In a crucial pre-election stakeholders meeting held in Yenagoa, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) announced strict measures to ensure a peaceful and credible governorship election in Bayelsa State on Saturday.
Representing Prof. Mahmood Yakubu at the meeting was Mrs. May Agbamuche-Mbu, the INEC National Commissioner overseeing Akwa-Ibom, Bayelsa, and Rivers.
She disclosed that INEC would deploy the Biometric Voter Accreditation System (BIVAS) to all polling units for the upcoming election. These BIVAS devices have been specially customized for INEC, bearing the commission’s details and the names of participating political parties.
Mrs. Agbamuche-Mbu emphasized the importance of transparency in the electoral process, stating, “I want to let you know that our BIVAS have been customized for INEC, so INEC details and the name of the parties are on the BIVAS, so any BIVAS you see without INEC details cannot be from INEC.
“Another thing, we have the list of the serial numbers of the BIVAS we are going to use, the result sheets will be signed at the polling units. Where there is violence, it will be zero, we will not return to that polling unit to conduct election.
To ensure a smooth election, INEC has undertaken thorough preparations, including the recruitment and rigorous training of all categories of ad-hoc staff for field deployment. Non-sensitive materials have been distributed to all eight local government area offices within the state. Additionally, voter education and sensitization campaigns are actively ongoing.
“We have recruited and carefully train all category of ad-hoc staff to be deployed to the field, all non sensitive materials have been distributed to all the eight local government area offices of the state, voter education and sensitization is ongoing,” she said.
“We have made arrangement for the transportation of personnel and materials to ensure that polling unit open on schedule on election day. For more effective supervision of the process, we are deploying two National Commissioners, eight resident electoral Commissioners to support our office in Bayelsa, I wish to assure you of our commitment to free, fair and credible election come Saturday,” she added.
In response to concerns about security, the state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Tolani Alausa, assured stakeholders that the police are fully prepared to maintain peace and security during the election. Represented by the Deputy Commissioner of Police in Charge of Operations, Mr. Ijamah Daniel, Alausa pledged that the force would deploy an ample number of personnel for the election.
“In every polling unit, we are going to deploy three to six personnel. Beyond that, the Inspector General of Police (IGP) has deployed as many as 21 units of mobile police force, including tactical units like the Special Forces, the Counter-Terrorism Unit, and the Special Protection Unit, all of which will be present in Bayelsa,” Alausa affirmed.
He concluded by advising all citizens to abide by the law and cooperate with security personnel, assuring that they are fully equipped to handle any challenges that may arise. With the combined efforts of INEC and the police, the stage is set for a peaceful, credible, and incident-free governorship election in Bayelsa State this Saturday.