Ahead of the Nov. 26 governorship election in Ondo State, the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Mr Olusegun Agbaje, has warned perpetrators of electoral violence to keep off the state.
Agbaje issued the riot act in a statement made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) by the Media Manager, YIAGA, Mr David Oluwaseun, on Thursday in Abuja.
The REC handed down the warning at the roundtable meeting and induction of election observers by the Youth Initiative for Advancement Growth and Advocacy (YIAGA), and Watching the Vote (WVT) project.
The statement quoted Agbaje saying that the ballot snatching incidences recorded in the just concluded governorship election in Edo would not be tolerated in Ondo state.
“In Edo state, we still have cases of ballot snatching in 2016; this must not be allowed to happen in Ondo.
“In places where I supervise there were ballot snatching even where old women came to vote as early as possible, some young people still came to disrupt the process by snatching ballot boxes,” the commissioner said.
Agbaje said that the commission had put a lot in place to ensure the success of the election, including stakeholders meetings to cement existing relationship between INEC and stakeholders.
According to him, INEC also conducted voter education and public enlightenment, advocacy, sensitisation visits to designated persons and institutions, training and sourcing of ad hoc election officials, among others.
He enjoined the political class to change its “do or die” attitude to good conduct in politics and the political culture of violence has to be done away with.
“Our political parties must imbibe the culture of sincere internal party democracy in the overall interest of the nation’s democracy.
“All forms of electoral malpractices such as buying and selling of votes, double, multiple voting, among others, should be eschewed.’’
Agbaje said there was pressing need for increased partnership and cooperation among stakeholders’ especially political party leaders, traditional rulers, religious leaders and security agencies, among others.
He said that the attainment of this goal is dependent on the cooperation, commitment, contribution and support of all through performance of their respective roles with adherence to law.
Mr Ezenwa Nwagwu, the Chairman of the group, commended the REC, describing Agbaje as a man of integrity and command respect.
Nwagwu pledged to support the electoral umpire in its quest to make the election free, fair and credible. (NAN)