Bayelsa, Kogi, ‘Difficult States to Conduct Elections’-INEC

Bayelsa and Kogi “are not easy states” when it comes to conducting governorship elections, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said.

The INEC chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, said this, on Tuesday, in a meeting with the Bayelsa State Traditional Rulers Council in Yenegoa, the state capital.

Mr Yakubu who spoke with other electoral delegates from the state, also said the attitude of the political class in both states have remained a challenge.

He expressed his concern on the two states.

”Today, it is exactly 31 days to the kick-off of the offseason election in both Bayelsa and Kogi, The eyes of the entire country and the world would focus on both elections for a number of reasons.

”This coming election would be the first major elections since the conduct of the general elections that would help us to improve on forthcoming elections.

”Secondly, and to be very candid with you my royal fathers, Bayelsa and Kogi are not easy states when it comes to conducting major elections, particularly governorship elections.

”The challenges is not only geographical in terms of the terrain and, therefore, it has an impact on electoral logistics, but another big challenge is the attitude of particularly the political class which has been a major concern to the commission.

”We are all witnesses what happened in the party primaries for the nomination of candidates. Now campaign for votes has commenced, and would continue for one month until 24 hours to the elections,” he said.

Mr Yakubu also disclosed that INEC would be conducting state constituency elections in six polling units in Brass LGA on the election day.

”In addition to the Bayelsa election, we are also conducting state constituency election in Brass Local Government on the same day, the election should have been concluded long ago but for litigation over the number of polling units where the supplementary election should hold following the disruption of the process on March 9 this year.

”The commission concluded that we needed to go back to six polling units. One political party and his candidate said it should hold in ward 6 in Brass in the entire polling unit, these matters dragged on through the courts then to the Supreme Court.

”And finally the apex court decided that the commission was right in conducting the elections in six polling units; so the election would hold in six polling units,” Mr Yakubu explained.

The INEC chair restated the commission’s commitment to conducting free and fair elections in the states.

”INEC has no candidate and anyone who emerges after the elections, would be in the hands of the people alone,” he said

On vote-buying, he appealed to the traditional rulers and people of the state to ensure that they desist from the menace.

“Democracy should not be bought in the open market,” he said. He added that the commission is committed to ensuring that the election starts as early as 8 a.m. and had engaged over 10,000 ad-hoc staff.

Source: Premium Times

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