Listen to article
Mahmood Yakubu, the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), engaged in discussions with a range of security agencies in Imo on Friday, focusing on crafting an effective security strategy for the forthcoming November 11 gubernatorial election.
Mr. Yakubu, addressing the members of the Inter-agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) in Owerri, emphasized that the meeting was convened to assess the level of preparedness of both the security and INEC for the conduct of the election.
‘We know what we have done at the national level, but we want to be assured and be reassured that we are on course for what we believe is going to be a peaceful and transparent election,’ he said.
He emphasized that organizing elections in Kogi, Bayelsa, and Imo states presented notable difficulties.
According to Mr. Yakubu, the states encountered ongoing security challenges, unique geographical features, and persistent actions by certain political figures, all of which obstruct the possibility of conducting impartial and transparent elections.
He highlighted that the meeting’s objective was to liaise with the security agencies and members of ICCES to address the challenges and issues concerning the forthcoming poll.
However, Mr. Yakubu reiterated that INEC remained unbiased and did not show favoritism toward any candidate, as it was not affiliated with any political group.
‘The responsibility of who becomes the next governor in Imo is entirely in the hands of voters in the state.’
‘Our commitment is to protect the integrity of the process so that whoever the people of Imo state vote for becomes their governor,’ the INEC boss stated.
Previously, AIG Echeng Echeng, the Assistant Inspector-General of Police (AIG) for Zone 9, Umuahia, reassured that security agencies were completely prepared for the management of the state’s election.
Mr. Echeng acknowledged that there were security challenges in certain areas of the state but expressed confidence that these issues could be addressed through collaboration and coordination among different agencies.
‘We want to assure you that election will be held in those places because we have done so much to ensure that elections hold.’
‘Our mission in this state is to provide an enabling environment and level playing for all political parties, and we are bent on doing that so that the people can exercise their franchise on that day and we are ready,’ he stated.
In her welcome speech, the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) of the state, Sylvia Agu, emphasized that Mr. Mahmood’s visit underscored his commitment to the commission’s goals and objectives.
According to Ms. Agu, Yakubu’s visit showcased INEC’s dedication to facilitating an election that was both free and fair, credible, inclusive, and secure, as stipulated by the commission’s constitutional duty and obligation.
She praised the tireless endeavors of ICCES members for their contributions to advancing democracy through the strategic electoral security they offer.
The REC explained that the meeting was arranged to unify and strengthen all security-related concerns in safeguarding election officials, materials, and the electorate on November 11. After that, the stakeholders moved into a session conducted in private.