The Independent National Commission (INEC) has urged registered voters in Bayelsa, especially the youths, not to allow themselves to be used for violence or to disrupt the electoral process.
The Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Obo Effanga, made the call in an interview with journalists in Yenegoa on Friday.
He advised residents of the state to come out en mass to vote for candidates of their choice in the governorship election on Saturday.
“This is a very important activity and election is a civil process. Let everybody come out who is registered and conduct themselves orderly and vote.
“If they want to, they can stand by and wait until the poll is over in the polling unit and see the votes sorted and counted to be entered in the result sheets and then uploaded to the IReV.
“If they want, they can also take pictures of the results sheet that will be posted there but people need to conduct themselves very well,” he added.
The REC advised against any temptation to disrupt the polls.
“I also want to advise some of the young persons who may allow themselves to be used by political actors to cause a disruption or violence in this election.
“One of the things I tell people is that if it pays so much for people to use violence in the election, then politicians will be using their family members.
“So if politicians are not using their children to be involved in this disruption, then it means they know that it is not something that is positive to them.
“They also know it is not good for the wellbeing of their children and other people’s children shouldn’t eventually submit themselves to this.”
Mr Effanga called on political actors in the Saturday election not to see it as a do-or-die affair.
“We have 16 candidates, and only one will win. If someone is not ready to lose in an election, he has no business to contest the election because all of them cannot win,” he said.
The REC said that necessary arrangements had been put in place to ensure the early opening of polls at various polling units as early as 8.30 a.m.
He said voting will close at 2.30 p.m. or when the last person on the line finishes voting.
Mr Effanga said that the commission did not envisage any delay in opening of polling units on Saturday but was ready for unforeseen circumstances.
“As we speak, the materials for the election have been sent to all the Local Government Areas (LGAs). As a matter of fact, that was done yesterday.
“Today, those materials will be moved from the LGAs of INEC offices to the Registration Area Centers (RACs).
“This is a camping centre for all the election officials to stay overnight with election materials, do some form of refresher training ahead of the election and then early in the morning tomorrow, they will move from there to the polling units so that the PUs will open at 8.30a.m,” he said.
On security, Mr Effanga said that INEC did not envisage any problem, as security agencies were ready to respond proactively to any issue that may crop up.
“They have assured us of the number of personnel they have and the fact that they will cover all the areas that they have to cover to ensure that the election goes on smoothly,“ he said.
On arrangements made for Persons Living with Disabilities, Mr Effanga said that INEC has the details of all the registered PWDs in polling units across the state.
He said that special arrangements, including magnified glasses and brail ballot jackets, among others, had been provided for them to vote.
Mr Effanga also said the commission had provided enough boats to transport election materials, INEC personnel and security agencies to riverine areas for the election.
On ad hoc staff, the REC said the priority was given to INEC staff from Bayelsa and others who applied online from neighbouring states to serve as supervisors and presiding officers.
“If you use any permanent staff as supervising presiding officers, we expect a higher level of responsibility and a better attitude to the work to ensure that this is properly done.
“More importantly, at the end of the election, they’re also mindful of what we call the reverse logistics.
“The materials that have been sent out are brought back, so we don’t have losses of our materials and equipment.
“So for this election, all the supervisory presiding officers are INEC staff, permanent level, from Bayelsa and neighbouring states who applied online for that,” he said.
He, however, said he was not aware that any of the candidates had withdrawn from the election, saying it was already late for anybody to withdraw.
“Even if any of the candidates withdraw, the name of he or she will still be on the ballot papers,” he said.
Bayelsa has a total of registered voters 1,056,862, out of which 1,017,613 had collected their permanent voters’ cards.
The election will hold in 2,244 polling units across the state, while two polling units have been removed from the process because they had no registered voters.