Ahead of March 18 state assembly polls, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC in Osun State commenced the distribution of sensitive materials on Wednesday.
The distribution was held at the premises of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Osogbo Branch. The exercise, witnessed by security operatives and journalists, was supervised by the state INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner, Dr Mutiu Agboke.
Speaking before the commencement of the exercise, Agboke assured that the commission would scale up its level of arrangement, procedures and security due to the high stakes attached to the poll, even though governorship election would not hold in the state.
He said armed security operatives would be on duty at collation centres across the state, adding that security operatives would also deploy more men to violent-prone areas to ensure hitch-free poll.
He said, “We are here for our usual rituals. The rituals of bringing out sensitive materials that we have kept in the CBN for the past few weeks for the purpose of the coming State House of Assembly election.
“In Osun State, there is no gubernatorial election; but notwithstanding, people will be electing House of Assembly members and that is why we have brought out ballot papers and results sheet. They are going to be batched into Local Governments. If you look at them, they are in 30 places. They are already customised which makes it easier to be deployed to various Local Governments.
“Today is very special. All the stakeholders are on ground and this suggests that the election we are going into is as important as the previous ones we have conducted.
The stakes are high and the tension is everywhere. People are peddling various unfounded rumours and we told ourselves that we must step up our game and scale up the level of arrangement, procedures and security.
“The report we had was that there were places where disruptions happened (during the presidential, and national assembly polls). If disruptions happen anywhere, it will attract zero vote. INEC will not go back there to conduct the election.”
Commenting further on security arrangements on the day of the election, Agboke said, “where election has been cancelled as a result of overvoting, we will not give any opportunity to anybody.
“What we are saying is that in those places, particularly, those areas where violence has become their middle name, the security has assured us that proper deployment will be made. We are going to secure all our various levels of collection from the Ward to the Local Government and the State collation level. We will ensure that our armed security personnel are fully on ground.”