Kogi Guber: We will work with external collation officers- INEC

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says collation officers for the Nov. 16 Kogi governorship election will come from federal tertiary institutions outside the state.

INEC Federal Commissioner for Voter Education and Publicity, Mr Festus Okoye, told newsmen in Lokoja on Wednesday that drawing the officials from other states was part of efforts to guarantee the credibility of the poll.

He said INEC had the exclusive right to appoint collation officers from any part of the country and assured that the commission was collaborating with security agencies to secure the electoral staff and collation centres on Saturday.

Okoye explained that ballot papers earlier printed for the election had been withdrawn to accommodate governorship candidates of SDP and that of the APM in line with the ruling of a Federal High Court in Abuja, NAN reports.

He said that INEC was fully ready to go ahead with the election on Saturday, adding that all the electoral officials and ad hoc staff had been fully trained and ready to be deployed.

Okoye also said that the electoral officers would be given some basic items such as buckets and blankets, as well as letters of appointment stating their allowances.

He said that the INEC had taken steps to ensure that voters make their choice independently, adding that it was not the responsibility of policemen or any other person to guide people on how to vote and who to vote for in the election.

According to him, braille, magnifiers and other items would be provided for voters living with disabilities to assist them in exercising their franchise.

Okoye appealed to journalists that would be covering the election to ensure that they publish only factual reports to reduce tension during the exercise.

He particularly asked the media to assist the commission in reducing incidents of vote selling and buying on the election day by calling the attention of EFCC and ICPC officials that would be deployed to all polling units in the state.

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