The Ebonyi State Independent Electoral Commission (EBSIEC), has given an assurance that it would provide level playing field to all candidates contesting the April 22 local government election.
The commission also said that it would soon commence the screening of candidates fielded by the political parties.
Chief Josy Eze, Chairman of EBSIEC, gave the assurance on Thursday in Abakaliki in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
He said that the commission has put necessary measures in place to ensure smooth conduct of the election.
Eze said that the screening would assist the commission ascertain eligibility of the candidates standing in the election in line with the Ebonyi Electoral Law 001 of 2017 and the commission’s guide lines.
He appealed for support and cooperation from various stakeholders, including political parties, candidates and their supporters.
“All is now set for the April 22 council elections and we have concluded preparation for screening of successful party flag bearers for chairmanship and councillorship positions in the election.
“We have had series of stakeholders’ meeting just to ensure a hitch free exercise and I want to appeal for the support, cooperation and collaboration of these critical stakeholders’ especially political parties, candidates and their supporters.
“We are promising the general public that we are going to be open and fair to all participating political parties and their candidates and also ensure that the exercise meets international best practice.
“This is an independent electoral commission and we will make sure that the integrity of the body is not compromised, ” Eze said.
He advised political parties to avoid imposition of candidates in order to avoid political rancour and acrimony.
” Free and fair nomination of party candidates will go a long way in reducing political tension, acrimony and bickering before, during and after the main elections.
“We are advising that political parties should adhere to the laid down procedure as enshrined in their parties’ constitutions to prevent post party primary bickering that can affect the success of the main election, ” he said.
He urged political parties, aspirants and supporters to abide by rules and regulations guiding political activities before, during and after the elections.
“We are very strict with compliance to the election guidelines and time table and will not hesitate to sanction any party or candidates that goes contrary to the guidelines and time table as released, ” he added.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), reports that the commission has fixed April 7 for return of names of duly nominated party candidates, while screening of successful candidates will begin immediately. (NAN)