By Lubem Gena
A coalition of several civil society organisations under the auspices of Centre for Credible Leadership and Citizens Awareness (CCLCA) has expressed fear that the forthcoming Kogi and Bayelsa states gubernatorial polls will be shrouded in violence.
The Director General of the Centre, Dr. Gabriel Nwambu, while addressing the press today, Thursday however stated that, if the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) stamps its authority, the situation will be brought under control.
Dr. Nwambu sounded the alarm when he spoke at the Civil Society Roundtable on Bayelsa and Kogi Governorship Elections.
According to Dr. Nwambu, “our key indicators signify that in Bayelsa, some individuals are still planning to perpetrate electoral violence in areas like Southern Ijaw, Ekeremo etc.
“The difficult terrain further makes some of these flash points even more vulnerable and susceptible to electoral related violence.
“We expect INEC to watch out for electoral violence, voter apathy to be triggered by massive violence, vote buying, snatching of ballot boxes and electoral result falsification”.
Dr. Nwambu maintained that the 2019 general elections no doubt was with several errors and challenges. The Bayelsa and Kogi governorship elections is yet another opportunity for the INEC as an electoral management body saddled with the constitutional responsibility of conducting credible elections in Nigeria to correct the mistakes by adequately developing contingencies to migrate from such vices.
Other participants who spoke at the roundtable include Bafunso Tunde of Justice & Equity Organization; Funmilayo Akala of United Peace Foundation; Olatunji Abayomi of Entrepreneurship & Support Initiative; Grace Okonkwo of Youth Initiative and Peter Nwokolo, Coordinator of Centre for Credible Leadership & Citizens Awareness.
The participants enjoined INEC not only to do the publicity and voters education for the election at the national level but to step it down to the grassroots using local languages.
They also enjoined political parties and gladiators to purge themselves of malpractices as well as advised parents to caution their children and wards against getting themselves involved in acts capable of rubbishing all the benefits of elections for politicians who does not have their interests at heart.