The chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mahmood Yakubu, has urged security agencies to provide a safe environment for the by-elections and re-run elections that will take place in some parts of the country.
Yakubu made this appeal on Tuesday at the INEC headquarters in Abuja, where he met with the inter-agency consultative committee on election security (ICCES).
The by-elections, which are due to the death or resignation of some members of the national and state houses of assembly, are slated for February 3.
The same date has also been fixed for the re-run elections that were ordered by the tribunals.
INEC said that by-elections will take place in nine states, while re-run elections will cover 39 federal constituencies.
Yakubu noted that the conduct of by-elections, which he called isolated polls, can pose a lot of difficulties.
He stressed that security agencies must be vigilant to prevent any disruption by some candidates and their supporters.
“Security agencies must secure the environment to enable us to deploy personnel and materials, the protection of observers, the media as well as the polling and collation agents representing the political parties and candidates,” he said.
“Without a secure and peaceful environment, the conduct of credible elections is imperilled.
“A re-run election conducted in one polling unit or a handful of polling units can be severely disrupted by acts of thuggery knowing full well that these few locations will determine the outcome of the election.
“Arising from the reports we received from the states, concerns have been raised about the impact of the prevailing insecurity in some states on the conduct of the elections, made worse by incendiary statements by some political actors.
“As we prepare for the bye-elections and re-run elections, we should equally be prepared for the two major elections later in this year in Edo and Ondo states.”