INEC will be non-partisan, fair under my watch, says Yakubu
BARELY a day after his inauguration by President Muhammadu Buhari, the INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, has assured that the Commission under his watch would be non-partisan and fair to all Nigerians.
Speaking at the peace summit held at the Creek Motel, Yenagoa, which was attended by nearly all the 20 candidates in the Saturday, December 5, 2015 Bayelsa governorship election, Prof. Yakubu said INEC was resolute in its commitment to provide a level playing field.
The INEC chairman, who was represented at the occasion by a National Commissioner, Mrs. Amina Bala Zakari, said the Commission was facilitating the peace summit pursuant to its mandate to pursue and promote sound democratic knowledge and practices, which he observed, was in sync with the UNDP’s mandate of promoting democracy and development through good governance and reducing the risk of conflict.
He said that in a democracy, sovereignty belonged to the people and that this sovereignty could be expressed in elections that were devoid of violence, threats, coercion or intimidation.
The Resident Representative of the UNDP, Mr. Opiah Kumah, who was represented by Mr. Matthew Alao, congratulated the Commission for facilitating the peace summit.
He observed that it was a similar effort earlier in the year, which paved the way for the peaceful 2015 general elections.
Kumah, who said the peace pact, the Electoral Act and extant laws would ensure that supporters of contestants did not foment trouble before, during and after the election, expressed delight that the UNDP’s investment in deepening Nigeria’s democracy was yielding dividends.
In his remarks, Commissioner of Police for Bayelsa State, Nasiru Oki, charged all voters to comport themselves peacefully on election day.
He admonished the contestants to eschew violence and not to see the election as a money-making venture.
He warned that any armed Orderly who accompanied his principal to the polling unit would be apprehended and detained, adding that the police would be on hand to arrest anyone who breached the laws governing the election.
Besides, the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Mr. Barito Kpagih, who warned that any voter who presents a fake Permanent Voter’s Card (PVC) would be apprehended and handed over to the security agencies, said the guidelines for the 2015 general elections would apply to the governorship election and that there was no option for manual accreditation.