The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has expressed apprehension regarding the escalating insecurity in the lead-up to the governorship elections scheduled for November 11 in Imo, Bayelsa, and Kogi states. The commission, through its National Commissioner and Chairman of the Information and Voter Education Committee, Sam Olumekun, also deplored the fact that political parties, despite notices and reminders, have not substantially submitted the list of their agents.
Olumekun, while urging political parties and candidates to refrain from actions and statements that could escalate tensions, stated, “The commission is concerned about the spate of insecurity and violence, including clashes among supporters of political parties and candidates in the forthcoming elections. In our engagement with political parties, the commission has constantly called on parties to rein in their supporters from actions capable of jeopardizing the peaceful conduct of elections in India. INEC earnestly appeals to all political parties and candidates to avoid utterances and acts that may heat up the polity. The commission will continue to closely monitor the situation and sustain its engagement with security agencies and stakeholders to ensure peaceful conduct of elections in the three states.”
Regarding the submission of the list of party agents, Olumekun highlighted, “The commission notified all political parties of the opening of its online portal for the upload of the list of polling units and collation center agents, which commenced on Thursday, August 24, 2023. However, despite this notice and subsequent reminders, political parties are yet to substantially comply by submitting the list of their agents. For Bayelsa, Imo, and Kogi States, only 55 percent of the expected total of 189,180 polling unit agents have been uploaded to the designated INEC Portal.”
He further emphasized, “The commission hereby wishes to further remind political parties that the portal will automatically shut down at midnight on Tuesday, October 10, 2023. There will be no extension. Consequently, all parties sponsoring candidates for the elections that have yet to upload the list of their agents should do so before the deadline for the exercise.”