Yakubu said this in reaction to Bayelsa State Resident Electoral Commission (REC), Mr. Obo Effanga, saying that election result in the state would be transmitted manually.
Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Mahmood Yakubu has confirmed that results of the November 11 governorship elections in Kogi, Imo and Bayesla states would be transmitted according to the provisions of the Electoral Act.
He was reacting to a statement credited to the Bayelsa State Resident Electoral Commission (REC), Mr. Obo Effanga, saying that election result in the state would be transmitted manually.
But Yakubu made the clarification during his visit to Lokoja, Kogi State capital where he monitored Saturday’s mock election and also assessed the commission’s level of preparedness ahead of the election.
Yakubu reiterated that the governorship election in the three states would be conducted in line with the Electoral Act. When asked about the method that would be adopted for the transmission of election results, he said: “The method is as provided by law – electronic accreditation, electronic upload of results on the INEC Results Viewing (IReV) portal, and that is why we are doing this mock.
“So, please, disregard whatever was reported about what the REC was said to have said in Bayelsa and that is going to be the procedure. And it is for that reason that I will advise you also for those who have registered on the IReV portal, in the next two hours or so, they should go to the IReV portal, they see the result of the mock from all the three states; we are uploading, as we have done in previous elections.”
Yakubu further revealed that the commission would hold a security meeting next week Friday in Abuja with the security agencies, adding that the meeting would also have the National Security Adviser (NSA) in preparation for the polls. The chairman said the thrust of the meeting would be the security arrangement and deployment for the elections in three states
“Well, so far so good in terms of assurance from the security agencies as we can see. They’re even here for the mock and next week, Friday, there is going to be a high-level meeting in Abuja, chaired by myself and the National Security Adviser in which all the security chiefs will be present – no representation to discuss the issue of security for the three states, so, we are on top of the situation in terms of security arrangement and security deployment,” he added.
Yakubu explained that the Ganaja polling unit was chosen for the mock exercise because it was the most densely populated in Nigeria with 13, 000 people. He said: “We are here at the Ganaja polling unit in Ajaokuta Local Government Area of Kogi State. We chose this polling unit because it is the largest polling unit most densely populated in Nigeria. It has 13,000 registered voters.
“After the election, the commission will redistribute the voters to other approximate locations. But for now, we’ll have to conduct the elections for the number of registered voters in this polling unit. And for that reason, we are deploying a minimum of eight BVAS machines on election day, Saturday, November 11, 2023.
“One of the challenges of this location is flooding. It is not only by the River Niger, it is actually by confluence, where River Niger and Benue meet and on our way you saw evidence of flooding. And that’s why we took you to Gadumu where if there is flooding before the election, we will pull the ad hoc staff out of there and move them at first light on Saturday to this polling unit.
“But our preference will be to use this place as a super-rack where we will camp the ad hoc staff overnight so that they will do the setting up on Friday and at first light on Saturday, INEC officials and materials will be waiting for voters rather than the other way around. So this is one of the largest polling units in the country and that’s where we are here.”
Yakubu added that the commission has marshalled out a plan to effectively control the crowd on election day. According to him, “What will happen on election day is that we have broken the register alphabetised by the voter surnames.
”So, if your name begins with an ‘A,’ there is a particular location where you are going to vote, but registers will be posted here on election day so voters will know exactly where they are going to register and there will be officials of the commission that will guide them as to the locations where they are going to vote and as I said, we’ll deploy a minimum of eight BVAS machines to ensure a smooth accreditation of voters here.”
On feelers from other locations where mock accreditation took place, the INEC chairman said the turnout from Bayesla was impressive, adding that in Artisa in Yenagoa, there was a queue of voters waiting to be accredited. However, Yakubu has said that one of the commission’s major concerns in the conduct of the November 11 Kogi State governorship election is the prevailing security challenge.
Yakubu during a visit to the commission’s office in Kotonkarfe, Kogi LGA to monitor mock accreditation in Lokoja yesterday. He said the commission was working with the security agencies to provide a secure environment for peaceful and credible elections.
“Wherever you go in Nigeria, you are sure to see two government offices. One is INEC. You will see an INEC office in the LGA headed by an electoral officer, an Electoral Officer (EO). You will also see the police office headed by a Divisional Police Officer (DPO) for the local government.
“So, we are everywhere working together. And I’m happy that we are working together as we prepare for the elections,” he said. Yakubu advised the Electoral Officers (EOs) in the state to follow the standard template for logistics deployment at Registration Area Centres (RACs), as well as work with security agencies, for the election to commence in Polling Units (PUs) at 8.30 a.m.
“My advice to you is that you have to use the standard template for this election. I am glad to hear that all the non-sensitive materials have been received by your local government. And I’m sure it’s the same story in other local governments as well.
“But it’s not only the receipt of the material that is important. You have to batch them so that they go into the box per polling unit. “So, on election day, as you move to the super RACs or the RAC centres, you will then move to the polling units,” he said.
Yakubu added: “We are giving our word to Nigerians that we must open polling units at 8.30 am on the dot. Therefore, you must activate the RACs. If you don’t activate the RACs we can’t actualise the commence-ment of the votes at 8.30 am. “You must activate the RACs with security and I am happy that you are working in partnership with them.”
He commended all the INEC staff and security agencies in the state. Earlier speaking, Mr. Hassan Musa, the Electoral Officer, Kogi Local Government Area (LGA) office, Kotonkarfe, said that the preparations for the election were in the advance stage.
Musa said that the LG office had already received all the non-sensitive materials for the election and was working with security agencies for a peaceful election.
He said that in the next few weeks, the commission would round the RACs centres in the LG to monitor the preparations.
“We have received virtually all the non-sensitive materials and we have successfully dispatched them to PU levels. And we are good to go, sir. We don’t have any shortfall for now.
“What we are waiting for is the sensitive materials, which normally come a few days before the elections,” he said. Yakubu used the opportunity to plant a tree in the premises of the INEC office for peace election, before proceeding to visit some PUs where mock accreditation was held in Lokoja.