‘We’ll no longer condone violence’ — INEC talks tough ahead of Abia, Delta elections


The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says it will no longer tolerate issues of violence during elections.

The electoral commission had on Saturday suspended the Ekiti East constituency bye-election following the outbreak of violence in various polling units in the LGA.


In an interview with NAN on Sunday, Festus Okoye, INEC’s national commissioner, said the decision to suspend the bye-election was to preserve the integrity of the exercise.


“These measures are necessary to preserve the integrity of elections and the life and safety of voters, election officials and security personnel on election duty,” Okoye said.


“INEC will never condone electoral banditry aimed at discrediting the electoral process and retuning predetermined outcomes.


“To buckle under the pressure of organised, coordinated and mindless violence will lead to and amount to surrendering the sovereign democratic rights of the people to clean elections, and the suzerainty of anti-democratic forces.”


He urged security agencies to take proactive measures to curb potential threats ahead of the Aba North/South federal constituency election in Abia state.


The Abia election has been scheduled for March 27, while the Isoko North bye-election in Delta will hold on April 10.


Okoye said: “As the commission prepares for the conduct of the two by-elections, we urge the security agencies to proactively carry out comprehensive security clearance operations in the two constituencies and neutralize potential threats to the conduct of clean elections in the constituencies.


“The commission will not stake or mortgage the life and security of any official on election duty and that of the voters, in the face of a contrived atmosphere of fear, anxiety and violence.


“It will be unconscionable and amount to dereliction of its electoral duty for the commission to proceed with any election in the face of brazen violence that has compromised the integrity of an election.


 “The organisation and conduct of elections require long term planning, resources and mobilisation, therefore, the commission cannot engage in endless conduct of elections on account of the activities of merchants of violence and electoral bandits.


“It is important for the commission to complete the expansion of voter access to polling units, as this will give expression to the true value of the vote and make voting less cumbersome for the Nigerians.”


The INEC commissioner noted that the electoral body will soon resume the continuous voter registration exercise and capture those that have attained the age of 18.

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