From Tunde Rahman, Lokoja
Ahead of the November 16 Governorship Election in Kogi State, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has expressed fears over possible occurrence of acts of violence.
The Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Kogi State, Professor James Apam, on Tuesday, noted that previous experience shows that even with thorough planning, violence may still occur during polls.
Speaking during the unveiling of “Get Out The Vote (GOTV), Voter Education and Stop Violence Against Women In Politics (STOP VAWIP)” campaign projects and multi-stakeholders’ meeting, in Lokoja, he said that INEC had, on several occasions, prepared to conduct credible elections.
He also said that the Commission would have always put necessary machinery in place to ensure free, fair and acceptable elections only for such elections to be disrupted by violence.
On the flaws identified in past elections, he assured that during the forthcoming election, “we intend to correct them and make this one a test case for elections in this country.
“INEC is doing everything possible to organise free, fair and credible governorship election in November. We have met with traditional rulers and other stakeholders in the state on the way forward.
“People always blame INEC when there is problem, but the truth of the matter is that in most cases, the electorate and politicians are responsible for the problems.
“Yes, on our part, we normally encounter some problems but I can assure you that some of these problems will be solved before, during and after election. Our main worry has always been violence.
“You spent a lot of time to prepare for elections, putting resources together, training men and women for the exercise.
“You send them to the field for the exercise and all of a sudden, someone with a gun appears and starts shooting and before you know what is happening, everything has been disrupted,” Apam lamented.
He advised parents, especially women, to help talk to their children and wards on the need to eschew violence, adding that with absence of violence, there would be massive turnout during the election and the exercise would be hitch-free.
The REC also urged the electorate to conduct themselves in an orderly manner before and during the election to enhance smooth exercise.