The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has insisted that it has no preferred candidate for the upcoming gubernatorial elections, as Nigerians question its neutrality following the just concluded presidential elections.
This was disclosed by Reired Maj-Gen. Modibo Alkali, the National Commissioner of INEC on Tuesday in Sokoto.
No preferred candidate: Speaking with representatives of all political parties in Sokoto State, Alkali noted that INEC would not tolerate a repeat of the irregularities experience at the February 25 Presidential and National Assembly elections across the state, adding:
- “INEC has no political party and it is not supporting any candidate, we are for Sokoto State and Nigeria.
- “Any violator during the coming elections will be arrested and prosecuted accordingly. This, we are not going to fail.
- “More so, any INEC staffer who in any circumstance is found wanting will be decisively dealt with, nobody and I repeat nobody is above the law.”
He noted that INEC is fully prepared and that elections will commence by 8:30 am across all polling units in Sokoto State.
Refrain from violence: Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, the INEC Chairman urged parties to refrain from acts that may mar the election or compromise the security of INEC personnel, observers and other stakeholders.
Speaking during an Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) meeting on Tuesday in Abuja, the INEC boss said the governorship election would hold in 28 states, except for Anambra, Bayelsa, Edo, Ekiti, Imo, Kogi, Ondo and Osun where the election was conducted off-cycle.
- “Unlike the last elections involving 470 constituencies (one 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.
- “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,’’ Yakubu said.
The INEC Chairman said they are 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,’’ Yakubu said.