The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has accused security agents in Kano State of acting lackadaisically when political thugs disrupted the smooth running of the bye-elections in the state.
A statement by Kayode Idowu, the spokesperson of the commission, on Wednesday said armed youth intimidated, harassed and assaulted some unsuspecting voters. Mr. Idowu said the youth went as far as assaulting some INEC officials.
Mr. Idowu added that “despite the overwhelming show of force by armed youths during the Kano State by-election, security agents failed to intervene”
He expressed disappointment that the culture of thuggery, intolerance and unruly conduct still bedevil Nigeria’s electoral process.
The INEC spokesperson said the election did not go the way the commission planned.
“INEC is concerned that under the circumstance, the elections were conducted in an unwholesome atmosphere that interfered with voters’ exercise of their freedom of choice,” he said.
The electoral body asked the security agencies to be alive to their responsibilities, be vigilant; and promptly intervene whenever there is a deployment of thugs to subvert a political process.
Last week in Kano State, bye-elections were held to fill the vacant positions that emanated from the deaths of two lawmakers representing Gaya and Garko constituencies.
Amidst allegations of political subversion and intimidation of voters, the ruling Peoples Democratic Party won the two seats in the Assembly.
The PDP through its National Publicity Secretary ascribed its victory to the support Nigerians have for the ruling party. No mention was made by the party of harassment or intimidation of voters and election officials.