Owerri, IMO STATE– The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has expressed concerns about the looming threat of insecurity endangering the upcoming governorship elections scheduled for November 11 in Imo, Kogi, and Bayelsa states.
Speaking during a press conference on Wednesday, September 27, in Owerri, Imo state’s capital, INEC’s National Commissioner, Mohammed Kudu Haruna, urged all stakeholders, including political actors, security agencies, and the media, to collaborate in ensuring a peaceful electoral process.
Haruna emphasized the crucial need for the government to take swift action in curbing the escalating insecurity, which poses a significant obstacle to conducting free and credible elections.
He also highlighted the adverse impact of insecurity on the election preparations, noting that residents in Imo and Kogi states are reluctant to apply as ad hoc staff due to safety concerns.
“We have gone so far with our preparedness for the off-cycle elections in Imo, Kogi and Bayelsa states.
“But the commission is truly worried about the growing level of insecurity and violence in Kogi and Imo states. This is unacceptable, unnecessary and not healthy for our democracy.
“Campaigns in Kogi State have been violent and this is most unfortunate. Our political gladiators and indeed, all citizens, must work towards ensuring free, fair and credible elections.
“It stands to reason that if this situation is allowed to continue, there is the likelihood that people will be afraid to come out to vote, on the election day.
“Already, INEC is having a shortfall in the number of ad-hoc staff needed to superintend over the forthcoming elections. This is because most people expected to work are afraid of their safety.
”It is very important that peace prevails otherwise voters will not come out to vote. I appeal to all actors to observe peace because at the end of the day, if there is no peace, there will be no free, fair and credible election.”