PROF MAHOOD YAKUBU NEWThe Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) will deploy three of its national commissioners and 11 Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) to monitor the Kogi state governorship election scheduled for Saturday, November 21.

INEC chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, who made the disclosure in Lokoja at a Governorship Election Stakeholders’ Forum, said the deployment of extra commissioners and RECs was in line with the commission’s resolve to ensure free, fair and credible election in the state.

According to the new INEC boss, the three national commissioners will be saddled with the duty of monitoring the election in the three senatorial districts of the state namely, Kogi East, West and Central.

Yakubu said the commission attaches much importance to the conduct of the Kogi election, especially being the first under his watch, stressing that “all necessary arrangements have been put in place to ensure a free, fair and credible poll”.

He noted that the Attahiru Jega-led INEC had raised the bar of the electoral process in the country and that Nigerians expect nothing short of that level of performance.

He informed the stakeholders that, “all the non-sensitive materials for the election had been deployed across the state while the sensitive materials are already in safe custody at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in the state, and will be deployed on the eve of election in the presence of all stakeholders”.

“Only people of Kogi can choose who their governor will be and nobody else. Our duty is to deliver free, fair and credible election,” Yakubu said while assuring of INEC’s neutrality as an electoral umpire in the conduct of the election.

He restated the commission’s earlier stand on the use of smart card readers and permanent voter cards for the Kogi election, stressing that those without PVCs will not be allowed to vote.

He therefore, advised prospective voters yet to collect their PVCs to do so in order not to be disenfranchised.

In a bid to ensure violence free poll, the Inspector General of Police, Solomon Arase has approved deployment of 21 units of mobile policemen to Kogi to ensure security in each of the 21 local government areas of the state in collaboration with the 6,000 policemen already on ground in the state.

The police authority also used the occasion to urge Kogi electorate to come out en masse and exercise their voting rights on November 21 without fear of molestation, assuring of adequate and effective security before, during and after the election.

Mr. Arase warned those allegedly sewing police uniforms as part of efforts to commit electoral malpractice to steer clear.

By Olisemeka Obeche

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