From Judex Okoro, Calabar
Cross River State Governor, Ben Ayade, has urged the new Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Dr. Briyai Frankland, to ensure free and fair election in 2019.
Ayade, who made the call when Dr. Frankland, visited him in Calabar yesterday, said the state was not afraid of the 2019 general election but only asked for a free and fair election to reduce political tension.
According to him, free, fair and transparent election will reduce tension in the country and restore public confidence in INEC and other national institutions.
He said: “I want INEC to run a free, fair and transparent election in Cross River State. If I have to enunciate my programme for the state, I will have no worry for 2019. All we seek is free and fair election. If we follow the Electoral Law (as amended), it is clear that election would be won at the polling booth.
“To douse political tension, I had to ensure that all political parties in the state were given an opportunity to appoint members into his executive council.
“I charge the new REC to be ethical in his approach to conducting elections. If you have ethics in your attitude, in your carriage, in your conduct and the way you run your governance, you will expect that ethics permeate in elections process.”
“All we seek is a free and credible elections where there is no Abuja might will come to hijack materials, dictate who gets what. If we follow the electoral processes, particularly, the Electoral Law as amended it is clear, it is evident that elections will be won directly at the polling booth not at the collation centres as we have seen in the past,” Ayade said
Earlier, Frankland said he had visited the governor to intimate him of the success of the first phase of the Continuous Voters Registration (CVR) where he pointed out that Mr. Ayade’s local government area, Obudu recorded the highest turnout of over 7,000 people with Bakassi recording the least.
He said the first phase of the CVR carried out by the commission had seen the addition of over 73,000 new voters added to the register.
He solicited for more support from the government and commended the state for mobilising citizens of eligible age to register for their permanent voters cards.
He said he will ensure the commission deliver on its mandate of conducting a free, fair, credible and transparent election.