‘Focus On Issue-Based Campaigns’ – INEC Urges Parties As Campaigns Commence Sept 28

– As Commission To Publish Final List Of Presidential, NASS Candidates Sept. 20

Ahead of the September 28 commencement date for election campaigns, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has for the umpteenth time urged political parties to focus their campaigns on issues.

INEC Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, made the call on Thursday in Abuja at an event tagged “Expert Meeting on Conducting Nigeria’s 2023 General Elections in Volatile Security Environment”.

At the event organized by the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) in collaboration with INEC, Mahmood also reiterated that the commission would publish the final list of candidates for the presidential, Senate, and House of Representatives seats on September 20.

Yakubu said that the publication of the final list was in line with Section 32(1) of the Electoral Act, 2022, and the timetable and schedule of activities released by the commission.

“This will be followed on October 4 by the publication of the final list of candidates for state elections (Governorship and State Houses of Assembly).

“Campaign in public by political parties will officially commence on September 28 as provided for by Section 94(1) of the Electoral Act, 2022.

“As campaigns commence, we appeal to all political parties and candidates to focus on issue-based campaigns.

“This is the best way to complement our efforts to ensure transparent elections in which only the votes cast by citizens determine the winner,” he said.

Yakubu said activities for the 2023 general Elections would enter on critical stages this month from the next 19 days onward.

“The commission welcomes this initiative and as Co-Chairman of the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES), there is no doubt that the security agencies also welcome ideas and citizens’ support towards peaceful elections,” he said.

The Director, CDD, Ms Idayat Hassan, said that the meeting was being held against the background of security challenges plaguing the country.

Hassan said the idea was to start talking about how to de-escalate the tension and how to secure the environment, such that INEC would be able to assess all parts of the country to conduct peaceful and legitimate elections in 2023.

“I think one for this election, the security of election materials, the security of personnel, the security of voters is in context and there is actually problem in INEC assessing all areas.

“We should note that this is not just an INEC problem, this is a stakeholder’s problem, insecurity is already prevailing.

“The challenge we are having is how to do we conduct election against the background of this prevailing insecurity? It will behold on the federal government and other stakeholders to come in.”

Chris Pycroft, the Development Director, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), said that the office was delighted to be partnering with CDD and providing funding for the event and related activities to promote peaceful and secure elections in 2023.

According to Pycroft, this is a top priority for the UK in Nigeria over the coming six months, and one of the multiple initiatives in partnership with Nigerian and international stakeholders.

“The stakes have never felt higher. Nigeria is facing more challenges than ever before in its democratic history to run a peaceful and secure election.

“These elections are profoundly important not only for Nigeria but also for the African continent and democracy across the world,” he said.

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