The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said the March 18 gubernatorial and state houses of assembly polls will be more complicated than the just concluded presidential election.
The Chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, disclosed this at a meeting with the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security in Abuja.
Yakubu urged political parties to caution their supporters, stressing that the March 18 polls is “not war, but a contest”.
He stressed that the governorship and state assembly elections holding on Saturday would involve more constituencies than the February 25 presidential and National Assembly elections.
He noted that unlike the just concluded Presidential elections, which involved 470 constituencies, one presidential, 109 senatorial districts, and 360 House of Representatives seats, the state elections would involve 1,021 constituencies, 28 governorship and 993 state assembly candidates.
He said: “The governorship and state assembly elections this weekend involve more constituencies than the national elections held about three weeks ago.
“Unlike the last elections involving 470 constituencies; one presidential, 109 senatorial districts, and 360 House of Representatives seats, the state elections would involve 1,021 constituencies; 28 governorship and 993 state assembly candidates.
“There will also be more candidates involved and more collation centres to protect.
“It is, therefore, important for parties and candidates to speak to their agents and supporters to see the elections as a contest and not war.
“They should refrain from acts of violence that may mar the elections or compromise the security of our personnel, observers, the media and service providers.
“The commission is encouraged by directive to state commands by the Inspector-General of Police to handle all cases of electoral offences expeditiously.
“We look forward to receiving the case files. We will immediately set up a legal team to handle such cases in earnest.”
Speaking at the meeting, the National Security Adviser (NSA), retired Maj.-Gen. Babagana Monguno, commended the political parties and individuals that participated in the February 25 elections, especially those that called for peace and calm.
He urged political gladiators and individuals at the state level to demonstrate the same level of maturity and discipline by calling their supporters to conduct themselves in a manner that is in sync with the expectations of the larger Nigerian society.
Monguno said: “For the security agencies, I know a lot has been done. I have been talking with the Chief of Defence Staff and the IGP, who is the head of the lead agency in the process of election.
“So far so good, we do not envisage anything that is 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.”