Mallam Garba Attahiru-Madami, the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Kwara State, says he can “personally arrest” journalists attempt to cover Saturday’s presidential election while not donning their certification tags.
Attahiru-Madami disclosed this on Friday at a press conference in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital, to brief the public on the commission’s preparations for the election.
“I will personally order the arrest of any journalist that does not use the accredited tag and is moving about to cover the election,” he said. “So, I urge all journalists covering this election to get themselves accredited because I don’t want to have any issues with anyone.”
He also said a total of 106 journalists had been accredited to cover the Saturday’s presidential and National Assembly elections in the state.
Attahiru-Madami also stated that a total of 1,827 local and international election observers have been accredited to cover the polls.
He said: “A total of 106 media men and women were accredited even though over 200 applied. Also, a total of 1,827 local and international observers have been accredited in the state.
He said the electoral commission is fully prepared for Saturday’s poll, noting that a total of 2,887 Smart Card Readers have been upgraded, fully charged and will be deployed for the election.
He gave the total number of registered voters in Kwara State as 1,407,400, stressing that of the figure, a total of 1,149,969 had collected their Permanent Voter Cards (PVC).
The figure represents 82 per cent of the total figure. 257,431 uncollected cards have been forwarded to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for safekeeping until after the elections.
According to Attahiru-Madami, a total of 11,992 electoral staff have been trained and deployed for the elections, just as he restated the commission’s readiness to ensure a credible and transparent exercise.
He disclosed that sensitive and non-sensitive materials for the polls have already been deployed to the 16 Local Government Areas of Kwara State in the presence of both political parties and security agents.
Attahiru-Madami, however, warned political parties to avoid any form of violence during the Saturday elections and urged the electorate to come out and vote en masse.
“By and large, therefore, I can say without mincing words that we are ready for the elections. I, therefore, use this medium to call on eligible voters to turn out en masse to cast their votes without any fear. To the political actors, please play the game according to the rules and be reminded that there are lots of dos and don’ts, which must be religiously observed as the law will catch up with anyone trying to flout the laws,” he added.
He said the result for the presidential election would be announced in Abuja, noting that INEC will only announce the Senate and House of Representatives election results at the state level.
Kwara State is made up of 193 registration areas (wards), 1,872 polling units and 1,015 voting points.