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Conducting elections in Kogi, Bayelsa, Imo not easy – INEC chairman

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Conducting elections in Kogi, Bayelsa, Imo not easy – INEC chairman

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…urges political parties to caution supporter

Independent National Electoral Commission says conducting the November 11 governorship polls in Kogi, Bayelsa, and Imo will not be an easy task due to insecurity and geographical locations.

INEC also called on political parties to call their supporters to order.

The Commission further charged security agencies to take quick action against perpetrators of electoral violence.

INEC Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, stated these on Friday, at a meeting of the Inter-agency Consultative Committee on Election Security.

Yakubu said actions by the security agencies will aid a safe environment for the peaceful conduct of elections.

He stressed that conducting the November 11 governorship elections in Kogi, Bayelsa, and Imo will not be an easy task because of insecurity and geographical locations.

According to him, “The ultimate responsibility for election security lies with the security agencies.

“Our message to the security agencies is to take decisive action against perpetrators of electoral violence. This is the surest way to guarantee a safe environment for the peaceful conduct of elections and electoral activities.

“In doing so, security personnel on electoral duty should remain neutral and committed to the established professional code of conduct and rules of engagement.

“The three States of Bayelsa, Imo, and Kogi are not the easiest States in Nigeria to conduct elections.

“The difficult geographical terrain and prevailing insecurity are compounded by negative mobilisation by political actors, especially since the commencement of the campaign in public on 14th July 2023.

“Our message to politicians is that they should call their candidates and supporters to order. Violence and other undemocratic activities such as vote buying, attacks on election officials, and disruption of the electoral process must stop.”

National Security Adviser, Nuhu Ribadu, in his remarks, said the security agencies were getting prepared ahead of the governorship election.

He said, “From the side of the security, which I am here representing as co-chair of this election, we want to assure you that we are getting prepared. We will work. We will be with you 100 per cent. We will meet the requirements and standards you want us to meet.

“We just have two weeks to the election. Already, a lot of work has gone into preparation. The security interaction is also ongoing.”

Ribadu assured that President Bola Tinubu’s administration is ready to conduct free, fair and credible polls.

He said, “Nothing is as important as a free and fair election in a democracy. I assure you, this government is ready to provide that. Mr President has given his orders and he said he wants to see a free, fair, credible election.

“This is going to be the first election that is going to be under his watch. He said that we should take this message to INEC and to Nigerians that he is going to be very much available to support you to make sure Nigeria will have free and fair elections.”

the Economic Community of West African States, where he is leading mediation talks even as Mali remains under military rule following the August 2020 coup that ousted President Ibrahim Keita.

In September 2023, the Malian military government announced that it would delay a presidential election scheduled for February 2024, which was aimed at returning civilian rule.

Two rounds of voting, initially set for February 4 and 18, “will be slightly postponed for technical reasons,” said government spokesman Abdoulaye Maiga.

Maiga explained the reasons to include issues related to the adoption of a new constitution and a review of the electoral lists.

He also mentioned a dispute with the French company Idemia, which the government said is involved in the census process.

“The new dates for the presidential election will be communicated later,” Maiga affirmed.

In January 2022, the Economic Community of West African State imposed sanctions on Mali when the Asimi Goita-led junta planned to stay in power for up to five years.

Bowing to pressure from the regional bloc, the junta promised to hold the election in February.

Consequently, the ECOWAS lifted a set of trade and financial sanctions on Mali in July 2022.