The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has expressed concern that actions and utterances of political actors are threatening peaceful conduct of the November 16 governorship election in Bayelsa.
The National Chairman of INEC, Professor Yakubu Mahmood, who spoke today, October 15 when he visited the office of the Bayelsa State Traditional Rulers Council in Yenagoa, stressed that unguarded actions and utterances of politicians could lead to the breach of peace during electioneering, voting and collation of results.
Professor Mahmood, who was accompanied by senior officials of the commission and security agencies led by the Zone 5 Assistant Inspector-General of Police, Dibal Yakadi, also complained about the use of armed thugs to disrupt the voting and the collation processes.
The INEC boss described Bayelsa and Kogi States as the most difficult states to conduct major elections, even as he said that the commission is further bothered about the ugly trend of voting buying insisting that democracy should not be on sale in the open market.
He said that the commission was deploying 10,000 ad-hoc employees in different parts of Bayelsa for the exercise, adding that INEC would not allow anybody to attack them.
Addressing the council, led by the Amayanabo of Twon Brass, King Alfred Diette-Spiff, the INEC boss said: “We have a few areas of concern.
“The first one is action and utterances likely to lead to the breach of the peace during electioneering campaign, during voting on the Election Day and during the collation of results.
“In 2015, up to the eight local government areas in Bayelsa State, we conducted elections conclusively and made declaration of results only in one local government area, Kolokuma-Opokuma.
“I have been asking all my friends in Bayelsa what makes Kolokuma-Opokuma thick?
“Today, I have the opportunity finally to actually visit Kolokuma-Opokuma and I was in Kaiama and the staff assured us that just as it happened in 2015, it will happen again.
“Next is the recurrent problem where some unscrupulous actors follow voters to polling units with money on Election Day to induce them. It is called vote buying.
“Our democracy cannot be on sale in the open market. The citizens should be allowed to vote for whoever they choose in the Election Day.”