IPAC to INEC Chairman: Use Kogi, Imo, Bayelsa polls to restore electorate’s confidence
The Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC) has asked the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to take advantage of the forthcoming off-circle governorship elections in Kogi, Bayelsa, and Imo State to restore the voters’ confidence in the electoral process.
Chairman of IPAC, Yabagi Sani, made the call on Tuesday at a stakeholders’ meeting with INEC in Abuja, ahead of the November 11 governorship elections in the three states.
Meanwhile, the INEC chairman also expressed concern about some recent court orders and judgments regarding the nomination, and substitution of party candidates, and their effects on the management of sensitive materials for the elections.
“On the issue of candidature, the Commission is concerned about the spate of recent judgments and orders of the court in respect of the nomination, substitution, or disqualification of candidates after all the sensitive materials have been printed. The reprinting of the materials in compliance with court orders within a short period of time is not only expensive but the management of the process very challenging,” he said.
“Although the Commission has already published the final list of candidates for the three States, four recent court orders have compelled us to review the list. These changes have been reflected in the updated list of parties and candidates on our website. However, this decision is without prejudice to any pending appeal by the affected candidates or their political parties.”
The INEC chairman also expressed concern over the spate of violence in the states as the elections draw closer.
“I wish to remind you as party leaders that free and fair elections are only possible in an atmosphere of peace. After all, the election is a process involving human beings as voters, election officials, observers, and the media whose safety is of paramount concern to us,” he said.
The INEC chief said while the commission is working with security agencies to ensure peace during the elections, IPAC has “an obligation to impress on your members, candidates, and supporters to maintain peace during the campaign rallies and procession.
“I urge you to also appeal to them to maintain the same disposition on Election Day and beyond.”
Tuesday’s meeting was to brief the political parties about preparations for the exercise and their roles in the polls.
It was also a platform for the political parties to tell the INEC chief about their concerns in regard to the off-cycle polls.