By Emmanuel Oladesu, Deputy Editor
The Chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmud Yakubu, has reiterated the agency’s determination to conduct a free and fair governorship poll in Edo State on Saturday.
Noting that the exercise is the first one during the COVID-19 pandemic, he said the global health emergency has necessitated a review of policies, processes and procedures to protect the health of stakeholders in line with the guidelines issued by health authorities.
Yakubu told the stakeholders at the Oba Akenzua Cultural Centre, Benin-city, the state capital, that the commission is prepared for the election.
He said: “Votes will count and only the choice made by the people of Edo State will determine the outcome of the election. The Commission shall not take any action to the advantage or disadvantage of any political party or candidate. Our focus is on our processes and procedures.”
Yakubu emphasised that the Covid-19 protocol will be strictly followed.
He stresed: “Polling units will now open at 8.30am (instead of 8.00am) and close at 2.30pm (instead of 2.00pm). This has become necessary to accommodate the additional measures to protect public health necessitated by the global health emergency.
“However, all eligible voters who are on the queue by 2.30pm will be allowed to vote in line with the Commission’s regulations. Other procedures for the election are clearly outlined in the Voters’ Code of Conduct (VCC), which has since been disseminated.
“Similarly, in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, we urge polling agents, election observers and the media to ensure compliance with the requirements of the Commission’s policy, copies of which have been widely circulated and more will be shared at this meeting.”