The Independent National Electoral Commission has decried over the rising security challenges in Imo, Kogi and Bayelsa State hitherto the Nov. 11 guber race.
National Commissioner and Chairman of its Information and Voter Education Committee, Sam Olumekun, has said parties have refused to send their list of party agents despite the constant warnings and reminders.
The INEC commissioner, via a statement has urged political parties to refrain from using provocative words or heating the polity while campaigning.
He said, “The commission is concerned about the spate of insecurity and violence, including clashes among supporters of political parties and candidates in the forthcoming elections.
“In our engagement with political parties, the commission has constantly called on parties to rein in their supporters from actions capable of jeopardising the peaceful conduct of elections in Nigeria.
INEC earnestly appeals to all political parties and candidates to avoid utterances and acts that may heat up the polity. The commission will continue to closely monitor the situation and sustain its engagement with security agencies and stakeholders to ensure peaceful conduct of elections in the three states.”
On the submission of the list of party agents, Olumekun said, “The commission notified all political parties of the opening of its online portal for the upload of the list of polling units and collation centre agents, which commenced on Thursday, August 24, 2023. The commission thereafter engaged party representatives on the methodology for a seamless process.
“However, despite this notice and subsequent reminders, political parties are yet to substantially comply by submitting the list of their agents. For Bayelsa, Imo, and Kogi States, only 55 per cent of the expected total of 189,180 polling unit agents have been uploaded to the designated INEC Portal. Specifically, 29,278 out of the expected 40,372 (72.5 per cent) for Bayelsa State, 51,681 out of 85,644 (60.3 per cent) for Imo State, and 23,720 out of 63,144 (37.6 per cent) for Kogi State have been uploaded.
Similarly, only 25.1 per cent of the expected 15,804 collation agents in the three states have been uploaded: 1,246 (26.0 per cent) out of 4,806 for Bayelsa, 1,638 (27.3 per cent) out of 5,994 for Imo, and 1,095 (21.9 per cent) out of 5,004 for Kogi State.
“The commission hereby wishes to further remind political parties that the portal will automatically shut down at 12 midnight on Tuesday, October 10, 2023. There shall be no extension. Consequently, all parties sponsoring candidates for the elections that have yet to upload the list of their agents should do so before the deadline for the exercise.”