Our reporter| The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC on Wednesday warned Communities, where members of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) have been posted for Saturday’s governorship and house of assembly elections to desist from attacking them.
The Resident Electoral Commissioner for Osun State, Dr Mutiu Agboke, who issued the warning during a monitored radio programme in Osogbo, the state capital, added that security agencies had been briefed, saying such harassment would be branded as hate speech.
He was responding to alleged attacks on INEC ad-hoc staff, and members of the NYSC deployed during the February 25, 2023, presidential and National Assembly elections.
“In Osun State, no community should harass or intimidate our corps members in the House of Assembly election, he said.
“I got a report that in some communities, corps members were being harassed in the markets and other places that they are going to be dealt with.
“All those comments are hate speeches. It has been taken up by security agencies, and the community has been called to question.
“Anybody we arrest, will not go scot free.”
Agboke also warned against plans to attack any INEC Collation Centre in the state during the March 11, 2023, House of Assembly election, revealing that such individuals would meet their waterloo.
On the issue of violence during the last polls, Agboke disclosed that plans with security agencies were on top of the game to contain violence.
“I want to say that generally, the security were at our beck and call. They were forthright and up to speed for this election.
“The challenge we had was when the unscrupulous elements saw that there was less or nothing they could do at the Polling Units, all tensions switched to the Collation Centres. It was the collation centres that gave us a big issue.
“Our collation centres were attacked and some of our Collation Officers had to take flight into the bush. They ran, they escaped through the window.
“In going forward, the security apparatus have been modified to ensure that no troublemaker has any free day in this coming election.
“We have been promised by the security agencies that they are going to step up arrangements to forestall any issues as we go into the election on Saturday because it is also very crucial and we are not taking anything for granted.”
He urged voters and members of the public to come out and cast their votes without fear.
Agboke, who praised the people of the state for their cooperation, acknowledged that he benefitted from it.
“All the stakeholders in Osun were fantastic. The security agencies saw themselves as one. As per the election, by my own judgment, Osun is the most peaceful state.”
He added that the people’s vote counted as he refused to rig the election for any politician.
He acknowledged that there was overvoting, which led to the cancellation of polling units
“There were pockets of cancellation in some Polling units due to over voting and it is the decision of the presiding officer to do that,” he added.
He added that barring any unforeseen circumstances the BVAS will function very well because in the last election there was no place the election did not hold.
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