Polling units nationwide to open by 8am on Saturday –INEC

The Independent National Electoral Commission has given assurance that there will be uniform timing in the commencement of Saturday’s governorship and state Houses of Assembly elections nationwide.

The News Agency of Nigeria reported that INEC National Commissioner in-charge of Enugu/Anambra/Benue states, Mr Festus Okoye, gave the assurance on Tuesday in Enugu.

Okoye, who spoke to newsmen on the preparedness of the commission for the polls, also said that there would be full deployment of the smart card readers nationwide.

He said the commission was ready to conduct free, fair and credible elections, adding that it had fine-tuned all the loose ends encountered during the presidential and National Assembly polls.

He said, “This time round, we want to ensure that each polling unit in the federation starts the process at 8am dot on the day of the elections. So we want to make sure that all our ad hoc staff and materials get to the polling units before 7.30 a.m.

“And the usage of the smart card readers will be universal in all the polling units. Any polling unit where the people or political thugs do not allow the presiding officer to use the smart card reader will get zero vote.”

Okoye advised presiding officers to remain calm in the face of any threats from any quarters at the polling units but score that polling unit zero vote at the collation centre.

He warned that the commission would no longer tolerate the killing, maiming or injuring of its ad hoc staff, who might be corps members serving their fatherland.

“We have discussed with the Inspector-General of Police “to ensure that all our staff members, including the ad hoc staff, are given adequate protection from violent attacks during the polls.

“The commission will protect its own with every passion and means it can muster,” he said.

Okoye further appealed to Nigerians to come out en mass to exercise their civic duty on March 9.
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