By Emmanuel Oloniruha/Christian Ogbonna
Yenegoa – The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has warned that it would not accept any form of attack on its personnel, ad hoc staff or materials to be deployed for the Bayelsa Nov. 16, governorship election.
INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu gave the warning on Tuesday in Yenegoa during the commission’s interactive session with the members of the Bayelsa Traditional Rulers Council.
Yakubu said in addition to governorship election in Bayelsa, INEC would be concluding Brass II State Constituency Election in Brass Local Government Area (LGA) on the same day.
He also warned that the commission would not tolerate the issue of vote buying.
He said that as an honest broker, INEC was committed to conducting free, fair, credible, conclusive and acceptable election in Bayelsa.
Yakubu said that while INEC was ready for credible election, the attitude of political class remained a source of concern to the commission.
“We are concern about utterances likely to breach peace during the campaign, on election day and during the collation of results.
“Let me remind the candidates that the commission working with the security will not accept attack on your children, the people will engage on election day.
“We are going to engage over 10,000 young Nigeria across the state.
“We are concerned on mobilisation of armed persons to the voting and collation centres as we experienced in previous elections,” he said.
Yakubu commended the traditional ruler for their continuous support to INEC including the mobilisation of their subjects to register and collect their permanent voter cards as well as advocacy for peaceful elections.
He urged them to continue with the advocacy for peaceful election.
“No one can accuse you of partisanship. You are fathers of all. Your words are laws in communities.
“So we appeal to you to continue to speak to your subjects, the political actors and their supports for peaceful conduct during the electioneering campaigns, the voting process and beyond,” he said.
Yakubu assured that as an umpire, INEC would maintain it neutrality in the electoral process and open poll by 8 a. m. in the state.
“INEC is not a political party, INEC has no candidate in the governorship election. The choice of who becomes next governor rest entire in hands of the people of Bayelsa.
“We have delivered all the nonsensitive election in Bayelsa, they are already in the state. We have delivered all the nonsensitive materials for the election in Bayelsa.
“We have secured funding and made funds available to the Resident Electoral Commissioner for the administration of the election. We have no problem whatsoever with that.
“We will deploy straight from our office in Yenegoa to registration area to make it faster for us to open polling units at 8am on election day.
“We are committed to ensuring that voters don’t wait for INEC and materials to arrive. We should be their waiting for voters to arrive at 8 a.m,” he said.
Yakubu said that out of 14 activities scheduled for the state election, INEC had successful concluded 10.
Mr Dibal Yakadi, Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG) in-charge of zone 5, Benin City, Edo, decried spate of snatching of ballot box during elections.
Yakadi pledged that the police was making adequate arrangement to checkmate irregularities during the gubernatorial poll in the state.
He said that security personnel would be deployed to all the eight local government areas and wards in Bayelsa.
He called for the collaboration of traditional rulers ensuring a successful and violence free violence election in the state.
His Royal Majesty, King Alfred Diete-Spiff, Chairman of Traditional Rulers in the state said the council would continue to support INEC activities, especially in the forthcoming gubernatorial election.
Diete-Spiff expressed concern about people in Internally Displaced Persons in Yenagoa, urging INEC to ensure they vote in the forthcoming election.
He also expressed concern about deployment of huge military officers for election, urging the agency to control its men.