Prof Mahmood Yakubu, Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has again raised serious concerns over the deteriorating security situation in Anambra State barely one month before the scheduled November 6 gubernatorial election in the state.
Prof Yakubu who summoned an emergency meeting of the Inter-agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) at INEC headquarters, Abuja warned that the activities of secessionist non-state actors are threatening the conduct of the Governorship Election following the heightened human and material losses witnessed in and around the state since the committee met last month.
He explained that reports reaching the commission suggest that “the stated goal of many of the attackers is that the Governorship election scheduled for 6th November 2021 must not hold”.
Expressing the deep concern of the commission, the INEC boss said it is seriously concerned about the safety of INEC staff, ad-hoc staff of the commission as well as security personnel who are also being targeted by the attackers.
“The Commission is particularly concerned about the safety of voters and Election Day staff, including security officials who have also become the targets of these attacks.
“The thousands of young Nigerians that we intend to deploy for the election, most of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) members and university students, need to be reassured of their personal safety.
” At the same time, deployment for the election will involve the movement of huge consignments of sensitive and non-sensitive materials to the 21 Local Government Areas of the State, 326 Wards or Registration Areas and 5,720 Polling Units.
” That means over 6,000 locations to be protected. If we add that to about 26,000 officials that will be deployed for the election, we begin to appreciate the magnitude of the challenge of securing the Anambra Governorship election which is only thirty-two (32) days from today.”
Represented by Salisu Galadima, the NSA acknowledged that the violent activities of separatist groups in the South East constitute a clear and present danger to the nation’s democratic consolidation, noting that the group is bent on scuttling the election.
He however assured that the government is committed to the protection of the lives of law-abiding citizens in Anambra State and called on peace-loving sons and daughters of southeast extraction to join hands with constituted authority to promote peace and development in the region.
The ONSA said already the effort to ensure a secure poll on November 6 has flagged off with the operation Golden Dawn, recently launched in Enugu, adding that the government is working with Governors of the states in the region to address the underlying economic issues driving insecurity across the country.