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Bayelsa Election: Politicians want INEC to be truly independent


Professor-Mahmood-Yakubu INEC ChairmanSome politicians in Lagos on Tuesday advised INEC against conducting the Dec. 5 Bayelsa governorship election in a manner that might lead to supplementary election or cancellation as witnessed in Kogi.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that controversy trailed INEC’s cancellation of election in 91 polling units in the Nov. 21 governorship polls in Kogi.

The INEC, however, announced that supplementary election would be held on Dec. 5 in the units before a winner could emerge.

NAN also reports that various NGOs in the region had warned that rigging the election may lead to crisis in the state, hence, the need for INEC to make votes count.

The politicians who spoke with NAN said that if INEC had been firm and on top of the situation, the Kogi election would have been conclusive.

The Lagos State Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Olatunji Shelle, advised the commission to be dispassionate in the conduct of the election.

Shelle also said that INEC should ensure a strict monitoring of its entire staff during the election.

“We have had issues in the past where some staff of the commission connived with politicians to rig elections in spite of assurances from it.

“INEC needs to be dispassionate in order not to be seen as being on the side of any political party. It must uphold its integrity, before, during and after the election.

“There should be no hidden agenda and INEC must be seen to be transparent and fair,’’ the PDP chairman said.

Shelle also urged the police to be professional and not aid or abet rigging so as to prevent violence.

“Results should be collated and announced at all levels and illegal results should not be smuggled in or admitted,’’ he said.

The National Chairman of the National Conscience Party (NCP), Dr Yunusa Tanko, also urged INEC to be truly independent.

“I hope that what happened in Kogi will not repeat in Bayelsa. The allegations and controversy against INEC and the level of impunity will lead us nowhere.

“It is expected that Bayelsa may be more volatile and violence prone.

“It is in INEC’s interest to show maturity, ensure that card readers work and voters register in order, to ensure smooth conduct of the poll,’’ Tanko said.

The 2015 Presidential Candidate of the KOWA Party, Prof. Oluremi Sonaiya, urged INEC to improve on everything about the election.

“There should be timely arrival of materials at polling booths to avoid frustration.

“The commission must ensure its ad hoc staff show professionalism and handle the voting device well; there should be no hint of partiality on any side,’’ she said.

Sonaiya advised the commission to also show sense of seriousness and accountability to the people of Bayelsa and to Nigerians as a whole.

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