- Why commission cannot monitor Sheriff’s primaries
Baring any last minute change in its programme, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) will on Thursday approve fresh dates for the re-run elections which it suspended due to violence, insecurity and logistic factors.
Reasons emerged monday why the commission had decided that its staff would not monitor another Edo State governorship primary being planned by the factional group of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) led by ousted National Chairman, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff.
THISDAY learnt that the commission had insisted that apart from court litigations, the Sheriff’s group did not meet the requirement of the mandatory 21-day notice to INEC before any primary election.
Regarding the outstanding re-run elections, INEC said it would review the reports of the situation in the affected states beginning from tuesday.
INEC had pledged to conclude the suspended elections in Rivers, Imo, Kogi and Kano States not later than July 31, this year.
It said the conduct of the re- run elections would however depend on the outcome of consultations with stakeholders and security appraisals which it hopes would be concluded timeously.
THISDAY gathered monday from a source at the commission that decisions on the new date for the re-run elections would be taken by Thursday after a series of meetings and consultations with stakeholders which begins tuesday.
The INEC’s Director in-charge of Voter Education and Publicity, Mr. Osaze-Uzzi, who spoke to THISDAY yesterday at the opening of a capacity training workshop for staff in the public affairs department, confirmed that INEC would meet with stakeholders to review the situation, adding the commission was ready to conclude the elections if there is conducive environment in those states.
Uzzi who spoke on the commission’s preparations for suspended re-run elections in Rivers, Imo and other states, Osaze-Uzzi said INEC is consulting with security agencies, political parties and their candidates, as well as other stakeholders on the issue.
“On our own part, INEC is prepared and ready in the areas of logistics, administrative and operational deployment to conduct the elections. But, there are factors outside INEC’s control such as conducive environment, that will determine whether INEC will go back to the states,’’ he said.
Speaking on the aim if the workshop, Deputy Director, Voter Education and Publicity of INEC, Mr. Nick Dazang, said the workshop was to review the communication strategies deployed during the 2015 general elections and improve on them ahead of 2019.
He said the commission was also looking at the possibility of reaching out to voters using indigenous languages.
Dazang said the workshop participants would also look at the opportunities in the social media platform such as twitter, instagram, facebook and the internet to educate voters.
“As you know, more than 79 million Nigerians use the internet every day. That is more than one–third of the country’s