…election is not war, says Longpet
By Victoria Nnakaike
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the Nigeria Police Force (NPA) have assured that the forthcoming governorship election in Kogi State will be peaceful, fair and credible.
Hale Gabriel Longpet, the resident electoral commissioner (REC), and Williams Aya, the police public relations officer, in the state, gave the assurance during a two-day workshop organised by the International Press Centre (IPC) for journalists in Abuja.
Longpet said that the commission has made adequate preparations to consolidate the last February 25 and March 18 polls to ensure that the November 11 governorship election is peaceful, fair, hitch-free and credible.
He said: “We are making preparations towards changing the perception of Kogi. I am giving the people the assurance that with the help of the media, security operatives and civil society organisations (CSOs), we will get it right come November 11, 2023”.
“We did sensitisation to educate people that that will help trigger people to have a rethink, unfortunately, a large number of people lives in the rural areas.”.
“One of the positive things that I want is that the media will help in calming the people down. The act that INEC kept telling the people that nobody would tamper with the results but people are still making attempts to hack the results. Most of the ad-hoc staff don’t know how to transmit results after scanning the result and we have learnt from there”.
“INEC has gone ahead to make changes. I have enjoyed a good relationship with the media in Kogi and I pray it will continue like that.”.
“The election is about the battle of the ballot box and not a war of bullets. And I have seen in one of the polling units where a masquerade voted and I asked myself, did we register masquerades as a voter? So far, you have done good jobs for the time I have been with you, but I urge you to do more. I like being criticised”.
On the people who were trained as ad-hoc staff whom INEC dropped and put in those that didn’t have anything to do with INEC, Longpet said; “We didn’t guarantee that everybody that goes for the training will be engaged. We are going to do electronic transmission. Even though when we did it, it was later mutilated”.
He promised that all results of the governorship election in the 3,508 polling units in 239 wards across the state would be transmitted electronically to avoid any attempt at tampering with manual results on transfer to collation centres.
The REC called on all the 18 political parties and candidates participating in the election to sensitise their members and supporters on the need to conduct themselves orderly for a peaceful conduct of election.
The spokesman of the police on his part, said they were prepared to ensure tight security before, during and after the Kogi election to check activities of criminal elements who may wish to disrupt the process.
He also promised that every measure would be put in place to achieve the feat for the people of the state.
“We have commenced the training and retraining of our personnel in line with INEC guidelines and the laws covering the forthcoming Kogi election. We are expecting massive deployment of the army, DSS, police and all will be in the situation room to receive reports from all the polling units,” Aya said.