The Inter Party Advisory Council (IPAC) has urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, to use the forthcoming off-season governorship elections in Imo, Bayelsa and Kogi states to address the shortcomings of the 2023 general elections.
Yabagi Sani, the National Chairman of IPAC, said this will improve election integrity, and above all restore confidence in the electoral process.
He made this known on Tuesday at a meeting the Commission and the political parties.
He said: “As we gather here in preparation for the off-season elections in Imo, Kogi, and Bayelsa states scheduled for November 11, 2023, I would like to, on behalf of all political parties in Nigeria, request INEC to seize the opportunity of these elections to deal with the issue of confidence deficit among the citizenry following the outcome of the 2023 national elections.
“There is no doubt that INEC is showing its best efforts in its preparations in spite of obvious encumbrances. However, a lot more needs to be done to ensuring that elections in Nigeria are hitch-free, credible and substantially comply with the provisions of the controversial 2022 Electoral Act.
“Furthermore, I challenge INEC to work diligently in persuading our security agencies to play by the rules of engagement and resist the temptation of being used by desperate politicians.
“The involvement of security agencies in the electoral process, when it becomes unavoidable must be based on professionalism, neutrality, and a commitment to the defense of our democracy, rather than partisan interests.”
The INEC Chairman responding to the remarks of Sani, expressed concern over the spate of violence in the three states as the elections draw closer.
He said: “I wish to remind you as party leaders that free and fair elections are only possible in an atmosphere of peace. After all, the election is a process involving human beings as voters, election officials, observers, and the media whose safety is of paramount concern to us.”
Yakubu said while the commission is working with security agencies to ensure peace during the elections, IPAC has an obligation to impress on your members, candidates, and supporters to maintain peace during the campaign rallies and procession.
“I urge you to also appeal to them to maintain the same disposition on election day and beyond.”