The Independent National Electoral Commission has allayed fear among some stakeholders in Bayelsa State that the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System it will deploy for Saturday’s off-season governorship election can be faked by some people to rig the process.
The INEC’s National Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, stated this on Tuesday while responding to concerns raised by some party chieftains during the election stakeholders meeting on the state governorship polls in Yenagoa.
Yakubu, who was represented by the INEC national commissioner supervising Bayelsa, Akwa Ibom and Rivers States, May Agbamuche-Mbu, said the BVAS machines are customised.
Agbamuche-Mbu said that INEC details were contained in the BVAS while the list and serial numbers of all the machines were in the electoral umpire’s custody.
He said, “I want to let you know that our BVAS has been customised for INEC, so INEC details and the names of the parties are on the BVAS. So any BVAS you see without INEC details cannot be from INEC.
“Another thing, we have the list of the serial numbers of the BVAS we are going to use. The result sheets will be signed at the polling units.”
Earlier in his address, the INEC boss stated that the commission would not return to any polling unit where voting was marred by violence to conduct the polls.
He also said that all the non-sensitive materials had been distributed to the eight local government areas of the state ahead of the election day.
Yakubu further said, “Where there is violence, it will be zero, we will not return to that polling unit to conduct the election.
“We have recruited and carefully trained all categories of ad-hoc staff to be deployed to the field, all non-sensitive materials have been distributed to all the eight local government area offices of the state, voter education and sensitization is ongoing, we have made arrangement for the transportation of personnel and materials to ensure that polling units open as scheduled on election day.
“For more effective supervision of the process, we are deploying two National Commissioners, and eight Resident Electoral Commissioners to support our office in Bayelsa. I wish to assure you of our commitment to a free, fair and credible election come Saturday.”
Also speaking, the Commissioner of Police in Bayelsa State, Mr Tolani Alausa, represented by the Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of operations, Iyamah Daniel, said the police were fully prepared to ensure a peaceful election.
He said that the Force would deploy between three to six policemen in each polling unit across the state, and advised members of the public to be law-abiding.
Alausa said, “In every polling unit, we are going to deploy three to six personnel, outside that, the IGP has deployed as many as 21 units of Mobile Police Force, under tactical units like the Special Force, the Counter Terrorism Unit and Special Protection Unit are all coming to Bayelsa State.
“I will advise every one of us to be law-abiding because we are prepared to withstand any type of challenge that will arise. We are equal to the task.”