June 10, 2024

Central News

at the center of it

INEC deploys 27 RECs, two national commissioners to Bayelsa, Kogi, Imo as Army, Police, DSS issue marching orders

INDEPENDENT National Electoral Commission (INEC) says it has deployed 27 resident electoral commissioners (RECs) to Bayelsa, Kogi and Imo states to support the respective RECs insitu.
Off-season governorship elections are being held in the three states today.
Meanwhile, Defence headquarters (DHQ), the Police high command, and the Department of State Services (DSS) have also been issuing directives to their deployed operatives, and advisories to citizens generally.
INEC chairman Prof. Mahmood Yakubu says in a statement late last night ahead of today’s elections that the commission is as ready as it could possibly be.
A breakdown of RECs deployed shows that nine are sent to each of the three states going to the polls this Saturday. Three RECs will to be deployed to each senatorial district in the states.
INEC has also deployed two national commissioners, admin secretaries (ASs) and additional staff from headquarters to the three states to support the election process.
Fake military uniforms
Similarly, the DHQ, DSS, and the Nigeria Police each has warned “election saboteurs” to steer clear of the polls, because they would not only deploy strength, but would also show force where necessary.
While DHQ warns those who plan to sport fake military uniforms not to cross the red line, DSS and the police say they would be decisive in dealing with those who think they could scuttle the polls even if only using inflammatory statements.
Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Kayode Egbetokun had already ordered the posting and redeployment of 40 senior police officers, among them 14 assistant IGPs (AIGs) and 26 commissioners of police (CPs) to various commands and formations across the country.
INEC chairman Yakubu says that in less than 48 hours, 5,169,692 Nigerians, who collected their permanent voter’s cards (PVCs) were expected to vote in the off-cycle elections.
Responsibility to safeguard
He says it is the first time in Nigeria’s history that off-cycle elections would be held on the same day and across three geo-political zones – Northcentral (Kogi), Southeast (Imo), and Southsouth (Bayelsa).
Then he says for emphasis: “As I have said repeatedly, INEC is not a political party and we have no candidate in the elections.
“Our responsibility is to safeguard the process and ensure a level playing field for all political parties and candidates. The choice of who becomes the governor of Bayelsa, Imo and Kogi states is entirely in the hands of voters.
“We have delivered all sensitive and non-sensitive materials for the elections.
“The bimodal voter accreditation system (BVAS) has been configured for deployment to polling units as the only means of verification and fingerprint/facial biometric authentication of voters.
“Polling unit results will be uploaded to the INEC result viewing (IReV) portal. All election-duty officials have been trained.
“Arrangements have been made for land and maritime transportation to enable us to commence voting on schedule.”
DHQ, DSS, Police vow diligence
At a media briefing in Abuja, Defence media operations director (DDMO) Maj.-Gen. Edward Buba says the military considered the elections a serious business, and had deployed troops and platforms to ensure the security of the polls.
Read him: “Election is serious business and the military is giving it deserved attention. Troops, platforms and other assets are deployed to those places. For those who wear fake military uniforms, I warn them not to cross the line.”
DSS also says the agency would be decisive in dealing with those who plot to scuttle the polls as well as persons planning to engage in inflammatory statements.
DSS spokesman Dr. Peter Afunanya says: “Individuals or groups that may decide to engage in illegitimate acts or inimical conducts to public order will be decisively dealt with as dictated by the law. Forewarned is forearmed.
“It is strongly believed that a resort to acerbic pronouncements by certain persons will not only heat-up the polity, but (also) set the ground for deep-seated animosities and divisions among the populace.
Major contenders
“Also, it serves the country no good if its own citizens, whether at home or abroad, de-market or subvert her through misleading and false narratives.
“Broadcast and monitoring activities should be devoid of manipulations. Stakeholders are enjoined to note that politics should not be used to destroy the country or any part of it.”
For its part, the Nigeria Police vows to arrest and prosecute perpetrators of violence and their sponsors in today’s governorship elections, especially in Bayelsa State.
That avowal comes as tension rises in the state, as two major contenders Governor Douye Diri of People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and former petroleum minister Chief Timipre Sylva of All Progressives’ Congress (APC), trade accusations over alleged plans to perpetrate violence.
At a stakeholders’ meeting in Yenagoa, DIG in charge of the elections Sokari Pedro assures that IGP Egbetokun “is totally committed to a free, fair, safe and unhindered democratic atmosphere” during the off-cycle election.
Brigands cautioned
Pedro warns that no electoral offender would be spared. He says: “It’s a known fact that Bayelsa is a peaceful state.
“Nevertheless, it is election in a volatile state, the three senatorial zones that make up the state are politically volatile. Some local governments are flashpoints. They include Sagbama, Nembe, Kolokuma/Opokuma, Southern Ijaw, and Brass.
“These are just some of the areas that are most volatile. Unfortunately, the youths have been identified as vanguard of election violence, and the so-called godfathers and principals are the purveyors and patrons of this.
“The trend of election brigandage has become a new norm for two major reasons: when suspects are arrested, they are treated with kid-gloves, and then sponsors are not always arrested, and when they are arrested, they are not always prosecuted. This encourages the culture of impunity.
“But we are assuring peace-loving Bayelsans that in this election, not only culprits will be dealt with, but also the identified sponsors will be dealt with, the proxies will be prosecuted and the principals, in order to ensure a peaceful election in Bayelsa State.
“Any orderly or guard that escorts his principal to the polling centre shall be arrested and thereafter tried in orderly room. In this case, if care is not taken, may lead to his dismissal.”