The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has cautioned politicians against electoral malpractice during the governorship and state house of assembly elections scheduled for Saturday.
INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, gave the warning on Thursday at the commission’s headquarters in Abuja.
Professor Yakubu warned political actors, especially those contesting in the elections that anyone found culpable in any form of electoral malpractice would not receive the certificate of return.
He said, “The commission is concerned that many of our materials, including ballot boxes, voting cubicles, voters’ registers, and smart cards, were lost to the act of hooliganism and thuggery in the elections held two weeks ago.”
“Most worrisome is the attack on electoral officials. Some of our staff were abducted and taken hostage in an attempt to disrupt elections or influence the outcome,” the INEC boss decried.
He added, “The commission will not tolerate the act of holding our officials hostage and forcing them to declare winner under duress. Where such occurs, the commission will not reward bad behaviour by issuing them the certificates of return.”
The INEC chairman was briefing reporters at an interface with the heads of security and other relevant agencies, as part of preparations for the coming polls.
He noted that that the nation’s security agencies have worked effectively to ensure that the elections were conducted under a peaceful atmosphere.
Professor Yakubu also said that lessons can be learned from the incidences of violence during the presidential and National Assembly elections.
He commended the police for the several arrests made as a result of violence recorded in parts of the country during the February 23 elections.
The INEC boss said, “I wish to assure Nigerians that the commission will work very closely with the Inspector General of Police and the Nigerian Police to ensure the diligent prosecution of all violators of our electoral laws.”