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Ahead of the November 11 governorship elections in Bayelsa, Imo and Kogi states, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has expressed concern over the cycle of violence witnessed in the states.

The Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, raised the alarm on Friday in Abuja at the meeting of the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) on the review of the 2023 general elections.

The National Security Adviser (NSA) and Co-Chair of ICCES, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, and the Acting Inspector General of Police, Kayode Egbetokun, attended the meeting.

“We should draw lessons from the challenges that occurred for improved performance not only in the next general election but also in the bye-elections, the eight off-cycle governorship elections and other electoral activities to be held over the next three years.

“As we review the conduct of the last general election, we also need to focus our attention on the forthcoming bye-elections and the three off-cycle governorship elections in Bayelsa, Imo and Kogi States. Campaigns in public in the three states commenced on 14th July 2023 and will continue until Thursday 9th November 2023 i.e. 24 hours to the opening of polls on Saturday 11th November 2023.

“Already, there are ominous signs in the form of violent clashes between opposing political parties and candidates. While maintaining strict neutrality, security agencies should take decisive action against purveyors of violence and other undemocratic activities such as vote buying, attacks on election officials and disruption of the electoral process,” Yakubu said.

However, the National Security Adviser (NSA), Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, promised unalloyed support to make every election in the country peaceful while thanking INEC for the peaceful conduct of the 2023 elections.

“What INEC is doing especially on the technologies put in place, will bring the credibility of future elections and stabilise democracy in Nigeria,” Ribadu said.

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