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Bayelsa poll: INEC threatens zero votes for ballot box snatching

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has threatened to record zero votes for parties in areas where there were violence or ballot box snatching during Nov. 16, Bayelsa governorship poll.

INEC National Commissioner in charge of Bayelsa, Edo and Rivers, Mrs May Agbamuche-Mbu, disclosed this at the round table on the commission’s preparedness for conduct of the election organised by the Electoral Institute in Abuja on Tuesday.

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Agbamuche-Mbu said INEC was set for the election.

“We are looking unto the political parties that they will be kind to the people of Bayelsa by doing what they are expected to do.

“There will be no hijacking of ballot boxes because if they are hijacked, the area is going to get zero votes.
“We are going to use smart card readers and where it fails,which I believe it won’t ,we will come back again because we are ready for this election and I pray that the political class will allow us do our work,” she said.

Agbamuche-Mbu reiterated that the commission would work to ensure that the poll don’t result in inconclusive election.

She said the commission needs the cooperation of all stakeholders, especially political parties to conduct credible election in the state.

The Lead Speaker, Dr Sofiri Joab Peterson ,Lecture,University of Port Harcourt said that several factors that may culminate in electoral crisis were identified in his research.

“These include the tendency for positional incumbents to manipulate state security and electoral officials to work for their re-election at all costs against the popular vote among others,” he said.

He added that logistic challenge was also identified as what could mar the election and called on INEC to build capacities of its personnel.

He said that civic and voter education was central to the success of the election and urged stakeholders “to be combat ready” and contribute their quota towards ensuring free, fair and credible poll.

Dr Sa’ad Idris, Director-General of the Electoral Institute, the research arm of INEC said that the commission promised to make a difference in the Bayelsa and Kogi election and was doing that by hearing from all stakeholders.

Idris said non-sensitive materials required for the election have been supplied and deployed to the states adding that the essence was to give the states enough active windows to distribute them timely.

He said important training for ad hoc staff had been conducted while the training for Collation and Returning Officers was scheduled for Nov. 10.

He said INEC was putting all measures in place to ensure that the electoral processes were improved upon and all mistakes corrected by engaging all stakeholders.

Pastor Monday Tom, INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) for Bayelsa said that the number of Smart Card Readers for the state were 2,337, out of which 86 were faulty and 2251 functional.

Tom said the total number of registered voters in the state is 923,182 and the number Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs) collected is 889,308.

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