By Joe Nwankwo,Abuja
With few hours to the conduct of the governorship elections in Ondo state the Independent National Electoral Commission [INEC] has restated its determination to re-enact a free, fair and credible elections as was witnessed in the last gubernatorial elections in Edo State.
This is as the Commission disclosed that it would be deploying technology in the uploading of results from polling units in Ondo State like it did with the Edo governorship elections noting that the deployment of the electronic means of uploading the results of polls went a long way to restore the integrity of the process and to avert the falsification of the results of the polls.
According to a credible source at the Commission who spoke to The Authority “just smarting from the success recorded in Edo State last month we are optimistic that we are going to re-enact the feat we achieved last month, everybody is excited with the outcome of the Edo state governorship elections and we are looking forward to another good outing in Ondo State on Saturday. I am really confident that we will pull through in Ondo”.
He disclosed that all sensitive materials for the election had been moved to Ondo adding that “the movements of the materials commenced on Thursday, October 8, much earlier than it happened in Edo during the September 19 governorship elections, which is an improvement in the preparations for the elections by INEC despite the difficult terrains in Ondo state.
The Source dispelled the rumors that the INEC Returning Officer for the election is from Ondo state contrary to reports that the RO is an indigene of Ondo state.
He said that the sensitive materials had been moved to Ilaje, Ikare, Okitipupa the riverrine areas of the state early enough to ensure that the election starts as scheduled.
The source disclosed that like in Edo governorship elections held on October 10 Ondo governorship election results would be uploaded electronically via the Z-Pad technology.
He gave the assurance that the elections would take place in all the 309 Polling Units in the state, pointing out that the 279 Polling Units are located in the Riverine areas of the state which he said is a difficult terrain but noted that the Commission would surmount the chalenges .
On security, the source said the conduct of security agents at the Edo election was “a pleasant surprise”, according to him “the police were on time as movements of materials continued. The police behaved professionally”. It was learnt that the army and navy are also cooperating to ensure that Ondo election is peaceful, free, fair, credible and transparent.
However, according to our source, 27 flashpoints have been identified in Ondo state.
“We have intelligence report at our disposal. We do our own risk assessment. Nothing should be taken for granted.
In reviewing the Edo election, the source said that technology that was deployed for the poll was “wonderful”, adding Edo was successful because of security. We have always planned to succeed”
His words “Ondo is not Edo as it has more polling units as it has 3009 polling units. We have very difficult polling as 279 polling units are in the riverine areas we had meetings with Civil Society Organization [CSOs] and the security agencies so we started with deployment of materials to the riverine areas and we did very well. ILaje was the first local government area to get the materials in the past we will be at the CBN waiting to deploy the materials and the security won’t be there but it amazing that when we arrived the CBN the police were already waiting for us and on time.
“It is not only the police the army was superb in Edo as they blocked all entry points into the state and they are doing the same thing for Ondo, and with the specific junior officers as commanders they were so diligent any where there was crisis they just come in and restore order and disappear they were simply amazing. So for us the security agencies are no longer the issue but the politicians, who are already flying the kite. We are ready for Ondo and are looking forward for another good outing though in the past it was a politically volatile state.
“With Edo we now have a greater reason not to lower the mark. A lot is being done differently as we have identified 16 areas to be improved on some of them are administrative while some were logistics, there was slow response time in Edo, voter apathy was largely due to the fact that the people had the belief that their votes do not count but with what we are doing now the confidence of the voters would be restored. ILaje due to the difficult terrain is the first to receive logistics on Thursday we are happy with the security agencies for issuing warnings to their personnel we hope that the election was peaceful. In INEC we have a history where we have violent elections some of the areas in Edo like Orhionmwon has been a problematic elections. In reviewing the Edo election, the source said that technology that was deployed for the poll was “wonderful”, adding Edo was successful because of security. We have always planned to succeed”