The Independent National Electoral Commission on Thursday called on the media to engage the political class more to ensure that the 2019 general elections were not declared inconclusive.
The commission said all stakeholders involved in the electoral process must play their roles according to the constitution and the Electoral Act to avoid inconclusive elections, adding that political class is often the cause of inconclusive poll.
INEC’s Resident Electoral Commissioner for Osun State, Segun Agbaje, made the call while addressing journalists in his office on the preparation of the electoral body for the 2019 elections.
He said the electoral body would be left with no other choice than to declare election inconclusive if the cancelled votes outnumbered the difference between the winner and the runner-up.
To aviod such situation, Agbaje urged the media to impress it on the politicians not to circumvent the process of free and fair elections.
He said, “There are instances that card readers will be tampered with to delibrately delay poll or totally stop it.
“In a situation like that, once election fails to start by 1pm because of card reader malfunction or any other thing happens, rather than resort to using the Incident Form, we will suspend election in the unit and do it the next day.
“INEC will never delibrately work towards an inconclusive poll, but the media need to sensitise the stakeholders, especially the political class more on the need to allow free and fair elections.
“On our part, we will continue to engage Civil Society Organisations, heads of security agencies, religious leaders, transport unions and other critical stakeholders on the need to allow free and fair elections.
“Journalists should do more to engage, especially the political class. Most times, that group is the cause of inconclusive poll.”
On the commission’s preparation for the general elections in the state, Agbaje said as of Tuesday, 1,253,484 registered voters out of 1,681,930, representing 74.53 per cent had collected their Permanent Voter Cards.
He said the remaining cards would be taken to registration areas between June 16 and 21 for collection.
Agbaje said the commission would soon commence the training of ad hoc staff and security agents.
He reiterated the electoral body’s determination to conduct credible elections that would meet the aspirations of all.