By Babatunde Joseph Oduntan

THE Independent National Electoral Commission of Nigeria (INEC) has deployed one of its Resident Electoral Commissioners, Mr. Barito Lenusikpugi kphagih to Osun state to supervise the Osun West Senatorial by-election scheduled for Saturday 8th July, 2017 in the state.

Mr. kphagih since arrival in the state capital Osogbo, has been working hard with INEC staff from Abuja and Osogbo made up of election officials and the technical crew in preparation for a peaceful, successful and hitch free by-election in the state.

Earlier in the week, Mr.Kphagih in a stakeholder meeting held in Osogbo met with Party Agents and their representatives of the eleven(11) political parties from ten(10) local government areas of the Osun West Senatorial district taking part in the by-election. The important meeting also involved heads of security Agents in the state(The Police, Immigrations, NYSC, NSCDC) and representatives of the different media organizations in the state.

The REC and his team has also taken delivery of INEC sensitive materials for the election for early distribution to the polling units and wards all spread across the ten local government areas where the election will be held.

Mr. Kphagih during an interview with the press said, he and his INEC team are working round the clock to make sure proper arrangements are made for voting materials to be put in place for the success of the election exercise.

He called for the support of all the stake holders for a free, fair credible and hitch free by-election. The election he says will commence by 8.00am prompt and voting will start immediately after verification and accreditation. Votes will be counted in polling booths in wards, certified and signed by all concerned before being forwarded to the INEC collation centers.

As regards INEC facing any challenges during the by-election exercise, Mr. Kphagih noted that since he arrived in the state and started preparations for the by-election, he has not faced with any challenge. He however was confident that INEC with its experienced and competent team on ground are ready to face any challenge that may crop up to make sure we have a smooth by-election.

The Card reader machines for the election he assured the people are working perfectly and any unforeseen malfunctioning of any of the machines for the election will be promptly and appropriately addressed by Engineers of the INEC technical staff in the team.

He however urged that voters must be patience and law abiding in polling booths when they cast their votes. He also warned that election officials, Party Agents and security Agents in wards must not by their hash or unfriendly behavior or attitude disfranchise any eligible voter at the polling station or in any way encourage them to waste their votes by not voting.

Campaigns and public rallies by Political parties involved in the by-election end today 6th July, 2017. Vehicle movement to, from and within the ten local government areas in the Osun West senatorial district will be restricted to enhance the movement of voters, security agents and vehicles of people with essential services during the election. Osun state, the state of the living springs has been seen and credited since the tenure of Governor Rauf Aregbesola as a relatively peaceful state.

The ethnic diversity of the state must unite the people rather than divide us. Politics they say is not a do or die affair but a call to serve the people, we must accommodate each other despite our differences, forgive each other and put old scores behind us for a better tomorrow for the youths.

We can all join hands to surmount all mountains before us to move the state forward and the Osun West Senatorial by-election coming up on Saturday is no exemption. Nigerians are waiting and watching.


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