The Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Akwa Ibom, Mr Mike Igini, says no external forces will determine or influence the process and outcome of 2019 general elections in the state.
Igini stated this in an interview with newsmen in Uyo, on Thursday. He said that as an umpire entrusted with the responsibility to midwife the election process, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) did not matter as much as validly votes cast of the people.
According to him, what must matter is the electorate in the state that will cast the votes that must be counted and taken into account to determine who occupies any elective public office.
“I want to be clear, no external forces within and outside the state will determine or influence the process and outcome of 2019 general elections in this state except the validly cast votes of the people,” he said.
The REC said that the commission would ensure that election materials would be delivered and audited in the 2,980 polling units across the state for the conduct of free, fair and credible elections.
“We are committed to ensuring that elections are best opportunity for the people to make a periodic leadership choice in a democracy,” he said.
He explained that INEC had developed an Election Project Plan (EPP) that would guide and track all planned activities leading to the conduct of the elections.
Igini said that the state’s EPP document was aimed at guiding the process, activities and events that would take place before, during and after the elections within the guidelines of the commission.
He said that many electoral tools had been developed that would “certainly change the complexion of elections from what you are familiar with to something a lot different’’.
He said that there were nine days to the commencement of party primaries across the country as the exercise would commence on Aug. 18.
“We are going to provide a level-playing field for all political parties in the state,” Igini assured.
He said there was need for all political parties to conduct themselves well by ensuring that the code of conduct signed under Article 8, and strict observance of Section 130 of the Electoral Act were fully heeded.
“We have developed election monitoring centre which is basically designed to track all activities before and during elections, particularly with respect to delivery of materials.
“Result sheets, ballot papers at the moment are under the platform to be tracked in every state of Nigeria,” he said.
The REC added that elections materials would be delivered in every polling unit and audited and that there would be no room for any form of fraud by way of whether pre-writing of results.
According to him, that era is gone.
“Ballot box-snatching, allocation of votes, hoarding of materials, brutalising of party agents and other forms of electoral malpractices are gone,” he said. (NAN)