The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, and the National Security Adviser (NSA), Babagana Monguno, have warned politicians and their supporters against causing violence that could disrupt the smooth conduct of the governorship and state Assembly elections coming up on the 18th of March.
According to the NSA, anyone caught disrupting the election by any means will be severely dealt with by the Federal Government.
According to him, unlike the first round of elections involving 470 constituencies, Saturday’s election will involve 1,021 constituencies.
The INEC boss said the election would require more collation centres and will need the deployment of more security personnel.
His words: “ Governorship elections will hold in 28 states. Governorship elections in eight states (Anambra, Bayelsa, Edo, Ekiti, Imo, Kogi, Ondo and Osun) are held off-cycle and therefore not conducted during the general elections. However, elections will be conducted for all the 993 state constituencies nationwide.
“Our state offices have made available to the Nigeria Police Force, being the lead agency in election security, the delimitation details for the elections, including locations of Polling Units and Collation Centres. On that basis, we expect a coordinated deployment plan in synergy with other security, intelligence, law enforcement and safety agencies.
“Unlike the last election involving 470 constituencies (1 Presidential, 109 Senatorial districts and 360 House of Representatives seats), the state elections will involve 1,021 constituencies (28 governorship and 993 state Assembly seats). There will also be more candidates involved and more collation centres to protect.
“They are also local elections involving keen contests. It is, therefore, important for parties and candidates to speak to their agents and supporters to see the elections as a contest and not war. They should refrain from acts of violence that may mar the elections or compromise the security of our personnel, observers, the media and service providers,” he said.
On his part, Monguno urged politicians, especially at the state level to demonstrate equal level of maturity and discipline by calling their supporters to conduct themselves in a peaceful manner.
“Anybody thinking to undermine the process should please think again because that won’t be in his or her interest or the nation’s interest.”
MIKE Igini, a former INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Akwa Ibom State, said the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) functioned optimally in the presidential election, despite observed technical glitches.