Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
The chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof Mahmood Yakubu, has admitted that one of the challenges before the Commission is the ability and possibilities of meeting up the standard set during the recently concluded Edo state governorship election.
Speaking in Akure, the Ondo state capital, the INEC boss challenged both the security agents and staff to ensure that Ondo State governorship election is better than Edo state.
While insisting that INEC had raised the bar of professionalism for peaceful election in Edo and should not lower it in Ondo state, he said: “Edo was a good election. We are all very proud of what we achieved. The security agencies were professional, so too were INEC staff. The challenge for us is not to lower the bar.
“Ondo should be better, because there are lessons we have learned from the Edo election. We should strive to ensure Ondo is better than Edo, and that subsequent elections keep improving.
“That should be our commitment to the nation 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.”
Speaking when he met with the security agencies at Inter Agencies Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) meeting in Akure, Yakubu said part of the meeting agenda was to discuss on identified flash points, security threat areas and try to see how they could respond, as well identify difficult terrains and see how to manage movement of personnel and material.
“There are two local governments that are essentially riverine, Ilaje and Ese-Odo and see. 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 material from llaje and ESE Odo. 270 polling units are actually riverine in the two local government areas. So our arrangement has to be good,”
Yakubu further said the meeting would also look at the issue of number of personnel and their deployment, adding that it would also look into suggestions or strategies to secure the environment for good elections and the issue of COVI-19 protocols adherence at polling units.
“Our commitment is not only that voters should votes in an election, but also under peaceful atmosphere ” Yakubu said.