Ahead of the Edo state governorship election, Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has stated that without the use of the Smart Card Reader, SCR, there will be no declaration of result in such polling unit as it will do everything within the legal framework to ensure the credibility of the poll slated for 19th September.
Chairman of the Commission, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu made this known at the Edo governorship election stakeholders meeting at the Oba Akenzua II cultural centre, Benin, the Edo state capital, yesterday.
According to him, the Smart Card Readers will be used for voter verification and authentication as it is a mandatory requirement and where it is deliberately avoided to undermine the integrity of the electoral process, the result for the affected polling unit will be declared void in line with the Commission’s regulations and guidelines.
He maintained that the ultimate objective of INEC is to ensure that the choice of who becomes the next Governor of Edo State is entirely in the hands of the voters. While reassuring the electorates that their votes will count and only the choice they make will determine the outcome of the election.
“The Commission shall not take any action to the advantage or disadvantage of any political party or candidate. Our focus is on our processes and procedures. Nothing more,” he added.
The electoral umpire boss stated that in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, polling units will now open at 8.30am (instead of 8.00am) and close at 2.30pm (instead of 2.00pm). He said this has become necessary in order to accommodate the additional measures to protect public health necessitated by the global health emergency. And that all eligible voters who are on the queue by 2.30pm will be allowed to vote in line with the Commission’s regulations.
He said in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, polling agents, election observers and the media should ensure compliance with the requirements of the Commission’s policy, copies of which have been widely circulated.
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