By Adekola Afolabi
The Ondo State Independent Electoral Commission (ODIEC) has said there is no going back on the time-table and guidelines released for the conduct of the December 1, 2018 Local Government elections in the state.
The ODIEC Chairman, Prof Yomi Dinakin, stated this yesterday in an exclusive interview with The Hope.
The Commission had on August 14, released time-table and guidelines for the conduct of the polls.
According to Dinakin, the Commission is making necessary arrangements in accordance with the law and the time-table released to ensure a hitch-free polls come December 1, noting that ODIEC is leaving no stone unturned in its commitment to conduct a credible, peaceful, free and transparent polls.
He called on participating political parties to brace up and conduct their activities, including primaries, among others, in line with the time-table and guidelines released by the commission to ensure a smooth and transparent polls.
The Professor of Law vowed to maintain his credibility and integrity by conducting free and fair elections on December 1, this year, insisting that the commission is not under the control of any government or anybody.
“ODIEC is not necessarily a creation of the state government, it is a creation of Ondo State House of Assembly in accordance with the constitution. It is similar to the Independent National Electoral Commission. So, it works independently and as the Chairman, am not under the control of government or anybody.
He promised to work according to the law that created the commission, just as he said the commission released its guidelines in accordance with the statutory provisions and, as such, all political parties must ensure they conduct their activities in line with the guidelines released by the ODIEC.
The ODIEC boss said the commission will meet up with the deadline fixed for the conduct of the elections.
He explained that the commission is not contemplating postponing the polls, saying there is no going back on the guidelines and time-table released.
He further hinted that necessary logistics have been provided while the commission is implementing it for smooth polls.
Prof. Dinakin also disclosed that the commission will recruit between 300 and 400 ad-hoc staff to complement the staff of the commission on the day of the council elections.
He equally said there is no room for independent candidacy in the elections as all candidates must come from registered political parties in the country, adding that the commission had applied to INEC for the registered political parties.
While saying that free, fair and credible elections is the responsibility of all stakeholders, the ODIEC boss said all hands must be on deck to achieve success.
He charged parties to go back home, hold their primaries and send their candidates to the commission for a smooth conduct of the polls.
The Chairman urged political parties and their supporters to eschew violence and freely participate in the elections, just as he advised prospective voters who have not collected their Permanent Voter’s Card (PVCs) to immediately do so to enable them elect candidates of their choice.
“If we do not recruit political thugs, if we do not engage in violence, even at parties’ primaries, we would continue to have free, fair and peaceful elections not only at local government level but also at national level. Free, fair and credible elections is the responsibility of all stakeholders, the commission, the political parties, the voters, you and I and everyone of us, ” he stressed.
He explained that the notice given is above the required 90 days, hence nobody or political party can say the commission gave short notice for the conduct of the polls.
“The notice is not too short; that is the statutory period required for giving notice. So, no political party can complain that it is too short”, Prof Dinakin emphasised.
He encouraged political parties and their supporters to see the elections as mere contest and not a do-or-die affair.
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