A coalition of civil rights organisations on Friday challenged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct a free, credible and fair governorship election in Kogi and Bayelsa state.
The coalition was led by Comrade Deji Adeyanju of Concerned Nigerians, Ariyo Atoye Dare of Coalition in Defence of Nigerian Democracy & Constitution and Adebayo Raphael of Free Nigeria Movement.
They conveyed this message in a press statement which was delivered on Friday in Abuja, expressing their concern over the forthcoming poll in the two states.
“We write to express our concern on the forthcoming governorship elections in Kogi and Bayelsa states and to equally state emphatically that these scheduled polls offer the commission a great opportunity to right the wrongs of the 2019 general elections, correct the mistakes of the past and improve on the gaps identified by local and international observers, ” the statement reads.
The coalition commended the commission for its honesty in its risk assessment report that thugs have been mobilized to disrupt the elections while urging the Prof. Mahmood Yakubu-led commission to deal with any form of electoral violence.
“We have read multiple media reports on your concern that thugs have been heavily mobilized to disrupt the forthcoming Kogi and Bayelsa States governorship elections. While we commend the honesty of the commission in its risk assessment report on the forthcoming elections, we must strongly urge the commission to be firm and unbiased in dealing with any form of electoral misconduct or violence by any of the political parties during the forthcoming elections”
The commission was also tasked to develop a monitoring and feedback template for security officers, so as to be able to hold to account any unit that fails to act in preventing any form of electoral malpractice.
“It is important that the Police are mandated to also do a ward-by-ward report of their activities on the election day. We would like to urge the commission to cancel the ballot at each and every polling unit where violence erupts in the forthcoming elections. We believe this would serve as a strong deterrence to politicians and political parties who are bent on using violence to undermine our elections and subvert the will of the people”.
The coalition urged the commission to stay true to its promise that Internally Displaced Persons will not be disenfranchised during elections in Nigeria.