•INEC Chairman Mahmood Yakubu
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Bayelsa State has said that it decided to use only permanent staff of the Commission as Supervisory Presiding Officers in today’s governorship elections in the state to protect the sanctity of the process.
It was however learnt that about 26,000 security personnel have been deployed to the state for the elections and have been posted to the various local government and polling units, reports The Nation.
Speaking with members of the INEC Press Corps in his office, the State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Obo Effanga also asked youths if the state and other residents should not allow themselves to be used to disrupt the election.
Effanga explained that while the commission in the state will rely on Corps members to act as Presiding Officers, it chooses to use staff of the commission to help supervise the process because they will be more mindful of securing the process.
He said in the past, both staff of the commission and none staff were engaged as supervisory presiding officers, adding that “this time, we noticed that a lot of them from. Neigbouring states applied. So, we paid more attention to them being staff of the commission.
“They will be mindful of the return and security of INEC materials. They are also conscious of the implication of having a credible election. So, we trust that they will be more professional in handling their assignments.”
Effanga appeals to the people of the state to allow a free and fair process leading to the emergence of the next governor of the state, while discouraging acts of violence that might undermine the process.
He said “I want to appeal to the people of the state to shun acts of violence. For the youths, they should not allow politicians to use them to disrupt the process of the election.
He said the candidates in the election should abide by the peace agreement they signed ahead of the election, saying Nigerians and indeed the people of Bayelsa will hold accountable for the promise they made to allow peace before, during and after the election.
He said when the candidates allow peace to reign, the state will be the ultimate winner, assuring that results from the election will be uploaded on the spot on the INEC election Viewing portal from the polling units
When our correspondent visited the INEC headquarters in Yenagoa, there was heavy presence of security personnel in and around the office, while some of those who applied to be ad hoc staff were seen checking their names on a list posted outside the gate.