"Call Your Supporters to Order"- INEC Meets With Leaders of 19 Political Parties

Ahead of the three off-season elections in November in Kogi, Bayelsa and Imo states in threes States, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has called on leaders of all 19 registered political parties to call their supporters to order and embrace peace during their campaigns.

INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu on Tuesday, 25th July 2023, said this at a meeting with political parties on the review of the 2023 General election held at the INEC headquarters, Abuja.

The meeting is to focus on the elections by way of introspection, stocktaking, review and evaluation. SpyeTV News reports that the Commission is convinced that engaging with stakeholders is one of the best ways to learn lessons and continue to improve elections and the electoral process in Nigeria.

Professor Yakubu noted that, the Commission appreciates the role of political parties through the Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC) in voter education within the limits of available resources both during off-cycle and the general election. "Your robust engagement with the National Assembly contributed a lot to the 4th and 5th alterations to the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the enactment of the Electoral Act 2022. 

"Working in partnership with us, political parties also supported the expansion of voter access to polling units and many innovations introduced by the Commission, including the online pre-registration of voters, nomination of candidates and the accreditation of party agents. You also supported the Commission’s effort to deepen the use of technology in voter accreditation and result management as well as the provision of assistive devices in aid of persons with disability during elections."he added.

INEC boss announces that campaign in public by parties and candidates in the three States for governorship commenced on 14th July 2023 as provided in the Timetable and Schedule of Activities for the Governorship elections. 

He acknowledged the perennial complaints from some political parties that the power of incumbency is used in some States to restrain some parties and candidates from access to public facilities for media campaigns and outdoor advertising through exorbitant fees or outright denial.

In his remark, National Chairman, Inter Party Advising Council (IPAC), Engr Yabagi Yusuf Sani ccommended all party leaders for their unflinching efforts and patriotic commitment to the democratic process with a view to foster a peaceful, united and productive Nigeria. "It is my hope that there would be light at the end of the tunnel, so that our labour and that of our heroes past will never be in vain.

"There is certainly no doubt that the 2023 general elections might have come and gone, but the echoes have continued to reverberate; they do not seem to be in a hurry to fizzle out, hence, the obvious need for stakeholders continued robust and sincere discussions on ways and strategies to make the electoral process, more transparent, substantially credible and profoundly inclusive." he noted.

Engr Yabagi Yusuf Sani said, IPAC carried out a dispassionate review of the EU/EOM report as well as listened to the views expressed by all stakeholders in the Nigerian democratic process and has since referred them to the IPAC 2023 Elections Review Committee set up to unearth all immediate and remote causes surrounding the conduct and the outcome of the election.

He said, the findings and recommendations of the IPAC 2023 Review Committee will assist in engendering dialogue amongst all stakeholders on electoral, legal and administrative reforms necessary to achieve improved democratic practices in Nigeria.

He noted that the unprecedented enthusiasm of the Nigerian Youth, who trooped out in their numbers despite seemingly insurmountable structural and procedural challenges were largely due to the unprecedented mobilization efforts by INEC and political parties ahead of the 2023 elections.

He also commended candidates of political parties who criss-crossed Nigeria’s most difficult terrains under unprecedented insecurity situation and economic hardship canvasing for votes.

The technological innovations introduced especially in the accreditation of voters using the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) was a game changer and highly commendable.

"IPAC understands that there are so many other factors that affected the conduct of the 2023 election, such as obvious ethnic profiling, religious sentiments, voters’ suppression, ballot snatching, hate speech, etc, which are beyond the Commission, hence the need for all the key stakeholders to work in harmony.

"With the INEC 2023 elections review report, stakeholders are now presented unique opportunity to work together with a view to improve the electoral process for future elections beginning with the three off-season elections in November in Kogi, Bayelsa and Imo states." he stressed. 

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