- INEC boss noted that both states are politically volatile.
- Calls for a robust response before the elections, on Election Day and during the process of collation and declaration of results.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has identified some warning signals in Bayelsa and Kogi state ahead of the November 16 governorship elections.
INEC chairman, Prof Mahmood Yakubu noted that both states are politically volatile at the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee of Election Security meeting, held at the Independent National Electoral Commission’s (INEC) headquarters, Abuja.
“Elections have been severally disrupted by violence in the past. Our own risk assessment, which will be shared with the security agencies at this meeting, has identified some flashpoints.
“We are also concerned that thugs have been mobilised from within and outside the States with the aim of either influencing the elections or disrupting the process on behalf of partisan sponsors,” the INEC boss said.
He, therefore, called for a robust response before the elections, on Election Day and during the process of collation and declaration of results.
“Nigerians expect that by now we would have learned enough lessons from previous elections to ensure a swift security response to the increasing desperation by political actors to disrupt elections and subvert the will of the electorate. If that happens, many Nigerians will blame the electoral umpire and the security agencies. We must continue to rise to this challenge,” he added.
While assuring the voters in both states of the Commission’s commitment to the integrity of the process, Prof Yakubu said INEC has been working over the last seven months assiduously to ensure the conduct of credible elections.
“We cannot undermine the processes we have so laboriously established. We are equally confident in the assurances we have received from the security agencies of civil and professional conduct by their personnel deployed for the elections.”
Speaking further, Prof Yakubu said the commission has been reassured by the security agencies that Election Day activities at polling units and collation centres will not be disrupted by the activities of hoodlums, “neither will thugs be allowed to cart away results sheets or compel our Returning Officers to make declarations under duress.”
“We are equally re-assured that security personnel will adhere strictly to the standard operational guidelines and deal decisively with misconduct by their personnel on election duty. We are confident that with the sheer number of personnel the security agencies are deploying in the two States, there can be no excuse for the processes to be undermined by anti-democratic elements.”