The Independent National Electoral Commission INEC yesterday reassured the electorate that votes will count in Saturday’s governorship election in Ondo State.
It insisted that only the choice made by the people would determine the outcome of the poll.
INEC Chairman Prof. Yakubu Mahmood, who gave the assurance at a stakeholders’ meeting in Akure, said: “I wish to assure eligible voters that every vote will count and only the choice made by the people will determine the outcome of the election. I assure parties and candidates that we will remain focused on our processes and procedures.
“As eligible voters go to the polls on Saturday, I wish to renew my appeal to political parties, candidates and their supporters for peaceful conduct. Votes will count. Polling unit level results will be uploaded for public view. However, this will not happen where the process is disrupted by violence or malpractices.
“The commission is determined that no one will benefit from impunity or be rewarded for bad behaviour such as vote-buying, ballot box snatching and stuffing, multiple voting, hijacking and diversion of election materials, disruption of collation, falsification of results, attack on INEC officials or compelling them to declare unofficial results.
“The people must be allowed to freely vote for their preferred candidate without inducement or harassment. We have been assured by the security agencies that thugs and their sponsors will not have the freedom to move around freely to disrupt the election or collation of results. The Inspector-General of Police (IGP), who is here, will speak about the strategy to safeguard the electoral process.”
Thirty-three thousand seven hundred and eighty-three policemen and additional 3,500 personnel drawn from other security agencies have been deployed for the election.
IGP Mohammed Adamu, who was also at the meeting, said the deployment is a warning to those plotting to foment trouble.