Ahead of next month governorship election in Edo State, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has as assured Nigerians, particularly Edo residents of credible and violence free election despite coronavirus challenges.
The electoral body explained that its integrity would not be compromised before, during and after the poll billed for September 19, and that every votes would count.
INEC’s National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Committee, Mr Festus Okoye, said that the electoral body has adopted new strategies for electoral officials, ad-hoc staff, security agencies, voters and stakeholders followoing outbreak of coronavirus in the country.
Speaking during during an interactive session with heads of media organisations in Benin, Okoye noted that though INEC was yet to conduct elections under a pandemic situation, plans have been perfected to ensure smooth and credible exercise.
The commissioner, while assuring the electorate of a credible, free and fair governorship election, called for synergy between INEC and the media on information dissemination.
”We have eliminated human interface with most of the electoral processes including submission of names of candidates by political parties including accreditation of relevant stakeholders and applications by ad-hoc staff ahead of the election.
“We don’t want anybody to jeopardise their health during the exercise as the commission will strive to perfect the electoral process within the ambit of the constitution.
“We have also resolved to avoid ugly experiences of the past not to deploy any of our staff and materials without armed security operatives.
“We have interfaced with heads of security agencies and implored them to ask their personnel to act professionally while on election duty.
“We are also using this medium to request you as media executives of your various organisations to similarly implore your reporters and cameramen to exercise restraint and as much as possible refrain from an altercation with security operatives while on election duty,” Okoye said.