The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has stated that attempts by politicians to win election at all cost, remained a major challenge to the commission in the coming general elections.
The commission alleged that politicians are found of deploying all sorts of illicit means such as vote buying, use of thugs to disrupt election, raising of false alarm and dissemination of fake news to whip up unnecessary sentiments as well as the use of hate speeches or vulgar languages, to undermine the electoral process.
Speaking at a stakeholders meeting held at INEC headquarters, Osogbo, on Monday, the Osun state Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mr Olusegun Agbaje, urged politicians to learn from developed countries where elections are conducted without the presence of security or party agent.
Agbaje, who disclosed that over 16,000 ad-hoc staff have been recruited and trained to cover the 3,010 polling units in the state, noted that 1,260,748 Permanent Voters’ Cards have been collected, leaving 419,182 PVCs uncollected.
He stated that sensitive materials would be distributed on Thursday, warning politicians to disallow thuggery so that Nigeria can have credible elections.
Agbaje said “if we must tame the monstrous phenomenon of vote buying and other wicked forces that have continuously threatened the credibility of our elections in Nigeria, the political class must change its ‘do or die’ attitude to good conduct in politics.
He reassured the readiness of the commission to be neutral and transparent, as well as creating a level playing field for all the candidates.
The state Coordinator of NYSC, Mr. Emmanuel Attah, expressed sadness over the hostage of some corps member during the last gubernatorial election and forcing them to declare the results of election before they were rescued by the army.
He said “if anyone intimidate any of our corps members, we will follow you. Our corps member will ensure a very credible election by playing the usual role of being apolitical.
The new Commissioner of Police, Mrs Abiodun Ige, warned that police would not hesitate to arrest and prosecute anybody that attempt to breach the peace, saying “nobody is above the law.
The immediate past speaker of Osun state House of Assembly and candidate of APC in Ede federal constituency, Adejare Bello, expressed worry over the number of political parties.
He urged INEC to review it and ensure that any political party that has no representative at the state assemble should not be allowed to produce candidate for national seat.
The meeting had in attendance, representative of traditional rulers in each of the senatorial districts, securities, National Orientation Agency, all candidates, civil societies, among others.