Abuja – Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, said that the decision of who would become the next governor of Kogi would be made by the electorate in the state.
Yakubu stated this when he received the Inspector-General of Police, Solomon Arase, in his office on Monday in Abuja.
He said that the commission would be in Kogi on Tuesday to assure stakeholders that there was nothing `unsure’ in what it was doing regarding the forthcoming election.
“The only commitment we have to this country is to guarantee free, fair and peaceful poll.
“The decision as to who becomes the governor of Kogi state or any state in this country ultimately rest with the people.
“INEC will continue to uphold the sanctity of the ballot,’’ he said.
The INEC boss said that although he and other members of the commission were sworn-in a week ago, there was an existing system which he intended to strengthen and deepen.
He added that the meeting of the commission and the IG was in furtherance of INEC’s commitment to free, fair and credible election, saying that management of the electoral process was not only that of INEC.
He said that the purpose of the meeting was to discuss with those who were responsible for providing security to ensure free and fair election.
“In 2011, in response to the outbreak of violence after election, sometime before and during elections, the commission established the Inter-Agency Consultative on Election Security and this is at various levels.
“At the national level such as this, it is co-chaired by INEC Chairman and the representative of the National Security Adviser; at state level, it is co-chaired by the Resident Electoral Commissioner and the state Commissioner of Police.
“At the local government level, it is by the electoral officers and the division police officer.
“The purpose is to create an atmosphere for Nigerians to go and freely vote for the candidate of their choice without fear, intimidation and harassment,’’ Yakubu said.
He gave assurance that the commission was not only going to sustain the security committee, but would deepen it as it had worked since 2011 when it was established.
“We have not had the kind of violence experienced in the management of election process, since 2011.
“If 2015 was a litmus test of how far we have gone with our democratic journey, subsequent elections cannot fall below that bar,’’ he added.
Earlier, Arase said that the police force was working with other security agencies to ensure that miscreants would not be allowed to hijack the election in Kogi.
“Ours is to ensure we dominate the security, not to allow anybody to assault the electoral process, while we allow INEC to do its job,’’ Arase said. (NAN)