As the Bayelsa, Imo, and Kogi governorship elections draw closer, concerns over security issues and pre-election violence have taken center stage. The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has expressed its worry over the spate of insecurity and violence, including clashes among supporters of political parties and candidates in the forthcoming elections. The Commission has called on parties to rein in their supporters from actions capable of jeopardizing the peaceful conduct of elections in Nigeria.
In a press release signed by a National Commissioner and Chairman of INEC’S Information and Voter Education Committee, INEC highlighted its preparations for the upcoming elections, with one of the key issues being the slow upload of the list of party agents by all political parties. Despite reminders, the Commission says only 55% of the expected total of 189,180 polling unit agents have been uploaded to the designated INEC portal, and only 25.1% of the expected 15,804 collation agents have been uploaded.
The Commission has reminded political parties that the portal will automatically shut down at midnight on Tuesday, October 10th, and there will be no extension.
Another issue addressed in the press release is the online accreditation of journalists. The online accreditation commenced on August 24th and will close on October 22nd. So far, 45 media organizations have applied for accreditation, and the Commission is encouraging all interested media organizations to take advantage of the remaining window to apply on imap.inecnigeria.org before the deadline. Late applications will not be entertained, and there is no provision for manual accreditation anymore.
The Commission has also appealed 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 a peaceful conduct of elections in the three states. With concerns over security issues and pre-election violence, all eyes are on INEC to ensure a free, fair, and peaceful election in these states.