The Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu has warned politicians to shun violence during this weekend’s governorship and house of assemblies elections nationwide.
This is just as the National Security Adviser (NSA) Babagana Monguno warned perpetrators of violence to have a rethink.
“Anybody who is itching to undermine this process should please think again because it is not in the person’s interest and not in the interest of the country. We will continue to work round the clock and all the crisis centres will be open”, he said.
Yakubu and Monguno spoke at a meeting of Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security, held Tuesday in Abuja.
The INEC boss said it was important for parties and candidates to speak to their agents and supporters to see the elections as a contest and not war.
“It is therefore important for parties and candidates to speak to their agents and supporters to see the elections as a contest and not war.
“They should refrain from acts of violence that may mar the elections or compromise the security of our personnel, observers, the media and service providers”, he said.
Yakubu said the governorship elections would hold in 28 States of the Federation, while elections would be conducted for all the 993 State constituencies nationwide.
“Our State offices have made available to the Nigeria Police Force, being the lead agency in election security, the delimitation details for both the Governorship and State Assembly elections, including locations of Polling Units and Collation Centres. On that basis, we expect a coordinated deployment plan in synergy with other security, intelligence, law enforcement and safety agencies.
“The Governorship and State Assembly elections this weekend involves more constituencies than the national elections held about three weeks ago. Unlike the last elections involving 470 constituencies (1 Presidential, 109 Senatorial Districts and 360 House of Representatives seats), the State elections will involve 1,021 constituencies (28 Governorship and 993 State Assembly seats).
“There will also be more candidates involved and more collation centres to protect. They are also local elections involving keen contests.
“The Commission is encouraged by the directive to State Commands by the Inspector General of Police to handle all cases of electoral offences expeditiously. We look forward to receiving the case files. We will immediately set up a legal team to handle such cases in earnest”, he said.