The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Bayelsa State has said politicians and electorates should be held responsible for the many failures experienced during the just concluded 2019 general.
The commission stated this during a one-day Stakeholders Briefing on Niger Delta Watch 2019, held in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State Capital.
The State Resident Electoral Commissioner of INEC, Mr Monday Udoh, who was represented by Mr Michael Nwankwo, said elections fail because citizens fail to take responsibility.
“The widespread electoral fraud reported in some parts of Bayelsa State was not planned by INEC. They were acts obviously carried out either by politicians, electorates or ad-hoc staff they were engaged by the commission for the election.
“The major reason why we still cry about our elections not being free, fair and credible is that citizens have failed to take responsibility to ensure that an enabling environment is created for the electoral process is successful.”
Responding to reports of polling units being sited in homes of individuals, he said the commission will relocate such polling units before the forthcoming governorship election in the State.
“It is illegal for a polling unit to be located in a private residence. I want to encourage citizens to report such cases and such unit would be relocated. We don’t need your personal information before we commence an investigation on such reports.” He said.
Also speaking, the Public Relations Officer of the Bayelsa State Command of the Nigeria Police, DSP Asinim Butswat, said poor availability of logistics and manpower hampered the performance of its personnel during the election.
“The lapses on the part of the Nigeria Police is a result of poor availability of logistics and manpower. You know Bayelsa is a riverine State and it would require more men to cover it than States that are not riverine.
“Areas, where incidences of violence and electoral frauds took place, are mostly areas that cannot be accessed by road. So procuring more speedboats to enable our men to reach these areas on time was a challenge. If all these are put into consideration, the police would be more effective during the forthcoming governorship election in the State.”
While presenting the Bayelsa State Election Report, the 2019 General Elections State Project Coordinator, Mr Robinson Kuroghobogha, said: “to ensure the forthcoming governorship election in the State successful, INEC should hold multi stakeholders meeting to review the role of stakeholders in the electoral process.”