INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Kwara, Malam Garba Attahiru-Madami has assured the people of Patigi Local Government that the commission would conduct free, fair and acceptable by-election into the vacant seat in Kwara Assembly.
The REC made this known on Friday in Patigi, Kwara, when he led a team of heads of department of the Commission in the State to the Etsu of Patigi, Alhaji Ibrahim Umar Bologi II.
The REC also met stakeholders in the local government area, Corps members and also addressed INEC staff on the commission’s expectation for the by-election.
Attahiru-Madami, therefore, called for the cooperation of stakeholders in the area toward conduct of a peaceful and credible by-election on March 14.
At the Palace of Etsu Patigi, Attahiru-Madami urged the traditional ruler to appeal to his subjects to allow the will of God to prevail.
He restated INEC’s readiness to conduct a credible poll and announced that 70 per cent of the officials for the election will be staff of the Commission.
The REC added that non-sensitive and sensitive materials would be distributed early to Registration Area Council (RAC) to avoid delay on Election Day.
He promised that officials that can speak local dialects would be evenly deployed to all polling units to ensure smooth communication with electorate.
“We are here to tell you that we have a by-election here to fill the vacuum left by Hon. Ahmed Rufai representing Patigi constituency in Kwara House of Assembly.
“I therefore called on your Majesty to prevail on your people in the local government to cooperate with electoral officials and shun any act of violence before, during and after the election.
“I am here to ask for your support, talk to your people, talk to the youth. Election is not war, election is not violence; you can’t get anything in killing yourselves because of power.
“I want to plead with you, to seek your indulgence to talk to everybody. You have district leaders, youth leaders, you can call them.
“Last year, there was no fight, there should be no fight during the coming by-election. Let us have a peaceful election in Patigi.
“The preparation I did for 16 local government in 2019 election is what I am doing for this one local government by-election to ensure that it is peaceful, free, fair and credible
“I promise everybody, even before 2019 that I will give the political parties level playing ground. Everybody will be given equal opportunity during the by-election.
“Therefore, everybody will be given equal chance, free hand, I will be neutral, it is people’s choice that will count, the REC said.
He assured the people that Smart Card Readers would work and people’s vote must count.
He told the Etsu Patigi that eight political parties signified their intention to conduct primaries for the election, only six parties submitted their form EC9.
“Therefore, I want to appeal to you to call the political parties at your own time and appeal to them for peace, there is no need for any bloodshed,” the REC added.
In a remark, the Etsu Patigi, Ibrahim Umar Bologi II, assured the INEC of the people’s readiness to have a conflict free electoral process.
He told the REC that Patigi was known for peace and assured the INEC officials that the people of the local government would conduct themselves peacefully during the election.
“I want to assure you that the traditional institution in Patigi will give you the cooperation you need for the success of the election.
“I want to tell you and assure you that by the grace of Allah, you will record 99.9 pe rcent success in Patigi,” the royal father said.
State Coordinator of the NYSC, Mrs Francisca Olaleye, who was on the entourage pledged that corps members would discharge duties assigned to them with utmost sense of responsibility.
Addressing the corps members, Attahiru-Madami said about 300 corps members would be selected as ad hoc staff at the end of a three-day training from March 5 to 7, 2020.
He said about 797 ad hoc staff would be deployed for the by-election out of which 497 would be INEC staff. (NAN)