By Precious Ukeje
The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, says its conduct of re-run elections in 28 constituencies in 11 states of the federation on January 25 was on court orders, reports Precious Ukeje.
In a release dated 27th January, 2020, and signed by its National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education, Festus Okoye, the electoral body said the conduct of the elections was on the orders of the court.
It added that there was a marked improvement in compliance with its processes and procedures during the elections, and stressed that the Commission commended the voters, security agents, the media and election staff, for their conduct which it described as praiseworthy.
Assessing its efforts in a smooth conduct of the elections and the hitches it encountered, INEC regretted that deviant behaviour by a few persons determined to subvert the people’s will was noticed in a few areas in the course of the elections.
‘These isolated incidents minimally affected the peaceful and orderly exercise in only 4 of the 28 constituencies where elections were conducted,’ INEC lamented.
To contain the defiance that occurred during the re-run elections, the body said it had taken some steps pending its resolve to sanction what it described as electoral bad behaviour.
According to the electoral body, ‘In Akwa Ibom State where the officials of the Commission were abducted and diverted to an undesignated location and forced to compromise the elections in Essien Udim Local Government Area, all the polling units involved were identified and their results discountenanced.
‘In Isa Local Government Area of Sokoto State, the activities of bandits prevented the Commission from deploying to a few polling units, but the Commission successfully conducted elections and declared results,’ it said.
INEC said that in Abi State Constituency of Cross River State, officials of the Commission were abducted and thus prevented from deploying in eight polling units.
‘All officials of the Commission that were abducted had been rescued and accounted for,’ INEC said in its statement.
Also, the Commission suspended the process in the case of Oru East/Orsu/Orlu Federal Constituency of Imo State, where it said election was conducted peacefully in the eighteen polling units as ordered by the Court, save for disruption of collation by thugs in Orlu.
Arising from this, it said it had decided to apply the provision of Paragraph 47(1) of its Regulations and Guidelines for the conduct of the elections which provided that in the event of such a disruption, saved and original result sheets be used to complete the collation of results.