Following the recent violent clashes in the ongoing campaigns in the country, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has cautioned political parties and their supporters to halt the trend forthwith.
The INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, who disclosed this on Tuesday at the Training of Master Trainers on Technologies for the 2023 General Elections in Abuja, described the clashes as worrisome.
Persecondnews recalls that some people suspected to be political thugs had attacked supporters of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) at its presidential campaign rally in Kaduna on Monday.
The thugs were reported to have displayed dangerous weapons like machetes and sticks and also threw stones at the crowd at the venue.
Kaduna attack came few days after thugs attacked supporters of the PFP in Zamfara State, leading to the death of one person, while several others were injured.
Yakubu said: “Even as the Commission is working hard to ensure a credible process in the forthcoming elections, reports of clashes among parties and their supporters in some States of the country during the ongoing electioneering campaign are worrisome.
“So too is the reported denial of access to public facilities for parties and candidates in some states of the federation. Let me caution parties and their supporters to focus on issues and steer clear of attacks on each other.
“These are not only violations of the Electoral Act 2022, but also negate the voluntary commitment by all political parties and candidates to the letter and spirit of the Peace Accord signed about three weeks ago under the auspices of the National Peace Committee (NPC).
“Parties, candidates and their supporters should not by acts of commission or omission further complicate the prevailing security situation in the country. A peaceful electioneering campaign is critical to the conduct of peaceful and credible elections.
“The Commission will continue to monitor the situation closely and will convene a meeting with leaders of political parties next week to discuss, among other issues, the imperative of peaceful campaigns and equal access to public facilities.
In the same vein, the Commission will also meet with the security agencies under the auspices of the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) next week.”
Explaining the scope of the training, Yakubu said the 82 officials drawn from INEC offices nationwide for the training are expected to in turn train more officials at zonal levels to cover all its registration areas across the country.
According to the INEC chairman, the officials at the zonal levels will in turn be involved in the training ad hoc staff for the 176,846 Polling Units nationwide.
“From the experience of recent off-cycle elections, the Commission is convinced that a critical success factor in the deployment of technology in elections is training.
“We need to build the capacity of the staff involved not only to competently handle the devices during the accreditation process but also respond effectively to any glitches that may occur during elections.
“Over the next three days, they will receive intensive hands-on training on the new technology. Thereafter, they will train more officials at zonal level to cover all the 8,809 Registration Areas (or Wards).
“In turn, these officials will be involved in the training of ad hoc staff for the 176,846 Polling Units nationwide,” Yakubu also said.