The Oyo state chapter of the Nigeria Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ) has commended and given an award to the Oyo State Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Mr. Mutiu Agboke.
The Chairperson of the Oyo State NAWOJ, Comrade Jadesola Ajibola, who led a team of the association’s executive members to the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) office in Agodi, Ibadan, said the award is to commend and encourage the Commission on its efforts at conducting successful elections in Oyo State.
Comrade Ajibola revealed that the award was necessitated by Mr. Agboke’s efforts at meeting the demands placed before him by the association before the election.
She said, “We were here about three weeks before the election and made some demands. We demanded that the election should be free, fair, credible and transparent, we got that.”
“We demanded that all the parties should be given a level playing ground, we got that. We also demanded that all the stakeholders be carried along in all the Commission’s efforts at conducting the election. We got that too,” she noted.
The Chairperson added that the REC and the Management Team of the commission were always willing to offer information anytime they were approached by journalists, before the elections.
“We followed their actions and monitored all their efforts from the pre-election to the announcement of the result and we saw the transparency and that the people’s votes counted and that is why we agreed that we should commend the Commission and the REC in Oyo state,” she said.
While receiving the letter of commendation and a plaque, the REC, Mr. Mutiu Agboke, said he was shocked that all the efforts of the commission were noted and appreciated by journalists.
He declared: “I was shocked at the kind of response we have been getting since after the election because we have been largely commended and we are proud of it.”
“We know people were watching and listening to us before the election, but we never knew people didn’t believe us when we promised that their votes would count, until they saw the outcome and said they just believed,” he stated.
Agboke noted that his team did not do anything spectacular but only aligned with the stipulated electoral guidelines.
He said, “We have a guideline and there are provisions for everything and anything we have to do as a Commission. All we did was just to follow them to the letter.”
The REC also commended the Commission’s Management Team in the state, saying he feels proud that they also shared his passion of doing what is expected of them.
He further stated, “Although the result is there for all to see, I can assure you that no member of INEC in this state can ever be found culpable of any electoral crime or did anything untoward to achieve the result.”
He added that, “Our people need to know that, with the new INEC, the era of election rigging and manipulations are over and even the political parties and other stakeholders must also know that and begin to live by it.”