From Desmond Mgboh, Kano
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has cautioned political parties and their proxies against hiding under the excuse of the ongoing voters’ registration exercise to engage in any form of politicking or campaign.
The Resident Electoral Commissioner, Kano State INEC, Risqua A Shehu issued the warning at a press conference in his office in Kano, Thursday, saying that that any political party that is found wanting in this regard would face the law.
Risqua, a professor, reminded the political parties that doing such was against the dictates of the Electoral Act, which has since set forth a time frame for campaigns for the governorship and presidential elections.
“The Commission monitors and would need to establish full proof cases and then allow prosecution to take place. We do not prosecute, but we gather evidences against any defaulting political party and I assure you that that would be done” he stated.
While applauding the upsurge in the number of registrants in the state, he however lamented the huge cases of illegal and double registrations, saying that over 40 percent of registrants in Kano State were found to have registered before.
Risqua explained that INEC has been making concerted efforts to educate the people that the PVCs issued by the Commission do not expire, hence there was no need for anybody to register twice.
He cautioned that, “When one is found guilty, he is liable to a fine or an imprisonment or both. There is a provision for a fine of N100, 000 or one year imprisonment or both”
“But at the moment, I am not in the position to establish what the Commission would do to those with double registration, considering the huge number of offenders across the country” he said.
“The beautiful thing is this. we have made adequate arrangements in our robust system to be able to identify and eliminate al those who have registered twice and cancel their new registration and retain only the old information that is there. That is what the commission is doing now”
While appreciating all stakeholders that have been sensitizing and supporting eligible Nigerians on the registration exercise, he stressed that under no condition should any individual, cyber -café, civil society or group extort or collect money from any registrant for that exercise.