The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has reassured the residents of Ekiti State of its readiness to conduct a free and fair governorship election in the state.
INEC’s National Commissioner and Chairman of Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, gave the assurance on Friday during an interview on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily.
He revealed that over 980,000 residents have been captured in the commission’s voters’ register but less than 200,000 of the figure were expected at the polling units.
“As of today, we have a total of 988,923 voters on the voters’ register,” Okoye said. “This is the number that will vote during this governorship election.
“Out of this number, as of the 13th day of June 2022, 749,065 have collected their Permanent Voter’s Cards (PVCs). So, we are ready for this particular election and every PVC that has not been collected will be mopped up and kept in safe custody pending the conclusion of the election.”
He recounted that the chairman of the electoral umpire had hinted that the collection of PVCs by residents would stop on Thursday.
The INEC official explained that this was to allow the commission the opportunity to separate the PVCs collected in order of the respective polling units, registration areas, per local government areas.
He believes such an action will enable accredited observers, the media, and political parties among other stakeholders to have access to the number of persons who are eligible to vote in every polling unit and every registration area.
Okoye also hinted that the commission has concluded arrangements to ensure voters were not delayed unnecessarily due to accreditation in a bid to cast their ballots.
According to him, INEC has deployed more Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) for the exercise compared to the number of polling units where the election will take place.
“In any polling unit where we have more than 750 registered voters, we are going to deploy an additional BVAS to those polling areas,” the INEC national commissioner said. “We have a total of 2,445 polling units that will be used for this election, but we have deployed a total of 3,346 BVAS to Ekiti State. So, we are going to have redundancies in every registration area.
“We have also trained enough registration area technical assistants who can intervene at very short notice if there is any challenge with the BVAS. From the test runs we have done, we are confident that the BVAS will perform optimally and that every person who is genuinely and legally registered to vote in this election will have an opportunity of exercising his/her right.”