from impunity or rewarded for bad behavior.
“The commission will not tolerate vote buying, ballot box snatching, multiple voting, hijacking of election materials, distraction of collation, attack on INEC officials or compelling them to declare unofficial results.
“The people of Edo State must be allowed to truly vote for their preferred candidate without inducement or harassment.
“Thugs and their sponsors will not have the freedom to move around freely to disrupt the election process or collation of results,” he added.
The Chairman further said that the National headquarters of the commission would monitor the election throughout Edo.
In his response, the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, assured that the Edo State election would be free, fair and credible, noting that the personnel of the Nigeria Police would remain professional in the discharge of their duties.
“All the flash points and actors engaged in or planning to threaten the electoral process have been identified and plans have been perfected to deal with the situation accordingly.
“As part of our election and security plans, all the three senatorial districts, the 18 local government areas of the state, 192 wards and 2, 627 polling units across the state have been mapped out and adequate deployment will be made to ensure security,” the IGP assured.
The police boss further said that a total of 31,000 police personnel have been posted to Edo to ensure the protection of lives and property.