The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Chairman, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, on Monday, said every vote of the Ekiti electorate will count in the June 18 governorship election in the state.
Yakubu stated that the commission will be neutral and stand by the obligatory mission of ensuring that no extraneous interferences are allowed to affect the credibility of the poll adversely.
The INEC boss spoke in Ado Ekiti, on Tuesday, during an interface with the Ekiti State Council of Traditional Rulers in respect of the June 18 governorship election in the state.
Addressing the monarchs, Yakubu said a total of 989,202 voters had been registered in Ekiti by INEC, out of which over 740,000 had procured their Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) in readiness for the electoral duel.
The INEC boss revealed that the commission will conduct the governorship poll alongside the botched Ekiti State Assembly bye-election in Ekiti East Constituency 1.
“I want to appeal to all voters in Ekiti that their votes will count. We would still return to interact with other critical stakeholders on how to have a peaceful election in Ekiti. The atmosphere now for the conduct of the 2022 election is so calm, unlike what we had in 2018.
“I asked myself what has changed, I was told the royal fathers had been working hard to ensure that the situation is calm and I could see it is really very calm.
“In this election, there will be two ballot boxes in Ekiti East constituency 1, because they will elect their assembly representative together with the governor. There will be 16 political parties for the governorship election, but only two for the bye election in Ekiti East”.
Speaking further, Yakubu said: “The number of registered voters in Ekiti is 989, 202 . We expect the stake to go higher because people are still collecting their PVCs. Let me say that we are ready for the election. Our staff are being trained”.
He added that the Bimodal Voters Authentication System (BVAS) invention had phased out the use of rigging-prone Incidence Forms and the malfunctioning Smart Card readers, for the conduct of elections.
“The BVAS had been introduced and with this, smart card readers had been fully retired. As far as technology is concerned, there will be a seamless and fantastic election in Ekiti. There was a mock election here on Monday across the state and the machine worked 100 percent.
“Where the machine is unable to get the fingerprints, we will get the facial appearance of the voter. There won’t be incidence forms, we have abolished incidence forms as well. INEC is not a political party. We don’t have a candidate and all we want is to leave who leads Ekiti in the hands of the citizens and that we shall achieve.
“So, we appeal to our traditional rulers to ensure peace. The atmosphere is peaceful and we want it to remain until the election is concluded. I assure you that the election will be credible, don’t doubt the neutrality of INEC”, he said.
The Chairman, Ekiti State Council of Traditional Rulers, Oba Gabriel Adejumo, praised INEC for the voter registration exercise it had undertaken in the state, saying this would help in widening citizens’ participation in the exercise.
The Alawe of Ilawe Ekiti, Oba Adebanji Alabi, tasked the INEC with the need to tackle the excessive monetisation of the electoral process.
Oba Alabi said: “Our system must grow to allow those who are young, but competent, and who can pilot the affairs of the country very well to be allowed to exercise their rights.
“But with the way things are going , I see that only the moneybags will be having their ways. Let us have it the way USA produced the Barrack Obama at a tender age”.