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2023: Gunmen in South-East want referendum, not election – REC

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AKWA Ibom State Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) Mike Igini has revealed that Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) officials and materials are being attacked in parts of the South-East because the gunmen want a referendum and not an election.

He said the wanton killings are a consequence of the demands of the gunmen who are perpetrating the criminal acts.

Igini, who spoke on Arise TV Morning Show on Wednesday, disclosed that one of the gunmen opened up on what they want ahead of the 2023 elections.


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“Look, they are talking about referendum, and INEC is talking about elections. It is classic ignorance of the duties and statutory responsibilities of INEC.

“Our democracy is a hard one. We worked so hard to return Nigeria to democratic, civil rule, and I think all stakeholders stood up when the journey of Nigeria and the prospect of democracy were less certain.

“We all came together to stem down the threat of insecurity ahead of the elections. This is so necessary because an election is an opportunity for the people to review the policies and reflect on certain things and on those who have promoted these policies over time.

“That is why what happened in Imo State last week shows clearly that ignorance was at play. I listened to one of the gunmen talking, and he said a lot of things,” Igini said.

He urged Nigerians to stand up and defend democracy.

“All stakeholders should come together to ensure we stem down the tide of insecurity as we prepare for the 2023 election,” the REC said.

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Igini said under the law, INEC is the only body saddled with the responsibility of conducting elections and referendum whenever it is called.

“Why attack INEC? Why kill the staff? Why destroy the properties of INEC that even when a referendum is called, is what will be used? That is ignorance at play,” he added.

The ICIR reported that the INEC suspended the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) exercise in the Ihitte Uboma Local Government Area of Imo State after a staff was shot dead by gunmen.

Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari has said no contender for any political office could claim millions of votes again in Nigeria.

A statement released on Tuesday in Abuja by Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity Femi Adesina said Buhari spoke when he hosted some governors, ministers and other top functionaries in his government to break the Ramadan fast known as Iftar.

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