Kirkuk Governor Najmaldin Karim speaking to Rudaw.
KIKRUK, Kurdistan Region - The Kirkuk governor told Rudaw on Saturday that all preparations for the independence referendum were finished and tomorrow ballot boxes will be put across the city's voting stations.
"I am calling on the people of Kirkuk to go to the ballot boxes on Monday," Najmaldin Karim urged. "All the preparations have been made."
He said he already spoke with the Kurdistan election body regarding the preparations.
"The ballot boxes will be put at the [stations] where people used to vote in the past. Therefore, everyone should go to the places where they voted in 2014," Karim explained.
Describing the vote as "historical" he called upon Kirkuk people not to miss "this opportunity."
"This is a historical day for the people of Kirkuk and Kurdistan. This does not belong to a party or a person. This belongs to the people and future of Kurdistan," Karim said.
He was optimistic there would be a considerable turnout.
"We are confident that the people would go for voting and vote 'Yes' for establishing the Kurdistan country. I am sure people would go. Throughout the history of Kurdistan, such opportunity has not come up. How could a Kurd miss such an opportunity? I cannot believe," Karim said.
He went on to add "some people spread fear. Kirkuk is patient more than ever. There are no threats to Kirkuk. Those who spread propaganda have never wanted Kirkuk to express its opinion on these questions and never wanted Kirkuk lie in patience, but aimed to deteriorate Kirkuk's stability."
"I am once again calling on the people of Kirkuk without national, religious, and political affiliation differences, go to the ballot boxes and cast their votes to honor the pure lives of the martyrs who defended Kirkuk from ISIS and defended Kirkuk from allowing Tigris force from entering it. They made us all stay in Kirkuk, letting us attempt to develop and serve it," Karim said.
Dijla or Tigris Operations Command was formed during Nuri al-Maliki's tenure as premier and was sent into the provinces of Kirkuk and Diyala. His move was blasted by the Kurdistan Region which in response sent its Peshmerga forces south of Kirkuk in 2012 to counter the force.
He hoped there will be no "turning back" from the decision made to hold referendum as it is "the referendum of the people. It is the people deciding to whether or not vote."
He rejected claims that the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), his party, has turned back on supporting holding referendum in Kirkuk.
"Maybe the PUK is the first party who has called for the self-determination right. For the referendum question, the PUK itself has asked for the question of referendum to be held in disputed areas, too," Karim said.
He also added that "in the PUK road map, which was voted on by the leadership and political bureau, it was stressed that the referendum must include the disputed areas, too. I am sure, the PUK, its members and fans will commit to it and vote before other people."