Cross River State Governor Ben Ayade has charged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) with ensuring a free, fair, and credible general election next year.
He gave the charge when the state’s new Resident Electoral Commissioner, Alalibo Sinikiem Johnson, paid him a visit Tuesday at his office in Calabar.
The governor, for his part, assured that the state’s elections in 2023 will be held in a peaceful environment.
“I hereby give you my commitment that we will guarantee you free and safe elections; we also call on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to please honour its pledge as well so that we can have free, fair, credible, reliable, and dependable elections,” the governor said.
“The government will not influence your process in any way, but we want to say that we are available and willing to support you at all times that INEC will require our services.”
Ayade stated that he has no doubt he will deliver given the REC’s track record and integrity.
He also praised INEC Chairman Professor Mahmood Yakubu, whom he described as “distinguished.”
“We have never had an INEC Chairman who has had the mutual trust of both the ruling and opposition parties.”
“He is not subject to any inducement, he is subject to the God that he serves and l want to say that his name would go down in history as one of the very best INEC Chairmen that we have ever had.”
Earlier in his speech, Johnson emphasised the importance of creating a conducive environment for free and fair elections to thrive.
“Without security, we cannot hold a free and fair election.” We request that you use your good offices to ensure the state’s peace. “Peace in the sense that people can move freely to vote for their preferred candidates, and also that we at INEC can do our job without fear,” Johnson said.