By Abiodun Esan
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has said that pregnant women, aged people, the sick and persons with disabilities would be given priority to vote on election days without joining the queue.
INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner in Kwara, Malam Garba Attaihiru-Madami made this disclosure on Thursday in Ilorin at stakeholders’ meeting ahead of the 2019 general elections.
“We should give our aged, pregnant women, physically challenged and the sick the priority to vote on election days without joining the queue,” he said.
The REC told the stakeholders that INEC was ready and prepared to conduct the best, most credible, transparent and acceptable elections in the country.
He said accreditation and voting would hold simultaneously at the polling units, adding that immediately a voter is duly accredited, he would be given ballot paper and proceed to thumb print and cast his/her vote.
This, he said, was a departure from the past when voters were first accredited before they were allowed to vote.
Attaihiru-Madami said Card Readers would be used during the elections, adding that the card readers have been upgraded and 99 per cent efficient and effective.
“If thumb print fails, INEC has abolished the incidence form, however, the Voter Register has been designed with a column for thumb print and voters’ mobile number, he or she is recaptured and given ballot paper to go and vote,” he added.
The REC assured the people of the state that nobody would be disenfranchised during the voting procedure as everybody with genuine PVC would be allowed to vote.
He said voters would not be allowed to bring their mobile phones to the polling areas, adding that they would be made to drop such phones with the Presiding Officer and collect them after dropping their ballot papers in the ballot box.
“Voters may wish to remain to observe the counting of votes later in the day or may go home and return to witness the counting of votes,” Attaihiru-Madami added.
The REC announced that no vehicle would be allowed to be parked close to voting points on election days; saying that security men would be at hand to ensure protection of life of personnel and materials during and after voting.
He declared that it is only INEC that has the constitutional right to announce results of elections, adding that it is illegal for anybody or group to announce results.
“I want to assure the people of Kwara that on the part of INEC, we will and must conduct free, fair, transparent and credible election which will be accepted by all stakeholders and applauded by the international community.
“Together we shall succeed, success is more of attitude problem, we should believe in ourselves and in INEC.
“There is no midway between success and failure; you either succeed or fail.
“I am optimistic with plans, preparation put in place for 2019 election, INEC Nigeria and INEC Kwara will conduct the best election ever.
“We did well in 2015, but 2019 election will be better,” Attaihiru-Madami added.