The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Abia has warned desperate politicians to eschew any acts that will undermine the peaceful conduct of Saturday’s re-run election for the state House of Assembly.
The Resident Electoral Commissioner in the state, Dr. Joseph Iloh, gave the warning on Tuesday in Umuahia, while speaking to newsmen at the end of separate meetings with stakeholders ahead of the poll.
Iloh appealed to the stakeholders, electorate and candidates to exhibit maturity and discipline during the election.
He said: “The problem of INEC is the desperation of the politicians. We are appealing to them to help us conduct this election peacefully by operating within the ambit of the law.
“Let the voters choose whom they want; don’t impose yourselves on them.
“Educate your supporters that we shall use card readers to identify who is a genuine voter.”
He said that the election would be conducted in 10 polling units, involving the wards in Ohaeke, Ututu and Arochukwu Ward I, all in Arochukwu State Constituency.
He said that the commission would also conduct a re-run election in 15 polling units in Ohazu Ward II in Aba South State Constituency.
He said that both elections would take place simultaneously.
Iloh said that the exercise was sequel to the verdict of the Court of Appeal sitting in Owerri, which ordered INEC to conduct a re-run election in the affected constituencies.
He expressed the commission’s readiness to conduct a free, fair and credible election.
The INEC boss said that the card reader would be used to conduct the election, adding that adequate preparations had been made to address any challenges that might arise from its usage.
“We have back-ups, we have charged the card readers. They have between 18 and 48 hours power or more.
“We have also trained the personnel, including the presiding officers, collation officers and the returning officers,” Iloh said.
According to the commissioner, the sensitive materials would be moved from the Central Bank in Umuahia on Friday to the local government headquarters for further deployment to the polling units.
He said that INEC officials would be on ground as early as 7am and that accreditation would start by 8am.
Meanwhile, the REC has appealed to the state government to suspend the monthly sanitation billed for Saturday because of the election.
On security, the Commissioner of Police, Abia Command, Mr. Ene Okon, said that adequate arrangements had been made in collaboration with other sister-security agencies in the state to ensure a peaceful election.
Okon, who was represented by his deputy (Operations), Mr. Alfa Jibrin, warned politicians and those who had no business with the election to stay away from the polling units.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the stakeholders’ meetings with INEC involved members of the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security and Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC).
NAN reports that the election is between Dr. Mike Ukoha and Obinna Ichitta, both from the All Progressive Grand Alliance for Arochukwu and Aba South, respectively, against the candidates of other political parties in the 2019 general elections. (NAN)