The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has warned political parties participating in the 6 November governorship election in Anambra State to bury any plan to engage in identity theft during the poll.
INEC spokesperson, Festus Okoye, gave the warning at a one-day forum organised by the Commission Press Corps in Abuja on Wednesday.
The event was organised by members of the corps to discuss the forthcoming election in particular and future ones.
Mr Okoye, who represented INEC Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, said all is in full gear to attain the commission’s objectives in the state.
He expressed confidence in the new device introduced by the commission, Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS), which he said would end double voting.
“The Commission will also deploy relevant and appropriate technology for the conduct of the Anambra State Governorship election. To this end, the Commission will deploy the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) for the accreditation of voters.
“The bimodal accreditation system will use fingerprints or facials for efficient voter accreditation. Therefore, those engaged in identity theft must steer clear of the polling units in Anambra State as only voters that are properly authenticated using their fingerprints or facials will be allowed to vote,” he warned.
Mr Okoye, flanked by the Inspector General of Police Representative, Muyiwa Adejobi, and the Chairman of Albino Foundation, Jake Epele, pegged the total number of currently registered voters in the state at 2,447,996.
He added that the commission has recorded substantial breakthroughs in replacing some of its assets and election materials torched by arsonists in the state earlier this year while those yet to be completed will be delivered in a matter of days.
PREMIUM TIMES reported in May that the commission’s facilities in the state were set ablaze, accounting for the loss of six utility vehicles, 326 generating sets and non-sensitive materials meant for the Anambra election.
However, the Commission, on Wednesday, expressed its willingness to conduct the state election amidst the threat of insecurity in the state but will not compromise the safety of not only the electorates but also its staff and corps members who will be serving the nation through the exercise.
“The Commission needs a safe and secure environment for efficient and professional deployment of staff and materials. We must realize that young men and women doing their National Youth Service form the bulk of our Presiding Officers.
“Some of them are the only sons and daughters of their parents. Some of them graduated from school through determined perseverance in the face of hardship. Some of them are the products of community effort while some of them did menial jobs to graduate.
“We therefore have a responsibility to protect them in the performance of this national assignment. No form of insurance can cover for the loss of one life and the Commission will on no account compromise on the safety and welfare of these individuals and all other staff that will be deployed for the election,” Mr Okoye said.
He appealed to all stakeholders, including security agencies, to help the agency to attain a smooth electoral process in Anambra.
We are ready for Anambra poll – IGP
In response to some of the concerns raised by journalists in respect to the coming poll, Mr Adejobi said the force is ready for the poll and will not tolerate any threat from any individual or group against the country’s democratic process.
He dismissed speculation of possible militarisation of the state during the election but vowed to be firm and precise to ensure safety of lives and properties in Anambra.
“Nigeria is a sovereignty, a nation, such will not be tolerated in any part of this country. We are not aware of any seat at home order from anybody.
“We are working round the clock to ensure there are Anambra governorship elections come November 6, that is our stand,” Mr Adejobi said against the backdrop of the sit-at-home order from the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
The group had threatened to distort the poll and warned the residents to stay off the exercise.
Mr Adejobi warded off the threat from the group and highlighted other measures the police would take to ensure adequate coverage and safety of lives of the electorates.
“As I speak to you, the IGP is working to repair some of our helicopters so as to help us cover more areas in this regard. I think about six helicopters are under repair as directed by the IGP to fortify our fleet and ensure smooth Anambra election and our other conflict theatres around the country.
“We are very prepared. We believe in 5 Ps – Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance. We are working with other security agencies to assist us and ensure we have a good outcome.
“We are not militarizing any electoral process in Anambra. Perhaps some people got our message wrong,” he said.