The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Nigeria Police Force (NPF) and Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) yesterday, Oct. 31, unveiled their plans for the elections in Bayelsa and Kogi states, slated for November 16.
The commission will hold one election in Bayelsa (the governorship election), while it has scheduled two for Kogi (governorship and senatorial election in Kogi West Senatorial District).
INEC’s National Chairman Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, and the commission’s Resident Electoral Commissioners in Bayelsa and Kogi – Elder Monday Tom and James Apam – said INEC was fully prepared and had concluded plans to ensure a free, fair and credible process where voters would be allowed to express their voting right and their votes would count.
Representatives of the NPF and NSCDC – Kabir Quarzo and Peter Maigeri – said they were prepared to ensure a conducive environment for the elections and would deploy human and other resources to neutralise any security threat and prevent a breakdown of law and order.
They spoke in Abuja at the Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room (Situation Room) dialogue session with INEC RECs of Bayelsa and Kogi on preparations for the elections in both states.
Yakubu said his agency would not condone politicians’ excesses and was ready to penalise dubious permanent and ad-hoc workers.
He added that card readers will be used for accreditation, while collation and transmission of election will be manual, as provided by relevant laws.
Yakubu noted that beside the elections scheduled for Balyesa and Kogi on November 16, INEC would conduct two more elections, bringing to five, in November. The other two, he said, include a state constituency election in Sabua, Katsina State, whose representative died, and supplementary elections in six polling units in Brass 1 Constituency of Bayelsa State.
Speaking earlier, the Convener of the Situation Room, Clement Nwankwo, hailed INEC for deciding to hold both elections the same day as a cost saving measure.
He said: “This is going to be the first election since the last general election. And so, a lot of eyes are on these elections.”
Representative of the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID, Charles Onyemachi, said it is the responsibility of every Nigerian and other interested parties “to ensure we have credible elections in Kogi and Bayelsa.”