2019 :We will never compromise our integrity – INEC Source

INEC chairman, Prof Mahmood Yakubu 
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says it will never compromise its integrity for anything.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says it will never compromise its integrity for anything.

An authoritative source to the commission made this known in a parley with news men in Abuja on Saturday.

According to the source, with the improvement in the electoral process, it is difficult for the electoral umpire to rig any election.

While answering questions from news men, the source said notwithstanding the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between some political parties that yielded the Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP) ahead of the 2019 election, “no fewer than 63 presidential candidates may be fielded in the election.

“So far, 63 political parties have served INEC notice to observe Presidential primaries.

“So far, 80 of the 91 registered political parties have indicated intention to conduct primaries.

“Only 10 parties  have issued notices for FCT elections for the six Area council chairmen and 62 Councilorship seats.

“The electoral commission was pushing ahead with its plans for the 2019 elections,” the source said.

The  INEC source further said that the Smart Card Reader would be deployed for the 2019 elections.

According to him, the Card Reader does two critical assignments, including identification of the holder and authentication of the card to ascertain it was not cloned.

The source said that as a result of improvements in the electoral process in recent years, the Commission had witnessed less incidents of ballot box and results sheets snatching, less incidents of INEC staff hijacking  and no cases of results been declared while election was ongoing.

On OSUN elections, the source stated that 1.6 million voters had registered for the elections, adding that 73 percent of the voters had collected their Permanent Voters Cards(PVCs).

He said that the PVC collection was the highest in recent times adding that the 48 political parties were fielding governorship candidates for the election.

He also added that 16,000 personnel made up of 15,000 ad hoc staff and 1,000 INEC staff would take part in the election.

According to the source, INEC would be conducting the governorship  election in  30 local governments, 332 wards and 3,765 polling units.

The source said that INEC would track sensitive election materials and its personnel during the election to ensure transparency.

“Every vehicle would be tracked to ensure they are not diverted from their routes.

“We also have a device that can eavesdrop on the conversations of drivers and other INEC personnel conveying the materials to designated spots.

On vote buying, the source said : “It is  not a new thing but it is assuming a new dimension as a result of improvements in our electoral process.”

He also explained add INEC was considering a situation by which voters would be barred from taking phones to voting cubicles.

According to him, INEC cannot completely bar voters from using phones at polling units because the phones also help the citizens gather lots of information which can be sent to INEC  for further action.

The source said that vote buyers had recently moved beyond physical cash by engaging in electronic transfer but the the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offenses Commission (ICPC)  had started monitoring the spate of electronic transfer around elections.(NAN)
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