Call Your Supporters To Order, INEC Chair Prays

The Independent National Electoral Commission INEC has expressed deep concern about the rising instances of pre-election violence by political parties and urged them to put their followers to order ahead of the November 11 governorship elections in Bayelsa, Imo, and Kogi states.

This was stated by the electoral commission’s chair, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu on Tuesday in Abuja at its election quarterly review meeting with political parties.

He said; “As we review the general election, we also need to focus our attention on the forthcoming bye-elections and the three off-cycle Governorship elections in Bayelsa, Imo and Kogi States. For the Commission, we are looking at some of the lessons learnt from the general election to improve our performance in the forthcoming elections.

“We are focusing, among other issues, on election technology, recruitment and training of ad hoc staff, the conduct of some of our regular and ad hoc officials, security issue, logistics in particular and our relationship with other service providers in general. I also appeal to party leaders for similar introspection on the conduct of your candidates and their supporters. 

“The use of thugs during elections to harass election officials, intimidate voters and disrupt processes, sometimes resulting in the destruction of election materials or even worse must be addressed. Campaign in public by parties and candidates in the three States commenced on 14th July 2023 as provided in the Timetable and Schedule of Activities for the Governorship elections. Sadly, there are already disturbing reports of clashes between opposing parties with claims and counterclaims of innocence or culpability. These claims help no one. Call your supporters to order.

“At the same time, I must also acknowledge the perennial complaints from some political parties that the power of incumbency is used in some States to restrain some parties and candidates from access to public facilities for media campaigns and outdoor advertising through exorbitant fees or outright denial.

“This often leads to the mutual destruction of advertising materials such as billboards, resulting in altercation and violence involving supporters of opposing political parties”.

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