The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has given assurances that the Ekiti State governorship election slated for July 14 cannot be rigged, with the quality ICT infrastructure in place.
The commission said the notion peddled in some quarters that the election will be rigged runs contrary to the reality on ground.
The Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Ekiti State, Abdulganiy Raji, gave the assurance in Ido Ekiti on Tuesday during a Town Hall meeting entitled, Vote not Fight. The meeting was organised to sensitise the youth ahead of the election.
The programme was funded by National Democratic Institute (NDI), United Kingdom Agency for International Development (UK aid) and United State Agency for International Development (USAID).
He said the election process had been digitalised and the voting exercise would be monitored electronically.
Mr Raji, represented by the Electoral Officer in Ido/Osi local government, Ajayi Olusola, said the commission had strengthened its system and made it technologically driven.
He said it would be difficult for anyone to tamper with the outcome of the election, given the security of the process.
“Go and get your Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs). Your vote is your power and let me tell you that your votes will surely count,” he said.
“INEC is not partisan, we are fair to all parties. We are going to monitor the voting electronically. No one can rig election with the kind of ICT we have put in place and we are going to monitor the activities of parties to ensure that we have a peaceful poll.”
A coalition of non-governmental organisations under the auspices of New Generation Girls and Women Development Initiative(NIGAWD), is partnering with the commission and security agencies to educate Ekiti youth on the need to refrain from violence during the election.
The Executive Director of NIGAWD, Abimbola Aladejare, said critical stakeholders should be engaged on the need to eschew bloodshed during the election.
“It is imperative to let our youth know that their statutory obligation on the day of election
is to vote and stay back to protect their votes. No rigging, no ballot snatching or killing of people,” Mrs Aladejare said.
“When it comes to the issue of violence and rigging, everybody is involved. I mean the youth, politicians, security agencies and INEC.
“That is why we are engaging them on the need to respect the sanctity of the ballot.
“We witnessed peaceful election in 2014 in Ekiti, but there was crisis leading to destruction of property and killing of people after the election. But this time, we want our people to be civil, because there is nothing to gain in violence,” she said.
The Commissioner of Police, Ahmed Bello, who was represented by the Area Commander in charge of Ido/Osi, Ijero, Moba, Ilejemeje and Efon local governments, Adegbepa Adetoye, assured the voters that the command was resolute to provide adequate security of lives and property.
“On our side, we are going to be neutral. We are not going to take sides and we will ensure that we monitor the election in the most professional way to enforce compliance to rules,” said Mr Adetoye.
“Part of our duties is enforcement of law and order. We also owe it a duty to preserve the 1999 constitution and the Electoral Act. We are assuring our people that we shall be civil and neutral in this election.”