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Published On: Fri, Nov 1st, 2019

Kogi, Bayelsa guber: INEC partners Navy, Airforce on safety of personnel, materials

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By Lateef Ibrahim, Abuja

The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, said on Thursday that it has mapped out strategies of degrading threats to the conduct of the Kogi and Bayelsa governorship elections holding on November 16 as well as ensuring the safety of materials and personnel.
Specifically, the Prof Mahmood Yakubu-led INEC disclosed that it is in consultation and partnership with the Nigerian Navy and Airforce for the purposes of providing security for its personnel and materials.
An INEC National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Barr. Festus Okoye made the disclosure at a dialogue session with Resident Electoral Commissioners, REC, in Abuja ahead of the two elections.
This is even as Okoye revealed that the Commission has banned some ad-hoc staff who abused the trust reposed on them during the 2019 general elections.
According to the INEC National Commissioner, “On election security and given the challenges of topography in the two states and their unfortunate history of electoral violence, we have mapped out strategies of degrading threats to the conduct of elections and ensuring the safety of materials and personnel.
“We are also in consultation and partnership with the Nigerian Navy and Airforce for the purposes of providing security for our personnel and materials.
“As part of its preparations for both governorship elections, the Commission has embarked on sustained and targeted voter education, stakeholder engagements and peace building initiatives.
“To this end, it (INEC) has, through its Alternative Dispute Resolution Directorate, met with Traditional Rulers, Religious Leaders and Youth groups in the states who have committed to ensuring peaceful elections. Meetings with candidates are scheduled for next week.
“However, the Commission has banned some ad-hoc staff who abused the trust reposed on them during the 2019 general elections”, he said.
Okoye therefore urge the Nigerian people to have faith in the electoral process and work towards democratic consolidation.
In his words, “We urge the Nigerian people to have faith in the electoral process and work towards democratic consolidation.
“Courts and the Tribunals are only democratic mechanisms of electoral conflict resolution.
“The Courts and the Tribunals are handmaids of the electoral process and exist to correct mistakes and allow genuinely aggrieved litigants and petitioners have their day in Court.
“The Courts and Tribunals are not suited for “electoral blackmail” or “extortionist settlement” or “political grandstanding”.
“At the conclusion of the 2019 general elections, aggrieved parties and candidates filed and served the Commission with a total of 807 petitions and some people regarded this as huge and a sign of regression in the electoral process.
“However as at the 25th day of October 2019; the petitioners withdrew a total of 190 petitions while 570 were dismissed, 4 are still pending while 42 of the petitions were determined in favour of the petitioners.
“It is important to take genuine and serious matters to court while professional litigants and other “meddlesome interlopers” should find alternative mechanisms and avenues of ventilating whatever grievance they have.
“We urge civil society groups and organizations to train their observers well”
He disclosed that a total of 1,646,350 voters will be on the register for the Governorship election in Kogi State.
According to him, the election will take place in 2, 548 Polling Units and Collated in 239 Registration Areas; while 23 Political Parties will be on the ballot for the governorship election and 24 Political Parties will be on the ballot for the Kogi West Senatorial District Election”.

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