Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Mahmood Yakubu has restated the call for a swift prosecution of electoral offenders in the country.
Professor Yakubu who spoke during the review of the 2019 General Elections with the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES), said that attention must be paid to the forthcoming governorship elections in Bayelsa and Kogi state scheduled to hold on Saturday 16 November 2019.
“The truth is that democracy and credible elections will be deepened where electoral offenders are swiftly prosecuted. For instance, in the recent general elections in South Africa held in May 2019, some electoral offenders were arrested and swiftly charged to court even before the election was concluded.
“As we review the 2019 General election, we must also pay attention to the forthcoming elections, the Bayelsa and Kogi governorship elections are scheduled to hold on Saturday 16 November 2019.”
He added that the history of reported political violence in the states brings into consideration, safety of INEC personnel and sanctity of the electoral process.
“Given the history of political violence, resulting in the governorship election declared inconclusive in the two states in 2015, the commission is concerned about the safety of our personnel, properties and the sanctity of the electoral process.
“The politicians in Bayelsa and Kogi must shed off the toga of political violence associated with the conduct of elections in the two states.
The INEC Chairman assured that the electoral body will protect the integrity of electoral process in the forthcoming elections.
“I am glad to note the peace efforts in Bayelsa State through a broad-based Stakeholders Summit on Violence-free elections. I am also glad that some concerned leaders in Kogi State are considering a similar initiative.
“I want to assure all well-meaning leaders of Bayelsa and Kogi States that the Commission will work with them to ensure peaceful and credible polls.
“I also wish to assure all voters in the two States that INEC will protect the integrity of the electoral process and ensure that the will of the people prevails. We will also work with the security agencies to ensure professionalism and neutrality in strict compliance with their rules of engagement”, he pledged.