Bayelsa Poll: INEC borrows 2,500 card readers from Rivers

⦁ DSS places politicians under surveillance

To cover up for card reader theft and failure during the forthcoming November 16th governorship election in Bayelsa state, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says it has borrowed 2,500 additional card readers from its Rivers state office.

The Administrative Secretary of the INEC in the state, Mr Edwin Enabor, made this known yesterday during a seminar organized for political party chairmen and stakeholders by the Nigerian Police Force led by the Assistant Inspector-General of Police (AIG) under Zone five, D.P. Yakadi.

According to Enabor, the commission has 2, 240 voters card readers that are 100 per cent charged for the election but that to ensure that there are no voters card reader shortage as a result of theft or malfunction, the commission borrowed the additional 2, 500.

He assured Bayelsans that the commission is prepared for the November 16th Governorship poll, as issues relating to the training of staff and logistics are being put in place to ensure free, fair and credible poll in the state.

He further said 90 per cent of the non-sensitive materials needed for the election are on the ground in state and that by 10th of November the commission would move them to the various registration centers across the state.

Enabor, however, called on security agencies to assist in offering needed security for materials and personnel of INEC before, during and after the polls.

He said by the 15th November the sensitive result materials would be moved from Yenagoa to the various centres and the speed boats operators have been engaged through the Maritime Workers Union and have been profiled by the Nigerian Navy to avoid materials getting into wrong hands.

TribuneOnline also learnt that the Department of State Security (DSS) has placed scores of politicians in the state under security watch and surveillance over suspicion that they may get involved in the recruitment of youths and movement of arms ahead of the November 16th governorship elections.

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Speaking during the seminar, the State Director of the DSS, Ishaku Yusuf, said those under security watch are politicians that have been identified as having the capacity to instigate violence during elections.

“Identification of those intending to perpetrate acts of violence during the elections that are being handled. Those known to have the capacity to instigate violence have been put under security watch and their homes are under surveillance.

“Another worry I have for the coming Bayelsa election is the fact that we have 45 political parties listed for the election but only 10 attended this seminar. This shows that security agencies are more ready than the owners of the elections.”

The Assistant Inspector-General of Police, Zone 5, Mr D.P. Yakadi, in his lecture, identified various factors that could course violence during the election and advised critical stakeholders including the media, political parties and the INEC to step up preparations and work against corrupt tendencies before, during and after the elections.

Yakadi assured stakeholders on the preparedness of the Zone under his watch for the November 16th Governorship election, saying unemployment and poverty are some of the key factors that are responsible for electoral violence in Nigeria.

“Another factor is the get rich syndrome, loss of societal values compared to what was attainable in olden days, while other factors include smuggling of firearms, easy access and consumption of illicit drugs.

“We are here today to discuss with you how we can have a free, fair and credible election on the 16 November 2019. The increasing problem of violence in our politics today is a source of security concern. The stakeholders meeting organised by the Nigerian Police Force today is centred on the need to create a peaceful atmosphere before, during and after the forthcoming Bayelsa governorship election.

“INEC should ensure that Bayelsa governorship election meets and satisfy international best practices, they should regularly partner with the security agencies, and create a conducive environment for all stakeholders to ensure a credible election in Bayelsa state, INEC should enlighten and sensitise all political parties.

“INEC management should show commitment to ensure that presiding officers, polling agents and other election officials are honest in discharging their duties, by understanding their rules in the election processes, INEC should ensure that adequate logistics and administrative processes are put in place before the day of the election to avoid delay as Bayelsa state is about 70% water and movement and personnel.”

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