Emmanuel Addeh in Yenagoa
The Bayelsa State Government has asked the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to reschedule the state’s governorship election slated for November 2, 2019.
The Deputy Governor of the state, Rear Admiral Gboribiogha Jonah (rtd.) made the demand yesterday when he led a delegation of the state government on a courtesy visit to INEC head office in Abuja.
Jonah said the election should be rescheduled as it clashes with the state’s annual thanksgiving.
He expressed difficulty in changing the date for the annual thanksgiving, which according to him is backed by law.
In his response, the INEC chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, said the commission would meet and deliberate on the demand.
The INEC chairman also said the commission will soon commence the prosecution of electoral offenders “whose case files have been prepared by the Nigeria police.”
He also called on the people of Bayelsa and Kogi states to ensure the upcoming governorship polls are devoid of any violence and other malpractices.
He said: “May I seize this opportunity to appeal to all stakeholders in Bayelsa and Kogi states to ensure that the forthcoming governorship elections are devoid of hate speech, intimidation of voters and INEC officials, vote buying, violence including bombing and arson that led to the destruction of election materials and INEC facilities in the last Governorship elections.
“I urge you to appeal to your supporters to ensure that the creeks and waterways, the hills and forests, urban and rural areas, the polling units and collation centres are free of thugs who unleash mayhem that turn a simple democratic process into needless bloodletting.”
The INEC chairman also spoke on the commission’s commitment to ensuring the polls are free and transparent.
“We will deploy early, adhere to our guidelines and regulations and ensure a transparent and prompt collation and declaration of results,” he said.
“May I also appeal to all political parties to ensure the conduct of transparent, credible and rancour-free primaries for the nomination of candidates.
“From the 2019 general elections, we have seen how acrimonious party primaries have been, resulting in numerous litigations and making our preparations for elections difficult.”