We cannot lower democratic standard in Ondo State, INEC Chairman tells security agencies

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By Emmanuel Oloniruha
Akure, Sept. 24, 2020 The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has tasked security agencies to raise the standard of professionalism and election security during the Oct. 10 governorship election in Ondo.

INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, gave the charge on Thursday at the meeting of the Inter Agencies Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICESS) in Akure.

Yakubu said that INEC and the security agencies had raised the bar of professionalism for peaceful election in Edo and should not lower it in Ondo state.

“Edo was a good election. We are all very proud of what we achieved. The security agencies were professional, so too were INEC staff. The challenge for us is not to lower the bar.

“Ondo should be better, because there are lessons we have learned from the Edo election. We should strive to ensure Ondo is better than Edo, and that subsequent elections keep improving.

“That should be our commitment to the nation and to the electorate.

“Security is of critical concern to all of us. You know we can’t conduct free, fair and credible elections, unless the environment is secure for us.”

Yakubu said that part of the agenda of the meeting was to discuss on identified flash points, areas that could pose security threats and try to see how they could respond.

The INEC chairman said that the committee would also consider areas identified to have difficult terrains and see how to manage movement of personnel and materials.

“There are two local governments that are essentially riverine, Ilaje and Ese-Odo. We know the kind of challenges we had in the previous elections. This commission conducted the last governorship election in Ondo state in 2016.

“We worked very closely with the Navy in both deploying and retrieving personnel and materials from llaje and Ese-Odo.

“Two hundred and seventy polling units are actually riverine in the two local government areas. So our arrangement has to be good.”

Yakubu said the meeting would also look at the issue of number of personnel and their deployment.

He said that the meeting would also look into suggestions or strategies to secure the environment for good elections and the issue of COVID-19 protocols adherence at polling units.

“Our commitment is not only that voters should vote in an election, but also under peaceful atmosphere ” Yakubu said.

Naija247news reports that the commission earlier met with the media and traditional rulers in the state.

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