By Chibuike Nwabuko
Abuja (Sundiata Post) – The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has expressed concern about some reported cases of violence in the Saturday governorship elections in Bayelsa and Kogi governorship elections.
The National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee in Abuja, Mr Festus Okoye, in a statement said that it was unfortunate there was violence in spite of all efforts to ensure peaceful elections.
The commission, however, called for calm while assuring voters of INEC’s commitment to conclude the elections process in both states fairly and credibly.
It said that the commission was carefully monitoring the processes even as voting had closed in all polling units in both states.
“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.
“There are reports indicating that the electoral process was in several places affected by thuggery and violence, which the commission unequivocally condemns.
“We are still receiving, collating and evaluating these reports as we move into the critical phase of result collation,” the commission said.
The commission also said that results would be collated at registration areas, local government areas, and state levels.
It added that its staff was ready to receive those results while advising stakeholders to keep to their commitments to ensure peaceful conduct.
The commission commended the security agencies, saying they had been supportive so far, in the face of many challenges.
The commission urged the public to remain calm, assuring voters in the two states of its resolve to ensure that the ”elections are concluded fairly and credibly.”
It said that it deployed staff and materials in 4,352 polling units in the two states for the governorship elections, Kogi West Senatorial rerun election and Brass I State Constituency supplementary election in Bayelsa.
“In addition, national commissioners, resident electoral commissioners, and other staff were deployed to monitor and supervise the elections.
“These field officers are regularly submitting real-time reports to the commission on developments in the field,” the commission said.