By Efa Sunday and Deborah Obot
The Independent National Electoral Commission has said it will replicate the ban on GSM, phones and recording devices at polling booths for the November 10, 2018 bye-election for the Ikom 2 bye-election.
The Resident Electoral Commissioner, Dr. Frankland Briyai stated this during a stakeholders meeting on Thursday in Calabar where he also said the elections will be conducted amidst tight security.
Speaking on the ban of recording devices, Mr. Briyai averred that: “I was in Osun State where I supervised three local government areas and nobody was allowed to use GSM or recording device in the polling units. This will be the case during the November 10 bye-election.”
Briyai assured stakeholders that the elections will be credible. “Our ad-hoc staff for the election are drawn from federal ministries and agencies, who would ensure level playing field for all, and I can assure you that only the most popular candidate will win the election,” he said, adding that: “No election is small because those contesting want to win and serve the people. And if service is the reason they are contesting, they should be keen to see that peace remains the focal point during the election.”
The Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC), National Orientation Agency, the National Youth Service Corps, Federal Road Safety Corps among others, were part of the meeting which urged political parties participating in the elections to embrace peace.
And, Mr. Briyai averred that despite Ikom 2 being, “half the size of a local government, with four wards, fifty-five polling units and eleven voting points, INEC will however partner with the security operatives to ensure that violence is not seen or heard of, all through the period of the election.”
The bye-election is necessitated by the death of Mr. Simon Nkoro, a second term member who died at the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital on August 26, 2018 a few days after the bye-election to replace his colleague, Mr. Stephen Ukpukpen who slumped and died during a morning workout session.
Also, the IPAC Chairman in the state; Mr. Sunday Michael in his remarks said they will work with INEC to ensure that all the political parties will have a level playing ground and advised the political parties to eschew hate even as he prayed the media to report every event fairly and without bias.
Meanwhile, CrossRiverWatch gathered that Mr. Nkoro’s widow, Mrs. Stella Nkoro might be the sole candidate in the elections as it is unclear whether other parties will field a candidate.