President Muhammadu Buhari has asked for exemplary conduct of non-partisanship on the part of election and law enforcement officials in Saturday’s governorship polls in Bayelsa and Kogi.
Buhari, in a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu in Abuja on Thursday, said that voters must be allowed to decide who will lead them for the next four years.
He urged everyone concerned to carry out their functions with fairness and transparency and without any form of hindrance.
His words, “I call on voters in Bayelsa and Kogi to exercise their franchise in a peaceful and orderly manner and in line with the law in all situations.
”Law enforcement officials must ensure that citizens are allowed to vote without harassment and intimidation and any attempt to steal or hijack ballots must be stopped using all legal means.
“In all democratic elections, there are bound to be winners and losers and the elections in Bayelsa and Kogi will not be different.
”All candidates should be ready to accept the outcomes and wherever they are dissatisfied, they should follow the due process of the law in seeking redress. There must not be a resort to self-help.”
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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), set up in 1998, is the electoral body which was set up to oversee elections in Nigeria.
The origin of the INEC goes back to the period before Independence when the Electoral Commission of Nigeria was established to conduct 1959 elections. The Federal Electoral Commission (FEDECO), established in 1960 conducted the immediate post-independence federal and regional elections of 1964 and 1965. The electoral body was dissolved after the military coup of 1966. In 1978, the Federal Electoral Commission was constituted by the regime of General Olusegun Obasanjo, organizing the elections of 1979 which ushered in the Nigerian Second Republic under the leadership of Alhaji Shehu Shagari. It also conducted the general elections of 1983.
In December 1995, the military government of General Sani Abacha established the National Electoral Commission of Nigeria which conducted another set of elections. These elected institutions were not inaugurated before the sudden death of General Abacha on June 1998 aborted the process. In 1998 General Abdulsalam Abubakar’s Administration dissolved NECON and established the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). INEC organized the transitional elections that ushered in the Nigerian Fourth Republic on May 29, 1999.
In January 2015, the “#BringBackOurGirls group has raised the alarm over plans by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to exclude Chibok and some communities currently under the control of the Boko Haram from getting the permanent voter cards (PVCs) for the February elections.”
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