INEC National Commissioner in charge of Ekiti, Oyo and Osun States, Prince Adedeji Soyebi, on Thursday, said that more voter-friendly enhanced Smart Card Readers would be deployed for the conduct of Ekiti governorship election.
Soyebi, spoke at a workshop organized by Election Monitoring Support Centre (EMSC) for INEC staffs in Ekiti ahead the July 14 gubernatorial election in Ado-Ekiti.
He thanked the European Centre for Electoral Support (ECES) for its interest in those things that would boost the integrity of Nigeria’s elections.
“The EMSC is a program specially conceived to give skills to staff of this commission.
“We have passed through many trainings, but this is very special and important, so we appreciate the European Union for this help,” he said.
On the allegation that INEC and the All Progressives Congress, (APC) are working together with the Federal University of Oye-Ekiti, to manipulate the July 14 election, Soyebi said that he does not need to join issues with anybody in that regard.
“I don’t need to join issues with anybody or anyone alleging that we are using students of Federal institutions in the conduct of the election.
It may be recalled that Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, has accused INEC of plans to rig the election.
The Governor, had through his Special Assistant on New Media, Lere Olayinka, alleged that the commission was working with APC to use the students of the Federal University, Oye Ekiti to manipulate the election.
The National commissioner said, “Does the governor expect us to use the state civil servants to conduct the election or what? At this level, that is the standard practice anywhere.
“Some staff and students of some federal institutions in the state will be deployed to make up for the shortfall recorded in the number of NYSC required to conduct the election,
“This was not an attempt to vitiate or compromise the integrity of the election.
“We want to draw them into the election to supplement the shortfall in the number of corps members to be used.
“We started this is 2011 and they have to be students of federal universities and staff of federal establishment,” he clarified.
He however advised those that were alleged to have been illegally accused of purchasing the Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) from the owners to stop the action, saying that they were wasting their times and resources.
Soyebi said that no one can vote by proxy, because the commission would test the fingerprints of all eligible voters and reassured Nigerians that no individual or group would have the room to truncate the poll.
He described the poll as a critical national assignment that was a statutory obligation of any corps members.
The Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Ekiti, Prof. Abdulganiy Raji, assured that INEC would be neutral in the election.
Corroborating the National commissioner on the allegation made by Gov. Fayose, Raji said; “We need 10, 500 corps members for the exercise, and we have just 6, 500 in the state, as of now out which 1, 500 will be passing out by July 7.
“With this, we need additional 5, 500 staff and these we can only get through students and staff of federal schools.
“We are already in the 6th week of training for them. They are being screened and trained to get the required skills.
“It is a compulsory exercise and they have to participate”, the REC stated.
The Director of ECES, Mr David Le Notre, praised INEC for taking a giant step to rebrand the country’s electoral system.
Notre said the body would continue to lend support to Nigeria to overcome challenges impeding the conduct of credible poll that meets international standard, for Nigeria to join the league of nations with perfect electoral system.
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