The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has expressed deep concern over the escalating levels of violence and insecurity in Imo and Kogi States, deeming it not only “unacceptable, unnecessary, and deeply troubling” but also a potential deterrent to prospective voters.
Mallam Mohammed Kudu Haruna, an INEC National Commissioner and member of the Information and Voter Education Committee (IVEC), sounded the alarm during a one-day workshop organized for media executives in Owerri by the Commission.
Haruna emphasized, “We have made significant progress in our preparations for the off-cycle elections in Imo, Kogi, and Bayelsa States. However, the Commission is genuinely alarmed by the increasing insecurity and violence in Kogi and Imo States. This situation is unacceptable, needless, and extremely disconcerting.”
He went on to lament the violent nature of election campaigns in Kogi State and stressed the importance of political leaders and all citizens working together to ensure that elections are conducted freely, fairly, and credibly. Haruna pointed out that if this state of affairs persists, there is a significant risk that people will be hesitant to participate in the elections on the designated day.
Haruna also disclosed that INEC is currently facing challenges in recruiting a sufficient number of ad-hoc staff required to oversee the upcoming elections.
Regarding electoral operations, Haruna stated, “All non-sensitive materials have already been delivered to the three states in the required quantities and of high quality. The production of sensitive materials has been completed and is ready for distribution to the three states.”
He further revealed the Commission’s efforts to improve accessibility for individuals with disabilities and other marginalized groups in the electoral process, including the provision of braille ballot papers for visually impaired voters, magnifying glasses for people with albinism, and enlarged posters for voters with hearing impairments. Additionally, priority voting procedures have been integrated into the voting process to accommodate persons with disabilities, vulnerable individuals like the elderly, pregnant women, and nursing mothers.
The Imo Resident Electoral Commissioner, Professor Sylvia U. Agu, welcomed the participants and explained that the Commission had carefully designed the engagement to educate media professionals and executives about the guidelines, processes, and procedures in preparation for the gubernatorial election in Imo State on November 11, 2023. Agu also urged media practitioners for their cooperation and called on eligible voters to actively participate and cast their votes for their preferred candidates during the upcoming election.”
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