Resident Electoral Commissioner for Bayelsa State, Obo Effanga (Esq) on Friday during a chat with INEC correspondent in his office in Yenagoa gave account of state preparedness of the Commission for today’s governorship election in the state.
Among other issues, the REC admonished politicians who are ready to loose election not to bother contesting . Politics Editor, TUNDE OPALANA brings excerpts.
State of Preparedness
I am happy with the level of preparation. Non- sensitive election.materials have been deployed in the eight local government areas of Bayelsa State. As we speak,the Commission is deploying sensitive materials to the INEC Area Offices in the local governments.
This include ballot papers, result sheets BVAS and personnel, both regular and ad- hoc. These material will move very early tomorrow Saturday, being the election day to the various polling units across each local government.
The area offices are in ; Twon Brass for Brass LGA, Ekeremor for Ekeremor LGA, Kaima for Kolokuma/Opokuma LGA, Ogbolomabiri Civic Centre for Nembe LGA, Ogbia in Ogbia LGA, Sagbama in LGA, LGA Secretariat for Southern Ijaw and Onopa, Yenagoa for Yenagoa LGA. We are fully ready unless something unusual happened overnight.
On Vehicular Logistics
Adequate provisions were made for logistics, movement of personnel and materials. The Commission had arrangement with two transport unions. You know that over 70 percent of voting will take place in the riverine areas. Water transportation will take place in Brass, Nembe , Ejeremor and Southern Ijaw, Ayama Waterside and Oporima. So, we have adequately prepared for water transportation with provision for life jackets for safety.
On How to Secure Election
We are working in partnership with security agencies. They are critical stakeholder in election management. You know INEC does not manage security.
They were on ground during deployment of non- sensitive material yesterday and today you can see them in their numbers protecting the deployment of sensitive materials. Infact, they are going to provide security for materials and personnel including you journalists and observers. We accredited 118 domestic observation group and 8 foreign organisations.
There are security risk areas identified. According to an analysis of security risk indicator there is high risk of cultism in Yenagoa LGA, Kidnapping in Nembe LGA, Militancy in Southern Ijaw. Also, there are medium risk of thuggery in Ekeremor, Nembe and Ogbia local government areas.
Number of Poll Officials Required
We have One Returning Officer, 8 Local Government Area Collation Officers, 105 REG Area Collation Officers, 225 Supervisory Presiding Officers, 2,224 Presiding Officers, 6,732 Assistant Presiding Officers, One Constituency Supervisor and 8 LGA Supervisors. Staff were deployed from neighbouring states of Rivers, Delta and Anambra states.
Data of Expected Voters According to PVC Collection
We have 2,244 polling units in Bayelsa but election will take place in 2,242 leaving out 2 polling units that have zero voters . This was as a result of delineation of polling units. There are 1,056,862 registered voters but 1,017,613 permanent voters cards (PVCs) were collected, leaving 39,249 uncollected This is about the highest in the country. Yenagoa LGA has the highest number of PVC collection with 201,490, followed by Southern Ijaw with 182,659, Sagbama LGA with 134,367, Ekeremor 128,683, Ogbia LGA, 118,940, Nembe LGA 97,328, Brass 91,502 and Kolokuma/ Opokuma with 62,144.
Deployment of BVAS
We are expected to deploy at least one BVAS machine in each of the polling units. But there is provision for increment in polling units where we have higher number of voters and we also make provision for back ups Incase we have malfunctioning.
Mode of Result Declaration
Voting ends at 2:30pm or until after accredited voters on queue before 2:30pm have voted completely. After the closing of poll, there will be sorting of ballot papers and then counting of votes scored by each party in the presence of voters and party agents. Results will be recorded on the result sheets and signed by the Electoral Officer with party agents signings to authenticate the results.
Then the Electoral Officer will take the picture of the result sheet with the configured BVAS machines for the polling unit and then upload on INEC portal known as IReV.
A copy of the result sheet must be pasted on the wall in the polling unit where voting takes place.
The result will be moved to the Ward Collation centre and collated ward results will be moved to the local government collation centre and finally state collation centre will the final results will be announced by the state returning officer.
Also to disruption of the process particularly collation of results, INEC has made provision for generating sets to supply light where there is absence of electricity.
On Rumoured Withdrawal of a Candidate
I am not aware that any candidate has withdrawn from the race. It is too late for that. All the 16;candidates are on the ballot. We have 14 males and 2 females.
Advice to Politicians
We need to talk to political actors to conduct themselves and avoid violence because according to the law, votes recorded in violent stricken areas will be voided. Candidates should know that only one person will win the election.
Others should be ready to accept results. If anybody is not ready to loose, he should not even bother to contest election. Everyone should have the mindset that only one person will win the election.