Ahead of the October 10 governorship election, the fee said it has enlisted the assistance of safety companies to flush out threats within the creeks and darkish spots within the Ese-Odo and Ilaje Local Government Areas of the state.
In the 2 local governments, there are 62 creeks and over 270 polling models.
In an interview with The Punch, Festus Okoye, INEC’s National Commissioner and Chairman of its Information and Voter Education Committee, said the fee had approached the Nigerian Navy and Marine Police to defend and escort its personnel and supplies to the areas.
Okoye added that INEC would leave no stone unturned to forestall rigging and violence within the election.
INEC says the assistance of safety companies has been sought to defend and escort its personnel and supplies to troublesome areas in Ondo State. (BBC)
Due to the peculiarity of the terrain, the riverine communities had usually been recognized as flashpoints in previous elections within the state.
But so as to guarantee a peaceable election within the areas, Okoye said, “The police, Navy and different safety companies have been mandated to interact in clearance operation and flush out groups and people that threaten the peace of the state and the electoral course of particularly within the creeks and different black spots.
“More than 270 of our Polling Units are within the riverine areas of Ese-Odo and Ilaje Local Governments, with over 62 creeks, and we’re in contact with the Nigerian Navy and the Marine Police for the aim of defending and escorting our personnel and supplies to these troublesome terrains.
“The security agencies will carry out mop-up operations, deploy adequate platforms and conduct massive show of force, especially in identified flashpoints. We will continue to appeal to the political parties and the candidates to eschew violence.”
Speaking on INEC’s readiness to search the help of safety companies, Okoye said, “Section 29(3) of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended) provides the fee the ability to request the help of any part of the Armed Forces for the supply and protection of its staff and supplies throughout elections.
“We shall therefore request for the assistance of the Navy for escort in the riverine areas, and the Army will block the entrance and exit out of Ondo State on election day.”
Meanwhile, Cynthia Mbamalu, the Director of the Director of Programmes, YIAGA Africa, a well-liked election observer group has referred to as on INEC and safety companies to pay consideration to the riverine communities.
Mbamalu said previous elections within the areas have proven that elections in riverine areas had been normally inclined to rigging due to poor logistics management, violence and non-compliance with INEC tips.
She added that the group received most of its crucial incidents from Ilaje LGA, one of the riverine LGAs within the 2016 governorship election within the state.
She said, “To keep away from election fraud and manipulation on this election, we need better coordination between the safety companies and INEC to make sure that efficient safety is offered for the INEC/polling officers for the protected and early deployment of supplies to polling models and in securing the polling officers and polling models on election day.
The forthcoming election in Ondo is a contest between Agboola Ajayi of ZLP, Gov Rotimi Akeredolu of APC and Eyitayo Jegede of PDP (SignatureTV)
“This would include ensuring that there is an effective transport plan that has proper security for the movement of personnel and materials to polling units in the riverine areas. The security agencies, especially the police should ensure effective and sufficient deployment of professional personnel to the polling units in riverine LGAs and the LGAs already identified as hotspots/flashpoints”.
Also, Idayat Hassan, the Director, Centre for Democracy and Development has referred to as on INEC to know that apart from political thugs, militants and cult members also posed a menace to elections within the riverine communities.
She said, “On deployment of logistics, INEC should make particular plans to make sure that supplies arrive on time in these riverine areas to forestall apprehension. Secondly, in previous elections, the outcomes from the Ilaje and Ese-Odo had been usually the last to arrive on the collation centre.
“It is crucial that INEC use her new know-how on result collation to guarantee transparency, so in these troublesome areas, outcomes have to be rapidly uploaded. This well timed add will likely be of immense profit.
“There is also the need for security deployment to protect materials and personnel. It is important to note that in this area that it is not just political thugs the election is contending with, militants, cult members and some stakeholders are also threats. We don’t just need deployment in numbers, effective and non-partisan deployment is key.”
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The forthcoming governorship election in Ondo State is principally a contest between the incumbent governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, who’s a candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), his deputy, Agboola Ajayi, a candidate of the Zenith Labour Party (ZLP) and Eyitayo Jegede of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).