The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Thursday warned politicians that the era of election malpractices by political parties was over.
The commission also said politicians who were planning to snatch ballot boxes or write election results in hotels should have a rethink as the commission had taken necessary steps to ensure a free and fair election.
INEC’s Rivers State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Gesila Khan, gave the warning in Port Harcourt during an interactive session with leaders of political parties.
She said no result written or recorded in an unauthorised place would be accepted in the February elections, emphasising that INEC would ensure that only the authentic outcome of the general elections were announced.
Her words: “If you had followed Delta Central election in October 2013, you would know that we are ready to work in Rivers State. The zone is known for violence, but INEC was able to conduct the election without violence.
“Being in Rivers State today, one man does not do the job alone; it is a collective effort. The era where election materials disappear into thin air has passed. The era where politicians sit in a hotel or elsewhere and write results are over.
“Politicians should go and canvass for votes and let the people decide. Nobody is going to write results anywhere. The results that would be announced are the ones collated on the field. We are going to do our work by the grace of God.”
She disclosed that different ballot papers would be sent to various local government areas, adding that local government areas would have different colours while the result sheets would be coded according to the area they would be used.
She said INEC had distributed 88.33 per cent of the permanent voter cards (PVCs), adding that the exercise was still ongoing.
Khan noted: “Enquiries and research qualify an election to be adjudged as free and fair when the following conditions are placed and or are met: non-partisan electoral body, independence and a bold judiciary, a well-organised system of political parties and vibrant and well informed electorate.”
She called on political parties to carry out their politicking in an atmosphere devoid of violence and urged them to assist INEC to conduct a free and fair election.—This Day