By Yemi Adeleye
Lagos – Six days to the Presidential and National Assembly Elections, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Lagos State on Sunday again re-trained about 846 Supervisory Presiding Officers (SPOs) to ensure flawless conduct of polls.
Mr Muyiwa Yusuf, the Lagos State Training Officer of INEC, who facilitated the training, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the retraining had become imperative to clear the air on grey areas after the first training.
Yusuf said: “We are trying to make sure all our supervisory presiding officers are on the same page because the earlier trainings were done in all the 20 local government offices of INEC in the state.
“We could see there are some contradictory statements here and there.
“So, to trash it out, we decided to call the 846 SPOs we have in Lagos State so that we will all be on the same page and pass the same message across to everybody,’’
According to him, the one-day training is in three sessions – 9:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.; 12 noon to 1:30 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
He said that the commission had divided the SPOs across the 20 local government areas into three to attend each session of the training.
The training officer said that the training covered the issuance of tender ballot papers, ballot papers, how to fold the ballot papers, ballot boxes for different elections, the finger print, among others.
Yusuf said that voters could use any finger to vote but must only ensure that the finger print fell in the box of the party they intend to cast their votes for.
He urged the SPOs to uphold the ethics of electoral officers which included professionalism, transparency, equity and impartiality.
“The ethics of you being an electoral officer is the key thing. Professionalism must be there.
“If you don’t have these features as an electoral officer, you tend to create problems for yourself,” he said.
On the preparations of the commission for the polls, Yusuf said: “We are ready and as umpire, we are unbiased.
“We are prepared for the tasks ahead and by His Grace, we will come out in flying colours,’’
Also speaking, Mr Femi Akinbiyi, the INEC Public Relations Officer in Lagos State, urged all the SPOs to live above board in the discharge of their duties, saying that Nigerians were counting so much on them.
Akinbiyi said: “You must put all these training into proper use and guide the Presiding Officers (POs) and Assistant Presiding Officers (APOs) well. The nation is depending on us to conduct credible and acceptable elections.
“You must be good ambassadors of the commission; treat voters with courtesy and respect.
“You must also uphold priority voting for the elderly, pregnant women, nursing mothers and people living with disability.’’
Akinbiyi said that the commission had concluded training of 74, 436 POs and APOs).
According to him, the commission is not leaving any stone unturned in its preparations for the elections.
He said that INEC would do everything possible to deliver on its mandate.
NAN reports that the trainees took turn to raise several questions pertaining to the conduct of elections.