By Friday Idachaba
Lokoja – Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, says the commission is willing and ready to deliver credible, acceptable, free, fair and conclusive election in Kogi on Nov. 16.
The INEC chairman, who disclosed this at a Stakeholders’ meeting on Thursday in Lokoja, said it was exactly 36 days to the Nov. 16, Governorship election in Kogi and Bayelsa States and the commission was ready.
Yakubu noted that all non-sensitive materials for the election had already been organised and batched Local Governments by Local Government, political parties and polling units.
The INEC chairman said the commission concluded the collection process for uncollected Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) on Sept. 30.
He said: “We have quarantined all the cards brought back to the office here in Lokoja and delivered them to the Central Bank of Nigeria.’’
Yakubu noted that the Kogi and Bayelsa elections were major elections with high stakes for Nigeria as there would be interests with all eyes on the two states.
He, therefore, expressed concern over possible actions and utterances of politicians during campaigns.
“Actions and utterances of political actors and their supporters likely to lead to violence during electioneering, during voting on election day and during collation of results, is a big source of concern to the commission.
“Campaigns have commenced. You have a responsibility as citizens of Nigeria and of Kogi State to keep your state away from this toga of trepidation, concerns, tensions and violence during elections.
“INEC is not a political party. We are not interested in any candidate but only interested in the processes that will lead to a credible outing.
“You are aware as we all are, that there is this unfortunate image of the state as a violence-prone state when it comes to elections”, he said.
Yakubu called for peace and urged the stakeholders to join hands together with INEC and security agencies to change the narrative, image and position of the state as a place of trepidations during elections.
“I wish to assure that before the election, I will come with the Inspector General of Police (IGP).
“If coming to Kogi every week between now and Nov. 16 will lead to peace, credible election in Kogi state, I will come to Kogi every week till the end of the election, ‘’ he said.
Yakubu said the stakeholders’ meeting was to convey the commission’s readiness for the election and in the same spirit, share some concerns that we have, going into the election.
“We believe that with your support, we can deliver peaceful fair free credible acceptable and conclusive election in Kogi State. We can’t do it alone.
“We can only succeed when the people of Kogi State are determined that the process should be free, fair, credible and conclusive,’’ Yakubu said.
In his remarks, Malam Mohammed Haruna, INEC National Commissioner in charge of Kogi, said it behoved on the stakeholders as political leaders in the state to ensure conduct of credible, free and fair election in the state.