By Chris Nomjov
The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Attahiru Jega has warned desperate politicians, that the era of getting mandate through any fair or foul means, is over.
Prof. Jega, is still being accorded global recognition for the manner of the conduct and announcement of the results of the peaceful presidential polls, that took place in the country on March 28.
He also appealed to politicians to refrain from acts capable of disrupting the electoral process by encouraging peaceful conduct of elections on April 11.
Jega, made the appeal on Thursday in Makurdi during a meeting of stakeholders convened by INEC, said the scale of violence that was recorded in Benue during the Presidential and National Assembly polls was regrettable.
“The scale of destruction witnessed in Benue during the March 28 Presidential and National Assembly elections was incomparable with anything in any part of the country.
“The commission lost over 200 card readers and two of our offices were burnt down with one staff member.”
He said the stakeholders’ meeting was necessary to address electoral malpractices and issues capable of causing violence.
Jega expressed regret over isolated cases of violence and said the commission had achieved milestones in the conduct of credible elections in the country.
He called on politicians to support the commission to improve its performance in future elections.
“It is our desire to have better polls on April 11; we therefore, appeal for your cooperation and calm during the elections.”
He assured the state that the 200 card readers that were destroyed would be replaced and urged politicians to ensure the safety of INEC officials and materials during the elections.
Jega cautioned against spilling of innocent blood during elections and charged the politicians to engage in good conduct.
Similarly, Deputy Inspector General of Police in charge of operations, Mr. Sotonye Wakama, called on the electorate to report all cases of electoral malpractice to the security agencies.
DIG Sakaba, likewise warned them against taking the laws into their hands. The police chief also called on them to use smart phones to document electoral malpractice.
Some of the politicians present, frowned at the unbecoming attitude of aspirants, who insist on fair and foul means, and winning elections at all costs.
They called on the security agencies and INEC officials to be neutral in the discharge of their duties and use sanctions against erring staff.
Two incumbent senators, who were returned in the National Assembly election, Barnabas Gemade and George Akume, appealed to INEC to remain steadfast in declaring credible results.
They also appealed to security agencies to apply the law on all regardless of positions.
The PDP Chairman in the state, Mr Emmanuel Agbo, called on INEC to re-consider the posting of the Resident Electoral Officer, Prof Istifinus Dafwang.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the meeting was attended by politicians, local and international observers, INEC officials, traditional rulers and academicians