In anticipation of the Independent National Electoral Commission’s (INEC) by-elections across 26 states, Inspector General of Police Olukayode Egbetokun has mandated the restriction of vehicular movement from 12 am to 6 pm on Saturday, encompassing roads, waterways, airspaces, and other transportation avenues. The directive aims to maintain order and security during the electoral process while deterring potential disruptions.
The IG emphasized that essential personnel, including INEC officials, accredited journalists, electoral observers, and emergency responders, would be exempt from the restriction. However, VIP aides, escorts, and state security outfits would face limitations to prevent undue interference or intimidation during the polls.
Force Public Relations Officer Olumuyiwa Adejobi stressed the importance of these measures in upholding electoral integrity and ensuring equal participation for citizens. He underscored the police’s commitment to enforcing regulations and safeguarding the democratic process against any unlawful acts.
Meanwhile, preparations for the by-elections are underway in various states, with INEC liaising with local authorities to maintain security and facilitate the voting process. In Sokoto State, the commission has arranged police deployment to polling units, bolstering security measures to ensure a peaceful electoral environment.
Similar initiatives have been undertaken in Akwa Ibom State, where political parties signed a peace accord, pledging commitment to orderly conduct during the elections. Resident Electoral Commissioner Isah Ehimeakhe urged stakeholders to uphold the terms of the agreement, emphasizing the need for peaceful and transparent proceedings.
However, in Plateau State, tensions arose over the absence of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) logo on ballot papers, prompting protests from party members. Accusations of contravening a Court of Appeal judgment added to the turmoil, with PDP supporters expressing concern over their exclusion from the electoral process.
The development underscores broader challenges facing electoral transparency and adherence to legal rulings, highlighting the complexities surrounding by-elections and the imperative for procedural integrity in Nigeria’s democratic landscape. As stakeholders navigate these issues, the role of law enforcement agencies and electoral bodies in ensuring fairness and accountability remains paramount.