Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has expressed satisfaction with the manner political parties have hinged their campaigns on issues instead of attacking personalities.
The Commission’s chairman, Mahmoud Yakubu, made the commendation during his opening remarks at the regular meeting with Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs), in Abuja, on Wednesday.
The Commission boss further warned the political parties and candidates that it would closely monitor the campaigns in line with its statutory mandate.
His words, “Campaign for the 2019 Presidential election officially commenced on Sunday November 18, 2018 as provided for by the Electoral Act and in line with our Timetable and Schedule of Activities.
“The Commission is committed to closely monitoring the campaigns pursuant to our statutory mandate and to ensure compliance with the extant laws and regulations.
“We are pleased that the focus in the last few days since the commencement of the campaigns has been on policies rather than personalities. We sincerely hope it remains this way,” Yakubu appealed.
The INEC boss equally frowned at the vandalism of election materials and attack on the personnel of the commission in Kwara State, urging the security agents to arrest and prosecute those behind the dastardly act.
He continued, “On a sad note, the Commission lost four members of staff in Kogi State and one in Edo State to road accidents last week.
“Similarly, two of our staff survived road accidents in Katsina State during the bye-election last weekend and one election duty staff suffered a head injury following attack by hoodlums who destroyed election materials at a polling unit in Kwara State. We are deeply saddened by these incidents.
“While we pray for the repose of the souls of those who lost their lives and wish the injured a speedy recovery, we will work with the security agencies to ensure the arrest and prosecution of those involved in the attack on our staff and vandalisation of election materials,” he said.
Speaking further he said, “It is my pleasure once again to welcome the Resident Electoral Commissioners to yet another regular meeting.
“At the last meeting held two months ago on September 16, 2018, we discussed our preparations for the 2019 general elections.
“In particular, we focused our attention on the conclusion of of the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) exercise. Since then, we have been working on the clean-up of the voters‘ register, being the foundation for the conduct of credible elections.
“As required by law and in line with the Timetable and Schedule of Activities for the 2019 General Elections, the Commission recently displayed the register in all polling units nationwide for claims and objections by citizens.
“The objective was for citizens to help the Commission to identify any ineligible registrants such as persons below the statutory age of 18 years and non-Nigerians who may have registered as well as deceased persons and multiple registrants.
“In continuation of the preparations for the General Elections, political parties have concluded their primary elections and made nominations of candidates for various elective positions.
“Submission of nominations for Presidential and National Assembly elections ended on October 18, 2018 while the date for substitution and withdrawal of candidates was November 17, 2018.
“Both activities are now concluded. For Governorship and State Assembly elections, the submission of nomination forms closed on November 2, 2018 while the last day for substitution and withdrawal of candidates is December 1, 2018,” he said.