The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has urged traditional rulers in the Nasarawa Central State Constituency, to ensure peace in the Aug. 8 by-election.
Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, INEC Chairman, made the call during a courtesy visit on the Emir of Nasarawa, Alhaji Ibrahim Jibril on Wednesday in Nasarawa LGA, Nasarawa state.
Yakubu visited the emir shortly after inspecting materials for the by-election.
He advised traditional rulers in the communities where the by-election would hold to ensure that the Saturday election was peaceful.
He expressed optimism that with the support of the traditional rulers, the by-election would be concluded successfully and peacefully. INEC has high expectation that the election will be peaceful.
“We urged you to continue to play your role of ensuring peace, particularly on conduct of the Saturday’s election as you have always done,” Yakubu said.
The INEC boss said that the by-election was critical to the commission, because it would be the first contest in the country, since the global outbreak of COVID-19.
He noted that INEC would use the exercise as test run for Edo and Ondo governorship election and other by-elections.
Yakubu gave assurance that the commission would ensure free, fair and credible election so that the choice of the people was declared winner.
He added that INEC would continue to serve as neutral body in the conduct of election.
In his remarks, Jibril pledged support of the traditional rulers in ensuring peaceful and orderly exercise even in future elections, saying they would not take the visit for granted.
The emir said that Nasarawa Local Government was a huge land mass, bigger that three states of the country, hence, was perfect for INEC to use as pilot exercise for elections to be conducted during COVID-19.
“We believe this is significant and truly one of the largest local governments in Nigeria to test-run election in Edo and Ondo state.
“We note the sense of responsibility you have been carrying this national assignment. We believe you have what it takes to conduct credible election.
“I can assure you that the people of Nasarawa and the entire constituency, which constitute seven electoral wards will deliver a perfect example of election that you are looking for,” Jibril said.
He further said that though elections were becoming more contentious globally, with the conduct and success recorded in 2019 general elections, Yakubu had what it takes to conduct credible elections.
Two political parties, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) are nominated candidates for the by-election.