By Adedayo Akinwale and Yesin Victoria in Abuja
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said that it will strictly monitor campaigns by political parties to ensure compliance with the extant laws and regulations.
The Chairman of INEC, Prof. Manhood Yakubu, disclosed this Wednesday at a regular meeting with the Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) held at the commission’s headquarters in Abuja.
According to him, “Campaign for the 2019 presidential election officially commenced on Sunday, 18th November, 2018 as provided for by the Electoral Act in line with our timetable and schedules of activities. The commission is committed to closely monitor the campaigns pursuant to our statutory mandate and to ensure compliance with the extant laws and regulations.
“We are pleased that the focus in the last few days since the commencement of the campaigns have been on policies rather than personalities. We sincerely hope it remains this way.”
He stressed that the last meeting held with the RECs two months ago focused on the preparations for the 2019 general election, especially on the conclusion of the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) exercise.
Yakubu noted that the commission has also been working on the clean-up of the voters’ register, being the foundation for the conduct of credible elections.
He explained that the recently displayed voters’ register in all polling units nationwide was for claims and citizens, and also at ensuring that citizens help the commission to identify any ineligible registrants, such as persons below statutory age of 18 years and non-Nigerians who may have registered as well as deceased persons and multiple registrants.
Yakubu said: “At today’s (Wednesday) meeting, the RECs will report on the outcome of the exercise in their various states. We will share this with the general public.”
The chairman said the meeting would dwell on the progress made on the collection of outstanding Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) by citizens as well as new modalities for a more efficient administration of the collection process.
He added that the meeting would consider the recruitment and training of election duty staff, discuss the ongoing review of the framework for voting by internally displaced persons (IDPs), explore additional assistive measures in support of persons with disabilities (PWDs) in electoral process.
“Examine additional ways to safeguard the sanctity of the ballot against the menace of vote-buying at polling units, appraise issues relating to electoral logistics and generally access facilities and preparations for the general election,” the chairman added.
The chairman however regret the loss of four of its staff in Kogi State and one in Edo State.
The commission said it would work with security agencies to ensure the arrest and the prosecution of those involved in the attack on its staff and vandalism of electoral materials at a polling unit in Kwara State.