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Guber Polls: INEC calls on security agencies to do more

...plans prosecution of electoral offenders

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During a meeting of the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security in Abuja, the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, revealed that the commission is in the process of forming a legal team to address cases of electoral offenders following the February 25 presidential and National Assembly polls.

Prof. Yakubu also stated that the upcoming governorship and state Houses of Assembly elections will likely be more demanding than the presidential poll and called on security agencies to remain vigilant. He urged political parties to caution their supporters, emphasizing that the March 18 governorship and state Assembly elections are a contest and not a war.

He went on to say that INEC is expecting to receive case files for electoral offenders, as promised by the Inspector-General of Police. Prof. Yakubu pointed out that the governorship and state Assembly elections involve more constituencies than the national elections held three weeks prior, with 1,021 constituencies (28 governorship and 993 state Assembly seats) and more candidates involved. Additionally, there are local elections that feature keen contests.

In light of this, political parties and candidates should encourage their agents and supporters to approach the elections as a contest, avoiding acts of violence that could mar the elections or compromise the security of personnel, observers, the media, and service providers. The commission is encouraged by the Inspector-General of Police’s directive to state commands to handle all cases of electoral offenses expeditiously, and will immediately set up a legal team to address such cases in earnest.


On his part, the National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno, described Saturday’s polls as complicated but gave the assurance that security agencies would ensure peace.

Monguno said a lot of meetings had been going on, especially with the Chief of Defence Staff and the Inspector-General of Police, to ensure peaceful polls.

He said, “Of course, the elections on Saturday are going to be much more complicated, and contextually different. First of all, we are going to have 1,021 constituencies, which means more people are interested, and more people will vote. Obviously, the dynamics would be much more different than the elections that were just concluded.

“For the security agencies, I know a lot has been done. I have been talking with the Chief of Defence Staff, and with the Inspector-General of Police, who is the head of the lead agency in the process of elections. So far, so good, we do not envisage anything that is going to be terrible or apocalyptic in the next few days. But that does not mean that we should all do away with our state of readiness. We must comply with the rules. We must also allow everyone to exercise their fundamental rights as citizens of this country.”

The NSA urged political parties and candidates to demonstrate high level of discipline and maturity during and after the polls, advising them to caution their supporters.

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