The chairman of Delta State Independent Electoral Commission (DSIEC), Mike Ogbodu, said DSIEC will not tolerate the use of use of thugs, rigging, snatching of ballot boxes and all forms of electoral malpractice in Saturday’s local government council election.
Ogbodu, who gave this warning in a state-wide broadcast on Friday, urged the leadership of the various political parties, contestants and the electorate to see today’s local government council election as a game of sportsmanship and not a do-or-die affair.
While warning against the use of thugs to intimidate and spread fear among the electorate and political opponents, the DSIEC chairman said: “Rigging of elections, snatching of ballot boxes, impersonation, manipulation of figures, use of fire-arms or wielding of dangerous weapon at Polling units represent an attack on the root of the democratic process”.
He urged all Deltans to go and cast your votes peacefully without destroying the essence of our humanity at various polls as obtained in other civilized societies. “This l believe should be our collective goal”, he added.
Ogbodu admonished all stakeholders on the need to conduct themselves peacefully before, during and after casting their vote and said that actual voting commences at 8:00am and end at 3:00pm on January 6, 2018 with simultaneous accreditation and voting by eligible voters.
While assuring that those already on the queue before the normal voting hour, still stood the chance of casting their vote, he said that eligible voters were required to present their temporary or permanent voter card depending on when they registered with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), to enable them participate actively in the exercise.
He pleaded with all to give maximum cooperation to election officials and security personnel as they go about the exercise and said that every Delta has stake in the peaceful growth and development of the State.
In his words: “As civilized beings, I charge you to behave as one and let not our actions in the field and the outcome of the elections portray us in bad light before other people. Let us join hands together and exhibit the virtues of tolerance, understanding, objectivity, peace and love to make this election a huge success”.
Expressing his gratitude to all Deltans, especially the Leadership of the various Political Parties, Contestants and other Stakeholders for the maximum support and cooperation accorded him since his assumption of office on September 25, 2017, he said the broadcast was the climax of the electoral calendar earlier drawn by DSIEC for all its stakeholders.
“For me, it represents the hallmark of our collective efforts and various preparations put in place to add value to the electoral process that is geared towards entrenching true democratic culture at the third tier of government in Delta State”.
“Election, as you are all aware, is a fair competition for various offices, based on a formal expression of preferences by the Electorate. As an unbiased umpire, the Delta State Independent Electoral Commission, (DSIEC) exercises the powers to uphold the rights held exclusively by citizens of the State through elections. The Commission legitimizes the process by creating a level playing field for all political parties, their candidates and the electorate to exercise their franchise”.
“I advise you to play the game according to the rules without necessarily rocking the boat,” he urged