By Ezeocha Nzeh
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) took further steps on Thursday in desire to conduct a credible free and violent free governorship election in Bayelsa state, when it led representatives of all the 45 political parties that fielded candidates for the November 16 poll to sign a peace accord in Yenegoa.
The accord, which was witnessed by the Chairman Bayelsa State Council of Traditional Rulers, Chief Diete-Spiff, the Inspector General of Police, IGP Adamu Abubakar, the Director General National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), Brigadier-General Ibrahim Shauibu, Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) from Adamawa, Anambra, Delta, representatives of Nigeria Immigration Services, Nigerian Correctional Services, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps as well as some National Commissioners of INEC saw the political parties in agreement to advice all their supporters to remain peaceful and shun violence during and after the election
Chairman of INEC, professor Mahmood Yakubu, who supervised the exercise reassured the readiness of the commission for the poll, while he sought the cooperation of stakeholders to ensure a hitch free poll.
Also in her speech at the occasion National Commissioner in charge of Bayelsa and chairman Legal Services committee, May Agbamuche re emphasized the commission’s warning to all stakeholders and voters that vote buyers, ballot box snatchers risk heavy imprisonment of 12 months and/or N1 million fine.
“Another very disturbing trend is the use of hate speech and provocative language during political campaigns. This is unacceptable and is an electoral offence under section 95 ( l ) and (2) of the Electoral Act.
“A person who contravenes this provision commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a maximum fine of NL, 000, 0000.00 or 12 months imprisonment. For a political party, a fine of N2, 000,000.00 will be levied in the first instance and Nl, 000,000.00 for any subsequent offence.
“We must also highlight that it is an offence under section 23 (l)(a) of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) for a person to be in possession of a voter’s card that is not bearing his or her name unless he can legally justify why he is in possession of such a card.
“You have a duty to tell your members, constituents and the general electorate that it is an offence to buy or sell a voter’s card. Any person who buys or on‘crs to buy any voters’ card whether on his own or on behalf of any other person, commits an offence and is liable upon conviction to a fine of N1,000,000.00 or to l2 months imprisonment, or to both ad punishment, as stated in section 120(l)(c) and (d) of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended),” Agbamuche told representatives of political parties
Professor Yakubu disclosed that the Commission has also delivered all non-sensitive materials to our office here in Yenagoa , which he added have all been sorted out, categorized and batched, ready to be delivered to the LGAs, Wards and polling units.
According to him, “the Smart Card Readers (SCRs) have been configured and will be added to other sensitive materials and delivered together. Once again, let me reiterate that it is mandatory to use the SCRs for voter accreditation.”
…Lokpobiri asks supporters to vote APC
Meanwhile, one of defeated aspirants in the APC governorship primary, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, has asked all his supporters in the state to vote for the All Progressive Congress in the November 16 governorship election
Lokpobiri, who is currently in court, challenging the election of David Lyon as APC candidate however, insisted on his case against the party which has already been fixed for November 14 as judgement day still stands.
Speaking after a closed door meeting with the National Chairman of APC, Adams Oshiomhole and some governors of the party, Thursday in Abuja, Lokpobiri, who is the immediate past Minister of state for Agriculture, also that he has never condemned the party’s flag bearer, David Lyon, as an incompetent candidate.
He said regardless of what will happen in his case against the party as a result of the governorship primary in Bayelsa , his supporters should vote for APC.
“I have come to formally tell our chairman and to speak to Nigerians in particular, the electorates in Bayelsa state that all of them should vote for APC regardless of what will happen in the matter that is fixed for judgment on Nov. 14, 2019.
“I told my supporters even before I came for this visit that no matter what happened in court I will remain in APC having served as Minister under this administration. There is no way, because of the outcome of the governorship primary that will make me to leave APC. We are working and campaigning at different levels.”