The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Nigeria’s electoral umpire, has revealed that it will not issue certificates of return to any candidate declared winner of an election under duress.
Naija News reports that the development was made known by INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu during a meeting with the inter-agency consultative committee on election security which held in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital on Thursday.
This online news platform recalls that there were reports of widespread intimidation and harassment of the commission’s staff during the Presidential and National Assembly elections which took place February 23.
In Imo, for instance, the INEC returning officer for the Imo west senatorial election, Francis Ibeawuchi, said he was “forced” to announce Imo state governor, Rochas Okorocha, as the winner of the election.
INEC Chairman said the commission will not tolerate the intimidation of its staff during Saturday’s elections.
His words: “I am confident that working together with the security agencies, we will consolidate on the largely peaceful conduct of the presidential and national assembly elections while also taking decisive steps to deal with the minority of violators intent on disrupting the conduct of peaceful elections,” he said.
“However, the commission will not tolerate the act of holding our officials hostage and forcing them to declare winners under duress. Where such occurs, the commission will not reward bad behaviour by issuing them certificates of return,” he added.