By Emmanuel Oloniruha and Christian Ogbonna
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has warned that it would not accept any form of attack on its personnel, ad hoc staff or materials to be deployed for the Bayelsa Nov. 16, governorship election.
INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu gave the warning on Tuesday in Yenegoa during the commission’s interactive session with members of the state Traditional Rulers Council.
Yakubu said in addition to the governorship election, INEC would also conduct Brass II State Constituency Election in Brass Local Government Area (LGA) on the same day.
He also warned that the commission would not tolerate vote buying.
He said that as an honest broker, INEC was committed to conducting free, fair, credible, conclusive and acceptable election in the state.
Yakubu said that while INEC was ready for credible election, the attitude of political class remained a source of concern to the commission.
“We are concern about utterances likely to breach peace during campaign, on election day and during collation of results.
“Let me remind the candidates that the commission working with the security agencies will not accept attack on the people that will be engaged on election day.
“We are going to engage over 10,000 young Nigeria across the state.
“We are concerned on mobilisation of armed persons to voting and collation centres as we experienced in previous elections,” he said.
Yakubu commended the traditional rulers for their continuous support to INEC including the mobilisation of their subjects to register and collect their Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs) as well as advocacy for peaceful election.
He urged them to continue with the advocacy for peaceful election.
“No one can accuse you of partisanship. You are fathers of all. Your words are laws in communities.
“So we appeal to you to continue to speak to your subjects, the political actors and their supports for peaceful conduct during the electioneering campaigns, the voting process and beyond,” he said.
Yakubu assured that as an umpire, INEC would maintain it neutrality in the electoral process by opening polling units by 8 a. m. in the state.
“INEC is not a political party, INEC has no candidate in the governorship election. The choice of who becomes next governor rests entire in hands of the people.
“We have delivered all nonsensitive election in the state, they are already in the state. We have delivered all the nonsensitive materials for the election.
“We have secured funding and made funds available to the Resident Electoral Commissioner for the administration of the election. We have no problem whatsoever with that.
“We will deploy straight from our office in Yenegoa to registration area to make it faster for us to open polling units at 8a.m., on election day.
“We are committed to ensuring that voters don’t wait for INEC and materials to arrive. We should be their waiting for voters to arrive at 8 a.m,” he said.
Yakubu said that out of 14 activities scheduled for the state election, INEC had successful concluded 10.
Mr Dibal Yakadi, Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG) In-charge of zone 5, Benin City, Edo, decried spate of ballot box snatching during elections.
Yakadi pledged that the police were making adequate arrangement to checkmate irregularities during the governorship poll in the state.
He said that security personnel would be deployed to all the eight Local Government Areas and wards in the state.
He called for collaboration of traditional rulers in ensuring a successful and violence free election in the state.
His Royal Majesty, King Alfred Diete-Spiff, Chairman of the state Traditional Rulers Council said the council would continue to support INEC activities, especially in the Nov.16, governorship election.
Diete-Spiff expressed concern about people in Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp in Yenagoa, urging INEC to ensure they vote in the election.