By Eseoghene Emuke
The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, has once again assured Nigerians and the international community that only votes by the electorate will determine the winners of the 2019 general elections.
Yakubu stated this when he featured on a Human Rights Radio programme, Brekete Show, which was monitored by WARRI TODAY on Friday morning in Abuja, said INEC will protect Nigerians votes and ensure that the exercise is credible.
The INEC chairman also revealed that the commission has put several innovative plans in place to enable prisoners, the blind, the deaf, elderly citizens, semi-illiterate and other Nigerians to cast their votes without the usual challenges that have characterized previous elections in the country.
He urged Nigerians and the various political parties in the country to have trust and confidence on the commission to deliver free, fair and credible general elections.
Yakubu stressed that the INEC’s loyalty remains with Nigerians and not to any political party or person.
According to him, “INEC is not a political party. We are responsible for the conduct of free, fair and credible elections. Have trust, confidence in INEC. Our loyalty is to the people of Nigeria and we (INEC) will protect the votes and we will ensure that votes only count.
“This is my assurance as we approach the 2019 general elections. Nothing but votes will determine who win in the 2019 general elections. Once again, I want to reassure Nigerians that our loyalty is to the people of Nigeria, and not to any person or political party.”
Speaking further, the INEC chairman posited that the commission does not need any legal amendment to the to the electoral act as the Benin Division of the Appeal Court has given a judgement to that effect.
He added that the commission was already working arrangement with the Nigeria Prison Service to ensure that prisoners in the country are not disenfranchised at the polls.
“Ordinarily, we don’t need any amendment for prisoners to votes. There is a judgement by the Court of Appeal, Benin Division, which has now ordered the commission to ensure that prisoners vote. Only yesterday (Thursday), I met with the Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Prison. We are working out the details on how this could be arranged”, Yakubu added.