By Friday Idachaba
Lokoja – The Nigeria Police and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) have ledges to provide level-playing-ground to all contestants during the forthcoming governorship election in Kogi, scheduled for Nov.16.
The Commissioner of Police and INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner in the state, Mr Hakeem Busari and Prof.James Apam, gave the assurance while addressing some youth in the state.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the event, featuring over 500 youth, was a sensitization rally on the need to shun violence during the election.
In his remarks at the occasion, Busari commended the youth for their non-violence stance, saying the police, alongside other security agencies, would ensure security of lives and property before, during and after the election.
“We have already trained our men for this election and are going to have enough manpower as we have been assured of adequate support from the Force headquarters.
“The polling booths and the wards are going to be properly secured; we have nothing to fear as far as the November 16, election is concerned”, he said.
Busari urged stakeholders to play the game according to the rules, warning that anything to the contrary would be viewed seriously.
Earlier at the state headquarters of INEC, the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Apam, pledged that the commission would not do everything possible to ensure the conduct of free, fair and credible election.
Represented by the Head, Voter Education and Publicity (VEP), Alhaji Ahmed Bagudu-Biambo, the REC commended the youth for taking it upon themselves to ensure credible election,saying electoral violence would not be tolerated.
Speaking on behalf of the youth at the occasion, Mrs Gift Omoniwa, Executive Director of Participation Initiative for Behavioural Change in Development (PIBCID), said it was time to end the use of youth as political thugs.
Omoniwa said that youth constituted more than 60 per cent of the State’s population (NPC, 2006), and also represented majority of registered voters in the state, but hadremained marginalised and under-represented in decision making.
“Over the years, the sponsors of electoral violence have used the youth to perpetrate violence and disrupt the electoral process.
“When election violence occurs, the youth, their mothers, sisters and persons living with disabilities are the first victims; today, we have come to say ‘no’ to electoral violence,” she said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the programme was organised by some non-governmental organizations, in collaboration with USAID and UKAID. (NAN)