The Resident Electoral Commissioner Bayelsa State of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Pastor Monday Udoh Tom, has urged voters in the state to come out en mass to cast their votes on Saturday for their preferred candidate.
According to reports on Friday, at the premises of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in Yenagoa, Pastor Tom said there were enough gunboats and security agents deployed to protect lives and properties during the Saturday poll. “We are moving forward; we came on Wednesday and sighted them took note and also yesterday they were here. “There are enough boats, enough security escorts. We have no challenge at all; we have enough vehicles to escort the materials to the centres. “We are asking everybody to go and vote; there’s enough security protecting every person going out to vote.
“The DIG just spoke to me now that they have taken control of the whole place nothing, bad will happen in this election. “We have enough security on the ground to protect every voter. So, people of Bayelsa State, go out and exercise your franchise.“Do not have any reason not to go out to vote,” he insisted. Pastor Tom, however, urged the electorate to be civil while casting their votes.
“Please, the electorate should be civil and conduct yourselves very well. Listen to security agencies; what they don’t ask you to don’t do and do what they ask you to do so that we will have a peaceful election,” he admonished.
On the twin court injunctions on Thursday from the Federal High Court, Yenagoa and the Appeal Court in Abuja, the REC said the INEC lawyers were studying the rulings in Abuja, but added that no party has been barred from the Saturday poll. Fielding questions from INEC Head of Department in charge of Voter Education, Mr Wilfred Ifogah, at the INEC office at Swali Road, Yenagoa, on Friday, he said the electoral umpire was good to go.
“So far so good, we are in the last stage of our fourteen outline activities in preparation for the election here in Bayelsa State.
“As far as Bayelsa State is concerned, we are good to go. All the necessary materials prior to today have been taken to the local government areas for onward distribution to the registration areas centre.
“As we speak right now the party agents, INEC officials and other stakeholders, are at the CBN, Yenagoa branch to retrieve the sensitive materials and these include the ballot papers and result sheets and they are taking it directly from there to the registration centres under tight security from the collaborating agencies,” he noted.
On safety preparation for ad-hoc staff going to coastal areas, Mr Ifogah said live vest and boats were ready, declaring that no casualties were envisaged. “In terms of election activities here in Bayelsa State, we don’t really record any casualties in terms of boat mishap, but then in terms of our preparation, we never left any stone unturned.
“The boat we are using, we actually went through their marine union, of course, the boat to be used and of course those driving it and their owners. “We actually profile them using the Nigerian Navy to ensure that their boats are water worthy. The same thing was also done to those that supply us with buses.
“The road safety actually did the profiling of them all to ensure that the vehicles are roadworthy. And of course, we have lots and lots of life jackets provided by INEC and every of our official even the security that are on the boat are all going with life jackets,” he assured.
Meanwhile, an atmosphere of voter apathy appears pervading the atmosphere in Bayelsa obviously due to the earlier court ruling nullifying the APC primaries that held on September 4.
SOURCE: TRIBUNE NG