INEC Asks Politicians Not To Regard March 18 Polls As War
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has called on political parties and their candidates to regard the March 18 polls as a contest, and not war.
INEC chairman, Professor Mahmoud Yakubu, made the call on Tuesday during an inter-agency consultative committee on election security at the headquarters of the electoral body in Abuja.
He urged them to avoid acts which may mar the polls or compromise the security of INEC personnel, observers and other stakeholders.
He explained that the March 18 polls would be more complicated than the February 25 polls, because more candidates and collation officers would participate in them.
According to him, the governorship poll will hold in 28 states, except Anambra, Bayelsa, Edo, Ekiti, Imo, Kogi, Ondo and Osun States.
For the house of assembly polls, the INEC chairman said it would hold in all the one thousand and 21 state constituencies nationwide, unlike 993 during the presidential poll.
In his remarks, the National Security Adviser (NSA), retired Maj.-Gen. Babagana Monguno advised politicians to call their supporters to order to ensure peaceful conduct of Saturday’s election.
Mongonu said individuals who had plans to undermine the election process must have a re-think or face the consequences of their actions.
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“While commending the efforts of the various political parties and the individuals that participated in the last election, especially those of them that call for peace, I want to also urge individuals, especially at the state level, to demonstrate the same level of maturity.
“They should demonstrate the same level of discipline by calling their supporters to conduct themselves in a manner that is congruous with the expectations of the larger Nigerian society.
“Of course, there are channels for laying complaints and addressing these complaints.’’
Mongonu pledged that security agencies would continue to give support to all stakeholders in the election to exercise their franchise and responsibilities.
Commending the professional conduct of security personnel in the last election, the NSA advised them to ensure that no individual took the law into his hands in Saturday’s election.
“So far, so good we do not envisage anything that’s going to be terrible or apocalyptic, in terms of the next few days.
“But that does not mean that we should all do away with our state of readiness. We must comply with the rules; we must also allow everyone to exercise their fundamental rights as citizens of this country.
“What we do not want to happen is for anybody to take the law into his or her own hands.’