Bayelsa: Why we’re not using ad-hoc staff as Supervising Presiding Officers – INEC

The Independent National Electoral Commission INEC in Bayelsa state has explained its decision to use only permanent staff of the Commission as Supervisory Presiding Officers SPOs in Saturday’s governorship elections in the state, saying it would help enhance the sanctity of the process.

This was as the electoral umpire assured of its readiness to open the polls at 8 am and close by 2 pm, barring any last-minute disruption.

INEC’s Resident Electoral Commissioner REC in the state, Obo Effanga disclosed this on Friday when he received some members of the INEC Press Corps in his office in Yenagoa.

According to him, both sensitive and nonsensitive materials have been delivered to the various Registration Areas (wards) across the state.

He said while the commission would rely on Corps members as Presiding Officers, its staff would however help supervise the process because they will be more mindful of securing the process.

Effanga explained that before now, INEC used to engage both its staff and none staff as supervisory presiding officers, but added that, “this time, we noticed that a lot of them from neighbouring states applied. So, we paid more attention to them being staff of the commission”.

“They will be mindful of the return and security of INEC materials. They are also conscious of the implications of having a credible election. So, we trust that they will be more professional in handling their assignments”, he added.

Effanga also appealed to the people of the state to allow a free and fair process and to discourage acts of violence that could undermine the process.

He said, “I want to appeal to the people of the state to shun acts of violence. For the youths, they should not allow politicians to use them to disrupt the process of the election”.

While urging candidates to abide by the contents of the peace agreement they signed ahead of the polls, the REC added that Nigerians would hold them accountable for the promise they made to allow peace before, during and after the election.

Noting that only one candidate can win the governorship, he asked political actors in the state to call their supporters to order, saying it is evident to all that every violent disruption of the electoral process must have been sponsored by someone.

Meanwhile, security in and around the immediate cordons of the State office of INEC had grown increasingly heavy a few hours before the polls.

Heavily armed defence, security and intelligence personnel frisked journalists and youths who had applied for ad hoc staff and who were at the commission to check whether their applications were successful.

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