By Babajide Okeowo
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has suspended Saturday’s Ekiti East 1 State Constituency by-election indefinitely over cases of violence.
The commission announced the indefinite suspension in a statement issued by Mr Festus Okoye, INEC National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, in Abuja on Saturday.
Okoye said that the Commission received a report from the Resident Electoral Commissioner for Ekiti State that the by-election was disrupted by violent attacks on voters, election officials and security personnel.
He noted that INEC made adequate arrangements for the election, adding that personnel and materials arrived on time in all the 39 Polling Units spread across 5 Wards of the Constituency for the 23,670 registered voters to exercise their franchise in a free and fair process.
“However, no sooner had voting commenced than unidentified gunmen unleashed mayhem at some Polling Units, thereby disrupting the process.
“Unfortunately, some innocent voters were shot dead, but a policeman, some INEC regular and ad hoc staff who sustained gunshot injuries during the melee are receiving medical attention.
“This situation is unacceptable. In its avowed commitment to electoral integrity, the Commission has suspended the election indefinitely.”
Okoye said “to continue with the process would amount to rewarding bad behavour.
“The security agencies are aware of this unfortunate situation and have commenced investigation.
“The Commission commiserates with the innocent victims of this dastardly act and affront to our democracy,” Okoye added.