The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu on Monday disclosed that 73 per cent of eligible voters in Osun State have collected their Permanent Voter Cards in preparation for the gubernatorial election slated for September 22.
He said the state was setting a pace in Nigeria in terms of number of political parties participating in the contest, saying 48 parties were in the race.
Yakubu stated this at the Election Stakeholders Forum on the Osun Election, held on Monday, in Osogbo, the Osun State capital.
He recalled that guidelines for the election, which comprise 14 activities of the electoral process were released in October 2017, adding that 12 activities have since been concluded.
According to him, rigorous voter education and town hall meetings were held to ensure credibility of the process in collaboration with critical stakeholders like civil society organisations and the rest.
“Our ultimate objective is to ensure that the choice of who governs the people of Osun in the next 4 years is in the hands of the electorate.
“Today, malpractices like ballot snatching, ballot stuffing, hijacking of electoral materials and the rest have been considerably reduced.
“The menace of vote buying is now a new concept in our electoral system, and I can assure you that the commission will rise to this challenges.
“I want to make clarification on the use of mobile phones, we are restricting its usage from the time a voter gets ballot paper and cast his vote, in which the device will be returned thereafter.
“Obviously, we have been progressively improved on our punctuality to the polling units, and the same tempo will be sustained in this contest.
“I want to assure that come Saturday, only the votes cast by voters in the state will determine who becomes the next governor of the state”, Yakubu said.
The Inspector General of Police, Mr Idris Ibrahim in his address reiterated the resolve of the force to be impartial by ensuring the security of voters and other stakeholders before, during, and after the contest.
He disclosed that a total of 18, 426 police officers would be deployed to the state, adding that eight commissioners would be in charge of all area commands in the state.
Meanwhile, the Ooni of Ife, Oba Enitan Ogunwusi has implored voters and political players alike to strictly adhere to the rule of the game, and collectively work for the success of the election.
While commending the electoral umpire for working assiduously to ensure free, fair and credible poll, the monarch admonished security agencies to live above sentiment and write their names in gold.