* Prof. Mamood, vow to combat Votes buying, partners EFCC, other security agencies
* Prohibits use of cell phones at voting cubicles
* INEC fears more non Nigerians are with the PVC
By Olayinka Ajayi
The Independent National Electoral Commision, INEC, has said the commission is set to conduct an election ‘Nigerians will be proud of’.
Speaking during an interactive session with the Commission’s youth ambassadors and celebrities in Lagos, the INEC Chairman Professor Mamood Yakubu disclosed the Commission’s readiness for the Presidential election on February 16, 2019 elections.
“The commission has scheduled the Presidential election for February 16, 2019, the third Saturday of the month. The Commission did something similar with the United States of America and other European countries.”
“In our plans to check mate corrupt politicians on the issue of vote buying, electorates will not be allowed to bring in the cell phone into the polling cubicle. The Commission partnered with the Economic, Financial, Crime, Commission EFCC, and other security agencies. As we are determined to conduct an election Nigerians will be proud of.”
While responding to questions about non Nigerians caught with PVCs, the INEC Chairman revealed: “There are fears more foreigners are with PVCs and that is why we are working with custorms and other security agencies that will be able to identify them. However, PVC distribution will continue until early February 2019.” In the same vein, the National Commissioner ,INEC, Bar. Festus Okoye debunked allegations of the commission taking polling units to Internally Displaced Persons IDP camps outside the border areas of Nigeria.
According to him: “Those who will be allowed to vote, are those Internally Displaced Persons within Nigeria. As no polling unit will be established outside Nigeria. We need the collaboration of everybody to run a credible election. we are ready, we also challenged political parties to be ready by training their agents ahead of the polls.”
The INEC Boss who was represented the National Commissioner, Chairman of Outreach and partner, OPC, Dr. Adekunle Ogunmola reiterated that the essence of the meeting with celebrities is to leverage on their followers in inclusion and a non-violent elections in 2019.
” The forum seeks to leverage on the large followers of INEC ambassadors in order to improve young voters awareness and information of the electoral process; encourage youth inclusion and non-violence participation and advance conversation around Permanent Voters Card, PVC, collection and the menace of vote buying.”
“We will update the Ambassadors on the Commissions activities, INEC youth engagement stratategy; create room for shared ideas and deliberate on how youths can be engaged in every aspect of the electoral process.”
While Ime Okon, one of the ambassadors, pledged to use his platform to deter youths from violence during and after elections, he urged the commission to engage them effectively beyond ceremonial platforms.
In the same vein,the European Centre for Electoral Support, ECES, commended INEC commitment in strengthening democratic and electoral process in Nigeria.