Gov’ship election not do or die – INEC warns political parties

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has again called on all political parties to see the Governorship and States Houses of Assembly elections scheduled for Saturday March 18 as a contest and not a war.

The Chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, made this revelation in a consultative meeting which took place in Abuja on Tuesday.

He advised political actors to stay away from acts that may damage the credibility of the election and frustrate the security of INEC staff, stakeholders and observers.

He added that the governorship election would take place in 28 states, excluding Anambra, Bayelsa, Edo, Ekiti, Imo, Kogi, Ondo and Osun where the election was conducted before now.

He said the state Houses of Assembly election would take place in all the 993 state constituencies across Nigeria.

“Unlike the last elections involving 470 constituencies (one Presidential, 109 Senatorial Districts and 360 House of Representatives seats), the state elections will involve 1,021 constituencies (28 Governorship and 993 State Assembly seats).

“There will also be more candidates involved and more collation centres to protect. They are also local elections involving keen contests.

“It is therefore important for parties and candidates to speak to their agents and supporters to see the elections as a contest and not war.

“They should refrain from acts of violence that may mar the elections or compromise the security of our personnel, observers, the media and service providers,’’ Yakubu said.

He appreciated the security formations for their composure and conduct during the February 25 presidential and national assembly elections, affirming that the electoral commission looks up to a better performance in Saturday’s election.

“The commission is encouraged by the directive to state Commands by the Inspector General of Police to handle all cases of electoral offences expeditiously.

“We look forward to receiving the case files. We will immediately set up a legal team to handle such cases in earnest,’’ Yakubu said.

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