Good Governance Part 10
1. Your vote, your life. Exercise it wisely. Let me start our discussion today on a congratulatory note of the various actors in the Ekiti election, particularly a friend of the house and a democrat, Dr Kayode Fayemi.
2. It was a battle well fought. His quest reminds me of the quote by Sheik Al Maktoum that ‘failure is not falling to the ground; it is remaining there once you have fallen and the greatest failure is when you decide not to stand up again ‘.
3. This further explains the struggle we are in towards the enthronement of good governance in Nigeria. We shall not relent until success is achieved.
4. Last week, we discussed essentially criteria for the selection and appointment of polling agents. Today, our engagement is on the role the agents are expected to play during elections.
5. The primary assignment of the polling agent is to represent the candidate/ party in all areas that he or the party could not be physically present but assigned to hold forth. If an agent is assigned to a polling unit, he is expected to be there by the appointed time, preferably before the arrival of others.
6. In most cases, it is best to report at the ward collation centre where materials will be distributed and accompany the polling officer to the unit.
7. This enhances safety of all materials. At times, manipulation starts at this stage through hijack of materials or tampering with same. Upon arrival at the unit, all materials are checked against dispatch note by the agents and confirmation made.
8. Thereafter, when voting commences, the polling agent ensures that people accredited are those only whose names features on the polling register. The agent is expected to also confirm the identity of the person being accredited.
9. He must then be vigilant that only one ballot paper each is given to the voter and he exercises his franchise without any influence or interruption in secret. If all went well by way of accreditation and voting, counting begins ultimately.
10. In this regard, the agent must be vigilant at the sorting before counting. He must ensure that void ballots, particularly double thumbprints are not counted for any candidate. After sorting, each Party’s or candidate’s votes are now counted.
11. Again, vigilance by the polling agent is crucial as double or multiple counting could be committed at this stage. After counting, recording of the scores are now made on the relevant result sheets. Please make sure all carbonized copies are well placed and records essentially the scores of the parties.
12. After proper recording, the polling officials signs the result sheets whilst the various party polling agents countersigns them. It is not compulsory that any or all agents must sign to render the results valid. Whoever does not want to sign can be excused.
13. Upon signing, each political party agent is entitled to a copy. This is a vital document you must collect as an agent. This is the primary evidence of what transpired at your unit. Note that there is a new introduction of transmitting scores electronically from the units now.
14. Ensure correct scores are entered before transmission. After this exercise at the unit level, the polling officials proceeds to the ward collation centre, but not without accounting for the unused materials and voiding the unused ballot papers.
15. Ensure as an agent that you follow the officials with the results to the ward collation centre till after delivery to the ward collation officials. Thereafter, you hand over your copy to the party ward collation agent.
16. At this stage, you are ordinarily acquitted and you can go home. However, to further fortify your defense and protect your party’s vote at the collation centre, hang around the centre.
17. We continue with the role of the ward collation agents next week God willing, meanwhile, remember your vote is your life, struggle to protect it always.