The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has expressed grave concerns regarding the increasing level of insecurity leading up to the forthcoming governorship elections in Imo, Bayelsa, and Kogi States scheduled for November 11th.
INEC, through its National Commissioner and Chairman of the Information and Voter Education Committee, Sam Olumekun, has also voiced disappointment in political parties for not adequately submitting their lists of agents despite prior notifications.
Olumekun urged political parties and their candidates to avoid actions and statements that could escalate tensions, emphasizing the importance of a peaceful election process.
He stated, “INEC is worried about the rising insecurity and violence, including clashes among supporters of political parties and candidates preparing for the upcoming elections in Nigeria.
“The commission has consistently urged political parties to control their supporters and prevent actions that could disrupt the peaceful conduct of elections.
“INEC appeals to all political parties and candidates to refrain from making statements or taking actions that could inflame tensions. We will closely monitor the situation and maintain our engagement with security agencies and stakeholders to ensure peaceful elections in these three states.”
Regarding the submission of party agent lists, Olumekun explained, “INEC informed all political parties about the launch of its online portal for uploading the lists of polling units and collation center agents, starting from August 24, 2023. The commission also held discussions with party representatives to ensure a smooth process.
“However, despite these notifications and reminders, political parties have not fully complied by submitting their agent lists. For Bayelsa, Imo, and Kogi States, only 55 percent of the expected total of 189,180 polling unit agents have been uploaded to the INEC Portal.
“Specifically, for Bayelsa State, 29,278 out of 40,372 (72.5 percent) agents have been uploaded, for Imo State, 51,681 out of 85,644 (60.3 percent) agents have been uploaded, and for Kogi State, 23,720 out of 63,144 (37.6 percent) agents have been uploaded.
“Furthermore, only 25.1 percent of the expected 15,804 collation agents in these three states have been uploaded. Specifically, 1,246 out of 4,806 (26.0 percent) for Bayelsa, 1,638 out of 5,994 (27.3 percent) for Imo, and 1,095 out of 5,004 (21.9 percent) for Kogi State have been submitted.
“INEC wishes to remind political parties that the portal will automatically close at midnight on Tuesday, October 10, 2023, with no extensions. Parties sponsoring candidates for the elections must submit their agent lists before the deadline.”