INEC, police declare readiness as PDP, APC, others sign peace pact - Bayelsa guber
Tiamiyu Saheed Oluwatosin
Ahead of the November 16 govenrorship election in Bayelsa State, authorities of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the Nigerian Police Force have declared their readiness for the exercise.
INEC said all non-sensitive materials, police personnel and Ad-hoc staff needed for the free, fair and credible conduct of the poll are ready.
The Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, who met with officers and men of the Bayelsa State Command and attended the State Holders meeting organized by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), assured the electorates in Bayelsa of their safety during the election.
He said the police were ready to ensure a peaceful conduct of the poll and urged the its personnel to be deployed to shun issues enticement by politicians in the state.
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The National Chairman of INEC, Yakubu Mamood, assured various key political actors at the 2nd Stakeholders meeting held in Yenagoa, that the Commission was ready to conduct a free and fair election as all non-sensitive materials needed for the election have arrived the Yenagoa State capital and domiciled in the Central Bank of Nigeria(CBN).
The Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, while speaking at the State Police Headquarters during an interactive session with officers and men of the command, said the success of the Bayelsa Governorship election depended largely on the police.
His words, “I just want to advise you not to succumb to the political enticement from politicians. When you do, there would be problems. If you see anyone buying votes, it is illegal, please arrest the person.”
He told the police personnel that their job is to secure materials to the polling units and ensure that nobody is molested during the election.
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“You must ensure that there is peace and security at the polling units. After the election, you are supposed to protect the votes and results of the unit to the collation centre. By so doing, you will beef up the security at the collation centers and ensure nothing happen to the results.
“During the course of doing your work, if you see anyone sharing money, please mobilize and arrest those persons.”
He also informed the personnel that there would be a detachment of mobile policemen on patrol to assist and secure arrest of politicians if it goes beyond their capacity.
The Police Inspector-General also informed the officers and men of the Bayelsa Police Command that their welfare packages have been paid into their accounts to cover the days of duty during the elections with over 32,000 personnel ready to be deployed to Bayelsa State.
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The National Chairman of INEC, Yakubu Mamood, reassured the key stakeholders, who attended the interactive session of the readiness of INEC.
“We are ready. We have so far successfully implemented 12 out of our 14-point plan for the election as required by law.”
He added “Only five days ago, we published the Notice of Poll and drew the attention of political parties fielding candidates in the election to the imperative of submitting names of their polling agents to our Electoral Officers (EOs) in each of the eight Local Government Areas (LGAs) in Bayelsa State fourteen days to the election as required by law. I trust that by now, political parties have complied with this requirement so that we can accredit their agents for polling and collation processes.
“The Commission has also delivered all non-sensitive materials to our office here in Yenagoa long ago. They have all been sorted out, categorized and batched, ready to be delivered to the LGAs, wards and polling units. The sensitive materials are also ready and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is delivering them to Bayelsa State this weekend.
“The normal process of inspection and distribution within the state will be done in the presence of party agents, security agencies, observers and the media. The Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) for Bayelsa State will give the date and time for the inspection and the itinerary for deployment in line with the commission’s standard practice for the inspection and movement of sensitive materials. 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 and authentication.
“Let me also reiterate that voter inducement in all forms, including vote-buying at polling units is a violation of the law. The ban on the use of mobile phones and other photographic devices in the voting cubicles is still in force and will be strictly enforced and monitored.
“I urge all stakeholders to continue to eschew violence and maintain peaceful conduct during the election. It is our collective responsibility to safeguard the process and to protect all election duty staff including the Youth Corps members who serve at the polling units, which is the basic level of the voting process. It is also our collective responsibility to extend the same protection and allow freedom of movement and unimpeded access to polling and collation areas for accredited observers and the media during the election.
“It is exactly nine days to the election. Once again, I wish to reiterate that the main purpose of this meeting is essentially to hear from you. Therefore, I will not take much of the time speaking so that there will be ample time for your contributions and discussion. in spite of that, there are a few issues I would like to highlight, one of which is our level of preparedness for the election.
“Finally, I want to urge all stakeholders to maintain decorum while making your contributions or responding to issues raised by others. Democracy demands accommodation of divergent views. It is not just about elections. This is a culture we must imbibe. There can be no democracy without democrats. There can be no free and fair elections in an atmosphere of acrimony and bitterness. Let us focus on issues and argue in support of what will improve the electoral process and quality of life of the citizens.”
At the Stakeholder meeting, over thirty political parties including the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives Congress (APC) signed a peace accord entered into by parties and candidates to pledge, affirm and commit all to non-violence before, during and after the election.
The Governorship candidate of the PDP, Senator Douye Diri and the Deputy Governorship candidate of the APC, Senator Senator Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo, signed the peace pact before a large crowd of stakeholders.
The INEC boss, Yakubu explained that the peace pact was to secure the commitment of key players to a free, fair and credible process in Bayelsa.
“We need the commitment of especially the political parties and candidates to realize these goals,” he said.
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