INEC Director of Voter Education and Publicity, Oluwole Osaze-Uzzi, was on Politics Today on Sunday and he said that the commission would be going into the Osun State governorship election with lessons learnt in Ekiti and with a mission to improve on them.
He said that having studied the way the Ekiti election went; they have been able to identify all the things that went right and would be focusing on making them better in Osun State.
He itemised the logistics of the election as one of the areas in which the commission achieved success with 97% of the polling units opening before 8AM due to the timely deployment of personnel and materials; a feat he said they would be aiming to achieve at 100% in Osun State.
He explained that they would use the same modalities as used in Ekiti to ensure that deployment of personnel and materials commence as early as 4am on election day, as well as ensuring the deployment of sufficient security personnel.
He also noted that a lot of voter education went into the Ekiti election and the commission would be hoping to do more of this in Osun State.
Fears about the delay in the distribution of Permanent Voters Card as raised by the All Progressives Congress, APC, also came to the fore as the party has insinuated that this might be a deliberate act to disenfranchise voters.
Osaze-Uzzi said that the complaint was strange to him as goings-on in Osun did not reveal the existence of any delays. He said that it was not too late to pick up the cards and all electorates should endeavour to go ahead and collect their cards on time as they would not be able to vote without it.
He added, “More than 62% of the people have taken advantage to pick up their cards and we hope that before the elections, come August 9, 100% everybody who is registered and eligible and has his card would go there and pick it up.”
Osaze-Uzzi also shed light on the issue of Ambassador Rufus Akeju’s exit from his position as the Resident Electoral Commissioner in Osun State ahead of the governorship election. He noted that Akeju was not removed as widely reported but agreed to step aside by mutual consent with the commission in order to maintain the integrity of the commission and not to play into the hands of politicians against the backdrop of intense partisan acrimony over his person.
A new Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mr Agbaje, has since taken over in Osun State. Until his posting, he was the Kogi State REC.