INEC expresses concerns over violence in Bayelsa, Imo, Kogi

THE Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has raised alarm over the cycle of violence witnessed in Bayelsa, Imo, and Kogi ahead of the November 11 governorship elections in the three states.

INEC chairman Mahmood Yakubu expressed this concern during a meeting of the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) in Abuja, on Friday, July 28, where the 2023 general elections were reviewed.

Present at the meeting were the Co-Chair of ICCES and National Security Adviser (NSA), Nuhu Ribadu, and the Acting Inspector General of Police Kayode Egbetokun.

    Yakubu stressed the need to learn from the challenges faced during the 2023 general elections and improve performance not only for the upcoming general election but also for the bye-elections, eight off-cycle governorship elections, and other electoral activities scheduled over the next three years.

    “As we review the conduct of the last general election, we also need to focus our attention on the forthcoming bye-elections and the three off-cycle governorship elections in Bayelsa, Imo and Kogi States. Campaigns in public in the three states commenced on 14th July 2023 and will continue until Thursday 9th November 2023 i.e. 24 hours to the opening of polls on Saturday 11th November 2023.

    “Already, there are ominous signs in the form of violent clashes between opposing political parties and candidates. While maintaining strict neutrality, security agencies should take decisive action against purveyors of violence and other undemocratic activities such as vote buying, attacks on election officials and disruption of the electoral process,” Yakubu said.

    Meanwhile, the National Security Adviser (NSA) Ribadu pledged unalloyed support to ensure peaceful elections throughout the country. He also commended INEC for its efforts in employing advanced technologies, which he believes will enhance the credibility of future elections and stabilise democracy in Nigeria.

    Nurudeen Akewushola is an investigative reporter and fact-checker with The ICIR. He believes courageous in-depth investigative reporting is the key to social justice, accountability and good governance in the society. You can shoot him a scoop via [email protected] and @NurudeenAkewus1 on Twitter.

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