The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Professor Mahmood Yakubu and the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu jointly gave assurances to stakeholders in Bayelsa State that the upcoming governorship election shall be free, fair and credible. The meeting with stakeholders which held for about four hours in Yenagoa, had in attendance 42 registered
The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Professor Mahmood Yakubu and the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu jointly gave assurances to stakeholders in Bayelsa State that the upcoming governorship election shall be free, fair and credible.
The meeting with stakeholders which held for about four hours in Yenagoa, had in attendance 42 registered political parties’ chairmen and their governorship candidates; traditional rulers, Civil Society Organizations, security agencies and National Commissioners and Resident Commissioners as well as Directors of departments of INEC in attendance.
A major highlight of the meeting was the signing of the peace accord by the forty two political parties in attendance. The content of the document commits the political parties to minimum standards of decorum before, during and after the election. The candidates and their parties voluntarily subscribed to holding a peaceful and violence-free election. They promised to obey electoral rules and the constitution; and accept the outcome of the election.
In his remarks, INEC Chairman, Professor Yakubu noted that this was the second stakeholders meeting in Bayelsa and the first being attended by the Inspector General of Police and the Director General of the NYSC to underscore the importance of the election.
He said the INEC was ready for the election in Bayelsa and listed some of the activities preceding the election that have been successfully accomplished. He said while all non-sensitive materials have been deployed to the Local Government Areas where they will be used, sensitive materials would be deployed by this weekend.“Smart card readers are being configured and will be dispatched along with the sensitive materials”, he explained.
Professor Mahmood emphasized that vote buying and vote selling are offences against the law and culprits would be prosecuted. He urged the stakeholders to support the security agencies in securing the process of election and protect all the election staff.
Responding to a question on corrupt practices by some INEC staff, Professor Yakubu said the Commission has zero tolerance for such acts but would appreciate if such cases are brought to the attention of the Commission with evidence of such wrong doing. He said over 200 election staff had their appointments terminated after the 2019 general election following reports from the EFCC and other sources.
The IGP, Mohammed Adamu was very stern in his remarks warning trouble makers and election riggers to exit Bayelsa state immediately.”We are ready for the election and we will cover every nook and cranny of Bayelsa”
He said 32,000 personnel would be deployed for election duty in the state, “every polling unit will get the required number of personnel, while materials and officials would be protected”.
He warned all those who want to foment trouble or who have stock-piled arms for use during the election to have a re-think as the Police would make life difficult for them all. He said movement would be restricted and there is going to be nothing like VIP movement. “We will remain neutral and be very professional in discharging our duties”
Responding to questions from the political class, the IGP said the state security outfit would not be allowed to participate in the election process adding that all the police Officers would be new faces and they would undergo training programme to remind them of their conduct on election duty.
He said any civilian found in police uniform should be arrested and taken to the police station assuring that his men would protect INEC offices in all the Local governments.
The November 16 election is to elect a new governor for the state. It will also hold a supplementary election for Brass 1 State Constituency. There 923, 182 registered voters in Bayelsa state but only 889,308 collected PVCs. There are only 8 Local Government Areas, 105 Registration Areas and 1,804 Polling Units.
There are 45 political parties participating in the election, 42 of the 45 governorship candidates are male while 3 are female.