The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Mahmood Yakubu, has said the commission has no preferred candidate in Saturday’s governorship election in Bayelsa, Kogi, and Imo States.

Yakubu said INEC is not a political party; hence has no candidate in Saturday’s governorship election in the three states.

In a message on Friday, the INEC Chairman cautioned staff members of the commission against interfering in Saturday’s election, stressing that electorates should be allowed to decide their governors.

Yakubu also said 5,169,692 Nigerians who collected their permanent voters’ cards (PVCs) are expected to vote.

He added that this is the first time in the country’s history that these elections are held on the same day and across three geo-political zones of the country.

He called on INEC officials, regular and ad-hoc, to demonstrate the highest level of patriotism and professionalism during the elections.

According to Yakubu: “As I said repeatedly, not least during my recent readiness assessment visits to the three States, INEC is not a political party and we have no candidate in the election.

“Our responsibility is to safeguard the process and ensure a level playing field for all political parties and candidates. The choice of who becomes the Governor of Bayelsa, Imo and Kogi States is entirely in the hands of voters.

“Polling Unit results will be uploaded to the INEC Result Viewing (IReV) portal. All election duty officials have been trained.

“Arrangements have been made for land and maritime transportation to enable us commence voting on schedule.

“In spite of the extremely difficult terrain and physical infrastructure in some locations, we are determined to ensure that our officials are there waiting for voters rather than the voters waiting for our arrival.”