…INEC set to prosecute election offenders
By Ezeocha Nzeh
Bayelsa State stakeholders have called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to consider a new date for the planned November 2 governorship election in the state
The stakeholders, who included traditional rulers, politicians, clergy men and elders from the state, were led by Gov. Seriake Dickson, to a courtesy visit to the INEC chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, where they made the plea to the commission in Abuja
The governor, who was represented by his deputy, retired Rear Admiral Gboribiogha Jonah, said that the Nov. 2 date coincided with the state’s annual thanksgiving celebration which was created by a bill and has been marked for the past seven years.
He disclosed that various interest groups in the state have raised concern over the date and requested for a change in the date, adding that it would not be out of place for INEC to reconsider the date considering relevant of Nov.2 to the people of Bayelsa.
“It is on this note that the Christian community approached the governor to plead with you to reconsider the date for the election.
“We are also concern that if the election is held on that day, it is possible that it may affect turn out of voters.
“We want everybody to be in the mood, come out and vote as required by INEC. Any other date that is fixed that will not clash with this day (Nov. 2) will be good for us.
“The plea we are making is that the people of Bayelsa also feel that their wishes are also respected.” Dickson said.
Responding, Yakubu, said the commission would look into the plea by the stakeholders, stressing that INEC has maintained an open door policy and all stakeholders are free to seek audience with INEC on any matter important for the improvement of electoral process.
I would be recalled that the commission on April 9 released the date for the Kogi and Bayelsa governorship elections.
Yakubu, however, appealed to all stakeholders in Bayelsa and Kogi to ensure that the forthcoming governorship elections in the states were devoid of hate speech, intimidation of voters and vote buying.
The INEC chairman also disclosed that the commission would soon commence prosecution of offenders in the just concluded elections.
“Arising from the arrests made by the security agencies in the 2019 general elections, the Commission will soon commence the prosecution of offenders whose case files have been prepared by the Nigeria Police Force,” he said.