Kogi poll: Police, INEC promise free, fair conduct

The Nigeria Police, Kogi command, has promised to ensure unbiased and highly effective coverage of the Nov. 16, Governorship Election.

Mr Hakeem Busari, Commissioner of Police in the state, said this was aimed at ensuring free and fair election; as well as credible and acceptable results.

Busari made this known in Lokoja, while addressing more than 500 youths from across the state, who held a procession to sensitise voters on a non-violent poll in the state.

The youths were bearing placards with inscriptions such as “Vote Not Fight’’ and “Election No Be War’’.

The police commissioner, who commended the youths for the initiative, said the police and other security agencies would ensure security of lives and property before, during and after the election.

“We will deploy enough personnel because we are going to have adequate support from the Inspector General of Police (IGP) from the Force headquarters.

“The polling booths and the wards are going to be properly policed and enough policemen will be on patrol. So we do not have anything to fear as far as the Nov. 16 election is concerned,’’ Busari said.

He advised politicians and other stakeholders to “play the game according to the rules’’ and conduct themselves in a peaceful manner to make the work of security agents easy.

Earlier, Prof. James Apam, state Resident Electoral Commissioner of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) pledged that the commission would do nothing short of ensuring free, fair and credible election.

Apam, who was represented by Alh. Ahmed Bagudu-Biambo, Head, Voter Education and Publicity, Kogi INEC, also commended the youths for the initiative.

He noted that election violence had far-reaching consequences, as the vulnerable, women and children were affected, and many electorate were often disenfranchised.

Presenting their “Vote, Not Fight’’ youths position, leader of the group, Mrs Gift Omoniwa, said it was time to end the cycle of using youths as thugs to perpetrate electoral violence.

Omoniwa, who noted that youths constituted more than 60 per cent of the state’s population, and also represented majority of registered voters, had regrettably remained marginalised and under-represented in decision making.

“When election violence occurs, the youths, their mothers, sisters and persons living with disabilities are the first victims. Today, we have come to say no to electoral violence.

“We hereby state our firm resolve to shun violence in the Nov. 16 2019, Off Cycle Governorship Election in Kogi State. For us, non-violent and peaceful election is non-negotiable.

“We remind all the political parties and their gladiators that the legitimacy of any government lies in its emergence from a peaceful, free, fair and credible election,’’ she added.

News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the programme was organised by the Participation Initiative for Behavioural Change in Development (PIBCID) in collaboration with 2Baba Foundation and others, with support from ActionAid, National Democratic Institute, Enough is Enough, USAID and UKAID.