The Independent Electoral Commission, INEC has warned politicians against harassing electoral officials ahead of the governorship and state assembly election tomorrow.
The Chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu issued this warning while speaking in a meeting with security chiefs at the commission’s headquarters in Abuja on Thursday.
Prof. Yakubu warned politicians against engaging in any form of electoral malpractice. He said that any candidate found guilty of any form of malpractice will not be given the certificate of return even though he/she wins.
He recalled the ignoble ways in which electoral materials were vandalized in the presidential and national assembly elections and warned against such in tomorrow’s election. He also warned sternly against harassment of INEC officials in any manner.
Prof. Yakubu was quoted saying;
“The commission is concerned that many of our materials, including ballot boxes, voting cubicles, voters’ registers, and smart cards, were lost to the act of hooliganism and thuggery in the elections held two weeks ago.”
“Most worrisome is the attack on electoral officials. Some of our staff were abducted and taken hostage in an attempt to disrupt elections or influence the outcome,
“The commission will not tolerate the act of holding our officials hostage and forcing them to declare winner under duress. Where such occurs, the commission will not reward bad behaviour by issuing them the certificates of return.” He said.
Speaking further, the INEC chairman disclosed that the security agencies are prepared to ensure that the elections are conducted peacefully tomorrow.
He appealed to electorates to learn from the presidential and national assembly incidents of violence.
He commended the Police for the way they combated violence during the past February 23 elections and assured the citizenry that the commission will work with the Police to forestall electoral malpractices and prosecute violators accordingly.
“I wish to assure Nigerians that the commission will work very closely with the Inspector General of Police and the Nigerian Police to ensure the diligent prosecution of all violators of our electoral laws.” Prof. Yakubu said.