Kogi/Bayelsa guber: Cancel polling units involved in violence, INEC urged
A coalition of civil society groups, on Friday, called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to cancel the ballot of polling unit where violence erupts in the forthcoming Kogi and Bayelsa governorship elections.
Addressing journalists in Abuja after submitting a letter addressed to the INEC Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, at the commission’s headquarters, Mr Raphael Adebayo of the Free Nigeria Movement, urged the commission to declare its intention on the use of card reader and manual accreditation for the forthcoming elections.
He called on the INEC Chairman to see the forthcoming governorship elections as an avenue to right the wrongs of the 2019 general elections by improving on the gaps identified by local and international observers.
Mr Adebayo further tasked the commission to put in place strong mechanisms that would make the two elections to be adjudged as free, fair and credible.
According to him, “We would like to urge the commission to cancel the ballot at each and every polling unit where violence erupts in the forthcoming elections. We believe this would serve as a strong deterrence to politicians and political parties who are bent on using violence to undermine our elections and subvert the will of the people.
“We wish to also ask the commission to develop a monitoring and feedback template for deploying Police officers, so as to be able to hold to account any unit that fails to act in preventing any form of electoral malpractice. It is important that the Police are mandated to also do a ward-by-ward report of their activities on Election Day.
“It is equally important that the commission declares its intention on the use of card reader and manual accreditation for the forthcoming elections. This is crucial as it would show the commitment of the commission to transparency and accountability, as well as help reinforce trust in the electoral process.” He said
Mr Adebayo further appealed to the commission to stay true to its promise that Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) would not be disenfranchised during elections in Nigeria.
He, therefore, expressed optimism that the commission would eschew all forms of bias when dealing with any form of electoral misconduct or violence by any of the political parties during the forthcoming elections.
“This is INEC’s first outing after the last general polls which fell below the minimum standard for conducting a credible election in our estimation and as confirmed in the post-election reports of notable organisations. Hence, we wish to encourage and task the commission to put in place strong mechanisms that will make the two elections to be adjudged as free, fair and credible.
“We have read multiple media reports on your concern that thugs have been heavily mobilised to disrupt the forthcoming Kogi and Bayelsa States governorship elections. While we commend the honesty of the commission in its risk assessment report on the forthcoming elections, we must strongly urge the commission to be firm and unbiased in dealing with any form of electoral misconduct or violence by any of the political parties during the forthcoming elections.
“Whilst looking forward to peaceful, credible and inclusive elections in Kogi and Bayelsa States, we sincerely hope that these two elections would return Nigeria to the path of electoral redemption.” Adebayo stated.