Elections: INEC trains officers, pledges commitment

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File: INEC Chairman Yakubu Mahmood and other senior officials of the commission.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Ebonyi says it has developed new strategies to enhance the collection of the Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) in the state.

Prof Godswill Obioma, INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in the state disclosed this at a one-day capacity training organised for members of staff of the commission ahead of the general elections slated for Feb. 16 and March 2, respectively.

He said that the commission would continue to engage critical stakeholders and the general public in its efforts towards mobilising the people to participate in the electoral process.

According to Obioma, the PVC collection exercise would end on Feb. 8, a week to the presidential election, in line with the provisions of the constitution.

He warned the electorate against indulging in vote buying and vote selling, describing the act as a “virus that critically corrupts the electoral process and endangers good governance.”

The workshop was held simultaneously at the three senatorial zones of the state, with that of the Ebonyi North zone at the INEC state Headquarters in Abakaliki.

Ebonyi South training was held at the INEC office in Afikpo while that of Ebonyi Central zone was held at Onueke, Ezza South Local Government Area.

Obioma while declaring the workshop open at the state Headquarters, advised participants to take the training seriously by paying undivided attention to the lectures and every aspect.

The REC said that the training was designed to keep participants abreast with knowledge of their expected roles and responsibilities in the electoral process.

“It has been our practice since the inception of my administration here in INEC, Ebonyi, to engage the workforce in series of training and re-training to keep you abreast of your expected roles and responsibilities in the electoral process.

“This has always been with a view to imparting fresh ideas, skills and knowledge toward building a formidable workforce.

“During this training, participants will receive lectures from the facilitators on the various work schedules as applicable to their various levels of involvement in the Election Project Plan (EPP) 2019.

“As the training is designed to capture all categories of staff of the commission to be deployed during the elections, I therefore urge you to put up your very best.

The resident commissioner urged INEC officers that are to be deployed for electoral duties not to make themselves willing tools for politicians to manipulate the electoral process.

He advised them to remain neutral, apolitical and non partisan at all material times.

“INEC staff deployed for electoral duties must maintain the core values of autonomy, transparency integrity, impartiality, equity and excellence.

“They should be guided by the principles of professionalism, gender sensitivity, due consideration and support for the vulnerable electorate, including the elderly, pregnant women and physically challenged.

“We will reflect honesty; we will ensure that the elections are done credibly and we will not be influenced by oblique forces.

“There is no vote that will be added to any person who does not earn it and no vote will be subtracted from somebody who has earned it.

“This is our logo, this is our motto, this is our spiritual parameter that is embedded in our oath; if any of you go to the contrary, you are on your own,” the REC warned.

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