The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has admitted that thuggery and violence affected the conduct of the Bayelsa and Kogi states governorship elections, as well as the Kogi West senatorial district rerun and the Brass I state constituency supplementary elections on Saturday.
INEC made the admission in a statement signed by Festus Okoye, a National Commissioner and Chairman of its Information and Voter Education Committee on Saturday.
According to the electoral commission, it received several reports of violence from its officials and accredited observers on the field, lamenting that such brutality occurred despite the peace accords signed by the major political actors in both states ahead of the elections.
The statement read: “Unfortunately, however, despite all the efforts of the Commission and the promises of political parties to promote peaceful elections, including engagement with stakeholders and signing of Peace Accords, there are reports indicating that the process was in several places affected by thuggery and violence, which the Commission unequivocally condemns. We are still receiving, collating and evaluating these reports as we move into the critical phase of result collation.”
INEC, however, insisted that despite reports of violence, most voters who were willing to vote did cast their vote.
“Reports from accredited observers and our officials in the field indicate that most voters who were willing to vote had the opportunity to do so. The Commission delivered materials to its two State offices in good time and made adequate preparations for the movement of staff and materials to the various voting locations,” the statement read.
The electoral commission said the process will now proceed to the collation stage, and requested that all its officials, as well as security agents, remain neutral and vigilant during this period.