By Lucy Osuizigbo-Okechukwu
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), says the Nov. 6 Anambra governorship election will be embarrassingly transparent as it has put facilities in place to achieve an all inclusive electoral process.
INEC’s Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC, Anambra state, Dr Nwachukwu Orji, made the assertion in Awka, on Saturday during a voter education and sensitisation forum for Persons with disabilities (PWDs) and Women groups.
The programme was organised in collaboration with the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Consortium for Elections and Political Process Strengthening.
Orji who was represented by INEC Head of Voter Education and Publicity, Mr Samuel Nimem, said that the commission had successfully carried out most of the activities on schedule for the election.
According to him, this election will debunk all the ideas and beliefs that INEC rigs election or commits electoral fraud.
“INEC is ready on every stage for the election. The electoral materials that got burnt recently in an attack have been replace, non-sensitive materials have been distributed to all local government areas and training of officials and ad-hoc staff is ongoing as I speak to you.
“We have pasted and presented voters’ register to the political parties fielding candidates, we have published the final list of candidates and we have been engaging stakeholders to ensure security at polling units.
“We have increased polling units to 5,720 to increase access to all voters and we are carrying out aggressive voter education and sensitisation appealing to residents to exercise their civic responsibilities.
“With all facilities in place and with the electronic transmission of results, I tell you that Anambra election will be embarrassingly transparent. This will build confidence in our electoral system,” he said.
Orji urged PWDs to actively participation in all aspects of electoral process as the commission had made adequate provisions in terms of voting aids.
“PWDs are very important citizens, so we give them special attention by creating an inclusive environment.
“You need to participate fully in the electoral process because you are all citizens of Nigeria and have right to vote and be voted for. I assure you that we are doing all we can to ensure your safety,” he said.
Orji urged residents not to feel unconcerned about election matters, saying it is an opportunity to vote in the candidate of their choice.
Also speaking, Mrs Amina Yahaya, from IFES, said the organisation was committed to any course that would advance the development of PWDs and women.
“We are supporting this programme because we want the vulnerable groups to be actively involved in electoral process because they have the right to vote the leader of their choice,” she said.
In her presentation, Mrs Dorothy Bello, Deputy Director, Civil Society Organisation, said that women and PWDs were critical stakeholders that should not be ignored during elections.
“INEC has the mandate to organise a free, fair, credible and inclusive election; and PWDs and women need to exercise their rights to vote and be voted for, without discrimination.
“This forum is to tell you that INEC is creating an enabling environment for all, irrespective of your status. This programme is to educate you on how to exercise your voting rights without any barriers,” she said.
Appreciating INEC for their efforts so far, Mr Ugochukwu Okeke, Chairman, Joint National Association of Persons with Disabilities (JONAPWD), Anambra State chapter, promised to mobilise PWDs to participate in the election. (NAN)