The Independent National Electoral Commission, or INEC, has warned that the rising levels of violence and instability in the states of Imo and Kogi are not only “unacceptable, unnecessary, and worrisome,” but also have the potential to frighten away potential voters.
At a one-day workshop the Commission organised for media executives in Owerri yesterday, Mallam Mohammed Kudu Haruna, the INEC National Commissioner and member of the Information and Voter Education Committee, IVEC, raised the alarm.
Haruna said: “We have gone so far with our preparedness for the off-cycle elections in Imo, Kogi and Bayelsa States.
“The Commission is truly worried about the growing level of insecurity and violence, in Kogi and Imo States. This is unacceptable, unnecessary and most worrisome.
“Campaigns in Kogi State, has been violent and this is most unfortunate. Our political gladiators and indeed, all citizens, must work towards ensuring free, fair and credible elections.
“It stands to reason that if this situation is allowed to continue, there is the likelihood that people will be afraid to come out to vote, on the election day.
“Already, INEC is having a shortfall in the number of ad-hoc staff needed to superintend over the forthcoming elections.”
Addressing what he called “electoral operations activities”, Haruna said: “All non-sensitive materials have been delivered to the three states, in required quantities and good quality.
“The production of sensitive materials has been completed and ready for delivery to the three states.”
Continuing, the INEC National Commissioner revealed that efforts were at improving and easing access for persons living with disabilities and other marginalized groups, to participate in elections.
His words: “The Commission has provided braille ballot papers for visually impaired voters, made available magnifying glasses for people with albinism and introduced enlarged posters, for voters with hearing impairment.
“We have gone further to integrate into the voting procedure, a process that accords priority voting for persons living with disabilities, vulnerable people like the elderly, pregnant and nursing mothers.”
Welcoming the participants earlier, the Imo Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC, Professor Sylvia U. Agu, explained that “this engagement has been carefully packaged by the Commission, to enlighten the media and her executives, on the guidelines, processes and procedures, ahead of the November 11, 2023 gubernatorial election in Imo State.”
Agu enlisted the help of media professionals while also pleading with eligible voters to cast ballots for the candidates of their choice.