The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has expressed concern regarding the potential impact of insecurity on the upcoming governorship elections scheduled for November 11 in Imo, Kogi, and Bayelsa states.
During a press conference held on Wednesday, September 27, in Owerri, the capital of Imo state, INEC’s National Commissioner, Mohammed Haruna, urged political “actors” as well as other stakeholders such as security operatives and the media to actively promote peace in preparation for the polls.
Haruna emphasized the urgent need for the government to address the current security challenges in order to ensure free and credible elections. He further highlighted the adverse effects of insecurity, particularly in Imo and Kogi states, where potential ad hoc staff members are reluctant to apply due to safety concerns.
He stated, “We have made significant progress in our preparations for the off-cycle elections in Imo, Kogi, and Bayelsa states. However, the commission is deeply concerned about the escalating levels of insecurity and violence witnessed in Kogi and Imo states. Such circumstances are unacceptable, unnecessary, and detrimental to our democracy.
“The ongoing violent campaigns in Kogi State are particularly distressing. It is imperative that our political leaders, along with all citizens, work together to ensure the conduct of free, fair, and credible elections.
“If this situation persists, there is a high likelihood that voters will be hesitant to participate on election day. Moreover, INEC is currently facing a shortage of ad hoc staff, as many individuals are apprehensive about their personal safety.
“The maintenance of peace is crucial, as the absence of peace will undoubtedly undermine the integrity of the election process. I appeal to all stakeholders to prioritize peace, as it is the cornerstone of a successful, transparent, and credible election.”