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INEC Warns Political Parties to Call Supporters to Order Ahead of Off-Cycle Gov. Elections

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Ahead of the three off-cycle Governorship elections scheduled to hold in Bayelsa, Imo and Kogi States, the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC has warned political party leaders to call their supporters to order.

Chairman of the. Commission, Mahmood Yakubu gave the warning while addressing political parties during the 2023 election review meeting, in Abuja.

Yakubu expressed concerns over
already disturbing reports of clashes between opposing parties with claims and counter claims of innocence or culpability since the commencement of
campaign in public by parties and candidates in the three States on 14th July 2023.

Stressing that the claims are of no help to anyone, the INEC Chairman urged the political parties to call their supporters to order so as to promote peace.

According to the Electoral Umpire “The use of thugs during elections to harass election officials, intimidate voters and disrupt processes, sometimes resulting in the destruction of election materials or even worse must be addressed.

“As we review the general election, we also need to focus our attention on the forthcoming bye-elections and the three off-cycle Governorship elections in Bayelsa, Imo and Kogi States.

“For the Commission, we are looking at some of the lessons learnt from the general election to improve our performance in the forthcoming elections.

“We are focusing, among other issues, on election technology, recruitment and training of ad hoc staff, the conduct of some of our regular and ad hoc officials, security issue, logistics in particular and our relationship with other service providers in general.

” I also appeal to party leaders for similar introspection on the conduct of your candidates and their supporters.

“The use of thugs during elections to harass election officials, intimidate voters and disrupt processes, sometimes resulting in the destruction of election materials or even worse must be addressed.

” Campaign in public by parties and candidates in the three States commenced on 14th July 2023 as provided in the Timetable and Schedule of Activities for the Governorship elections.

“Sadly, there are already disturbing reports of clashes between opposing parties with claims and counter claims of innocence or culpability. These claims help no one. Call your supporters to order”, he said.

Professor Yakubu also acknowledged complaints from some political parties on the issue of using the power of incumbency in some States to restrain some parties and candidates from access to public facilities for media campaigns and outdoor advertising through exorbitant fees or outright denial.

He said the act usually led to the mutual destruction of advertising materials such as billboards, resulting in altercation and violence involving supporters of opposing political parties.

The INEC Boss assured that the issue will be discussed at its next meeting of the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) scheduled for Friday this week.
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