Niyi OYEDEJI reporting from Ondo State
THE Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has discredited a claim that the Commission is partnering with the National Union of Road Workers (NURTW) to manipulate the governorship Ondo election holding in Ondo State on Saturday.
Festus Okoye, the INEC National Commissioner and Chairman of Voting Reformation and Education, said this during an interview with journalists on Friday.
“INEC is partnering with NURTW to convey over 17,000 Adhoc staff who will be taking sensitive materials to about 3009 polling units across the 18 local governments of the state,” Okoye said.
“The hiring of vehicles from the union did not start today, it has been in existence in the past elections, even in 2015 and 2019.”
“The commission cannot afford to get the buses that will convey that number of ad-hoc staff to their respective polling units.
Okoye explaied that the INEC signed a Memorandum of Understanding(MoU) with the union and vehicle owners’ association, saying, ” there’s no personal interest whatsoever in the dealings, it’s a collective affair.”
According to him, it is the staff of the Commission who would be taking the materials, the NURTW is only to provide logistics.
“It seems impossible to convince all his men to tamper with the materials they are conveying bearing in mind that most of the vehicle owners are political partisan and will not condone manipulation because of interests,” Okoye noted.
“Besides, our staff are the ones taking the materials to units in the local governments.”
He added that the Commission has also hired boats for its staff who would take materials to riverine areas and motorcycles for observers who will be touring the polling units across the local governments of the state.
Okoye noted that necessary stakeholders including security agencies are on standby for the smooth running of the Ondo election.
However, he urged residents who would vote in the election to conduct themselves, wear their face masks and come out en masse to vote.
'Niyi worked with The ICIR as an Investigative Reporter and Fact-checker from 2020 till September 2022. You can shoot him an email via firstname.lastname@example.org. You can as well follow him on Twitter via @niyi_oyedeji.