The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has condemned cases of thuggery in the ongoing gubernatorial elections in Bayelsa and Kogi states.
The commission said this in a statement signed by the INEC Commissioner of Information and Voter Education, Festus Okoye on Saturday, reads,“The commission unequivocally condemns this. We are still receiving, collating and evaluating these reports as we move into the critical phase of result collation.”
Festus noted, that “Unfortunately, however, despite all the efforts of the commission and the political parties to promote peaceful elections, including several engagements with stakeholders and signing of Peace Accords, there are reports indicating that the process was in several places affected by thuggery and violence”.
According to the electoral umpire, reports from accredited observers and our officials in the field indicate that most voters who were willing to vote had the opportunity to do so. The Commission delivered materials to its two State offices in good time and made adequate preparations for the movement of staff and materials to the various voting locations.”
The statement reads in parts, “Voting has now closed in all polling units in the elections in Bayelsa and Kogi States. The Commission deployed staff and materials in 4,352 polling units in the two States for the Govemorship elections, Kogi West Senatorial rerun election and Bras 1 State Constituency supplementary election in Bayelsa State.”
“Results will be collated at Registration Areas, Local Government Areas and State levels. Staff of the Commission are ready to receive these results and stakeholders are advised to keep to their commitments to ensure peaceful conduct. All electoral officials are reminded of the oath of neutrality they subscribed to”, the statement continued.
The Commission however, urged the general public to remain calm, while assuring voters in the two States of the resolve of the Commission to ensure that the elections are concluded fairly and credibly.