Published On: Wed, May 15th, 2019

2019 polls: INEC begins prosecution of offenders soon, says Yakubu

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By Lateef Ibrahim, Abuja

The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, will soon commence the prosecution of offenders arrested by security agencies during the 2019 general elections.
The Chairman of INEC, Professor Mahmood Yakubu made the disclosure yesterday while playing host a delegation of stakeholders from Bayelsa state who were at the commission’s headquarters in Abuja to make case for a shift in the November 2 date earlier fixed for the conduct of governorship election in the state.
Yakubu explained that the offenders to be prosecuted are those whose case files have been prepared by the Nigeria Police.
The INEC Chairman told the Bayelsa stakeholders who were led by the Deputy Governor of the State, Rear Admiral Gboribiogha John Jonah (rtd), that, “Arising from the arrests made by the security agencies in the 2019 general elections, the Commission will soon commence the prosecution of offenders whose case files have been prepared by the Nigeria Police”.
Yakubu seized the opportunity to appeal to all stakeholders in Bayelsa and Kogi States to ensure that the forthcoming governorship elections are devoid of hate speech, intimidation of voters and INEC officials, vote buying, violence including bombing and arson that led to the destruction of election materials and INEC facilities in the last governorship elections in the two states and other sundry violations of the law.
He added, “I urge you to appeal to your supporters to ensure that the creeks and waterways, the hills and forests, urban and rural areas, the polling units and collation centres are free of thugs who unleash mayhem that turn a simple democratic process into needless bloodletting.
“I want to assure you that for our part, the Commission is committed to a free, fair and credible process.
“We will deploy early, adhere to our guidelines and regulations and ensure a transparent and prompt collation and declaration of results.
“May I also appeal to all political parties to ensure the conduct of transparent, credible and rancour-free primaries for the nomination of candidates.
“From the 2019 general elections, we have seen how acrimonious party primaries have been, resulting in numerous litigations and making our preparations for elections difficult.
“We are still grappling with issues arising from the conduct of party primaries. Pre-election litigations through the regular courts (the High Courts, Courts of Appeal and the Supreme Court) have resulted in a number of judgements in favour of petitioners.
“So far, primary elections conducted by political parties in 22 constituencies across the Federation have been upturned by the regular Courts of Law on account of improper party primaries, “In all cases, we have obeyed the orders of court and issued Certificates of Return to candidates declared winners by the Courts.
“More of such judgments have been received and are currently under consideration by the Commission”, he said.
The Chairman reiterated that the commission will continue to maintain an open door policy and that all stakeholders are free to request for audience with the Commission on any matter they consider important for the improvement of our electoral process.

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